Understory and Overstory: A Retrospective

Janisse Ray is the author of five books of literary nonfiction as well as a volume of eco-poetry. Her first book, the best-selling Ecology of a Cracker Childhood (Milkweed Editions, 1999), is a memoir about growing up on a junkyard in the ruined longleaf pine ecosystem of the Southeast. It was a New York Times Notable Book and was chosen by the Georgia Center for the Book as a “Book All Georgians Should Read.” Ray holds an MFA from the University of Montana, where later she was the William Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer for 2014. She is a 2015 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, and she won the 2017 Southern Environmental Law Center Award in journalism for her piece on coal ash, published in The Bitter Southerner: “From Ashes Such as These, What Can Rise?” In 2019 Ray was given the Georgia Author of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Writers Association. 

My Father, the Atomic Bomb

I would not be who I am today were it not for the Bomb. 

Had there not been a bomb, my biological father—a Manhattan Project physicist—would not have died in 1951 from radiation-induced cancer a month before my fourth birthday, …

Judith Dancoff’s fiction and essays have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Southern Humanities Review, Tiferet Journal, the Shanghai Literary Review, and others. She has been awarded residencies at Hedgebrook, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, where she was the McElwee Family Fellow. Her documentary film Judy Chicago & the California Girls (1971) has screened at and is owned by museums and universities around the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She has lived in Los Angeles the majority of her life, where she is currently at work on a hybrid memoir/novel about her father and the Manhattan Project.

A Public Loss Anyway

Andrew Menard is the author of Learning from Thoreau (University of Georgia Press, 2018) and Sight Unseen: How Frémont’s First Expedition Changed the American Landscape (Bison Books, 2012). His most recent essays and articles have appeared in Antioch ReviewThe Georgia ReviewHinterlandJournal of American StudiesOxford Art Journal, and the New England Quarterly. 

The Longing of Men

In the water, the rocks were a dozen colors, ochre to a bruised orange, purple to brick, dusky green to leaden blue, moss-tinged yellows—and all these eclipsed with flashes of sky ricocheting off the surface. These boulders and stones were …

Jerry McGahan (1943–2016), beekeeper and much else, was the author of the story collection The Deer Walking Upside Down (Schaffner Press, 2015) and the novel A Condor Brings the Sun (1996). His stories and essays were published by the Iowa Review, the Antioch Review, the Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, and other literary journals. McGahan passed away with his wife, Janet, by his side in Arlee, Montana, on the land he had loved for almost fifty years.

Reclamations

Jerry McGahan (1943–2016), beekeeper and much else, was the author of the story collection The Deer Walking Upside Down (Schaffner Press, 2015) and the novel A Condor Brings the Sun (1996). His stories and essays were published by the Iowa Review, the Antioch Review, the Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, and other literary journals. McGahan passed away with his wife, Janet, by his side in Arlee, Montana, on the land he had loved for almost fifty years.

Jerry’s Dirt

[Winner of National Magazine Award in Profile Writing]

I began to see, however dimly, that one of my ambitions, perhaps my governing ambition, was to belong fully to this place, to belong as the thrushes and the herons and the muskrats belonged, to be altogether at home here.

Jacob Baynham is a freelance journalist and essayist who lives in Montana. He has written about criminal justice for The Christian Science Monitor, about parenting for Outside magazine, and has reported internationally for Newsweek, the San Francisco Chronicle, Slate, and other publications. He lives in Missoula with his wife, Hilly McGahan, and their two boys.

To Our Readers: A Postscript

In this Fall 2019 issue of The Georgia Review, the last with which I will be involved, Anne Wright’s essay “On the Farm”—about her late husband, James Wright (1928–1980), and his important involvement with fellow poet Robert Bly—opens with …

Stephen Corey joined the staff of The Georgia Review in 1983 as assistant editor and subsequently served as associate editor, acting editor, and, from 2008 to his retirement in 2019, editor. His most recent book is Startled at the Big Sound: Essays Personal, Literary, and Cultural (Mercer University Press, 2017); he has also published nine collections of poems, among them There Is No Finished World (White Pine Press) and Synchronized Swimming (Livingston Press); his individual poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in dozens of periodicals; and he has coedited three books in as many genres, including (with Warren Slesinger) Spreading the Word: Editors on Poetry (The Bench Press). In the spring of 2022, White Pine Press will bring out his As My Age Then Was, So I Understood Them: New and Selected Poems.