Vol. 25, No. 1: Backward/Forward

Vol. 25, No. 1: Backward/Forward

In this special issue, the first of our 25th year, we’re looking backward and forward, examining where the South has been and where we’re going. Guest edited by Charles Reagan Wilson.

Front Porch: Backward/Forward

by Harry Watson

“Everyone who is paying attention knows that the South is with us still.”

From Bozart to Booming

by Charles Reagan Wilson

“Past tropes never survive unless they adjust to changing times.”

Signs of Return

by Grace Elizabeth Hale

“[Parts of the rural South] became de facto open-air museums where poverty, vernacular culture, and a material sense of the past in the present seemed to be permanently on display, even if as time went on you had to crop the Dollar General out of the frame.”

A Stranger to Me

by Kevin Kline

“I wanted to make something that represented the idea of trying to know someone—and the feeling of knowing them well and then, at times, not at all.”

Amber Waves of Broomsedge

by William Thomas Okie

“As we limp into the 2020s, our post-agricultural southern future, with this agrarian past echoing in our ears, broomsedge sounds a strangely hopeful note in the midst of much anxious dissonance.”

Picturing the Road’s End

by Teresa Parker Farris

A stumppocked scene of profound and peaceful desolation, unplowed, untilled, gutting slowly into red and choked ravines. —William Faulkner, Light in August, 1932

Replaying a Useful South

by Lauren Pilcher

“If we refuse to overlook the . . . exploitation of black women to modernize midcentury public health, we may grasp something of what it means to imagine and create Souths that embrace difference.”

Losing Carolina

by Gene Nichol

“It takes generations, or perhaps centuries, to build great institutions. But they can be wounded in a moment.”

Between Past and Future

by David Wharton

“This momentary present, reconciled sometimes in humor, sometimes in pathos, reveals the ways in which a region’s past always inflects its present, its present inflects its future, and so on in a continuous cycle.”

Ghosts In My Blood

by Regina Bradley

"I am his great-great-granddaughter. I will tell his story. ’Cause he my people ’nem."

“Drawn” and “Eastern Bluebird”

by Rajiv Mohabir

“all of my bats exodus at once / into frenzy which is actually / an orchestrated dance / that draws them to what they want . . .”