An essay from the Place Issue When the locals are asked about the island’s history, they talk of pirates and Victorian-era seaside resorts, of fish, oaks, and oleander trees, and of storms and disappearing land. They never talk about surfers. by Kerry Rose Graning | Aug, 2020

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

A Points South essay from the Place Issue When I learned of El Refugio, I made a pledge to visit one day. Five years later, I made good on it. I thought of the stories inside of Stewart like a… by André Gallant | Aug, 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 featured short story from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue. We thought it was the hysterics, him saying over and over again that he couldn’t see, he couldn’t see. Momma was there and rocked over him and prayed the best she… by Halle Hill | 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

A Jazz Journey from Alabama to Saturn—and Back.

On October 20, 1952, Herman Poole Blount of Birmingham, Alabama, entered a Chicago courthouse and rid himself of the name he'd never identified with anyway. He was almost forty and had not been Herman for many years—not to those who knew him and certainly not to himself. Blount left Birmingham in 1946, part of the historic wave of blacks from the Deep South, but it's fair to say his migration was of an entirely different magnitude: He would not return to Birmingham for more than three decades, and once he left the South, it was as if he had never been there at all.

Under His Thumb and Lovin' It.

It is springtime in Louisiana. Hot enough to bubble the water. Not yet noon and Carl Fitz is up to his waist in it, the dark bayou off Lake Verret, being brave and fishing the bottom for keepers. But now, his girl looking lonesome and his own legs aching, he comes ashore pulling at the neck of his thick clothing. A long stringer trails him, attached to his nylon belt. His lady Bess sits smiling on the soggy bank watching him, all cute and laid out on a cooling blanket, her dark shoulders blistered from the day's fun. They are both twenty-one and freshly in love.

“If you are not dealing with spiritual comfort, you are not dealing with architecture.”

“You just have to see” is always good advice in New Orleans, which is how I ended up at the 2007 premiere of Trixie and the Treetrunks, a ten-part puppet telenovela in which Trixie and her pal Marsha try to make sense of a post-apocalyptic world by starting a band to send secret messages from the center of the earth.

That’s why pop music is the art for our time: It’s an art of crap. And not in a self-conscious sense, not like a sculpture made of garbage and shown at the Whitney, which is only a way of saying that "low" materials can be made to serve the demands of "high" art. No, pop music really is crap. It’s about transcending through crap. It’s about standing there with your stupid guitar, and your stupid words, and your stupid band, and not being stupid.

That is Tyson Cole. Given the ethnic makeup of Uchi's kitchen staff, which is predominantly Asian, and the artful, sure-handed accomplishment of the food, an unknowing customer would not likely guess Cole to be Uchi's owner and executive chef. And it gets trickier.

I knew I wanted to be the first black woman Harvard graduate to write a country song—and I thought I knew DeFord Bailey, the groundbreaking harmonica player, was the first and only black person to perform as part of the Opry.

Nobody had told me about Linda Martell.