Most Anticipated 2023 Reads

Latonya Pennington talks about the books she’s most looking forward to reading in 2023.

Best Books to Give Black Readers This Holiday Season, 2022

Latonya Pennington recommends the best books to buy for Black readers this holiday season.

“Girl Vs the World” Shows a Black Autistic Girl Surviving and Thriving

Latonya Pennington reviews Girl Vs the World, a YA novel that shows a Black autistic girl surviving and thriving

“The Sound of Stars” Shows the Power of Art in Dark Times

Latonya Pennington reviews The Sound of Stars, a postapocalyptic YA novel that emphasizes the power of art in dark times

The Afro YA

The Afro YA promotes black young adult authors and YA books with black characters, especially those that influence reviewer Latonya Pennington, an aspiring YA author who believes that black YA readers need diverse books, creators, and stories so that they don’t have to search for their experiences like she did.

It All Belongs to You: A Review of R. B. Simon’s The Good Truth

C. Kubasta reviews R. B. Simon’s THE GOOD TRUTH

Disgusted & Enthralled & In Love: A Review of Louder Birds by Angela Voras-Hills

C. Kubasta reviews Angela Voras-Hills’s LOUDER BIRDS, a poetry collection that engages ideas of home, the corporeal, life, and loss.

“Sisters Always Love Each Other the Most of Anybody”: A Review of Leslie Pietrzyk’s Silver Girl

C. Kubasta reviews Leslie Pietrzyk’s SILVER GIRL, a rule-breaking book about sisterhood that broke through Kubasta’s COVID-induced reader’s block.

We Are Made of Woven Memory Circles


My House of Mysterious Compartments

C. Kubasta reviews Tara Burke’s ANIMAL LIKE ANY OTHER

#SaferAtHome or #AloneTogether Reading: Poetry When We’re Craving Proximity

C. Kubasta reviews CRUSH by Richard Siken and THE DEAD ANIMAL HANDBOOK, edited by Cam Awkward-Rich and sam sax.

So Much of a Mother Is Liquid

C. Kubasta reviews Callista Buchen’s poetry collection LOOK LOOK LOOK.

A Lean-To Upon a Once-Was

C. Kubasta reviews Paula Cisewski’s poetry collection THE THREATENED EVERYTHING.

The Negative Space of the Page

C. Kubasta reviews Emily Bowles’s poetry collection HIS JOURNAL, MY STELLA.

Prove Something Happened

C. Kubasta reviews Sara Ryan’s poetry collection, NEVER LEAVE THE FOOT OF AN ANIMAL UNSKINNED.


Portaging celebrates new writing from the Midwest with a particular focus on experimental and hybrid work from small presses.

C. Kubasta writes poetry, fiction, and hybrid forms. She lives, writes, & teaches in Wisconsin. Her most recent books include the poetry collection Of Covenants (Whitepoint Press) and the short story collection Abjectification  (Apprentice House). Find her at and follow her @CKubastathePoet.

National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month 2022

As the pandemic has continued into its second year, we at Brain Mill are thinking about spaces & places: how we exist in space, the importance of access, and the particulars of navigating places. We have gathered together in ways that may have been new to us over the last few years, greeting each other in small squares of connectivity, developing relationship and care with virtual check-ins, follows, and voices translated via technology. In our best moments we have learned to listen; in our worst, we have been caught up by all the ways we need to do better and think more deeply about community systems and for whom entry is barred.

In terms of poetry and creativity, we are interested in reading poems that speak to engagement with space/place, the architecture of the page, voices both on the page and off.

Brain Mill seeks to highlight and platform the voices of underrepresented writers. We are inclusive and progressive, with a desire to read a variety of forms, aesthetics, and styles. Through curated featured poets posts and our fee-free contest, we seek work that speaks to space/place.

Favorite YA Comfort Reads

Latonya Pennington recommends five YA comfort reads featuring Black protagonists

National Poetry Month Contest Winners 2022

We announce our National Poetry Month contest winner & short list

Editors’ Picks Week 4: Poetry by Katie Chicquette, Karen Mandell, Annie Diamond, & C. Prudence Arceneaux

Our editors’ space/place selections, week 4, include poetry by Katie Chicquette, Karen Mandell, Annie Diamond, and C. Prudence Arceneaux.

Poetry Month Spotlight: Jessica Jacobs

National Poetry Month spotlight on poet Jessica Jacobs

Poetry Month Spotlight: Stephen Roger Powers

National Poetry Month spotlight on poet Stephen Roger Powers

Editors’ Picks Week 3: Poetry by Skylar Brown and Kathleen Hellen

Our editors’ space/place selections, week 3, include poetry by Skylar Brown and Kathleen Hellen.

Poetry Month Spotlight: Ae Hee Lee

National Poetry Month spotlight on poet Ae Hee Lee

Editors’ Picks Week 2: Poetry by Anise Black

Our editors’ space/place selections, week 2, include a poem by Anise Black.

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Poetic YA Featuring Black Protagonists

For National Poetry Month, Latonya Pennington recommends five poetic YA novels featuring Black protagonists.

Poetry Month Spotlight: Angela Trudell Vasquez

National Poetry Month spotlight on poet Angela Trudell Vasquez

Makers on Making

Makers on Making features printmakers, writers, knitters, crafters, painters, photographers, textile artists, and anyone else involved in art. These pieces delve into the psychology of making, the lessons we learn from success and (often more usefully) failure, and what it is to be a human authentically and emotionally involved as a maker in our world.

The Clash of the Titans: Beading, Art, and Incarceration

Writer Michael J. Moore on the power of art in incarceration.