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 Points South essay from the Spring 2020 issue As sea levels rise, there’s more water than ever coming down the Atchafalaya. Shrimp are being pushed offshore, farther into the Gulf, emptying the bayous that Kermit Duck, Douglas Oleander, and… by Jeanie Riess | 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

A Points South essay from the South Carolina Music Issue. Lillie’s sound is not readily identifiable as black or white but seems a merger of the two as she effortlessly blends country and blues in a haunting song about family… by Eric Crawford | Nov, 2019

A Points South essay from the South Carolina Music Issue. What I want is to love Southern rock without being implicated in the Old South politics. I want progress but I want it surgical. Take secession and Strom Thurmond, take… by Mark Powell | Nov, 2019

Writers reflect on Charles Portis He was the real thing, but he was modest about it. An awestruck fan meeting him by chance in a Little Rock bar named the Faded Rose gushed at him, praising him as a great… by Oxford American | Feb, 2020

An Omnivore essay from the Spring 2020 issue.  All kinds of rumors followed Mr. Myers around campus, most of which, it turns out, had some basis in fact: that he was a ferocious tennis player who hated to lose; that… by Benjamin Anastas | 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

A feature essay from the South Carolina Music Issue. 

Outside of his studies, Ron joined, and eventually presided over, the A&T karate club, and still made time to stay sharp on his saxophone. “People talk about born geniuses, but I always thought of Ron as a self-made genius,” recalled Ron’s college roommate, Keenan Sarratt. “He got his through hard work. That’s one thing I learned from him—nothing’s impossible. If it couldn’t be done, you’d have to convince him it couldn’t be done.” 

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

As Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) audio director John Biewen preps for the next season of Scene on Radio, the podcast is headed to 5 million downloads, episodes are being used in classrooms and independent discussion groups across the country, and media outlets—Los Angeles Review of Books, Columbia Journalism Review, Buzzfeed, among others—have taken note. Here, John sets the scene for the upcoming season.

In an effort to manifest William Faulkner’s idea that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” Lake Roberson Newton’s project, Flowers for the Dead, examines the preservation of historical homes, exploring how previously private spaces are transformed for, and by, public consumption.

Notes on the songs from our 21st Southern Music Issue Sampler featuring South Carolina.

It is fitting that this Southern Music Issue (the Oxford American’s twenty-first) devoted to South Carolina should come in 2019, as the nation moves to better recognize the tragic anniversary of the first sale of enslaved Africans on American soil, in August of 1619. About forty percent of the enslaved people brought to America came through Charleston; today most African Americans have roots in the city (some estimates go as high as eighty percent). Or to put a finer point on it, as Joshunda Sanders writes in this issue, “No Black person has a family tree that has not been pruned by slavery.” Acknowledging, parsing, and reckoning with this history is the prominent theme of this South Carolina music issue—as is celebrating the immense wealth of cultural heritage that has sprung from this small, proud place.

Farewell to Deputy Editor Maxwell George

On Max’s last day at the Oxford American, we’re sharing ten highlights from his years with the magazine. 

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

For twenty years, football was my purpose, my reason, white lines and rules for everything, the scoreboard keeping track of it all. Do I want it back? Do I pine for a helmet and a fourth-quarter drive?

Not exactly.

Nothing brings people together like food. And those gatherings are primed for memory making and of course stories for sharing and stories to be, well, created.

A new episode of Points South is now playing!

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Episode Four features the OA editors discussing the upcoming South Carolina Music Issue and sharing their favorite stories and behind-the-scenes moments. Plus: A preview of the issue’s tracklist

For more information visit oxfordamerican.org/pointssouth.

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

In my research following Leibniz and Spinoza as their paths cross and then diverge, I became interested more broadly in the failure of the Enlightenment to extinguish the things it’s meant to have extinguished: superstition and religious bigotry, tribalism and barbarity, feudalistic economies and stupid, evil, mass death. Their world, on the cusp of a new modernity, begins to look more like ours than not: the post-Westphalian order giving rise to the nation-state and with it, bellicose nationalism, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade birthing global capitalism and the system of racial hierarchy that persists today in its wake. 

Interested in how the climate of the South “coalesces with the lifestyle and culture” of the region, Eric Ruby celebrates “light, color, heat, and haze,” in his project Leanen n’ Dreamen, exploring how these atmospheric elements inform a way of life in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Missouri.

NASA astronaut Ronald McNair is the cover star of the 21st Annual Southern Music Issue & Sampler featuring South Carolina!

A feature short story from the Fall 2019 issue.

The godmother is like an ancestor who never really left. Someone who’s here even when they’re not. The godmother is what happens when somebody asks your name and you suddenly can’t remember. When it’s gorgeous outside and you work up the nerve to be part of something but not enough nerve to brush your hair, that’s the godmother. Maybe you stay up too late and are tempted to give yourself completely to unrequited obsessions. That’s the godmother’s doing, too.