Playlists curated by your favorite musicians and writers. by Brittany Howard, Kiese Laymon, Rosanne Cash, Kelsey Waldon, & others | Nov, 2020

An introduction to the Music Issue’s Icons Section Beyond my eye, beyond the death and decay of matters left behind and unsettled, the music ringing up above my head told a thousand stories of bounty and belonging, and it glimmered… by Danielle A. Jackson | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue She traveled the world and left it scorched with her fearlessness and musical originality, inspired fierce devotion from an audience who thrilled to her enormous gifts and her personal excesses, and shook… by Rosanne Cash | Nov, 2020

Originally published in our Georgia Music Issue Grandmama’s stank was root and residue of black Southern poverty, and devalued black Southern labor, black Southern excellence, black Southern imagination, and black Southern woman magic. This was the stank from whence black… by Kiese Laymon | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue Great Black music is that which isn’t trying to impress or entreat or even necessarily communicate with a white audience—or any audience. Instead, great Black music works to retrieve what Rahsaan Roland… by Harmony Holiday | Nov, 2020

Poachers are among a small group that have actually seen the flytrap in the wild, and Officer Gorchess thinks they know what they’re talking about. “The guys who actually take them probably know more about flytraps than ninety-nine percent of… by Joe Purtell. Photographs by Nina Riggio | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue There was a moment in 1958 when the future of jazz took an extraordinary turn that would be imperceptible to the world for another quarter century. That’s when Ellis Marsalis Jr., freshly… by Gwen Thompkins | Nov, 2020

An introduction to the Greatest Hits Music Issue How does the South inform my music? How do I describe the sound that your bare feet make when they pat the cool, packed red dust under them? How do I describe… by Brittany Howard | Oct, 2020

An exclusive premiere from Rachel Grimes’s new album, The Way Forth.

During the emotional process of moving her parents into nursing homes some years back, Grimes and her brother became the executors of a scattershot archive of family photos, papers, and ephemera. The elisions and erasures of the past gathered poignantly in Grimes’s mind on the repeated drives along the Kentucky River between her farm and her father’s home. Rural Kentucky is endlessly evocative to Grimes, and the bucolic is a rhizome that threads throughout her work.

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

This Having-a-Baby is proving harder than I remembered. In part because it is harder the second time around. Because I am not wise, I had expected the opposite to be the case. I had thought, we already have the tools, the knowledge, the expertise. We have been to Troy in our black ships, looted its treasure, burned it to the ground. We know from diaper changes, projectile spit-ups at four A.M., teeth-cutting, growth spurts, high fevers. We know not to leave the stroller on the porch overnight or else it gets that weird green mold. The second baby would slot right into this operation, a seamless addition to the good world we’ve made.

There is a narrow yellow paneled house in New Orleans that’s got a lean to it, a lean, that is, toward falling. It’s on the short, nearly forgotten end of Wilson Avenue, which should really be called a street since there is nothing grandiose about it. Though if it were called its true, true, name, this story would not be begging its way to the page. The Broom clan, five girls and seven boys, lived on the side of the street where there are only three remaining houses. Ours is the one begging to fall. And I don’t blame it.

 

A short story from the Fall 2019 issue

Hello, Dolly! is awful, and Patrick knows it. The sets and costumes are all Crayola colors and the music is mercilessly perky and nobody can say a word without shouting and clicking their heels. It’s the kind of feel-good musical that makes you want to slit your wrists. Nobody wants to do Medea again, but there are plenty of audience favorites out there better than Hello, Dolly!

Richard Sexton’s forthcoming book, Enigmatic Stream: Industrial Landscapes of the Lower Mississippi River documents, in close to one hundred images spanning nearly twenty years of work, the role of industry along the riverbank.

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

What is it about this malignancy that pulls me like the moon pulls on the tides? Why does he live in my head? Maybe I am a soft touch. Maybe I’m a mark. Like so many women, I can’t resist a half-handsome smart guy with a ready and witty remark. That’s on me. I got hooked on a single song: “I Was in the House When the House Burned Down.” But that was years after 1982.

A Points South essay from the Fall 2019 issue

We all hear them, nearly two thousand young women making a joyful noise and heading this way in a ritual officially known as “Bid Day,” but called “Squeal Day” by pretty much everyone. The sound is less a squeal than a soprano roar, high and triumphant, louder and louder as they round the corner, a delirium of girls in shorts and sneakers, cantering behind sisters bearing huge cut-out Greek letters.

Male romantic friendships in art and life

Everything about my reading and living felt belated. I’d missed by one hundred fifty years the cultural context that somehow explained my intimacy with Luke Henry better than I could, and my education in nineteenth-century romantic friendship came too late.

 

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

Church steeples still lay on the ground, blue tarps turned homes into extensions of the sea. A human’s arms cannot encompass that loss. We make small boxes instead; we attempt to foil fate, we laugh, and we wait.

“As the grandson of a well driller, I learned at an early age that water does not originate from a faucet, nor simply disappear after going down the drain.”

 A Letter from the Editor, Fall 2019.

As a nonprofit, independent publication, the OA exists in an undefined space between literary journal and glossy general-interest magazine. We can embrace the best of both traditions as we see fit: publishing multi-page poems and longform reportage, fine artwork and photojournalism.

 

A commemoration of the No Tears Suite from the Summer 2019 issue

I hadn’t been to Little Rock until the performance, and to be able to go to the museum across the street, to be reminded with videos how horrific that moment was, to actually play in that school, that was deep. To know that this is something that’s so heavy, something we’re still going through, even. To be there in the same town, on the same block, in the exact same building and onstage, in that beautiful auditorium. It was an emotional time.