Apples or Pomegranates (Anita Olivia Koester)

Apples or Pomegranates is an intimate exploration of the spirit housed inside a body, the failings and the strength in each. Sometimes erotic and at other times full of another kind of wanting, this micro chapbook delves into the experience of living boldly, step by step along the path—”a tight-rope walking girl, a pit of lions beneath.” This is the route she takes on these pages, hand out, palm up, if you’ve courage enough to join her. (Porkbelly Press, 2017) » more info & excerpt » available in our shop

about the poet

Anita Olivia Koester is a Chicago poet and author of the chapbooks Marco Polo (Hermeneutic Chaos Press) and Arrow Songs which won Paper Nautilus’ Vella Chapbook Contest. Her poems have been nominated for Best New Poets and Pushcart Prizes, and won Midwestern Gothic’s 2016 Lake Prize in Poetry, So to Speak’s Annual Poetry Contest, and the Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Award. She is currently the poetry editor for Duende. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Vinyl, CALYX Journal, Tahoma Literary Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Her work as been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA). Visit her online at www.anitaoliviakoester.com.

blurbs

In this collection, Koester gives us three central lessons. One, it is not always necessary to be loud to be ferocious. Two, there are unlimited ways to be naked, most of which happen clothed. Three, even longing that begins with nostalgia can blossom into something altogether and luminously new.

—Marty McConnell

Apples and Pomegranates unravels and interrogates a universe set on its denial of the body feminine. Artistic canon, the expectations and consequences of relationships, biology itself, and even language (its translation or mistranslation) are called into light by Koester’s words. “Travelling the fallopian tubes of the Milky Way” is a tender prospect in every sense of the word. Koester’s command of passion and utterance is that kind of double-edged wonder.

—Keith S. Wilson

Anita is also the cover artist for her chapbook.

My Heart in Aspic (Sonya Vatomsky)

This is a book of sensory-rich poetry investigating the body, decay/fracture, rich marrow, salted flesh, and breathing in all the dark things. This is precisely the kind of work we were looking for when we talked about finding the pieces that capture sage smoke in the eaves. It hooks you from the epigraph quote (Marina Tsvetaeva) and serves up a multi-course meal of, as one reviewer suggests, the playful & grotesque. | available from our shop, $7.

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 book, the title poem, “My heart in aspic”:

Who am I to tell you to go
when I keep resentment like a fugitive
warm & nourished in a spare room?
We do our best, or we don’t.
We gnawed the cold universe to the rib,
left white bones strewn about
the tablecloth; killed flies. One, then two.
Three.
Four.
A witch can only be burned so many times before she thinks, hmm,
something has got to change here. I’ve been soup
that charred black to the pot, I’ve made the mistake of listening
when I should have cursed
I salted for flavor and not against ghosts
I am Russian; I ate
cold tongue before I knew how to kiss.

About the poet:

Sonya Vatomsky is a Moscow-born, Seattle-raised feminist poet and essayist. Her work appears in a good amount of places, many of them with spooky names like Hermeneutic Chaos, Menacing Hedge, and Bone Bouquet, and she edits and reviews poetry at Fruita Pulp. Find her online at sonyavatomsky.tumblr.com & @coolniceghost.

About the cover artist:

Shannon Perry | www.valentinestattoo.com | @shannoneperry on Instagram.

What others are saying about My Heart in Aspic:

“Although this is considered a chapbook, the poems inside are so rich and thick that My Heart in Aspic swells and bursts at the seams. With an unapologetic lyricism unique to her work, Sonya Vatomsky guts empty promises offered up as love and reveals the bloody entrails of resistance, what one can suck from the bones of loss. She peels back the layered skin of memories and indulges in both the plums and the salt, the butcher’s carcass and the body that is breaking against “the film between this world / and the next.” Vivid and sensuous, playful and grotesque, Vatomsky has prepared a feast – but don’t get caught thinking she is here to serve.”

Sarah Xerta, author Nothing To Do with Me

Notes:

“Coq au vin” received a Best of the Net nomination from Hermeneutic Press | read it online

Reviews:

review by beyza ozer:

“let me start off by saying this: after finishing MY HEART IN ASPIC, you may feel like you woke up one morning with mysterious bruises covering your body. you may think these bruises are whispering reassuring things to you during the darkest parts of your day, but these whispers are not coming from your bruises. this is because they are coming from sonya vatomsky and her formidable poems. be scared, but let them in.”

more at probably crying review.

review by Ruth Foley:

“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.”

more at Horse Less Press.

review by Allie Marini:

“Like most aspic dishes, these pieces are comprised of the offal and gelatin that are the overlooked byproducts of most cooking: these are the squeaky bits, the innards, the organ meats and the boiled-down bones of experience, of love, of violence, of survival.”

more at Rhizomatic Ideas // Zoetic Press.

What’s pink & shiny / what’s dark & hard (Sarah B. Boyle)

There’s a rhythm and a lyricism to Sarah’s poems that draw you in from the first. She talks about things like jail and love, blood and friendship, abortion and medicine and sex. These are poems of and about the female body. Linked poems weave a narrative close enough to be a secret whispered on the phone at 2am, full of sustained and blooming image. Read them if you’ve ever loved a woman, particularly if that woman is you. | available for purchase via WLH’s etsy shop

An excerpt from “Chapter 6: Waiting Room”
About the poet

Sarah B. Boyle is a poet, mother, high school teacher, and activist. Her poems and essays have appeared in VIDA, Menacing Hedge, Entropy, and elsewhere. Following the rapes and assaults that ripped through multiple literary communities this past year, she edited a series of essays for Delirious Hem on rape culture and the poetics of alt lit. She has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Find her online at impolitelines.com.

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