Green Mountains Review amplifies: “Black Voices”


The horrific murder of George Floyd in 2020 further fueled the Black Lives Matter movement across the nation as the issue of systemic racism in the United States gained greater prominence in the news media, politics and the arts.
Reflecting this growing awareness, Green Mountains Review, NVU-Johnson’s international literary magazine, is releasing “Black Voices,” a special issue focused on and edited by black writers.
While they normally release a single issue annually, this time they chose to release a secondary issue alongside it with this special purpose in mind. The publication raised $3,500 in order to bring this idea to life.
Professor of Writing and Literature Jensen Beach, who is the fiction and web editor of GMR, notes that the staff felt they could use GMR’s publishing platform to further the cause of racial justice and equity. “After the George Floyd murder and the subsequent protests for racial justice, our staff were all working for this cause in our personal lives and understood we were in the position to do something professional, too,” he said. “Our goal is to give space and voice to writers who might not otherwise get these spaces, at least not with the same ease that white writers typically enjoy.”
Black Voices was edited by three prominent black writers: Tara Betts, author of a poetry collection titled “Break the Habit”; Naomi Jackson, who wrote “The Star Side of Bird Hill”; and Keith Wilson, author of the poetry collection “Field Notes on Ordinary Love.”
Elizabeth Powell, GMR editor-in-chief, has arranged with The Vermont Studio Center for a public reading to accompany the launch of the issue.
“We wanted to focus on racial justice and give an editorial voice to Black Writers in view of Black Lives Matter protests this summer,” Powell said.
The reading has been set up and promoted with the help of the Vermont Studio Center.
While the staff at GMR was responsible for the layout, copy-editing and distribution process, the rest was left up to the editors of color brought on board, who chose each of the authors included in the issue.
Beach noted it wasn’t enough to simply make an issue with only black authors; it needed to be produced by black writers and editors as well, in order to find a true sense of equity and representation.
“We’ve provided the platform, and these editors are finding the best content and working with those writers to deliver what I’m sure will be a wonderful collection of writing,” said Beach.
Black Voices will be released on April 15, 2021, alongside the public reading of the issue, which will be held over zoom at 7p.m. that evening.
“It was simple,” said Darcie Abbene, managing and nonfiction Editor at GMR. “After what happened with George Floyd, we felt there was something we should do. We wanted to do what we could to represent black voices in America.”

The link for the event can be found on, and the issue can be pre-ordered and purchased on the GMR website.