Scoundrel Time

Rion Amilcar Scott Is an MC’s MC: An Interview by Reginald Dwayne Betts

Rion Amilcar Scott is an MC’s MC. He creates the kind of imaginative landscapes that seem so real you wonder why you haven’t been paying attention to the world in the way that he has. But I gotta confess. I...

Paper People

No child wanted to be sent to The Shredder. It hid in a concrete, windowless structure several blocks from the car towing company, the chicken factory farms, and the E-waste recycling centers. That was where...

Two Poems By Cynthia Dewi Oka

You Don’t Have to Be Tough All by Yourself, You Said and if I returned the favor, it was much later. Or I lied. At the airport, waiting for my turn to sleep. Like a leg bone inside a grasshopper. In the selfie...

American Descent

“American Descent” began with images of Trump descending stairs: the elevator in Trump Plaza when he declared his candidacy (which didn’t end up in the final sequence); the bus steps when he was being recorded...

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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

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.”


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

An Interview with Roxana Robinson

Scoundrel Time’s Robert Anthony Siegel talks to Roxana Robinson about her new novel, Dawson’s Fall Roxana Robinson’s sixth novel, Dawson’s Fall, is based on the lives of her great-grandparents, Francis and Sarah Dawson, members of Charleston, South...

Elegy for the Republic

A sick scene of financial corruption, secret videotapes, spy rings, rigged voting machines, cocaine, political purges, easy as lies, trafficking, industrial waste, and always white supremacy —a coup— so it seems, and it is true, but didn’t democracy...

A Dinner

The pair of chopsticks had gone underground. So had the teacups and bowls, duck spoons and condiment dishes, teapots and plates. Long came home and did not want them around. “They are trash,” he said. “They are barbaric,” he said over the head of...


…facts aren’t the opposite of lies. Questions are.—Jennifer Kronovet Shouting, stammering, or dousing with vinegar, what can unhinge the vaults of belief? Pluto, full-fledged, is still round, still orbits our sun but doesn’t dominate its path...

Two Poems By Becca Barniskis

Agenda Machine Thing Mud faltered downahole halfway thru presenting (airloss lightdrain wordstick wormegg burrowing deep into screensavior) -10 sec break- skincrawl over&above turntalk beak- blurt swallow sling whatever you have to say far so...

An Interview with Xu Xi

  Scoundrel Time’s Robert Anthony Siegel talks to Xu Xi about her new essay collection, This Fish is Fowl: Essays on Being Xu Xi’s new essay collection, This Fish is Fowl, is a wry, self-aware journey through a globalizing world where borders...

Yearly Evaluation

“I do good work,” I said “That’s why we keep you,” he said. “I’d be hard to replace,” I said “Not impossible,” he said. “The amount of work I’m doing at this level, I feel my position warrants a higher salary,” I said. “We pay you a fair market...

Fractured Prism

/invite @you You joined #lgbt by invitation from Them Them: Welcome! You: What is this? Them: Aren’t you gay? You: No You left #lgbt *** You introduce me to your Family One-by-one This is my lovely sister. This is my punk-ass brother. My perfectly...

I Play House I Watch Things Burn

Oh, I’m no Roman emperor.  Kingdoms aren’t for me. My house is my corporation, with no room for mistakes, each outcome calculated, each cost projected, each bread loaf home-baked.             Artist and statesman both was I, a poet who also played...

Forbidden Art: A Journey in Persian Dance

A hush fell over our class, as Mrs. Mofid, the principal, boomed, “What is the meaning of this?” Her voice petrified us, like the wave of the wand that turned the heroes of our beloved fairy-tales into stone. My hand, reaching for Mina’s braid...

Six Questions for Diane Seuss

Scoundrel Time: “[I wish I still smoked so that I could sit outside in the dark]” feels candid and personal; it flows with the rhythm of private thought and then, at every turn, unsettling meditations sizzle just beneath the speaker’s cool...

Poems By Diane Seuss

[Yes, I saw them all, saw them, met some, Richard Hell] Yes, I saw them all, saw them, met some, Richard Hell, Lou Reed, Basquiat, Warhol, Burroughs, Kenneth Koch, and it all left me feeling invisible or fucked, fucked sideways, fucked by a john who...

The Collector

When I was nine years old, a woman came to our house. I was alone. My parents were at work, or on some obscure mission concerning allotments or storage units. Our house was piled with junk, which they described as temporary, just until the building...

We (also The People)

We are overwrought and underpaid, understood to be over-sensitive, we the underlings of the overtures of overrated undertakers, overcooked and ovaried; we are understudies of our overlords, gathering undergarments to make overexaggerated accusations...

Three Poems By Wes Matthews

Jimi Hendrix Plays the Star-Spangled Banner For a Crowd of Skeletons Du Bois said there would be days like this: when we must admit That we the People have decided to abandon heroics for the sake Of something more American. We must admit that there...

All I Needed for 2018 was a Knife and a Heart Emoji

January: The President taunts the other idiot with nuclear weapons. 🔪🔪🔪 🔪🔪🔪 🔪🔪🔪 I lose my wedding ring because I can’t stop taking it off and nervously playing with it due to the state of …well …everything. Husband doesn’t divorce me. Doesn’t get...

Bananas for Sale

The bananas were rotting on the factory floor outside of St. Petersburg. In early October, the temperature inside the nearly abandoned building held at just above freezing, too cold for the tropical fruit. Banana skins were greying, developing dark...

Two Poems by Sarah Audsley

  Letter to the Woman Who Carried Me on the Plane You must have transported hundreds of small squirming packages from one country to another, but of course, you only remember me. I was delightful. I didn’t holler the whole way on that long...