June 11, 2019

A poem from the Summer 2019 issue.

My mother turns off the kitchen light
before looking out the window
September 24, 2014

A poem from the summer 2014 issue.

Peace on this planet
Or guns glowing hot,
We lay there together
As if we were getting
Something done. It
Felt like planting
A garden or planning
A meal for a people
Who still need feeding,

May 29, 2015

A poem from our spring 2015 issue, read by the author.

Days of kalmia, azalea, Blue Ridge. Nights
of steak on the grill, canvas chairs with cupholders,

cans of Stag and Blatz, Schlitz we lift from ice.
The fork in the firepit, stainless steel gone ember orange.

June 11, 2019

A poem from the Summer 2019 issue.

Two decades later, I read they named themselves
for Emmett Till. 
The idea of the name was basically that 
a 14-year-old boy should be swimming in the river, 
not dying in it.
But they spelled his name wrong. 
November 20, 2018

A feature essay from the North Carolina Music Issue. 

I wanted to start with the wild weeds and the creaking wood on the front porch, walking up to Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. I wanted to start where she started, imagining her daddy playing jazz standards on the piano, her mama cooking something good and greasy in the cramped kitchen with siblings zooming around. I envisioned myself, like Alice Walker looking for Zora Neale Hurston’s unmarked grave, shouting Nina in the derelict home, hoping somehow she would appear, gloriously phantasmagoric, and answer all of my incessant probing questions.

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The introduction to a previously unpublished poem by Margaret Walker.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years after her death and seventy-five years after the publication of For My People, this magazine sent me a previously unpublished poem of Walker’s. The poem, “An Elegiac Valedictory,” is a work that remembers, with comic clarity, the words, food, time, and space she shared with the likes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