Madeleine Johnson is an actress, filmmaker and writer from Portland, Oregon. She attributes her appreciation for many of the best things in life—black coffee, dinner parties, roadtrips, rock music, laughing til you cry, trashy tv, pop art—to her late, great mother. Madeleine’s blog, Dear Mama, is a collection of letters written to her mother since […]Read more "Dear Mama PART 3"
We’re going to Le Havre! What a lark! What a razz-matazz, living in a harbor town full of alternatives and sailors. It was the moment life went BOOM. YOU HAVE ARRIVED. Hello, world! Hello, beach! Hello, midnight! And now we’re on our way back, my friend Laura and I (she of the cheese-tour-meltdown, who once […]Read more "Vacation: Return to the Harbor"
Madeleine Johnson is an actress, filmmaker and writer from Portland, Oregon. She attributes her appreciation for many of the best things in life—black coffee, dinner parties, roadtrips, rock music, laughing til you cry, trashy tv, pop art—to her late, great mother. Madeleine’s blog, Dear Mama, is a collection of letters written to her mother since […]Read more "Dear Mama PART 2"
As sane, reasonable members of society, the fantastical entertainment industry raises important questions. Questions like, who keeps greenlighting Adam Sandler movies? Why wasn’t Wild given a heftier Oscar push? Why does Jennifer Lawrence have to write essays demanding to be paid a wage comparable to her male counterparts? How in the name of all that […]Read more "The Unsinkable Effie Brown"
She keeps asking why I’ve come here— what spirit called me deeper or what bet I’d lost: the land baron and breathing wet and full with pine. He keeps naming me baby— I cannot be angry with a holy jaw. The hawk guards the tongue, the mouth— I watch the feathers fall […]Read more "Teaching in Pembroke, North Carolina"
We construct many forms of identity. An amalgamation summing to the concept of “me.” Religious identity, sexual identity, gender identity, racial and ethnic identity, intersections of identities. Conflict arises from seemingly opposed identities within a person and between people. Macroscopically, identity conflicts wage wars. Something of tantamount importance to us, yet also sometimes fluid or […]Read more "False Identity"
Put your hands together for PDXX Collective’s fresh new look! Our latest artwork (at the top of the homepage and on our social media pages) is fresh off the desktop of graphic designer Alison Shanik Breaden. When I met with Alison to discuss the redesign of the site, we talked about softening the minimalist look with a […]Read more "New Look"
Madeleine Johnson is an actress, filmmaker and writer from Portland, Oregon. She attributes her appreciation for many of the best things in life—black coffee, dinner parties, roadtrips, rock music, laughing til you cry, trashy tv, pop art—to her late, great mother. Madeleine’s blog, Dear Mama, is a collection of letters written to her mother since […]Read more "Dear Mama PART 1"
There’s really only one way to describe what happened when my six-month contract with the American University of Paris ended and my stint on the dole began. A miracle. A sparkly, astonishing miracle that was more shocking to me than the concept of eating a horse. Because no matter what anybody tells you, French people eat […]Read more "Un-job: French Unemployment Therapy"
Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands. Heard of it? If so, please feel free to drop me a line, because I think I may know you! Otherwise, you’ll probably be like most of my readers who stick to the more visually engaging spectrum of gaming, but I have to tell you, if that’s you then you’re […]Read more "Trendsetting in a Text World – Part 1: Focusing on Feminism"
Karina Lutz is a workshop leader, poet, teacher, and lifelong activist. She helped secure passage of sustainable energy legislation, thwart a proposed megaport, and restore wetlands in Rhode Island. In 2013, she received honorable mention from Homebound Publications Poetry Prize for her manuscript, Preliminary Visions. Decades after your banishment I feel your expression wooden in […]Read more "Half Smile"
You gave us joy for a little over a month. A tentative joy for me. From the beginning I felt something was wrong. I was reluctant to tell anyone about you. Then there was my sickness. Exponentially worse than with your brother. I thought I might be having twins. Or dying. Around a week or […]Read more "A Different Kind of Birth Story"
Sometimes we say, “This tragedy, it happened far away. I don’t know what to do. I’m concerned but I’m just dangling in space.” A poem can lead you through that, and it is made of action because you’re giving your whole life to it in that moment. –Juan Felipe Herrera Tell them you are not […]Read more "THE DAY AFTER or FIGURING OUT HOW TO TALK TO MY STUDENTS ABOUT THE UCC SHOOTING"
How in the world are these two categories related? Well, it’s coincidental mostly. It happens that in the last two months I got pregnant and had a miscarriage, and have experienced the struggles of being a vegan in a meat-oriented world through my best friend. She decided to become vegan a few months ago, after […]Read more "At the Intersection of Veganism and Miscarriage"
The year was 2003. It was the year I graduated high school and moved to Portland. It was also the year that an anticipated box office bomb ended up becoming one of the most successful movies of the burgeoning millennium: Pirates of the Caribbean. No one was expecting a movie based on a theme park […]Read more "Don’t Curse Cookie! Empire Fears and Impressions"
Have you played Portal? It’s been out for a good, long while now, but I’ve only recently gotten around to playing myself. I’ll be honest here. The entire time I played, I asked myself over and over again, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” This game is challenging, hilarious, entertaining, and just downright fun. A […]Read more "How Portal Powers Through the Patriarchy"
What I carry inside is a void. It is nothing. The vibrancy of creation, the possibility is absent. There is no sorrow. There is no joy. Nothing. The chasm threatens to absorb me. The death I carry within is incompatible with my life force. Slowly draining. I am not here, nor there. I am not […]Read more "I Am Death"
“You have a mother’s hands,” My husband said to me when our son was a few weeks old. I was holding a whimpering newborn, cooing and shushing in his ear, while gently stroking his back in a clockwise motion. “Do I?” I smiled, amused that I was now a mother. With mom hands. When do […]Read more "Mother Hands"
The voice was light, perhaps only a child’s voice, singing sweetly and thinly, on the barest breath. . .None of them heard it, she thought with joy; nobody heard it but me. -From Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House Two women are drawn to each other with suspicious speed at the start of The Haunting of Hill […]Read more "Influences and Imagination"
My skirt is penciled— my hair pinned back. She is 17 and 18 and 19, and I am pretending I know what to teach her. She marks her sentences breathlessly— doesn’t remember the comma rules. I forget she can see my punctuated skull—the otherwise naked space between the hairline and the ear. I hear her […]Read more "My Student Stares at my Semicolon Tattoo"
I’ll come right out and say it: I play way too much Hearthstone. In case you’re not familiar, this is basically a Magic: The Gathering rip-off created by Blizzard Entertainment using digital cards which feature various monsters, heroes, and NPCs from the Warcraft universe. If all of that meant nothing to you, that’s ok. You […]Read more "Ladies Just Aren’t in the Cards"
I’m not sure who “AWP Is Us” is addressed to.* It can’t be me Kate Gale of Red Hen Press is pointing at. I went to Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference once in 2014, when it was in Seattle and I could carpool and stay at a friend’s house rather than paying for […]Read more "AWP isn’t me."
“I’m sad,” I tell her, looking for analog in a world of constant digital connection. “I know,” she said, “you used to write great letters, too, and you know a lot of people, but you just need your roots.” “Go outside and listen,” my mother advises. Outside, I see all the life looking for hands, all the […]Read more "go outside and listen"
I remember the first time I attended the Willamette Writers Conference, the blend of idolatry and loathing I felt for the other aspirants. I couldn’t talk to anyone. What if these people were better than me? What if they made it and I failed? The second time I went, I was more ambitious. I reserved […]Read more "Have I Made It?"
You know how stories about living in France tend to be all drapey and gooey and winey-cheesy? Well. Every Saturday I head to the market with my basket on wheels and buy tomatoes from the tomato farmer and cheese from the tired cheese guy and the most random vegetables from ‘le petit gars’ who charges so little you feel guilty and try to overpay, and […]Read more "Odd Jobs: The French Hotel"
In this golden age of television, there is much joy. Between the premium channels like HBO and Showtime, new world players Netflix and Amazon, and even the occasional cable network, the art of the TV series has enjoyed a recent renaissance. The freshness and vibrancy of these shows is largely thanks to the diversity that […]Read more "True Detective’s Lady Cop Problem"
Alone, a female body begs for correction. I saw him halted on his tiny BMX bike in the middle of the sidewalk one beautiful Sunday morning while I was walking my dog. The man was in his twenties and seemed sober. Still, he waited there on the corner and watched a young woman cross Nostrand […]Read more "Everyday Harassment"
I’m on an Amtrak train cross-country and my train conductor is a lesbian. She’s beautiful and butch and has just the right sides of her head shaved that I will have me spending the next three days fantasizing about how I can get invited back to her sleeper car. I may or may not have […]Read more "Lesbian Empire Builder"
image credit: Gabriel Max Starner see the original photo of Hannah hear Hannah read below: —After Gabriel Starner, Heather Hayden, & Max Anderson I. I wear the long shirt that slides off the shoulders—the one that covers the core: a second skin, unconstructed. The one I feel most naked in. II. Tell me how to […]Read more "SOMEONE ELSE MADE YOU EXIST"
Ciara Cerrato is a writer and poet who received her bachelor’s in English from the University of Central Arkansas. She currently lives and works in central Arkansas, and she is a freelance writer and editor. She is at work on her first book of poetry. This poem is the third in a three-part series featuring Ciara’s work. […]Read more "The Pear of Anguish"
Gerard Sarnat, M.D. received his education at Harvard where he was the editor of the freshman literary magazine The Yardling. He established and staffed clinics for the disenfranchised, has been a CEO of healthcare organizations, and was a Stanford professor. He is published in over a hundred journals and magazines and is the author of three […]Read more "First Couple’s Trump Card"
Kimberly Russo is a writer and English teacher of under-privileged teens in Aurora, Colorado where she resides with her husband of 22 years, Tony, a high school math teacher, and three of her four children (Nick, Audrey, Grace, & Maritza.) When she’s not teaching, Kimberly spends her time gardening & bird watching in her backyard […]Read more "A Modern Nursery Rhyme"
Ciara Cerrato is a writer and poet who received her bachelor’s in English from the University of Central Arkansas. She currently lives and works in central Arkansas, and she is a freelance writer and editor. She is at work on her first book of poetry. This poem is the second in a three-part series featuring Ciara’s […]Read more "The Refrain"
Uber, but for sad trombones Uber, but for tiny violins Uber, but for l’esprit d’escalier Uber, but for Your Mom Uber, but for your great grandmother’s miscarriages & stillborn children Uber, but for your never known great aunts & uncles Uber, but for dry rotted rocking chairs Uber, but for phantom limbs Uber, but for […]Read more "Uber, but for Sad Trombones"
Dear Millennials, You are beautiful. Do not listen to people who say you are vain. They are over fifty, and they are jealous of your pores. They do not realize how good they would look if photographed with the Camera+ app. Buy a selfie stick. You create the life you live. Photograph it from the […]Read more "Open Letter to the Selfie Generation"
Ciara Cerrato is a writer and poet who received her bachelor’s in English from the University of Central Arkansas. She currently lives and works in central Arkansas, and she is a freelance writer and editor. She is at work on her first book of poetry. This poem is the first in a three-part series featuring Ciara’s […]Read more "Work"
Over Independence Day weekend we went camping in Crater Lake. When we checked in, next to the Pacific Crest Trail hiking box I had to Instagram in Wild homage, they handed us a pamphlet on the park. I unfolded its accordion creases to reveal the lake map framed in photos of wildflowers and mountain chickadees. […]Read more "The Day That Doom Went Viral"
Elena Caban is a poet and artist. She is currently an MFA student at Queens College. When she is not writing, she is likely painting, dancing, or chatting with aphids. She is of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent. Her work has previously appeared in The Acentos Review and Instigatorzine. foam-hiss, the. gulls, bare limbs, the […]Read more "anna upon waking"
We left behind the cactus and the quiet moss already echoing in the early morning We are sailing back into war into the flags I watched my grandfather treasure into the closing courts the righteous rage When you and I met we said in […]Read more "On Moving Back South"
My Dearest Doves, Hoorah for another installment in my favorite series, IT’S FEMINISM’S FAULT!!! Any readers with a highly developed sensitivity to baloney might want to skip the following letter (it’s a full-on baloney sandwich!) and jump straight to my reply. Consider yourself bewarned, sweet chickadees! Dear Miss Madame, My aunt is a nightmare […]Read more "Dear Miss Madame : Newsflash!!! Women Were Never Oppressed"
Naomi Jackson studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Jackson traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. A graduate of Williams College, her work has appeared in literary journals and magazines in the United States and abroad. She is the […]Read more "Debut Novel from Naomi Jackson"
The party was in full swing when a man in a sport coat walked in and greeted me by name. Everything about his demeanor said, I got an invitation, but I had no idea who he was. I puzzled over him like a difficult equation. After several hours of deliberation, I figured it out. I […]Read more "I Like You, but I Can’t See You: A Writer’s Reflections on Face Blindness"
The weather was a lot different and Hawthorne Boulevard was a lot different. 6/29/08 I’ve finally indulged in a Moleskine in hopes that having a fancy notebook will actually get me writing again. This particular one is the perfect size for the purse I bought at Last Thursday. Today there was an unusual thing in […]Read more "June, 7 Years Ago"
I was looking at an old Moleskine and came across a “2 Line Journal” project I had done for June 2011. It looks like I wrote two sentences each day starting on the 5th, or that was the goal. I was in Maryland helping my family because my father had contracted life-threatening MRSA and was […]Read more "June, 4 Years Ago"
“If I could stir I could break a tree— I could break you.” —H.D.’s “Garden” Once I thought there were two kinds of Southern women the ones who stay and the ones who leave I thought it was a choice and an easy one that any body could plough through the humidity could scrape a […]Read more "Crossroads"
I see them around town, like migratory birds landed, briefly at the steak house: boys and girls in their prom finery. The boys look awed. Ordinarily they would be embarrassed, but the creatures seated beside them – the girls – have been so miraculously transformed. There is no appropriate response save wonder. Although that is […]Read more "Where Else, Besides Death, Do We Go for Such Loss?: Reflections on Prom"
Last year, I spoke at my first tech conference, Open Source Bridge, mostly thanks to encouragement from my partner and some of his rad tech lady friends. I’m not a coder. I know some html and have an extremely basic understanding of CSS, but I haven’t had confidence in my web development skills since Geocities. […]Read more "Open Source Bridge 2015"
This is not an expression of some deep-seated need for self-mutilation or deprivation. There are a lot of perfectly normal reasons why I decided to stop eating for 72 hours.Read more "The 30-Hour 3-Day Water Fast"
Gentlemen may prefer blondes, but at what cost to the rest of the world? As soon as I heard about the premise of Emily Schultz’s novel, The Blondes (April 2015, St. Martin’s Press), I knew I had to read it. In this speculative fiction, a pandemic that turns blonde women into murderous fiends has crippled […]Read more "Beware the Blondes"