a literary review
the museum of americana is an online literary review dedicated to fiction, poetry, nonfiction, photography, and artwork that revives or repurposes the old, the dying, the forgotten, or the almost entirely unknown aspects of Americana. It is published purely out of fascination with the big, weird, wildly contradictory collage that is our nation’s cultural history.
We live in an era when it is fashionable to express either apathy or outright disdain for all things American. the museum of americana was founded on two core beliefs. The first is that there is much to love and celebrate in historical American culture. The second is that, while certainly not all aspects of Americana ought to be praised or celebrated, there is still great value in holding even that which is embarrassing or difficult up to the light to see what it is made of — and what could possibly be made of it.
the museum of americana will appear three times a year, in the winter, summer, and fall.
Originally from the flatlands of central Illinois, Justin Hamm now lives near Twain territory in Missouri. He is the author of the chapbooks Illinois, My Apologies (RockSaw Press, 2011) and The Everyday Parade/Alone With Turntable, Old Records(Crisis Chronicles Press, forthcoming). His work has appeared, or will soon appear, in Nimrod, The New York Quarterly, Cream City Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Sugar House Review, and a host of other publications. Recent work has also been selected for the 2013 Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Prize from the St. Louis Poetry Center, featured on the Indiefeed: Performance Poetry channel, and nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and the Pushcart Prize. Justin earned his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2005. You can find more information about his poetry and other creative activities here.
Karrie Waarala teaches writing in her home state of Michigan, where she lives with and is vastly outnumbered by her books, pets, and circus memorabilia. Her work has appeared in journals such as Iron Horse Literary Review, PANK, The Collagist, Vinyl, and Arsenic Lobster. She holds an MFA from the Stonecoast Program at University of Southern Maine and is a teaching artist at The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative. Recipient of the 2012 Pocataligo Poetry Prize and a Pushcart nominee, Karrie has also received critical acclaim for her one-woman show, LONG GONE: A Poetry Sideshow, which is based on her collection of circus poems. She really wishes she could tame tigers and swallow swords. For more information, visit Karrie online here.
Lauren Alwan was born in New York and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley outside Los Angeles. She now lives in the East Bay of San Francisco in a banana belt along the Hayward Fault. Her fiction has appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, StoryQuarterly, and in the Sycamore Review as a finalist for the Wabash Prize in Fiction. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize nomination and a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Her essays and reviews have been featured at The Rumpus, The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog and LitStack, where she is currently a staff contributor.
Lindsey Griffin hails from the Chicago area and holds an MFA from the University of Miami. In the past year, she has traded large reptiles, sultry heat, and an inflatable kayak for the hills and long summer light of southeastern Minnesota. Her current interests include iconic infrastructure from the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and the landscapes of south Florida and the upper Midwest. She resides in a 110-year-old house, hangs out at local history museums, teaches English, and pales in anticipation of forthcoming winters.
Jennifer Joy Jameson is a folklorist, writer, and photographer from Southern California. She is a graduate of the folk studies MA program at Western Kentucky University and previously studied folklore and ethnomusicology at Indiana University. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, her work encompasses museums, archives, and festivals, as well as folk and traditional arts programming on the national, state, and local level. Jennifer’s research focuses on vernacular art and art environments, the culture of roadside tourism, early country music, collectors of all sorts, and folk medicine and belief within the United States. She currently edits a series at The Art Of The Rural on the intersections of rural arts and ethnography, and teaches in the English Dept. at Middle Tennessee State University.
Ann Beman, nonfiction editor of The Los Angeles Review, has been writing a book about thumbs forever. Or at least since she earned her MFA from the Whidbey Writers Workshop. Her work has appeared in DIAGRAM, The Literary Review, Bombay Gin, Stone’s Throw, and Canoe Journal, among others. She lives in California’s Sierra Nevada with her husband and two whatchamaterriers in Kernville, on the Kern River, in Kern County. Cue the banjoes.
M. E. Silverman, editor of the Blue Lyra Review, moved in the wake of Katrina from New Orleans to Georgia. His chapbook, The breath before Birds Fly (ELJ Press, 2013), is available. His work has appeared in 70 magazines including Crab Orchard Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Hawai’i Pacific Review, December, The Los Angeles Review, Pacific Review, Many Mountains Moving, StorySouth, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Sugar House Review, Cloudbank, Mizmor L’David Anthology: The Shoah, Because I Said So: Anthology, Knocking at the Door: Anthology. A finalist for the 2008 New Letters Poetry Award and the 2008 DeNovo Contest, currently, he is working on editing a contemporary Jewish American anthology of poetry with Deborah Ager forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press (2013) He lives with his wife, his daughter, and Marie, the unwanted cat who daily breaks into their house through the heating vents. More about him here.