The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby by Alexa Doran


Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby

On the nights when my body loves itself
enough to let it sleep


I lower myself into myself and pick a fight
with your memory,


never mind that you’re asleep right next to me,
your curls a comet of sparks spread


soft on the sheets, I’m just that gaga greedy –
but as I click back


through my mind trying to find
the nectarine cast of your throat


mid-laugh as I chase you
past the lace of shacks and moat


or to the cherry chaw of the morning I met you
your body a comma behind the Carolina dew,


my mind dives instead to 3:35 on the canopy road
driving because I need to cry


without facing you, or to the garage where I smoke
out the voice of the nursery school


saying you don’t fit in with the group.
Eventually I realize


I can’t let anything go
not even the bluegold beetles I keep seeing


on the side of the road. I don’t know

if they’re dead or the just the shed sac

of a body now afloat. It’s all volcano,
liquid shriek all around me, and I know

if I could just soak in the lavender spurt
of the laundry, or lose myself in the apple dream

of the grocery, I could stave off the lava,
keep alive the illusion of in utero. Instead I lie

a liquid berm burning beside your shadow.


This selection comes from Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby, available from Bottlecap Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kimberly Ann Priest.

Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, and Permafrost, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at https://aed16e.wixsite.com/alexadoranpoet.

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby by Alexa Doran


Motherhood (Exhibit A)

God gave me my anger as a gift and now
I only want the pity of a martini.


Mothers we cannot expect to maintain
our melt. I preach release but my dad used


to fold foil into wands so I could


fairy and I still only believe, but
could never be, magic. I know how

to hold my hit in while my son searches
the groove in my breast, burned by a pot

seed when I was 16, for the just sprigged
parts of me, for the blossoms to bunch

to his teeth. The chapped daisies of my hands
sap his dream. I say This is how you sleep

I say dissolve your brain from your body
I say you may not recognize mommy

on the other side of reality.
And this is where he giggles says it’s easy

as if nothing is inevitable

as his cheek giving the moon a surface to be.


This selection comes from Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby, available from Bottlecap Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kimberly Ann Priest.

Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, and Permafrost, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at https://aed16e.wixsite.com/alexadoranpoet.

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.

Lyric Essentials: Wendy Videlock Reads Virginia Hamilton Adair

Welcome back to Lyric Essentials! This week, Wendy Videlock is joining us to share the work of the poet Virginia Hamilton Adair and discuss the natural world around us, the vivacious language and choices made in these poems, and experimentation. Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you next time!


Ashley Hajimirsadeghi: Why did you choose these poems?

Wendy Videlock: I think they really represent Virginia Hamilton-Adair’s style, range and thematic interests. And of course they’re some of my favorites of hers. She really knows how to surprise the reader, how to pace a poem, how to pack a punch, how to avert our expectation. In “Keyring,” those first two lines, “My grandfather, when he was very old, / to one small room confined,/ gave me a bunch of his keys to hold.” assure us we are in good hands — the syntax, compression, and sonic interests alert us to that right away. Though she chooses a common subject, (one’s grandfather) she treats the subject uniquely, rendering the rather common subject uncommon indeed. And that close! Perfection. She embodies in this piece the diction, tone, and wonder of a child, and that “chuckling sound” the keys make is just a brilliant touch. She seems to work with what Frost called ‘the ghost of meter’ and often ends her poems on a note of mystery that widens, rather than closes off, or confirms our view. I think this little poem really exemplifies that.

“Yea Though I Walk” is a potent little piece with three discernible turns. I’m very drawn to a poetic that’s interested in pacing, that can equally surprise, delight, and devastate. She begins by lulling us into a pastoral scene, with sweet little lambs bobbing along and rather romantic perceptions of shepherding —then leads us to a stark reminder of efficiency, hunger, even cruelty: a wounded lamb unable to keep up, is left by the road we are told, its hooves wired together. The speaker imagines the shepherd returning that evening to collect his dinner. She then switches register again, panning out to a wider view, reflecting more meditatively, “The good shepherd of myths, psalms, and parable/ have always made me uneasy. / Something wrong there, leading me / however gently, to the slaughter”. This describes not only the shepherd and the lamb of course, but also how the poem leads us along with its shifting registers and perceptions — adding yet another layer of engagement to this devastating little poem.

Wendy Videlock Reads “Keyring” by Virginia Hamilton Adair

AH: What was your first experience with this poet’s work?

WV: I was given an anthology by a friend a few years ago called Poets of the American West, edited by Robert Mezey, and discovered one slim and wily little poem of hers called “Mojave Evening.” In it she closes the poem by describing coyotes at dusk this way: “their eyes coming out to hunt/ like all the other stars’. Again a common subject given remarkably uncommon treatment. I was hooked.

Wendy Videlock Reads “Yea Though I Walk” by Virginia Hamilton Adair

AH: Adair’s work is often inspired by the world that was around her. What has been inspiring you lately?

WV: Yes, I’m invested in the natural world as well, the character of the landscape, the wildlife, the changing skies, the cosmos. I’ve been experimenting a lot with prose lately, and testing the boundaries of genre bending, of specialty blending, of literary integrations and the imagination. So many marvelous opportunities for metaphor, intimacy, wordplay and surprising new insights. A writer never has enough time. One of my disappointments in the modern poetic is that it often goes straight for the cerebral, the hyper-ironic, the center stage “I” and the poet’s intention being its central purpose —very often neglecting the enchantment of song, the natural world, the elements, the very facts and shared understandings of our existence. Adair reminds us that poetry’s roots are in song, and that none of those things need be sacrificed in service of the poem.

AH: What have you been up to lately? Got any news to share?

WV: My upcoming book, The Poetic Imagination: A Worthy Difficulty is a collection of new and previously published essays, reviews, and prosimetrum (known in eastern tradition as haibun) on the elusive nature of language, landscape, the imagination, and the often misunderstood nature of verse craft or prosody. I’ve also got a new book of poems I’m readying for publication. I think both should be out by the end of the year or early in 2022.


Wendy Videlock lives in a small agricultural town on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies.  Her work appears in Hudson Review, Poetry, Dark Horse, The New York Times, Best American Poetry, and other venues.  Her books are available from Able Muse Press. Her upcoming collection of essays, The Poetic Imaginarium: A Worthy Difficulty, will appear in the fall of 2021. To see more of Wendy’s work, please visit: www.wendyvidelock.com, or tune in to this recent webinar she did with Tim Green, editor of Rattlehttps://youtu.be/OheIJ9Gg3C8

Read some of Wendy’s work at Poetry here.

Discover her full-length collection Slingshots and Love Plums at Able Muse Press.

Virginia Hamilton Adair was an American poet. Originally, she published a few pieces from the 1930s to 1950s, but then took a break that spanned fifty years. After this break, she found acclaim with her poetry during the last decade of her life. At eighty-three years old and after she had gone blind, her first poetry collection Ants on the Melon: A Collection of Poems was published in 1996. Over her lifetime, she had written over a thousand poems.

Read her poem “Buckroe, After the Season, 1942” here.

Find her poetry collection “Beliefs and Blasphemies” here.

Read more of her work at The New Yorker.

Ashley Hajimirsadeghi is a multimedia artist and writer. She has had work appear, or forthcoming, in Into the Void Magazine, DIALOGIST, Rust + Moth, and The Shore, among others. She currently reads for Mud Season Review and EX/POST Magazine, is the Playwriting & Director’s Apprentice at New Perspectives Theatre Company, was a Brooklyn Poets Fellow, and is the co-Editor in Chief of Juven Press. More of her work can be found at ashleyhajimirsadeghi.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby by Alexa Doran


To My Son, Who Just Heard Me Scream Fuck

and turned to me for a hug, I’m sorry I keep confusing
me for the goddess of electricity. Imagine your mama


in charge of the parse of light and dark, lightning bolts
shivering down both arms whenever I want the night


to sputter or the sky to rip apart. To unleash
myself in a vector of heat – Son I am angry


that I am not the sun that reaches your cheeks.
I am f-star furious that I can’t blend those binaries,


And yes this is about more than astronomy (although
you have to agree that as a star I would hang


but perfectly) This is about America’s hard-on
for atrocity, and your mama’s sugar/fire/need


to plug those geysers of white male greed. It’s true.
I infringe. I jostle. I say irrevocable things.


All to cage you in. You see I think I can make you
forget I don’t fibrillate the wind. Son, the way


condensation clasps the glass is how I will rise
inevitably to the surface of your life –


not as some womb of weather, snow cocked
like a weapon, but silent as the brine that coats


your tendons, as the grope of muscle to skin.


This selection comes from Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby, available from Bottlecap Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kimberly Ann Priest.

Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, and Permafrost, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at https://aed16e.wixsite.com/alexadoranpoet.

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.

Poetry is Good Company: A Conversation with Wendy Carlisle on Her Second Poetry Collection Discount Fireworks

Doubleback Review Social Media Intern, Bethany Milholland, asked Wendy Carlisle to participate in an interview about her poetry collection Discount Fireworks. A hymn to the landscape of Carlisle’s native Arkansas, the subjects of these poems range from Greek myths to motherhood to a high school shooting. Timeless yet personal, Discount Fireworks is an ode to self-discovery and the beauty of finding one’s home.

Bethany Milholland: What does the poetry collection Discount Fireworks mean to you? 

Wendy Carlisle: This collection was my second, completed five years after I had finished my MFA in Vermont, and after a fruitful residency on the West Bank of New Orleans. My wonderful publisher Jacaranda Press folded immediately after it was published, alas. I love this book because it was a watershed for me. It marked, I think, my passage into poetry-for-sure.

BM: How long did it take to write and what was the process like?

WC: These poems were collected over almost 8 years. I found poems that I believed spoke to one another, and added to the sum of the book, then sent them to my editor. She weighed in, and we began again. This process took about 6 months. The final book opens with thinning glaciers and closes with Hurricane Katrina but in-between, it contains everything from vampires to Bible stories. I am surprised now by how many forms are here, from faux sonnets (the precursors of my Ozark Sonnets) to syllabics. The thing that clinched the collection for me was that the individual poems said something I wanted to hear.

BM: Who or what do you find inspiration from? 

WC: I am inspired by other Arkansas poets, Jo McDougall, Arkansas’s poet laureate, my first teacher Miller Williams, and that giant of Arkansas letters, C.D. Wright. I just discovered Laura Kasischke, that was like finding gold. Kim Addonizio continues to be an inspiration and my poetic practice has been built on the foundation of my friendship with the late Phillip Dacey,who continually reminded me about the bone work of poetry, showing up.

BM: Can you tell me about the front cover? 

WC: The cover is Discount Fireworks, a 1985 painting by a first-rate Arkansas artist, Robert McGehee, from Paris, Arkansas. I lived with the painting for over a decade when it occurred to me it would make a great cover for my book-in-progress. After that standing at the kitchen counter, I wrote the first draft of the poem “Discount Fireworks” in a flash.

BM: What is poetry to you?

WC: Poetry is good company. Poetry is hard work. Poetry is laughter. Poetry is a soul stretcher, a teacher of compassion. It animates wit. I seek poetry out, and we have a cup of coffee. We walk in the woods and look for morels. Outside of my family, poetry is the great love of my life.

BM: Do you consider yourself a regionalist author? Why? 

WC: In Discount Fireworks, the subjects of the poems range from Greek myths to motherhood to a high school shooting, but I’ve lived in Arkansas for 45 years and everything I write is touched by its wind and water, its patois and the rocky Ozark soil. Its people speak through me. I can’t say if I’m a regionalist, but I expect so.

BM: Do you have any advice for beginning poets?

WC: Don’t come to poetry expecting to be noticed. Come expecting to work hard for no money and meagre rewards. Come because you cannot help yourself. Come for the sheer joy of making something that didn’t exist before. Read and read and read poetry. Don’t worry about being influenced by other poets. If you can write like Emily Dickinson, do that. And don’t be above the scut work of poetry—the mishigas of submission and rejection. In the end, expect to give everything you have to poetry, but don’t expect poetry to give you back anything but jubilation.

BM: What was the most meaningful poem to you in the collection and why?

WC: That question reminds me of, “who is your favorite child.” But, if I have to say, the book contains one of my first love poems to my husband, “La Bamba Dance Club.” It was a nice surprise to write that.


Bethany Milholland is a senior at The University of Evansville majoring in Creative Writing. She is the former Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Evansville Review. She is also a former intern for her university’s magazine The Crescent. In her spare time, she enjoys earning a cat’s love and shopping at every thrift store within a thirty-mile radius.

Wendy Taylor Carlisle was born in Manhattan, raised in Bermuda, Connecticut and Ft Lauderdale, Florida and now lives in the Arkansas Ozarks in a house she built in 1980. She has an MA from the University of Arkansas and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of The Mercy of Traffic (Unlikely Books, 2019), Discount Fireworks (Jacaranda Press, 2008) and Reading Berryman to the Dog (Jacaranda Press, 2000.) Chapbooks include They Went to the Beach to Play (Locofo Chaps, 2016), Chap Book (Platypus Press, 2016), Persephone on the Metro (MadHat press, 2014), The Storage of Angels (Slow Water Press, 2008), and After Happily Ever After (Two River Chapbooks, 2003.) Her work appears in multiple anthologies.

Sundress Reads: Review of Greyhound

Greyhound by Aeon Ginsberg (Noemi Press, 2020) was recently nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Poetry, and from the poem’s first breaths it’s clear to see why. Walking in the footsteps of Nevada by Imogen Binnie and other self-exploration-beyond-transition transgender narratives, Greyhound follows its speaker through the bus system into somewhere new, a phenomenological reorientation where “me being a bitch is not a possibility / but a definitive fixed point.” (30)

Greyhound is, quite literally, an epic poem from the beginning of its semi-circular journey: while Ginsberg does not end up in the same place where they started, moving from the concrete notion of getting on a bus to an ending defined by its definitions of prisms, desire, and the self, they journey through the psyche and reorient themselves through new relationships to both animate and inanimate others. Much like the wheels of its titular Greyhound bus, the one poem that luxuriates through 63 pages cycles through and circles back to a few major thematic categories: travel, transition, platonic intimacy (with others and the self), dogs, and sustenance.

The cycle reveals itself through what could most aptly be called a wheel metaphor. No one concept is explored in its entirety before the poem glitters in a different direction, shifting fragments, yet no concept is fully dropped after it has been introduced. Like a spoke of a wheel, each of these major themes and concepts hold the poem together and are featured in succession: travel, and then animals, and then definitions, and then transition, and then intimacy, and then travel again. Nothing is left alone to rot.

One of the blurbs for Greyhound mentions the work’s similarity to Sara Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology, going as far as to use Ahmed’s metaphor of a desk as a way of making orientation tangible. This relationship between Greyhound and Queer Phenomenology cannot be understated: “Even my prescriptions / have my name in parentheses. / This makes sense too—that my identity / is on the periphery of a perception of it.” (8). From the beginning of their poem, Ginsberg identifies this transient relationship to space that queerness both allows and requires and dances with it. Phenomenology, particularly the queer kind discussed by Ahmed and other scholars, relates to the physical location of and relationship to objects from one to another. Through their exploration of relationships, striving to find home, and renaming (one of the most fun parts of early transition, that rebranding of the self), Ginsberg uses phenomenology to lay the asphalt of the open road ahead of them. “Why do all the words relating to my body / have to do with movement?” they ask. “Passing privilege, / transitioning. One thing, and then another thing.” (13) This movement and the way that travel has infused the trans lexicon is cleaved open in one sharp stanza.              

But Ginsberg doesn’t stop there. Rather, this troubling of travel through language also clearly shows their love for the possibility that physical travel allows. “I tell another trans person / I feel most in my skin / in Greyhound bus terminals. / Neither of us talks / about what it means to only be seen in a liminal way— / to only be seen when we are in movement, between two points.” (19) Movement is not always beautiful, though, they remind us. “…the conversation must recognize / movement that happens without our urgency— / in fact, regardless of our urgency or agency. / The movement of militarization. / The movement of police. / The movement of borders. / The movement of bodies.” (55). Not all bodies are allowed to move in the ways they need to, and the recognitions of the world’s glittering nuance becomes a call to action. It takes a certain level of freedom to be able to live alongside the wild road as Ginsberg has— something they both recognize and willingly admit within the poem itself.

Alongside the strength and depth with which they tackle the complex ideas of bodily autonomy and power, among other concepts, in this poem, Ginsberg is also hilarious. Their dry, witty humor cracks through just about every line. “When I get a car,” they state, “I will never wear pants / again and no one can stop me.” (28) Their legs are “two kissing hairless cats,” they “have 20/20 Gender Vision.” At times, their humor is self-deprecating, but what trans person, who’s felt free under the weight of systemic oppression, isn’t? The humorous moments are extraordinarily dry, but linger nevertheless. It serves as not only a reminder of their humanity among the nebulosity they present themselves as, but as a source of strength and self-protection in the face of a world that continues to try and beat us down.

A Greyhound: the dog, the bus, the bus as related to dog, the dog as related to speaker, the speaker as related to bus. There is no singular subject in this long, complex, gorgeous poem; rather, every permutation of speaker and self works as a spoke in the wheel, pushing the poem ahead as it lays down the road it drives upon. I, for one, hope to be along for the ride, wherever Aeon Ginsberg is taking us.

Greyhound is available at Noemi Press


Lee Anderson is a nonbinary MFA candidate at Northern Arizona University, where they are the Managing Editor of Thin Air Magazine. They have been published sporadically but with zest, with work appearing or forthcoming in The Rumpus, Columbia Journal, and Unstamatic Magazine.

Sundress Announces the Release of Teni Ayo-Ariyo’s wash between your toes

The cover of a chapbook called "wash between your toes" by Teni Ayo-Ariyo. The cover is off-white with a gray line drawing of feet in a pool of water.

Sundress Publications announces the release of Teni Ayo-Ariyo’s debut poetry chapbook, wash between your toes.

In wash between your toes, the speaker feeds us snippets of pain alongside those of hope, culminating in a collection of short pithy poems detailing loss, isolation, and ultimately, community.

Teni Ayo-Ariyo’s debut chapbook is awash in vibrant images of learning to be at home in the self—a self that finds comfort in her Yoruban ancestry yet is also searching for family, identity, love, and relief from a present that dominates a history that refuses to be forgotten: “i could die tomorrow / what that really means is, i can live today.” wash between your toes is a celebration of the electric breathtaking power embedded in the nuanced experiences of a Black immigrant woman living in America.

Alexus Rhone, artistic theologian and founder of Truth Meet Story called wash between your toes “a gentle breeze, an aromatic balm, a prayer and meditation. It is proof that in between the chaos of life and the fears for our future, there is a hope stubbornly, definitively, defiantly lodged in our memories and in the things that we’ve already more than conquered. My soul was nurtured by these precious proclamations that all is well in all manner of things.”

A dark-skinned woman between brown poles, with a gray shirt. She is looking off into the distance.

Download your free copy of wash between your toes now!

Teni Ayo-Ariyo writes soft, brave things. Her full name, Teninlanimi, means “I belong to the Great One” in Yoruba, a language from Nigeria. Her name is a subtle, powerful truth that calls her home when the world gets too loud. Some days, she practices yoga; other days, she uses her business school degree; and, most days, she is just trying her best to be human. You can find more of her writing on The Beautiful Project, Highly Sensitive Refuge, and on her personal website.

The Sundress Academy for the Arts announces our April Reading Series

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is pleased to announce the guests for the April installment of our virtual reading series. The event will take place on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021, 7:00-8:00 EDT via Zoom. Join us at http://tiny.utk.edu/sundress (password: safta).

Nepal-born Anuja Ghimire (Twitter @GhimireAnuja) writes poetry, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction. She is the author of Kathmandu (Unsolicited Press, 2020) and two poetry books in Nepali. A Best of the Net and Pushcart nominee, she works as a senior publisher in an online learning company. She reads poetry for Up the Staircase Quarterly and enjoys teaching poetry to children in summer camps. Her work found home in print and online journals and anthologies in Nepal, U.S., the U.K., Scotland, Australia, India, and Bangladesh. She lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and two children.

S. Erin Batiste is an interdisciplinary poet and author of the chapbook Glory to All Fleeting Things. In 2021, she is the recipient of PERIPLUS, Jack Straw Writers, and the dots between fellowships, and is a Writer in Residence at Prairie Ronde and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Her other recent honors include fellowships from Cave Canem, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference–Rona Jaffe Foundation, Crosstown Arts, and Callaloo. Batiste is a reader for The Rumpus, and her own Pushcart-nominated poems are anthologized and appear internationally in Michigan Quarterly Review, Puerto del Sol, and wildness, among other decorated journals.

Isaac Pickell is a passing poet & PhD student at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he studies the borderlands of blackness and black literature. His work is most recently featured in Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Fence, Puerto del Sol, and Sixth Finch, and his chapbook ‘everything saved will be last’ is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press. Isaac is the founding editor of The Woodward Review, a journal of call and response from Wayne State University.

Sundress Announces the Release of our 2021 Craft Chaps: A Delicious Letter: Correspondence on Narrative Time in Fiction by Megan Giddings and Messy Genius by Tina Jenkins Bell

Sundress Publications announces the release of this year’s craft chaps by Megan Giddings and Tina Jenkins Bell.

In A Delicious Letter: Correspondence on Narrative Time in Fiction, Megan Giddings accepts time to be like any other medium: one subject to distortion and subjectivity. Invoking personal anecdotes alongside examples from anime and literature, Giddings encourages us to shake our existing understanding of narrative structure. By the end of Giddings’ letter on craft, writers will have planted literal seeds, written a month’s worth of letters, and considered how stories morph when condensed and expanded into new forms.

Messy Genius’s deep dive into collaborative writing, in all of its shared guts and creative glory, shines an honest light on the practice in a way that is both thorough and fun. As a strong supporter of group work, Bell intricately breaks down every facet of collaborative writing for students, instructors, non-academics, and anyone staring down a team project. The best practices and reasons to approach the work are clearly laid out through historical anecdotes, active and engaging lesson plans, specific online tool recommendations, and Bell’s own personal experiences working with others. After all, Messy Genius compares collaborative writing to labor: a messy, painful process that results in something truly beautiful that could not have been produced alone.

Download them for free on the Sundress website


Megan Giddings is an assistant professor at Michigan State University. Her debut novel, Lakewood, was published by Amistad in 2020. More about her can be found at www.megangiddings.com

Tina Jenkins Bell is a published fiction writer, journalist, academic, fiction editor for an online zine, blogger, and literary activist. In 2020, she was nominated for an Illinois Literary Arts Award. She writes a popular blog for the Chicago Writers Association and has had numerous work published, including: her soft sci fi short story, “To the Moon and Back,” (Hypertext Journal); a mini memoir, “Devil’s Alley,” (Us Against Alzheimer’s); a collaborative hybrid, entitled “Looking for the Good Boy, Yummy,” (Black Lawrence Press); and a short story, “The Last Supper,” (Revise the Psalm). Bell has also had two plays produced as staged readings for large audiences, including Cut the Baby in Half (Greenline Theater) and A Conversation Between Lorraine Hansberry and Gwendolyn Brooks (a collaborative effort produced by the Chicago Humanities Festival). An active reader and presenter in the literary community, Bell is working on her second novel, Family Legacies.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby by Alexa Doran


The Neighbors Invite Us To Church

and lest we forget the petrified
look on my face the downtown
sprinklers ajazz all around me, my son
more abuzz than June
on the concrete,


let us conjure the fear that freckled my face that day.

How many of us crumple
as if God were a gust that could knock us down
with an accident of touch?
I am not sure


I want my son to see that side of Him


– his feet tucked beneath a pew,
his tongue tucked beneath a hymn –


when right now God is everything.

I still want him
to feel the thorn glut his forehead to stich his skin
nail-numb to loop his mouth around
the language of crucifixion


but at what cost the blazer buried
prayer the pulpit plunk resounding
louder than the robin
beak drilling song into air?

My son’s face puddles in the fountain’s reflection
a trillion versions of him

blend and dreg.
I nod politely and say
I will never be ready to give religion
circumference

let God be
a lily pad instead
a pulse on the water
a point of departure

: a green without end.


This selection comes from Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby, available from Bottlecap Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kimberly Ann Priest.

Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, and Permafrost, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at https://aed16e.wixsite.com/alexadoranpoet.

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.