The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion

ammonite sonnet

the ammonite an index of sutures
i got tired of cataloging them
hermetically sealing little traumas
afraid they’d get to know one another go boom
little mother catastrophes instead
i smashed little rocks to bits in a ditch
each shard a memory released pressure
from stomach the common burial ground
the cavity of accumulation
each little box coated in dust and feelings
each glass stone chamber not really secret
i get ready to shatter the discretions
i open my palms no explosions no pain
coalesce little traumas wrap your wounds
around each other a chrysalis blood
a becoming of feathers of air a fire


This selection comes from the book, little ditch, available from ABOVE/GROUND PRESS.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and currently co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at http://www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion

little ditch

ittle ditch was a century a calling
can you hear them saying
don’t startle the ash


please startle all the ashes ancestors of stitches

i took up my silence in your mouth
all those nights i lied so i could forget
i fled i kept coming back i pumped my legs high on the swing and hoped
all those days we were one home one body
i climbed over dog shit and pizza boxes to hold your hand

there was the light that day off the fire escape and you were crying
when i consoled you the truth in the gleam off the window your open crooked mouth i
fell in


i slept in your bed all those years there was no other bed
but betrayal and for that piece i fought others like me
teased hair and fist-fights rumors and rank-outs stealing bruises and romanticizing
little boy pains i lost hid concealed ate my own
i pretended i was one of the cool girls i’m not a cool girl anymore i’m a cunt


little ditch was a century of sad women a defect in the cell division a slash across the
ribs little ditch tried to be a good girl bounced on men’s knees when told/don’t bite back
bit instead the insides of cheeks to taste her own blood/remembering her worth –
pennies

the dirt in her mouth
one small sacrifice

her wobbly arms doin’ the woo

her belly fat exhaled in a curdle atop

little tight dresses little bow ties little ditch started young
she took it all in opened her mouth wide lips cracked
she thought it was kindness opening she thought it was power
she became walls

little ditch is centuries of digging
little ditch is the ghost – the pallor hanging over every woman’s achievement
little ditch was is centuries of generations of women digging out the future

little ditch is a burned-out Barbie Dream House sour milk between legs
a motor that guns every time she’s casually interrupted in conversation casually
sexually assaulted in conversation casually dismissed gaslit light that match


This selection comes from the book, little ditch, available from ABOVE/GROUND PRESS.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and currently co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at http://www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

Sundress Academy for the Arts Now Accepting Residency Applications for Spring 2021

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is now accepting applications for short-term writing residencies in all genres—poetry, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting, journalism, academic writing, and more—for their spring residency period which runs from January 3 to May 16, 2021. These residencies are designed to give artists time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment.

Each residency costs $250/week, which includes a room of one’s own, access to our communal kitchen, bathroom, office, and living space, plus wireless internet access.

A Note Regarding covid-19: We are moving forward with spring applications with the assumption that travel will be safer in the spring. However, if you are accepted for this residency and are unable to travel due to continued social distancing measures or other coronavirus-related problems, your residency can be moved to the Spring of 2022 with all scholarships still applicable.

Residents will stay at the SAFTA farmhouse, located on a working farm on a 45-acre wooded plot in a Tennessee “holler” perfect for hiking, camping, and nature walks. The farmhouse is also just a half-hour from downtown Knoxville, an exciting and creative city that is home to a thriving artistic community. SAFTA is ideal for writers looking for a rural retreat with urban amenities.

SAFTA’s residencies, which also include free access to workshops, readings, and events, offer a unique and engaging experience. Residents can participate in local writing workshops, lead their own workshops, and even have the opportunity to learn life skills like gardening and animal care.

For the 2021 Spring residency period, SAFTA will be offering the following fellowships:

Lambda Literary (Spring 2021) – Deadline September 15, 2020: SAFTA will be pairing with Lambda Literary to offer two fellowships (one full fellowship and one 50% fellowship) for a week-long residency to LGBTQIA+ writers of any genre. Lambda believes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQIA+ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published and read. All applicants to the two fellowships must identify as LGBTQIA+.  Partial scholarships are also available to any applicant with financial need. This year’s judge will be Sundress editor Nicole Oquendo.

Nicole Oquendo is a writer and visual artist that combines these elements, along with magical practice, to craft multimodal nonfiction, poetry, and fiction, as well as translations of these forms. Their work can be found in numerous literary journals, a hybrid memoir, and six chapbooks, including their most recent works: Space Baby: Episodes I-III and The Antichrist and I. Their full-length poetry collection we, animals will be out later this year.

They have been serving the writing community for over a decade as an educator and freelance editor, as well as volunteering time to several literary journals and presses, most recently as a Special Feature Editor for The Florida Review. They are currently an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and their most recently curated anthology, Manticore: Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities, is available for free on the Sundress Publications website.

Dr. Kristi Larkin Havens Memorial Fellowship for Service to the Community (Spring 2021 or Fall 2021) – Deadline September 15, 2020: Dr. Kristi Larkin Havens served as the Community Outreach Director for Sundress Academy for the Arts and then as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Sundress Publications for over six years. She earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she was a Lecturer and the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies. She was a photographer who served as a producer on films for several local competitions including The Knoxville 24-Hour Film Festival and the Grindhouse Grind-out. For many years she served as a coordinator for the Knoxville Girls Rock Camp, an organization dedicated to fostering inclusivity and creativity. For her, the arts were a natural venue for pursuing the aims of social justice. 

This fellowship will be awarded to a writer who has shown exceptional service to their own community through any of the following: volunteering, organizing, fundraising, board membership, etThis fellowship will be awarded to a writer who has shown exceptional service to their own community through any of the following: volunteering, organizing, fundraising, board membership, etc. Fellowship winners will receive a one-week fully-funded residency the Sundress Academy for the Arts at Firefly Farms in Knoxville, TN for either the spring or fall of 2020. The spring residency period runs from January 3 to May 16, 2021, and the fall period runs from August 22-January 2, 2022.

Fellowships for Marginalized Writers (Spring 2021) – Deadline September 15, 2020: Thanks to an anonymous donor, we are able to offer two 100% scholarships to marginalized individuals who struggle with mental illness. For this application, please briefly note in your personal statement how you define yourself as a marginalized writer.

Please note in your application if you are applying for one of these fellowships. For all fellowship or scholarship applications, the application fee will be waived for all BIPOC writers and also those who demonstrate financial need. Please state this in your application under the financial need section. Limited partial scholarships are also available to any applicant with financial need.

The application deadline for the spring residency period is September 15, 2020. Find out more about the application process at www.sundressacademyforthearts.com.

Lyric Essentials: Amanda Gomez Reads Miguel Hernández

Hello, and thank you for joining us again for Lyric Essentials! This week, we are pleased to hear from Amanda Gomez, who reads poetry from Miguel Hernández to us and chats about viewing poetry as a tool for hope and teaching literary citizenship through exposure to diverse writers. Thank you for reading!


Erica Hoffmeister: Why did you choose these two particular poems by Miguel Hernández to read for Lyric Essentials?

Amanda Gomez: Despite the fact that Miguel Hernández is one of the most popular 20th century Spanish poets, I am very new to his work. I purchased The Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández, edited by Ted Genoways, last year, but it was not until this spring that I began to read his work. It seems easy to say that I chose to read Hernández work because I have just recently finished reading his work, but I think it is his urgency that compels me. With everything going on around us, the pandemic and the ways in which it has exacerbated the inequities of our systems, police brutality and the murders of innocent Black lives, systems of oppression that continue to exist, I wanted to return to someone who has come before, and Hernández is that person for me at the moment. Hernández fought for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, and both of the poems I decided to read were written by him from jail after having been imprisoned by Francisco Franco.

The first poem I chose, “Lullaby of the Onion,” was the very first poem of Hernández’ work that I was introduced to, and it is probably his most well-known poem. Hernández wrote the poem in response to a letter from his wife in which she details how she and their child were starving, and the child was malnourished having only onions and bread to eat. Hernández resists despair throughout this poem. It is not just a love poem, but a political poem: he illustrates the poet’s work is not simply to witness the moment but to reimagine a new future.

The problem with imagination, however, is that it’s rooted in our bodily experiences, and if left unchecked becomes dangerous, which is why I’ve also chosen “The World is as it Appears.” Here, Hernández’ hopeful tone is more restrained. In one line he writes, “[n]o one has seen us. We have seen / no one,” highlighting the ways in which we flatten the identities and experiences of others and conflate them with our own, reducing our capability for compassion and empathy. And while this is human error, I think we could interrogate this idea further as to how power interacts with these moments. For instance, I am reminded of D. L. Hughley who said, “The most dangerous place for Black people to live is in White people’s imagination.” I am fearful that we as a country will continue to remain blind, “blind as we are from seeing,” as Hernández ends the poem. But if there is some consolation, it is that “[i]t takes work and love / to see these things with you.”

In choosing these poems, I wanted hope for the future. Hope for now, but I can’t see that hope being viable without looking back to the past.

Amanda Gomez reads “The World as it Appears” by Miguel Hernández

EH: In our emails, you mention Don Share reading his translation of Miguel Hernández’ poem “Lullaby of the Onion” as your introductory point to Hernández’ work. What about that experience of hearing that poem aloud resonated with you so deeply?

AG: Listening to Don Share read the poem was enthralling for me. I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing, which was driving in my car, and just as he began the poem, I was parking in a gravel parking lot outside of a local coffee shop. I could not get out of the car until I had listened to the entire poem on repeat multiple times.

I am drawn to people’s voices. A speaker’s intonations and pauses are just as interesting to me as the words. In the act of listening, I am learning about the writer and the speaker, and sometimes those identities are shared in the same person and sometimes those identities are shared by two different people, but I find listening an erotic act. I can’t imagine anyone reads the same poem the exact same way every time. We linger in places that hold our attention more, and those places speak to us at very finite points in time. So for me, I could hear the nostalgia in Share’s voice in the places his voice warmed, knowing he’d read it many times.

However, I will admit that while listening to the poem was a great moment, reading the poem was a very lackluster experience the first time. It took multiple readings for me to come to my own appreciation and understanding of the poem.

Amanda Gomez reads “Lullaby of the Onion” by Miguel Hernández

EH: Has Hernández’ work influenced your own writing in some way?

AG: I would still say I am new to Hernández’ work, so I can’t exactly say how he has influenced my writing directly. I can say that Hernández’ imagery has stuck with me. He ends his poem “A Photograph,” by saying, “a picture accompanies me,” and I enjoy how much weight he places on the image. In one poem, there are “rustling eyelashes of the canefield,” and in another poem, “there is an orchard of mouths.” It is hard not to walk away from one of his poems without remembering these phrases, reminding me to always continue to invent new ways of seeing everything around me.

EH: How does your teacher-writer relationship impact the poetry that you read and/or teach?

AG: Being a writer has definitely impacted the way I teach and what poetry I teach. It wasn’t until graduate school that I encountered poets outside of the canon, Latinx poets that I could relate to and identify with, and I think that is such a travesty. I don’t want my students having to wait that long to find authors that look like them. I make it a priority to focus on QTBIPOC writers. I want author identity to be important to my students, though I do worry that my students come to the page to reassert their own opinions or biases rather than to confront them. I try to incorporate as many writers as possible to confront this concern and dialogue with them.

I’m also thinking about ways in which to teach my students the importance of literary citizenship. Many of the writers I choose are contemporary writers because I want them to think about the ways in which art serves us and how we can reciprocate. I also try to maintain some sort of balance between books published by large presses and small presses, so students can think about and talk about access to art as well.  

EH: Lastly, is there anything you are currently working on that you’d like to share with our readers? 

AG: Yes! My first chapbook, Wasting Disease, will be available in October through Finishing Line Press, and it is available for pre-order now. I am also working on a hybrid work that could probably best be described as lyrical essay. Growing up, most of my education came through television and movies. My parents were fascinated with American lore, and it was always a bit eerie to me. My dad especially loves Western movies, and so the piece is an exploration of John Wayne and his wives, a characteristic someone once described as the most “un-American” thing about Wayne. My primary focus is his second wife, Esperanza Baur, and I want to think through and reimagine her history as it’s hard to see her clearly past the patriarchal whitewash. At least, that’s my opinion.


Miguel Hernández is an early 20th century Spanish poet and playwright who gained fame as a political figure who wrote and read poetry during the Spanish Civil War. The son of an impoverished goat herder, Hernández was self-taught despite being discouraged and abused by his father for wanting to pursue writing. A member of the Communist Party of Spain, Hernández was arrested several times for his anti-fascist views and wrote many of his works from jail, some poems as love letters for his wife. Hernández’ prison poems which were collected and published posthumosly as Cancionero y romancero de ausencia (Songs and Ballads of Absence). Throughout his lifetime, he wrote five books of poetry and six plays. He died in 1942 in prison, at the age of 31.

Further reading:

Purchase The Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández, edited by Ted Genoways.
Read this feature about Hernández in Latino Life magazine.
Learn more about editor and translator Ted Genoways on his website.

Amanda Gomez is a Latinx poet from Norfolk, VA, where she received her MFA in poetry at Old Dominion University. Some of her poems have appeared in Nimrod International Journal, North American Review, PANK, Tupelo Quarterly, and Writers Resist. Her chapbook, Wasting Disease, which was awarded 2nd Honorable Mention in the New Women’s Voices Competition, is now available for pre-order through Finishing Line Press.   

Further reading:

Keep updated about Amanda Gomez by visiting her website.
Read Gomez’ prize winning poem “Grind” in the Academy of American Poets.
Read Gomez’ interview of Azar Nafisi in Barely South Review.

Erica Hoffmeister is originally from Southern California and earned an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in English from Chapman University. Currently in Denver, she teaches college writing and is an editor for the Denver-based literary journal South Broadway Ghost Society. She is the author of two poetry collections: Lived in Bars (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), and the prize-winning chapbook, Roots Grew Wild (Kingdoms in the Wild Press, 2019). A cross-genre writer, she has several works of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, articles and critical essays published in various outlets. Learn more about her at http://ericahoffmeister.com/

Sundress Reads: A Review of Dear Vulcan

Laura Davenport follows up her 2016 chapbook Little Hates (Dancing Girl Press) with a new collection, Dear Vulcan (LSU Press, 2020). Dear Vulcan is a masterclass in patience, simmering with steady heat, passion, and rage but never boiling over.

Davenport tackles a variety of topics in the pages of this collection—there are poems about childhood and family with vivid and invigorating southern imagery as well as somber and stinging elegies and remembrances for late friends—but Dear Vulcan truly shines in its vignette-like scenes of young women navigating relationships and interactions with unsavory men.

The collection’s opening poem, “The Lisbon Typist,” sets the scene for these poems, introducing a woman whose “self is not her self—not hers” and a man, Your lover [who] wants to be another, / different sort of man. He writes to you from other lives— / doctor, sailor, theologian.”

Aside from stunning, crushing language, Davenport offers here the parallelism of a woman who lacks a self and a man who tries on as many selves as he pleases, an all-too-common power dynamic and one that resonates throughout the rest of the collection.

Take, for instance, “Damsel, 1990,” where the speaker, a young girl, plays the damsel in distress for the neighborhood boys as they play-fight with sticks to “rescue” her. This poem offers a simple story, young boys embarking on a heroic quest in their own backyard and, viewed through a particular lens, that might be all you see. But Davenport pulls the camera back, pans over, and shows us a young girl being socialized into a subjugated role from an early age. This idea and the imagery associated with it are revisited later in the collection, in the poem “Notes from My Other Life.” Here the speaker reads an old poem about the siege of a village and finds herself laboring through the tired masculinity of the piece—its emphasis on violence, the objectification of the few women present. Already, we are imagining the boys playing knight in their backyard, the girl they’ve delegated as their prize.

The speaker describes the poem as a lecture, long and slow. “It’s hopeless,” she writes, “but then / the second author intervenes, / the girl who owned this book / forgotten semesters ago.” As the speaker reads these marginal notes, she feels a kinship with this other girl (who, according to the title, may have been an earlier version of herself). In these notes, the speaker finds that the girl, too, found these poems at best a slog and at worst blatantly misogynistic. The girl is simultaneously another reader, bearing the through the lecture of the poem along with the speaker, as well as a co-author, her notes expanding the poem, critiquing it and casting a light on its faults. Annotations and additions expand the story of the poem, showing the speaker a different perspective, just as Davenport offers us a different perspective in “Damsel, 1990.”

The subject matter of these two pieces adds to this effect, too. When we imagine children playing knight, we imagine young boys and, of course, they are the knights. And when we imagine knights themselves, we imagine men. As either a result or a cause of these imaginings, the written accounts of these events center a masculine perspective and push women to the side.

Davenport reclaims those narratives, not by inserting women into the story as knights and pretending there was never a masculine center to our stories, but by shining a spotlight directly onto that very centering, asking us to recognize it in ourselves and challenge it.

This is a highlight of Davenport’s style—her patience and masterful pacing.

These poems confront sexual assault, harassment, objectification, and a mountain of other obstacles women face every day and any of these events in isolation is just cause for anger, for boiling rage, but Davenport’s poems are calm and thorough in a way that invites us into these scenes and into the anger. Rather than handing us her anger and asking us to look at it, Davenport walks us to a place where we discover our own anger and are compelled to reckon with it. Davenport’s style represents the difference between watching someone cry in a movie and having a movie bring you to tears.

These poems also relay a theme of interconnectedness, the events described and the people experiencing them unable to exist in a vacuum. They operate within the narratives of the poems themselves and in the act of reading the poems. These poems don’t appear to convey a single, linear narrative. In fact, it’s unclear if the speaker of these poems is one woman or several—but the events of one poem ripple into another, as seen in the parallels between “Damsel, 1990” and “Notes from My Other Life.” For readers, this ripple effect exists in the build-up of anger, discomfort, and exhaustion.

The men featured in this collection vary in the severity of their actions and comments—one man simply won’t stop talking about his old girlfriend and another mansplains dolphins to a girl on the beach, for example, while others are more threatening, their actions more reprehensible—but when read together, their behavior creates a patchwork of experiences that itself is part of a larger, social system.

When a man stops to mansplain marine mammals, this act is a small inconvenience on its own, but it comes with the context of an endless line of men mansplaining endless marine mammals to endless women. Of course, Davenport doesn’t tell you that, the speaker doesn’t visualize the men who have harassed her before this moment or the men who will likely harass after this moment, but we, as readers, draw the line forward to its various possibilities.

The weight of one man’s comments in one poem makes the comments of another man in another poem feel heavier, the building weight of these endless experiences wearing down both the speaker and the reader. In the poem “Pool Hall,” Davenport explores this, writing “If Hell exists for certain, / it’s this basement pool hall, beers / sweating on the table and men circling / under the lights.” In this poem, the men playing pool talk loudly and crudely about their sexual encounters with women and the speaker feels that part of her Hell in the pool hall is that she feels so strongly the experiences of the women mentioned in these stories.

Their pain is her pain—the way they are objectified and demeaned is the same. Perhaps that is the strongest cord plucked by these poems. While it remains unclear if the speaker of the poems is always the same woman or a variety of different women sharing myriad encounters with men—ranging from uncomfortable to dangerous—but, either way, there is the through-line of shared experience and, once again, the weight of one poem heaves itself upon the next.

Dear Vulcan is a collection that evokes far more than is simply written within its pages, a testament to Laura Davenport’s skill as a poet. Davenport conjures intense emotion reactions and has the confidence to allow those events to occur entirely off the page. This collection is a forceful offering to readers and one well worth seeking out.

Quinn Carver Johnson was born and raised on the Kansas-Oklahoma border, but now attends Hendrix College and is pursuing degrees in Creative Writing and Performances studies. Johnson’s poetry and other writings have been published in various magazines and journals including SLANT, Nebo, Right Hand Pointing, Flint Hills Review, and Route 7 Review.

Project Bookshelf with Design Intern Coral Black

My mama is a writer. A poet. So I’m constantly surrounded by books that aren’t even mine. I’m talking six, full size, double stacked, bookshelves. She organizes them by type: fiction, poetry, travel, western (for my dad), children’s books, etc. So you always know where to find the book you need. And then there is my book collection. It carries the same aesthetic as my mama’s but if you’re looking for one book specifically, you may be searching for quite a while; I just found the book I started last summer. It was on my mama’s fiction shelf. 

As disorganized as this beauty is, it’s a good representation of who I am. The shelves are old paintings I made in college and I installed them myself so I guess I was listening when my parents taught me how to find a stud in the wall. It’s made up of mostly female authors with a thick spot of Margaret Atwood and a nod to Tamora Pierce. My childhood heroines claim room on my shelf in the form of Xena: Warrior Princess titles, a Tank Girl coloring book, and a few “how to” roller derby books. These sit happily amid earth bag building, woodworking, human sexuality, and philosophy of human rights. I tried to tell you, it makes no sense. Scattered around the colorful array of spines you can spot porcelain cat figurines, a dragon puppet, a tube of bubbles, and a bouquet of book flowers. More than decoration, these tell the stories of my memories. 

I am learning from my mama’s organization, however, because if you turn left, away from my main collection, you’ll find yourself at my drawing table. Here I keep my growing collection of art books. If you look closely, you’ll see a clear expression of my artistic style in the titles of these books: Women, Art, and Society, Impressionists, The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting. You see what I mean? 

To wrap up this tour of my reading collection, I present to you my reference books. If you’re a designer like me you just did a little happy dance. These are the books I keep on my desk to offer insight on the history of certain colors, explain to me how I do that series of photoshop adjustments again, and offer me a deep dive into the world of typography (drool). I don’t read these as often as the word “reference” makes it sound, but these couple of books have a way of informing my work just by sitting here on my desk. 

From the first time I open my eyes in the morning to the moment I turn out the light, these three shelves inspire my thoughts. They set my mind up to be successful in making conscious choices about who I am and remind me of what is most important in my life. Isn’t it amazing that we can learn so much from them even while their covers conceal the words inside? 

Coral Black received her BA in Fine Arts and Fine Arts Management from Western Washington University. She has worked as a graphic designer for InkSpeak and others and most recently completed a custom label for Patron tequila. She works as a freelance designer and artist and is also the kitchen manager for her local YMCA where she cooks 3 meals per day for 75 kids and teachers.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion

ditch poem # 13

pink ditch in wilderness
gash in the ground
damp & rent with salt
no one owns a bodyzz


This selection comes from the book, little ditch, available from ABOVE/GROUND PRESS.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and currently co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at http://www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion

ditch poem #20

it was the wildness
everything was singing and
you tried to protect me
i resisted it was pitch
and forest it was the trenches

i washed my mud and
donned its mother i slept
among the trees my golden guilt

it was the wild nests of
Brooklyn summer it was the
Cyclone everything was grit
and sunshine a glitter
of dun sand. What is protection
he asked under the boardwalk
who rides the Wonder Wheel

i resisted it was milk
or the ditch
so i started digging.


This selection comes from the book, little ditch, available from ABOVE/GROUND PRESS.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and currently co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at http://www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

Call for Pitches: Short Anthology Projects

Sundress Publications is open for submissions of pitches for short anthology projects. Anthologies would be published as part of Sundress’s e-chapbook series in 2021 and would be available for free download on the Sundress website. These anthologies would be limited to 50 pages of content including front and back matter.

All editors are welcome to submit pitches for qualifying projects. We are especially interested in projects helmed by or focused on amplifying the voices of BIPOC, trans and nonbinary writers, and writers with disabilities.

Pitches should be approximately 250 words and include:

  • Potential authors editors would like to solicit
  • Example pieces of work to be included
  • Outline of a plan for editorial process
  • Why editors believe the anthology is important to the contemporary literary landscape

Editors of selected pitches would solicit and read work for the anthology project with Sundress-backed support in submission curation, contracts, proofing, promotion, and design.

To submit, email your pitch (DOC, DOCX, or PDF) to sundresspublications@gmail.com. Be sure to note both your name and the title of the project in your email header. The deadline for pitches is August 31st, 2020.


The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion

Brighton Beach

sea-worn glass smoothed by ocean mouth

we wandered into your opening for
so long we forgot streetlight curfew

the gunmetal tide an invitation
i swam in the hot sludge of summer
swirling styrofoam oily with hair gel
and the grit of defiant refuse

i refused
the heat between my legs a warning
my kindling was my own heart
little lit matches held
chamber by chamber


This selection comes from the book, little ditch, available from ABOVE/GROUND PRESS.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and currently co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at http://www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.