Emmett Till Is No Less Powerful, 63 Years Later

On why the life and death of Emmett Till remains relevant in a Black Lives Matter World

The Clarion Ledger, August 28, 2018

How It Ends: The Message From Mississippi

On building community in a politically divisive era.

Scoundrel Time, January 1, 2018

On Language and Truth

How the mysteries of poetry can help a writer expand the boundaries of language.

Origins, October 2017

Color is Everywhere

On the beautiful and mysterious photographs of William Eggleston

The Oxford American, December 9, 2016

Bordellos, Bandits And One Big Mississippi Adventure

On a youthful first encounter with William Faulkner’s The Reivers.

National Public Radio, July 3. 2012

Eudora Welty’s Jackson: “The Help” in Context

Eudora Welty's "Where is the Voice Coming From?" helps show a full picture of Mississippi in 1963.

National Public Radio, August 17 2011

Michigan’s National Poets

Four U.S. Poets Laureate have taught at the University of Michigan. The author shares his memories of three of them.

Michigan Today, April 13, 2011

Escaping the Summer Heat in a Bookmobile

A look back at the joys of summer reading on an old bookmobile

National Public Radio, August 10, 2010

At Ole Miss, A Valedictory to the Old South

A look at the ever changing mind of the American South.

The Washington Post, September 21, 2008

DNA is Only One Way to Spell Identity

Genetic testing suggests that white and black Americans have more in common than they suspect. Will this change our perception of race?

The Washington Post, January 1, 2006

Affirmative Action and After

Now is the time to reconsider a policy that must eventually change. But simply replacing race with class isn’t the solution.

The American Scholar, Winter 2009

Before He Had His “Dream,” King Wrote A Letter

A look at the significance of Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail

The Washington Post, January 16, 2005

I Know What He Means

An analysis of the comments made by Trent Lott at Strom Thurmond’s Birthday Party in 2002.

The Washington Post, December15, 2002

Ole Miss is Still Torn 25 Years After Meredith

A meditation on the integration of the University of Mississippi 25 years later

The Washington Post, September 27, 1987