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

Pushcart Prize Nominations

We’re very pleased to announce our Pushcart Prize nominations for 2016. Congratulations to the nominees, and thank you so much for sharing in your poetic journey with us. (All of our nominations this year are poems.) We’ve pulled works from our micros, chaps, lit mag, and anthos:

from our chapbooks & micros

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

“Sawaruna [“Do Not Touch”]” from hiku [pull] (Porkbelly Press, 2016) by James A. H. White

“The Pond in the Corner of the Yard” from A Map of the Farm Three Miles from the End of Happy Hollow Road (Porkbelly Press, 2016) by Amorak Huey

from our lit mag, Sugared Water, #005

“When I Grieve” by Wren Hanks : also appears in slightly different from in Ghost Skin (Porkbelly Press, 2016)

“According to My Father Peaches Ward Off Spirits” by Su Cho

from our anthology SKY+SEA

“Love Letter to Galileo: Axis” by Stacey Balkun

June’s Crispy Bacon

All the good news (we’ve heard about) from our contributors:

Poems for Ivan (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Sara Adams // kartoshkaaaaa.com

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Ghost Skin (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Jennifer Hanks

  • Jennifer’s chapbook Prophet Fever (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2016) was just released. (Her chap from Porkbelly is forthcoming as of this writing.)

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

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Everything I Own (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Angela Just

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Rooted by Thirst (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Tina Mozelle Braziel

  • a blog interview at Live Your Poem with Irene Latham, in which she says things like “We plan to burn lines of poetry into walls of our house.” Yesssss.

Emerson claims that “Colleges and books only copy the language which the field and the work-yard made.” That rings true to me, especially when I discover words like “rock-bar” and “squarings” that feel so invigorating. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the term “sistering” which means nailing one board against another for additional strength. Such concepts and words recalibrate my perspective of what makes a home, what it means to claim a place as our own. And that feeds my writing. // more

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My Heart in Aspic (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Sonya Vatomsky // @coolniceghost

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Set the Garden on Fire (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Chen Chen // chenchenwrites.com

“Except let’s not hold off on the giant cake. & let’s not hold off on being

irreversibly in love. Happiness needs no preparation or warrantee
or reason. I’m ready to say that. I’m ready to watch any romcom/action
combo where two people topple tyranny, fall in love. I’m ready
for the movie where four people topple tyranny, fall in love,

& make consensual arrangements to keep it open.
Or six people just stay in & become best friends. Or seven
billion people befriend themselves…” | more

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Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by E. Kristin Anderson // @ek_anderson

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hiku [pull] (James A. H. White)

James A. H. White’s work feels at once breathless and intense, reaching to capture vivid blooms of a life-history in poems grown so intricately together that they’re tangled, almost inseparable. It is the story of mother and father, of identity and travel and seeking and ghosts both behind and before. This is a tessellation of light, color, memory and story, a gay son fitting the pieces of self together and offering it up in poems. Each poem feels like a secret, each leaves you wanting more. (Porkbelly Press, 2016) // available in our shop

about the poet

James A.H. White earned his M.F.A. in Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry from Florida Atlantic University. A winner of the 2014 AWP Intro Journals Project award in Poetry, his writing appears in Colorado ReviewGertrudeHermeneutic ChaosCha, and DIAGRAM, among others. Born in Surrey, England, James currently resides in South Florida, where he teaches creative writing and serves as an editor for 3Elements Review.

cover & art

The cover is inkjet printed on premium matte paper. It’s trimmed down to just under 6 1/4 x 5 1/4 inches and bound by hand with heavy thread.

Nicci Mechler » portfolio
“Jasmin on Red”
acrylic on paper& 9×12 inches

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.

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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 // @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

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

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

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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