This semester, there’s a familiar HWS name in one of the nation’s top literary magazines. HWS readers will find writer and Hobart alumnus Joshua Unikel ’07 in the Spring 2013 print issue of [PANK], one of HTMLGIANT’s “Hottest Litmags.”
Unikel’s lyric essay, titled “Holy Smoke,” continues his ongoing exploration of experimental writing and is his second appearance in one of HTMLGIANT’s noted magazines, after he published a prose poem in kill author last spring.
“‘Holy Smoke’ uses a prose-and-verse hybrid to explore one of the most disturbing and oddly evocative forms of human burial I’ve ever heard of,” Unikel explained. “Myholysmoke.com is a website where people can mail the cremains of their recently deceased loved one and have a portion of the cremains placed into bullets, rifle cartridges, even canon rounds. The site markets toward the families of late hunters and military veterans.”
“After I heard about the site, I was perturbed and fascinated,” Unikel said. “The whole bizarre phenomenon stayed with me, and I knew I had to research it further and write an essay,” Unikel said.
But that’s not where Unikel’s recent writing and reserach ends. HWS readers can also read two other of Unikel’s lyric essays this semester. Booth recently re-published “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” in its latest print issue after publishing the essay online last March. In the print issue, Unikel appears alongside nationally esteemed writers Roxane Gay and Michael Martone.
HWS readers can also find “Old Thunderbolt,” another of Unikel’s lyric essay that will appear in the upcoming, Spring 2013 issue of Sonora Review. “The essay uses a form that resembles ‘Holy Smoke,’ actually,” Unikel explained. “Except ‘Old Thunderbolt’ juxtaposes meteorological information about thunder and lightning with prose poems about the infamous ‘Old Thunderbolt,’ the only electric chair ever used in the state of Ohio.”
Reflecting on his recent publications, Unikel said, “I’m tremendously grateful to the editors at [PANK], Booth, and Sonora Review. It means a great deal to me, even more so now while I’m trying to establish myself as a writer.”
Unikel earned his MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow. Unikel is currently a dean’s fellow and an MFA candidate in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Visual Studies. He also serves as the assistant editor of the Seneca Review. His creative writing has appeared in TriQuarterly Online, The Normal School, Drunken Boat, Disabilities Studies Quarterly, and Parcel.
As a student at the Colleges, Unikel graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English, concentrating in creative writing, with a double minor in philosophy and cognition, logic and language. He also received the Katherine D. Cooke Scholarship for honors-level literary scholarship, the Benjamin Atkinson Award in English and Comparative Literature, the Dean Benjamin P. Atkinson Prize for his contribution to the lives of his peers and was also the co-recipient of the Boswell Award for philosophic excellence.