James Agee’s “Knoxville: Summer 1915” may arguably be the most beautiful prose poem in English. A prose poem is a hybrid sharing characteristics of both prose and poetry. A striking example would be the Old Testament book of Psalms found in the King James translation of the Bible. “Knoxville: SummerContinue Reading

**On a mobile format this book review is best viewed using landscape orientation.    Danita Dodson is a contemplative, a mystic, and an alchemist whose feet are planted solidly in the turf of the natural world – particularly that of East Tennessee. As the poems in her debut collection, TrailingContinue Reading

We Southerners cherish our “characters” – eccentrics and outliers who intensify the spiciness of life. Take William Faulkner. To his neighbors in Oxford, Mississippi, Faulkner was “count no count,” a little bitty fellow who put on airs while sporting a limp and a cane and donning a cape for hisContinue Reading

Losing him at the instant of diagnosis, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind but hers, his grandmother watched You wink from view until no more than a grainy dot on the horizon’s last glorious performance of the Great Withdrawal. The picture of a small girl insisting on her way thisContinue Reading

Pears and figs pregnant and poised to drop – all but a few hangers-on tendering pulpy flesh for sacramental consumption construed as high magic from remotest times. Tonight an awakening amid yawning oaks, one, a three-headed high priest cloven by lightning, presiding over a ceremony feting one-third of the fallenContinue Reading

Stroll (For Henry) The sidewalk, his nursery. The stroller, his crib. Together my grandson and I cruise the Low Country bejeweled in dew after last night’s downpour. Our gentle jostle over humpbacked pavement signals our arrival. We attract a following: first, a neighbor woman rushing across the street to catchContinue Reading

For generations, my mother’s family were bootleggers all the way down to my great grandfather, a grizzled, old man with a withered arm who constantly chewed tobacco and who was always licking the little reservoirs of brown tobacco juice that gathered at the corners of his mouth. Despite his appearance,Continue Reading

Christmas Eve 2018 A clock tick away from thirty my grandson lowers onto a chair beside me where we stare at the curious chiaroscuro of Christmas lights blinking in a pattern as undetectable as the reasons for his diagnosis. He sips air with the feeblest exertion of swamp-diseased lungs. SomeContinue Reading

Just once I’d like to hear a criminal invoke something besides the “withem” defense, an accused’s way of explaining that he didn’t actually commit a crime but was in the vicinity of those who did and was technically “with ‘em.” I also wish it was illegal for a client toContinue Reading

Chris Offutt is a Kentucky novelist who lives in Oxford, Mississippi, while teaching in the English department at Ole Miss. He is arguably best known for his memoir, My Father, the Pornographer (Simon and Schuster, 2015). Offutt describes how his father and mother collaborated in writing pornography in order toContinue Reading