Sundress Publications 2023 Poetry Broadside Contest Winner Announced

Sundress Publications is thrilled to announce the results of the 2023 Poetry Broadside Contest judged by Kanika Lawton. This year’s winner is Kenzie Allen with the poem “Love Song to the Man Announcing Pow Wows and Rodeos.” Allen’s poem will be letterpress-printed as an 8.5″ x 11″ broadside and will be made available for sale in our online store. Orders for our broadside will be open this summer.

Kenzie Allen is a Haudenosaunee poet and multimodal artist; she is a descendant of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. Kenzie is a recipient of a 92 NY Discovery Prize, the James Welch Prize for Indigenous Poets, the 49th Parallel Award for Poetry, and the Littoral Press Prize, as well as fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Aspen Summer Words, and Indigenous Nations Poets (In-Na-Po). A finalist for the National Poetry Series, her work can be found in PoetryBoston Review, Narrative,, The Paris Review’s The DailyPoetry NorthwestBest New Poets, and other venues. Born in West Texas, she is currently an Assistant Professor in Indigenous Literatures and Creative Writing at York University in Toronto.

The judge of the 2023 Poetry Broadside Contest was Kanika Lawton, a Cambodian-Chinese Canadian writer, editor, and film scholar. They are a PhD student at the University of Toronto’s Cinema Studies Institute and the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, they have received fellowships from Pink Door, BOAAT Writer’s Retreat, and the Sundress Academy for the Arts and have been published in Vagabond City Literary JournalLongleaf Review, Glass: A Journal of PoetryCosmonauts Avenue, and Parentheses Journal, among others. They are the author of four micro-chapbooks, most recently Theories on Wreckage (Ghost City Press, 2020). Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, they now live and work in Toronto, Ontario.

Thank you to everyone who sent us their work.


Isaac Akanmu, “pangaea”


Shlagha Borah, “seventh circle of hell”
Ashley Cline, “yellow bruise, in #F Major (god bless Carly Rae Jepsen)”
Alicia Elkort, “Eating a Pomegranate”
Shana Ross, “Transparency is an Act of Defiance”
Donna Vorreyer, “Sonnet Considering the Afterlife”
Hua Xi, “Clock Hands”

Sundress Academy for the Arts Announces: 2023 Trans/Nonbinary Writers Retreat

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is thrilled to announce its Trans/Nonbinary Writers Retreat, which runs from Friday, June 9th through Saturday, June 10, 2023. This event will be entirely virtual held via Zoom. All SAFTA retreats focus on generative writing, and this year’s retreat will also include the following craft talk sessions: “Queering the Lens: Trans Ekphrastic” and “The Poetics of Addiction: Imagery, Symbolism, and Juxtaposition in Writing Alcoholism.”

The event will be open to trans and nonbinary writers of all backgrounds and experience levels and provide an opportunity to work with many talented authors and poets from around the country, including workshop leaders jason b. crawford and Remi Recchia and keynote speaker Ina Cariño.

Ina Cariño is a 2022 Whiting Award winner with an MFA in creative writing from North Carolina State University. Their poetry appears or is forthcoming in the American Poetry Review, the Margins, Guernica, Poetry Northwest, Poetry Magazine, the Paris Review Daily, Waxwing, New England Review, and elsewhere. She is a Kundiman fellow and is the winner of the 2021 Alice James Award for Feast, forthcoming from Alice James Books in March 2023. In 2021, Ina was selected as one of four winners of the 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest.

Jason b. Crawford (they/them) was born in Washington DC and raised in Lansing, MI. They are the author of Year of the Unicorn Kidz and an MFA candidate in poetry at The New School (‘23).

Remi Recchia is a trans poet and essayist from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is a PhD candidate in English-Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University. He currently serves as an associate editor for the Cimarron Review and Book Editor for Gasher Press. A five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Remi’s work has appeared in World Literature Today, Best New Poets 2021, Columbia Online Journal, Harpur Palate, and Juked, among others. He holds an MFA in poetry from Bowling Green State University. Remi is the author of Quicksand / Stargazing (Cooper Dillon Books, 2021) and Sober (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2022) and the editor of Transmasculine Poetics: Filling the Gap in Literature & the Silences Around Us (Sundress Publications 2024).

The total cost of attendance is $75. To apply for a fellowship, please send a packet of 5-12 pages of writing (poetry, fiction, or nonfiction) along with a brief statement on why you would like to attend this workshop to no later than March 31, 2023. Winners will be contacted mid-April.

Space at this workshop may be limited, so please reserve your place today.

Project Bookshelf: Robin LaMer Rahija

A photo of books, including Nox by Anne Carson.

Every book, everywhere, all the time. I read several books at once, depending on what room of my apartment I’m in. There are bedside books, living room books, bathroom books. Endless audio books that never show up on the shelves.

I have a lot of poetry. Anne Carson is one of my favorites. I love her translations of Sappho and Autobiography of Red, which I read a long time ago when I was still pretending I didn’t want to be a writer.

I have even more fiction. I can’t remember who said that artists never admit who their real influences are. It would be just too embarrassing. I’m owning up to reading more fiction than poetry, despite calling myself a poet. I’ve read Wittgenstein’s Mistress so many times. It’s my emotional support book. I had to get a second copy after I spilled sunscreen all over the first one. It’s not exactly a traditional beach read, but I kept it and still open it sometimes for the olfactory memory of reading it at Folly Beach.

A photo of books, including Wittgenstein's Mistress, by David Markson.

Everything I ever published as the editor of Rabbit Catastrophe Press is collected together here. It only takes up half a shelf. That half a shelf is a decade of my life. It was the most fun I ever had.

A photo of books, including Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson.

I also love this bin of zines I’ve collected over the years at festivals and books tours in basements and abandoned warehouses. Much has been said about the subversive nature of zines. I believe they contain the most experimental and interesting writing because they’re not (as) tied to the monetization of art. People can write in them what they need to write.

A photo of zines.

The last time I moved, it became clear I had TOO MANY BOOKS. I did a big pare down and gave myself a challenge: buy no books for a year. Instead, I used the library and had an elaborate network of borrowing books from people. I made exceptions if a friend put out a book (you have to support your friends) and if I went to a reading for someone on a book tour (working writers need gas money). I mostly rose to the challenge, and even though I have fewer books now, I think I look at, talk about, run a hand over, and browse through my bookshelves more than I used to. They are filled with books I love by the people I love.

Robin LaMer Rahija (she/her) did her MFA in poetry at the University of Kentucky. Her work has appeared in Puerto Del Sol, FENCE, Guernica, and elsewhere. She is an Editorial Intern at Sundress Publications. She loves books, trees, and Excel documents.

Sundress Publications Opens Submissions for 11th Annual E-Chapbook Competition

Sundress Publications announces its 11th annual e-chapbook contest. Authors of all genres are invited to submit manuscripts during our reading period of March 1st to May 31st, 2023.

Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid work are welcome as are visual poetry, poetry comics, and visual hybrid works. Manuscripts must be between twelve to twenty-six (12-26) pages in length, with a page break between individual pieces. Individual pieces may have been previously published in anthologies, print journals, online journals, etc., but cannot have appeared in any full-length collection, including self-published collections. Both single-author and collaborative dual-author manuscripts will be considered. Manuscripts must be primarily in English; translations are not eligible.

All of our chapbooks are available on our website for free digital download, which means these collections are more accessible to readers and more easily shared. Most of the Sundress chapbooks average over 1,000 downloads. Each title receives a full promotional packet, extensive social media coverage, as well as an organic readership from our website is highly trafficked.

From March 1-14th, submissions to this contest are free for the first submission for any and all writers. Beginning on March 15th, the entry fee is $10 per manuscript, though the fee will be waived for all writers of color and entrants who purchase or pre-order any Sundress title. Authors may submit as many chapbook manuscripts as they 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.

The winner will receive $200, plus publication as a beautiful full-color PDF available exclusively online; the editor’s choice prize will receive $100 and publication. Runners-up will also be considered for publication.

All manuscripts should include a cover page (with only the title of the manuscript), table of contents, dedication (if applicable), and acknowledgments for previous publications. These pages will not be included in the total page count. Identifying information should not appear in any part of the manuscript. Authors with a significant relationship to the judge (friends, relatives, colleagues, past or present students, etc.) are discouraged from entering.

To submit, attach your manuscript as a DOCX or PDF file along with your order number for a Sundress title or the entry fee to Simultaneous submission to other presses is acceptable, but please notify Sundress immediately if the manuscript has been accepted elsewhere. Multiple submissions are allowed, but a separate entry fee must accompany each entry. No revisions will be allowed during the contest judging period. Winners will be announced in late summer of 2023.

This contest will be judged by Rita Mookerjee. Mookerjee is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Worcester State University. In 2020, she was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Kingston, Jamaica. She is the author of False Offering, forthcoming from JackLeg Press (Fall 2023). Her poems can be found in the Baltimore Review, New Orleans Review, the Offing, Poet Lore, and Vassar Review. She edits poetry at Split Lip Magazine and Honey Literary.

Meet Our New Intern Jillian A. Fantin

Surrounded by blurred-out houses, fences, and grass, the author is shown from the waist up in a black compression tank with a gold septum ring and a gold nostril hoop. Their right arm contains a number of black and grey tattoos visible, including fuschia flowers, an American Traditional snake, and an envelope with a heart seal. They have a medium-brown, wavy mullet, dark thick eyebrows, and are looking straight at the camera with a blank stare.

According to my family, my toddler self regularly restated the same full sentence from Disney’s Dumbo (1941) when expressing excitement: “You said it, we rolled ‘em in the aisles!” This line is impossibly obscure, and it took my parents weeks to discover the source of my incessant parroting. Oddly enough, this two-year-old in their parents’ student flat in Sheffield predicted a life not unlike the shrouded circus clown stripping away their last performance of the night and reveling in the response of a crowd.

My tendency towards being a little court jester, eager mimic, and linguistic alchemist emerged at quite an early age. I adored reading, especially the part when I slipped into the different word-worlds of poetry. In second grade, I memorized and performed A.A. Milne’s “Market Square” for my class’s Mother’s Day celebration, complete with four stuffed rabbits that smelled of leftover Easter chocolate. When my mother laughed, something clicked. I had chosen that poem because it made me laugh to read, particularly because of its repeated “silly-sounding” words like “Tuppence,” “rabbit,” “mackerel,” and especially the sonically-charged “nuffin’.” Who wouldn’t love rolling all those sounds around in their mouth? When tired of memorization and recitation, I turned to books, any books that I could find, for a glimpse into the way different people and their different worlds played with language. From a very worn anthology of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories and the “Looking Back” sections of every American Girl historical chapter book to the translation of Ancient Egyptian myths my father brought back from his workplace, I devoured worlds and joined them as their excitable spectator. My favourite words, though, remained the silly ones: ones with so many syllables you tripped over them before you reached the last letter, ones that made you think of something completely opposite of its assigned meaning. I adored words, and would copy them down in shaky cursive over and over until even the lines seemed to take on their own sound.

My early love of silly words, especially the way sounds felt in and escaped from the body, became a fascination with gibberish, which morphed with a love of performance—specifically the artistic presentation of my own body—and the creation and implementation of rituals for the purposes of artistic creation. Acting became one of the many outlets of my urgent need to express, as did regular reverent listening sessions of David Bowie, Meat Loaf, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. Ultimately, though, neither theatre nor music satiated my interests in the creative explication of language, and I left for university truly believing I would only ever have the chance to use language as a tool of clear communication and literary analysis. However, what hegemonic economic and educational values attempted to squash, writers and scholars like Joyelle McSweeney, Johannes Göransson, Elise Houcek, Mark Sanders, Roy Scranton, Zoe Darsee, and more than I can ever name, fostered. Through their generous advice, workshopping, research, and insight, I found a platform—namely, poetry—for taking gibberish seriously. As a poet in my MFA cohort, I explored sonic expression in written text, the dissolution and restructuring of words in shape and definition, and the way systems of power privilege certain words and grammatical structures over others, among other fascinating aspects of performativity, identity, and expression. Honestly, Milne’s “Market Square” and those chocolate bunnies feel closer to me now more than ever (and honestly, I might do some erasure-ekphrasis to try and find a similar moment sometime soon!).

Though I’m not exactly a John Lennon fan, I do admit he sang the truth in “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I never imagined I would share CAConrad’s Advanced Elvis Course and Adrian Matejka’s Standing on the Verge & Maggot Brain with the students attending Holy Cross College in Westville Correctional Facility. I still cannot believe that I led discussions on Kim Hyesoon, Eileen Myles, and Akwaeke Emezi in self-designed Intro to Creative Writing and Intro to Poetry classes at the University of Notre Dame, and I certainly never dreamed that I would be taken seriously in my love of the silly, the stupid, the gibberish. Now, I perform the personas found within my poetry manuscripts, including a sentient necktie, a transmasc seahorse collective, and a parody of Platonic dialogue based off the relationality between the friends of the Jackass franchise. There is no masking to be found in my poetic expression regardless of these various beings speaking and moving through my body. Rather, there is clownery: a profound act, a display of my whole body and its ability to generate an authentic form of energy through intentional performativity.

Regardless of when I’m actively performing poetry or not, I think I’m still like a court jester, tiptoeing the line of potentiality often forced between poetry and humor. Poetry and clownery, for me, work hand in hand, and my serious drive in both of these fields necessarily intersects to negate any powers that claim the authority to hierarchize words, sounds, and linguistic expression. The mothers, dogs, and clowns, as Bowie sings in “Life On Mars?”, have no need for such hegemony. Perhaps that’s the reason I cofounded RENESME LITERARY, a Twitter-based literary project based in the themes of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series and, more broadly, in what our journal calls “abominations”—that is, any work of literary art that strays from and even defies mainstream publishing ideals, as well as the works pushed out of traditional venues in favor of maintaining the quiet of a status quo. I am excited to be part of Sundress Publications to uphold these exact values and support the great work of all writers, especially marginalized and oppressed writers.

Writing about myself is never going to get any easier, and this is no different. Nevertheless, my excitement to be part of Sundress Publications as an Editorial Intern this year eclipses those feelings of inadequacy. But then again, I think of with these words from Meat Loaf’s “Bad Attitude”: “Behind every man who has somethin’ to say / There’s a boy who had nothin’ to prove.” And I also remember the opening line of Jericho Brown’s “Duplex” that I’ve carried with me every day for years, especially for those moments when I think of negating my artistic worth due to my love of explicating gibberish and nonsense: “A poem is a gesture towards home.” A poem is a gesture towards home, and each writer looks towards that home through their writing, whether they know that home yet or not. However, I’m finding that home slowly but surely, and I look forward to continuing that journey through service to Sundress.

An ending manifesto: I am a clown, I am a poet, I am a poet clown. I’ll have them rolling in the aisles, and I’ll applaud in the aisles for them the same night.

Jillian A. Fantin (they/them) is a poet with roots in the American South and north central England. They are a 2021 Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Poet Fellow, a 2020 Jefferson County Memorial Project Research Fellow, and the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of RENESME LITERARY. Jillian received BAs in English and Political Science with an emphasis in Political Theory from a small university in Birmingham, Alabama, and an MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in Poetry and a graduate minor in Gender Studies from the University of Notre Dame. Their writing appears or is forthcoming in American Journal of Poetry, Spectra Poets, Barrelhouse, and, among others.

Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents March Poetry Xfit 

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present Poetry Xfit hosted by Z Eihausen. This generative workshop event will take place on Sunday, March 19 from 2 to 4 pm EST via Zoom. Join us at the link with the password “safta”. 

Poetry Xfit isn’t about throwing tires or heavy ropes, but the idea of confusing our muscles is the same. You will receive ideas, guidelines, and more as part of this generative workshop series in order to complete three poems in two hours. A new set of prompts will be provided after the writers have written collaboratively for thirty minutes. The goal is to create material that can be later modified and transformed into artwork rather than producing flawless final versions. The event is open to prose authors as well!

Z Eihausen is a former SAFTA editorial intern and a student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville where she studies English and Philosophy. She also likes bees. 

While this is a free event, donations can be made to the Sundress Academy for the Arts here: 

Each month we split any Xfit donations with our community partner. Our community partner for March is The Bottom. 

The Bottom is a Black-owned, multi-purpose community space for literary, creative, and educational programming whose mission is to build community, celebrate culture, and engage the creativity of Black people through curated events, ongoing projects, shared resources, and physical space. Our programs are centered around engaging black-centered and affirming arts, and uplifting local artists, authors, and makers. As we continue to share our story we hope to continue building and creating community for East Knoxville. Find out more about The Bottom here.

Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents March Reading Series

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is pleased to announce the guests for the March installment of our reading series. This event will take place on Sunday, March 26th at Pretentious Beer Co. from 1:00-3:00PM.

Picture of Nisha Atalie

Nisha Atalie is a poet, editor, and doctoral student in literature at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She loves reading and writing about animals, ecology, our relationships to the non-human, and how we can untether these relationships from a worldview imposed by colonialism. Her work has been published in Poem-A-Day, Blood Orange Review, Indianapolis Review, and elsewhere. Her work has received the Eileen Lannan Poetry Prize and placed third for the 2022 Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

Picture of Audrey Gidman

Audrey Gidman is a queer poet living in Maine. She serves as assistant poetry editor for Gigantic Sequins and chapbooks editor for Newfound. Her poems can be found in The Night Heron Barks, Rust + Moth, Luna Luna, Volume Poetry, The Shore, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, body psalms (Slate Roof Press), was the recipient of the Elyse Wolf Prize.

Picture of Allison Summers

Allison Summers is a stand-up comedian and filmmaker in Nashville, TN. She has performed at Milwaukee Comedy Fest, Out of Bounds, WICF and Bonnaroo. She teaches improv to people in recovery and stand up comedy to women in prison.

Picture of Era Nash

Jessy Easton was raised in the Mojave Desert of California and now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. She holds a BA in Communications from Vanguard University of Southern California. In 2022, Good River Review nominated her story “The Things We Leave Out” to be included in the nonfiction category of the Best of the Net Anthology. Jessy’s writing has been published in Beacon Quarterly, Entropy Magazine, and Good River Review. She publishes weekly to her Substack and she’s currently querying agents with her memoir.

Era Nash is an Americana, indie folk band founded by singer-songwriter Perry Rhodes. Prior to Era Nash, he was the lead singer of Evaline, an indie rock band signed to Maverick & Riverman Records. His music has been featured in the film You’re Not You starring Hilary Swank.

Our community partner this month is The Bottom. The Bottom is a Black-owned, multi-purpose community space for literary, creative, and educational programming whose mission is to build community, celebrate culture, and engage the creativity of Black people through curated events, ongoing projects, shared resources, and physical space. Our programs are centered around engaging black-centered and affirming arts, and uplifting local artists, authors, and makers. As we continue to share our story we hope to continue building and creating community for East Knoxville. Find out more about The Bottom here!

This event is brought to you in part by a grant provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Find out about the important work they do here.

Sundress Publications @ AWP 2023: Tabling and Book-Signing

Sundress Publications will be at AWP 2023! Find us at T500 Thursday, March 9th to Saturday, March 11th from 9AM to 5PM to say hi to our lovely staff, purchase some great books, and get them signed by Sundress authors Donna Vorreyer, Ever Jones, jason b. crawford, Sandra Marchetti, Sunni Wilkinson, Robert Long Foreman, Athena Nassar, Barbara Fant, H.K. Hummel, Kimberly Ann Priest, and Stacey Balkun.

See you in Seattle!

Sundress Publications Announces the Acquisition of Michelle Whittaker’s Spoke the Dark Matter

Sundress Publications is pleased to announce the acquisition of Michelle Whittaker’s Spoke the Dark Matter, which is slated for publication in Summer 2024.

Michelle Whittaker is an American poet of West Indian heritage and the author of Surge, which was awarded a Finalist Medal for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards (Great Weather for Media). She has been published in places such as New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Shenandoah, Upstreet, and PANK Magazine and received a Pushcart Special Mention, Cave Canem Fellowship, and New York Foundation of Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University.

A 501(c)(3) non-profit literary press collective founded in 2000, Sundress Publications is an entirely volunteer-run press that publishes chapbooks and full-length collections in both print and digital formats, and hosts numerous literary journals, an online reading series, and the Best of the Net anthology.

Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents “Turn! Turn! Turn! Reimagining the Volta”

Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents
“Turn! Turn! Turn! Reimagining the Volta”

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present “Turn! Turn! Turn! Reimagining the Volta,” a workshop led by Alyse Bensel on March 15, 2023, from 6-7:30 PM. This event will be held over Zoom. Participants can access the event at (password: safta).

The volta is not just for sonnets. Rather, turns abound in all forms and genres, building tension, generating emotional shifts, and sparking energy. Drawing from formalist traditions, we’ll translate the conventions of received forms into free verse poetry and short prose forms such as micro memoir and flash fiction.

The workshop will begin with a brief overview of the volta’s origins, move into a discussion of contemporary writers such as Joan Naviyuk Kane, Sabrina Orah Mark, and Beth Ann Fennelly, and feature generative writing prompts with an emphasis on turns. There will be opportunities for sharing generated work with the workshop group.

While there is no fee to participate in this workshop, those who are able and appreciative may make donations directly to Alyse Bensel via Venmo @AlyseBensel or PayPal @alysebensel.

Alyse Bensel is the author of Rare Wondrous Things: A Poetic Biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (Green Writers Press, 2020) and three chapbooks. Her work has appeared in AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast, Southern Indiana Review, and West Branch. She serves as Poetry Editor for Cherry Tree and teaches at Brevard College, where she directs the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference.

This workshop is brought to you in part by a grant provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Find out about the important work they do here.