The most obvious thing I have in common with Charles Wright is myopia. When we were children nearsightedness was rare enough to inspire playground humor—the kids who wore glasses were “Four Eyes” or “Mr. Magoo.” Wright, seventy-nine, still wears them and is invariably photographed behind them—his eyes, unlike his poetry, giving nothing away. But if any poet has looked harder and seen more of this world—seen it literally, tree by tree, bird by bird, moonrise by moonrise—and responded to it in verse more distinctive and indelible than Wright’s, I’m waiting to see the poetry that proves it.
Inspired by stories of Hurricane Camille, which devastated the Mississippi coast in 1969, Thomas Pearson explores the ways that communities collectively navigate natural disasters. In Flesh Like Grass Pearson focuses on the tornado-ravaged town of Columbia, Mississippi, as well as the post-Katrina landscape of the Gulf Coast.
A conversation with Feufollet’s Chris Stafford and Kelli Jones-Savoy.
Since their inception more than a decade ago as a band of teenage musical wunderkinds, Feufollet has been leading a revival in Cajun music. Their new album, Two Universes, debuts vocalist and fiddler Kelli Jones-Savoy, as well as a strikingly different sound: less accordion and more honky-tonk. Stream the album after the jump.
In “Shiny Ghost,” Rachel Cox photographs her grandmother over the last few years of her life as she struggled with a degenerative brain disease. Through this series, Cox was able to confront the unsettling emotions sewn into their relationship, and finally came to understand how mutual vulnerability and trust could restore their connection.
Early in 2014, Lewis Hyde, the author of The Gift, came to Jackson, Mississippi, to visit with others who volunteered to spend a handful of months in 1964 teaching and canvassing in the most violent province of Dixie. This was not like most reunions, for people at such events don’t normally talk about the first time they suffered police harassment or were tailed by the Klan, and they don’t screen a movie that was recently made about their experience and then discuss the ways in which the film felt authentic or not.
Seven photographs by Ralph Eugene Meatyard.
Central Kentucky in the 1960s was a gathering place for unusual talent. Guy Davenport wrote, painted, and taught in Lexington with his friend the photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard just down the road. Wendell Berry was around, too, teaching creative writing at the University of Kentucky, until he moved up to Henry County to farm. Thomas Merton lived in a country monastery to the southeast.
Grasping a starched napkin in his left hand and twirling a pair of mod eyeglasses in his right, Goren Avery shepherds the flocks who seek purchase nightly at Highlands Bar & Grill, this reliquary of a restaurant, the most vaunted in the South. This place, and, by extension, this city, is his domain.
What was the year? 1986? 2008? Does it matter? What was the great offense? Same as last time, more or less. Some white shit. What was the reaction? One Negro leader or another—fill in the blank—stood in front of the cameras and declared we would do such things he knew not what! This said with a walls will come tumbling down certainty, same as last time, more or less.
On Texas, old newspapers, race music, and two black lives that shaped the history of civil rights.
C. F. Richardson was self-avowedly “militant.” He used the word and lived it. On his draft card he identifies his race as Ethiopian. For a while he was employed as a printer, then as a night-watchman at a white newspaper. Through a connection he got himself hired as an editor at the black-Baptist Western Star, moving from there to the Houston Observer, where he started to write and make his name.