The recent Democratic National Convention’s decision to come to Milwaukee in 2020 set off a lot of stories that begged the question: Who are Milwaukeeans? While there are many “view from the middle” narratives by national media organizations, the voices from actual Milwaukeeans have been frequently compressed to soundbites.
"You know, there’s always the kind of proclivity every election cycle for either coast to try to summarize who a voter is from outside of Cincinnati or outside of Racine, or you know. There’s like this ideal that it feels like they try to mold, which is completely, outrageously wrong," says Justin Kern, editor of The Milwaukee Anthology.
In some ways, the book is a response to these outside voices asking who we are as Milwaukeeans. Featuring a wide array of stories and poems from local writers, The Milwaukee Anthology paints a different part of the overall picture of Milwaukee. Kern says he also wanted to ensure the voices in the book were representative of Milwaukee as a whole.
"I didn't want it to be full of the tropes of what Milwaukee is or the stories that are out there abundantly," he explains. "One of the of things I certainty sought out in the call for submissions and in the people that I reached out to myself, was to make sure that Milwaukee - the actual range of diversity - was on display. And I think the book does a pretty good job with that."