Sundress Reads: There Is No Good Time For Bad News

Dating back to the 1970s, the native Assamese people have engaged in conflict with the Indian government, leading a growing insurgence movement in the name of independence. The following years have resulted in the deaths of 30,000 people on both sides of the fight, as the Assamese people have continued to reaffirm their desire for separation. In lush, vivid description and visceral, jarring language, Aruni Kashyap tells the story of the longstanding violence that has been constituted as a result of the demands of secession by the state of Assam. In his new collection, There Is No Time For Bad News, Kashyap blends historical context, individual anecdotes, and cultural descriptions to offer a counternarrative to the image of India that pervades mainstream media.

From the first poem, “Alpha Ursae Minoris”, Kashyap situates the collection in its first-person perspective. The reader learns that this poem is constructed from the diary of Ranjit Singh, a general and administrator of the Indian army. The following poems expand on and complicate this usage of first-person perspective, zeroing in on individuals who have had their lives brutalized as a result of the Indian army’s violence, and swiftly transitioning to those who are living in the aftermath.

The brilliance of Kashyap’s structural and stylistic choices is rooted in this fragmentation, in the way that the trauma of directly experiencing violence swells over to those who are removed from it. In “News from Home,” Kashyap writes of a speaker who is removed from what is going on in their homeland, one who receives news “a week or more, / even a month” late. The structure of this poem centers it in dilemma, as the speaker struggles with how to handle the distance between them and their home country, “ they tell me these are lands unfamiliar, so I must not speak about them. / I should yearn for a language, which goes well with people who decide / who should know what, how much, / how many times, when, in which perspective / and how many days news from home / should take to reach where I live.” Kashyap’s acknowledgement of the complexities of even discussing this issue underscores the efforts to hide it, the hopes that it will fade from public purview without action being taken. The emphasis on certain people being able to decide who should know what is going on, how much, through which perspective, etc, indicates the control with which the Indian media has gripped this narrative, and the lengths they will go to conceal the atrocities.

One of the threads that runs through this collection is the discussion of women and the effects that this violence has on Assamese women in various roles in their lives. From the descriptions of grieving mothers being told of the loss of their sons in the war to the fear of violence that may be enacted on women by the Indian army, Kashyap centers these women’s plight by underscoring the damage that has been done to their society as a result of the rebellion’s efforts. In the lines “[s]he must have thought, / she would be one of them now / who were peeled to be enjoyed by many;” of “Fake Boots,” Kashyap expertly illustrates the dehumanization of the Assamese women, the way they are objectified and denied agency. The use of the word “peeled” is haunting in its literal and metaphoric connotations, in the level of violence that it implies is possible for this woman, and the abject loss of humanity she may endure.

In a subsequent poem, “The Chinese, Who Came Much Later,” Kashyap writes, “They were worried the fair-fair ones / would be picked up by the tiny-legged Chinese, / the dark-dark ones left for them to marry.” With the inclusion of ideas of colorism, Kashyap furthers this critique of the objectification and dehumanization of women. These lines are written from the perspective of the Assamese cowherds, whose fears are rooted in colorist, misogynistic beliefs. They demonize darker-skinned Assamese women in favor of the fair-skinned ones. This decision by Kashyap, to present the Assamese people as both harmed by the Indian army and perpetrators of harm in their own communities, is brilliant in its resistance of what is easy. In “No One Would Hear Me If I Screamed”, the female speaker asks, “Why terrorize people / who were working harder than we were.” In these lines, Kashyap calls attention to the Assamese rebellion movement’s capacity for harm. This signifies a resistance of the monolith, of the oppressor-victim binary, by denying the audience the comfort of simply “siding” with the Assamese community. Rather, Kashyap’s goal is to inform and educate about the nuances of this conflict and the reality that has resulted for the people living through it.

Ultimately, part of Kashyap’s collection functions as a brutal reckoning with the ways that the Assamese-Indian conflict has been suppressed by many Indians, immigrants, and Indian Americans alike. In “An Invitation to Murder Me,” the speaker describes how one could actually kill them, ultimately landing on smothering, “Just press a pillow on my face; I will / stop breathing. […] I hoist the national flag / every year on Independence Day, though the nation gives me / reason to be ashamed every day.” Throughout this collection, Kashyap has made multiple references to Indian Independence Day, underscoring the dissonance between its celebration and its defamation. These lines vocalize that complexity—how one can reconcile the celebration of independence from an oppressor while simultaneously oppressing individuals in their own country. The act of smothering, then, indicates this suppression of Indian history, this deliberate erasure by the Indian media to perpetuate measures that continue to subjugate the Assamese people. The harsh realities of this conflict are often excluded from narratives about India and the Western consciousness of the Indian subcontinent. In a world where the Hindu, upper-caste, cisgender-heterosexual perspective dominates the narrative, Kashyap’s work in lifting the veil is vital in order to reveal an accurate depiction of India’s strife-ridden history.

Purchase your copy of There Is No Good Time for Bad News.


Neha Peri holds a BA in English from Rutgers University. In her senior year, she was appointed  Editor-in-Chief of the university’s oldest literary magazine, The Anthologist. While at Rutgers, she also tutored for the Rutgers Writing Program, completed internships with the Rutgers English Department and the University of Mississippi Press, and wrote an honors thesis. Her work has been featured in The Anthologist. Currently, she works as an intern at the Princeton University Press.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Book of Crooked Prayer by Marcella Remund


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from The Book of Crooked Prayer by Marcella Remund, released by Finishing Line Press in 2020. 

Content warning for incest and pedophilia

St. Dymphna

            patron saint of the mentally ill

Dymphna, in fitful dreams I find you shivering
in rowan and ferns along the Blackwater
river, wreathed in St. John’s wort
& anointed with yellow-rattle,
half-starved and wrapped in a celtar
cinched at the waist with an oak rosary,
humming strains of your mother’s brief
lullaby. But your father was a chieftain
and knew the magic, found you anyway.
Grief or madness drove him to finger
your small bones for signs of her
in the curve of your emerging breasts,
the winged cup of your pelvis, your
silky down, and you a fugitive
child with courage enough to keep locked
that garden gate, though he found you
again, sealed the gate forever. Forsaken
daughter, in my own trembling delusion
I am your Síle na Gigh. We offer up
a novena to our Mother and for nine days
I give you this blessing too—my stone lap
cushioned with heather & moss, pillow
for your bruised and worried brow.


Marcella Remund is an Omaha, Nebraska native and a transplant to South Dakota, where she taught at the University of South Dakota. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals. Her chapbook, The Sea is My Ugly Twin, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018. Her first full-length collection, The Book of Crooked Prayer, was published by Finishing Line in 2020.

Stephanie L. Erdman graduated Purdue University and received her master’s degree through Indiana University. Her first poetry collection, Pyrrhonic, is available through Dos Madres Press and her second collection, Sankhara, is upcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Stephanie describes her style as anything with music and novelty. Stephanie lives in Northwest Indiana and works as a professor of English, editor, and professional tutor. She lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan with her dog, cat, 18 chickens, a transient partner, and persistent impostor syndrome.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Book of Crooked Prayer by Marcella Remund


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from The Book of Crooked Prayer by Marcella Remund, released by Finishing Line Press in 2020. 

House of No Sound

I live in the house of no sound
where footsteps are muffled somethings
and even my breathing is shallow.
A song I once sang prowls outside
under frozen hydrangea
caught in mid-bloom,
like the song’s gaping mouth
pressed now against my window.
Inside,
not even boiling water
breaks the silence.


Marcella Remund is an Omaha, Nebraska native and a transplant to South Dakota, where she taught at the University of South Dakota. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals. Her chapbook, The Sea is My Ugly Twin, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018. Her first full-length collection, The Book of Crooked Prayer, was published by Finishing Line in 2020.

Stephanie L. Erdman graduated Purdue University and received her master’s degree through Indiana University. Her first poetry collection, Pyrrhonic, is available through Dos Madres Press and her second collection, Sankhara, is upcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Stephanie describes her style as anything with music and novelty. Stephanie lives in Northwest Indiana and works as a professor of English, editor, and professional tutor. She lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan with her dog, cat, 18 chickens, a transient partner, and persistent impostor syndrome.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Book of Crooked Prayer by Marcella Remund


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from The Book of Crooked Prayer by Marcella Remund, released by Finishing Line Press in 2020. 

Prairie Dark

What draws us to the prairie is hard
and sharp as the blade of a paring knife
pulled through peach skin.

The faint yellow of kitchen windows
pools, thins to grey between
house, barn, gravel road

in darkness deep as a flour bin,
deep as apron pockets, deep.
Somewhere in the black

a cat carries week-old kittens
from a gaping cellar split open
to canning season

hides them in a tractor tire
overgrown with lamb’s quarters.
Her ribs shift, glide,

a delicate cage where hunger paces
dark and beautiful as the shadow
crossing inside the kitchen window.


Marcella Remund is an Omaha, Nebraska native and a transplant to South Dakota, where she taught at the University of South Dakota. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals. Her chapbook, The Sea is My Ugly Twin, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018. Her first full-length collection, The Book of Crooked Prayer, was published by Finishing Line in 2020.

Stephanie L. Erdman graduated Purdue University and received her master’s degree through Indiana University. Her first poetry collection, Pyrrhonic, is available through Dos Madres Press and her second collection, Sankhara, is upcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Stephanie describes her style as anything with music and novelty. Stephanie lives in Northwest Indiana and works as a professor of English, editor, and professional tutor. She lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan with her dog, cat, 18 chickens, a transient partner, and persistent impostor syndrome.

Sundress Academy for the Arts Announces Winners of Fall 2022 Residency Fellowships

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s VIDA fellowships, Génesis Mancheren Abaj and Gretchen Hasse, and the winner of our fall fellowship for Black and/or Indigenous Writers, Maurice Moore. These residencies are designed to give writers time and space to explore their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment. 

Génesis Mancheren Abaj (b. 1992, they/them) is a non-binary, Queer, Kaqchikel actor, filmmaker and screenwriter, born and raised in New York City by way of Guatemala. Upon graduating from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2017, they have worked extensively within film: co-directing, editing, writing, producing, and more. Their written, produced and edited work has shown at Tribeca Film Festival, VR Arles Festival, Icaro Film Festival, Rooftop Films, as well as Open Society Foundation, Leslie Lohman Museum, Centro Corona and more. They are co-founder of Tierra Narrative, an independent production house that focuses on Central American art and cinema through programming and production, and En-Camino Media, a worker-owned production house that produces video and online educational content. Génesis is excited to be currently developing their first feature film, Dólar, at Cine Qua Non Storylines Lab. They look forward to further working on their script at SAFTA in Fall 2022. 

Gretchen Hasse is a storyteller working in comics, collage, public art, moving images, and soon… robots. Gretchen is drawn to stories and images that describe perseverance and triumph through the resourceful re-creation of reality. She has exhibited work throughout Chicago, and her films have screened in New York City, Berlin, London, and computer screens everywhere. She curates with Agitator Artists’ Cooperative, where she is a founding member. Gretchen received a 2021 Make A Wave grant from 3Arts, and a 2022 Esteemed Artist Award from Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Maurice Moore is currently a doctoral Performance Studies Candidate at the University of California-Davis. Moore’s works have appeared in Communication and Critical Cultural/Studies, Queer Quarterly Magazine, Decoded Pride, Confluence, and Mollyhouse. From 2011 to the present, the creative has exhibited at the Centre for Recent Drawing (C4RD) in London United Kingdom, Verge Center for the Arts in Sacramento California, Calabar Gallery in New York NY, Medford Arts Center in New Jersey, Christina Ray Gallery in Soho New York, Mnemosphere Project in Milan Italy, Pence Gallery in Davis California, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro North Carolina.

Finalists for this fall’s fellowships included Jalen Mikal Smith, Hattie Hayes, Mary Rose Manspeaker, and Shipra Agarwal.

Applications are now open for our Spring 2023 residencies with fellowships for LGBTQIA+ writers and Black and/or Indigenous Identifying Writers.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Book of Crooked Prayer by Marcella Remund


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from The Book of Crooked Prayer by Marcella Remund, released by Finishing Line Press in 2020. 

Content warning for suicide, vivid description of suicide

Supplication to the Suicides

               for Ike

You will wake up tomorrow and the sun will be up.
            Stores will open. Some idiot will forget to signal
            his turn. There will be dishes to do. You’ll get a job
            offer in Big Sky, Montana.
This will all get easier. Then it will get harder
            again. Then it will get easier again.
That girl you love will leave her next boyfriend too.
Your mother is canning peaches right now.
            She will need you here to eat them.
The pain you feel now comes from a cauldron
            of teenage chemicals swirling through you like bad
            soup, like toxic river water, like grain alcohol, like Drano.
            It will eventually push through your system, and you will
            be able to laugh and think straight again.
Remember that time I stomped in your house and screamed
            in your face and jabbed at you with my finger? I really
            wanted to hug you and lock you up and never let you go.
Going to the zoo is almost as much fun at 35 as it is at 13.
It will one day be a mystery to you that you ever felt this bad.
I don’t know if there’s an afterlife. But
            what if you have to watch the chain
            of sorrows you leave behind?
The belt will burn and cut into your neck. The pain
            will be unbearable before you black out.
            You’ll pee your pants.
            You’ll change your mind.
            You won’t be able to stop it.
I love the way your hair flips to the side, and the way
            you look sideways when you grin, and the way
            my youngest son’s heart opens up around you.
That girl you love will end up with four kids from three fathers.
            She’ll work at Walmart and live over her parents’ garage.
            She’ll try and fail to kick meth. Her kids will be taken away.
Or
That girl you love will end up married to a banker
            and will live on a lake and have a housekeeper.
Or
That girl you love will be in therapy for the rest of her life.
Or
That girl you love will use your memory like a crucible
            in which she’ll stew future boyfriends and cook up
            excuses for sleeping with her future husband’s boss.
After your sister died, your mother stayed alive, in part, for you.
We are only here for a blink anyway. Can’t you wait that long?
My son will have a redheaded child. She’ll skateboard.
            She’ll be beautiful and jolly and full of mischief.
            He’ll take her to the skatepark in Lennox.
            He’ll cry because you’re not there to watch her.
You’re my child. You’re everyone’s child. We will all be broken.
You’ll fall in love again and again and again. You might have twins.
            They’ll be skinny and blonde and hold your hand.
            You’ll rock them to sleep with Jack Johnson lullabies.
            When they’re 15, they’ll say we hate you.
            You’ll try to keep a straight face.
Your mother’s smile will be manufactured and hard for the rest of her life.
You are so full of love and light and promise that it burns
            our fingers to touch you. We are moths and choose
            winglessness over being without you.
My son will carry you like a scar,
            like a confession,
            like a stone in his gut.
            Forever.
Someone will have to take a picture of your body.
There is nowhere else to go.
Please, please stay.


Marcella Remund is an Omaha, Nebraska native and a transplant to South Dakota, where she taught at the University of South Dakota. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals. Her chapbook, The Sea is My Ugly Twin, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018. Her first full-length collection, The Book of Crooked Prayer, was published by Finishing Line in 2020.

Stephanie L. Erdman graduated Purdue University and received her master’s degree through Indiana University. Her first poetry collection, Pyrrhonic, is available through Dos Madres Press and her second collection, Sankhara, is upcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Stephanie describes her style as anything with music and novelty. Stephanie lives in Northwest Indiana and works as a professor of English, editor, and professional tutor. She lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan with her dog, cat, 18 chickens, a transient partner, and persistent impostor syndrome.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: How Bright the Wings Drive Us


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from How Bright the Wings Drive Us, a collaborative work by Morag Anderson, Barbara DeCoursey Roy, Maeve McKenna, and Audrey Molloy, released by Dreich in 2021. 

The Deep End

               By Morag Anderson

Flaccid light and piss-reek
seep in from the communal hall.
It takes both cold hands to form a grip,
turn the key, unlock the door.

The kids still asleep in a pleat
of thin limbs under sheets and coats,
and a lanced heart nailed to the wall.

I take the pack of sausages
from the waistband of my skirt,
bend carefully to pick apart

damp knots in oversized boots
but still dislodge the bloodied wad
of my makeshift sanitary-pad.

I slide down the wall, pull my knees
to the ladder of my ribs, and bleed.


Before Waking

               By Maeve McKenna

Mid-March, stunned by another 6 am,
I have been awake, in parts, two hours.
Flecks of dust settle on the window pane.

A fox across the open field, one I announced
as having claimed us, now seems unfamiliar;
chameleon of rusted amber, then furious red.

These are the loneliest minutes of my life. I am
happy here, most mornings, watching dew dissipate,
fearless dandelions slipping their wet shields,

grass-frost, its white innocence warming to silver,
then vanishing. And her, our vixen, scavenging
the dark length of night, stalking death by paw,

unaware of preened coats panting at the lair,
newborn cubs blinded, unhearing. Her breath
pins a trail of fog I follow with my eyes; shafted

light sculpting shadows. Then, a sudden
spiral, a staggering at my wrist.
I make sense with what I have left, until I can’t.


Swag

       After Brigit Pegeen Kelly

               By Audrey Molloy

In a batik purse encrusted with mirrors
is a drawstring bag of fine kid-leather
and, in the bag, a nugget of stolen time.

It is tarnished black despite the lack of oxygen
but a brisk rub on the hem of your dress reveals
a gleam like a trout in a wind-brushed lough.

No one knows who took it, but suspects are many:
the first-time mother in the milk-stained blouse
who sleeps only fitfully between feeds;

or the part-time telephonist, squeezing the outer skin
from the pale green innards of defrosted peas;
or a surgeon; or someone from long ago.

The purse has been ported on longboat and curragh,
High Nellie bicycle, barrow and cart,
through drought, inundations and mud.

It has even been carried by swarms of blue bees,
dangling its long, swinging strap in the semblance
of a bright green snake. Oh, that’s all been written before.


Forest Dwellers

               By Barbara DeCoursey Roy

Dainty dogwood, wistful redbud, wild phlox, blue
as your teenage daughter’s hair, a fat clump of May
apples border this thin slice of earth. Second growth
a jigsaw puzzle with a thousand small pieces.

A hundred different wildflowers on as many acres,
every extra hour of daylight a promise writ yellow,
the primeval alchemy of fungus and root, the last
redoubt of innocence, witness to its undoing.

Cue the supernumeraries: raccoon with sly smile,
furtive fox, his tail a red banner, opossum with her
opalescent skin, owl and hawk. Who thrive in nest
and den, with teeth and talon, not questioning

their true nature, playing their part, tending the tinder,
heeding the shriek, the howl, the mating call.
Our next of kin, in darkest wood, thieves
and murderers all.


Morag Anderson is a Scottish poet. Her chapbook, Sin Is Due to Open in a Room Above Kitty’s (Fly on the Wall Press, 2021) is a Poetry Book Society recommendation. She was placed in the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2021, the Edwin Morgan Trust Competition 2021, and selected for Best Scottish Poem 2021. Her work has been widely anthologised and appears in journals such as Finished Creatures, Gutter, Popshot Quarterly. She is currently working on commissions by the Scottish Poetry Library.

Maeve McKenna lives in rural Sligo, Ireland. Her work has been placed in several international poetry competitions and published widely in print and online. Maeve was a finalist in the Eavan Boland Mentorship Award 2020, third in Canterbury Poet of The Year 2021 and a Pushcart nominee 2022. Her debut pamphlet, A Dedication to Drowning, was published in February 2022 by Fly on The Wall Press. She is currently working on a second pamphlet due for publication in September 2022 with Rare Swan Press.

Audrey Molloy is an Irish-Australian poet. Her debut collection, The Important Things (The Gallery Press, 2021), received the 2021 Anne Elder Award. She is currently undertaking a master’s degree in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, Magma, The North and Stand. She is the grateful recipient of a Literature Bursary Award from the Arts Council of Ireland.

Barbara DeCoursey Roy is an American poet living in the woods outside St Louis, Missouri. Her poetry has been published in The Galway Review, Headstuff, Skylight 47, Pendemic, Open Rivers (an online journal of the University of Minnesota), Popshot Quarterly, and The Galway Advertiser. Along with three other poets, Barbara won first place in the 2021 Dreich Alliance. She is a founding member of Poets Abroad, an international poetry workshop.

Stephanie L. Erdman graduated Purdue University and received her master’s degree through Indiana University. Her first poetry collection, Pyrrhonic, is available through Dos Madres Press and her second collection, Sankhara, is upcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Stephanie describes her style as anything with music and novelty. Stephanie lives in Northwest Indiana and works as a professor of English, editor, and professional tutor. She lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan with her dog, cat, 18 chickens, a transient partner, and persistent impostor syndrome.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: How Bright the Wings Drive Us


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from How Bright the Wings Drive Us, a collaborative work by Morag Anderson, Barbara DeCoursey Roy, Maeve McKenna, and Audrey Molloy, released by Dreich in 2021. 

Heroes Work Here 2020

               By Barbara DeCoursey Roy

She leaves in the dark, and comes home in it. Bleary as a bartender at last call. Tosses trousers, shirt, bra, panties, socks and shoes into a tall kitchen garbage bag. She will wash them tomorrow, if she doesn’t sleep all day. Walking naked through the quiet house, she hopes the shower doesn’t wake the baby, forgets water is for more than sanitizing. She trained to be a surgeon, not a butcher. Stolen hands forcing air into stolen lungs, stealing her future. Water won’t erase the stench of defeat that clings to her skin; the gaping mouths, flailing arms, drowning visages crowding her dreams. Stumbling toward the foldout bed, she reproves herself for the bath she didn’t give her daughter, the bedtime story they didn’t read, the new words she didn’t hear, the petty jealousy she feels; her mother-in- law having dinner with her husband, sitting in her chair.


Barbara DeCoursey Roy is an American poet living in the woods outside St Louis, Missouri. Her poetry has been published in The Galway Review, Headstuff, Skylight 47, Pendemic, Open Rivers (an online journal of the University of Minnesota), Popshot Quarterly, and The Galway Advertiser. Along with three other poets, Barbara won first place in the 2021 Dreich Alliance. She is a founding member of Poets Abroad, an international poetry workshop.

Morag Anderson is a Scottish poet. Her chapbook, Sin Is Due to Open in a Room Above Kitty’s (Fly on the Wall Press, 2021) is a Poetry Book Society recommendation. She was placed in the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2021, the Edwin Morgan Trust Competition 2021, and selected for Best Scottish Poem 2021. Her work has been widely anthologised and appears in journals such as Finished Creatures, Gutter, Popshot Quarterly. She is currently working on commissions by the Scottish Poetry Library.

Maeve McKenna lives in rural Sligo, Ireland. Her work has been placed in several international poetry competitions and published widely in print and online. Maeve was a finalist in the Eavan Boland Mentorship Award 2020, third in Canterbury Poet of The Year 2021 and a Pushcart nominee 2022. Her debut pamphlet, A Dedication to Drowning, was published in February 2022 by Fly on The Wall Press. She is currently working on a second pamphlet due for publication in September 2022 with Rare Swan Press.

Audrey Molloy is an Irish-Australian poet. Her debut collection, The Important Things (The Gallery Press, 2021), received the 2021 Anne Elder Award. She is currently undertaking a master’s degree in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, Magma, The North and Stand. She is the grateful recipient of a Literature Bursary Award from the Arts Council of Ireland.

Stephanie L. Erdman graduated Purdue University and received her master’s degree through Indiana University. Her first poetry collection, Pyrrhonic, is available through Dos Madres Press and her second collection, Sankhara, is upcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Stephanie describes her style as anything with music and novelty. Stephanie lives in Northwest Indiana and works as a professor of English, editor, and professional tutor. She lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan with her dog, cat, 18 chickens, a transient partner, and persistent impostor syndrome.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: How Bright the Wings Drive Us


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from How Bright the Wings Drive Us, a collaborative work by Morag Anderson, Barbara DeCoursey Roy, Maeve McKenna, and Audrey Molloy, released by Dreich in 2021. 

Two Things I Know, Father Byrne

               By Morag Anderson

I.

The size of the needle’s eye
through which I am observed
will remain unchanged

whether I borrow modesty
from a pencil’s nib,
or empty my mouth of truths—

so loose
they form candy-floss clouds
above my gunmetal town.

II.

The length of eternity for you—
who stalks the walled grounds,
stark and forlorn—is equal

to that of my lover who leans
in thorn-threaded hedgerows,
naked as winter’s larch, and waits for me to prick
his sensibilities
with the tip of my tongue.


Morag Anderson is a Scottish poet. Her chapbook, Sin Is Due to Open in a Room Above Kitty’s (Fly on the Wall Press, 2021) is a Poetry Book Society recommendation. She was placed in the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2021, the Edwin Morgan Trust Competition 2021, and selected for Best Scottish Poem 2021. Her work has been widely anthologised and appears in journals such as Finished Creatures, Gutter, Popshot Quarterly. She is currently working on commissions by the Scottish Poetry Library.

Maeve McKenna lives in rural Sligo, Ireland. Her work has been placed in several international poetry competitions and published widely in print and online. Maeve was a finalist in the Eavan Boland Mentorship Award 2020, third in Canterbury Poet of The Year 2021 and a Pushcart nominee 2022. Her debut pamphlet, A Dedication to Drowning, was published in February 2022 by Fly on The Wall Press. She is currently working on a second pamphlet due for publication in September 2022 with Rare Swan Press.

Audrey Molloy is an Irish-Australian poet. Her debut collection, The Important Things (The Gallery Press, 2021), received the 2021 Anne Elder Award. She is currently undertaking a master’s degree in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, Magma, The North and Stand. She is the grateful recipient of a Literature Bursary Award from the Arts Council of Ireland.

Barbara DeCoursey Roy is an American poet living in the woods outside St Louis, Missouri. Her poetry has been published in The Galway Review, Headstuff, Skylight 47, Pendemic, Open Rivers (an online journal of the University of Minnesota), Popshot Quarterly, and The Galway Advertiser. Along with three other poets, Barbara won first place in the 2021 Dreich Alliance. She is a founding member of Poets Abroad, an international poetry workshop.

Stephanie L. Erdman graduated Purdue University and received her master’s degree through Indiana University. Her first poetry collection, Pyrrhonic, is available through Dos Madres Press and her second collection, Sankhara, is upcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Stephanie describes her style as anything with music and novelty. Stephanie lives in Northwest Indiana and works as a professor of English, editor, and professional tutor. She lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan with her dog, cat, 18 chickens, a transient partner, and persistent impostor syndrome.

Sundress Publications is Open for Full-Length Poetry Manuscripts

An infographic with a floral border reads "Sundress Publications Open Reading Period - Submit your 48-80pg poetry manuscript between June 1 - August 31, 2022" and includes other submission information.

Sundress Publications is open for submissions of full-length poetry manuscripts. All authors are welcome to submit qualifying manuscripts during our reading period of June 1st to August 31st, 2022.

We’re looking for manuscripts of forty-eight to eighty (48-80) single-spaced pages; front matter is excluded from page count. Individual pieces or selections may have been previously published in anthologies, chapbooks, print journals, online journals, etc., but cannot have appeared in any full-length collection, including self-published collections. Single-author and collaborative author manuscripts will be considered. Manuscripts translated from another language will not be accepted. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but we ask that authors notify us immediately if their manuscript has been accepted elsewhere.

The reading fee is $13 per manuscript, though the fee will be waived for entrants who purchase or pre-order any Sundress title or broadside. We will also accept nominations for entrants, provided the nominating person either pays the reading fee or makes a qualifying purchase. Authors may submit as many manuscripts as they would like, so long as each is accompanied by a separate reading fee or purchase/pre-order. Entrants can place book orders or pay submission fees at our store. Please note that submission fees are waived for all BIPOC writers.

All manuscripts will be read by members of our editorial board, and we will choose at least two manuscripts for publication. We are actively seeking collections from writers of color, trans and nonbinary writers, writers with disabilities, and others whose voices are underrepresented in literary publishing. Selected manuscripts will be offered a standard publication contract, which includes 25 copies of the published book, as well as any additional copies at cost. You can find out more about our contract and publication process here.

Our top selection from the reading period also will receive a free one-week writing residency at the Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville, TN.

To submit, email your Sundress store receipt for submission fee or book purchase, along with your manuscript (DOC, DOCX, or PDF), to sundresspublications@gmail.com. Be sure to note both your name and the title of the manuscript in your email header. For those nominating others for our reading period, please include the name of the nominee as well as an email address; we will solicit the manuscript directly.