By Jarrod Shanahan and Abby Cunniff
SEPT 2022 | Field Notes
A crumbling strip of asphalt winds through the craggy countryside of eastern Kentucky, striated with power lines sagging in every direction. Wobbly pavement markings and errant skidmarks vanish at a hairpin bend buffered by low guard rails framing a rolling, sparsely tree-spotted expanse of hills. On one side of this road stands a roughly chiseled open coal seam, marking the remnants of a former mine. On the other, a bowed chain link fence capped in razor-wire announces the outer periphery of Otter Creek Correctional Facility. This remarkable image by photographer Jill Frank adorns the jacket of prison scholar Judah Schepts Coal, Cages, Crisis (New York: NYU Press, 2022), confronting the reader with the books central preoccupations.
JUL-AUG 2022 | Poetry
Ive been looking forward to this debut poetry book, Diaries of a Terrorist, for quite some time. Christopher Soto is someone I think of as a poet and activist in the same breath. His taut debut poetry collection is a testament to queer defiance of policing in the United States and abroad. His activism off the page (with UCLA Cops Off Campus, Writers for Migrant Justice, and Undocupoets) has pushed back against policing, human caging, and the mistreatment of migrants. Through language, his poetry and activism share some of the same concerns: an urgency for action, a clarity of vision, and yes, a new sense of hope.