Pembroke Magazine No. 39 was published in July 2007 and features a special section on African American writers.
The group of works devoted to African American writers is a first for the literary magazine that is published by The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Dr. Shelby Stephenson, an English professor, poet and musician, has edited 28 of the “little magazines.”
“There are many great African American writers in North Carolina,” Dr. Stephenson said. “We have published many African Americans writers in the past, but this is the first time we’ve featured a section of their writing.
“It is a good idea to aggressively seek out diverse writers,” he added. No. 38 had a section on American Indian writers and No. 40 will feature Latino writers.
Dr. Stephenson is pleased with the results and predicts, “this one will have a long shelf life.” He singled out work by Jackie Green, Michael Harper and Jerry Ward.
In an interview shortly after publication, Dr. Stephenson leafed through the magazine’s 282 pages, and said, “listen to this writing by Jerry Ward on Hurricane Katrina.”
“.. I am seeing Spike Lee’s idea of how the truth inscribed in disasters challenges the beauty of the human spirit. The collage in motion before me turns me into a witness of all the audiovisual evidence stored in my memory; at the same time, it makes me a juror who must find a verdict. What I am seeing are reflections in Katrina’s eye. They pose disturbing questions about my obligation as a Southern black writer to be at once witness and juror in the face of an event and response. As I try to construct answers, I tear off layer after layer of the nightmare, exposing that recovery is a walk through the door of no return.” (page 30)
“Leonard Moore, who guest edited the African American section, and I are going barnstorming to promote this edition,” Dr. Stephenson said. “Leonard is a distinguished writer who founded the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective.
Moore writes on page one, that “collectively, these African American poets and writers depict the realities of the 21st century. It is certainly a time of deep reflection. Despite presenting works, which hopefully will resonate in some important way, I must say that this is only a sampling of the rich body of African American literature.”
Number 39 sports a brown cover and gold lettering that advertises tributes to the late writer Charles Edward Eaton and to detective writer Margaret Maron, a cousin of Dr. Stephenson.
Dr. Stephenson contributed a piece to the Eaton tribute, and he is very busy this summer with several projects including a new CD of “country classics,” and a newly completed book-length poem, titled “Family Matters: Homage to July, a Slave Girl.”
Editing Pembroke Magazine is a significant labor, Dr. Stephenson said.
“It’s not easy, but it’s great that the University supports it and believes in Pembroke Magazine,” he said. “We keep trying to tell our story, and that’s the function of a little magazine.”
Dr. Stephenson also thanked Managing Editor Tina Emanuel, “whose work keeps the magazine going.” To purchase a copy of Pembroke Magazine or for information, please call 910.521.6358 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.