September 22, 2014

A poem from the summer 2014 issue.

Something is burning in the Iowa hills.
As we move down the pewter river,
color of our ashen skin, we see smoke,

April 14, 2016

A poem from our Spring 2016 issue. 

Home, I follow the roads passing the fruit orchards and the roaring white sheds of honey. The / clouds—always inclined to thunder. The rain travels west from the mountains.

May 15, 2017

The introduction to a previously unpublished poem by Margaret Walker. 

Nearly twenty years after her death and seventy-five years after the publication of For My People, this magazine sent me a previously unpublished poem of Walker’s. The poem, “An Elegiac Valedictory,” is a work that remembers, with comic clarity, the words, food, time, and space she shared with the likes of Toni Cade Bambara, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and Audre Lorde.

May 24, 2019

A poem from the Summer 2019 issue.

Fieldstones covered with velvet in emerald mark the heads of graves

a deeper depression in the ground means there was a casket that deteriorated causing the 
earth to cave in

shallower dents in the earth mean only linen shrouds wrapped the bodies

March 23, 2015

A poem from “Breaking Bread, a special section in the Spring 2015 issue on the dynamics of hospitality, exclusion, and food justice.

Look like last night
the light hardly wanted

to leave—it hung
round in the pines

May 05, 2016

A poem from the Spring 2016 issue.

Two wasps copulate over your back porch—
their wings grate the air above the ochre splotch

where a hawk took down a pigeon last winter
not long after your move into the yellow house

December 06, 2016

I live five miles from where the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel tragedy unfolded, along the New River Gorge in Fayette County. Hawk’s Nest is an extreme in a class of extremes—the disaster where truly nothing seemed to survive, even in memory—and I have made a home in its catacombs. The historical record is disgracefully neglectful of the event, and only a handful of the workers’ names were ever made known. What’s more, any understanding of Hawk’s Nest involves the discomfort of the acute race divide in West Virginia, seldom acknowledged or discussed. Indeed, race is still downplayed in official accounts. Disaster binds our people, maybe. But what if you’re one of those deemed unworthy of memory?

April 04, 2016
Victor Campbell carries a chunk of Tennessee Williams’s soul around New Orleans every day in a black leather briefcase. He keeps the rest of it in the back of his bedroom closet, in an olive-green Samsonite suitcase, the weight of half a man.
May 15, 2017

A previously unpublished poem by Margaret Walker. 

For a dozen wonderful writers:
Goodbye to all you girls and guys
who walked this weary way 
who climbed these hills
and walked these miles
this rocky wooded chase.
A dozen wonderful writers

October 08, 2018

Anne Spencer’s ecosystem of art and activism

As I read, I fell in love with Anne Spencer’s fierceness and wit. In some ways, she reminded me of my own grandmother—a voluble woman, gardener, and scrawler of notes on the back of lists. Finding Spencer’s scraps, I felt the same sort of matriarchal literary presence amid the dailiness of domestic life: glimpses of how an ambitious, literary-minded woman might manage a house.