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2021 Indie Lit Fair, Vol. II: Truth and Courage

White flower on left; text in center: “Indie Lit Fair. Vol 1: Truth and Courage.” PEN World Voices Festival and CLMP logos on right

A celebration of resilience and courage as we wrestle with inescapable truths about race in America.

“CLMP, the only nonprofit organization in the United States dedicated to supporting independent literary magazines and presses, is thrilled to present the 2021 Indie Lit Fair, as part of the PEN World Voices Festival. This year, we offer a virtual showcase of magazines and books published by independent literary publishers from across the country that resonate with the festival’s theme, ‘Power to the People.’ We hope you’ll be inspired to read, share, and buy these titles, which represent the vital role indie lit publishers play in our culture by connecting the greatest diversity of distinctive writers to equally diverse communities of readers.”
—Mary Gannon, Executive Director, CLMP

The Acentos Review

Founded in 2008
The Acentos Review publishes poetry, fiction, memoir, interviews, translations, and artwork by emerging and established Latinx writers and artists, welcoming submissions “in English, Spanish, Portuguese, a combination of two languages, as well as the use of indigenous languages.” The March 2021 issue features fiction by Alysia Gonzales and Ambar Grullón, nonfiction by Christiana Castillo and Mireya Vela, poetry by Branden Boynton and Natalia A. Pagán Serrano, and more.

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The Acentos Review logo

Apogee Journal

Founded in 2011
Based in New York City, Apogee Journal is a biannual print journal of literature and art that encourages the “thoughtful exploration of identity and its intersections, including but not limited to: race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability.” Issue 15 includes poetry by Hari Alluri and Yesenia Montilla, fiction by Ananda Lima, nonfiction by Suiyi Tang, visual art by Chiffon Thomas and Kelly Taylor Mitchell, and more.

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Issue 15 cover of Apogee Journal

Bastards of the Reagan Era, Reginald Dwayne Betts

Four Way Books, 2015
According to Patricia Smith, “In this bitter, unflinching and triumphant work, Betts mercilessly probes the soul of the soulless machine charged with the disappearing and dismantling of black men’s lives. This crisp assemblage of perseverance and loss relentlessly pummels the status quo, poems building each upon the other until the desolate inevitability of the narrative both enervates and empowers the reader.”

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Bastards of the Reagan Era book cover

Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture, Anaïs Duplan

Black Ocean, 2020
Through this series of researched lyric essays, interviews, and ekphrastic poems, Duplan explores “the aesthetic strategies used by experimental artists of color since the 1960s to pursue liberatory possibility,” and in doing so, “offers three lenses for thinking about liberation: the personal, the social, and the existential.”

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Blackspace book cover

Borderland Apocrypha, Anthony Cody

Omnidawn, 2020
In this award-winning debut poetry collection, Cody examines a series of lynchings after the Mexican-American War, following “the collective histories of these terrors” and “excavating the traumas born of turbulence at borderlands” in order to “work toward survival, reckoning, and the building of a future that both acknowledges and moves on from tragedies of the past.”

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Borderland Apocrypha book cover

Glaring, Benjamin Krusling

Wendy’s Subway, 2020
In this debut poetry collection, Krusling engages with and looks through “the thicket of anti-blackness, militarism, surveillance, impoverishment, and interpersonal abuse and violence” to investigate “the things that haunt daily life and make love difficult, possible, necessary.”

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Glaring book cover

His Feathers Were Chains, Denise K. Lajimodiere

North Dakota State University Press, 2020
The third volume in the Contemporary Voices of Indigenous Peoples series, this poetry collection takes its title from “a statue the author observed—an Indian on a horse—fashioned from welded-together farm implements,” is an “overt criticism of settler society,” and is “subtle, approachable, and grounded in Ojibwe knowledge and customs.”

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His Feathers Were Chains book cover

Kweli Journal

Founded in 2009
A biannual online magazine celebrating cultural kinship, Kweli Journal seeks “to nurture emerging writers of color and create opportunities for their voices to be recognized and valued,” working toward “a world where the narratives being told reflect the truth of our histories and the possibilities for our future.” Kweli has also supported more than 100 developing writers of color through its fellowship program and offers opportunities for writers to network with publishing insiders and a community of writers at its Color of Children’s Literature Conference and International Literary Festival.

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Kweli Journal issue cover

Letters from Mississippi: Reports from the Civil Rights Volunteers and Poetry of the 1964 Freedom Summer

Zephyr Press, 2007
Edited by Elizabeth Martínez, this new, expanded edition of Letters from Mississippi chronicles Freedom Summer through letters from civil rights volunteers, poetry by students in the Freedom Schools of 1964, and a dozen new biographies, “resulting in a wider resource for scholarship and for a general understanding of this critical moment in civil rights history.”

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Letters from Mississippi book cover

Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing

Founded in 1989
Published at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writingbrings the literature of Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas to English-speaking readers.” The summer 2020 issue, Tyranny Lessons: International Prose, Poetry, and Performance, presents international and U.S. authors “writing about social intolerance, racial injustice, and political despotism by rendering the experiences of ordinary people around the world.”

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“Tyranny Lessons” issue cover of Manoa

The Margins

Founded in 2012
The Margins is an online literary magazine published by The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW), an organization “devoted to creating, publishing, developing and disseminating creative writing by Asian Americans, and to providing an alternative literary arts space at the intersection of migration, race, and social justice.” The recent issue, tôi viết (tiếng Việt) | i write (in Vietnamese), “imagines and constructs an exhibition of word-objects and letter-beings born from a play between texts and images and sounds in various materials and mediums, along with poetic prints of young (Vietnamese) writers and artists in Vietnam.”

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Illustration from The Margins

Illustration by Shebani Rao

A Measure of Belonging: Twenty-One Writers of Color on the New American South

Hub City Press, 2020
Edited by Cinelle Barnes, this anthology “celebrates the incredible diversity in the contemporary South by featuring essays by 21 of the finest young writers of color living and working in the region today, who all address a central question: Who is welcome?”

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A Measure of Belonging book cover

Patrice Lumumba: An Anthology of Writers on Black Liberation

Nomadic Press, 2020
Edited by Michaela Mullin, Noelia Cerna, and Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross, this poetry anthology “collects the liberatory words of 24 authors, many of whom call Oakland, California, home” and explores “contemporary colonization, the racial/physical/mental/physic abuses of power, locations of home, alternative modes of work, the health profession, and the healing powers of history.”

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Patrice Lumumba anthology book cover

Sharing the Burden of Repair: Reentry After Mass Incarceration, Heather Tosteson and Charles D. Brockett

Wising Up Press, 2020
This book, which chronicles experiences of reentry from the criminal justice system, “describes a six-year listening project on reentry that took place at the crest of an unusual wave of bipartisan criminal justice reform in Georgia” and was motivated by “deep concern about the individual, familial, community, and societal consequences of mass incarceration.”

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Sharing the Burden of Repair book cover

Stop and Frisk: American Poems, Jabari Asim

Bloomsday Literary, 2020
In this poetry collection that draws “defiant inspiration from the news and the Blues,” Asim “ruthlessly interrogates entrenched injustice and its insidious echoes,” and dramatic monologues “expose the dark heart of our nation and call for a reckoning.”

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Stop and Frisk book cover

Survivors’ Guilt: Essays on Race and American Identity, Artress Bethany White

New Rivers Press, 2020
According to Bridgett M. Davis, “Using personal and familial narratives from her own ‘tangled racial threads’ as our intimate guide, White helps us understand this traumatized cultural moment by weaving together harsh truths with poetic language and fierce insight.”

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Survivor’s Guilt book cover

Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths about America’s Lingua Franca, John McWhorter

Bellevue Literary Press, 2017
In Talking Back, Talking Black, linguist and academic McWhorter explores “the form, structure, and development of Black English,” explaining “its fundamentals and rich history while carefully examining the cultural, educational, and political issues that have undermined recognition of this transformative, empowering dialect.”

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Talking Back, Talking Black book cover

Uncle: Race, Nostalgia, and the Politics of Loyalty, Cheryl Thompson

Coach House Books, 2021
In Uncle, Thompson “explores how Uncle Tom came to be and exposes the relentless reworking of Uncle Tom into a nostalgic, racial metaphor with the power to shape how we see Black men” and “makes the case for why understanding the production of racial stereotypes matters more than ever before.”

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Uncle book cover

White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia, Kiki Petrosino

Sarabande Books, 2020
In her fourth poetry collection, Petrosino “turns her gaze to Virginia, where she digs into her genealogical and intellectual roots, while contemplating the knotty legacies of slavery and discrimination in the Upper South. . . speaking to history, loss, and injustice with wisdom, innovation, and a scientific determination to find the poetic truth.”

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White Blood book cover

You Can Keep That to Yourself: A Comprehensive List of What Not to Say to Black People, for Well-Intentioned People of Pallor, Adam Smyer

Akashic Books, 2020
Smyer’s “tabbed and alphabetized list of things not to say to black people” is, according to Publishers Weekly, “designed to strip away the hypocrisy and half-truths of these cultural exchanges by laughing at them.”

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You Can Keep That to Yourself book cover

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