Hope in the Struggle: Josie R. Johnson, Carolyn Holbrook, and Arleta Little

On this episode, Lissa sits down with civil rights icon Josie R. Johnson and her co-authors Carolyn Holbrook and Arleta Little to discuss Johnson's memoir Hope in the Struggle: A Memoir (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). https://oembed.libsyn.com/embed?item_id=10919197 Dr. Josie R. Johnson has been an educator, activist, and public servant for more than seven decades. Along …

‘We are here in the right now and we have to be truthful and courageous’ – Author and professor Emily Bernard on finding her voice and speaking the truth

In 'Scar Tissue,' the first essay in Emily Bernard's debut collection, Black is the Body, she writes the story of a violent attack that left her critically injured as a graduate student, but which also led her consider her own voice and how she would use it to speak the truth of her own history …

‘I want to read something that tells me about about the strength of black women, the joy of black women.’ – writer Debra J. Stone

In "Grandma Essie's Vanilla Pound Cake," writer Debra J. Stone remembers an important moment in her childhood, and Minnesota history, when the adults in the family grappled with the news that her grandparents' home in St. Paul's Rondo neighborhood, along with many others, would be destroyed to make way for the I-94 corridor. This pivotal …

‘I was scared in a way that didn’t ask me to run from it, but asked me to stand in it’ – acclaimed poet Danez Smith on writing, mortality, and poetry as a medium for exploring the self

We are so excited to have finally had the opportunity to speak with award-winning poet and Minnesota native Danez Smith. Smith, who uses the pronouns they/them/their, spoke with host Lissa Jones about their genesis as a poet (they came to poetry through performance at Central High School in Saint Paul and credits renowned educator Jan …

‘I found God in myself and I loved her. I loved her fiercely’ – Remembering the great Ntozake Shange; with Sarah Bellamy, Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre

When asked by the author Alexs Pate in a 2009 interview whether she was conscious of a through-line in her body of work, Ntozake Shange said no. But she went on to say that her goal in all her work was to make African-American women the centers of the universe. In this episode, we look …

‘So much of my life has been decided by people who didn’t want to imagine that I would be there’ – poet Julian Randall

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you," writes Maya Angelou in her seminal work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In his award-winning debut collection, Refuse (emphasis on the first syllable, but used for its homographic ambiguity), the poet Julian Randall is beginning to tell the stories of his life, his …

DeRay Mckesson on ‘trying to tell a story about a world that we haven’t seen but that we know is possible’

  On this episode, Lissa sits down with DeRay Mckesson – civil rights activist, community organizer, and now author of the book On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope. In 2014 he left his job with the Minneapolis Public Schools to join and document the protests in Ferguson Missouri, and has since …

Bonus Episode: Live from Rain Taxi’s Twin Cities Book Festival 2018

On October 13th authors, publishers, book sellers, and book lovers came together at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds for the annual Twin Cities Book Festival, organized by the Rain Taxi Review of Books. This meeting of the literary minds gave the Black Market Reads team the opportunity to ask some pressing questions of these creators …

“With each poem I had to say: how is this going to be different than the story they’re running from?” – poet Patricia Smith on her award-winning collection, ‘Incendiary Art’

"We have to figure out, not only some way to write the story, but how to draw people to the story and keep them in it," says poet and spoken word artist Patricia Smith of the work of poets in the fourth season premier of Black Market Reads - her most recent poetry collection, Incendiary …