Now Read This: February 2023

Highlighting recently released and forthcoming works by marginalized creators

the luxury by Darren C. Demaree

“In the luxury, Darren C. Demaree constructs a response to the catastrophic death of the natural world that enacts rage, love, and grief all at once. Filled with endless lyricism and an unpunctuated momentum, Demaree’s poems cascade and overflow. As such, they are abundant: abundant with joy, sorrow, and a tenderness toward the earth conveyed through the specificity of ordinary life. Of gardens and politicians and children. Of berries and midnights and birds. Reading them, I felt convinced that this book offers the most honest reaction to our current climate crisis — one based in doubt and kindness at the same time. Hold onto these poems the same way you hold onto the burning world. Tightly. As hard as you can.” —Devin Kelly

night mode by Caelan Ernest

night mode is a book-length serial poem that oscillates between digital and IRL topias, blurring the line between the two. In five poetic sequences and a brief coda, this deeply visceral and darkly erotic book explores themes of abjection, violence, limerence, love, and desire. The speaker navigates shifts in their identity in response to the encounters and exchanges they make, allowing each poem to expand upon the last— rupturing into new formal landscapes that give way for a pastiche wasteland of internet speech and cybernetic bodies. Through music, lyric, fragmentation, and play, night mode is an artifact of exploration and identity.

The Fifth Wound by Aurora Mattia

The Fifth Wound is a phantasmagorical roman à clef about passion as a way of life. In one dimension, this is a love story—Aurora & Ezekiel—a separation and a reunion. In another, we witness a tale of multiple traumatic encounters with transphobic violence. And on yet another plane, a story of ecstatic visionary experience swirls, shatters, and sparkles. Featuring time travel, medieval nuns, knifings, and t4t romance, The Fifth Wound indulges the blur between fantasy and reality. Its winding sentences open like portals, inviting the reader into the intimacy of embodiment—both its pain and its pleasures.

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.