An essay from the Place Issue There was a time when I would have given anything for this quiet space to reflect. As it is, I’m tired of thinking about God, and maybe the reason I can’t figure out how… by Jamie Quatro | Aug, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue I first met Skip James at Dick Waterman’s apartment in Cambridge in the summer of 1965. I sought him out because, quite simply, his music had overwhelmed me: the blues that he… by Peter Guralnick | Oct, 2020

A Points South essay from the Place Issue Not only was I in Tennessee, where racism punctuates our historical narrative, but this was Lawrenceburg, some scant eighteen miles from Pulaski, the Klan’s birthplace. And the Lawrenceburg folks had been some… by Rachel Louise Martin | Aug, 2020

An essay from the Place Issue At almost sixty miles in length, the Chattooga is one of the longest and last free-flowing rivers in the eastern United States, and mile for mile, it covers a steeper vertical drop than the… by Erik Reece | Aug, 2020

An introduction to the Greatest Hits Music Issue How does the South inform my music? How do I describe the sound that your bare feet make when they pat the cool, packed red dust under them? How do I describe… by Brittany Howard | Oct, 2020

A poem from the Place Issue Symptoms include an inability / to admit to oneself, let alone some chimeric / Crip, or Capulet, our deepest fear is not / that we are inherently adversarial. Though, / perhaps, it should be. by Marcus Wicker | Aug, 2020

 A Letter from the Editor, Place Issue. A tiresome stereotype about the American South is that this place is a monolith. Growing up in Arkansas, with the two sides of my family living in different regions of the state, I… by Eliza Borné | Jul, 2020

A feature essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue. Most people think of human trafficking as involving sex work, but trafficking occurs across a variety of industries, and migrants are as often coerced by threats of lawsuits and debt bondage as… by Rachel Mabe | Aug, 2020

An Omnivore essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue. Photographer Maury Gortemiller explores moments similar to this one in his series Do the Priest in Different Voices. I was startled to find my strange memories of this time reflected within his… by Jason Bruner | Aug, 2020

Ansel Elkins

Ansel Elkins is the author of Blue Yodel, winner of the 2014 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. Her other honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Antiquarian Society, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as a “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize. Elkins’s writing appears regularly in the American Scholar, the Believer, Virginia Quarterly Review, and this magazine. 

August 25, 2020

A poem from the Place Issue

Two hundred thousand miles away / in this ashen desolate terrain / you could almost forget our gun-smoked globe, / the wars raging like wildfire back home. 

September 23, 2015

When I first opened Stanford’s slim book of posthumously published selected work, The Light the Dead See, every word rang true and glowed like burning coal. I was enraptured by his recklessness, his rebelliousness, his loneliness; I drank up his language like whiskey and was pulled into his dangerous, nocturnal world full of energy and eroticism and death.

September 24, 2014

A poem from the summer 2014 issue.

When the sky threw down hail, I knew
        our world was sudden, changing. In the violence of rains
                we ran, I held my daughter with her water-soaked braids.
She covered her ears and counted
        one Mississippi, two Mississippi
                the space between lightning and thunder.

September 29, 2014

Digging through this hard clay, I dig through history. I take the blood-red clay of my native land and shape it with my own hands. This raw red earth symbolizes violence and vitality.