May’s Good Stuff

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My Own Strange Beast (Porkbelly Press, 2017)
by Melissa Atkinson Mercer

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A Map of the Farm Three Miles from the End of Happy Hollow Road (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Amorak Huey » amorakhuey.net

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

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Haunting the Last House on Holland Island, Fallen into the Bay (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Sarah Ann Winn » bluebirdwords.com

  • One of Sarah’s Holland Island pieces was nominated for WigleaF‘s long list!

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Set the Garden on Fire (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Chen Chen » chenchenwrites.com

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My Heart in Aspic (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Sonya Vatomsky » www.sonyavatomsky.com

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Feeding the Dead (Porkbelly Press, 2017)
by M. Brett Gaffney » blog

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

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Ghost Skin (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Wren Hanks » tumblr

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

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Strangest Sea (Porkbelly Press, 2015) &
The Peace of Wild Things (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Ariana D. Den Bleyker » arianaddenbleyker.com

  • Ariana has two new pieces in May’s beautiful issue of Hermeneutic Chaos.

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Dry Spell (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Patrick Kindig » website

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Melissa Atkinson Mercer’s My Own Strange Beast

Mercer’s My Own Strange Beast is a cluster of short poems, most under twenty lines, packed with evocative language, lush image, and the dichotomy of the delicate and the sharp. There’s a lingering darkness here, a follower, something haunting this speaker through dreams, the smell of lotus, candles, and salted bones. They feel mythic, these women (mother/daughter, aunt/niece) in these poems, carrying baskets of dead fish, sitting in the glow of a brick oven, surviving together, searching together: “Your heart like a thin-throated flower,” she writes, “the small lamp of your face beside me.” (Porkbelly Press, 2017) » more & excerpt

about the poet

Melissa Atkinson Mercer is the author of Saint of the Partial Apology (Five Oaks Press) and five poetry chapbooks, including Star-Blind in the Family of Fortune Keepers (Hermeneutic Chaos), After the Miracle Season (Seven Kitchens Press), and ghost exhibit (Glass Poetry Press). Her work has recently appeared in Ruminate, Zone 3, Blue Earth Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and others and has been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize. She has an MFA from West Virginia University, where she won the Russell MacDonald Creative Writing Award in Poetry.

cover art

artist » Danial Powers
portfolio » Empress Dragon Arts

April Bacon

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Dreamland for Keeps (Porkbelly Press, forthcoming)
by Sarah Nichols » @onibaba37

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Ghost Skin (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Wren Hanks » tumblr

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Feeding the Dead (Porkbelly Press, 2017)
by M. Brett Gaffney »

  • Feeding the Dead is delightfully reviewed at Rust+Moth.

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Mexicamericana (Porkbelly Press, 2017)
by Eloisa Amezcua » eloisaamezcua.com

  • Mexicamericana is now available for pre-order! Free domestic shipping with pre-order & use of coupon code AMEZCUA. Offer expires May 29th.

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My Own Strange Beast (Porkbelly Press, 2017)
by Melissa Atkinson Mercer

  • My Own Strange Beast is now available for pre-order! Free domestic shipping with pre-order & use of coupon code STRANGEBEAST. Offer expires May 8th.

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Set the Garden on Fire (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Chen Chen » chenchenwrites.com

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A Map of the Farm Three Miles from the End of Happy Hollow Road (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Amorak Huey » amorakhuey.net

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Donna Vorreyer’s THE GIRL

Vorreyer’s The Girl is sharp and clear from the dedication: “To all the girls I have taught. To all the girls we once were.” These small prose poems are strung together like a chain of dolls cut from steel, each stronger for her connection to the other, but capable of claiming her own ground—each poem is a portrait of a girl, nameless. Each girl moves beyond that designation, none are just a girl, and their anonymity does not strip identity or agency. These are girls who stand where they will, treat their own wounds, heal broken things, fear little or nothing, persist in spite of, because of—”If she cries, she opens a window, knows her ghosts need a means of escape.” (Porkbelly Press, 2017) » available in our shop » more & excerpt

About the Poet

Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013) as well as seven chapbooks, most recently Encantado, a collaboration with artist Matt Kish from Redbird Chapbooks and Tinder, Smolder, Bones, and Snow forthcoming from dancing girl press. She serves as the reviews editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection and teaches middle school in the suburbs of Chicago.

» donnavorreyer.com

Cover Art

artist » Alexandra Eldridge
portfolio » alexandraeldridge.com

March & Porkbelly

(Good news, happenings, publications, awards, and general good stuff by/with/for our poets & writers.)

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Feeding the Dead (Porkbelly Press, 2017)
by M. Brett Gaffney » blog

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The Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2017)
by Donna Vorreyer » donnavorreyer.com

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A Map of the Farm Three Miles from the End of Happy Hollow Road (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Amorak Huey » amorakhuey.net

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Set the Garden on Fire (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Chen Chen » @chenchenwrites » chenchenwrites.com

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Dry Spell (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Patrick Kindig » pdkindig.wordpress.com

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Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by E. Kristin Anderson » www.ekristinanderson.com

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Haunting the Last House on Holland Island, Fallen into the Bay (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Sarah Ann Winn » @blueaisling » bluebirdwords.com

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

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How to Leave a Farmhouse (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Beth McDermott

  • new work appears in Bayou issue 66!

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Apples or Pomegranates (Porkbelly Press, 2017)
by Anita Olivia Koester » www.anitaoliviakoester.com

  • poem “Tapestry with White Columns” won the Sable Books Poetry of Protest contest judged by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

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Ghost Skin (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Wren Hanks » wrenhanks.tumblr.com

  • Prophet Fever (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2016) was nominated for an Elgin Award.

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Bettering American Poetry 2016 Nominations

Porkbelly Press’ Nominees from 2016

Shakeema Smalls for “rût.” First printed in Sugared Water #005, December 2016.

Michal Leibowitz for “In Sderot.” First printed in Persephone’s Daughters inaugural issue, reprinted in Sugared Water #005, December 2016.

James A. H. White for “Okaasan [Mother].” First printed in chapbook hiku [pull] (Porkbelly Press, 2016).

Congratulations & good luck to all nominees! It’s been our pleasure to nominate this work for such an outstanding project.

From Bettering American Poetry’s nominations page

We want work that is unafraid to look, to shake shit up, to speak. We are interested in poems that challenge patriarchal and white supremacist power structures. We love poems that burn misogynist, homophobic, ableist, transphobic, racist, xenophobic attitudes and behaviors at the core. Poems that critique the dominant culture and flummox the status quo, that speak with voices historically misrepresented, underrepresented, censored, and silenced make us sit up and listen hard. | more

Related Reading

» Bettering American Poetry‘s website
» An interview series with poets in Bettering American Poetry‘s 2015 anthology via VIDA

Feeding the Dead // M. Brett Gaffney

 

These poems are the knife edge, the hot blood, the wolf’s howl, and the fang of the girl who hunts him down. This book holds the haunted-house-horror and everything real underneath, the costume, the bruise after, the smoke curling in the heart of a hellhound. “After supper she pulls on boots, prepares her heart” and goes out to collect his “sharpest fang.” These poems are demons and strawberries and bones, and teeth, and agency, self, girl-power, woman-power—assertive figures preoccupied with agency, not beauty—not prettiness for the observer. This chapbook of poems is the bone-yard, the skeleton, the strength. “I am here to stay / … / I am just as real as anything else.” (Porkbelly Press, 2017) » more info & excerpt

about the poet

M. Brett Gaffney, originally from Houston, Texas, holds an MFA in Poetry from Southern Illinois University and is the art editor for Gingerbread House. Her poems have appeared inExit 7, Rust+Moth, Permafrost, Devilfish Review, museum of americana, BlazeVOXRogue AgentApex Magazine,and Zone 3, among others. She currently works as a library associate in northern Kentucky and lives in Cincinnati with her partner and their dog, Ava.

Cover artist: Mary Chiaramonte »  www.merrysee.com
Cover art: “The Fables,” acrylic on wood, 24 x 36 inches.
Title typeface: Brain Flower by Denise Bentulan.