Join us for a free dinner at 6PM followed by readings at 7PM. As always, BYOB and carpool when possible!
Matt Hart is the author of nine books of poems, including most recently Everything Breaking/for Good (YesYes Books, 2019) and The Obliterations (Pickpocket Books, 2019). Additionally, his poems, reviews, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous print and online journals, including The Academy of American Poets online, Big Bell, Cincinnati Review, Coldfront, Columbia Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Jam Tarts Magazine, jubilat, Kenyon Review online, Lungfull!, Mississippi Review, POETRY, and Waxwing, among others. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, a 2013 individual artist grant from The Shifting Foundation, and fellowships from both the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati where he teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and plays in the band NEVERNEW.
Ashley Dailey is a first-year MFA candidate at the University of Tennessee and an Academy of American Poets Award winner. She’s moved states three times in the past five years because she enjoys being lonely and dependent on Google Maps.
Excerpt Forever is a broom & pale– a Lisbon street littered with Jacaranda petals. It’s all day to fill the pale & to refill the pale.
Kristi Maxwellis the author of six books of poems, including Bright and Hurtless (Ahsahta Press, 2018) and That Our Eyes Be Rigged (Saturnalia Books). Her poems have recently appeared in jubilat, Bennington Review, RHINO, Boston Review, and Black Warrior Review. She is an assistant professor of English at the University of Louisville.
Excerpt from “(Pre)Occupation” To be put out or to put out. Turning our girls into trash with our language. Upsets today upset tomorrow. O, vacillation. O, metaphorical vaccine. The “o” is a prick but is this fairytale or slang.
Doubleback Books, an imprint of Sundress Publications, is pleased to announce the upcoming release of The Opposite of Work by Hugh Behm-Steinberg. This poetry collection was selected in our 2019 open reading period for fall publication. The Opposite of Work was originally published by JackLeg Press and we’re excited to bring it back for new readers.
meditative poems in The Opposite of Work are paired with intriguing images
on opposite-facing pages. The images, which operate as a flipbook, were created
by Mary Behm-Steinberg. Doubleback will also release a companion video of the
The Opposite of Work—
Behm-Steinberg has built a dream-rattled space. It is a space of stretched
ideas and ideals,” Tony Mancus, PANK.
“Delicately explores the effort to come to
terms with one’s own soul and the Other,” Charles
Kruger, The Rumpus.
“Extraordinary magic and possibility,” S. Marie
Clay, Ghost Town.
Behm-Steinberg is a poet and short fiction writer. His
books of poetry include Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books, 2007), as well
as three Dusie chapbooks, Sorcery (2007), Good Morning! (2011),
and The Sound of Music (2015). A collection of prose poems and
microfiction, Animal Children, is forthcoming from Nomadic Press in
Behm-Steinberg is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in creative writing at Stanford University and the recipient of an NEA fellowship. His short story “Taylor Swift” won the Barthelme Prize for short fiction, and his story “Goodwill” was picked as one of the Wigleaf Top Fifty Very Short Fictions of 2018. From 2007-2017 he served as Faculty Editor of Eleven Eleven, and he is currently the Chief Steward of the adjunct faculty union at California College of the Arts.
Look for The Opposite of Work, book download and video, coming soon at Doubleback Books.
AndresRojas is the author of the chapbook Looking For What Isn’t There (Paper Nautilus Debut Series winner, 2019) and of the audio chapbook The Season of the Dead (EAT Poems, 2016). His poetry has been featured in the Best New Poets series and has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in, among others, AGNI, Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Massachusetts Review, New England Review, and Poetry Northwest. Excerpt-four lines from “New Year’s Eve:”
Again we turn our heads to lessen the wind’s sting. Again
we hope to become neither prey nor hunger, the children in them nor the chain-link kennels.
Remi Recchia is a transgender poet playwright from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He holds an MFA in Poetry from Bowling Green State University, where he served as Assistant Poetry Editor for the Mid-American Review and taught Creative Writing. Remi is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University. His work has appeared in Barzakh Magazine, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Front Porch, Gravel, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Haverthorn Press, among others, and he may be found on Twitter at @steambbcrywolf.
Excerpt My hands are sometimes corduroy & I’m wondering
if I still fit inside your jeans, inside your lightbulb pocket.
Alyssa Molina is a Knoxville based poet and is a senior in her undergrad at the University of Tennessee studying creative writing. Alyssa was born and raised in Miami, “Little Havana,” FL, as her Cuban family says. Being first generation American, she is profoundly inspired by the tenacity of her family’s immigration story, their will to survive, and her hispanic culture. Alyssa is loud and proud with a laugh that is often heard before she is seen. If she isn’t laughing, she’s trying to make others laugh with elaborate stories. She was a traveling poet with The Fifth Woman in 2017-2018, and performed at Bonnaroo. Molina has hosted four poetry workshops with Marilyn Kallet, Seed Lynn, Daje Morris, and most currently with Sundress Academy. Alyssa defines happiness as bare feet, a cigar, and salsa dancing.
The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is pleased to announce Giorgia Sage, Blake Planty, Ashley Taylor, Katie Willa Bell, and Caitlin Myers as the winners of their five spring residency scholarships. These residencies are designed to give artists time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment.
Winners of the Lambda Literary Fellowships for LGBTQIA+ Writers
Winners of the Melissa Grunow Fellowships for Women & Nonbinary Writers
Winner of the Kristi Larkin Havens Fellowship for Outstanding Service to the Community
The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is an artists’ residency that hosts workshops, retreats, and residencies for writers, actors, filmmakers, and visual artists. All are guided by experienced, professional instructors from a variety of creative disciplines who are dedicated to cultivating the arts in East Tennessee.
I worship, in this order: chaos, books, evocation. The proof is abundant on my shelves.
In August, for the first time in my life, I moved into a home with enough extra rooms that I could have an office, distinct from my bedroom and my living room. A dedicated space for my books. A home library. More room than I’ve ever had before. I marveled at the decadence: I alphabetized the books by author’s last name when I unpacked them, feeling like a librarian. In the past, I have been a book stacker, crowder, heaper. I distinctly remember my childhood bedroom and a pile of books six feet tall between the wall and the singular white bookshelf. Once, I had a desk-lamp that sat too low to warm my hermit crab tank, and so I piled four books underneath it to give it height. Not anymore, I thought when I moved. I would be someone who keeps her shelves dusted. I’ll file each new title in its appropriate space. I’ll drink more tea. I’ll meal prep.
As it turns out,
organization—especially alphabetization—is tedious. After I’d unpacked them
all, my books were wedged so tightly onto each shelf there was no room for
growth. When I brought home a new title by Margaret Atwood, I realized I didn’t
have any room in the A’s on my shelf, and to make space required shifting books
down shelf by shelf, some of the A’s to the B’s, B’s to the C’s, and on to the
end of the alphabet, four bookshelves away. Ridiculous, I said. Who
does that? Not me, anyway. I tossed the book on top of the shelf. It was
joined over the next weeks by more, books I’ve checked out from the library or
were lent to me.
What’s more, it felt weird to sit
in my living room and not be surrounded by books anymore. What do people put
in their living room if not bookshelves? I wondered. I don’t own many
knick-knacks. To placate my loneliness, I filled a shelf with books written by
my friends, and beneath that, the entire 12-book Bloody Jack series by
LA Meyer (in hardcover!). I grew up with Jacky the way some people grew up with
Harry Potter, but I have never met another person in the world who has read all
these books. (If you have, email me. We’re soulmates.)
I find I like to be surrounded by
a bit of mess, works in progress. I do not often bother to reshelf books after
I pull them to reference for various projects: the television script and novel
versions of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett; Life of Pi
by Yann Martel; a dog-eared copy of The Two Towers with Legolas on
the cover, which I’ve owned for nearly fifteen years. I am fifteen again,
looking at it.
My shelves are, overwhelmingly,
prose. My shelving system does not distinguish between genres because I have so
little poetry, and the CNF nestles side by side with the fiction, which is
pretty representative of how I consider the two genres on a craft level,
anyway. Fairy-tales, science fiction, classic literary canon I’ll never return
to, pop culture, astronomy, all of them nest together. Carl Sagan sits right
next to Karen Russell, alphabetically. George Saunders is on that shelf, too,
and Shakespeare, and in between them is Jason Segel, the actor, whose
middle-grade novel I got signed when he visited the bookstore where I used to
There’s the signed copy of jelly
roll by Kevin Young, which I bought for an ex but never had the opportunity
to pass on. There’s Fitzgerald’s The Crack-Up, which I started and never
finished the summer after I graduated college, still with the teddy bear
bookmark in its pages. There’s the copy of The Chronicles of Narnia I’ve
owned since middle school, and there’s The Opposite of Loneliness by
Marina Keegan, recommended to me my senior of college and so life-changing that
I’ve assigned it every year I’ve taught creative nonfiction since. I bought
that copy of The Little Prince in Paris. Several other titles in London,
That, finally, is my point:
evocation. These shelves are my altar (literally, there is still wax on top of
one from where I’ve sent up many prayers by candlelight). They house my lives, memories,
deities. Spindly vined plants curtain from the top shelf, draped next to
windchimes and salt lamps and small trinkets. Framed photographs of my late
lovebird, the fiercely mourned and daily missed absolute love of my life, sit
front and center on the ledge, holding him, as the shelves do all my ghosts, warm
I have concluded I will never be someone who regularly organizes or dusts her shelves, but I find that the books rarely get lost or dirty. I am always surprised at the lack of grime, but pleased too. Things that sit forgotten get dusty—a lack of dust implies activity, aliveness. I haven’t touched some of these books in years, but I like thinking of them as alive, because they are.
Samantha Edmonds is the author of Pretty to Think So (Selcouth Station Press, 2019) and The Space Poet (Split Lip Press, forthcoming 2020). Her fiction and nonfiction appears or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Rumpus, Literary Hub, Black Warrior Review, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among others. A PhD student in creative writing at the University of Missouri, she currently lives in Columbia.
My bookshelf is a white built-in in my new house. It was one
of the first things I set up to organize my mind with.
The top shelf is the brain shelf. I keep my personal journals since my freshman year of college and a photo album of my childhood here. I appreciate this bookshelf as proof of my existence as a corporeal being.
The three middle are my book collection. The first shelf contains satire from Stephen Colbert, Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino which will rip your brains out with a surgeon knife and keep digging, and books about feminism and technology such as Technologies of Gender and Alice Doesn’t: Semiotics & Cinema by Teresa De Lauretis, and Feminism/Postmodernism by Linda J. Nicholson. This shelf is also where my intrigue with Heather Havrilesky, Mindy Kaling and Angela Carter begins to show. I have every book Mindy Kaling has ever written.
The second middle shelf has two Nora Ephron books: I feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, and the rest of Heather Havrilesky and Angela Carter’s books fill out this shelf.
In the bottom book collection shelf we round out the 7 craft books that have been staring us in the face this entire time. And here is where we find memoirs from Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and two short story collections from Flannery O’Connor. Some Gabriel Garcia Marquez and poetry books sprinkle out the rest of my collection. The last shelf is my collection of 2010s DVDs and Sims games.
My bookshelf reflects my mind in that it deeply craves logic and structure outside of the one which I’ve been taught, which is why I’m drawn to books about feminist theory and magical realism and comedy, because to me each of these rhetorical concepts depend on the ability to see the world differently. I love macabre, brutally honest storytelling by women learning to navigate the patriarchal world we live in. Flannery O’Connor and Angela Carter reflect that impulse: to keep the beautiful prose alive as we learn to live in the violent now.
I am fascinated by cultural studies, academic theory, poignant essays, free verse poetry, sharp memoir, any story that touches at the chord of a feeling and keeps strumming it until it hums. Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a perfect example of my story and word ethos: words and stories are magic we can absorb into our own lives. Use that medicine wisely.
JoAnna Brooker is a graduate from the University of Tennessee, where she studied Journalism and English. Her work has been featured in The Knoxville Mercury, UT’s Daily Beacon, and occasionally on stage. She can be found on all social media platforms @cupofjoanna.
I was on my way into the library for early voting when my brother texted: “There’s a shooting in our neighborhood. J’s at work. I’m out. It’s all blocked off. I can’t get home.”
My brother and his girlfriend live in Pittsburg. I live in Orlando. Beyond texting him back, there was nothing I could do, nothing to comfort or reassure him. I couldn’t meet him somewhere or invite him over to wait for news, and neither of us is the sort to spend hours on the phone. I felt helpless even on the small, intimate, human-to-human scale, and more than that, I felt the way Americans are accustomed to feeling now after a mass shooting. Angry and afraid, but vague, empty. I don’t want to say resigned, but it’s true that the sharp edges of my outrage had been worn away with frequent use.
went on with my errands. I voted for people and laws I hoped were just, bought
groceries and a book about grief, browsed the thrift store racks with my
daughter and laughed at her delight over a pair of yellow overalls I would have
coveted at her age. I checked my phone. I checked the news. Mass shooting at a
synagogue. Multiple dead. Multiple wounded. I went home and put in a load of
day before, our sister had had dental surgery. The doctor had cut into her gums
to heal an abscess on her jaw, and she wouldn’t be able to eat solid food for
several days. I had planned to make soup, something soft but substantial,
something that felt more like nourishment than yogurt smoothies and ice cream.
a fast and a slow way to make this soup, and I chose the slow way. I sliced and
roasted sweet potatoes, stewed red lentils in broth with onions, garlic,
celery, and curry powder. I read the news and tweets from the president. I
added salt and black pepper, red pepper flakes and a little nutmeg. I didn’t
put on music or pour a glass of wine. I blended and tasted and seasoned. I
strained the soup through a metal sieve until it felt like velvet on my tongue,
with just a hint of heat and just a hint of sweetness. My brother texted again:
“Home now. Everyone on the street looks shocked and scared. Even the cats are
on edge.” I poured the soup into a plastic container, topped it with a ribbon
of green-gold olive oil, and carried it, still warm, to our sister.
I came home. I washed the dishes. I wrote a poem. I can’t say these actions were a comfort, exactly, and I know it isn’t good enough to just take care of my own. I know there are always things that can be done, always more that can be done. This isn’t really about that. This is about choosing to do one thing carefully and well, making something tangible that is as close to perfect as I can imagine it, whether or not it is a comfort, whether or not it is enough.
Lentil Soup with Sweet Potato and Curry
Makes ~1 ½ quarts
cups dry red lentils
large yellow onion
medium-sized sweet potatoes
Enough water or vegetable stock to cover vegetables (you may need to add more as it cooks)
Salt and pepper
A little bit of nutmeg
Cut the sweet potatoes in half-inch-thick slices, coat in olive oil, and bake at 400 degrees until soft (you can skip this step to save time, peel and chop the sweet potatoes and cook them with the other vegetables; it will change the flavor and texture of the soup slightly, but it will still be good).
chop the other vegetables. You can add other vegetables too: red or yellow
pepper, potato, cauliflower, tomato, carrot—whatever needs to be eaten before
it goes bad. Cover the vegetables and lentils with water or stock and cook at a
low simmer until the vegetables are soft and the lentils start to fall apart
when you stir.
curry powder, salt and pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Peel and add sweet
potatoes. Add other spices, if you like. A little cumin, turmeric, or
coriander. A little cayenne or paprika or red pepper flakes—whatever tastes
good to you.
Blend the soup until it’s smooth then strain it through a mesh sieve (you can skip straining it to save time, but I think the velvety texture is worth the extra step). Serve with a drizzle of olive oil or spoonful of plain yogurt.
Amy Watkins is the author of the chapbooks Milk & Water, Lucky, and Wolf Daughter (coming soon from Sundress Publications). She lives in Orlando with her husband and daughter and a mean-spirited ginger cat. Find her online at RedLionSq.com or @amykwatkins.
Sundress Publications is opening for submissions of full-length short story manuscripts. All authors are invited to submit qualifying manuscripts during our reading period, which runs from October 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020.
looking for manuscripts of 125-165 double-spaced pages of fiction; front matter
is not included toward the page count. Individual stories may have been
previously published in anthologies, chapbooks, print journals, online
journals, etc., but cannot have appeared in any full-length collection,
including self-published collections. Manuscripts translated from another
language will not be accepted. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but we ask
that authors notify us immediately if their work has been accepted elsewhere.
The reading fee is $15 per manuscript, though the fee will be waived for entrants who purchase or pre-order any Sundress title or broadside. We will also accept nominations for entrants, provided the nominating person either pays the reading fee or makes a qualifying purchase. Authors may submit and/or nominate as many manuscripts as they would like, provided that each is accompanied by a separate reading fee or purchase/pre-order. Entrants and nominators can place book orders or pay submission fees in our store.
manuscripts will be read by members of our editorial board, and we will choose
one manuscript for publication in late 2020. We strive to further our
commitment to diversity and seek to encounter as many unique and important
voices as possible. We are actively seeking collections from writers of color,
trans and nonbinary writers, writers with disabilities, and others whose voices
are underrepresented in literary publishing. Selected manuscripts will be
offered a standard publication contract, which includes 25 copies of the
published book, as well as any additional copies at cost.
To submit, forward the qualifying Sundress store receipt for submission fee or book purchase to firstname.lastname@example.org, and attach a 20-35 page sample of the manuscript (DOC, DOCX, or PDF). The sample should include the author’s name and an acknowledgements page. The sample may include one story or a number of shorter stories. After our initial selection process, semi-finalists will be asked to send the full collection.
Be sure to note both the author’s name and the title of the manuscript in the email header. For those nominating others, please include the name of the nominee as well as an email address where we can reach the nominee and we will solicit the manuscript directly.
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.
An extension of Sundress Publications, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit publication group founded in 2000, the Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is an artists’ retreat on a 45-acre farm in Knoxville, Tennessee, that offers residencies to writers, visual artists, filmmakers, composers, and other creators from across the country. With two residency rooms and a dry cabin on site, we offer a rotating space for nationally recognized and emerging artists in multiple disciplines. SAFTA also hosts weekend workshops, yearly retreats, and more.
positions will run from December to June with a chance to be renewed. The
development research intern’s responsibilities include researching and
proposing grant opportunities, coordinating with the development writing intern
and other SAFTA departments, collating data, and proofreading documents. The
development writing intern’s responsibilities include writing grants, coordinating
with the development research intern and other SAFTA departments, collating
data, and proofreading documents.
may also be responsible for writing copy, composing blogs, and assisting in the
establishment of new programs, projects, and partnerships.
A keen eye for grammar, punctuation,
Strong online research skills
Strong organizational, creative,
problem-solving, and written communication skills
A passion for contemporary literature
and community arts programs
of arts administration and/or grant writing a plus but not required. Applicants
are welcome to telecommunicate and therefore are not restricted to living in
the Knoxville area.
this is an unpaid internship, all interns gain real-world experience with a
nationally recognized press and arts organization while creating a portfolio of
work for future employment opportunities. Interns will also be able to attend
all workshops at the Sundress Academy for the Arts at cost.
apply, please send a resume and a brief cover letter detailing your interest in
the position to the Development Director, Tori Lane at
email@example.com. Applications are due by November 15, 2019.
Sundress Publications invites contributions to support the production of beestung, a new quarterly online micro-magazine for non-binary and two-spirit writers and readers, with an emphasis on intracommunity sensibilities.
Resisting the canon and all forms of bigotry, this entirely volunteer-run magazine under the imprint of Sundress Press, a 501(c)3 non-profit will publish poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, hybrids, and art by creators who fall under the non-binary umbrella, with specific attention to historically underrepresented writers. beestung will never charge a submission fee.
100% of these tax-deductible donations will go to funding the quarterly.
This will ensure that each and every one of our writers and artists get paid.
This will help to sustain our hosting for two years as a paying outlet, with a modest budget for spreading the word about beestung.
This gift will help ensure we never have to charge a submission fee.
Help us fund a new home for writing that buzzes, stings, and drips with sweetness.
beestungmet their first donation goal and now have a stretch goal that will allow them to publish for three full years. This stretch goal asks for an additional $499. Editor Sarah Clark said, “For an additional $499, we can publish for a third year, fee-free, paying contributors $20 each. I think sustainability is a big project for literary publications…” Thanks to generous supporters who helped them off to a promising launch, securing sustainability can now be their goal. Further donations will be used toward that end.
Who’s behind beestung?
Sarah Clark is Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at Anomaly, Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2021), a reader at The Atlas Review and Doubleback Books, and an Editorial Board member at Sundress Press. Clark has edited folios for publications, including Anomaly‘s GLITTERBRAIN folio and a folio on Indigenous & Decolonial Futures & Futurisms, Drunken Boat’s folios on Sound Art, “Desire & Interaction,” and a collection of global indigenous art and literature, First Peoples, Plural. Sarah freelances, and has worked with a number of literary and arts publications and organizations.