YouNiversity Project 2014

YouNiversity 2015 is underway! We are open for business!

Starting September 2015, the YouNiversity will give two students, one in New York City and one in Colorado, the opportunity to do a hybrid mentorship program. Students will work with one of us in person and the other remotely, while developing multimedia skills and improving their artistic talents.

In order to submit, email a 2-3 page writing sample to and include your name, address, and phone number. Applicants must be between the ages of 19–55. New York applicants must live in the New York Metropolitan area, to include northern New Jersey and Connecticut. Colorado applicants must live in the Front Range metropolitan area as far north as Boulder and as far south as Pueblo. Applicants must be able to travel to Colorado Springs for occasional meetings.

Entries will be accepted until July 20, 2015.

For more, see our recent press release via Latino Rebels:

Graduation – See You Next Year

And so the YouNiversity draws to a close. This experiment has grown in ways neither Chris nor myself ever expected, and we look forward to the year ahead as we put together the YouNiversity 2016. Next year we will focus on Latino writers, and we hope that you see this blog and see the work we have done and decide to participate in future projects. But don’t take our word for how this program has been a success, we recently asked our students for their feedback on the program and here is what they had to say:

“I was both surprised and delighted by how involved everyone in the program was, from the mentors to the participants to the guest speakers. I feel more able to go after my dreams of publishing poetry because of all of the knowledge I have gained from this program. Whereas before I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of receiving my undergraduate degree and then moving away from my contacts in the writing world (my professors and classmates), I now feel more secure in having begun to build a network of helpful and encouraging people.” –Emma Mayhood

“This is an outstanding program. I consider it a privilege of the highest order to be involved with the YouNiversity. It was a detailed and comprehensive full-spectrum introduction to the ins and outs of the publishing process. My initial thoughts were that this was more directly related to actual writing. I think it is fair to describe the program as a mentorship on the business of writing more so than generating creative content. In that regard, it is more valuable than a writing internship. What I mean by that is there are any number of top quality opportunities to learn how to write better. Whereas it seems the “school” for learning the publishing industry is the school of hard knocks with all its attendant mishaps, ripoffs, anxiety, and depression. The value comes from the rarity of what you are doing. Also, we all know if the writing is brilliant but your business skills suck, it effectively cancels the writing.” –Yma Johnson

Emma’s Final Query Letter

Emma Mayhood

Attn. Mr. Machlin:

Stagnancy plagues generations that have lost the ability to live in the present and only look ahead, constantly updating and faking connections with a like, a comment, or a link shared, and through this idleness time has collapsed into a fleeting dream.

Your request cannot be processed at this time is a poetry collection exploring relationships forged behind a technological screen and the repercussions of fashioning our relationships after the fleeting nature of technology. Technology both eases and complicates relationships allowing more contact with more people in more places but leading to less time spent in the present. Time has become a convoluted concept we strive to catch up to and grasp. We incessantly ask for more time but its slippery nature prevents us from being able to hold and ultimately capture it. This collection oscillates between immersion in relationships in a technological age, perceived to be contrived, and isolating abstention from the cultural shift entirely. Asking and attempting to answer questions about time, what it means today, and how we can effectively spend it results from the confusion between embracing and renouncing technology.

I am a recent graduate of the Creative Writing program at Eastern Michigan University where we were exposed to various forms of contemporary writing including sound poetry and lyric essay. Coupled with these experiences was my first exposure to social media and the puzzling and, at times, anxious feelings that come with losing personal connections.

This collection focuses on an audience of late teens through mid-thirties who grew up with a plethora of technology and the expectation of constantly emerging technology. The collection is intentionally concise to raise questions about time to explore, reflect, and answer individually. I plan to market using social media in an attempt to reach people who have difficulty separating technology from themselves.

Poems in this collection range from a few lines to a few pages, at times hovering between poetry and prose, and use layout to increase meaning in each poem and the collection. Futurepoem books focuses on innovative and contemporary poetry. This collection asks important questions about how relations between people are mediated by technology.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


Emma Mayhood

Yma’s Final Query Letter

Dear Ace/Rock Books,

Set in the post-apocalyptic Blast Lands, Oracle Jack chronicles the journey of a fallen sorcerer-priest as his addiction to red penance fuels a life of increasing violence and criminality. In a world where traffickers and addicts are always shot on sight, Oracle Jack awakens from an overdose to find himself locked up with a junkie called Hanged Man and awaiting an unknown fate. This science fiction novel weaves symbolic imagery from the major arcana of the tarot deck with allegory around mass incarceration, substance abuse, and pharmaceutical experiments on prisoners.

I selected Ace Books for its history of publishing iconic cyberpunk books like Phillip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” and William Gibson’s “Neuromancer.” Oracle Jack is a complex anti-hero in the tradition of bounty hunter Rick Deckard and console cowboy Henry Dorsett Case. He is a marginalized fringe-dweller hustling in a landscape of social decay and unrestrained corporate greed. Novels by Samuel R. Delaney show Ace/Rock Books commitment to the subtleties of world building and craftsmanship at the sentence level.

With two decades as a journalist in San Juan, PR and Ann Arbor, MI, I have seen how poverty, addiction, untreated mental illness, and a society unable to manage these issues leads to rampant incarceration. Oracle Jack comes out of these experiences and my work teaching poetry at a women’s prison.

My short story, “Captain Blood is Coming”, has been accepted for publication in the “Encyclopedia Project Vol. 3 L-Z” edited by Tisa Bryant and award-winning author Miranda Mellis. “August Lokken” will be published in an H.P. Lovecraft-inspired story collection “Chtulhu Lies Dreaming” (Ghostwoods Book, England). “A Bed for Damaris” won first place in the 2012 Current Magazine Poetry and Fiction Contest. In 2015, I received an honorable mention from Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Contest. I am a master’s candidate in the creative writing program at Eastern Michigan University.

This book will appeal to readers who enjoy science fiction and dystopian novels. The United States marketing strategy includes readings, a book tour, reviews, and interviews networked through my contacts at Eastern Michigan University, the Ann Arbor Area Writers Group, University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor Observer, Drexel University, Aignos Publishing, and Davidson College. I also have editorial connections in England, Portugal, and Puerto Rico. I intend to work with The Michigan Center for the Book and the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association to coordinate regional author events.

My international digital strategy targets the major English-language markets: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and India. I also plan to market in Latin America with a focus on Puerto Rico. I will use my online presence as an exploration point for the exploding e-book markets in Turkey and China.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


Yma A. Johnson

Author Manifesto for Emma Mayhood

In our final month and a half of the YouNiversity Project, we will take what we have learned and apply it to two assignments which are vital for any writer. A public appearance and refining the query letter. To create a public appearance, we will be posting video manifestos proclaiming who we are as writers and what we wish to accomplish with our work. The videos are meant to engage viewers to start a digital conversation with us. Next up is Emma Mayhood, our poet in residence. If you have not read her works for us, scroll down after you see this video. She is the real thing.

Video Manifesto for Jonathan Marcantoni

In our final month and a half of the YouNiversity Project, we will take what we have learned and apply it to two assignments which are vital for any writer. A public appearance and refining the query letter. To create a public appearance, we will be posting video manifestos proclaiming who we are as writers and what we wish to accomplish with our work. The videos are meant to engage viewers to start a digital conversation with us. Our first video is from mentor Jonathan Marcantoni, and can be seen here

Emma’s poetry rewrite


Peering through the window focus

trees focus screen like memory

approach and see

one scene, another

together residue of the leaves

light squinting through the squares

frame comes into focus

on the tree a painting rustling

the breeze, your hair

the window, your eyes

are closed

in a room without a window

a view but within your mind

memories create

imagination creates


inside this box

of sleep of dreams of daydreams of

what we remember.



he was reminded

of the again

and again

he watched and


wondering if



and the infinitesimal



he thought

was the answer to re


to fixing and re


but he wasn’t

doing living fixing


one or thing

he was repeating himself

while others



those that present define one another

ration an aspect as distinct, eternity

ration as distinct eternity: a system

measuring passage

I’m interval between two: youth

son, an effort limited before once

in contemporaneous not prehistoric

the sign: experience of, an, the, it

est. life, formal

force son spare hope, take “I’m”

define it?

etc.: proper, ever indefinite

characteristic of

me, relative

me, rhythm

me, duration

it’s poetic

being temporarily present

gain delay into occasion

lock moment: speed to fix 15 minutes

understand one travels quickly with progress

again and again, age at life.


The: of event as to (any) future continuous events succeed one another as a distinct eternity to come from measuring or limited between two particulars. end of a prescribed particular (formal term) imprisonment take a definite point break. extend rapidity of duration.


passages donate pertaining speed, stoke late attack. unisons limit early quit. achieve good, understand correct, observe quick quickly, alternate one’s own, designate one’s experience (me) (one).