My Own Strange Beast by Melissa Atkinson Mercer (cover art by Danial Powers)
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.
artist » Danial Powers
portfolio » Empress Dragon Arts
Feeding the Dead by M. Brett Gaffney (cover art: Mary Chiaramonte)
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, BlazeVOX, Rogue Agent, Apex 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.
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.
Found Footage by Maggie Woodward
Mexicamericana by Eloisa Amezcua
Blackbird Whitetail Redhand by Lindsay Lusby
Daughter Shaman Sings Blood Anthem by Kristi Carter
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 by Amber Edmondson (cover: Mary Woodworth)
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”
size: 30 x 22 inches
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
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.
a detail of a cover with end-papers
covers drying on the table
Sugared Water‘s fifth issue is bound in a hand-pulled print cover, this time a combination of screenprinting and letterpress. SW005 contains poetry & creative nonfiction essays. 80 pages, $12. Limited to an edition of 100. » more about this issue
Design, printing & binding by printmaker Nicci Mechler.
E. Kristin Anderson, Catherine Arra, Tammy Bendetti, Alyse Bensel, Sheila Black, Ariella Carmell, Susana H. Case, Su Cho, A.E. Clark, James Croteau, Carlina Duan, Patrick James Errington, Wren Hanks, Sonja Johanson, Eve Kenneally, Michal Leibowitz, Minadora Macheret, Laura K. McRae, Natalia Mujadzik, Tanya Muzumdar, JoDean Nicolette, Susan Rich, Thadra Sheridan, Shakeema Smalls, and Amanda Stovicek.
(news & good things from/with/including our poets & authors)
Set the Garden on Fire by Chen Chen (cover: Nicci Mechler)
Pray, Pray, Pray by E. Kristin Anderson (cover: Nicci Mechler)
Haunting the Last House on Holland Island, Fallen into the Bay (Porkbelly Press, 2016) by Sarah Ann Winn (cover: Angie Reed Garner)
Threnody (Laura Madeline Wiseman)
Ghost Tongue by Nicole Rollender (Cover art: Susan Yount)
My Heart in Aspic by Sonya Vatomsky (cover: Shannon Perry)
Ghost Skin by Wren Hanks (cover: Alexandra Eldridge)
bindweed & crow poison: small poems of stray girls, fierce women by Robin Turner (cover: Anita Olivia Koester)
Set the Garden on Fire (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Chen Chen » @chenchenwrites » chenchenwrites.com
Apples or Pomegranates (Porkbelly Press, forthcoming in 2917)
by Anita Olivia Koester » www.anitaoliviakoester.com
- One of 3 winners of the Vella Chapbook Contest. Arrow Songs is set to be published by Paper Nautilus in 2017.
Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the Middle of the Night (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by E. Kristin Anderson » www.ekristinanderson.com
Haunting the Last House on Holland Island, Fallen into the Bay (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Sarah Ann Winn » @blueaisling » bluebirdwords.com
Threnody (Porkbelly Press, 2014)
by Laura Madeline Wiseman » @drmadwiseman
Ghost Tongue (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Nicole Rollender » www.nicolerollender.com
Ghost Skin (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Wren Hanks » tumblr
My Heart in Aspic (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
by Sonya Vatomsky » sonyavatomsky.com
- Sonya’s full-length collection, Salt is for Curing, is reviewed over on Entropy.
This slim, seemingly unassuming book of poems has the power to gut us with its honesty, disarm us with its vulnerability, and enchant us with its inventive language and imagery. Salt Is For Curing is a powerful spell to read over and over again. | more at Entropy
bindweed & crow poison (Porkbelly Press, 2016)
by Robin Turner
Feeding the Dead (Porkbelly Press, forthcoming 2016)
by M. Brett Gaffney