GOOD BACON! (News from our Poets+Authors)

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

The Booth BlogA review of Laura Madeline Wiseman’s Threnody

Wiseman’s Threnody, however, is unique in its compelling and contemplative use of imagery and interpretation to offer a bold and fearless perspective of the female psyche that resides in the underworld and all that it exhibits. A must-read. | full review at The Booth Blog

Myth+Magic (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
edited by Nicci Mechler (multiple authors)

Myth+Magic: A Review – via Christopher Morgan & Alien Mouth.

“Myth+Magic” shows us how beauty and danger can often occupy and captivate within the same space—which makes what comes next all the more unreal. Rejecting the ordinary with every line, the writers in this anthology not only engage their readers with imaginative details, but also use these same concise worlds to introduce the everyday hardships of love, surprise, and sorrow. | full review at Alien Mouth

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

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

Reviews: Midnight Blue (Gabb) & Threnody (Wiseman)

A lovely review for Midnight Blue (Vanessa Jimenez Gabb) via Natalie Eilbert:

Here capitulation and recapitulation of love and nothing breaks my goddamn heart. What are we here for, what are we supposed to do with the mounting selves of our reflection, the mounting selves of our sorrow, the mounting selves of our nothing loves and our lovely nothings. What are we supposed to do with the mothers we were and the children we never had and the small wonder of elsewhere: “I fried them barefoot like a mother / Even though I am no mother / I was one once for eight weeks / Then we were in Belize.”

Throughout this tiny book is a power and beauty rare in its form. | full review

And one for Threnody (Laura Madeline Wiseman) via Blot Lit Reviews at Blotterature:

By complicating the subject of the female experience the reader is able to see it more clearly.  Female death is a tool used for understanding some of the darker parts of life and its place in our psyche. In just a few words, Wiseman perfectly encapsulates some of the most complicated emotions, ranging from the realization of unfair social expectations to reactions to gender violence.

The pieces are arduous and emotional. In just a few words, Wiseman captures the often conflicted emotions of human experience with knife-edged honesty. | full review

Love Letter to Biology 250, Chella Courington

Love Letter to Biology 250 is a chapbook of micro fictions by Chella Courington. This manuscript pinged our nerd-brains when we first read it, flirting with obscure tidbits from Biology lectures—those things we remember because they’re strange—crafted into really tiny stories. | $7 open edition cover

The cover is printed on Epson matte professional paper, each trimmed and bound by hand, finished with a hand-cut title flag typed (old school!) on kraft brown paper. The artwork, “Jelly Flyby,” is watercolor+ink on paper (9 x 12 inches) by Jonathan Rountree, one of our in-house artists.

Excerpt from “Preferring a Clean Virgin:”

The male dark fishing spider climbs her Amazonian body, his legs under a third her size, her abdomen mountainous, fourteen times heavier than his, and he rocks her, side to side, his pedipalps engorged until the blood pushes too hard against arterial walls, curling him against her. Stuck to her, he’s consumed by her. The number and size of their offspring increased by his sacrifice.

What others are saying about Love Letter:

This collection is a work of freshness that is always surprising and never disappointing. Courington manages to do fascinating things with common images and she gives those images new life in a pleasing and sometimes disturbing oblique sort of light. Her terse, intense, and honest stories are presented in an earthy narrative voice in language full of longing and desire. These stories are both playful and provocative and can leave a reader almost breathless at times. Combined, the stories make up witty but also quite serious and worthwhile explorations.” —Pamelyn Casto, editor of Flash Fiction Flash Newsletter

Like a scientist in her laboratory, Chella Courington is careful and precise as she dissects the specimens before her. But Courington’s prose, like her eye, is enveloping, passionate yet also crystalline, hard and clean and clear, rewarding the discerning reader with these multifaceted gems.” —Robin Lippincott, author of In the Meantime

About the Author

Chella Courington is Professor of Creative Writing at Santa Barbara City College. Her prose and poetry have appeared in numerous journals including The Los Angeles Review, lo-ball magazine, Gargoyle, The Tusculum Review, and Danse Macabre. In 2011 Courington published Paper Covers Rock, a flipbook of lined poetry, Indigo Press; Girls & Women, a chapbook of prose poetry, Burning River; and Talking Did Not Come Easily to Diana, an e-book of linked microfiction, Musa Publishing. Her work has been honored by Camroc Press Review, The Collagist, Qarrtsiluni, and Main Street Rag, and nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets Anthologies.

About the Cover Artist:

Jonathan Rountree (BFA Studio Art, Northern Kentucky University) is an aspiring world-traveler seeking to explore the intricacies of this realm armed with clay, camera, canvas, and paper.


December (1830) is the month in which both Emily Dickinson and Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson were born. For that reason, we’ve decided to read for the anthology (mostly) in December. Dec 5, 2014 – Jan 5, 2015.

Emily is a collection of poetry&prose inspired by the works, life, and letters of Emily Dickinson. The anthology is to be split into several sections, each loosely clustered around one of the major themes&image in her works. We’re looking for all kinds of work for this anthology, be it poetry, prose, creative nonfiction, artwork, doodles, notes, short critical essays, illustrated narratives, comics, or illustrations. Full guidelines can be found on our Anthologies page.

  • 3 to 5 poems (no more than 10 pages)
  • 3 micro & flash fictions (no more than 1,500 words total)
  • personal essay & excerpts no longer than 2,000 words
  • short essays (no more than 2,000 words)
  • up to 5 artworks, illustrations, comic pages, scans of notes/sketches, photos (JPGs)

We request FNASR & the right to archive your work on our SW or PP website (Archival Rights).

Payment is made in one limited edition copy of the resulting anthology.
If you have a website, and would like it linked, we’ll do so from the contributor section of our site, along with a bio.

(listed at Duotrope)

Threnody by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Threnody explores the figure of lady-death, an icon come to life in these poems about the death cart, the death kiss, and a narrative dance with death. This is a collection of linked micro fictions & vignettes. They read like prose poems, too, which is part of the beauty in them—these small works live in a liminal space, somehow between poetry and prose, but also an almost-dream state between life and death. Sometimes versus too. | $7 open edition via Wicked Little Heart.

The chapbook measures about 5.25 x 5 inches. It features a painting as cover art (“Lady Death & Her Arrows,” guache+paper, 9 x 5 inches). The cover is produced via inkjet on Epson matte photo paper. Each book is handbound & trimmed.

An excerpt from Threnody titled “Kissing Death:” (listen)

The lady of death gives me the kiss of death. I don’t know why. I was just standing in jeans and a ribbed tee, my belt hard and black, the metal clasp opening, warm in my hands. She appeared in my room, looked up at me from those dark sockets—her body all rib bone, clavicle, pelvis flair, hands and fingers as delicate as cages of dead birds. I didn’t want the kiss of death. We both stared at it for a while, crawling and scooting on the cement floor. I grabbed an empty coffee cup and trapped it, but when I knelt to slide a piece of paper beneath the edge, it was gone. I looked up at death, but she shrugged and reached into the space where her heart had been for another.

What others are saying about the chapbook:

Laura Madeline Wiseman’s Threnody is one kickass, wailing dirge that has death driving shotgun, “more hold you than break you apart,” luminous, pulsating poetry that defies fear and denial.Meg Tuite

These poems are powerful, possessing great lyrical intensity and a profound sense of the mystery inherent in this mythic feminine journey into the underworld. Here the poet is an archeologist of the subterranean mind, lifting bits and pieces of knowledge like shards of pottery back up to the light.Devreaux Baker

Mythic rituals have hints of danger and sex and regret, and Wiseman’s incantatory language mixes dream and nightmare, and Eros and Thanatos, in little portraits that soothe as they trouble. I admired each piece’s swift iconography.Timothy Schaffert

About the author:

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of more than a dozen books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Her recent books are American Galactic (Martian Lit Books, 2014), Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink, 2014), Queen of the Platform (Anaphora Literary Press, 2013), Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2012), and the collaborative book Intimates and Fools (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014) with artist Sally Deskins. She holds a doctorate from the University of Nebraska and has received an Academy of American Poets Award, a Mari Sandoz/Prairie Schooner Award, and the Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Margie, Mid-American Review, and Feminist Studies.

Cover Artist: Nicci //


More can also be found: goodreads

Call for Submission: Micro Chapbooks

Porkbelly Press seeks samplings of poems and micro fictions from poets & writers around the world. We’re reading poetical offerings of 8 to 10 pages (multiple pieces or a one or two long poems), or 8 to 10 pages of micro-prose (no more than 75 words each). Pieces should be linked in some way (theme, voice, image, place, etc).

Submission period: now through September 1.

We look for evocative work loaded with vivid image or sound, voices full of fierce attitude or lyric quality. We prefer free verse poems, love prose poems, and will consider both lyric and narrative. We’d be delighted to see some modern American haiku as well.

We’ll produce each chapbook in a handbound open edition. We may also release a special edition with hand altered covers, but the exact format will be determined at press time. (We’re also toying with the idea of sculptural covers.) For samples of our work, please see the current catalog: Porkbelly Press at Wicked Little Heart.

In addition to our regular size chaps, we’d like to offer these small works to introduce readers to a variety of poets and writers—a little something to give folks a taste of your voice.

We prefer that a piece or two be unpublished, but do not require it.

Requirements for Submission

  • 8-10 pages of poetry, prose poetry, micro fiction, or micro creative nonfiction. .doc, .docx, and .rtf accepted.
  • Short bio including blog or website link (if applicable) and any books or chaps currently available.
  • Dedication & acknowledgements do not count against page total. Table of contents is not necessary.

We read via Submittable and you can find us at Duotrope, should you wish to report your submission.

Payment for Accepted Works

10 copies of your micro chapbook (paper covers) or 3 if we do a sculptural cover. (We’ve got bookbinders & artists on staff, and we like to leave ourselves open to inspiration.) 30% discount on additional author copies.