Scoundrel Time

Dear Miss Metropolitan: An Interview with Carolyn Ferrell

In 1996, a teenage Black girl disappears from the streets of Queens. Then another. Then a third girl, of Puerto Rican descent, steps into the street and isn’t seen again. The disappearance of these three girls...

From Afar (Translated by Siavash Saadlou)

*This piece was translated by Siavash Saadlou Then she fell in love. Out of the blue. In the thick of final exams, when the spring and the peals of adolescence become one, making you feel as if you were...

Blessing for the Lice Check

Miss Rosier, who was childless, had us bow our heads to our fifth-grade desks on the appointed day, as though for prayer. She slowly ran the side of a pencil from the nape of each neck to the top of each head...

On the Mississippi River Levee Styrofoam Cup in My Hand

that will disintegrate in 1,000 years    I drink my coffee     stand in gravel in my church skirt     black velvet I wore to my mother’s funeral eleven days ago           Take a photo of my own shadow on the...

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Thank you for helping to keep the scoundrels at bay. We are a volunteer-run publication, and your generous support keeps us going. Scoundrel Time is a 501(c)(3) organization, and your donation is tax-deductible.

News & Announcements

On Thursday, July 15th ST will be participating in “Connecting in a Time of Solitude and Strife: Poetry & Prose from Scoundrel Time Literary Journal.”
The past year has been marked by both loneliness and solitude–by the pandemic, by an epidemic of bias, and by attempts to divide and destabilize our country.
The link to the event can be found here.

Readers include poets Nicole Cooley, Merridawn Duckler, Hussein Ahmed, and Steven Fellner; and prose writers Munawar Abbas, Faith Okifo, Kenneth Massey, Azarin Sadegh, and Thomas Rayfiel. Hosted by Scoundrel Time editors Paula Whyman, Karen Bender, and Daisy Fried.


We’re excited to announce our 4th annual Editors’ Choice Awards, just in time for our 4th anniversary. Each year, the editors of Scoundrel Time choose a favorite work that we published in the past year in each of three genres, poetry, fiction, and essay. This year, each winner receives $125.

This year’s winners are:

Michelle Acker’s “Aesopica (2019)” (poetry)
Ken Massey’s “Behind the Red Railing: My Childhood Isolation” (essay)
Chika Onyenezi’s “Twenty Thousand Cedis” (fiction)

Scoundrel Time journal congratulates the following winners of our special award for pandemic art, Art Against Isolation. These 7 powerful works appeared in our series, “Scenes from the Pandemic.” Each winning artist receives $100.


Virginia Beards, “April 7, 2020” (poem)

Lori Barrett, “The View From Inside” (essay)

Robbie Gamble, “Barriers” (essay)

Nene Humphrey, “Pandemic Sound Scrolls” (visual art)

Timothy Liu, “Four Poems” (poems)

Azarin Sadegh, “The Lizard” (fiction)

Eleanor Windman, “Coping on the Upper West Side” (fiction)


Scoundrel Time is thrilled to announce our nominees for the 2021 Pushcart Prize:

Shane McCrae’s “Some Heavens are All Silence

Michelle Acker’s “Aesopica (2019)”

The Day Bahlul Died by Evan J. Massey

Coping on the Upper West Side by Eleanor Windman

“Behind the Red Railing: My Childhood Isolation” by Ken Massey

Roxana Robinson’s “Trump and the Criminal Culture”


And, we are proud to announce that these works published in Scoundrel Time have been nominated by Pushcart contributing editors:

A Standing Offer by Robert Herbst

Twenty Thousand Cedis by Chika Onyenezi

Strange Times by Faith Okifo

Dream Girl by Megan Howell


“The Route to Solitude: On Facing the Coronavirus in South Korea” by Josalyn Knapic



Here are the winners of Scoundrel Time’s third annual Editors’ Choice Awards. The prizes are awarded every January for work published in the previous year:

Fiction: “Chiarascuro” by Jordan Dotson
Poetry: “The Kabul Olympics” by John McAuliffe
Creative Nonfiction: “Outside King Soopers” by Elizabeth Robinson


We are honored to announce that Scoundrel Time has been awarded a 2019 grant from the Council of Literary Magazines and Small Presses (CLMP). CLMP awarded 15 grants to support literary journals through its newly established Literary Magazine Fund. The Literary Magazine Fund was created with an award to CLMP from the Amazon Literary Partnership (ALP). CLMP Executive Director Mary Gannon says, “Often the first places writers find their readers, these publications are essential to the publishing ecosystem, providing fertile ground for diverse voices to thrive.”


Fiction Editor Karen Bender was a keynote speaker at UCD Clinton Institute conference in Dublin in December 2019, Alternative Realities: New Challenges for American Literature in the Age of Trump. Bender was in conversation with Aleksander Hemon and Chris Beckett on “What to Read (and Write) in the Age of Trump.” Her talk featured several works that first appeared in Scoundrel Time.


We are excited to announce Scoundrel Time’s 2019 Pushcart Prize nominees:

“Chiaraschuro” by Jordan Dotson
“A Dinner” by Meiko Ko

[I wish I still smoked so that I could sit outside in the dark] by Diane Seuss
“Rest Stop Ghazal” by Dane Slutzky

“Where Is La Brecha Treinta? Racing Against Death in the South Texas Borderlands” by Caroline Tracey
“Scrap and Pig: A Foundry Hand’s Education in Heat and Light” by David L. Engelhardt


We are excited to announce the works published in Scoundrel Time that have been nominated by Pushcart contributing editors:

Bananas for Sale” by Olga Zilberbourg
A Man at the End of the Hallway” by Ksenia Lakovic and

Corona and Confession” by Ellen McGrath Smith.


Here are the winners of Scoundrel Time’s second annual Editors’ Choice Awards, selected from among the outstanding works we published in 2018:

Fiction: “Allegiance” by Lorraine Rice
Poetry: “Hold” by Sally Ball
Creative Nonfiction: “Born & Raised: Learning to Leave Steel Country” by David L. Engelhardt


We are excited to announce Scoundrel Time’s 2018 Pushcart Prize nominees:

“Allegiance” by Lorraine Rice
“A Cloud Like a Person Standing Upside Down” by Qian Zhang

“The Truly Screaming Baby” by Heather McHugh
“Protege” by Cynthia Dewi Oka
“Prayer” by James Hoch

“There Were Six of Us” by Sara Frankel


Scoundrel Time fiction editor Karen Bender’s new story collection, THE NEW ORDER is now out from Counterpoint Press. See this terrific interview in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Mariya Taher has received the Muslim American Leadership Alliance’s (MALA) first annual Human Rights Storytellers Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to defending human rights through storytelling. Taher’s essay, “A Prescriptive Identity? Not My Birthright,” appears in Scoundrel Time.

Robert Anthony Siegel’s new memoir, Criminals: My Family’s Life on Both Sides of the Law, is now out from Counterpoint Press. Booklist calls it “an engrossing, highly readable memoir.” Siegel is a Contributing Editor for Scoundrel Time.

Alissa Quart’s new book Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, about the struggling middle class, is out now. In a starred review, Kirkus calls it “thoughtful and compassionate.” Quart has written poems for Scoundrel Time, including “Thoughts & Prayers” and “Comey: Cut-Up.”

Reginald Dwayne Betts has been named a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry. His poems, “Secrets,” “Mural for the Heart,” and “For a Bail Denied,” appeared recently in Scoundrel Time and will be included in his collection Felon: A Misspelling of My Name, forthcoming from Norton.

Joan Silber’s novel, Improvement, has won the Pen/Faulkner Award in Fiction and the NBCC Award in Fiction. Her story “Unspeakable” appears in our How It Ends series.

Joshua Weiner’s Trumpoems, two of which appear in Scoundrel Time, are now collected in a free virtual chapbook at the Dispatches site: Everything I Do I Do Good – TrumPoems, by Joshua Weiner

Winners, Scoundrel Time’s first annual Editors’ Choice Awards, selected from among the outstanding works we published in 2017:

Fiction: Maria Saba, “My First Friend”
Poetry: Elly Bookman, “Plasticity”
Creative Nonfiction: Regan Good, “The Double Punch: Trumpian Violence vs NYPD Patriarchy”

Our poetry editor, Daisy Fried, was interviewed by 24 Pearl Street. She says nice things about us.

We’re thrilled and grateful to Entropy Magazine for selecting Peter Trachtenberg’s essay, “I Lift My Lamp,” for their terrific “Best of 2017” list.

Contributor Hillary Jordan’s novel Mudbound has been made into a film that premiered at Sundance and is now available on Netflix. The film has been nominated for 4 Academy awards in 2018, including best adapted screenplay. Jordan’s ekphrastic poem, “Flamboyan,” and “The Donald’s Going,” her satirical tribute to Yeats, appear in Scoundrel Time.

We are excited to announce Scoundrel Time’s first-ever Pushcart Prize nominees. The following works and authors are nominated by our editors:

Maria Saba, “My First Friend”
Matthew Olzmann, “The Blanket Room”

Gabrielle Brant Freeman, “Girltrap”
Amanda Newell, “thousands of spirit limbs [were] haunting as many good soldiers, every now and then tormenting them”

Timothy Denevi, “The Future Is a Ceiling of Impossible Water”
Raqi Syed, “My Mother’s Pilgrimage”

In addition, we’re excited to share that the following works appearing in our journal have been nominated by Pushcart Prize contributing editors:

Peter Trachtenberg, “I Lift My Lamp”
Dana Sachs, Factory Men: Migrants in Patras, Greece

Carolyn Ferrell, “How the World Really Feels About You”
Tracy O’Neill, “Shuffle Off”
Karen Brennan, “Requiem”
Karen E Bender, “Describe Hope: Assignment Given to Undergraduate Creative Writing Class on November 9, 2016”
David Ulin, “Any Humans Here?”


Rachel Ann Brickner’s dispatch, “Another Year Older and Deeper in Debt,” will be reprinted in a new edition of the anthology, Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class, forthcoming from Seal Press.

Elizabeth Rosner has a new book out: Survivor Cafe: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory. Her essay, “Before and After,” appeared in Scoundrel Time in July.

Scoundrel Time editor is interviewed for Bethesda Magazine: Searching for Truth: Bethesda writer Paula Whyman heads a new journal intertwining art and politics” by Janelle Harris, Sept/Oct 2017

Scoundrel Time is featured in “Writers, Editors Resist,” by Sarah Seltzer in Poets & Writers Magazine, May/June 2017



“In the increasingly convincing darkness / The words become palpable…" —John Ashbery

“Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the world.” —Grace Paley

Two Poems by Andrew Shields

Accident The witness alleged that the tram was run down by an excited horse whose rider found he’d lost control too late to prevent the collision.   _____   Crossing When you cross the river, look up if you can. There’s always...

Gig Economy

I am a person you can pay to outsource the in-person trolling of your long-distance nemeses. On Monday, I got paid enough to buy a sandwich for side-eyeing someone at a coffee shop.  Yesterday, it was knocking someone’s ice cream onto the sidewalk...

A Trio of Erasures by Erin Murphy

HR Erasure: Policy on Clarity   Use                                          euphemisms. Be                    ambiguous. Choose                        your                 own     definitions for                   words, your...


A great & maybe pensive blue heron in this black-glass office park stalks chill captive water solar -electric fountained to prevent stagnation & green blooms of lawn -rich algal slime the ponds rimmed meanderingly by asphalt walks &...

What’s Brittle

That place where it breaks—the faint hairline crack that snakes its spider web lines out in all directions, jigsawing sharp pieces out of what was once just a single thing: a window I have looked through forgetting the glass. The oak seen for weeks...

Sunshine and Sea Air

The water is yellow today, so Becca chooses the marigold placemats and beige dishes to coordinate, finishing with linen napkins and silver flatware (her pattern is Grand Baroque). She adjusts the place settings on the patio table overlooking the...

Damaged Goods

I Like eggs with brief craters, starburst damage masked, often, with plastic packaging, faults caused by mishandling, manipulated nature graded; any given woman. Oh, to be rogue, to know, to feel deep in the marrow’s soil that cracks do not equal...

Corona Corona

1. Traffic cones pop-up like moving goalposts, out of nowhere, sidewalk, stoop, parking ramp and it wasn’t the utility van or work crews who fenced in projects mid-way. They’re furloughed. This is more a gaslighty, elf-on-the-shelf kind of mind...

The Axe

My neighbor leaves his axe out in the rain. We are not neighbors, I don’t know His name; for two years we have waved And said something mundane about the weather As we passed. He’s skinny and gray and looks Like a salted redneck; he drives his golf...

Eisenhower Box

I have two kinds of problems: urgent and important. Around the block picking up a few knacks, still, way earlier than Sissypuss, loser, to City on Hill. Shot shit, talked old tie threads, strategically inveighed. Wide-berthed chronic whiners who’d...

Two Poems by Omar Martínez-Sandoval

It’s Too Hot in Mississippi   Honk and honk of the four wheels, the cry of the goose, this machine doesn’t care about the cyclist. They own the roads, don’t you dare ride in front of them. Stubborn. Why should you leave the road? Whatever. It’s...

Three Poems by Jill McDonough

Above Boston   From the air you could see everything—my neighborhood, probably my house. The T, the flat expanse of Stop and Shop, the new condos in what was the Catholic Church. MIT’s round dome; long shadows on the beaches of Revere. The...

Black-Crowned Night-Heron

The girl is alive—someone caught her on video. The girl is alive, alive alive, the women who fed her one night cackled at that glimpse of her face in the freezing forest and I heard them toast her wild will. How we accepted such things when we were...

Just Her Luck

If Holly put a penny in a gum ball machine, gum and a gold plastic ring would come out. At the Holy Names carnival, she’d lay a poker chip on a number, watch the wheel spin, and collect a stuffed animal.“I swear, you are the luckiest kid,” her mom...

American Healthcare Erasure

persons with disabilities                                 in large part                                                               unable to cover the full cost of long- term                  troubles remain exhausted long-term Health care in...

It Isn’t Our Fault

Across the highway from the tank farm, where tanks hold Bakken Crude and Tar Sands oil that, when the Big One, I mean the Cascadia-Subduction Zone earthquake, slams the Pacific Northwest, will because they are situated on backfill, explode and send...

Song in Flood Time

We play records. The rains know not how to slow. Hear a catch in the chords. Kneel, and lift one breath to the next. Bounty of chocolate squares arrayed on the table between us. Cards we tally, past midnight as the reservoirs strain and fail...


Invincible system. Riveting mass and iron forged to chute prime smokeless West Virginia coal down the mountain to the rails on the river gorge, locomote it straight to market. Henry Ford bought it, bettered it. Sold it when regulations hamstrung...