The Black Ugly Duckling & Love Letter to My First Car


The Black Ugly Duckling

So, in first grade in a school 
where I was one in three of Black 
kids in the whole goddamn school,
my teacher (let’s call her Mrs. Snow)
decided her class was going to put…

Nikki Wallschlaeger’s work has been featured in The Nation, Brick, American Poetry Review, Witness, Kenyon Review, Poetry, and others. She is the author of the full-length collections Houses (Horseless Press, 2015) and Crawlspace (Bloof Books, 2017) as well as the graphic book I Hate Telling You How I Really Feel (Bloof Books, 2019). She is also the author of an artist book called “Operation USA” through the Baltimore-based book arts group Container, a project acquired by Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee. Her third collection, Waterbaby, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2021.

Devil’s Audience Has Always Been the Same; Devil Nags the Blood; Devil Has Spent Years Trying to Get into Lucinda Williams’s Kitchen; & Devil Consoles Larry’s Unacknowledged Son

Charlie Clark studied poetry at the University of Maryland. His work has appeared in The New England Review, Pleiades, Ploughshares, Smartish Pace, Threepenny Review, West Branch, and other journals. A 2019 NEA fellow and recipient of scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, he is the author of The Newest Employee of the Museum of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2020). He lives in Austin, Texas.

Genre Theory; Early English History; Stock Character; & Gay and Lesbian Fiction

James Allen Hall is the author of I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well (Cleveland State Poetry Center, 2017), a book of lyric personal essays selected by Chris Kraus for CSU’s Essay Collection Award. His first book of poems is Now You’re the Enemy (University of Arkansas, 2008), which won awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Fellowship of Southern Writers. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Bread Loaf and Sewanee conferences, he teaches creative writing and literature at Washington College, where he directs the Rose O’Neill Literary House.

Love Poem with Parenthetical; Shift; & What It Means to Forget


Love Poem with Parenthetical 



Shadow branches rise through our bedroom window     
It’s garbage day     Tuesday     We hear squeaky wheels 

a blue jay lifting from the sky      the small sighs of waking
We’ve unplugged the clock      and can’t …

Dana Alsamsam, a first-generation Syrian-American from Chicago, is currently an arts fundraiser in Boston. A Lambda Literary fellow, she received her MFA in poetry from Emerson College, where she was the editor-in-chief of Redivider and senior editorial assistant at Ploughshares. Her poems are published or forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, North American Review, Poetry Daily, BOOTH, The Journal, The Common, and others.

The Years Between & The Waking Reverie

Floyd Collins earned his MFA and PhD at the University of Arkansas. A book of critical essays on poetry, The Living Artifact, is forthcoming from Stephen F. Austin University Press in spring 2021. The Teresa Poems will appear from Somondoco Press in fall 2021. His poetry and critical prose appear regularly with The Arkansas Review, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, and The Kenyon Review.

A Shop. I Like Shops. ; Home2Suites; Men at Work; & I Will Remember Massachusetts

Heather Christle is the author of four poetry collections: Heliopause (Wesleyan University Press, 2015), What Is Amazing (Wesleyan University Press, 2012), The Trees The Trees (Octopus Books, 2011), and The Difficult Farm (Octopus Books, 2009). Her first work of nonfiction, The Crying Book (Catapult, 2019), has appeared in many languages worldwide. In 2020, it was adapted for radio as the BBC’s Book of the Week and honored as a Georgia Book of the Year for Memoir. Christle is an assistant professor in the creative writing program at Emory University.

The Visitation of God; The Leaf Blower among the Swimming Pool Lights; Egg; & In Praise of Disquiet


In Praise of Disquiet

The years are fine with dust that settles in the eyes.
The stars are bound to gods from abandoned temples.
By night you fear the abdication of the sun.
By day you wear the light …

David Woo is the author of Divine Fire (Georgia Review Books/ University of Georgia Press, 2021) and The Eclipses (BOA Editions, 2005). His work has appeared in The New YorkerThe Threepenny ReviewThe New RepublicThe Asian American Literary ReviewLiterary Imagination, and other journals and anthologies. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

[the tree remembers]; [here the contours]; [don’t change your name]; [and so mother]; [the space of a length of time]; & [here’s where the source of origins], translated from the French by Nancy Naomi Carlson

Translated from the French by Nancy Naomi Carlson


[the tree remembers]


the tree remembers
this legend

a grave
a cross
and a cloud of silence



l’arbre se souvient
de cette légende

une tombe
une croix…

Alain Mabanckou is considered one of Francophone Africa’s most prolific contemporary writers. A novelist, essayist, and poet, Mabanckou was born in what is now called Congo-Brazzaville, and his work has garnered a multitude of awards, including the prestigious Grand Prix de Littérature from the Académie Française. Twice a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize, he lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches literature at the University of California—Los Angeles. When he isn’t teaching, he divides his time between France and traveling the globe. This selection of translated poems comes from As Long as Trees Take Root in the Earth and Other Poems, forthcoming from Seagull Books in fall 2021.

First Aid

I have probably failed as a father, thinks Marshall, as he pumps gas and watches through the windshield as his daughter sucks on a cigarette while apparently thinking herself out of sight.

How did she get so good at …

T Cooper is a novelist, film and television writer, journalist, and filmmaker. He is the author of nine books, including the bestselling novels The Beaufort Diaries (Melville House, 2010) and Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes (Penguin, 2006), as well as the nonfiction Real Man Adventures (McSweeney’s, 2012). Cooper’s feature documentary Man Made (Journeyman Pictures, 2019) streams on Amazon; his shorter writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Mother Jones, the New York Times, The Believer, Bomb, The Guardian, and Esquire, among others. Cooper is currently an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta.

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Winter 2020

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