Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Christer Petley: How slaveholders in the Caribbean maintained control

It is no surprise that the whip is synonymous with New World slavery: its continual crack remained an audible threat to enslaved workers to keep at their work, reminding them … Continue reading

March 13, 2019 · Leave a comment

Jose Padua: Home Sorrow and the Million Ways We Make It Through the World

That weekend was one of those that reminded us of what we love about living in the northern Shenandoah Valley—namely, events like the performance in Castleton, Virginia, some twenty-five miles … Continue reading

February 17, 2019 · Leave a comment

Angele Ellis — Next Stop: Xenogenesis

 In memory of Octavia E. Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006)  In the bus bay, stark half-darkness of a ship corridor, propellant smell of diesel. Clayark obliterates Greyhound—blur of fur on … Continue reading

February 13, 2019 · Leave a comment

Desirée H Melton: Why report injustice when being justly treated is unimaginable?

As decades-old sexual assault allegations increase, so does the question: why didn’t women report it sooner? Shame, fear of reprisals and the unfortunately common belief that they are responsible for … Continue reading

December 18, 2018 · Leave a comment

Video: Where are the African Gods?

. “Where are the African Gods to save us from this misery and shame?” Lyricist Abbey Lincoln and director Rodney Passé create a meditative portrait of black masculinity through images … Continue reading

November 10, 2018 · Leave a comment

Bart Plantenga: A Transsexual, a Chainsaw & a Soiled Toilet

I will always be a stranger who never feels at home Eugene O’Neill . Let me begin by saying that nothing is as it seems and, in this case that … Continue reading

July 12, 2018 · 2 Comments

Tom Engelhardt: Walking While Black

Like everyone else in America, you undoubtedly know about the recent afternoon shutdown of 8,000 Starbucks stores for anti-bias training after the well-publicized handcuffing and arrest of two black men … Continue reading

June 10, 2018 · Leave a comment

Joan E. Bauer: Tribal

Grandpa Joe was nearly born in steerage from Palermo, but landed in Texas.   He loved watching Jimmy Durante on TV. The Great Schnozzola, a man of his tribe.   … Continue reading

May 26, 2018 · Leave a comment

Jose Padua: Self-Portrait in the Form of a Chalk Outline on the Concrete Belly of America

Jose Padua is a dish best served cold with onions, mushrooms and tomatoes in a light broth and accompanied by a rich lager with subtle aftertones of lemon. Jose Padua … Continue reading

May 25, 2018 · 6 Comments

George Yancy: Should I Give Up on White People?

You deserve to be punished with several fists to your face! You’re nothing but a troublemaker! I’ve had enough of your Racist talk! You’d better watch what you say and … Continue reading

April 17, 2018 · 2 Comments

John Lawson: For Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and my cousins Billie and Dave

When I was a boy in a Virginia suburb, The maids came on the bus each day, And cleaned and ironed and made us lunch. Outside, the colored vendor (“colored” … Continue reading

February 8, 2018 · 4 Comments

John Samuel Tieman: A Billboard Not Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A few years ago, my wife and I were driving in Franklin County, Missouri. I saw something off the road, and excitedly said to her, “Honey, look — look at … Continue reading

January 29, 2018 · 1 Comment

Abby Zimet: On Genealogical Glass Houses

. The Racist-In-Chief continues to spout his pitiless rhetoric on immigration – aka don’t want no more brown-skinned people in my wannabe chaste white kingdom – even appropriating the memory … Continue reading

January 19, 2018 · 2 Comments

Abby Zimet: The Immeasurable Creepiness of Roy Moore

Because it’s not bad enough he’s reportedly leading in the polls in Alabama, where we’re pretty sure we don’t want to live, and he’s a God-spouting bigot who fetishizes the … Continue reading

December 2, 2017 · Leave a comment

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