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The New Testament, Citizen, and Forgiveness Forgiveness: Contemporary Poetry on the Politics of Race

In light of the recent epidemic of racially charged violence and two grand jury decisions not to indict the policemen responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, I would like to draw attention to three newly published poetry collections that deserve consideration within the current dialogue on blackness: The New Testament by Jericho Brown, Citizen by Claudia Rankine, and Forgiveness Forgiveness by Shane McCrae. These three books have garnered much attention on their individual merit, but deserve consideration in terms of the conversation we should be having about race relations in America.

A poetry book is a kind of rumination. For the average poetry collection to go from the seed of an idea to an ISBN number takes at least 2-3 years—even for relatively established poets like Rankine, Brown and McCrae. All three books were released within a month of each other and, based on their overlapping subject matter, one might suppose these varying depictions of the expendability of black lives result from the July 13, 2013 Trayvon Martin case verdict. But, assuming a typical publication schedule, these books would have been in the editing stages by the time George Zimmerman’s acquittal made headlines.

I say this because The New Testament, Citizen, and Forgiveness Forgiveness all bear testimony to the importance of poets amidst the voices that respond to today’s atrocities. The fact that these books focus our attention of varying views of blackness, of black masculinity, of disappearance, of youth—while our newsfeeds fill with the loss of one black life, after another black life, after another—is more strategic than anomalous.

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Special Calls for Nonfiction Submissions!

We a happy to announce two special calls for submissions in Nonfiction! These submissions are exempt from our usual non-subscriber reading fee and are open from December 18 through February 15.

Nonfiction Manifestos

We’re looking for your most marauding manifestos. We don’t want your past; we want your future. We want the culmination of philosophies spawned by all of your cancer-surviving, new-city-visiting, masturbating, real-life soapboxing. We want to know what’s buzzing inside the hive mind of contemporary literature, that work of real necessity. What do you believe will be the next breakthrough? What do you think we should all pay attention to? Dare to tell us all what we should be doing.

Nonfiction Graphic Memoir

When drawing and text are combined to explore the realm of memoir, readers are allowed to enter the headspace of the writer in a way that is akin to walking into someone’s dreams. Somewhere out there, we hope there is a team of benevolent scientists and artists creatively collaborating on inventing a machine that will actually allow us walk through one another’s dreams. When that true genius comes into fruition, rest assured Indiana Review will be the first literary magazine out there turning Dream Walks into a Call for Submissions. In the meantime, we would like to see what you cartoonists, you purposefully lonely and most unsung of all contemporary writing beasts, are doing in your hobbit holes, your hands covered in ink. Collaborative submissions are very welcome.

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Microreview: Language Lessons

Review of Language Lessons, Vol. 1 (Poetry, Third Man Books, 2014)

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Last summer at the Newport Folk Festival, Jack White was joined on stage by actor John C. Reilly. Together they covered Lead Belly’s “Goodnight Irene”—and Jack White wept. The magic of a music festival sparks in the friction, the weird juxtaposition of singular voices for one weekend only! The best moments of literary anthology Language Lessons, Vol. 1, occur at just such junctions—curated carefully enough to allow for the haphazard transcendent. Headliner Jake Adam York opens the show. Adrian Matejka steps back and lets the ones-and-twos speak for themselves. Nicky Beer ruminates on the panda, while a few stages over, the mythic Frank Stanford returns from the dead for one more set. (Like the Tupac hologram at Coachella, but with more blood.)

 

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Announcing Indiana Review’s 2014 Pushcart Prize Nominees!

We’re proud to have published such fine work from such an array of talented writers this year. Congratulations to our 2014 Pushcart Prize nominees, the best of the best. We have our fingers crossed!

 

Fiction:

“Campfire SingAlongs for Opposite Orphans” by Catherine Carberry (IR 36.2)

“Boomerang” by Summer Wood (IR 36.1)

“With Fox” by Carol Guess & Kelly Magee (IR 36.1)

Nonfiction:

“Drilling for Lefse” by Matthew Gavin Frank (IR 36.2)

Poetry:

“History of Masculinity” by Phillip B. Williams (IR 36.1)

“Black Hole Observed Over Time” by Airea D. Matthews (IR 36.1)