An introduction to a previously unpublished James Dickey essay, from the 100th issue.
In “The Kingdom of the Other,” an essay adapted from a manuscript titled “Under the Social Surface,” written in the 1950s, Dickey says that our written words, meaning our take on everything from abstractions to the glint of a new pocketknife’s blade, are formed from our memories, those shape-shifting resources that turn into people and forests, train stations and the ruminations of characters. (I was very young—twenty-one—when I took Dickey’s class, and I needed to hear that something inside me could be fascinating to a reader.)
A poem from the Fall 2018 issue.
None of this surprises you now,
does it? I’m not sure I can know that,
I responded to myself.
Or I think I did.
I should have.
A friend told me to embrace
my disorientation here, to attend
to it and dwell in that state, make it
a daily practice, like walking,
like drinking coffee.
A poem from the summer 2014 issue.
When the sky threw down hail, I knew
our world was sudden, changing. In the violence of rains
we ran, I held my daughter with her water-soaked braids.
She covered her ears and counted
one Mississippi, two Mississippi
the space between lightning and thunder.
A poem from our spring 2015 issue.It’s Derby Day. And it’s been 30 years since 1984 when I stood in the grandstand at Churchill Downs after betting my last $20 on Swale that horse I groomed and watched as he pulled away from Wayne Lukas’s great filly Althea to win the 110th running of the race. Thirty years and a lot of souls have risen to the upper register of life and my own life has been made more reachable by what their love did to me.
The carpets, the paneling, the overstuffed recliner. Chainsaw carving
on the TV, kerosene lantern for thunderstorms, girl