Now Read This: April 2023

Highlighting recently released and forthcoming works by marginalized creators

Black Avatar and Other Essays by Amit Majmudar

Black Avatar and Other Essays is the first nonfiction collection by internationally acclaimed poet, novelist, and translator Amit Majmudar. Combining elements of memoir, biography, history, and literary criticism, the eight pieces in this deeply engaging volume reflect the author’s comprehensive studies of the American, European, and Indian traditions, as well as his experiences in both suburban Ohio and in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

Phantom Advances by Mary Lynn Reed

In Mary Lynn Reed’s debut short story collection, Phantom Advances, young queer women travel America’s back roads, roaming through the South, Midwest, New York, and California, while questions of gender and identity ride shotgun. Peering through bug-stained windshields and the viewfinders of old film cameras, these wanderers find love, heartbreak, and little pieces of themselves wherever the road takes them. Along the way, their origin stories are also revealed. Boyish girls ace math while mucking horse stalls at a nudist summer camp and teenage tomboys pool-shark at the family-owned Game Room. In bowling alleys, factories, college-town bars, and gay discos, the stories in Phantom Advances calculate the risks of love, and contemplate the odds of being seen for who you truly are.

CRUEL/CRUEL by Dior J. Stephens

CRUEL/CRUEL is the manifestation of a Black, queer voice grappling with the intricacies of (un)belonging and identity. These poems use genres of queerness and race to reckon with the pervasive power of oppressive institutions, shaped by art and a soundtrack of Black musical traditions of resistance: from jazz to soul to experimental to hip hop. A hybrid visual and literary object, CRUEL/CRUEL feels relentlessly present, and yet emphasizes the archival and documentary as intrinsic to our personal and collective survivals.

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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.