26 Jun
2013

EXTRA! EXTRA! Announcing our first ever guest editors for Issue nO.9!

We are delighted to announce our  guest editors for the Prose and Photography components of Issue nO.9. Stacia L. Brown is joining us as guest editor for Prose and Jonathan Weiskopf is our guest editor for Photography.

399937_10151420206563527_2031534208_nStacia L. Brown is a mother, a writer and a college writing instructor. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Salon, and PostBourgie. Her writing has also been featured in the anthologies It’s All Love: Black Writers on Soul Mates, Family, and Friends, Reverie: Midwest African American Literature, Laboring Positions: Black Women, Mothering, and the Academy, as well as at  The Daily Beast, The Root, The Grio, and Racialicious.

Her short story, “Shhh,” was featured here at Union Station Magazine and subsequently nominated for the 2011 Dzanc Best of the Web anthology.

jwartistpicJonathan Weiskopf is a visual artist living in Brooklyn. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts BFA Photography program and was the sole 2012 recipient of the prestigious Royal College of Art Award. His first book,  ’For Some Time Now: Performance Poets of New York City’ was self published and released in April 2012, coinciding with an exhibition of his photographs at the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe. His current work focuses on the intersections of written language, abstraction and visual representation.

For specific details regarding our submission guidelines, please click here.

The reading period for Issue nO.9 will close on July 20th, 2013.

 

25 Sep
2012

Dispatches: Fellow Foreigners.

Cupped in anticipation of receiving a precious gift, she placed her palms beneath the faucet and waited. Nothing arrived. Looking around, she searched for a way to unlock the secret to flowing water. As she moved her arms, she was showered in an unexpected, abundant stream; a stream that stopped as soon as she reached to use it. Confused. Frustrated. She tried it all again. Tapping the faucet didn’t work; moving the handle to the right only shot out gooey pink substance. Catching on to what was happening, I waved my hand in front of the sensor and helped her keep the water going. Read More »

17 Sep
2012

Between Ten Worlds: Moving as a Form of Therapy.

For our inaugural installment of Dispatches, a new column exploring writer Nick Fox offers us a meditation on wandering and healing.

Portland is a staggeringly beautiful town. Notched into a deep, well-protected bay on the edge of the country, it has a long history as a fishing port, oil port, and strategic center for shipping to and from Europe. The waterfront is dotted with tourist shops and overpriced restaurants and boat launches, and the morning streets are equally full of those who work on the water and those who came here to take leisure on it.

I came here to work on sailboats. Read More »

16 Sep
2012

An assortment of superserioussilly questions for Jonathan Weiskopf.

Jonathan is so sweepy...

Photographer Jonathan Weiskopf trained his eye on the New York City’s performance poetry community for the better part of two years. This obsession culminated in the release of For Some Time Now: Performance Poets of New York City, a self published volume of photographs by Weiskopf, edited by Union Station Magazine’s own Jeanann Verlee. It also features written works from Union Station Mag’s editorial team as well as portraits from Team USM (Syreeta McFadden, Lynne Procope and Jon Sands). For Some Time Now is a beautiful project, the book is available for sale here.

Before Jonathan crossed the pond to begin his photography fellowship at The Royal College of Art in London this month, we thought it was high time we get the photographer from behind the camera to answer a few very important, deeply serious and absurd questions. Read More »

11 Sep
2012

What Education Reform and the Chicago Teachers’ Strike tells us.

Chicago Teachers Strike, September 10, 2012. photo by Lavon Nicole Pettis via Facebook.

Here’s a story: For the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, which became the home of the Miracle on Ice, where the United States finally beat the U.S.S.R. in hockey to win the gold medal, the Olympic village was built a few miles away in Saranac Lake. Rumor or legend has it, that given the opportunity to turn the Olympic Village into either a University or a prison, post Olympics, that the community chose a prison – for the jobs, presumably. This is 1980, remember, and the War on Drugs has not yet been declared. Indeed, it is two years before that war is declared and a few more before the crack epidemic hits the streets of urban America. Before the Rockefeller Drug laws begins carting young men (mostly from the streets of New York) to face long prison terms over what is often no more than possession for personal use. By the time I land in New York in 1987, we know when brothers say they were gone ‘upstate’ for a minute, that is code for having done a bid. By the time Notorious B.I.G. releases his first album ‘Ready to Die’ in 1994, most black New York boys recognize the album’s early reference to C-76, a cellblock on Riker’s Island.

At one point, New York State boasts more prisons per capita than any other state in the union. The absurdity of the Rockefeller Drug Laws having been brought to bear, the NY prison population has actually fallen by about 20 percent in recent years, but for an entire generation of young men, the damage has been done. Further, this type of story is not germane to New York State. It has been a reality throughout the United States – skyrocketing prison populations between the 1970s and now, such that we outstrip every other developed country in the world (by far) in the percentage of our population incarcerated. The vast majority are Black and Latino. For quite a while, many states decided how many new hospital beds needed to be built, how many new hospitals, based on standardized test scores from 3rd grade, or 8th grade or 5th grade, or something equally preposterous. In an age of prison explosion and the privatization thereof, our state apparatuses were planning, not on how to keep their youth out of jail, but on how to house them when they got there.

Read More »

28 Aug
2012

Ghost Horse Grazing: a note about black folk and nature writing.

For this week’s installment of our featured column, Which Is To Say, Roger Bonair-Agard unpacks the perception of black writers and nature writing.

In the backyard  peas  two kinds of thyme
a lime tree  a sorrel bush  paw paw  passion fruit
two mango trees  one avocado tree
and a patch of cane   flowering   brilliant
to every sense   even touch heightened
in the swelling of fertility

the smells   haunt summer
pungent turn of coffee beans drying in wait
for their feet  for the blue-black wash
all the way to the ankles  as they dance for turning

his brother crawling across the porch
watching them  laughing

the cilantro attaching itself to the memories
of flowers and staying on for dinner
he would track the rancor
of a dead congoree through the house
from his sojourns through the bush
to the fresh-cut grass of the savannah

these are the smells he will remember
when he first makes love  they will
lift him up  call him to passion
the way the smell of a woman’s skin
will call him to her

interrupt the intricate six-eights timing
he imagines his heartbeat
will call him to improvise prayer
on his lips and rain smells like rain…

This is the first half of a poem I wrote back in 2002, I believe.  Since then I’ve written several poems about my connection to the natural world.  In particular, my relationship to the land vis a vis my family, and my obsession with flowers and their names, are often in the backdrop of my writing, if not the subject itself.

However, until very recently, I would not have called myself a nature writer, or counted that among the ways in which my work could be characterized.  Indeed, I may even have bristled against it.  I also know this to be true for several other black writers with whom I’m familiar.  Why is this? Read More »

16 Aug
2012

late breaking: USM Issue nO.6 is amazeballs.

Back in June we released our summer issue, featuring wonderful new work from Adrian Matejka, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Saeed Jones, Jai Chakrabarti, Anis Mojgani -among many others-, a dynamite interview by Jon Sands with poet Aracelis Girmay (complete with an excerpt from a brand new poem from Girmay), and an exquisite photo essay from photographer Eva Fazzari.

If you haven’t dived into it yet, let this gorgeous poster by designer and artist David Ayllon (Issue nO.1 contributor) inspire you to take a gander. Ayllon took a line from Sam Sax’sthe handsome phalangesist’s lament’ featured in the current issue and created a dazzling illustration that we’re tickled to share it with you. We hope that this illustration will be the first of many installments from David.

We encourage you to take the remainder of your August seriously, people. We’ll be reading and prepping for Issue nO.7 and soaking up as much sun before the summer winds shift.

Syreeta McFadden

19 Jun
2012

Go Deeper: Writing Sex Without Shame

photo credit: Ryan McGinley

Which Is To Say, our featured essay column, returns with Chicago writer Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan.

“The difference between guilt and shame is very clear—in theory. We feel guilty for what we do. We feel shame for what we are.” - Lewis B. Smedes, Shame and Grace

It is important to know that I was raised in a sex positive household, free of euphemisms and pet names. We called genitals by their names, my “miracle of life” books were black and white photos of real births, bushy pubic hair and all. Most adults in my life, men and women, were either feminists, therapists or lesbians. Sex, sexuality and gender spectrums were all normative in my family. So, when I started writing erotica when I was twelve, my mother encouraged me even though it made her a little uncomfortable. I had permission to explore, though writing, the spectrum of desire and develop a vocabulary of want without shame. Shame is the enemy of honesty. Read More »

12 Jun
2012

while we were away…

We’ve been really busy. On the move. We’re reading for our upcoming Issue nO.6 (drops later this month! oh boy!). We released our first ever Storyteller Issue back in February. Our very own staff of USM have been up to some awesome worthy of shoutouts and snaps:

- Moonshot Magazine cozies up with our editor, Lynne Procope on the wisdom of running a successful reading series.

- Philadelphia Stories bestows their first recepient of the Sandy Crimmins Prize to poetry editor Jeanann Verlee.

- Feministing enlists managing editor Syreeta McFadden as a guest contributor.

- Ebony.com is joined by featured contributor Saeed Jones as he chronicles his travels around the world for a whole year!

That’s the tip of the hat to our awesome team. They’re magical. Really. Read More »

30 Sep
2011

the new shiznet: Verse. A Murder Mystery.

Rattapallax’s Ram Devineni (a long, long time favorite of ours) latest creative venture hits the magical teevee machine.

Verse: A Murder Mystery debuted on the interwebs last summer delighting audiences online and picked up some sexy accolades along the way. The series features among many wonderfulments, USM Contributors Jon Sands and Angel Nafis (Issue nO.4), along with the godfather of things we love, Bob Holman and a killer track from Shira E. and The Tiny Tornadoes (see USM Playlist November).

New episodes premiere every Friday night at 8:30pm YooTV as part of KoldCast Presents. For New York Area Time Warner subscribers, that’s channel 153. Repeat episodes will air at different times throughout the week.

Check it out!

 

—Syreeta McFadden

Between Ten Worlds: Moving as a Form of Therapy.

Between Ten Worlds: Moving as a Form of Therapy.

For our inaugural installment of Dispatches, a new column exploring writer Nick Fox offers us a meditation on wandering and

An assortment of superserioussilly questions for Jonathan Weiskopf.

An assortment of superserioussilly questions for Jonathan Weiskopf.

Photographer Jonathan Weiskopf trained his eye on the New York City’s performance poetry community for the better part of two

What Education Reform and the Chicago Teachers’ Strike tells us.

What Education Reform and the Chicago Teachers’ Strike tells us.

Here’s a story: For the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, which became the home of the Miracle on Ice,

Ghost Horse Grazing: a note about black folk and nature writing.

Ghost Horse Grazing: a note about black folk and nature writing.

That white writers are considered in the Nature Poetry canon and black writers almost never, is at least troubling. What is our reticence to speak of black folks’ connection to place? And if this is not a rhetorical question, isn’t the urban landscape to which the majority of U.S. blacks belong, not also natural, with it’s humid, concrete spaces, its pigeons, its rats and roaches, its dogs and stray cats, and tiny windowsill gardens? And why have we bought the part of the monolith too, that says we don’t write nature poems? Why couldn’t I recognize my poems as nature poems, when it would appear that they are obviously that (as well as other things)

late breaking: USM Issue nO.6 is amazeballs.

late breaking: USM Issue nO.6 is amazeballs.

Back in June we released our summer issue, featuring wonderful new work from Adrian Matejka, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Saeed Jones,

Go Deeper: Writing Sex Without Shame

Go Deeper: Writing Sex Without Shame

Which Is To Say, our featured essay column, returns with Chicago writer Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan. “The difference between guilt and

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