The architect Louis Kahn once said that even a brick aspires to be a part of something greater than itself, and the idea is a nice one if you appreciate the transcendental power of architecture, how a building can tap into the sublime. And sure, some bricks might have humbler aspirations than others—a grocery store, say, instead of Monticello—while others, still, are perfectly satisfied with their essence, just as some men are obstinately content. But after a century or so of taking a beating, humble or proud, any brick is going to require at least a little attention. No radical metamorphosis, just a tending to what already is, a scrubbing off of the crud that conceals an original integrity.
I first wrote Charlie Engle a letter because I was fascinated by his life. It gave me a sense of vertigo to know that when we’d met, in the hills of Tennessee, he’d had no idea what was about to happen, how everything was going to change. I wondered what incarceration was like for him.
Scott Hubener’s project The Space In Between documents the landscape and residents along U.S. Route 23, between Asheville, North Carolina, and Johnson City, Tennessee. This highway was the only way to reach Johnson City until an extension of Interstate 26 was constructed in 2003. Interstate 26 now towers over the landscape of Appalachia, and the small towns and villages are completely bypassed by the many visitors to the region each year.
In his ongoing series, Nashville photographer Hollis Bennett documents the leisurely, and sometimes not-so-leisurely, moments of the great American Weekend. All is not as it seems with these revelers, Hollis writes, "I explore the state of relaxation, joy and general delight that we strive for at the end of the week and the absence of work. In many instances though, such states as anxiety, fear, and doubt are mixed in, lurking under the thin veneer of a good time."
A conversation with Miller Williams.
I do believe that poetry is more satisfying when it has a pattern similar to those of songs. I wish that I could sing well, as I’m sure you know my daughter Lucinda does, and writes her own songs. Hank Williams (no kinship there) told me that since he often wrote his lyrics months before he set them to music, they spent those months as sort-of poems. I think the kinship is real.