Welcome to the inaugural issue of Wraparound South.
The Southern United States has long been considered an area where language and story play a dominant role in the culture, but Southern culture is not fixed; it is shifting with the times, at once confirming and blatantly defying those same cultural markers that made it so prominent and recognizable in the past. In her essay “An Endangered Literature,” Janisse Ray reminds us, “As the Southern landscape changes, so too what it means to be Southern – especially a Southern writer – changes.” From spiritual, to rural, to gothic, to urban and multicultural, the South offers a wide range of experiences. The same South that is home to rural villages and Christian spirituals, is the South of the Cuban-American culture of Little Havana, and home to the thriving hip-hop and slam phenomena of downtown Atlanta.
We chose the name Wraparound South to encourage our readers to imagine a complex literary South, one that may on the one hand reminisce on the wide wraparound porches of the ante-bellum homes that grace the coastal Georgia landscape, places where neighbors gathered to share stories and to cool off from the heat, but one that also suggests a multi-faceted, broad view, a wraparound view, not only of the changing South, but of our contemporary literary landscape as a whole.
Thanks to our generous contributors, we bring you a selection of work in different medias, styles, genres and formats, from writers of many schools, writers who are from the South, writers who are not from the South but are connected to this region in other unexpected ways, and writers who simply contribute another view, another way of seeing literature.
We are pleased to present stories, poems and essays as well as digital recordings and video interviews from a terrific cast of writers: L. Annette Binder, Lynne Barrett, Brock Clarke, Kevin Wilson, Honorée Jeffers, Jeff Newberry, Andrew Hudgins, Kerry James Evans, and Janisse Ray. We are deeply indebted to these talented contributors, and to all those who volunteered their time and efforts to make this project possible. We could not more grateful for all the support we received throughout this endeavor, and we are proud of our first issue.
We warmly invite you to spend some time with us, join in the conversation, relax, kick up your feet and read, watch, or listen to our friends, the writers in this issue. We are pleased that you found us, and hope you will come back, again and again.
Enjoy the view.
Laura Valeri, Founding Editor