The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Code by Charlotte Pence

The Weight of the Sun

I like the 4 a.m. feedings best, tilting
the rocking chair back and forth
with my toes, observing how the invisible

lines of our dark yard rest against
the lines of other yards—of other lives.
Before the sun rises, this small wedge

of the world momentarily in agreement:
everyone on this block wishing for sleep,
for peace, for the coming day to be better

than the last. I like thinking how the grass
growing a thousandth of an inch every
fifteen minutes is celebrating something

as I celebrate solving small mysteries
like learning a red fox is the one who
flattens the path through the lawn.

Mainly I like pretending I am the only one
awake, the only one seeing the world
at this instant. The navy sky, thick as blood,

is my blood, as the fracture of stars, bright
as raw bone, is my bone. I like being
reminded that we all began in dark and stars,

that the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen
in our bodies was created 4.5 billion
years ago in another generation of stars,

that somehow if we could weigh the sun,
all rising 418 nonillion pounds of it,
we’d see that strength is never needed

to begin the day. No, it’s something else.
Behind every square of light flipped on,
someone is standing or slouching,

stretching or sighing, covering
or uncovering her face. Someone
is thinking, Today, I will I will I will…


This selection comes from the book, Code, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

Charlotte Pence’s first book of poems, Many Small Fires (Black Lawrence Press, 2015), received an INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award from Foreword Reviews. The book explores her father’s chronic homelessness while simultaneously detailing the physiological changes that enabled humans to form cities, communities, and households. She is also the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks and the editor of The Poetics of American Song Lyrics. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have recently been published in Harvard Review, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, and Brevity. In July of 2020, her next poetry collection, Code, will be published by Black Lawrence Press. A graduate of Emerson College (MFA) and the University of Tennessee (PhD), she is now the director of the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at University of South Alabama.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

Sundress Reads: A Review of Facts + Figures

Facts + Figures by Rob Carney will make you desperate for the sound of rushing water, for truths to be spoken, for time to stop morphing places of memory. This book of poems relays what temporary means in an environment that has completely changed and how this physical refiguring affects the birds in the sky to the coyotes that are no longer around to the person who is searching for a reminder of life lived when everything feels erased.

The first section of poems consists of prose poems that makes you question what a fact is; is it only something that can be proven true by evidence or can it also be an experience that shows truth through personal conviction? This idea extends across multiple pages as the speaker actively speaks of spaces that are no longer as remembered. The fact of a forest turned abandoned warehouse is coupled with the speaker’s idea of this warehouse being sixty-one football fields long. An orchard turned golf course can only be proven by where the speaker had a first kiss. Although you can question the validity behind his words, the speaker makes you want to believe what he labels as facts, even if “rolling clouds are bison” is too surreal to be true, because this creation of life is linked to the love the speaker has to his past and his need for the survival of the home that now only exists in his memories. 

Voices of the past and present start to break through in the second section, emphasizing a search for reconciliation after displacement. The speaker’s neighbor seems central to this change, as she had once said, “but you’re there now, so be about finding instead of looking back.” This remembrance is the starting point for the speaker’s wanting to feel at ease in his daily life. He searches for what feels like “home” and finds small doses of nature intertwined with urban life, as a crow circles around to memorize a woman’s smile, but there seems to be a darkness in the value of life. The speaker highlights the acceptance of shooting raccoons in this town, the degradation of the education system for children, and the discrimination against immigrants. Carney makes you worry about the state of living in his neighborhood; he makes you wonder with him what there is to find that is uplifting when the past seemed brighter, more positive, more humbling. 

Interestingly, Carney gives space on the page for the reader to understand how the lives of wildlife had been disrupted by the construction of buildings. It’s uncomfortable to feel the silence of the night and the calm of birds singing on trees knowing that this environment will be destroyed to make a home for people instead. It makes you wish that the displacement of these animals would never happen. In this chaos, the writer beautifully makes you wonder about what animals would say in this situation if we could understand them. 

The most striking speech given to an animal is the bear, who predicts the future of his son’s life being of decay and loss and says, “too soon, too soon, too soon.” This voice like feels more than an imagined speech of the animal; it feels like the speaker’s personal thoughts and worries about his children’s future. In the witnessing of nature being overtaken, the speaker is homesick for a return to a time before civilization touched the places where water, undisturbed wildlife, and grass once was. Amid this loss is the writer’s hope for his son’s innocence. He wishes for his child to be able to sleep well and not be burdened with the awareness of cruelty and insensitivity to life in the world. Like the bear, he hopes that his son will not realize the breaking of good memories with the reality of destruction for many years to come.

It’s heartbreaking to realize Carney’s anguish to the dismemberment of his home. His poems were a culmination of trying to understand his identity through ties to memory and locations that created his childhood and adulthood. In trying to find a place of belonging, there’s a lack of contentment and a sad reservation for accepting life as it is now. However, in this misery, there’s a beacon of hope for a future where this pain isn’t inherited. Even more importantly, Carney makes you realize that even if a person or a home is gone, the memories never will be.

Facts + Figures is available, here.


Ashley Somwaru is an Indo-Caribbean woman who was born and raised in Queens, New York. She is currently pursuing her MFA at Queens College to immerse herself in pride for her mixed tongue, religious upbringings, superstitions, and cultural traditions that have made her into the red hibiscus she is. As a storyteller and poet, her work seeks to magnify the voices of women in her community, who have been silenced and abused, and to rewrite the history of her ancestors, those who were forgotten. She hopes to find them. Somwaru’s work has been published in Asian American Writers’ Workshop, the Spring 2020 issue of A Gathering Together, and will be in the forthcoming FEED issue of No, Dear.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Marriage Of The Moon and The Field by Sunni Brown Wilkinson

Little Owl in a Dark Room

singing whoo whoo, and the creaks
of the old crib as he lifts

himself up. Summer in the covers
and fall around the house.

Stillness. Now whoo whoo
and ba ba ba. In the oldest language

he lifts the morning
over our heads. The ceiling

tilts as I rise. Cold wood like a river
under my feet


This selection comes from the book, The Marriage of the Moon and the Field, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

My poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Adirondack Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, BODY and other journals and anthologies. I am the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019), and winner of New Ohio Review’s inaugural NORward Poetry Prize. I teach at Weber State University and live in northern Utah with my husband and three young sons.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

Lyric Essentials: Candice Iloh Reads Sasha Banks

Welcome back to Lyric Essentials! For this installment, we chat about righteous anger with writer and performer, Candice Iloh and listen to her read poems by the legendary Sasha Banks.


Erica Hoffmeister: Why did you choose Sasha Banks’ work to read for Lyric Essentials?

Candice Iloh: I have known about Sasha’s work for a long time and she is a poet I tell everyone about, so her work was an easy choice already at the tip of my tongue. Simply put, she is a Black person writing the kind of poems I want to read right now as this country shifts and implodes on itself. I’ve moved past being satisfied with poems simply working as a witness to our experiences and violent pasts as people Black people in America. I want to read poems that cast knowing spells on the reader and this entire country as a firm reminder of the powerful presence of our ancestors. I want to read Black poems warn this country of the error in harming Black bodies while reminding those of us who are still alive that we are not in this alone. I want to read poems that speak of Black people who have had enough. Sasha Banks does that. 

Candice Iloh reads “america, MINE” by Sasha Banks

EH: america, MINE is not your average poetry collection—there is a sort of narrative arc within the worldbuilding of magical realism and Afrofuturism. Why did you choose these two particular poems read from this book?

CI: I first chose the title poem america, MINE because, for me, it is the gut of what Sasha is getting at with this entire collection. My favorite line “we are not asking anymore” really says it. We are done asking permission for our rights, our freedom, our humanity when it has always been ours to claim.  I chose uhmareka, post collapse: three for it’s very similar quality, but with vivid examples of a society stripped of its oxymoronic symbolism and oppressive structures. This poems is, for once, suggesting a mourning that will follow the destruction of  white supremacy and all that does not serve us. It gave me a lot of pleasure imagining that. 

Candice Iloh reads “uhmareka, post collapse: three” by Sasha Banks

EH: How has Sasha Banks influenced your own work as a writer and community mentor?

CI: Sasha has and will always be a welcome challenge to do the bold thing in my work as a poet. To come to the page with knives and allow my very righteous anger the space to drive my stories. And she is also a poet who is really for our communities along the entire spectrum of black poets/artists. Her loyalty to both the integrity of her work and to the people its for is relentless.

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

CI: My debut YA novel in verse Every Body Looking hits stores nationwide on September 22nd and I’m so excited about it. It’s available for pre-order now.


Sasha Banks is a Pushcart-nominated poet from Brooklyn and the creator of Poets for Ferguson. She has had work featured in RHINOKinfolks QuarterlyPBS NewshourB O D Y Literature, and many others, and has performed in Tulane University’s Vagina Monologues. She holds an MFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and currently lives in North Carolina.

Further reading:
Purchase Sasha Banks’ book america, MINE.
Read a feature about Banks from PBS News Hour.
Listen to Banks discuss and read from america, MINE on the podcast Angels and Awakening.

Candice Iloh is a first-generation Nigerian-American writer and performer whose work centers on the body and finding one’s chosen home in the world. Her words have appeared in Fjords Review, So to Speak Journal, For Harriet, Blavity, No Dear Magazine, Glass Poetry Journal, The Felt, and The Black Girl Magic Anthology by Haymarket Books. She is a recipient of fellowships from VONA, Home School via Lambda Literary fellowship, as well as a Rhode Island Writers Colony Writer-in-Residence alum.  She holds an MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University, where she completed her forthcoming young adult novel in verse, Every Body Looking (Dutton YA/Penguin Random House, Sept 22 2020). She is a 2018 Hi-ARTS Critical Breaks artist residency recipient where she debuted her first one-woman show, ADA: ON STAGE. When Candice isn’t writing, she dances.

Further reading:
Preorder Candice Iloh’s Every Body Looking from Penguin Random House.
Watch an episode from the docu-series Brooklyn is Masquerading as the World, featuring Iloh.
Read an interview with Iloh from Colored Girls Hustle‘s #growfierce series.

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/

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Marriage Of The Moon and The Field by Sunni Brown Wilkinson

At Last the Light in the Trees Wavers

The young man who flies from New York to Salt Lake to fill in
for a famous pianist (stomach flu) is also a famous pianist. We
are second row at the symphony, and the pianist is skinny,
early 20s, and he plays a song like lanterns crashing.
Something modern. But first he plays Beethoven. We watch
him sway on the piano bench, eyes closed, anchored by his
torso and pointed leather shoes, and I wonder about his
mother. How many hours of practice did she hear? The
Emperor Suite over a screaming pot of tea. Endless staircases
of Chopin while she plucked his clean underwear from the
basket, folded the waistband in half, tucked under the crotch.
And for all the art about Paris or the sea, why not more about
laundry? About children, teaching them to pee like grown-ups:
elbows on their knees, legs swinging while they wait, wait,
wait, afterward the curved pink mark on their bottoms, a
funny frown. Sweet Mary Cassatt, what do I owe you? What
can I give you, who are both hands and mirror? In The Bath the
beautifully plain mother washes the feet of her daughter. They
gaze downward like suburban saints. Quiet, ceremonial. The
heart is harnessed in a thimble and every day it’s the morning
of creation. My son on an evening walk at four years old says
the moon looks like a floating egg mama I love living on earth.


This selection comes from the book, The Marriage of the Moon and the Field, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

My poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Adirondack Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, BODY and other journals and anthologies. I am the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019), and winner of New Ohio Review’s inaugural NORward Poetry Prize. I teach at Weber State University and live in northern Utah with my husband and three young sons.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Marriage Of The Moon and The Field by Sunni Brown Wilkinson

At Last the Light in the Trees Wavers

and moves on like an old woman
turning away

from the mirror. Everything dims.
Now the lamp

is master. November,
and the rake face–

down in a pile of leaves
is like a kid playing dead,

the stick of his back staying
perfectly still.

And at night in our bed
the bird of me returns

to the tree of you.
All we’ve shed: leaves

and feathers on the floor.
The dark and your limbs

draw me in.
I’ll sing now

in my little house of bones.


This selection comes from the book, The Marriage of the Moon and the Field, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

My poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Adirondack Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, BODY and other journals and anthologies. I am the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019), and winner of New Ohio Review’s inaugural NORward Poetry Prize. I teach at Weber State University and live in northern Utah with my husband and three young sons.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

2020 Chapbook Contest Winner Announced

Sundress Publications is thrilled to announce that Sunni Wilkinson’s chapbook, The Ache & The Wing, was selected by Esteban Rodriguez as the winner of our ninth annual chapbook competition. Wilkinson will receive $200 and publication. Sundress plans to release the chapbook in late 2020.

Esteban Rodriguez, contest judge and author of the forthcoming collection The Valley (Sundress 2021), had this to say about the chapbook:

“Lyrical and elegiac, this collection boldly explores a range of personal tragedies and uncertainties—the unexpected death of a son, the memory of a mother leaving, the realization that life had different plans than were originally conceived. As the speaker so succinctly states, “I don’t want another love story. / I want immortality,” but if immortality is off the table, then let us sit with a collection that page after page does everything it can to provide an authentic space to heal.”

Sunni Brown Wilkinson’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Adirondack Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Sou’wester and other journals and anthologies. She is the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019), and winner of New Ohio Review’s inaugural NORward Poetry Prize. She teaches at Weber State University and lives in northern Utah with her husband and three young sons.

Ugochukwu Damian Okpara’s I know the Origin of my Tremor and Allyson Whipple’s This Must be the Place were also selected as runners-up.

We are also excited to announce that Ugochukwu Damian Okpara’s chapbook, I Know the Origin of My Tremor, was also selected for publication and will receive the $100 Editor’s Award. A Nigerian writer and poet, Ugochukwu’s work appears or is forthcoming in African Writer, Barren Magazine, The Penn Review, and elsewhere.

The entire Sundress team would like to thank everyone who sent in their work. Finalists and semi-finalists include:

Finalists
OF TUNEFUL ROT, Prince Bush
Literary Self-Portraits of an Americanized Migrant, Natalie Cortez-Klossner
BREAKING WATER, Karen Llagas
Field Notes Recovered from the Expedition to Devil’s Peak, Laura A. Ring
Blur, Katherine Vanderme

Semifinalists
wash between your toes, Teni Ayo-Ariyo
Parent. Worshipper. Carrion, Stella Hervey Birrell
TACKY LITTLE NOTHING, Chelsea Margaret Bodnar
Small Girl: Micromemoirs, Lisa Fay Coutley
Feralandia, Nicole Arocho Hernández
As Things Developed, She Was to Have All Manner of Revelation, Elizabeth Devlin
Silencio, No Mas, Adrian Ernesto
Measurable Terms, Arlyn LaBelle
Massive and Newly Dead, Rebecca Martin
Object Permanence, Jeni De La O
Kaitumjaure, Laurence O’Dwyer
What Shot Did You Ever Take, Brian Oliu & Jason McCall
Harridan, Melissa Tyndall
between virus & police, ar young

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Marriage Of The Moon and The Field by Sunni Brown Wilkinson

Nesting Dolls

The biggest one carries all that weight
inside her it’s a wonder

she doesn’t fall over.
Pull apart her two halves and out

comes another, rouged and ready
to open again. Quiet, and you can hear them

breathe, a tiny ocean
sound in each. Just now a thump

under my ribs says No more room
in this borrowed house. Like cells slowly dividing,

we make our peace by letting go.
It’s almost time. We’re verses

with space in between
for our own small hallelujah. Selah,

the Hebrew word that marks a rest
after each Psalm. I want to say Selah in between

each house on my block, all the sleepers
in soft places. When the wind tore

at our house and I was afraid
the big pine would fall,

we all slept in the front room,
nothing but our breath, covers rising

and falling, a stone–light
through the blinds,

two children and their parents
dreaming. Deeper inside, the unborn

tapped, and the train whistle cried out—
my son says, like someone calling your name.


This selection comes from the book, The Marriage of the Moon and the Field, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

My poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Adirondack Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, BODY and other journals and anthologies. I am the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019), and winner of New Ohio Review’s inaugural NORward Poetry Prize. I teach at Weber State University and live in northern Utah with my husband and three young sons.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Alice in Ruby Slippers by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

Since You’ve been Gone

Since you died, I’ve dreamt of being lost—
amid the unfamiliar; somewhere Frost
might call a traveler’s puzzlement, a quest
determining which pathway suits me best
as though I’ve heard an inner voice or song
yet overwhelmed which choice is right or wrong—
bewildered by the thought, I’ll cry for you
as if your death’s a thing I could undo.
A dream can be a devastating place
though more alarming still to wake and face
the truth of what is real. There’s no way
to signal you for help. Sometimes I play
old messages to hear your voice again—
as if you’re home, then ask you where you’ve been.


This selection comes from the book, Alice in Ruby Slippers, available from Kelsay Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Ada Rivera.

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is currently enrolled in the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing program. She is a ten-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a seven-time Best of the Net nominee. In 2012 she won the Red Ochre Chapbook Contest, with her manuscript, Before I Go to Sleep. In 2018 her book In the Making of Goodbyes was nominated for The CLMP Firecracker Award in Poetry, and her poem A Mall in California took 2nd place for the Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize. In 2019 her chapbook An Ode to Hope in the Midst of Pandemonium was a finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Her work is widely published in magazines and online including, The Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, Mezzo Cammin, and Verse Daily. She is a former  Editor-in-Chief for the Tule Review and The Orchards Poetry Journal and member of the Sacramento Poetry Center Board of Directors. According to family lore, she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Nilsa Ada Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. She’s an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Alice in Ruby Slippers by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

Alice in Ruby Slippers

Oh, girl who sips her beautiful soup,
and walks a winding yellow-brick road—
who dreams of tweedles that loop-de-loop,
where munchkins sing in turtle code.

The griffin calls to Neverland
she’s now confused, could this be Oz?
As if a Wizard brings good news
or gives the Queen sufficient cause.

Off with your head, you wicked thing!
Oh, girl who sips her beautiful soup,
now paint the roses red and sing
“où est ma chatte,” the Dormouse snoop

just might be snoozing during tea—
the Emerald City awaits you there,
with soldiers dressed, and whiskers green
find Glinda with her golden hair.

Oh, girl who sips her beautiful soup—
White Rabbit reads and strokes his fur;
she clicks her heels three times for guilt—
they told me you had been to her.


This selection comes from the book, Alice in Ruby Slippers, available from Kelsay Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Ada Rivera.

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is currently enrolled in the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing program. She is a ten-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a seven-time Best of the Net nominee. In 2012 she won the Red Ochre Chapbook Contest, with her manuscript, Before I Go to Sleep. In 2018 her book In the Making of Goodbyes was nominated for The CLMP Firecracker Award in Poetry, and her poem A Mall in California took 2nd place for the Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize. In 2019 her chapbook An Ode to Hope in the Midst of Pandemonium was a finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Her work is widely published in magazines and online including, The Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, Mezzo Cammin, and Verse Daily. She is a former  Editor-in-Chief for the Tule Review and The Orchards Poetry Journal and member of the Sacramento Poetry Center Board of Directors. According to family lore, she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Nilsa Ada Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. She’s an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.