Monday Bacon

(Recent crisp &/or delightful mentions, features & reviews of Porkbelly Press titles.)


The Peace of Wild Things (Ariana D. Den Bleyker) reviewed by Allie Marini (via Rhizomatic Ideas // Zoetic Press):

“Dickinson writes, “A wounded deer leaps highest,” and in a movement of 15 poems, Den Bleyker shows us just how high that wounded deer can rise—each poem fuses the beauty and violence of nature, the casual cruelty of the natural order of things, as something that is simultaneously terrifying, intoxicating, and necessary for evolution. Wolves, deer, crows, wild boar, salmon, and all manner of songbirds—from chickadees and thrushes to cardinals and finches—populate the lines of the poems, each of them stitched together with the human voice of “you” and “me”, who at times run together as a pack and at other times hopelessly leap upstream, towards their death and away from each other.”  | read the entire review.

My Heart in Aspic (Sonya Vatomsky) reviewed by Ruth Foley via Horse Less Press:

“These poems often feel like they have spilled onto the page of their own volition, and in some ways I suppose they have. They arrive without warning, without any sense of internal censorship, and invite a reader to take them as they are.” | read the entire review.


My Heart in Aspic (Sonya Vatomsky) is this week’s “Best Dressed” at Sundress Publications’ The Wardrobe.


If you’re at the Dallas Zine Party (The Wild Detectives Bookstore, Dallas, TX) on Sept 6, look for Robin Turner, a contributor to Emily (our anthology of works inspired by the letters, life, and poems of Emily Dickinson). She’ll have a few copies of the antho on hand.

The Peace of Wild Things (Ariana D. Den Bleyker)

There’s a primal peel and pull to this chap, a hungry animal ripping strips of reluctant flesh from its meal. It might read like a loss to some, burying, re-burying, and unearthing again, but in this litany of exposed bone and steaming viscera, there’s a resonant note of hopefulness, a fire kindling finally, finally, on a cold night deep in the wood, wolves huffing in the brush. It feels, for all the violence and mourning, like a recovery. Even in the frenzy of a carcass stripped, someone is fed. | available from our shop

The chapbook measures about 5.25 x 5 inches. Its cover is printed via inkjet on Epson matte photo paper. Each book is handbound & trimmed.

An excerpt from the opening poem “The Future is an Animal:”

I dream I am wolf, dream larger things until,
no face remaining, hair grows through floor-
boards, teeth in concrete and claws from brick,
what is proper only in bone. My coat rips away
from closed eyes, hunger, open hand: touch.

And an excerpt from a later in the collection, “The Heart Expands in Black Soil:”

I dreamed of hunting wild boars, burying
two beating hearts. You called out, pointed
toward the sky. We stretched substance
into shadow, imagined ourselves yoked,
hooves torn & bloody, knowing we used
to say too much until it wasn’t enough.
We listened intently, heard the hearts
beat together, rip apart in silence. It was
more than quiet & wrong to call it peaceful.
I’ll make my own bones of this,

About the poet:

Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in Upstate New York, a wife, mother of two, a writer and an editor. When she’s not editing or writing, she’s spending time with her family and every once in a while sleeps. She is the author of several poetry chapbooks and collections, including Wayward Lines, Strangest Sea and Beautiful Wreckage, the novelette, Finger : Knuckle : Palm and the experimental memoir, prosthesis. She is the founder and publisher of ELJ Publications, home of Emerge Literary Journal, scissors & spackle, Amethyst Arsenic and other fine journals. She can be found at

About the cover artists:

Nicci Mechler & Jonathan Rountree have been making art together for years, ever since they met in an undergraduate ceramics class at Northern Kentucky University, and learned the hard lesson that in raku firing as in life, measure twice, transport red-hot ceramics via wiggly tongs once. That story is available over drinks. Tweet us. @porkbellypress

What others are saying about this book:

There’s something of the grit of fairytales in The Peace of Wild Things. Something enchanting, old-timey, strung together with words that punch a rhythm out while deftly navigating the sounds of the written word. These poems dare you to touch the feathers and the bones of discomfort. To lay there on the forest floor and discover your own wild things, to embrace them, elegant or bloody—or both.

E. Kristin Anderson, author of A Guide for the Practical Abductee and Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night.


Poems from this chapbook first appeared in such mags as: White Stag, Rust + Moth, and Gargoyle.

2016 Micro Chapbook Line

After a 6 week reading period in which we did our best to answer every submission in 3-7 days, we’re pleased to announce that the following micro chapbooks have been accepted and will appear in 2016:

Dry Spell (Patrick Kindig)

bindweed & crow poison: small poems of stray girls, fierce women (Robin Turner)

Ghost Tongue (Nicole Rollender)

Poems for Ivan (Sara Adams)

Haunting the Last House on Holland Island, Fallen into the Bay (Sarah Ann Winn)

Everything I Own (Angela Just)

Lost Birds of the Iron Range (Amber Edmondson)

Thank you for your patience & your beautiful, fierce words. We look forward to crafting them into tiny books! The release order has yet to be determined, but we should iron it out by mid-September or October. We aim to release most of these titles in the first half of the year.

Also of note is the micro submitted by James White—we requested an extended version, which we then accepted as our February 2016 chapbook release:

hiku [pull] (James White)