Nichole Shaw reads selected works for Witching Hour at the Englert Theatre


Nichole Shaw is currently the Junior Creative Lead for Off-Kilter Media, an inclusive arts and culture company that publishes four magazines: Off-Kilter Magazine, KIZER Quarterly, Womxn Like Us and Alphabetical Order. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Womxn Like Us.

She is also the Editor-in-Chief of VERVE Magazine, a digital magazine which exists between the space of newspaper journalism, creative arts and culture. She's held the position of Opinions Reporter at The Daily Iowan from 2018 to 2019.

We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print.

Margaret Atwood

The Sun Sings Us a Story

Meeting Sunny was like getting swept into an emotional current so intense it left you breathless. Laughter chimed through the social club as she visualized the fruition of her pop star dream. Her T-shirt’s shoulder pads were soaked in the tears that trickled down her smooth skin while she recounted the fight to survive amidst everything crashing down around her. A theatre of emotion exploded from her very being to teach us, to remind us what it meant to be human. "Art is the way to touch people,

The Awakening of Araba Ankuma

Awakening of the Womxn; The Awakening of Araba Ankuma WOMXN: (noun) a being free to make their own decisions, unconcerned with what anyone else is thinking, content with their self, looking like a bag of m$ney — Araba Ankuma Sidestep the darkness of misogynistic racism to create your own space, one that’s colorful and a mixed bag of blended beauty. Current state of mind sounds a little something like this, Happy with sunlight in my weave” When will we find it in ourselves to create that feel

D-Composed: A Black Interjection Demanding to be Heard

Kori Coleman and Danielle Taylor are redefining the identity of classical music by uplifting the Black voice and refusing to accommodate racist systems in the process. D-Composed is revolutionary. Led by two Black women, the chamber music collective builds experiences that immerse audience members into a world of Black composers, Black musicians, and Black culture. In an industry where—once again, dead white guys dominate—D-Composed’s Founder and Experience Curator, Kori Coleman, and Artistic D

An American-made dream: Lana Del Rey’s Norman F*cking Rockwell!

Let’s go on a psychedelic trip through the soothing scores of an introspective falsetto, floating to the ceiling where we’ll ultimately burst into a of glitter. Packed in like sardines, a vibration of anxiety and excitement takes over the room. A girl passes out . Another one is held back by her boyfriend as she looks ready to throw hands at the girl beside her. It’s absolute chaos and then—darkness. “Goddamn, man child,” illuminated the background. “You f*cked me so good that I almost said / I

Witching Hour x Fools: Writer Nichole Shaw

Feeling like a Stranger in One’s Own Home: Being Black An African student at the University of Iowa cut all of her hair off, because nobody could braid her natural hair. A black freshman relies on her mom to drive eight hours round-trip in order to get her hair done. A mixed, queer fourth-year shoves his earphones so far down his auditory canal it rattles his eardrum just to avoid the judgment from other black men in a barbershop. They tell me this is what it feels like to be a stranger in the

Baby Steps: Diane Guerrero Speaks in Iowa City

Chipped baby blue nail polish, bold blue metallic winged eyeliner, some black pumps and a couture black dress walk in to greet me. I am struck by the balance of confidence, vulnerability and imperfection: humanity. She is human in every sense of the word. “Diane Guerrero. Full stop. Period.”—senior University of Iowa student from the University Lecture Committee. Commanding but open. Invite yourself in to the immersive black drapes hung on the back of the stage. She glows from the inside out,

Working for a living — and health insurance

This story was co-published with IowaWatch. A 58-year-old Iowa City man has Stage 4 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an intense respiratory failure that requires him to rely on an oxygen machine around the clock and prevents him from working. Much of his costly medical expenses for this disease, widely known as COPD, aren’t covered by his health insurance. So, 59-year-old wife Debby Bell uses her health benefits as a University of Iowa employee to cover the cost of his checkups, prescrip

Chaos Shoots

She wraps herself in a fuzzy blanket and curls into a ball, lint sticking to her leggings and wax building an impasse in her ears, shielding herself from the misconceptions shot her way. She meets my gaze, says, “There’s chaos going on in my head at all times.” She is in ruin, and nothing but her ADHD medication is there to help her. Yet, even that so-called savior destroys her--I see it when I sit in her room watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower on a random Wednesday night, cuddling up und

Common: A Poetic Night at Hancher Auditorium

I’m broke but my heart is full. I earn my keep in my love and support of others. I earn my keep in the ink I splatter between the blue lines that box in my thoughts. “You have to be that divine vessel that lets the art flow through.” Flow down the cheeks of my black sisters who are beaten by sexism, sexual assault, diminished health care, domestic abuse. A wasteland of a body. Flow down the cheeks of my black brothers who are stolen from--their future gone, their incarceration imminent--my b