A feature essay from the Spring 2020 issue. I moved to Texas in 2017 and returned often to Dilley. When I would chat with residents—after a city council meeting, at the nail salon, before a cook-off—they’d ask if I was… by Emily Gogolak | Mar, 2020

A feature essay from the Spring 2020 issue. I wasn’t sure how to explain to a rising high-school junior why I’d followed her and her classmates to Belize. I’d met Pierre-Floyd a few months before during a tour of Frederick… by Casey Parks | Mar, 2020

A short story from the Spring 2020 issue I tell him goodbye and go wander around the beauty section in Dillard’s. I find the perfume like what I’m wearing on display and I spray some more on. I find a… by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips | Feb, 2020

A feature essay from the Spring 2020 issue. History is, in part, the memories we choose to protect and reinforce, to ensure their longevity and influence. In Thibodaux’s protected memory, sugarcane has endured, plantations have endured, Confederate heroes have endured—but… by Rosemary Westwood | Mar, 2020

A Points South essay from the Spring 2020 issue When we weren’t whizzing through intersections, I was trying to read road signs, thinking that their letters, dimly lit by our headlights, would give me some kind of orientation on this… by Malinda Maynor Lowery | Mar, 2020

A featured short story from the Spring 2020 issue. She stopped short. The dogs would have passed without noticing her, but Seth had to give them a parting yap. In a second they wheeled around and came straight at her,… by Ben Fountain | Mar, 2020

 A Letter from the Editor, Spring 2020. Over the years, I have come to admire a certain kind of story that the Oxford American, as a quarterly magazine untethered from the demands of a rapid news cycle, is especially well… by Eliza Borné | Mar, 2020

We would like to hear from you.  The magazine will begin publishing letters to the editor in the fall issue and going forward. If you would like to respond to a story published in the magazine, we welcome your letter. by Oxford American | Jun, 2019

The sun is going down in New Orleans. A man turns onto Frenchman Street, putting out a cigarette on the old brick sidewalk. He hears laughter coming from inside a bar. Nearby, a local bookstore owner closes up for the night.

I think the best that we can do as songwriters is try to document and try to record something about the time that we’re living in. If you want to connect with people who are alive now—unless you’re singing to ghosts—you better talk about things that are happening in the present.

At some point in the late Gilded Age of America, rich white people decided winter would no longer be tolerated. The impertinence of cold, the incommodiousness of ice, the dirt of the coal fire, the gray of the sky—these were for ordinary people, not the titans who controlled the banks and the steel mills and the oil fields and the railroads and the bootlegging. They went to Florida.

We sat cross-legged on the cement floor of a warehouse in the Upper Ninth Ward, not far from the train tracks. In the center was a small wooden house with singing pipes built into its walls. This was Chateau Poulet, a musical shanty about to perform for all of us.

Aaron Hardin’s work focuses on the human condition in rural Southern communities. In his series Jackson, he studies the residents of Jackson, Tennessee, where he’s lived for the past ten years. 

Though often mistaken for a hymn, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” is a copyrighted composition. If you were to see the sheet music displayed on an upright piano in church, you would see the name Thomas A. Dorsey, songwriter and pianist, who wrote it in 1932.

Selling fireworks has traditionally been the province of carny types and college kids, though lately there’s been a change in this small Mississippi slice of the industry. I had driven up from New Orleans, where I live, to join a group of twenty-going-on-thirty-somethings from Lawrence, Kansas, led by my friend Cyrus, to sell fireworks in these hinterlands.

The first time I admitted that yes, I was related to Francis Scott Key, it came as a shock, even to me, because, of course, I was lying. While my other college friends experimented with drugs and God, I experimented with genealogy.

Letters from Little Rock

We are shaped by the era and the family into which we are born, but what can be a greater act of self-definition than making you my wife, my chosen family?

From the archive.

Billy Mitchell, the most knowledgeable and masterful Pac-Man player ever to drop a quarter in a machine, is a hard man to find. When I asked one of his best friends, Walter Day, the best way to get in touch with him, Day told me, “First I spend an hour praying to God, then I visit a psychic, then I place a classified ad, then I hire a plane to carry a banner that says CALL ME BILLY! and make it fly all over South Florida. Because he might be anywhere.”

When Ben Metcalf’s first novel, Against the Country, was published in January of this year, it drew scant attention from the world we designate “literary,” and none from the marketplace of what we call ideas. But another look reveals that Metcalf seems guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of sentences written with intent—sentences of extraordinary interest and beauty, originality and art, drama and delight.

In May, Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson loaded up a tour bus in Nashville with some of their songwriting friends and headed to Little Rock for a night of food and drink and music in the round.