Project Bookshelf with Editorial Intern Peyton Vance

My bookcase is black wood, made to look smarter and sharper than it truly is. They say readers treat their books like they do their lovers. I hope that isn’t the case.

While some may highlight their favorite lines, dog-ear pages they reread, or annotate the work until it is a kaleidoscope of paper, I take a different approach.

 I slide off dust covers when reading, as to not damage the books. I do my best not to touch the pages, in fear of ruining the delicate paper with my oily hands. Don’t get me wrong, I do love books. Part of me wishes I could slide a novella in my bag, and read it on the beach, underlining sentences I wish I had come up with. But I’m not that brave. I’m not an Andy who plays with his toys. I’m Al, from Al’s Toybarn, keeping my toys behind a thin pane of glass.

From bottom to top, my bookcase is arranged strategically. Level one is the most haphazard, closest to the ground and least likely to be seen. This is where I keep “smart books”, year books, and paper books I collect coins in. The “smart books” are The Sun Also Rises, Frankenstein, The Grapes of Wrath, and other works that make me feel inferior. 

Above them, is the kid’s shelf, with books I love that are simple. I keep them knowing, hoping, that my kids will enjoy them too. 

Above that, on the third level is my YA section, with killing, love, and everything except sex. Level four is strictly reserved for Stephen King, on a life sentence.

The highest level is the Geek shelf. Where Watchman sits next to Fall of Reach, which sits next to Darth Plagueis… If this didn’t clue anyone in, then the massive Master Chief helmet I bought on eBay for much more than it was worth, will. 

It’s organized, but messy. The levels sit on top of one another with not one thread of cohesion. I’ve even got bastardized shelves around my room because I ran out of space.

Next to my bed, there’s the shelf that holds every Walking Dead volume, right beside my George R.R. Martin shelf with all five books, with one space left for another that may never come.

 I’m clearing off a space, now in my closet for future books to be read. And it’s growing slower than I want it, but faster than I know.

Peyton Vance is a senior at the University of Tennessee. He’s had five pieces published this year and is also currently the prose editor at the Phoenix Literary Magazine. He loves writing in any form whether it be poetry, prose, photos, plays or any other word that doesn’t start with a P. Peyton wants to eventually get into production and screenwriting and does not want to become homeless when he grows up. His favorite food is pizza.

Open Call for Full-Length Prose Manuscripts

Sundress Publications is open for submissions of full-length prose manuscripts in all genres. All authors are welcome to submit manuscripts during our reading period, which runs from October 1, 2019 to January 15, 2020. Sundress is particularly interested in prose collections that value genre hybridization, the lyric, flash, strange or fractured narratives, new fiction, experimental work, or work with strong attention to lyricism and language. These collections may be short stories, novellas, essays, memoir, or a mixture thereof.

We are looking for manuscripts of 125-165 double-spaced pages of prose; 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. Authors may submit and as many manuscripts as they would like, provided that each is accompanied by a separate reading fee or purchase/pre-order. We will also accept nominations for entrants, provided the nominating person either pays the reading fee or makes a qualifying purchase. Entrants and nominators can place book orders or pay submission fees in our store.

All 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 to, 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 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. 

Website:                     Facebook: sundresspublications
Email:                     Twitter: @SundressPub

Sundress Subscription 2020

2020 Sundress Subscriptions Now Available

Sundress Publications is excited to announce our 2020 subscriptions!

This year’s catalog includes full-length poetry collections from Albert Abonado, Chera Hammons, Ever Jones, Donna Vorreyer, and feí Hernandez as well as a copy of our hand-printed letterpress broadside from this year’s contest winner!  Not only that, but this year’s subscription also includes I Am Here To Make Friends, a new short story collection by Robert Long Foreman and the poetry anthology Familiar Wild: On Dogs & Poetry edited by Ruth Awad and Rachel Mennies!

Subscribers receive all upcoming titles, complimentary swag, plus FREE entries into all of our 2020 Sundress contests, open reading periods, and Sundress Academy for the Arts residency applications for themselves AND a friend.

From now until the end of the year, you’ll receive not only the entire 2020 catalog but also a FREE Sundress title of your choosing along with a subscription letter suitable for wrapping.

Subscribe today!


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.

10 Holiday Gifts for Writers (That Aren't Journals!)

It’s that time of year again, and you’re in luck! We’ve taken the guesswork out of what to get that writer on your list and compiled a list of items — and none of them are Moleskine journals.

10 – Gift Card for Books

As Stephen King says, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” While you probably can’t help with the second thing, you can definitely help with the first by getting your writer a gift card for more books! Bonus points if it’s from their local independent bookstore.

9 – A Reading Light

For those night owls, a cute reading light that clips onto their book is a great gift so they can keep on reading long after the lights go out.

8 – Cozy Blanket

For those writers that love to cuddle up with their computer or a good book, a big fuzzy blanket is a perfect gift. Also, consider a weighted blanket for those who want some extra comfort.

7 – Candles

Candles smell good and brighten up a space. We love this one that smells like old books and tea!

6 – Fancy Coffee or Tea

Speaking of tea, many writers say the real writer’s fuel is caffeine. Supply them with some fancy coffee or tea to keep them going.

5 – Fuzzy Socks or Slippers

To keep their feet warm and cozy on those cold days at the desk — or consider a small plug-in foot heater.

4 – Subscription to Literary Journals

For the literary journal and small press loving writers, gift a year-long subscription to their favorites. Of course, we’re partial to our own subscription which comes with goodies. You can find the Sundress Publications 2020 Subscription here.

3 – Noise Canceling Headphones

Help that writer focus with some noise-canceling headphones. Now they can write without distractions from that noisy neighbor. Is it you?

2 – A Litograph Pillow of Their Work

Show your writer how much you love their work by gifting a custom pillow that’s covered in their writing from Litograph. It’s easy: Upload their writing, choose a color, and order!

1 – Writer’s Residency

A writing residency doesn’t have to be through a fancy artist retreat. It could be two nights at a hotel in your hometown (or just outside of). It could be an AirBnB getaway or a cabin in the woods. Remember, the gift of time is a best gift a writer can receive.

The residencies at Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) are open to writers of all genres and take place in beautiful East Tennessee. They are designed to give writers time and space to complete their personal projects in a quiet and productive environment. For information on how to apply, click here!

Shitty First Drafts with Krista Cox

Sundress Publications announces the tenth episode of the podcast, Shitty First Drafts. A podcast made for and by writers, this show playfully investigates the creative processes of different artists to determine how a finished draft gets its polish.

On their 10th episode, Stephanie Phillips and Brynn Martin sit down with poet Krista Cox to discuss two different iterations of a poem she wrote last year. Krista explains how this poem started her on a path that changed the way she wrote and approached her work. We discuss spreadsheets, only writing poems when you’re sad, and how to be the chillest muthafucka. By day, Krista is a paralegal in South Bend, Indiana, but also spends her time working with Lit Literary Collective, a nonprofit she founded that serves her local literary community. Additionally, Krista is the managing editor of Doubleback Review and an associate poetry editor at Stirring.

Listen to Episode 10 at:

Krista Cox is a paralegal and poet based in South Bend, Indiana, but longing for somewhere saltier. She’s the Managing Editor of Doubleback Review, a journal for work from defunct journals, and an Associate Poetry Editor at Stirring: A Literary Collection. She’s also the Executive Director of Lit Literary Collective, a nonprofit serving her local literary community. Her poetry has appeared in Columbia Journal, Crab Fat Magazine, The Humanist, and elsewhere. More on the web at

Sundress Announces the Release of Ruth Foley’s Dead Man’s Float

Sundress Publications announces the release of Ruth Foley’s Collection, Dead Man’s Float. An ode to the sea, the Earth, and the body, this is a collection of estuary poems: wooded and mossed over, burying all the things we’d like to forget in the deepest of forests, the wettest of mud, the farthest depths of the ocean.

There is an ever-present sense of loss— sadness that looms and storms, hovering in the corner of each page, just beyond the horizon line. And yet, these poems expose a way to salvage beauty and hope in times of grief and heartbreak, in loss beyond simply death. It is not only through oceanic allegory that Foley explores longing; here is the sense that finding land—the respite of stillness—is the goal. There is no creature left unearthed to roam without meaning; even the millipede brings the hope of understanding to the violent forces of nature, to the nuances of human experience. In this balance between love and loss, ocean and earth, life and death, loneliness and solitude, Foley’s mesmerizing dance mimics the tide.

After reading this collection, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, author of Letters from Limbo and Burning of the Three Fires states that Foley is, “doing the work of elegy, beneath the surface—water being an operative metaphor throughout—it is an unappeasable and unflinching quarrel with death itself. Tossed by loss and taunted by omens, Foley turns her scrappy, sinewy, verb-packed lines into lifelines, offering her readers a bounty of poems brought up from the depths of our mortal predicament.”

Order Dead Man’s Float on the Sundress website.

Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her work appears in numerous web and print journals, including Adroit, Sou’wester, Threepenny Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her poems can also be found in several anthologies, including the Best Indie Lit New England anthology. She is the author of the chapbooks Sink and Drift, Creature Feature, and Dear Turquoise, and the forthcoming full-length Abandon.

2019 Poetry Open Reading Period Selections Announced

Sundress Publications is thrilled to announce the results of the 2019 open reading period for full-length poetry manuscripts. The winning selections are: Anna Meister’s What Nothing and Esteban Rodriguez’s The Valley. Each is slated for publication in 2021.

Anna Meister is the author of two chapbooks, most recently As if (Glass Poetry Press, 2018). She earned an MFA in poetry from New York University, where she served as a Goldwater Writing Fellow. Meister’s poems have appeared in BOAAT, The Adroit Journal, Kenyon Review, The Shallow Ends, & elsewhere. She lives in Des Moines, IA with her wife & son.

Esteban Rodríguez is the author of the collections Dusk & Dust (Hub City Press 2019), Crash Course (Saddle Road Press 2019), In Bloom (SFASU Press 2020), and (Dis)placement (Skull + Wind Press 2020). His poetry has appeared in Boulevard, The Rumpus, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He is the Interviews Editor for the EcoTheo Review, an Assistant Poetry Editor for AGNI, and a regular reviews contributor for PANK and Heavy Feather Review. He lives with his family in Austin, Texas. 

Congratulations also to this year’s finalists and semifinalists.


Linda Dove, Coin
Melissa Helton, Out, and Out Again 
Emily Mercurio, Slime Child 
Alison Palmer, The Alarmist 
Michelle Reed, The Body Left Behind 
Valorie Ruiz, In Stories We Thunder 
Katie Schmid, Eat the Dream


Quintin Collins, The Dandelion Speaks of Survival 
Brandi George, The Nameless 
Gail Goepfert, Self-Portrait as Thorns 
Paula Harris, A Thousand Deliciously Ill-Advised Ways to Shorten Your Life 
Heather Hughes, Like Bodies Inventing Ghosts 
Rae Hoffman Jager, American Bitch 
Becca J.R. Lachman, What I say to this house 
Jean Prokott, Our Problems are the Same Size as Us 
Brooke Sahni, Before I Had the Word 
Sara Sams, Atom City 
Kimberly Ann Southwick, Orchid Alpha 
Elizabeth Theroit, Haruspex 
Tony Trigilio, Self-Portrait in the Glare of Motion Detector Lights
Emily Troia, Mental Coordinates

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.

Website:  Facebook: sundresspublications
Email:  Twitter: @SundressPub

Call for Readers

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is looking for readers to participate in our fundraiser reading for the Mountain Access Brigade, a Knoxville collective focused on decreasing the stigma around abortion and woman’s reproductive experiences.

We’re seeking, in particular, authors—novelists, poets, memoirists, or something in-between—whose work highlights or focuses attention toward these complicated and often unspoken conversations.

The reading will be on Saturday February 8th, 2020 at 6pm at Union Ave Books, with a portion of all proceeds benefiting the Mountain Access Brigade.

To apply, please send a short letter of interest, and up to eight pages of sample work to our Reading Series Coordinator, Emily Jalloul, at by December 15th, 2019. We will be selecting up to three readers for this event.

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is a writers residency and arts collective that hosts workshops, retreats, and residencies for writers in all genres. All are guided by experienced, professional instructors from a variety of creative disciplines who are dedicated to cultivating the arts in East Tennessee.

Meet Our New Graphic Design Intern: Steve Sampson

It was my plan all along to study English and teach. It sounded safe and seemed like something I would love. A couple classes into college, though, essays were becoming increasingly painful to finish. I simultaneously found myself in a drawing class in the spring of my first year. This felt like my savior.

Gradually the art program consumed me; I was hooked and finally declared my major after another semester. The way my professor spoke about drawing, to follow your hand and intuition, really opened me up to writing too. I was always stuck and drawing seemed to pry it out of me. This was really the first time that I began writing just for myself.

I decided to take a poetry workshop class this semester which has been such a great experience. I’m writing more than ever before and am again getting a refreshing glimpse outside of the studio art world at the University of Tennessee. It feels like art and writing are merging more and more, becoming part of the same process.

That’s why I’m so excited about this internship. It feels like my interests are finally becoming one. I’m really excited to gain more design skills and be part of such a cool community like Sundress Publications. I’m realizing there are a lot of opportunities to chase in the future that straddle both the worlds that I’ve wanted to be a part of for the longest time. 

Steve Sampson is pursuing his BFA in the University of Tennessee’s Department of Painting & Drawing. When he is not hiding in the art building, he can be found writing, hiking and playing music with friends.

Call for Applications: Editorial Internship

Sundress Publications is an entirely volunteer-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit publishing collective founded in 2000 that hosts a variety of online journals and publishes chapbooks, full-length collections, and literary anthologies in both print and digital formats. Sundress also publishes the annual Best of the Net Anthology, celebrating the best work published online, runs Poets in Pajamas, an online reading series, and the Gone Dark Archives, preserving online journals that have reached the end of their run. 

The editorial internship position will run from January 1 to July 1, 2020. The editorial intern’s responsibilities can include writing press releases, composing blog posts and promotional emails, proofreading manuscripts, assembling press kits, collating editorial data, research, managing spreadsheets, and more. The intern may also be responsible for writing copy, conducting interviews with Sundress authors, and promoting our catalog of titles.

Preferred qualifications include:

  • A keen eye for proofreading
  • Strong written communication skills 
  • Familiarity with WordPress, Word, and the Google Suite
  • Ability to work under a deadline and multitask
  • Knowledge of and interest in contemporary literature a plus

This is a REMOTE internship with the team communicating primarily via email and text messages and is therefore not restricted to applicants living in any particular area. Interns are asked to devote 10 hours per week to their assignments.

While this is an unpaid internship, all interns will gain real-world experience in the ins and outs of independent publishing with a nationally recognized press 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. 

We welcome, encourage, and are enthusiastic to see a diverse array of applicants with unique perspectives and experiences in all areas including race, ethnicity, disability, gender, class, religion, education, immigration status, and more. 

To apply, please send a resume and a brief cover letter detailing your interest in the position to our Staff Director, Anna Black at by December 15, 2019. 

For more information, visit our website at