June 26, 2016

Walking through the sliding glass doors of the Peabody Hotel, across plush carpets under high industrial chandeliers, the first person I saw was a guy in a t-shirt and kilt. Not a plaid kilt, but a leather kilt—more like a skirt that a Roman soldier might wear. The man had a name badge around his neck with ribbons hanging from it and it turned out he was one of the conference organizers. Welcome to SSAWG, the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group—weird farmers of the South.

August 25, 2020

A featured conversation from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

“The pandemic in the United States opened up the truth of what that nation is about. Like a volcano, truth just came pouring out. Just layers and layers and layers. I keep hearing this stuff about, well, in America, we’re exceptional. Are you kidding? I never thought that, never felt that, never even considered it. American exceptionalism? Please.”

 

July 02, 2015

Letters from Little Rock

We are shaped by the era and the family into which we are born, but what can be a greater act of self-definition than making you my wife, my chosen family?

March 05, 2013

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.

March 28, 2019

A conversation with Arkansas artist buZ blurr.

“Although my father and his father were railroad men, my maternal grandmother's father was a newspaperman who published weekly in three different cities in northeast Arkansas: at Gainesville, Rector, and Paragould. He learned the printer’s trade by apprenticing with Mark Twain on his brother Orion Clemens’ Hannibal, Missouri, newspaper prior to the Civil War. Thus I claim this as an atavistic trait for my affinity for print.”

March 15, 2018

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

Newly returned to Little Rock, this year I will attempt to catch the Southern vernacular on the air—the sounds that warp my senses and have conditioned me to experience this place in a particular way.

June 21, 2018

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

Going to a gay bar was an expedient, in that presumably most patrons would be available. I hoped that meeting someone would be easier there. I managed two solo voyages to the same gay bar in town, a slick, modern dive where I mostly sat and swiped messages on my phone apps while flirting with the straight bartenders, two ringers planted because of their willingness to be ogled and their very legible masculinity.

August 09, 2018

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

Writing is lonely work—because of the solitude, but also because it does not quiet the mind the way physical toil does. Instead, as I exert myself at my desk, the clamor of my internal voice and thoughts grow more and more voluble. In that restlessness, I’ve begun to survey the landscape, all the possessions my friends have amassed, and I’ve begun to think of my page counts and word counts as flimsy by comparison.

November 15, 2018

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

Twice during my visit, I listened to friends say over meals how much they genuinely loved the city. Both times, I immediately thought, Why? Living in New York as an aspiring writer had been hard—isolating and vicious. There had been casualties—relationships I’d leaned on until they broke or some that I’d neglected or cast aside. There had been fresh ideas or lines of inquiry that I’d shunned, in order to cling to diminishing prospects I’d hoped to turn into some type of currency—money, acclaim, respect. Where the city had once seemed a place of limitless potential, I’d become a kind of hermit—buffering myself against perspectives, change, the passage of time—unable to keep up.

September 27, 2018

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

I’ve long struggled with my feelings toward the South End, having never loved the place the way I thought I should. Both my parents rhapsodize about the segregated black communities of their origins. But whereas their tales communicated the wills of their neighbors to persevere, my community seemed intent on trumpeting its hardship.

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