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Vol. 24, No. 2: Summer 2018

  //  summer 2018

What’s in the Summer Issue? Well, in Summery: David Sedaris’s South. Harlem’s Virginia Outpost. Punks in Pensacola. Sweetgrass baskets in South Carolina. A little known poet of Appalachia. Queer bounce of New Orleans. And more.

Table of Contents

Front Porch: Summer 2018

by Harry Watson
“As virtually every southern writer demonstrates, home can be a wellspring for art, and for every writer that stayed there’s another long list of southerners who left home.” President Booker T. Washington, the canny founder of Tuskegee Institute, became famous (or infamous, depending on the observer) for words he spoke at the opening of Atlanta’s »

De-Located Yankees

David Sedaris and Growing Up Northern in the South, 1965–1983

by Brian Glover
This article is excerpted from the Summer 2018 Issue. To read the full essay, visit Project MUSE. Southern Yankee writers are difficult to identify, for southerners are unlikely to distinguish them from other Yankees, and nobody at all thinks of them as southerners. But an obvious example has been hiding in plain sight for two »
Photo Essay

Sacred Spaces

A Look Inside the Home of Harlem Renaissance Poet Anne Spencer

by John M. Hall, Jeffery Beam
Poet, librarian, and activist Anne Spencer was the first African American woman to be featured in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. Much of her poetry focuses on her beloved home and garden. Tended for over fifty years and lovingly restored after her death, the garden is described in one poem as “half of my »

Rebecca Cushman, Mountain Gal

by Michael McFee
“Cushman is always an elegist, in prose or poetry, writing about ‘the old life’ and its characters, all passing away, as she herself is.” 1. Making acute scoops of the words Several years ago, I was strolling the up-and-down downtown streets of Asheville, looking forward to a local IPA and some good grub in a »

Seasoned Punks

An Education in Cast Iron from the South’s Greatest Unknown Punk Trio

by André Gallant
This Bike is a Pipe Bomb rattled the basement windows of our rental house. High frequencies slipped through masonry cracks into the Athens, Georgia night, as amps fritzed from shorting wires. Guitar strings curled from frontman Rymodee’s tuning pegs like rooster sickle feathers. He stood stiff when he sang, a slight figure whose mutton chops »

“Release Your Wiggle”

Big Freedia's Queer Bounce

by Christin Marie Taylor, Taylor
“‘I’m that queen that’ll make ya bounce!’” “Release your wiggle!” Big Freedia chants as a crowd of college-aged fans encircles the stage, responding to her call with dance. Freedia’s command to “release” is part of her larger mission to take the world by storm, one bounce at a time. Through her music, television show, and »

“Life Gets Heavy”

Blues Tourism in Clarksdale, Mississippi

by Clay Motley
“The blues won’t solve Clarksdale’s problems, but . . . it will keep you going another day and give you hope for something better.” If you are not from Mississippi and you have heard of Clarks-dale, then it is probably because of blues music. Perhaps no other American city is as singularly linked to its »

Babylon Is Falling

The State of the Art of Sweetgrass Basketry

by Dale Rosengarten
This essay is excerpted from a longer piece in the Summer 2018 issue. To read the essay in full, visit Project MUSE. Anyone who travels along Highway 17 North or visits Charleston’s downtown market cannot fail to notice the unique local art sold on the side of the road in Mount Pleasant and on street »

From Georgia Peach to Art Historian

Reflections on a Southern Jewish Childhood

by Gail Levin
“My hope is that writing about how I found my way might help others who still search.” Attraction to the visual arts led me to defy my parents. My mother taught me to paint, but could not imagine me succeeding in a field where she had not. My father envisioned no future for a daughter »

Masters of What Would Not Be Discussed

by Dawne Shand
“Unlike its immediate neighbors, Selma and Marion, Uniontown could claim no mention in the historic record of the ’60s.” When former Alabama state trooper James Bonard Fowler was arrested in Marion, Alabama, for a forty-two-year-old murder, I was home in Uniontown, twelve miles east of there. Fowler shot Jimmie Lee Jackson on February 18, 1965, »

American Honey

by Joy Priest
It’s easier than you thought—leaving.Only one night spent sleeping on your ownin a motel parking lot beneath the starsof a summer Muskogee. Your long-built dreaddispersing like gas into a brilliantly blackOzark sky. For once, you are a girl unmolested. You could do this: be a girlwithout a home. Always gone. Perpetually leavingbehind Strip Mall, U.S.A »

In the Studio: David Sedaris

by Southern Cultures
This feature is part of a series collaboration with the “50 for 50” project, an initiative of the North Carolina Arts Council in celebration of their 50th anniversary. In an exclusive interview for the North Carolina Arts Council’s 50 for 50 Project, best-selling author David Sedaris shares his North Carolina Arts story on our podcast »
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