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

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

Sugared Water 005

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.

contributors

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.

A Map of the Farm Three Miles from the End of Happy Hollow Road // Amorak Huey

Huey’s A MAP OF THE FARM THREE MILES FROM THE END OF HAPPY HOLLOW ROAD investigates place and the things that memory and reflection have made of it. Poems are titled after locations specific to a farm where the speaker played as a child. It becomes a landscape of vivid details coalescing into a map of the self, an ever deepening investigation of recollection & the things we carry with us. (Porkbelly Press, 2016) » excerpt & more

about the poet

Amorak Huey is author of the poetry collection Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and the chapbook The Insomniac Circus (Hyacinth Girl, 2014). After more than a decade as a newspaper journalist, he teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. His writing has appeared in The Best American Poetry 2012, The Cincinnati Review, The Collagist, Menacing Hedge, Brevity, and many other journals.

about the cover art & artist

Alexandra Eldridge » http://alexandraeldridge.com
“The Field Opens” (mixed media, 24 x 24 inches)

Alexandra Eldridge, born of artist parents, received her BA in Art and literature at Ohio University. She co-founded an establishment for the arts, Golgonooza, based upon the philosophies of William Blake. She has had over 40 solo shows, and has participated in many group shows throughout the U.S. as well as many international exhibitions.

 

Haunting the Last House on Holland Island, Fallen into the Bay // Sarah Ann Winn

This is a dream landscape and it is underwater, all the house-things, human-things curled in between blades of red seaweed and pearl-filled oyster. It is a shimmer of sunlight filtering through from the surface, the glimmer of something faceted buried in silt. This micro chapbook is exploration and memory, the way we risk ourselves to look deep in search of some half-forgotten treasure, something we’ll always go back for, no matter how far down. (Porkbelly Press, 2016) | available in our shop  |  excerpt

About the Poet

Sarah Ann Winn’s writing has appeared or is upcoming in Five Points, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Little Patuxent Review, Massachusetts Review, and Passages North, among others. Her chapbooks include Field Guide to Alma Avenue and Frew Drive (Essay Press, 2016), and Portage (Sundress Publications, 2015). She holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing Poetry from George Mason University, as well as a Masters in Library Science from Catholic University of America. She teaches creative writing workshops and dispenses book recommendations as a free-range librarian in Manassas, Virginia, where she lives with her husband, two lovely beagle/lab mixed dogs, and one bad cat. Visit her at bluebirdwords.com or follow her @blueaisling.

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.

cover artist » Angie Reed Garner
portfolio » angiereedgarner.com

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

 

These tiny poems are fierce records of women & girls—even the youngest are deeply rooted, even the shortest lines packed with vivid imagery hold an edge—even those pretty yellow petals float on dark, and there’s no way to know how deep it goes, or what lies underneath, except to brave it. | available in our shop | excerpt

About the Poet

Robin Turner lives, works, and daydreams in Dallas, Texas. She is a teaching artist in museums, youth shelters, and community centers, and serves as an online writing guide for homeschooled teens. Her work has appeared in Anima Poetry, Ilya’s Honey, Nonbinary Review, Red River Review, Referential Magazine, Friends Journal, and in numerous other print and online publications.

» robinsmithturner.tumblr.com

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.

artist » Anita Olivia Koester
portfolio » anitaoliviakoester.com

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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