the museum of americana

a literary review


the museum of americana is an online literary review dedicated to fiction, poetry, nonfiction, photography, and artwork that revives or repurposes the old, the dying, the forgotten, or the almost entirely unknown aspects of Americana. It is published purely out of fascination with the big, weird, wildly contradictory collage that is our nation’s cultural history.

We live in an era when it is fashionable to express either apathy or outright disdain for all things American.  the museum of americana was founded on two core beliefs. The first is that there is much to love and celebrate in historical American culture. The second is that, while certainly not all aspects of Americana ought to be praised or celebrated, there is still great value in holding even that which is embarrassing or difficult up to the light to see what it is made of — and what could possibly be made of it.

the museum of americana will appear three times a year, in the winter, summer, and fall.

Founding Editor 

Originally from the flatlands of central Illinois, Justin Hamm now lives near Twain territory in Missouri. He is the author of a full-length collection of poems, Lessons in Ruin, and two poetry chapbooks, Illinois, My Apologies and The Everyday Parade/Alone With Turntable, Old Records. His work has appeared, or will soon appear, in Nimrod, The New York Quarterly, Cream City Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Sugar House Review, and a host of other publications. Recent work has also been selected for the 2013 Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Prize from the St. Louis Poetry Center. Justin earned his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2005. You can find more information about his poetry and other creative activities here.

Poetry Editor

Karrie Waarala teaches writing in her home state of Michigan, where she lives with and is vastly outnumbered by her books, pets, and circus memorabilia. Her work has appeared in journals such as Iron Horse Literary ReviewPANKThe CollagistVinyl, and Arsenic Lobster. She holds an MFA from the Stonecoast Program at University of Southern Maine and is a teaching artist at The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative. Recipient of the 2012 Pocataligo Poetry Prize and a Pushcart nominee, Karrie has also received critical acclaim for her one-woman show, LONG GONE: A Poetry Sideshow, which is based on her collection of circus poems. She really wishes she could tame tigers and swallow swords. For more information, visit Karrie online here.

Prose Editors

Lauren Alwan’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Southern Review, StoryQuarterly, the Alaska Quarterly Review, the Sycamore Review, and the Bellevue Literary Review as the recipient of the Goldenberg Prize for Fiction. Her essays have appeared in ZYZZYVA, the Northwest Review of Books, The Rumpus, and The Millions, and have been recognized as Notable in the Best American Essays (2016). She lives in Northern California. Learn more here.

Lindsey Griffin hails from the Chicago area and holds an MFA from the University of Miami. Her fiction has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Epiphany, Image, Saw PalmSou’wester, Midwest Review, and other journals. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado where she is a member of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

Reviews/Interviews Editors


Ann Beman, nonfiction editor of The Los Angeles Review, has been writing a book about thumbs forever. Or at least since she earned her MFA from the Whidbey Writers Workshop. Her work has appeared in DIAGRAM, The Literary Review, Bombay Gin, Stone’s Throw, and Canoe Journal, among others. She lives in California’s Sierra Nevada with her husband and two whatchamaterriers in Kernville, on the Kern River, in Kern County. Cue the banjoes.

Ashia H. Lane lives in a small city of 9,000 on an island in southeast Alaska, where she runs an indie bookstore. She holds an MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and has collaborated as an editor for literary journals Soundings Review and Tidal Echoes. Her work has appeared in Pank, Soundings Review, and Tidal Echoes. She has also worked as a blogger, an independent editor, and some other writerly things, but mostly she just wants to read good books and hang out with her dog named Turkey.

Art & Photography Editor


Amy Wilder is a features writer, artist, critic and poet from Missouri. She earned a degree in visual culture and wrote freelance art criticism for six years before pursuing writing as a full-time gig two years ago. Since then she’s received two consecutive awards from the Associated Press Media Editors, her poem “Collapse” was selected as a finalist in the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom writing competition, and in 2014 she was selected to participate as a writer and collaborator in the second annual open studio residency at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine.

Assistant Editor/Design 

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is the author of Ghost County (MG Press, 2016).His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2015, Copper Nickel, The Minnesota Review, New South, Redivider, and Salamander. He is the 2016 winner of The Pinch Literary Award in Poetry. John edited the anthology [Ex]tinguished & [Ex]tinct (Twelve Winters Press, 2014). He currently lives in Carbondale, Illinois where he is a MFA candidate at Southern Illinois University.

Music Editor 

Cal Freeman was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He is the author of the books Brother Of Leaving (Marick Press) and Fight Songs (Eyewear Publishing). His writing has appeared in many journals including New Orleans Review, Passages North, The Journal, Commonweal, Drunken Boat, and The Poetry Review. He is a recipient of The Devine Poetry Fellowship (judged by Terrance Hayes); he has also been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and creative nonfiction. He regularly reviews collections of poetry for the radio program Stateside on Michigan Public Radio. He is the lead singer and chief songwriter of the Detroit-based Americana group The Codgers.