An installment of Chris Offutt’s Omnivore column, Cooking with Chris.  Big Bad Breakfast’s official slogan is “Lard have Mercy,” and I own one of their souvenir t-shirts. Recently I began to consider the words more carefully. Could it be sacrilegious? How… by Chris Offutt | Sep, 2018

A poem from the Fall 2018 issue. It is such a tragedy, all this Working. The vacation I need is on your mark, Get set, go. It’s been years Since I’ve seen the light by Alex Lemon | Oct, 2018

A Points South essay from the Fall 2018 issue My suitcase is full of batik and baby cologne. One bar emulates the American South. The cover band plays Journey. by Helene Achanzar | Sep, 2018

A poem from the Fall 2018 issue. Heading east on Route 6, A young couple scutters by On a motorbike. Harley, I think. On their way to the beach. I can See his feet are bare, resting inches From the muffler’s burning heat—oh The recklessness of… by Kate Daniels | Sep, 2018

A feature essay from the Fall 2018 issue. Why was my great-great-grandfather always referred to as “Robert Singleton, the Civil War veteran who lost his leg at Murfreesboro, then went on to become Clerk of the County Court” rather than… by Danielle Chapman | Sep, 2018

 A Letter from the Editor, Fall 2018. I was struck by a phrase written by Jelani Cobb for the New Yorker, which characterized our former president as “a man who grasps history as the living context of our lives.” This… by Eliza Borné | Sep, 2018

A feature essay from the Fall 2018 issue. Prine radiates a sense of well-being, along with a sort of amused nonchalance toward potential disaster. This is a good thing, because the Coupe, as it turns out, has no passenger-side safety… by Tom Piazza | Oct, 2018

A Points South essay from the Fall 2018 issue I've come to have a friendship with a raven in Paris. I call him Cleitus, a name that I picked up from a Dukes of Hazzard episode or Greek mythology. The… by Megan Mayhew Bergman | Sep, 2018

Anne Spencer’s ecosystem of art and activism As I read, I fell in love with Anne Spencer’s fierceness and wit. In some ways, she reminded me of my own grandmother—a voluble woman, gardener, and scrawler of notes on the back… by Tess Taylor | Oct, 2018

A conversation with Sturgill Simpson the day after his performance on David Letterman. Of his album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, Simpson says, "I made my psychedelic record at the most sober point in my life." 

I lay my fingertip there, just inside the socket, where some of the bone is chipped away: it was pecked out, by the beaks of vultures. These are the markings the huge black birds made when they consumed her eyes, with the permission of her family.

An OA playlist: There are thousands of versions of the song “John Henry,” and every one, Greil Marcus argues in “Guitar Drag,” is “an affirmation of the power of a single African American to deny and defeat the white power set against him even if it costs him his life, but not his dignity, with the song rolling down the decades from the 1920s.” As a companion to the essay, Marcus offers this playlist, his choice of the versions of “John Henry” that stand out among the others.

A former dancer goes to the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, an event that's startling as world-class ballerinas and danseurs keep falling onstage.

Everyone knows something about the power of things, how they remind us of our actions over time, how they have the power to delight or disappoint us. I’m referring here to what Katy Simpson Smith calls “oddments”—the items we don’t mean to collect, that we can’t quite bring ourselves to throw away, that we put on a desk in a spare room and forget.

An excerpt from The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs, this stacked review of artist Christian Marclay's video Guitar Drag and Colson Whitehead's novel John Henry Days explores a history of racial injustice through the legend of John Henry.

A history—in two parts—of Beulah, the “almost heaven” of West Virginia that the people there call home. It includes a criticism of the work of Mary Lee Settle and a series of interviews with the women of Cedar Grove.

First, anticipate it. In fact, anticipate disappearances, jail time, lawsuits, death threats, broken things, cocaine, young wives, younger girlfriends, children. Don’t be fooled by the pauses. They will be full of bluegrass, money, convertibles, grand homes in foreign countries, pet orangutans, and infinite promise. Also cocaine, young wives, younger girlfriends, children. Get away from him. Do it young. 

“Stop!” he yelled, jumping to his feet. He slapped his hands down on the chess sets, scattering the pieces across the sidewalk. People stopped to watch. His face went red, and he shouted, “I MUST TELL YOU THAT I AM THE GREATEST CHESS PLAYER OF ALL TIME!”

Drive east on Main Street in Winnfield, a hollowed-out city of fewer than 5,000 residents set amid the pine and hardwood forests of northern Louisiana, and you’ll pass the Country Cajun Deli, a couple old-fashioned pharmacies, and a series of vacant storefronts in impressive red-brick buildings. Continue over the still-used freight tracks, look directly to your left, and you’ll notice the old L&A rail depot set back from the road. With its shabby green-and-white-striped awnings and wraparound deck, the building looks out of place—like a dockside restaurant beached in the landlocked hill country—and so does the diamond-shaped placard next to it that reads LOUISIANA POLITICAL MUSEUM & HALL OF FAME.

It’s an American tradition made manifest in class ascendancy (moving to New York to escape a hick town, getting an education and altering an accent): when we feel incomplete—when we feel uncomfortable in our own skin—we seek newer, richer identities. We examine the people who have what we want; we costume ourselves.

An interview with David Armand. 

What strikes the reader about this book is the heart-wrenching and universal tale of its protagonist, the young man Leslie Somers, and Leslie’s search for his father and ultimately himself. Think of Oedipus Rex and Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms: like Oedipus and Joel Knox, Leslie has never known his biological father and is on a quest to find him.