Justin Kern is a nonprofit communications person and nonfiction writer who lives in Milwaukee with his wife and cats. His words have been published in three Belt anthologies as well as Utne Reader, Great Lakes Review, Buffalo Spree, Forth, Milwaukee Record, Longshot Island and daily newspapers in Wisconsin and western New York. He's a proud uncle, lifelong amateur musician, and decent horseshoe pitcher.
How I Found Belt
Listen, my entry to Belt was hardly romantic, as I recall. A listing on Submittable. But that's also like saying many of the great romances of my life were without love and mystery because they were found at a corner bar. Parse the introduction, but it was the kindness, interest and coverage once I came through the door that has made Belt a special place -- to spend more time in, time and again. For wisdom, wonder, kibbitzing, like-minded strangers and errant familiars. Like a corner bar.
Two I've come back to:
Happy Anyway: A Flint Anthology brings to life a place acutely abused in a way relatable yet foreign, with love stories and street warfare and mention of one very humorously named strip club.
In the Watershed: A Journey Down the Maumee River is Midwest parachute journalism by a Midwesterner in their own backyard. It's history and "Cometbus" wanderings, biology and the real anecdotes of people you'd regularly just imagine.