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Vol. 22, No. 2: Summer 2016

  //  summer 2016

Redemption, resistance, and reclamation. From sin and salvation in urban Atlanta to Edgar Allan Poe in the Lowcountry, from regional pride in Appalachia to coastal decline in the Texas Gulf, we travel the South, deepening accents, remembering the lost, uplifting wavering souls, and exploring the water that maps its contours.

Table of Contents

Front Porch: Summer 2016

by Harry L. Watson
“Charleston’s antebellum proclivities only opened the path that the rest of the South would follow soon enough. There’s plenty of haunted madness to go around.” Few people besides Charlestonians and literary experts know that Edgar Allan Poe spent about a year in 1827 and 1828 on the outskirts of the Holy City, while stationed on »

Unburied Treasure: Edgar Allan Poe and the South Carolina Lowcountry

by Scott Peeples, Michelle Van Parys
While researching his 1885 biography of Edgar Allan Poe for Houghton Mifflin’s American Men of Letters series, George E. Woodberry discovered that Poe had enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1827 under the name of Edgar Perry. As is now well known, Poe was shipped to Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, a barrier island on Charleston »

Superstar Reverend J. M. Gates and Working Class Black Uplift

by Marko Maunula
“‘I never did see Decatur Street with an ice pick, with a pistol . . . But I saw men and women walking up and down the street—ice picks, and pistols, and knives—and then talk about the street. The street ain’t never cut nobody’s throat. It was you! It was you!'” Reverend J. M. Gates »

On and On: Appalachian Accent and Academic Power

by Meredith McCarroll
“Let’s go around the room and say where we’re from.” It was my first day in a class called “Experiencing Appalachia” during my first year of college. “Raleigh,” someone said. “Just outside of Charlotte,” said another. “High Point.” The professor continually nodded as the circle made its way to me. “Haywood County,” I said. Her »

Drawn to Water

by Bryce Lankard
We are drawn to water for many reasons: for our health and survival, for rites and rituals, for athletic endeavors, and often for the pure pleasure of social engagement. Water cleanses and invigorates. It is both life-giving and an unstoppable force. In the heat of a southern summer it cools us and invites recreation and »

Skillet Laureate

by Michael McFee
“A commission! I thought. My big break, at last! And then I went off to sober up.” I’ve always enjoyed giving poetry readings. To me, each one is a literary entertainment, a chance to hold the attention of listeners in a hospitable way, an opportunity to engage and delight them with some well-chosen language. It »

A Marvelous Gun Unshot

by James McNaughton
“It must have been these stories that convinced me to go with him to a Texas gun and knife show. Camera slung to my chest, an AR-15 assault rifle strapped to his back, we walked into the Longview Civic Center.” He let himself in the house without knocking, as had become his habit, and placed »

Thornton Dial: September 10, 1928–January 25, 2016

by Bernard L. Herman
“Birds flock, flutter and fly, strut, preen, and roost through the art of Thornton Dial.” Birds flock, flutter and fly, strut, preen, and roost through the art of Thornton Dial, citizens in a remarkable graphic menagerie that speak, sometimes forcefully, sometimes joyfully, to what he termed “hard truths.” Tigers, signifying the artist as well as »


by Eric Janken
I could not bring myself to warn Joe,doing so would cause his legs to give out,his heart collapse: you told me every life is sacred. Army of the CumberlandFebruary 5, 1862, cold and snowing Dear Father,More pitiful than packs of feral catsthe horde staggered into camp,their black faces smothered in clay,arthritic fingers mangled with dirt,echoes »

22 Years, 22 Articles

by Southern Cultures
Over our 22-year history, we’re proud to have published 22 articles by our esteemed colleague and friend William Ferris—from interviewing B.B. King to finding Faulkner in Bulgaria. William Ferris is one of the greatest documentarians of the twentieth-century South. His collection of photographs, audio, film, and writings at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Southern Folklife Collection encompasses some »

Mason–Dixon Lines

by Southern Cultures
For some cultured southerners, Southern Cultures has published very little when it comes to Arts & Letters. Sure, we’ve shared a story here and there, and we’ve certainly printed author interviews and scholarly analyses, but our forthcoming 21st-century Fiction Issue (available October) marks our first full plunge into the wellspring of creative writing that surrounds »
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