BATON ROUGE, LA—Listening to brass bands on a sweltering street corner. Visitors drifting into dreams aloft air mattresses filled with the breath of love. Instructions on how to build a home from scratch—and how to dismantle one that no longer serves its purpose. Swimming lessons, kayaking groups, and water, water everywhere. Seen through a certain lens, much of the content of The Southern Review’s summer 2015 issue swirls around New Orleans and the tragedy that happened there ten Augusts ago. This conversation culminates with a special essay feature, “Writing Katrina: Ten Years After,” in which three Louisiana writers—poet Alison Pelegrin, filmmaker Zack Godshall, and playwright John Biguenet—reflect on how the storm affected their work, what they created from the disaster, and a conversation about how their creative processes, and the arts community on a whole, can recover from such a tremendous tragedy.
The issue also features an impressive assortment of poetry from some of the nation’s luminaries, including Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Stephen Dunn. Emerging poets such as Jim Whiteside make their journal debut alongside longtime The Southern Review contributors Bob Hicok, Wendy Barker, and Thomas Reiter. The prose includes music essays on buying the perfect amplifier and Woody Guthrie, as well as a story by National Book Award finalist Bonnie Jo Campbell, from her much-anticipated forthcoming collection, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, and a story by novelist Karl Taro Greenfeld. Lara Prescott’s story, “Swimming Lessons,” about illegal immigration and a father’s love, marks the author’s first fiction in print.
The paintings of George Johanson, a Portland, Oregon–based artist, bring color and community to the pages of the summer issue. This octogenarian’s impressionistic beachscapes feature kayakers, sunbathers, and swimming classes in vivid jewel tones. “Color and light,” he writes in his artist’s statement, “are for me components of the same phenomenon.”
The summer issue is now available for purchase online at http://thesouthernreview.org. There you can also explore a digital gallery of Johanson’s paintings, audio recordings of writers reading their pieces, and an archive of past issues. The Southern Review is also available in bookstores.
From the campus of Louisiana State University, The Southern Review publishes distinct literary voices from around the world that both evoke the innovation of its founders, Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks, and respond to the diversity of its contemporary readership. The journal, now celebrating its eightieth anniversary, has also featured a broad range of visual artists from across the South and around the globe. With each new issue The Southern Review strives to discover and promote engaging, relevant, and challenging literature—including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—and to feature a wide range of the very best established writers alongside rising literary stars.