A Town Under Trial

What an unsolved double murder in Kentucky reveals about America’s military-industrial complex.

Author: Nick Tabor
Source: Oxford American
Published: Mar 2, 2017
Length: 57 minutes (14,490 words)

The Keepers of the Light

New Orleans’s complicated history with the Mardi Gras flambeaux — the (usually black) torch carriers who, for years, lit the way for the festival’s (usually white) parades.

Source: Oxford American
Published: Feb 23, 2017
Length: 31 minutes (7,820 words)

The Garden of Refugees

The story of Eh Kaw Htoo, a Karen refugee from Myanmar — a man who “extolled the redneck’s work ethic” — helping to build a community of 150 Karens who sustain one another by living frugally and sharing the bounty of the land in the rural community of Comer, Georgia.

Source: Oxford American
Published: Jan 30, 2017
Length: 8 minutes (2,222 words)

Sweet Bitter Blues

When an American writer visits Tokyo to see a Mississippi Blues musician perform, she tries to figure out why Japan has a particular fondness for American Blues, the ways cultures metabolize each other, the place of Black America in Japan, and the complex forces that draw foreign people, and their music, together.

Source: Oxford American
Published: Jan 6, 2017
Length: 24 minutes (6,217 words)

Stay and Resist

Unlike many of her white Southern literary contemporaries, the writer Lillian Smith ignored easy magnolia-scented tropes in her work in order to confront the divided, racially charged heart of the American South.

Source: Oxford American
Published: Oct 13, 2016
Length: 25 minutes (6,454 words)

Mystic Nights

After Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize win, it’s worth revisiting some of the early artistic efforts that got him there. Here’s a detailed account of the recording of his masterful 1966 album Blonde on Blonde, with all that record’s first scrapped attempts and captured 3AM magic.

Source: Oxford American
Published: Oct 1, 2007
Length: 26 minutes (6,606 words)

On Food, Family, and Love: A Recipe For Memory

Atlanta chef and culinary teacher Tim Patridge says there is a difference between reunion and funeral chicken. Reunion chicken, he explains, is fried fast and hot, in a hurry to get to the park and the party. It has a crust that is consequently crisper than the more tender crust of funeral chicken. Funeral chicken is fried slowly. Reluctant for the day to progress, the cook takes her time, turning the burner lower, braising as well as frying. As she stands at the stove, turning the pieces, raising and lowering the heat, she is lost in the act of remembering the person who has gone before. That memory, Tim suggests, may also flavor funeral chicken.

Source: Oxford American
Published: Sep 22, 2016
Length: 7 minutes (1,993 words)

The Ballad of Harlan County

When the author returns to her family’s coal mining roots in Harlan County, Kentucky, she tries to make sense of her family legacy, as well as America’s complicated, contentious relationship with coal.

Source: Oxford American
Published: Jul 11, 2016
Length: 42 minutes (10,698 words)

Not Yet Lost

When Solastalgia, my mom’s exhibition, opened in 2013, I attended the exhibit, but I don’t remember thinking about the meaning of the word: comfort, pain. It is only now that I realize that the term also describes my parents. They fear that they will lose what they love most—that the piece of land they bought thirty-eight years ago, which allowed them to chart the course of their lives, grow food, and make art, is slowly being destroyed by forces beyond their control. They are angry about this loss, and the only way they know how to express their anger and fear is through art.

Source: Oxford American
Published: May 11, 2016
Length: 8 minutes (2,030 words)

Watching Willie’s Back

“Mess with Willie Nelson and the next thing you’ll see is the wrong end of a gun held by the Devil himself, Robert Paul English.” A profile of Paul English, Willie Nelson’s friend, drummer, and protector.

Source: Oxford American
Published: Jan 12, 2015
Length: 27 minutes (6,931 words)