Guernica’s latest issue is devoted to the American South. As the issue’s introduction states, “The American South is at once a geographical distinction and a bright spot in the imagination, where burden vies with birthright, and where ignorance and renaissance exist side by side.” The issue features a Kiese Laymon essay on inequality and language, Ed Winstead on the Southern accent in writing, an interview with Jesmyn Ward, fiction, and more.
As it turns out, you can’t even take the girl out
Of the South. A good porch is hard to leave,
& that’s the truth. Gardenias & a hand-rolled smoke.
A fingerbone of moon tapping at the screen door. Who
You’re looking for depends on who wants to know. You know,
I have a cotton dress & a closed-mouth smile for any occasion.
The Oxford American has been the champion of a Southern literary tradition in which names such as William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Cormac McCarthy loom very large. But literature is not a museum; new writers emerge and the tradition evolves.