Putting Tracks on the Map with Trish: Marco McKinnis

Marco McKinnis, a Hampton, Virginia-born R&B artist, has slowly risen in the musical sphere with his silky and soulful vocal range. He has featured in Rex Orange County’s renowned album Apricot Princess on “Nothing” and has collaborated with DJDS—duo DJs who have helped work on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo—on the tracks “Trees on Fire” and “Falling” seen in Big Wave More Fire. These features exhibit his flexibility in different genres outside his affinity for R&B considering that Rex Orange County and DJDS are alternative and electronic musicians, respectively.

McKinnis’ six-track EP, Underground, is saturated with layered instrumentals ranging from synthesized keyboards to acoustic guitar solos. Hit songs “Silence” and “CPR” gained recognition for its down-to-earth lyricism and overall old school vibes. Although many of McKinnis’ songs are reminiscent of the works produced by Babyface, Jon B., D’Angelo, and Maxwell, they still have their own fresh approach to R&B, and are similar to contemporary artists Brent Faiyaz and Daniel Caesar.

“CPR” music video:

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Not Your Binary: A QTPOC Reading Column – A Reading of Christopher Soto’s “Los Padrinos Juvenile Detention Center, Unit Y2”

For the first installment of Not Your Binary: A QTPOC Reading Column, a reading column centralizing on the contemporary voices of queer and/or trans people of color in the literary world, I will be discussing Christopher Soto’s “Los Padrinos Juvenile Detention Center, Unit Y2.” Because this is the first installment of my reading column, I want to emphasize the importance on centralizing marginalized voices, stepping aside from the dominant, mainstream culture, to exercise the very existence of surviving and living as a QTPOC, in and out of the literary world. This column is an exploration of political identities and of systemic realities; specifically, in the ways literature can either work to deliver, express, or alleviate the stress that comes with embodying the very existence of being a QTPOC in the time and setting each writer transports us to.

Christopher Soto’s “Los Padrinos Juvenile Detention Center, Unit Y2” takes the reader to a juvenile center, where the speaker volunteers and helps young men sublimate their emotions from acting negligent to poetry: “to be here / where the concrete ends / & page begins.”

Moreover, Soto takes on poetic devices, as well as theoretical devices, alluding to dates and research, revealing both intended and unintended consequences of the prison industrial complex that the speaker suits the reader in. The intentions behind keeping prisons open and alive are many, but what is often ignored is the unintended consequences of the prison industrial complex, which are violent: “each body is disciplined for its difference,” “[physical assault],” and “[one] can’t even scream in pain / [without being pathologized].” The attraction to keeping the prison industrial complex alive is the idea that the system eradicates crime and alleviates society of its “social issues,” yet the false comfort that comes with this “solution” is knowing that keeping this system alive only feeds to another individual’s nightmare: “Dee Dee / A trans woman / sentenced sixty years of life / [in a men’s prison].”

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Pick-a-Poem: “Daily Bread”


Welcome, dear blog readers, to another weekly Pick-a-Poem post. Each Wednesday, we feature a new poem for you to read and discover. Hopefully you’ll find a new poet, or at least one new poem, that might be your favorite. All of these poems come from Poetry Daily, which is a great site that features a new poem every day. Today we’re featuring Daily Bread by Jane Clarke.

According to her bio page, Jane Clarke has had her poetry published in The Irish Times and The Irish Independent, as well as various journals, magazines, anthologies, and websites. She holds a BA in English and Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin and an MPhil in Writing from the University of South Wales.

Daily Bread by Jane Clarke

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Pick-a-Poem: “Night Text”


Welcome, blog readers, to another Wednesday and another installment of our Pick-a-Poem weekly feature. In these weekly posts, we feature a new poet and his or her work in an effort to expose you to new writers. We find these poems through the very helpful Poetry Daily — a website that posts a new poem each day. You should check them out! This week we feature a poem entitled Night Text by Sarah Maclay.

According to her biography on the Loyola Marymount University website, Sarah Maclay has written three collections of poetry. These include Music for the Black Room (2011), The White Bride (2008), and Whore (2004). Her writing has appeared in several publications such as The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, ZZYZYVA, and Pool. She has won several prizes and fellowships for her work, including a number of Pushcart nominations. She has taught at Loyola Marymount University since 2005.

Night Text, by Sarah Maclay

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Ekphrastic Poem #4

Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor-in-training at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

As you, dear audience, know, there are many things that can inspire a piece. In my previous pieces I have used pictures. These pictures are more tools for the writer than anything else. They goal for a writer is to be able to paint a picture with words so well that the reader can see the image in their mind, without seeing an actual picture. Painting a picture with words is never an easy task, because there are so many different elements that the writer has to incorporate. To writers I say, “Keep in mind, that all that effort, that diligent pursuit of the descriptive, pays off.”

I want the readers to know that there is a very dramatic and different tone to this poem I have written. This is because there is no picture this week. I have chosen to write a poem with three separate inspirations that I interlink throughout the piece. I admit, I could get a picture to make this more in sync with the previous posts, but this would not support my point.

When I began this blog on ekphrasitc poems I mentioned that pictures can inspire. Continue reading