A Points South essay from the Summer 2019 issue I have wanted to visit this house for years. Like many North Carolina kids, I grew up with the broad strokes of Thomas Wolfe’s story, the prolific, small-town genius who became… by Stephanie Powell Watts | Jun, 2019

Thomas Jefferson, Pharrell, and more notes on the state of Virginia  Now, when strangers ask me where I’m from, I say, “Virginia Beach. We gave the world Pharrell. You’re welcome.” Pharrell was the black cosmopolitan force that proved my home… by Mychal Denzel Smith | Jun, 2019

Zora Neale Hurston’s lessons in writing a love story At one point, sitting in the Beinecke Library, I closed my eyes and let my fingers fall on random sentences of Hurston’s masterwork. Word for word, sentence for sentence, Their Eyes… by Regina Porter | Jun, 2019

A poem from the Summer 2019 issue. Here it is iftar and I forgot to eat I’m banqueting on a spice that’s not on this table by Mohja Kahf | Jun, 2019

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 Letter from the Editor, Summer 2019. At the Oxford American, we receive many pitches for stories in the category of “pilgrimages,” or “literary road trips,” or “retracing X’s steps.” I understand the appeal: the traveler can see with her… by Eliza Borné | Jun, 2019

A Points South essay from the Summer 2019 issue As an evangelist, I have showed “Miracles” to many people by lying about what it’s actually about. Generally, I describe it as a sort of joke, a curiosity. I don’t tell… by Jacob Rosenberg | Jun, 2019

An installment in John T. Edge’s Points South column, Local Fare. Costumes transform their bar into a theatrical production, Feizal said to me that day in the jungle room. “You watch someone put on a Big Bird suit and then… by John T. Edge | Jun, 2019

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

Dining out was not something I got to experience every day, but when I did, it was special and I wanted to participate in the way that made sense to me. From my point of view, the best gig in the restaurant was the person who brought me my food. How could I not want to be her when I grew up? You spend the day making people happy with giant plates of dinner they couldn’t have made better at home!

 

Viewed successively, Clay Maxwell Jordan’s project, Nothing’s Coming Soon, strives to “counterbalance images of death, mortality, and decay with those of grace and unmitigated beauty.”

 A Letter from the Editor, Spring 2019.

Though I don’t believe new parents must be homebound, another truth of my current season is that my movements are mostly limited to house and office and places in between. So more than ever in my life, I am compelled to travel via stories. It’s been a pleasure to join the perceptive, intelligent guides who contributed to this issue. 

Jazz owes its origins to the bump and grind of turn-of-the-century brothels and the colored waif orphanages of the South’s great cities, but where is the wellspring of swing? Swing, children, begins with Fletcher Henderson, one of the great big band leaders for the ages.

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

There is no static history. It lives on, layered in the landscape, painted on the brick mills. Through investigating the ripples of the words and deeds of local postbellum industrialist Julian Shakespeare Carr, paradoxically called “the most generous white supremacist,” and reenacting scenes from the childhood of Pauli Murray, an unsung civil and women’s rights activist, the film scratches away at surfaces of stories about Durham, North Carolina.

Thinly populated, rich in tone, and defined by wide, flat spaces and structures, Paradise’s images display the peculiar mix of isolation and liveliness unique to Dorsa’s home state.

A feature essay from the North Carolina Music issue.

I don’t know if Kenny Mann has ever been in therapy, but I do know that he is exceedingly honest and possesses an uncommon sense of self-awareness. He willingly raises and struggles with difficult issues, like when he volunteered, “There’s an injustice to it but only eight percent of our income comes from African Americans,” and then followed up that insight with, “The number-one worst thing in this industry is racism.” 

“Do you ever feel like you are disrespecting yourself?” I asked Mann after he recounted all the times he’s made jokes at the expense of himself to put white people at ease. 

“Sometimes, but what clown doesn’t?” 

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

I devoted twenty years of my life to football. Played quarterback at every level: peewee to professional. After my playing days were done, I coached high school ball for five years. I stepped away from the game two years ago, after my daughter was born; there just wasn’t enough time for both. 

A feature story from the North Carolina Music Issue. 

The Wrays had an old-world, Keatsian melancholy. It bloomed in the kitchen of their 6th Street home in Portsmouth, Virginia, where, from about 1951 to ’55, they recorded songs on a one-track, mostly originals written by Vernon. This was back when the music was fun, before it became a business. It’s the sort of thing that’s dashed off and then mislaid and vanishes somewhere. Sherry found the masters in a box of her dad’s stuff that, horrifyingly, was bound for the dump. She rescued them, and named the disc 6th Street Kitchen. The vibe is Elvis doing Dylan’s Great White Wonder: gushy, drunken ballads, some barely a minute long, and rapturous in the way that the smallest beginnings can express enormous feeling.

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

To remember your death is to know a powerful clarifying truth: this ain’t no dress rehearsal. My favorite Stoic, Epictetus, suggests we teach our children this as we tuck them in bed each night. “What harm is it,” asks Epictetus, with a straight face, “just when you are kissing your little child, to say: Tomorrow you will die?” To which I think, have you ever met a child?

Join us at the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival for three days full of good stories, good food and good times. It’s a celebration of Southern literature featuring Rebecca Wells, this year’s Great Southern Writer and author of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. The festival also includes live storytelling, workshops, music, boat tours, and plenty of food to feed your soul. Save the dates of April 5-7, 2019—and we’ll see you in historic New Iberia, Louisiana.

Sensing herself “growing damp and static,” Grace Ann Leadbeater left Florida in 2012, thrilled by her escape. But soon she began to recognize—and long for—the joys of the place she once begrudgingly called home.