November 20, 2018

A poem from the North Carolina Music Issue.

It rises from dust, rakes in the populace, 
feeds them fried Twinkies, fried trees if they could 
put them on a stick and powder them in sugar. 
Bodies bunch up: the perfumed, the balmy, 
the whole way to watch the potter at his wheel, 
the carver and his knife, the knee-high rope 
around an old America. 

February 24, 2016

A poem from the Georgia Music issue. 

The summer that I turned nineteen
And felt grown-up in love,
I took a job as an archivist
Sifting through a trove

November 20, 2018

A poem from the North Carolina Music Issue.

When it snows, the entire post 
shuts down like there is no war 
going on. Perhaps the higher-ups 
decide to let those left behind, 
for the moment, savor the chance 
to shape snowmen with their children 
or lie beside another warm body. 
Probably it is lack of preparedness. 

February 24, 2016

A poem from our Georgia Music Issue.

In his call to the marketplace

the griot urges the skin     clasps

the first beat

January 08, 2016

When I was named poet laureate of the State of Mississippi, it was a big deal to me because it was “the state that made a crime // of me.” To go from that world to ostensibly being the most publicly present advocate for the arts and letters in the state almost defies belief. It meant for me a kind of recognition as a native—which is, of course, what Native Guard is trying to do: to claim my native-ness, my American-ness, my right to full citizenship of this place.

February 24, 2016

A poem from the Georgia Music issue. 

That ribbed black box that could be coaxed to croon
by surer hands than ours—where did it come from?
From whose family history? Was it in tune?

February 24, 2016

A poem from our Georgia Music Issue.

Come June this brook runs soft, 
takes its lumps, before the family 
gets AC, your cheap bike busted, 
walking tar-heeled, skin-to-skin

February 26, 2016

Since joining the Oxford American in 2014, I’ve taken the occasion of our annual music issue to offer our readers a variety of special poetry features. I feel that our Georgia issue, aligned with the spirit of that state, acts as a little archive of a certain time and place, a bound capsule of song and sensibility.

April 24, 2019

A Conversation with Ashley M. Jones

“To me, she is beauty, she is grace, she is Miss America; America would never name her that, because she had hard features and was Black and proud, but she is what America is actually made of.”

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.