Tag: Virginia

  • Glorious Excess: S.A. Cosby and the Future of Southern Fiction

    Glorious Excess: S.A. Cosby and the Future of Southern Fiction

    S.A. Cosby knows that he’s prone to excess. He told The Guardian as much in an interview last year: “I write long sentences. I like similes (maybe too much, according to some reviewers). I like to write esoterically. I pontificate and wax poetic in the middle of gunfights. That’s my style.” –S.A. Cosby In his […]

  • Pulling Back the Veil in the Vale of Opioids: Beth Macy’s Dopesick

    Pulling Back the Veil in the Vale of Opioids: Beth Macy’s Dopesick

    Three months into our current pandemic we know the scenario. “Epidemics unfold ‘like a vector phenomenon, where you have one individual who seeds that community and then the spread begins.’”(127)  Dr. Anna Lembke could have been talking about COVID-19, but the Stanford specialist in addiction medicine was talking about opioids and ace Virginia reporter Beth […]

  • #5–A Shout in the Ruins: Heartlands Best Reads of 2019

    #5–A Shout in the Ruins: Heartlands Best Reads of 2019

    Kevin Powers’ historical novel, A Shout in the Ruins, had me from the first paragraph. It’s not just that he told a gripping and heart-filled novel of my home state, Virginia, in the Civil War and mid-20th century eras. It’s also that Powers is an elemental writer who uses words to explosive effect, touching on the […]

  • There is Still a ‘There’ There: The Atopian Dreams of Suzannah Lessard

    There is Still a ‘There’ There: The Atopian Dreams of Suzannah Lessard

    This review by Heartlands editor Alex Joyner originally appeared in the Eastertide 2019 print edition of the Englewood Review of Books  (now available) and is republished with permission. It’s quaint to live in a place like Parksley. Though the name refers to the original owner from whom the land for the town was bought, one Benjamin Parks, it […]

  • Another Southern Writer Finds Love in the Ruins: A Review of Kevin Powers’ Latest

    Another Southern Writer Finds Love in the Ruins: A Review of Kevin Powers’ Latest

    The opening paragraph of Kevin Powers’ new novel, A Shout in the Ruins, is perhaps the finest beginning to a book I’ve read since Flannery O’Conner blew open the universe in the first paragraph of The Violent Bear It Away. Like that gem, Powers’ opener is all mood and tantalizing hooks that spark a thousand […]

  • Race, Virginia, and Jesus’ Circle of Favor

    Race, Virginia, and Jesus’ Circle of Favor

    It has been a disturbing week in Virginia government. Once again, we are struggling with how we address questions of race and racism. This time Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring are both confronted with incidents from their past involving appearances in blackface, a remnant of minstrel shows where the entertainment came […]

  • God is in the Countryside (and Country Churches)

    God is in the Countryside (and Country Churches)

    Maybe it’s because I’m getting ready to do a workshop on storytelling this weekend, but I’ve been thinking about the parables of Jesus. The Nazarene had a way of incorporating the stuff of the world around him into his messages. Farmers and seeds, shepherds and sheep, tenants and landowners—these were things Jesus’ listeners knew about. […]

  • Why Don’t Country People Just Get Out? – Episode 3

    Why Don’t Country People Just Get Out? – Episode 3

    It’s happened again. Writers in The New York Times are once again wondering aloud if country people shouldn’t just give up and move to the city to deal with problems of economic insecurity. Which means, it’s time for another episode of “Why Don’t Country People Just Get Out?” In an article titled “The Hard Truth […]

  • The Writing Life–It Came for Me: Poetry

    The Writing Life–It Came for Me: Poetry

    On visiting Hunterdale with kin long after Grandma died: It was pathetic to look at– Grandma’s glorious garden overgrown with grass. Her long back yard littered with automotive and boat wrecks. The scuppernong vines half the size they were back when. Still, amidst the mess, I could make out the spot where I first knew […]

  • Your Civil War Is Too Easy: Looking for The Thin Light of Freedom with Ed Ayers

    Your Civil War Is Too Easy: Looking for The Thin Light of Freedom with Ed Ayers

    Who starts a story of the Civil War in the middle?  By the time Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia marched up the Shenandoah Valley into Pennsylvania in July of 1863, the war had been going for more than two years.  The twin Confederate defeats at Gettysburg and Vicksburg on the 4th of July usually mark […]