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July 28, 2014

A critical essay on Southern housemaids, in literature and in life. 

July 28, 2001

A story from our 2001 Southern Music issue.

I first heard Charley Patton thirty years ago, on a two-LP compilation called The Story of the Blues, which I won in a contest. My adolescent ear was immediately sucked in by the mystery, the wit, the slyness, and the expressive variety of the performances of Blind Boy Fuller, Memphis Minnie, Texas Alexander, Leroy Carr, Barbecue Bob, Bessie Smith, Big Joe Turner, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Otis Spann, Blind Willie McTell, and the rest.

July 23, 2012
“Take it off now!” he said, and put the gun back against my neck. Now I had no control. Somehow, I felt as if I’d had a distinct advantage, some power, in being smarter than them. Even if I had been a hundred times smarter than both of them put together, once that gun was back at my neck, I realized I had no power whatsoever.
June 16, 2014
Instead of putting herself in a pill coma as she usually would have, she’d stayed awake and used her captivity in the hurtling Delta tin can constructively. On her barf bag she’d jotted down a short will, which gave her a sense of control, though of course if she went down the will would go with her.
November 19, 2015

Grandmama’s stank was root and residue of black Southern poverty, and devalued black Southern labor, black Southern excellence, black Southern imagination, and black Southern woman magic. This was the stank from whence black Southern life, love, and labor came. I didn’t fully understand or feel inspired by Grandmama’s stank or freshness until I heard the albums ATLiens and Aquemini from those Georgia-based artists called OutKast.

April 18, 2016

A memorial from the Summer 2012 issue. 

At the house party of Southern fiction, full of death-dealers, drinkers, and unshaven folks behaving badly, Lewis Nordan stands alone in the yard, like a boy in a bright-blue suit his mother picked out for him.

November 21, 2011

Paying the Rent, One Guitar at a Time.

May 12, 2015

An interview with the photographer from 1999.

I suppose one definition of propaganda (or pornography?) might be: art that denies the mysterious.

October 07, 2013

The story of the greatest fan film ever made.

June 11, 2019

A Points South essay from the Summer 2019 issue

Much of what they’d tell me next was legend—tall tales, rumors, exaggerations. Perry Martin adopted an orphan girl he found on the riverside, raised her up as his own, paid her way through college. He killed nine people, or eleven, or a dozen. One of his alleged victims was his own stepson: the younger man had rocked a boat they shared too violently, which angered Martin. Apparently, despite his life along the river, this outlaw did not know how to swim.