25 Apr

so much things to say right now. so much things to say.


So we’ve been hibernating, working, reading, writing, snacking, sleeping, dancing, drinking, slacking or some such. That’s no excuse, tho. We’ve been polishing our upcoming anniversary issue which will drop the first week of May! But while we’ve been away, amazing, AMAZING things have been happening for our editors and contributors. We thought it was very necessary to put these fancy schmancy happenings in one place so that we all can keep track of the AWESOME that is unfolding this year.

Elana Bell (issue nO.2) has been awarded the Walt Whitman Prize by the American Academy of Poets.

Roger Bonair Agard (issue nO.3) has released his second collection of poetry, Gully, published by Cypher Press. He recently appeared on NPR’s Tell Me More reading and discussing his work as part of National Poetry Month.

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (issue nO.3) was awarded a NEA Grant earlier this year.

Union Station Magazine contributor Jon Sands has just released his first collection of poetry, The New Clean, published by Write Bloody Press. Additionally, Jon is starring in the web series, Verse, produced and directed by Ram Devineni (a friend and favorite of ours) of Rattapallax.

Issue nO.1 and Platform contributor Mara Jebsen is a contributing writer for 3 Quarks Daily.

Melissa Febos (issue nO.2) has an outstanding piece on Mr. Beller’s Neighbrhood and to boot, an awesome series of New York stories on the New York Times Opinionator.

Stacia L. Brown (issue nO.1) is writing for the Loop 21.

Marie Elizabeth Mali (issue nO.2) release her first collection, Steady My Gaze, published by Tebot Bach Press in March.

Lastly, Editor Lynne Procope has launched a new performance/reading series at 116 Macdougal, the home of the Gaslight Cafe, founded in 1958 for a sweet (13 +/- year) period, was another space for the bohemia New York to showcase emerging talent. Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Bill Cosby all took the stage at early points in their careers. This Wednesday night, the second installation of the Gaslight Salon Series debuts with What Will The Neighbors Say?, featuring Geoff Kagan Trenchard, Tyemba Jess, Saeed Jones and Mazz Swift.

Whew! That’s it for now. Or, rather, this is how we’re winning the dime-1! (Thanks Roger.)


–Syreeta McFadden

18 Feb

american fetus.

I was born in Rhode Island in 1981. You’ll have to take my word for it.

My mother was there, of course, but she lives in Africa and can’t vouch for me. Her best friend, Frieda, was there, too. But they were very young then, and Frieda, at the lifting of the sheet, fainted, hit her head on a radiator, and had to be carted away.

I told this story to the nice lady at the records office, the one trying to find my birth certificate. She was dismayed by these details, as well as by others—that I have no drivers license or social security card; that I’d never met my father and that my grandparents are dead. She was a really good lady. Sweetheart, she said, I want to help you, but I just don’t know what to do!

When I got off the phone I had the strangest feeling that I didn’t exist. I had planned to spend the summer in West Africa visiting my mother, and had spent over two thousand dollars on a non-refundable ticket. The departure date was in three weeks. And then I’d lost my passport.

I’m a poet. I’m half-way tempted here to go into an essay on cliches about poets. I hate that some of them are true, as I hate my crushing and astonishing power for creating logistical catastrophe. However, what I ended up really worrying about, as I crawled through my closet looking for documents that might suggest I was myself, was what it means to be born in America.

What can it mean? It’s an accident. We’re dealing here suddenly in the spiritual realm. Why this mother, this part of the world? An American uterus in Rhode Island–

(ick) Read More »

17 Feb

the mixtape: january.

Herewith for your streaming pleasure is The Platform’s January Playlist. I cannot attest to its delay, however, I must note that editorial staff of Union Station Magazine is actively at work reading submissions for the upcoming issue nO.4. Quite honestly, I hope you are somewhere warm, with a proper cup of tea and a pair of trusty earphones, reading, writing, or making something useful as we advance through the last throes of these brutal winter days. If I were to wager an underlying theme to these tracks offered by the lady editors (Jeanann, Lynne, and yours truly), then I would say it is about rebirth. Sinead O’Connor sings of rebirth, rising from the ashes of a broken relationship. Eminem proclaims his second act. Tune-Yards taps into a melodic primal scream that I can only recognize as an awakening. Perhaps, I am reaching a bit here. Perhaps not. At the very least, I implore you to warm your hands and your feet with the brilliant execution of Eminem’s extended metaphor to compliment his irrepressible lyrical style.

Dear listener, I will endeavor to deliver you the next month’s installment at the commencement of March.

Yours in shared obsessions,

-Syreeta McFadden

Read More »

17 Feb

the conversation: a prequel. starring Shira Erlichman and Jon Sands.


Back in the last months of the aughts, Lynne and I began talking about building a literary magazine. As curator for the louderARTS Project, Lynne has seen fresh and emerging voices in poetry, as well as celebrated and established poets rock audiences for 13 years. We talked about the salons she hosted in early-mid aughts. We talked about how interdisciplinary those conversations were: photographers, poets, fiction/non fiction writers, painters, dancers, composers, teachers, armchair pundits and policy wonks. In those years, we represented a diversity of American identity and experience that some days, seem absent now that we’re fully entrenched in the 21st century.

We talked about publishing, and if you recall in 2009, much of the talk concerning publishing was a shit show of doom and gloom. Yet, we still write. We still read. We still troll bookstores, interwebs, and readings to feed our culture beast. We still seek conversation.

Enter Jon Sands.  Lynne approached Jon about starting an interview series with contemporary poets in our wild multiverse. He then returned with a gem of conversation on craft, creative process and poetry with Shira Erlichman in 2009. Union Station Magazine hadn’t been fully formed then, so Lynne offered to publish to the louderARTS site. As we lady editors prepare our anniversary issue, I thought it’d be good to look back at this exchange between Jon and Shira. In many ways, it was the catalyst that brought you Union Station Magazine.

We knew it was time to do big things.

-Syreeta McFadden

Read More »

15 Feb

all the writer ladies. all the writer ladies…

The Vida Count… Pandora’s Box of many a vexed, curious, critical, thoughtful voices around women and publishing continues:

And one does after all want to be read as a man. As a man who is a woman perhaps. Can’t we just all be men and some have these genitals and some have those. I heard that that’s how they saw it in the middle ages. And some died after having thirteen children and some just got another wife. Women finally are all replaceable and that’s the real truth. The more different we get the less likely we can fit our foot in the tiny shoe. And that’s the gig. Not being female, but being small. But I want to be loved because I am. That’s all.

That tasty bit sardonicism is from poet Eileen Myles over on The Awl. I’m grateful for lady publisher and classmate Ann Hays open letter to many of my beloved publications about representation and women writers, as well as the ladies of #Frazenfreude episode earlier last year. Take out ‘women’ and you can substitute it ‘ethnicity’ too. Which is also to say, that we have a bigger conversation we must continue and a lot of writing to do.

The Rumpus
has also has a roundup of insight elsewhere on the internets for your perusal.

I’m just glad we’re all going in. We need to. We also need to write. We also need to submit. To quote our Issue nO.3 contributor and 2010 NEA Fellow, Christin O’Keefe Aptowicz, ‘It’s not your job to determine if you’ll be accepted. It’s your job to submit [your work.]’

We’re going all the way this time.

-Syreeta McFadden

19 Jan

21st century schizoid gang: the december playlist.

Oh hello, there neighbor. Wait, what? *pulls earbuds out* Right. The December Playlist? About that…Yeah, it’s late. The holiday doldrums, snowpocalypse (real and imagined), shoveling, sneezing, coughing, grading, reading, sleeping and snacking took priority. However, as promised for your listening enjoyment, Team Union Station (Lynne, Jon, Jeanann, yours truly) has compiled an eclectic mix in prime classic mixtape form for our first post of the new decade. Welcome to the 21st century everyone.

Read More »

31 Dec

literary resolutions: a listicle for 2010.

It’s been some kind of a paradox, 2010, yes? The best of times, the worst of times. Some fear the end of times. The publishing industry is a weeble wobble, yet it hasn’t fallen down. Indie booksellers like Fort Greene’s Greenlight are thriving. Certainly, the advent of the iPad and its apps have encouraged more people to embrace digital books, yet confounds the early adopters that some folks still prefer paper, brick and mortar. The lesson in that contradiction: content is king.

My reading list this year is pretty lean. I hope to correct that for next year. And as I scribbled my list of books I read this year, memoir emerged as a trend. In years past, novels have dominated my annual reading lists. There are a few poets who pop up on the list, and in many ways, if I’m to accept that the trend in my personal reading has skewed towards memoir, that detail isn’t all that surprising. What’s that old adage: poetry is memoir?

Below is my list, which I’ve also dubbed as Syreeta’s 2010 McLeaniest of Reading Lists™:

1. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower
2. Whip Smart by Melissa Febos
3. Up Jump The Boogie by John Murillo
4. The Ticking Is The Bomb by Nick Flynn
5. Just Kids by Patti Smith
6. The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nahesi Coates
7. Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans
8. Decoded by Jay Z
9. Shahid Reads His Own Palm by Reginald Dwayne Betts

That’s a lean list, I know. And I read *a lot*: blogs, magazines, newspapers, submissions… My literary resolution: I promise I’ll do better next year! Read More »

10 Dec

which is to say: time bends like a weak knee, or so fresh and so clean, clean.

We have a lot going on in our mental minds; a smattering of images, sound, memory and words that inform our creative processes. Beyond that, it colors how we engage the world, and our relationships. There isn’t always enough room in our heads to unpack these tiny discoveries during the course of our hours. Queue the internets. This metaspace is magic; where the conversation may drop off, slave to the mundane realities of daily living, these threads of thought can live, possibly grow.  We had this in mind when we asked issue nO.1 contributor, Mara Jebsen, to kick off our new weekly column Which Is To Say. Here, she explores the sea of memory, art, and blended histories during a recent-ish visit to the Guggenheim Museum. – Syreeta McFadden

Cooler than Freddie Jackson sipping a milkshake in snowstorm. . .
Andre 3000 of Outkast

The best way to experience a glamorous art museum is to first spend six weeks in a very third world country that you know very well. One that breaks your heart because you love it so much, and because it is so troubled with poverty and corruption; one in which you will pass much time picking red dust out of your hair and squeezing through hordes of sweaty bodies in markets and airports before flying to New York. Then, on your trip to the Guggenheim, you may notice such important facts as these: the Guggenheim is made of chalk and snow and a gigantic stretched-out slinky. Out of intricate dreams, white paint and hard cash.

If your inner child is awake at all, you will want to graffiti a silly rhyme on that place,–or climb to the top and  roller-skate down it, or get in a sled, and zoom down chanting ridiculously to yourself—I

can spiral/ right down

through time/like a child

tobogganing down

the Guggenheim. . .

Forgive me. . .

All I am trying to tell you here is that I am the Holly Golightly of museum-goers. In contrast to two months of dirt roads and hardship stories– It is so fresh, so clean and safe like Tiffany’s in this joint. If Holly can proclaim that nothing bad can happen to you at Tiffany’s, I will say that nothing can go wrong at the Guggenheim.

Except today the place is haunted. Read More »

8 Dec

congrats to our pushcart prize nominees.

Small press editors, both print and online, around the U.S. nominate works from what they believe to be the best stories, essays, or poems published in their magazine each year. The good folks at Pushcart then begin what must be an exhausting (and we hope exhilarating) task of selecting their favorites from the thousands of nominations.

A nomination to the Pushcart holds no promise of publication in the anthology and in no way reflects on those writers whom we could not nominate. We were only allowed six nominations after all. We see our nominations as a nod to all our contributors, indicating that we deeply admire the work that they have chosen to share with Union Station Magazine and that the works listed below resonated with us long after publication.

We submit our nominations in December and announcements of those included in the Pushcart Anthology will be issued in April. Please join us in congratulating our 2011 nominees.

Union Station Magazine Nominees for 2011:

* J.W. Basilo – Anointing the Hand
* R. Dwayne Betts – And if every cuss word was a sin
* Bushra Rehman - Masjid Alfalah

* Rohin Guha – We Sat Around For a While & Talked About Eyjafjallajökull
* Shelly Oria – It Is Something Like This.
* Lara Stapleton – New

6 Dec

why all this music? the platform playlist debuts.

‘If we’re not supposed to dance, Why all this music?’ – Gregory Orr

We all have our influences, our muses. Music is a dominant influence for me. It’s honestly where I begin to access images and emotion I’m looking to evoke in writing stories. Music takes me from the temporal to liminal space; and if we’re to be honest here, it’s so necessary to access those parts of ourselves, less we lose our fool mind. And I love a good playlist. Perhaps it’s a most excellent procrastination technique. I’m not entirely decided on that. I will tell you that I often make a playlist that runs in the background while I write a short story or essay. The novel that I’ve been writing and not writing has its own soundtrack. Last week for no perceivable explanation, my ipod cut out on me. I was in a near panic. I also may be reaching the realm of TMI, but let’s just say I am crazy grateful for the one working outlet at the Houston Street Crate and Barrel. I really, really couldn’t live without ‘All of The Lights’ for the 20 minute subway ride back to Brooklyn. Perhaps, I’m a freakshow. Perhaps. But I can’t be the only one. I have to assume that I’m not alone.

So I asked members of Team Union Station (editors, Lynne Procope and Jeanann Verlee) and our featured contributors (Saeed Jones and Jon Sands) to send me tracks of their most necessary songs for November. Particularly, the songs that have been on loop in their ipods, or more specifically, what songs help to get them through their daily grinds. What emerged is that Lynne is a closeted hip hop head, that we all are a little in love with Kanye West’s opus, that other artists also render our beautiful dark twisted fantasies –in song, verse, beat– (see: Fiona Apple, Eminem, The Heads), and that we have a soft spot for indie artists (Tiny Tornadoes, Valerie June, Glasser, Emily Wells).

We’re happy to present to you the inaugural monthly feature here, The Platform Mixtape.

Good Listening, friends! Read More »

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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