Essay

Just Another Body in the Water

On sabbatical in Baltimore, a Nashville poet considers our shared humanity

by Georganne Harmon

January 29, 2016 We look over the side of the pier and wonder where footholds might help a person up, but we can’t find any. We think of last night’s drinkers, one of whom might have stumbled in. We think of despair—so many homeless, so many loves gone bad—and we think of families, but we see no one who looks any more personally involved than simply considering the hazards of his own living.

Published Friday, 29 January 2016

Phil Levine and the Burger Bitch

There once was a Pulitzer Prize-winner who wrote poems about the working-class people most writers never notice

by Kate Daniels

January 8, 2016 When Philip Levine gave a poetry reading at Vanderbilt, the room was packed. But in his introduction to the event, Vereen Bell bypassed entirely the impressive literary credentials of the Pulitzer Prize-winner. He told, instead, the story of the Burger Bitch, how he had started talking with her one day as she went about her trash-dumping duties.

Published Friday, 8 January 2016

Asleep at the Wheel

On the launch date of his debut novel, a Chapter 16 writer considers the failures of his past

by Ed Tarkington

January 4, 2016 With the foolish, feverish urgency of a gambler betting all he has left on a longshot to win, I tried again, finishing another novel in less than a fifth of the time it had taken me to write the first one. There was a quick flurry of interest from editors but still no publishing deal. My agent—who had already sunk hundreds of hours into my career for nary a nickel, and hence will be my hero for life—remained hopeful. “I have a good feeling about this one,” she said. “Have faith.”

Published Monday, 4 January 2016

The Ecstatic Moment

Christmas memories can be complicated

by Maria Browning

December 18, 2015 The Brownings excelled at Christmas excess, and no one enjoyed it more than I did. Becoming an adult took most of the shine off the holiday for me. There is not much wonder in shopping and cooking and managing contentious relatives. But there was a time when Christmas wonder returned….

Published Friday, 18 December 2015

Goodbye, Kind Friend

With Tammy Derr, founder of Fairytales Bookstore, everyone was inside the circle

by Jen Wallwork Dominguez

December 17, 2015 I have no idea if Tammy heard any of the things I said to her. Perhaps she can tell me someday when I see her on the other side. But this I know for sure: that waiting room was filled with people, and every single one of them belonged there. Everyone was in because Tammy had drawn them in. That is Tammy’s legacy. The legacy of belonging, the legacy of community.

Published Thursday, 17 December 2015

Pully-Bone

It was a marriage made under the table

by Wayne Christeson

December 16, 2015 Mr. Gooch didn’t have much to say about his inclinations toward matrimony, except to point out the obvious fact that he couldn’t marry both girls. When the solution to the impasse finally appeared, no one could say exactly where it had come from or who had suggested it. It was as though it had been there all along but had only revealed itself when the neighbors’ thinking had matured enough to recognize it.

Published Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Across the Alley

What you know about your neighbors isn’t always enough to illuminate what you don’t

by Susannah Felts

December 15, 2015 They were in this neighborhood before we were, and they’ll be here when we leave. Theirs is a sad and angry life. The woman’s voice itself is a caricature: coarse, booze and smoke-ravaged. She tends to shout and taunt and curse sarcastically—all her fury and misery spat out in expletives.

Published Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Be Curious. Be Brave. And Don’t Get Bangs.

Reese Witherspoon gives young women a road map for finding their own future

by Reese Witherspoon

December 14, 2015 Sometimes I think about all the things I wish I could tell my younger self—things like, “Don’t give in to peer pressure,” and “Don’t get bangs just because your friend Ashley did,” and “Don’t go to that party at Maggie’s house sophomore year—everyone’s going to make bad decisions and turn on you, and you’ll have to call your mom to pick you up.” But since it’s too late for me, I figured I should tell you a few things.

Published Monday, 14 December 2015

How I Fell for French Poetry

Knoxville poet Marilyn Kallet confesses her love affair with translation

by Marilyn Kallet

December 1, 2015 “After class, I sat outside on the lawn, revisited Baudelaire. Were there chemicals in my book that made me swoon––something in the paper of Les Fleurs du Mal that affected my senses? I licked a page to see if it had LSD on it. How did poetry achieve the effect of making me feel drunk?” Marilyn Kallet will discuss a new translation of Chantal Bizzini’s poems at Union Ave. Books in Knoxville on December 3, 2015, at 3 p.m.

Published Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Living for Today—or Trying To

A Chapter 16 writer reflects on her life in Paris since last week’s terrorist attacks

by Liz Garrigan

November 20, 2015 We moved to Paris just shy of five years ago because, above all, we wanted our sons to become global citizens, to learn another language, to go to school with children from countries the world over, to see more of the world than a more conventional life in the United States would allow. But the very centrality and symbolism of Paris is what’s now making us all feel more vulnerable than we ever have.

Published Friday, 20 November 2015

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