Now Read This: August 2022

Highlighting recently released and forthcoming works by marginalized creators

Togetherness by Wo Chan 

Togetherness sends out sparks from its electric surface, radiating energy and verve from within its deep and steady emotional core: stories of the poet’s immigrant childhood spent in their family’s Chinese restaurant, culminating in a deportation battle against the State. These narrative threads weave together monologue, soaring lyric descants, and document, taking the positions of apostrophe, biography, and soulful plaint to stage a vibrant and daring performance in which drag is formalism and formalism is drag—at once campy and sincere, queer, tender, and winking.

Gash Atlas by Jessica Lawson

Gash Atlas is a nightmarish cartography of life in the Trump era, told (in part) through the experience of a multiracial family whose own internal asymmetries of power and privilege intensify in this landscape. Comprised of poetic and visual “maps,” this darkly comic collection blends literary experiment and political urgency. Already a finalist at Nightboat, this book speaks directly to the cultural present while folding back nested histories of personal and cultural violence this moment contains.

Our Synonyms: An Epic by Yena Sharma Purmasir 

Poet and essayist Yena Sharma Purmasir crafts an unwavering exploration of the universal feminine experience in her newest poetry collection, Our Synonyms: An Epic. With knife-like precision and empathy, Purmasir retells the stories of women from religious mythologies and intertwines them with the secular and sobering realities of today. Read along as Purmasir navigates the complexities of the feminine experience through themes of suffering and violence, grief and love, girlhood and motherhood, and the justified rage that remains throughout.

Bean Spiller by Carroll Ann Susco 

Susco writes to both the mentally ill and those who have no experience with the ill to illuminate, heal, and come to terms. From various perspectives, Susco weaves a portrait that is evocative and meaningful in a collection that deals with how mental illness is experienced and how it is passed down generation to generation. It’s about how it is made peace with, dealt with, and ultimately how it is endured. Bean Spiller is an important statement, fighting the good fight against suffering and stigma and fighting for a new, better way to see mental illness.

Do you have a lit journal issue, chapbook, book, or other work that’s about to be published? Email us at 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, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.