Meet Our New Intern: Anna Mirzayan

I don’t consider myself a writer, or a poet.

When I travelled to Seattle in October 2021, it was largely to visit a friend, smell the ocean (I’m currently land-locked), and, ironically, to do a reading for my newly published chapbook. Late one night, over too many beers, I found myself discussing visions of an ideal life with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Since we went to college together to read “great books,” he’s been a welder in Alaska, a bartender, a carpenter, and most recently pivoted to being a software engineer. He told me he felt like he was betraying himself—or at least the vision he had of himself—by settling into a life of sedentary cognitive labor doing IT. “I always pictured myself working with my hands,” he said, “building things, being close to nature…” What a sensual being.

In my ideal life I’d “hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening…[and] criticize after dinner.” I am privileged and supported enough to have this life, more or less, and I am able to provide myself the space to do many things with equal devotion. In addition to this internship, I am completing my PhD in Theory and Criticism, where I also teach rhetoric and communications for STEM students. I am also the editor-in-chief of The Bunker Review at Bunker Projects’ experimental artist residency and gallery, where I am also a working board member. In addition to that publication, where I inhabit a largely managerial role, I am a freelance arts writer. Visiting galleries and museums has been a continuous theme in my life, though my companions have changed, from my father to friends and partners, and often alone. My tastes in art have evolved as well, leaning towards the hyper contemporary and the digital, which are also themes in both my dissertation and my first chapbook, Donkey-girl and Other Hybrids, published in August 2021 by Really Serious Literature.

The poems in that book were six years in the making, and many of them began at the Sundress writers’ residency on Firefly Farms. That was the first time I went somewhere where everything was simplified and my life shrunk to just a few activities: I helped with the farm animals in the morning, fed peppermints to the adorable donkey, and retreated to the sun-lit office to work on poems for the rest of the day. I existed purely in a state of what philosopher Henri Lefebvre’s rhythm analysis would called cyclical rhythm, like the sun rising and setting every day. I wrote dozens of poems.

Overall, people are a combination of rhythms, cyclical and linear. Existing in only one or the other for too long is strenuous, and causes painful displacement. In my regular life I like to do many things at once—to bring in elements and aspects of all the things I like throughout my day. Doing the social media internship at Sundress Publications is a chance to reach back into that period of peaceful single-mindedness, through the organization that facilitated it. I’m excited to now be giving Sundress my time.

Anna Mirzayan is an arts writer, poet, researcher, and doctoral candidate in Theory and Criticism. She is currently based in Pittsburgh, where she is the editor-in-chief of The Bunker Review at Bunker Projects. Her poetry chapbook, Donkey-girl and Other Hybrids, was published in 2021 by Really Serious Literature. You can find some of her writing at art-agenda, Square Cylinder, and Hyperallergic (forthcoming) or check out her poetry at Metatron Press, Poetry WTF, or The Operating System.

Pre-Orders for Our 2021 Poetry Broadside Contest Winner are Now Open

Sundress Publications is thrilled to announce that pre-orders for our 2021 Poetry Broadside Contest Winner are now open.

Britton Shurley’s poem “When I Think I Am Done with Beauty” will be letterpress-printed as a limited edition 8.5” x 11” broadside.

Britton Shurley is the author of the chapbook Spinning the Vast Fantastic (Bull City Press, 2021), and his poetry has appeared in such journals as Southern Humanities Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, and Southern Indiana Review. He is the recipient of Emerging Artist Awards from the Kentucky Arts Council in both 2011 and 2016. He is an Associate Professor of English at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, where he edits Exit 7: A Journal of Literature & Art with his wife, the poet Amelia Martens. They live in Paducah, Kentucky with their daughters and curate the Rivertown Reading Series.

The broadside edition combines Britton Shurley’s work with an original piece by Lori Tenant. The poem “When I Think I Am Done with Beauty” first appeared in The Southern Humanities Review and later in Shurley’s chapbook, Spinning the Vast Fantastic, available from Bull City Press.

Order your copy today for $5 off the retail price

The winning broadside has the text of "When I Think I'm Through With Beauty" on the left and a black and white drawing of forsythia on the right.

Stirring Open Call for Submissions

Stirring is open for submissions of creative work from all writing genres and a variety of visual art media. We are continually striving to publish underserved voices, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalized beings. We do not consider translations or previously published pieces. We are currently not accepting books for review but would still love to read reviews you have written.

We enjoy short poems, long poems, flash fiction, memoirs, form, prose, narrative, lyrical, etc. Stirring is a journal with several editors who all contribute their individual input for each issue. The joy of Stirring is the confluence of our diverse opinions. Of course, keeping up with Stirring, as well as reading a few of our previous issues, will give you the best idea of what we are looking for in written work. Visual art submissions may range from images of your 2-D work or 3-D pieces. We are open to select 4-D or video art submissions if they suit our needs.

We welcome simultaneous submissions. However, you must inform us immediately if your work has been accepted elsewhere. We do not consider previously published work. Please refrain from sending multiple submission to us as they will not be considered for publication.

We request that all written work be submitted in the body of your email. No attachments, please. Additionally, please include a brief third-person bio in your submission.

Submissions Guidelines:

Book Reviews: Up to 700 words sent to Katie Culligan at

Poetry: Up to 5 poems sent to Luci Brown at

Fiction: Up to 5,000 words sent to Shaun Turner at

Nonfiction: Up to 5,000 words sent to Ada Wofford at

Art: Between 5 and 10 individual files attached and/or a link to your portfolio sent to Stephanie Phillips at

If you get published with Stirring, we obtain First Serial Rights of your work during the time it appears on our website’s current issue. When the new quarterly issue goes up, the rights revert back to you. We also hold the right to re-print your piece in any further issues of Stirring or any print anthologies back by Sundress.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here.

2021 Chapbook Contest Winner Announced

Sundress Publications is thrilled to announce that anaïs peterson’s chapbook, for the joy of it, was selected by librecht baker as the winner of our tenth annual e-chapbook contest. anaïs will receive $200 and publication.

anaïs peterson (name/they) is a poet and organizer currently based on occupied Osage land. Their people love pretty skies, are barefoot in the summer, and are queers, especially those who view gender as a game. anaïs’ words have appeared in Sampsonia WayMixed Mag, and You Are Here, among others, with upcoming work in SLICE. anaïs writes in black pen and Garamond size 11 and tweets from @anais_pgh. A full list of anaïs’ publications and more information may be found at:

Arielle Cottingham’s Machete Moon, Joan Glass’ If Rust Can Grow on the Moon, and Carolyn Supinka’s When I interview fire were selected as runners-up.

We are also excited to announce that Arielle Cottingham’s chapbook, Machete Moon, was this year’s Editor’s Choice and will receive $100 as well as publication.

Texas-born Afro-Latinx poet, editor, performance artist, and educator, Arielle Cottingham has toured four continents in five years, giving performances and teaching workshops across Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia. Their work explores the fluidity of intersectional identities and has appeared in multiple literary journals both in print and online. Notable performance spaces have included 48H Neukölln, the Alley Theatre, the Museum of Old & New Art, and the Sydney Opera House, where they won the title of Australian National Poetry Slam Champion in 2016. Their work has been published in Stellium Literary JournalBOOTHPressure Gauge PressAbout Place Journal, and elsewhere, and their chapbook, Black and Ropy, was published by Pitt Street Poetry in 2017. They are currently pining for falafel at their desk in Berlin.

The entire Sundress team would like to thank librecht baker for serving as this year’s judge.

librecht baker is the author of vetiver (Finishing Line Press, 2017). baker frolics with Black Girl Magic Creative Series and joined Radar Productions’ Sister Spit 2020 tour. baker’s one-act dramedy, “Afterlife or Bust,” was part of Q Youth Foundation’s 2021 Eastside Queer Stories Radio Plays. her full-length play, “Taciturn Beings,” was a semi-finalist for the 43rd annual Bay Area Playwright’s Festival and part of The Vagrancy’s Blossoming: A New Play Reading Series 2019. baker’s other writings appear in ACCOLADES: A Women Who Submit AnthologySolace: Writing Refuge, & LGBTQ Women of Color, Bone Bouquet, Sinister Wisdom, and other publications, but can also be encountered via Women Who Submit’s IGTV for their ACCOLADES online reading series and June Carryl’s one-act play, The Life and Death Of, via The Vagrancy’s YouTube page. baker is a Professor of English, who earned an MFA in interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. 

We would also like to thank everyone who sent in their work. Finalists and semifinalists include:


Secret Hallelujah Amen, Marcia LeBeau

Dela Torre, Dani Putney*


DREAMWAKE, Leanne Dunic

the effulgence of my body means I have or give off light, Cameron Gorman

Various Scenarios, Gianmarc Manzione

Huginn & Muninn, Clare O’Brien

Two New Years, Joyce Orobello

Subject Lessons, Nnadi Samuel

Hollowed, Lucy Zhang

*also selected for publication

Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents “Queering Ekphrasis”: A Writers Workshop

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present “Queering Ekphrasis,” a workshop led by Marina Carreira on July 14, 2021 from 6-7:30 PM. This event will be held over Zoom. Participants can access the event at (password: safta).

Ekphrasis allows for a deeper look at art, an examination of the work via the (imaginative) act of narrating and reflecting on the subjects or “action” of a painting, photograph, collage, or sculpture. The ekphrastic poem, in turn, amplifies and expands the artwork’s meaning. This generative workshop asks poets to look at works by contemporary LGBTQ+ artists like Shoog McDaniel, Doron Lanberg, Hernan Bas, Gisela McDaniel, and Catherine Opie, and compose ekphrastic poetry in response to the work, all the while considering what makes the art queer exploring the ways it “captures” the queer experience.

While there is no fee for this workshop, those who are able and appreciative can make direct donations to Marina via Venmo @Marina-Carreira or PayPal @marinacarreira282.

Marina Carreira (she/her/hers) is a queer socialist Luso-American poet artist from Newark, NJ. She is the author of tantotanto (Cavankerry Press, forthcoming 2022), Save the Bathwater (Get Fresh Books, 2018) and I Sing to That Bird Knowing It Won’t Sing Back (Finishing Line Press, 2017). She has exhibited her art at Morris Museum, ArtFront Galleries, West Orange Arts Council, Monmouth University Center for the Arts, among others. Her work investigates identity as it relates to gender, urban, queer, and bicultural first-generation spaces. Keep up with her at

Sundress Academy for the Arts Announces Our June Reading Series

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is pleased to announce the guests for the June installment of our virtual reading series. This event will take place on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 on Zoom (, password: safta) from 7-8PM EST.

Kendra DeColo is the author of three poetry collections, I Am Not Trying to Hide My Hungers From the World (BOA Editions, 2021), My Dinner with Ron Jeremy (Third Man Books, 2016), and Thieves in the Afterlife (Saturnalia Books, 2014), selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2013 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. She is also co-author of Low Budget Movie (Diode, 2021) written with Tyler Mills. She has received awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Millay Colony, and has performed at the Newport Folk Festival. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee. 


Khalisa Rae is an award-winning poet and journalist based in Durham, NC. She is the author of Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat (Red Hen Press 2021). Her essays are featured in Autostraddle, Catapult, LitHub, as well as articles in B*tch Media, NBC-BLK, and others. Her poetry appears in Frontier Poetry, Florida Review, Rust & Moth, PANK, Hellebore, Sundog Lit, HOBART, among countless others. Currently, she serves as Assistant Editor for Glass Poetry and co-founder of Think in Ink and the Women of Color Speak reading series. Her second collection, Unlearning Eden, is forthcoming from White Stag Publishing in 2022. 

Dani Putney is a queer, non-binary, mixed-race Filipinx, & neurodivergent writer originally from Sacramento, California. Their poems appear in outlets such as Empty Mirror, Ghost City Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Juke Joint Magazine, and trampset, among others, while their personal essays can be found in journals such as Cold Mountain Review and Glassworks Magazine, among others. They received their MFA in Creative Writing from Mississippi University for Women & are presently an English PhD student at Oklahoma State University. While not always (physically) there, they permanently reside in the middle of the Nevada desert. 

Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents Our June Poetry Xfit

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present Poetry Xfit hosted by Arlynn Dunn. This generative workshop event will take place on Sunday, June 20th, 2021 from 2 to 4 pm EST via Zoom. Join us at the link with password “safta”.

Poetry Xfit isn’t about throwing tires or heavy ropes, but the idea of confusing our muscles is the same. This generative workshop series will give you prompts, rules, obstructions, and more to write three poems in two hours. Writers will write together for thirty minutes, be invited to share new work, and then given a new set of prompts. The idea isn’t that we are writing perfect final drafts, but instead creating clay that can then be edited and turned into art later. Prose writers are also welcome to attend!

Arlynn Dunn is an aspiring Filipina poet and thanks the contemporary canon of Asian American poets who open healing spaces for both grief and celebration of diversity. Arlynn is the Client Ambassador for Choice Health Network and is the volunteer Community Outreach director for Sundress Academy for the Arts. Her upbringing and desire to form community from remote spaces imprints on her poems. 

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

All donations received for this event will be split equally with our community partner. Our community partner for June is Knoxville Black Mamas Bailout (KBMBO), which grew as a direct action organization through Southerners on New Ground, a LGBTQ liberation organization. KBMBO disrupts the cash bail system through a practice of bailing Black mothers and caregivers, while also breaking down the barriers of cash bail and incarceration that impact these women. These practices include paying cash bonds, educating the community on the cash bail system, offering court support, and promoting the abolition of mass incarceration and the cash bail system.

You can find more information and links to donate at

Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents “Writin’ Rhythm”: A Writers Workshop

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present “Writin’ Rhythm,” a workshop led by Elisha Mykelti on June 9, 2021 from 6-7:30PM. This event will be held over Zoom. Participants can access the event at (password: safta).

We are musical, sound-making beings. In your pulse, your stride, your foot tappin’, that pen clickin’ and clackin’, there is rhythm. By nature, all poetry has music: written poetry, spoken word poetry, choreo poetry, etc. In this workshop, we’ll explore how to be intentional about musicality and rhythm in our own work by exploiting sound-conscious writing choices. Attendees will be given prompts and writing time to develop poems that employ rhythmic elements, as well as tap into performance techniques used to drive a musical poem.

While there is no fee for this workshop, those who are able and appreciative can make direct donations to Elisha via Venmo @Elisha-Brewer or PayPal @elishabrewer98 .

Elisha Mykelti is a musical poet whose work focuses on the everyday—the absurd, the normal, and not so often pretty—life of the Black American woman. Through the use of dialect, her work pays special attention to her birthplace in the South and her roots up North. Elisha is a teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee.

The Sundress Academy for the Arts announces our May Reading Series

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is pleased to announce the guests for the May installment of our virtual reading series. The event will take place on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021, 7:00-8:00 EST via Zoom. Join us at (password: safta).

A picture of Ashley Inguanta.

Ashley Inguanta is a poet, lyrical essayist, art photographer, and holistic writing guide. She supports others in their spiritual journeys by helping them develop a healthy connection to nature. Her first guidebook, Poet, There’s a Spark Within You, is available to take home through her website,

A picture of Marcela Sulak.

Marcela Sulak is the author of the lyric memoir Mouth Full of Seeds; her third poetry collection, City of Sky Papers is forthcoming with Black Lawrence Press, where she’s previously published Decency and Immigrant. She’s co-edited Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres. A 2019 NEA Translation Fellow, her fourth translation, Twenty Girls to Envy Me: Selected Poems of Orit Gidali was nominated for a 2017 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. She hosts the podcast “Israel in Translation,” edits The Ilanot Review, and is Associate Professor of English Literature and Linguistics at Bar-Ilan University. Find her books at Black Lawrence Press:

Tadros, a woman with short hair and facial piercings sits in her office in a desk chair, with a book shelf and running race medals in the background.

Billie R. Tadros is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Theatre at The University of Scranton. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her M.F.A. in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and she is a graduate of the Writers Institute at Susquehanna University. She is the author of three books of poems, Graft Fixation (Gold Wake Press, 2020), Was Body (Indolent Books, 2020), and The Tree We Planted and Buried You In (Otis Books, 2018). 

Now Accepting Residency Applications for Fall 2021

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is now accepting applications for short-term writing residencies in all genres—poetry, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting, journalism, academic writing, and more—for their fall residency period which runs from August 23, 2021 to January 2, 2022. These residencies are designed to give artists time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment. 

Each farmhouse residency costs $300/week, which includes a room of one’s own, as well as access to our communal kitchen, bathroom, office, and living space, plus wireless internet.

Residencies in the Writers Coop are $150/week and include your own private dry cabin as well as access to the farmhouse amenities. Because of the low cost, we are rarely able to offer scholarships for Writers Coop residents.

Residents will stay at the SAFTA farmhouse, located on a working farm on a 45-acre wooded plot in a Tennessee “holler” perfect for hiking, camping, and nature walks. The farmhouse is also just a half-hour from downtown Knoxville, an exciting and creative city that is home to a thriving artistic community. SAFTA is ideal for writers looking for a rural retreat with urban amenities. 

SAFTA’s residencies, which also include free access to workshops, readings, and events, offer a unique and engaging experience. Residents can participate in local writing workshops, lead their own workshops, and even have the opportunity to learn life skills like gardening and animal care.

As part of our commitment to anti-racist work, we are now also using a reparations payment model for our farmhouse residencies which consists of the following:

  1. 3 reparations weeks of equally divided payments for Black and/or Indigenous identifying writers at $150/week
  2. 3 discounted weeks of equally divided payments for BIPOC writers at $250/week
  3. 6 equitable weeks of equally divided payments at $300/week

Black and/or Indigenous identifying writers are also invited to apply for a $350 support grant to help cover the costs of food, travel, childcare, and/or any other needs while they are at the residency. We are currently able to offer two of these grants per residency period (spring/summer/fall). If you would like to donate to expand this funding, you may do so here.

For the 2021 fall residency period, SAFTA will be offering the following fellowships only: 

  • VIDA Fellowship for Women & Nonbinary Writers: one full and one 50% fellowship for women and nonbinary identifying writers sponsored by VIDA
  • Black & Indigenous Writers Fellowships: one full fellowship for Black and/or Indigenous identifying writer
  • Financial Need Fellowship: one full fellowship with any writer with financial need

Limited partial scholarships are also available to any applicant with financial need.

Portrait of Tatiana looking at the camera with greenery. Taken by Mel Taing

Our judge this year’s VIDA fellowship is writer, artist, and educator Tatiana Johnson-Boria (she/her/hers). Her writing explores identity, trauma, especially inherited trauma, and what it means to heal. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College and is a 2021 Tin House Scholar. She’s received honorable mention for the 2020 Academy of American Poets Prize, is a 2020 Best of the Net Finalist, and a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee. Find her work in or forthcoming at Ploughshares, New Delta Review, Foundry and others.

Please note in your application if you are applying for one of these fellowships. 

The application deadline for the fall residency period is May 15, 2021. Find out more about the application process at

The application fee is waived for all BIPOC identifying writers. For all fellowship applications, the application fee will also be waived for those who demonstrate financial need; please state this in your application under the financial need section.