Dryland Literary Journal Awarded Critical Minded Grant

We are excited to announce that Dryland has been awarded a $5,000 grant from Critical Minded, a grantmaking and learning initiative of The Nathan Cummings Foundation and The Ford Foundation which aims to support critics of color in the United States. The purpose of the initiative is to “build the resources and visibility of cultural critics of color through: direct support to publications and individuals, research, advocacy, and convening.”

Historically, critics of color have been pushed out of cultural and political conversations. In the article “Why Cultural Critics of Color Matter,” Elizabeth Méndez Berry, Director of Voice, Creativity, and Culture at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, wrote: “If we have been made painfully aware of the lack of representation of people of color in the industries that tell us stories, we should also be aware of the lack of representation of people of color in the places where we make meaning of those stories…the majority of full-time critics — at the few media outlets that still have them — are white.”

Through the Critical Minded grant the editors of Dryland are using these funds to publish criticisms from writers of color that challenge narratives, aesthetics, and topics in the arts while engaging in political discourse relevant to our readers. 

We are currently accepting pitches until March 1st, 2021. Accepted pitches will be published in Issue 11. For more information head over to our submissions guidelines.

Tongo Eisen-Martin named San Francisco’s 8th Poet Laureate

The editors of Dryland congratulate Tongo-Eisen Martin for being selected as San Francisco’s 8th Poet Laureate by city Mayor London Breed. 

Eisen-Martin is a previous contributor of Dryland; his poems “I Do Not Know the Spelling of Money” and “I Make Promises Before I Dream” were featured in Issue 10 in 2020. He joins the honorary list of Bay Area poets laureate that include Devorah Major, Alejandro Murguía, and Kim Schuck; In 1998, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, founder of City Lights Books, was the first poet to be awarded the title. 

In 2018, City Lights published Eisen-Martin’s chapbook Heaven is All Goodbyes for their Pocket Poet series, which won several book awards, including the 2018 American Book Award. Born and raised in San Francisco, Eisen-Martin’s latest curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people, “We Charge Genocide Again,” has been used as an educational and organizing tool nation wide. 

In a press conference via zoom with Mayor Breed, Eisen-Martin delivered a speech reflecting his commitment to the Bay Area community as a poet, movement worker, and educator in order to create cultural work that is transformative and conducive to liberation. “A poet of any station is secondary to the people. A poet of any use belongs to the energy and consciousness of the people,” he said, “my aim as San Francisco poet laureate is to join with that energy in order to create vehicles of unity. Events, workshops, readings, are all vehicles for unity. I will never tire building as many as this city can handle.”  

His second book in the City Lights Pocket Poet series will be released in fall 2021.

E.M. Franceschini wins 2020 Anzaldúa Poetry Prize

The editors of Dryland congratulate issue 10 contributor Eric Morales Franceschini for his upcoming chapbook “Autopsy of a Fall,” winner of the 2020 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Poetry Prize. The annual award is provided by Newfound, a non-profit publisher based in Austin, Texas. As listed on their website, the prize awards a poet whose work “explores how place shapes identity, imagination, and understanding. Special attention is given to poems that exhibit multiple vectors of thinking: artistic, theoretical, and social, which is to say, political.” 

Franceschini is a previous contributor of Dryland; his poem “Caracoles” was featured in issue 10 in 2020.  The author was born in Puerto Rico and is a former day laborer and U.S. Army veteran who now holds a PhD from UC Berkeley. He is currently an Assistant Professor of English and Latin American Studies at the University of Georgia. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Somos en escrito, Moko, Chiricu, among others.

The Anzaldúa Prize panelists alongside guest judge Marcelo Hernandez Castillo (author of poetry collections Cenzontle and Dulce) chose Franceschini’s chapbook out of three additional finalists. The prize also includes a $1,500 award plus 25 copies of the published manuscript, however, Franceschini is allocating all royalties to the Undocupoets Fellowship Fund and The Colectiva Feminista en Construcción in Puerto Rico.  


“Autopsy of a Fall” will be published by Newfound in fall 2021.