Now Read This: April 2022

Highlighting recently released works by marginalized creators


Aerial Concave Without Cloud by Sueyeun Juliette Lee

Aerial Concave Without Cloud is a collection of poetry steeped in the bluest apocalypse light of solar collapse and the pale, ghostly light of personal devastation and grief. Through a combination of academic research and the salp’uri dance form, Sueyeun Juliette Lee channels and interprets the language of starlight through her body into poetic form. Through deep conversation with this primary element, Lee discovers that resilience is not an attitude or posture, but a way of listening.”

Drowning in Light by Taylor Steele

In Drowning in Light we traverse the daily—the sickness, the loneliness, and the hope that yawns from within. There are continuous trails of light peeking through, hands grasping, fingers trailing—a notion of persistence, always.

How to Adjust to the Dark by Rebecca van Laer

“Beginning with a heroic couplet found inside a fortune cookie and ending with the novella’s titular poem, How to Adjust to the Dark is both a collection of poetry and self-examination by a poet, Charlotte, looking back on her early twenties after an extended period of writer’s block. Explicating the romantic relationships, personal history, and struggles embedded in each of her poems, Charlotte gradually uncovers the many versions of herself she has inhabited and the traumas woven into her beliefs about who she was as a writer and person at each critical point in time. A hybrid of prose, poetry, and theory in the vein of Bluets and Leaving the Atocha Station, How to Adjust to the Dark is a writer’s frank, extended examination of the idea that falling in love and making art have to hurt to be good, and the work it takes to disentangle oneself from this notion in order to grow into who it is we want to be, what we wish to write about, and how we choose to make a life.” 

SWOLLENING by Jason Purcell

“A tender debut poetry collection that examines the queer, sick body as a reaction to an ill world and asks it how to move on toward hope. Jason Purcell’s debut collection of poems rests at the intersection of queerness and illness, staking a place for the queer body that has been made sick through living in this world. Part poetic experiment and part memoir, Swollening attempts to diagnose what has been undiagnosable, tracing an uneven path from a lifetime of swallowing bad feelings – homophobia in its external and internalized manifestations, heteronormativity, anxiety surrounding desire, aversion to sex – to a body in revolt.”


Do you have a lit journal issue, chapbook, book, or other work that’s about to be published? Email us at vagabondcityliterary@gmail.com to be added to our Books Available to Review list and featured on an upcoming Now Read This list.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.