Chuck Stewart’s photography provided by Fireball Entertainment Group, courtesy of Chuck Stewart Photographs of John Coltrane, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
The sun’s shining through the windows in Georgia. A poet climbs into her attic and takes down a box of old photos, opens it, and tilts the images into the light. A page from an old notebook peeks out of the stack. Jimmy Rabbitt’s “Wheels’ Rollin’” starts skipping on the record player.
The sun is going down in New Orleans. A man turns onto Frenchman Street, putting out a cigarette on the old brick sidewalk. He hears laughter coming from inside a bar. Nearby, a local bookstore owner closes up for the night.
The moon shines over the Delta. A poet wanders home in the dark, her shadow extended by a streetlamp that flickers on, then off again. Alone in a bar, a young detective scratches hasty notes. She thinks she can hear the bartender humming Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me.”
In August, Iris DeMent will release her sixth album, The Trackless Woods, a collection of songs based on eighteen poems written by the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova (1889–1966). The album was recorded in five days last summer in DeMent’s living room and includes poetry from throughout Akhmatova’s life. In this short video, filmed in her home, DeMent reflects further on the writing and recording of the album.
Remembering B.B. King.
Many wonderful anecdotes from King’s long, prolific life have been told in our pages through the years, from the moment in 1948 when he arrived unannounced at Memphis’s WDIA, integrating the airwaves, to his performance last year in Indianola, Mississippi, where he returned for his final homecoming concert at age eighty-eight.
The sun rises over the mountains. A young girl wakes up and pads to the kitchen, where a pot of coffee has been left alone to brew. A plane passes close overhead. Out on the deck, a frayed hammock swings in the breeze.
It’s springtime on the Plains. A group of writers mill nervously around a brightly lit bar. A woman stalks dusty library shelves, scanning names on the canvas spines. Somewhere in Florida, a thunderstorm is brewing.
It’s raining in the Piedmont. A group of poets clink glasses in mutual congratulation. A father and son listen, with hunched shoulders, around an old phonograph. Pages of a burning journal smolder in a sink.