Raconteurs & Malcontents: Dwight Garner on Oxford American’s History and Future
by ________Posted on December 4th, 2012 at 12:08 pm
After receiving the new issue of Oxford American under a new editor, The New York Times’ Dwight Garner reminisces about picking up the magazines first issue in Oxford, Mississippi:
The Oxford American’s first issue, published early in 1992, announced its ambitions. I happened to be traveling in Mississippi that spring. I remember discovering this issue, drawn by its fire-engine-red cover, on the newsstand at Square Books, Oxford’s excellent indie bookstore.
I scanned the table of contents and allowed my road-weary eyes to widen. Here were stories and essays by a rogue’s gallery of the South’s best writers and malcontents: Richard Ford, Barry Hannah, Larry Brown, Florence King, Roy Blount Jr.
Blended in were provocations from John Updike, who contributed a poem about a bowel movement; William F. Buckley Jr.; Charles Bukowski; and Bill McKibben, as well as an interview with Pauline Kael. This was The New Yorker with a side of hot sauce, a tub of Duke’s mayonnaise and a bib. This was The New Yorker in muddy boots rather than penny loafers.
I walked to the cash register and asked, “Who puts this out?” The lanky kid behind the counter stuck out a hand and replied, “That would be me.”