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.

October’s Bacony Goodness

Good news, interviews, happenings, & pubs from our Porkbelly family.

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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

Have you watched a skilled butcher break down a side of beef? Such precision, such devastation, the way the final product is not recognizably related to the slab of meat we started with—this teaches us something important about art. About hunger.

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Dreamland for Keeps (Porkbelly Press, 2018) & How Darkness Enters a Body (Porkbelly Press, 2018) by Sarah Nichols » @onibaba37

  • She May Be a Saint (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2016) was part of the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange!
  • Four poems up at Anti-Heroin Chic: “Are You Pregnant?,” “Skyfall,” “This is Not a Redemption Story, Part One,” and “This is Not a Redemption Story, Part Two.”

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

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

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Daughter Shaman Sings Blood Anthem (Porkbelly Press, 2017)
by Kristi Carter » @kristixcarter

  • Kristi’s book Cosmovore (Aqueduct Press, 2017) is available!

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

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

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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

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.

2017 Chapbook Lineup

Thank you to everyone who sent manuscripts to our 2017 chapbook call, for your patience in our review process, and for your gorgeous poems, essays, and fictions.

This reading period, we’ve selected four works of poetry. We’re excited to welcome these poets to the press family, and so very honored to be part of bringing these titles into the world.

chapbooks

Found Footage by Maggie Woodward

Mexicamericana by Eloisa Amezcua

Blackbird Whitetail Redhand by Lindsay Lusby

Daughter Shaman Sings Blood Anthem by Kristi Carter

notes

M. Brett Gaffney’s Feeding the Dead, a chapbook of poems accepted last year, is scheduled for release later this month.

 

 

Lost Birds of the Iron Range // Amber Edmondson

Lost Birds of the Iron Range (Amber Edmondson) takes the imagery of birds and spins it into a landscape of imagined moments, underground, above ground, often a secret chamber, bird held in the reliquary of a chest or belly or a cavern, subsisting on what warm and wriggling things can be found in such places. This is an excavation of feather, bone, limestone and lace: “a stowaway, a secret, a weathered map, leading back home.” (Porkbelly Press, 2017) » excerpt & more

about the poet

Amber Edmondson is a poet and book artist who lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, near Lake Superior. Her work has appeared in Border Crossing, Menacing Hedge, and Stirring: A Literary Collection, among others. Her first chapbook, Darling Girl, is available from dancing girl press.

about the cover art & artist

Mary Woodworth » marywoodworth.com
title: “Navigating the Highlands”
media: collagraph
size: 30 x 22 inches

SKY+SEA

SKY+SEA is an anthology of poetry, prose, and art inspired by the stars, planets, nebulae, comets, the depths of the ocean, Galileo, sailors navigating by constellations, omens, shooting stars, and divination. » more

the contributors

Stacey Balkun, Lori Sambol Brody, Zelda Chappel, A.E. Clark, Tyree Daye, Kelsey Dean, Carlina Duan, Chelsea Eckert, Jennifer A. Howard, Sonja Johanson, Anita Olivia Koester, Sandra Marchetti, Ryan Mattern, Laura Sloane Patterson, Nicole Rollender, Jason Sears, Erin Elizabeth Smith, Kitsuko Steinman-Arendsee, and Nicole Tong.