Joshua Unikel in The Collagist, [PANK], and Sonora Review

Joshua Unikel has  been writing on cremation, rifles, the electric chair, and the atomic bomb.

Appearing in the latest [PANK], Unikel’s “Holy Smoke” is a prose-and-verse hybrid that explores a website where a loved one’s cremains can be sent to be turned into bullets, shotgun shells, or canon rounds. “It’s one of the most disturbing and oddly evocative forms of human burial I’ve ever heard of,” Unikel said. “The whole bizarre phenomenon stayed with me, and I knew I had to research it further and write an essay.”

Using a similar hybrid form, Unikel published “Old Thunderbolt” in the most recent issue of Sonora Review. Unikel’s lyric essay examines the only electric chair ever used in the state of Ohio. Old Thunderbolt’ juxtaposes meteorological information about thunder and lightning with prose poems about the infamous electric chair.

Extending his practice outside of written essays, Unikel most recently published “Time Capsule,” a radio essay / sound project, in The Collagist. “The project uses found sound from YouTube to investigate memory in the Age of Information,” Unikel explained. “The sound I’ve sampled ranges from interviews about the 1920s to radio broadcasts about the dropping of an atomic bomb.”In his artist’s statement for the work, Unikel writes that in “Time Capsule” there’s “a forcing together, a collage of cultural memory and digital technology forced into the confines of human memory, consciousness, and biological decay.”

Unikel is an MFA candidate and Dean’s Fellow in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Visual Studies.

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