We are pleased to be presenting our new issue of Wraparound South.
We are grateful for the support of our readers and for all the amazing contributions we were delighted to read. For every issue, we strive to select writing that captures the nuances and flavors of authentic Southern culture and writing that exposes how diverse and surprisingly global life in the Southern US can be. We think we have once again succeeded in providing a wraparound view. Moreover, we are proud to feature cover art by Georgia-born artist Alice Stone-Collins whose work interrogates traditions and the ties that bind, while showing how beauty can arise from the mundane and even the apparently dead.
In this issue, Auguste Budhram's "Baby Girl" examines notions of displacement and language through the eyes of a young woman from Trinidad seeking adventure on the American continent. James Garrison's "Across the Divide" takes us back to Vietnam days through a young soldier's first reckonings with the complexities of free love. In Michael Wade's "Milkweed and Me," a journalist's interest in a local big shot awakens the community's shared mistrust of the press. "Who's on 22?" is H.W. Walker's humorous exploration of the strange ecosystems that develop around long-term residents at a cheap motel. Sallie Hess's "The Watermelon Past" ponders the ties between human toil and land and the heartbreaking consequences of industrial farming. Martha Keller's "True Believers" takes a new angle on faith, while Catherine Vance's hunt for pottery yields the story of a murder in "Antiquing at the Scene of the Crime."
There is more in this issue than can be summarized in a few lines but on the subject of what to expect, we want to quote contributor James Garrison's back porch interview:
The hardest (and best) part of writing about the South is trying to capture the cultural palimpsest and contradictions that overlay all aspects of Southern life. Race, religion, social class. A mythology of honor and heritage weighed down by prejudice, xenophobia, and revanchism. Racial and class conflicts leavened with individual acts of tolerance and generosity side-by-side with intolerance and avarice. Contrasts of poverty and wealth amid 21st-century progress. It provides a wealth of material for a writer.
We agree and think we capture fragments of such contradictions in every work featured in our Journal. We hope you enjoy our issue.