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Volume 4 - Issue 3
Black Voices

In honor of Black History Month, our third issue of Volume 4 explores stories from Black writers and artists, often posing the question, “What does it mean to be Black in America?”

In “The Pain Eater,” DW McKinney’s final short fiction of her web residency with TNSF, main character Frankie experiences mysterious pains as she tries to swallow her sorrow over the murder of Black Americans.

Rochelle Spencer’s flash fiction, “But I Like Hell,” gives us a snapshot of a young Black aspiring architect’s experience in an almost all White classroom.

Britnie Walston’s two abstract art pieces, “Earth in Distress” and “Beautiful Treasure” remind us of our interconnectedness, how, ultimately, whatever mess or beauty we create, we are all in this together.

In “If God Permitted Pirates on the Mississippi,” Matthew Johnson uses rhythmic language to evoke a sense of equal destitution in the face of unyielding oppression from the powerful.

Lastly, Carmin Wong’s poem, “Black:” is a love letter to Blackness, a triumphant song of who and what and all the myriad things that Black is and can be.


Mark your calendars! Our February issue will culminate in a virtual reading of poetry and prose from this month's contributors. More information to follow.
"The Pain Eater"
Fiction by DW McKinney

"Frankie moved to the curio cabinet and studied the frames on its shelves. Like the ones on the piano, most were black and white, but some were in full color. In front of each frame was also a memento from the life of the person in the photo. Of the more interesting items was a pocket watch and a jeweled hair comb, a pistol with an opal grip, an onyx dagger, a letter sealed with gold wax, and two ornate necklaces that resembled amulets. All these keepsakes, she thought. It occurred to Frankie that these were more than just tokens of remembrance, that maybe there was a lot more her grandmother wasn’t telling her. I’m missing something, Frankie thought. What’s really going on here?"

-DW McKinney, "The Pain Eater"

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"But I Like Hell"
Flash Fiction by Rochelle Spencer
"On that first day Professor Kimberly Ericka Hays stood in front of the class for fifteen minutes before speaking. She’d dimmed the lights and there was a slide on the PowerPoint, a juxtaposition of two images: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Curtis Moody’s Legacy House. We stared at buildings overdosed with light, watched how bright sky streamed into the buildings, harmonized and clarified both homes. We’d grown up with television, but those images slowed us. We had to look again."

-Rochelle Spencer, "But I Like Hell"
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"Earth in Distress" and "Beautiful Treasure"
Visual Art by Britnie Walston
""Earth in Distress" is an abstract fluid painting that I created, in order to symbolically emphasize the impact we have on our earth such as nature, wildlife, the gradual decrease in resources, as well as the relationships with each other as human beings; given the past several months of chaos we've endured together."

-Britnie Walston, "Earth in Distress" and "Beautiful Treasure"
View the Full Images
"If God Permitted Pirates on the Mississippi"
Poetry by Matthew Johnson
"So like hail atop Pharaoh’s palace, the poah man slides to the ground
When he has had enough, and falls into a haze."

-Matthew Johnson, "If God Permitted Pirates on the Mississippi"
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Poetry by Carmin Wong

-Carmin Wong, "Black:"
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Looking for a good book to read?
We review a wide array of novels, story collections, essay collections, and poetry with a southern emphasis.
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Calls for Submissions
The New Southern Fugitives seeks previously unpublished writing and art. We pay contributors:

$15/page of prose (min $45, max $105)
$40 per poem
$40 per photograph or piece of visual art
$40 per book review
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