Essay

Oysters and Pop Tarts

A Chapter 16 writer tells a tale of two Christmases

by Maria Browning

December 19, 2014 When I was a child, Christmas at Granny Browning’s house was about tradition, not pleasure. Christmas at home was an orgy of expensive presents and junk food. Both of them were wonderful and awful—and both were gifts to last a lifetime.

Published Friday, 19 December 2014

Porch-Building

In launching a nonprofit literary center, a writer nurtures her own creative life in surprising ways

by Susannah Felts

December 18, 2014 Six women gathered around and bravely shared their writing, some for the first time. Their enthusiasm and laughter were contagious, their easy camaraderie a stroke of luck. Workshops don’t always give rise to a circle of friends, but this one did. I could see that much. What I couldn’t see yet was how it was also working as the start of something else.

Published Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Kite

A boy in a coal town finds his way out of the dust

by Pete Kopcsak

December 17, 2014 Mothers stopped peeling potatoes and scrubbing clothes to stand on bare porches and watch. We fell on the weeds in front of us and cupped our hands into imaginary telescopes and pressed them to our eyes to watch the kite as long as we could.

Published Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A Journey for Justice—and Understanding

A poet joins the NAACP march in Ferguson, Missouri, and learns he was wrong about the role of race in this country

by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum

December 16, 2014 I’ve been asked more times than I can count why I marched with the NAACP. Friends wondered if I believe Michael Brown was really innocent. Marchers wondered why a white poet from Denver would make such a journey. There’s no simple answer to either question.

Published Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Victoria’s (Best-Kept) Secret

A well-endowed woman goes in search of a new sports bra

by Faye Jones

December 15, 2014 It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman of a certain chest size will always be in a want of a well-fitting bra. This axiom is never truer than when said woman is a runner in need of a new sports bra.

Published Monday, 15 December 2014

Hey, Baby Doll

A son serves as witness to his parents’ enduring love

by Hadley Hury

December 12, 2014 My mother understood that my father’s death was at hand. For my part, I understood that their love for one another and their straightforward, practical faith would see them through this profoundest of transitions.

Published Friday, 12 December 2014

My (Fictional) Home

I learned to be a serious novelist when I moved to Tennessee

by Tasha Alexander

October 20, 2014 After college, I moved a dozen times—from Indiana to New Jersey, Wyoming, Vermont, Connecticut, and Tennessee—before settling in Chicago. Each of these places etched themselves on my psyche, but Nashville, with its fruit tea, tangy barbeque, and hot chicken, was the place where I learned to be a writer.

Published Sunday, 19 October 2014

All Together Now

A Chapter 16 writer considers the collective spirit of the Southern Festival of Books

by Maria Browning

October 10, 2014 The Southern Festival of Books is big, varied, and one of the most inclusive cultural events around. Chapter 16’s Maria Browning considers the special pleasure of the festival’s collective spirit. The twenty-sixth annual Southern Festival of Books will take place in Nashville October 10-12, 2014, at Legislative Plaza and the Nashville Public Library. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Cost of a Thing

Decades after first reading Walden, Michael Sims still finds Henry David Thoreau exciting and challenging, maddening and inspiring

by Michael Sims

August 18, 2014 When I first read Thoreau as a teenager, I quickly realized that I had found a magic carpet to my own rural Tennessee world. Henry helped me see and hear and smell my own woodland paths, and my own pond, with fresh senses. He brought a deeply poetic sensibility and a fine education to bear on observing the passenger pigeon and red squirrel, and I tried to apply his way of looking to my own rose-breasted grosbeaks and box turtles.

Published Sunday, 17 August 2014

With Every Shining Wish

Remembering poet Diann Blakely

by Mark Jarman

August 11, 2014 Diann struggled with the legacy of being a Southern woman and poet, and I think she would have preferred to have been otherwise, perhaps a Boston Mandarin like her mentor, Helen Vendler. Confronting her heritage and making a conscious effort to be the poet she felt she ought to be are, I think, her most important achievements.

Published Monday, 11 August 2014

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