Good Stuff (January)

Good news & happenings from/with our authors&poets:

Set the Garden on Fire (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Chen Chen // @chenchenwrites

Chen writes not to seek solutions, but rather to document the fullness of the problem, as an embodied weight from which language emerges. Chen’s poems investigate identity with a kind of generosity. They retrace past traumas, to find in them the possibility of repair. In “Tale of the Heart & the Knife,” a friend observes, reflecting on Chen’s own descriptions of his parents, “You talk about them so tenderly…How do you do that?” He replies, “I have not always been tender. / So perhaps it’s a way of making up, talking about them tenderly.” | more at Entropy


Pray, Pray, Pray: poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by E. Kristin Anderson // @ek_anderson

  • a petite review of Pray, Pray, Pray in tweetspeak (Glynn Young)

Good Stuff in December

My Heart in Aspic (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Sonya Vatomsky // @coolniceghost

NGQ: Sonya, first I’d like to ask about your origin story: if you were a character in a poem, how might you introduce yourself?

SONYA VATOMSKY: Chaotic neutral half-elf bard. I’m the scoundrel in the corner of the tavern trying to sell treasure maps to unsuspecting adventurers. Seriously, though, I’m in all my poems. At least a little bit. Especially the angry ones.


midnight blue (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Vanessa Jimenez Gabb //

13 – David W. McFadden once said that books come from books, but are there any other forms that influence your work, whether nature, music, science or visual art? Yes, all those, everything. You can trust a writer with anything. | more at rob’s blog


press yourself against a mirror (Janelle Adsit)

In a hunt for identity where dreams are “spindly and thriving,” we must search for what we want and then count on ourselves for the strength to hold it close, to keep it safe, to interrogate all that’s reflected in the people & things that are our mirrors. (Porkbelly Press, 2015) // learn more

Poems by Janelle Adsit.
Cover image by Christopher Squier.


Good Stuff – December (week one)

Good news & happenings from/with our authors&poets:

Set the Garden on Fire (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Chen Chen // @chenchenwrites

What’s pink & shiny / what’s dark & hard (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Sarah B. Boyle // @pyrrhicspondee

“Boyle’s poetry chapbook, What’s pink & shiny / what’s dark and hard (Porkbelly Press, 2015), provides a brutal honesty about abortion that our culture has been yearning for, and actually dying for the lack of. Here is empathy with teeth; the kind that will reopen the wound, lick it clean, and give you another chance to heal yourself better.” | more

My Heart in Aspic (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Sonya Vatomsky // @coolniceghost

  • Sonya’s full-length, Salt is for Curing (Sator Press, 2015), which includes poems from My Heart in Aspic, is reviewed via Alien Mouth by Christopher Morgan.

“’Salt is For Curing’ offers the ultimate reward in exchange for your darkest red. Making a thick paste from a phoenix’s bones to reexamine resurrection myths, these poems count all 32 teeth, then eat your words with bread. Sonya Vatomsky reflects upon salt and suffering, creating a literary love potion that’s equal parts wishing well and butcher’s hook.” | more

Centralia (Sarah Gzemski)

Centralia is a mixed genre chapbook, blending personal essay, photographs, and poems into a narrative of family, silence, admiration, and regret. It’s very much about things unseen or only hinted at, told against the backdrop of a small town in Pennsylvania, a community resting on a thin crust of earth spanning fire. This is a chapbook well suited to the image-rich, surreal imagery of an underground burn, rooted in a sense of place and colored by a veil of smoke. Just when you think you know what this narrative’s about, another fissure opens. | available from our shop

This chapbook measures approximately 6.25 x 5.25 inches. Its cover is printed via inkjet on Epson matte photo paper. Each book is handbound & trimmed.

Excerpt from “Attempt to Stop the Fire 1:”

They figured they’d dig it out. Get their shovels around the fire, send the men into the caverns, get them to start mining again. They figured the fire wasn’t in a hurry, that it would stay put while they hacked away at the fuel around it. But the fire taunted, always moving ahead of everything they cleared, growling. Machines only made things worse: they pierced the shaft, let in air that fanned the flames, wind a giant bellows in the black-walled tunnel. The team was only allowed to work from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, as though fire could not run rampant on weekends, holidays, or the middle of the night.

About the author:

Sarah Gzemski is a poet and nonfiction writer originally from Pennsylvania. Currently living in Mesilla, New Mexico, she is the Managing Editor of Noemi Press and is working toward her MFA in Poetry at New Mexico State University. Some of her work has appeared recently in The Adirondack Review and Bone Bouquet.

About the cover artist:

Nicci splits her time between exploring, telling tales, and painting girls with inky tattoos. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with a pack of roomies & rescue animals specializing in troublemaking and joy. | @damnredshoes |


November’s Crisp, Bacony Goodness

Good stuff (news, noms, etc) from our contributors, authors, poets:

Ghost Tongue (Porkbelly Press, forthcoming 2016)
by Nicole Rollender //

“However,” he said, “there’s always going to be what we call ‘ghost glass,’” tiny, iridescent pieces of the shattered window that will appear like tiny stars on the floor mats and seats.


Pray, Pray, Pray: poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by E. Kristin Anderson // @ek_anderson

I scribble out most of my first drafts into a notebook and leave them there at least overnight, if not for a few days, before typing them up. […]The linebreaks tend to show up as I’m typing up the drafts, whether I wrote the first draft in a notebook, or on the back of an envelope. […]  I have a lot of poems that were written on the back of junk mail.  |  more at Speaking of Marvels


hiku [pull] (Porkbelly Press, forthcoming 2016)
by James A. H. White // @jamesahwhite


bindweed & crow poison: small poems of stray girls, fierce women (Porkbelly Press, forthcoming in 2016)
by Robin Turner


Threnody (Porkbelly Press, 2014)
by Laura Madeline Wiseman // @drmadwiseman

  • Madeline has launched a new website to house her interviews with folks re: chapbooks, an extension of her blog feature. The new site is called The Chapbook Interview.

The Chapbook Interview publishes interviews about the chapbook as a genre, art form, and vessel for creative work. Interviews explore all aspects of chapbook craft, including sequencing poems, chapbook design and layout, and collaborations. Interviewees include teachers of the chapbook and students of the chapbook, writers, poets, designers, editors, and collaborators. | more

Our Pushcart Nominations for 2015

After an intense round of choosing nominations & narrowing down to 6, we present to you our Pushcart Prize nominations for this year. In no particular order:

“My Heart in Aspic” & “A girl’s guide to adventuring” by Sonya Vatomsky from My Heart in Aspic.

“Anchored in small town beauty and city heat” by E. Kristin Anderson from Pray, Pray, Pray: poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night.

“Chapter 4: One Wednesday” & “Chapter 6: Waiting Room” by Sarah B. Boyle from What’s pink & shiny / what’s dark & hard.

“The Tale of the Heart & the Knife” by Chen Chen from Set the Garden on Fire.

Good luck to all the nominees! It’s been our pleasure to send these works to the Pushcart Press editors. xx