How Darkness Enters a Body // Sarah Nichols

“In this darkness, desire is safe,” begins the title poem for Sarah Nichols’ How Darkness Enters a Body. In this darkness, desire is safe. There are secrets here, confessions. The poet brings us to the photos of Diane Arbus, inspecting contact sheets and images, mining poems from silver embedded in emulsion. Black and white photographs transformed into ekphrastic lines, light and shadow, poet leading reader to artist to begin a conversation. The speaker’s voice is sure, whispering to us in the way Arbus’ images do, pools of darkness unexpected and edged, like shadows thrown under an eclipse. Confront her or take her hand—these and more choices are yours:  “Here is your tongue, sister. / Let me share it.”  (Porkbelly Press, 2018) » available in our shop » more info

 

about the poet

Sarah Nichols lives and writes in Connecticut. She is the author of three chapbooks, including She May Be a Saint (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2016) and Edie (Whispering): Poems from Gray Gardens (Dancing Girl Press, 2015). She also co-edits Thank You for Swallowing, an online journal of feminist protest poetry. Her poetry and essays have also appeared and are forthcoming in Queen of Cups, The RS 500, Rogue Agent, and Ekphrastic Review.

excerpt

SOMETHING WAS THERE AND NO LONGER IS

After Inadvertent Double Exposure of a Self Portrait and Images of Times Square, NYC, 1957, by Diane Arbus

I haunt this place now. Under the
neon, I pass between worlds. The

spirit photograph no one wants to
believe.

I catch my subjects so easily: the
woman, poised before the next cigarette,

almost recognizes herself in the
snare of my lens. Or the crowd,

thinking themselves safe in the light
of the next dime show miracle.

I don’t dare to shut my eyes.

Daughter Shaman Sings Blood Anthem // Kristi Carter

Carter’s work investigates the intersection of intergenerational trauma, survival, feminism, and power. Body-heavy and image-rich, these poems evoke a landscape of the scars and blood we carry with us, all the things that make up our lineage of memory and modes of recovery/survival/learning. It’s an intensely intimate series of poems about the claiming and finding of voice, body, and agency. “And ever since I anchored myself to the ground / and split off from myself, from the cracked husk / of girlhood finished, I return replenished. /  I return, to burn. / I return, with the wound / like a medal—in its gleam, how it sings.” (Porkbelly Press, 2017) » available in our shop » more info & excerpt

about the poet

Kristi Carter is a PhD student in Creative Writing–Poetry with a specialization in Women’s and Gender Studies at University of Nebraska Lincoln. Her poems have appeared in publications including So to Speak, poemmemoirstory, CALYX, Hawaii Review, and Nimrod. Her work examines of the intersection of gender and intergenerational trauma in 20th Century poetics. She holds an MFA from Oklahoma State University.

 

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.

Eloisa Amezcua’s MEXICAMERICANA (poetry)

Eloisa Amezcua’s Mexicamericana becomes both a demarcation and blurring of the line between states, identities, culture, and selves. This meeting-place is investigated in mother/daughter, English/Spanish, citizen/citizen—how these things are seen from outside as separate, but are quite entangled—how a  woman finds her way walking with both, whatever the two may be, “furious and alive.” The river does not separate places—it touches both and nourishes both. This collection borrows its epigraph from Alberto Ríos: “The border is a line that birds cannot see.” (Porkbelly Press, 2017) » more info & excerpt

about the poet

Eloisa Amezcua is an Arizona native. She is the author of the chapbooks On Not Screaming (Horse Less Press) and Symptoms of Teething, winner of the 2016 Vella Chapbook Prize from Paper Nautilus Press. Eloisa is the founder/editor of The Shallow Ends: A Journal of Poetry. You can find her at www.eloisaamezcua.com.

cover

Sharmon Davidson » sharmondavidson.com

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.