One muggy afternoon in 2014, while walking to lunch in Birmingham, Alabama, my partner received a call from a number he didn’t recognize. The number had the same area code as his hometown, Columbus, Ohio, so he picked up.
I could tell the call wasn’t from someone he knew. He answered a handful of questions, some biographical and others about his voting habits, then hung up. The call was over in three minutes.
“Who was that?” I asked.
It was pollster wanting opinions on political issues and ca...
After Neo-Nazis and Klansmen took to the streets in Charlottesville to kill one person and injure dozens more, I cancelled my monthly donation to the American Civil Liberties Union.
It was an act of resistance; one that might appear misguided. Some might believe my rage at the A.C.L.U. is misplaced when there are domestic terrorists bearing torches who better deserve activists’ righteous anger.
Yet, despite the good things free speech has fostered, free speech has been the rallying cry of hat...
Don’t like Bernie opening The Women’s Convention but want to support the speakers who are women of color? Do this.
When the organizers of the Women’s March, who are also organizing The Women’s Convention, announced Bernie Sanders as the opening night speaker of the convention, many supporters were none too pleased.
Considering that The Women’s Convention organizers and speakers are primarily women of color, it seems like a baffling decision to have a white man, especially one whose supporters are notoriously sexist, open the conference.
While it has been wrongly reported that Sanders is the headliner––he’...
Here’s a fact that bears repeating: self-care is a feminist issue.
With the countless injustices women face, fighting the patriarchy is exhausting. And the only way we can have the energy to fight oppression is if we’re taking care of ourselves first.
Though it’s a point of progress to see so many discussions about prioritizing well-being, it’s important to remember self-care can be achieved regardless of income and it doesn’t have to come with an exorbitant price tag.
It’s not uncommon to se...
Somehow, in 2017, some people still expect women to be likeable, agreeable, demure, and quiet.
This is something all women have felt––an implicit pressure to be the guardians of harmony. This expectation makes us self-conscious that voicing the slightest disagreement or contrary opinion will get us labeled “dramatic.” If there’s a dispute, it’s ours to solve. If there’s a problem, it’s ours to fix––and often we’re expected to “fix” situations by giving the kind of emotional labor that’s rarel...
I’m disappointed in Gov. John Kasich for signing the Down syndrome abortion ban (Dispatch article, Saturday). The governor’s colleagues in the Republican Party might have duped him — they told him the abortion ban was to protect children with Down syndrome, when in fact it’s just another attack on women, veiled as disability rights.
If the Republicans cared about people with disabilities, they’d do more to protect their quality of life and provide health care, not just force women to have bab...
If you grew up in the rural South, you’ve probably heard tales of big cats, vampires, the Bell Witch, flesh-eating kudzu, and other terrors that go bump in the night. You may have even encountered some yourself, though probably not all in a single outing. Unfortunately for the protagonist of The Vine That Ate the South––and fortunately for us––he did.
Author JD Wilkes spared hardly a Southern folk demon in his debut novel, The Vine That Ate the South. It’s a Homeric tale of going into The D...
Publication date: November 1, 2016
Number of pages: 276
REVIEWED BY Mandy Shunarrah
To label Am I Alone Here? as any one genre is to do it and the reader an injustice. Part memoir, part literary criticism, and all love letter to literature, Peter Orner’s essay collection is the kind of book readers can’t help but cherish. My copy of Am I Alone Here? has as many flags and sticky notes as the stylized book on the collection’s cover. I read it with splendor.
Mandy Shunnarah reviews the new book by Legendary Shack Shakers frontman J.D. Wilkes and asks him about the Southern legends and folk demons that served as inspiration.
Going exploring in the woods and happening upon a haint or big cat or some mythic creature that supposedly doesn’t exist is practically a Southern rite of passage. Yet author J.D. Wilkes takes the Southern adventure tale to a whole new level in his debut novel, The Vine That Ate the South (out this week from Two Dollar Radio)....
Two Dollar Radio’s latest publication is hot off the press. Found Audio by N.J. Campbell is a Russian nesting doll of a novel with layers of mystery, mythology, madness, and suspense.
When three stolen audio tapes of questionable origin land on Dr. Amrapali Singh’s desk, along with a large sum of money to analyze them, she has two days to extract any clues as to the origin of the tapes and the identity of the unnamed journalist whose story they hold. Using her keen ear and expertise in antiqu...
The Personal, the Political, and the Musical: An Interview with Hanif Abdurraqib on They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us
To say Hanif Abdurraqib writes about the music that’s the soundtrack to our lives is an understatement.
They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us is the first essay collection from Abdurraqib, who is a music columnist at MTV News and a poet whose work includes the collection The Crown Ain’t Worth Much from Button Poetry. Whether it’s Marvin Gaye, My Chemical Romance, Chance the Rapper, Carly Rae Jepsen or Nina Simone, Abdurraqib is writing about the music that makes sense of the world and valid...
I don’t know what the other entrants’ chapbooks in the 2017 Etchings Press Chapbook Contest were like, but I know Sarah Cheshire’s win for Unravelings was well-deserved.
After becoming romantically involved with a trusted creative writing professor and mentor, “Jane Doe” is forced to recount the details of the relationship––including its varied manipulations and abuses of power––for a Title IX investigation. Unravelings is a fictionalized memoir in the sense that names, locations, and other...
NONFICTION HONORABLE MENTION
The mortician must have removed the chin hairs she had once asked me to pluck.
I leaned over the casket and couldn’t help noticing how smooth Nona’s chin was. Being in her nineties, she had lost the estrogen she needed to keep from growing sprigs of wiry white hair on her jutting granny jaw. Nona’s perfectly varnished chin fit well with her too-rouged cheeks, watercolor-painted lips, and the ten years of wrinkles the mortician had buffed out in preparation for the...
We amble on a Dead Sea beach where in place of sand is crystalline salt, like piles of broken glass, like diamonds that have lost their shine. They cut all the same, and the tender arches of my feet, without the cloak of callouses, are sliced with each step. He curses me under his breath, not quietly enough.
During his railing minutes, I say nothing. Another lecture for the uncountable offenses I cause simply by being.
The beachcombers’ and sunbathers’ stares tell me: You shouldn’t let him ta...
The lazy river curves in its oval trajectory—curves expected, built into its form. Nothing like my newly mounting curves bulging from the swimsuit bought two summers ago in the children’s section.
Some friends’ fathers avert their eyes, sneaking cigarettes for distraction. Others stare with abandon, just as their daughters stared at the downy hair billowing under my arms as we changed in the communal restroom.
Me, conscious of being stared at. Them, conscious of the indecorum of being caught ...