Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

All Kinds of Missing, All Kinds of Loss

Ashley Herring Blake pens a magical mermaid mystery about grief

In Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea, Ashley Herring Blake continues to confront the hard subjects of trauma and loss, identity and community, forgiveness and redemption — subjects she sensitively explored in her previous books for middle grade and YA readers. That she does so within the context of a magical beach-themed mermaid mystery can only be a plus for her young readers. 

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Travel and Disappearance

Kiese Laymon’s novel Long Division operates at the intersection of language and time

The reissue of Kiese Laymon’s Long Division echoes a familiar Black church precept of doing your first works over. In this new iteration of his 2013 debut novel, Laymon separates the story into two books, or testaments, each centered around 14-year-old Citoyen “City” Coldson.

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Costly Redemption

William Gay’s Fugitives of the Heart is an homage to Twain

Times are hard for the characters who populate William Gay’s Fugitives of the Heart, the last in a string of posthumous novels pieced together by his friends from an attic full of scenes Gay left behind. For J.M. White, Sonny Brewer, and the other writers who figured out how the scenes fit together, the effort was worth it, a forensic labor of love they feel even now for a writer who died in 2012.

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Book Excerpt: Ten Seconds In-Between

Doug Hoekstra is a Chicago-bred, Nashville-based creative whose stories, essays, and poems have appeared in numerous publications. He has toured the U.S. and Europe as a singer-songwriter, in support of eight albums on various labels. His story collection Ten Seconds In-Between is forthcoming in June 2021.

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The Sucker

You can learn a lot from a poker game

I was 18 and about to be the first Vargo to leave Detroit for any reason other than war, thanks to a student loan, a Pell grant, and the gift of an academic probation program that gave kids like me one semester to prove our scholarly worth or go back to wherever it was we came from. I felt so smart.

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“No Filter”

Book Excerpt: What We Take With Us

Sylvia Woods is a native of Eastern Kentucky who taught high school English in East Tennessee for 43 years. Her poems have appeared in Appalachian Review, Calliope, Centrifugal Eye, Tennessee English Journal, and elsewhere. What We Take With Us is her first full-length poetry collection.

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