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.

x

midnight blue (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Vanessa Jimenez Gabb // missgabb.tumblr.com

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.

 

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 | damnredshoes.wordpress.com

 

November’s Crisp, Bacony Goodness

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

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

“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.

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

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

Pray, Pray, Pray: poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (E. Kristin Anderson)

Pray, Pray, Pray is an epistolary anthem penned to, and inspired by, Prince. These middle-of-the-night stanzas are intimate, vulnerable and fierce—”your guitar runs straight through me; I worry that I am a specter,” and “America is violent. And I am a patriot, stomping the ground every day.” These pages are at once love letter, battle cry, and a question, a poem, a song. Follow these lines through and tell us “which lines are critical? If I close this box, will you open it and see something in that empty air?” | available from our shop

This chapbook measures approximately 6 x 5.25 inches. Its cover is printed via inkjet on Epson matte photo paper. Each book is handbound & trimmed.

Excerpt from “How an Echo Feels:”

Your new voice can almost reconcile the temperature divide—
how my body sweats and outside cool breeze carries every whim
away.  My mind is an animal, American like you, down to the bone.

What is more American than art for the sake of art? More human
than love for the sake of love?  Dive into the words—here lies
fashion, here lies grace.  New voices bubble to the top and shout:

Here we are. Here we have always been.

Suck in the air.  This is where we live, where we twist.
Raise me up. Put your hand on my shoulder and say,
Yes.  Put your hand on my back and push.

About the poet:

E. Kristin Anderson is a Pushcart-nominated poet and author who grew up in Westbrook, Maine and is a graduate of Connecticut College. She has a fancy diploma that says “B.A. in Classics,” which makes her sound smart but has not helped her get any jobs in Ancient Rome. Once upon a time she worked for the lovely folks at The New Yorker magazine, but she soon packed her bags and moved to Austin, Texas where she works as a freelance editor and writing coach. Wearer of many proverbial hats, Kristin an editor at NonBinary Review, helps make books at Lucky Bastard Press, and is a poetry editor at Found Poetry Review. Kristin is the co-editor of the DEAR TEEN ME anthology (Zest Books, 2012), based on the website of the same name. Her YA memoir THE SUMMER OF UNRAVELLING is forthcoming in 2017 from ELJ Publications. As a poet she has been published in many magazines including Juked, [PANK], Asimov’s Science Fiction, Hotel Amerika, Room and Cicada and she has work forthcoming in DISTRICT LIT and The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. Kristin is the author of five chapbooks of poetry: A GUIDE FOR THE PRACTICAL ABDUCTEE (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014), A JAB OF DEEP URGENCY (Finishing Line Press, 2014), PRAY, PRAY, PRAY: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press, 2015), ACOUSTIC BATTERY LIFE (forthcoming from ELJ Publications) and 17 DAYS (forthcoming from Choose the Sword Press). She hand-wrote her first trunk book at sixteen. It was about the band Hanson and may or may not still be in a notebook in her parents’ garage. She blogs at EKristinAnderson.com is currently trying to trick someone into publishing her full-length collection of erasure poems based on women’s and teen magazines.

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 | damnredshoes.wordpress.com

What others are saying about this book:

“It is the most American autumn evening turning to night in E. Kristin Anderson’s spectacular Pray, Pray, Pray. The speaker can’t sleep, but implores the reader to ‘Put your hand on my back and push.’ Comply and crack the spine for these epistolary anthems to love and insomnia. While the poet masterfully assembles the false syllogisms of our contemporary lives, she knows some things are true. For example, ‘Poems do not lie.’ I first met E. Kristin in Minneapolis, at an ethereal dance party celebrating Prince. After reading Pray, Pray, Pray, I imagine her always there, her ‘mind…an animal, American…down to the bone.’ Anderson is ‘The Kid,’ but fresh and female, now dancing and singing under the purple rain by some ‘halogen miracle.’ Let us all join in her praise.”

~Sandra Marchetti, author of Confluence and Heart Radicals

“E. Kristin Anderson’s poems are intimate, brave and driven by a powerful search for calm and security in a world that fails us so often. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY chooses the musician Prince as its muse and—like that musical genius—these poems are equally adept at navigating both the high and low notes of the complex, full life they describe. The voice of the poems is at once exultant and fraught, bringing readers deeply into our America, a country in which ‘there is only beauty and emptiness,’ and anxiety and depression are a ‘dark secret,’ but a pop icon can be ‘an old friend’ or even a savior. These are wonderful, truthful poems. You should read them immediately.”

~Jessica Piazza, author of Interrobang and This is not a sky

Launch Party: October 25, 2015 @ Malvern Books (Austin, TX), 4pm – 5:30pm.

Reviews / Interviews:

Review – The Booth BlogThe Hits and B-Sides and Everything in Between: An Interview with E. Kristin Anderson

How to Leave a Farmhouse by Beth McDermott (poetry)

How to Leave a Farmhouse engages the landscape, flora, and the manmade, to weave a multi-part narrative of place. Structures are left behind to become a part of the historical and visual character of this land—these poems draw from documents and paintings, then imagine something deeper, crafting something that’s a little bit ekphrasis, a little bit record, and something that’s almost the ghost story of a farmhouse. “What’s intact, you’ve learned, / is the upside of ruinous. What’s ruinous is documented / before it disappears. What disappears—this is what it means / to go out with guns blazing as someone else is taking / the bull by the horns…” | 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 Mushroom Farmer:”

A new housing development threatens to budge [her] another time, for the last time.
-Goodness Greeness “Farm Spotlight”

I read about her digging
her heels in

soil that tended to
ball up

on the plow.  The feature
story is her chance

to self-promote,
even though nothing

will save her
from eminent

domain, including
her revulsion

for starter spawn.
Yet her perspective is so

specialized—
the public can’t

translate it.
Who cares

that she uses
manure, which stems

from maneuver?
Here she is

among the fruiting
bodies, shining

her lamp over racks
of shitake.

Their spores require
such sterility—

a room like a cave
with the ground

swept clean.

About the the poet:

Beth McDermott has received first place in the Regional Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest and an Honorable Mention for the Associated Writing Programs’ Intro Award in Poetry.  Her poems have recently appeared in journals such as DIAGRAM, Harpur Palate, Terrain.org, and Jet Fuel Review.  She holds degrees from Hope College, Purdue University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is currently Visiting Professor of English at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL.

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 | damnredshoes.wordpress.com