December 13, 2013

The evening Jimmy died my father was late picking me up from a Webelos meeting. I sat under a Japanese maple and practiced the square knot, the last knot I needed to master before receiving my Arrow of Light badge. Then I could enter Boy Scouts at ten, instead of eleven. Useful for survival, the square knot works as a binding knot. Good for clamping a wound but not the best for carrying things or securing them.

March 26, 2020

An excerpt from Carter Sickels’s new novel The Prettiest Star.

The killer whales are the most misunderstood of the whales. To begin with, although everyone calls them whales, they’re actually dolphins. For hundreds of years, people believed killer whales were man-eaters. It’s not true. 

April 01, 2020

When the Oxford American had to postpone Leesa Cross-Smith’s appearance at our South Words reading series, we asked her to write about her new story collection, So We Can Glow, and record herself reading a story from it.

From “We, Moons”: Where do we go to escape the men who would rape and murder us, the men who would kidnap us, the men who would torture us, the men who would, the men who, the men. We are complete without them but we want them anyway. We love them but we want to hide from them.

June 04, 2018

An excerpt from Silas House’s new novel Southernmost.

The rain had been falling with a pounding meanness, without ceasing for two days, and then the water rose all at once in the middle of the night, a brutal rush so fast Asher thought at first a dam might have broken somewhere upstream.

October 08, 2019

An excerpt from M. Randal O’Wain’s new essay collection Meander Belt.

He smiles when the lock clicks free. I know now the pleasures of pride; I can imagine the sense of accomplishment this sound must have provided my father, a thirty-year-old construction worker—keys mean trust, respect. Keys also mean home and so I follow his hand with suspicion.

October 29, 2019

An excerpt from the collection Step Into the Circle: Writers in Modern Appalachia.

In my family, the women of generations past—and sometimes present—often found themselves without choices or options, hemmed into lives they could not escape. I recognized them in the pages of Lee’s novels, and I was able to better comprehend their experiences. But I also heard whispers in her chapters, invitations to escape and understand, yes, but also to imagine..

July 29, 2020

Web feature

I have enough tear gas in my blood to know what doomsday tastes like. I know theft because it’s in my lineage and know how to find reclamation in the wreckage. Could mold myself a reenactment of the moment a man with the same last name as me was murdered for having the gall/spite/righteous insolence to fight death.

July 01, 2020

An essay from our forthcoming place issue

At her restaurant, Mosquito Supper Club, and in her cookbook of the same name, Melissa Martin sets out to record the foods and recipes that cannot be found on New Orleans’s restaurant menus or at a Popeyes drive-thru (shrimp boulettes, thistle salad, muscadine compote) and those that have become so synonymous with Louisiana cooking (crawfish étouffée, seven kinds of gumbo, oyster soup) that their points of origin bear reminding.

March 18, 2020

When tornado relief efforts intersect with a global pandemic

In my family, the women of generations past—and sometimes present—often found themselves without choices or options, hemmed into lives they could not escape. I recognized them in the pages of Lee’s novels, and I was able to better comprehend their experiences. But I also heard whispers in her chapters, invitations to escape and understand, yes, but also to imagine..

February 28, 2020

In Memory of Charles Portis

The “Words of Remembrance and Appreciation” delivered by Ernie Dumas, Portis’s longtime friend and colleague from the Arkansas Gazette, was, like the man it honored, by turns hilarious, insightful, wry, and affecting. We are grateful he has permitted us to publish a version of it here.

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