From January to May, 2021, the Sundress Reading Series will continue online via Zoom. Applications to participate as a reader are open and the deadline to apply is October 25th.
The Sundress Reading Series is an award-winning literary reading series usually hosted on-ground in Knoxville, TN, just miles from the Great Smoky Mountains. An extension of Sundress Publications and the Sundress Academy for the Arts, the Sundress Reading Series features nationally-recognized writers in all genres from around the US while also supporting local and regional nonprofits.
Our readings take place the last Wednesday of every month from 7-8PM EST. The spring series will be streamed on January 27th, February 24th, March 31st, April 28th, and May 26th.
We are currently seeking readers with books recently released—or to be released in 2021—with an emphasis on marginalized voices especially BIPOC writers, trans and nonbinary writers, and writers with disabilities. To apply to read for the spring, send 6-8 pages of poetry or 8-15 pages of prose, a 100-word bio, CV (optional), and a ranking of reading dates to email@example.com. Please make sure the subject line reads “Reading Series Application.”
Those selected will be notified by December 1, 2020. Readers will receive publicity across Sundress Publications’ social media channels in the lead up to their event, and, thanks to a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Sundress is now able to compensate readers $50 for their services.
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 spring residency period which runs from January 3 to May 16, 2021. These residencies are designed to give artists time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment.
Each residency costs $250/week, which includes a room of one’s own, access to our communal kitchen, bathroom, office, and living space, plus wireless internet access.
A Note Regarding covid-19: We are moving forward with spring applications with the assumption that travel will be safer in the spring. However, if you are accepted for this residency and are unable to travel due to continued social distancing measures or other coronavirus-related problems, your residency can be moved to the Spring of 2022 with all scholarships still applicable.
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.
For the 2021 Spring residency period, SAFTA will be offering the following fellowships:
Lambda Literary (Spring 2021) – Deadline September 15, 2020: SAFTA will be pairing with Lambda Literary to offer two fellowships (one full fellowship and one 50% fellowship) for a week-long residency to LGBTQIA+ writers of any genre. Lambda believes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQIA+ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published and read. All applicants to the two fellowships must identify as LGBTQIA+. Partial scholarships are also available to any applicant with financial need. This year’s judge will be Sundress editor Nicole Oquendo.
Nicole Oquendo is a writer and visual artist that combines these elements, along with magical practice, to craft multimodal nonfiction, poetry, and fiction, as well as translations of these forms. Their work can be found in numerous literary journals, a hybrid memoir, and six chapbooks, including their most recent works: Space Baby: Episodes I-III and The Antichrist and I. Their full-length poetry collection we, animals will be out later this year.
They have been serving the writing community for over a decade as an educator and freelance editor, as well as volunteering time to several literary journals and presses, most recently as a Special Feature Editor for The Florida Review. They are currently an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and their most recently curated anthology, Manticore: Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities, is available for free on the Sundress Publications website.
Dr. Kristi Larkin Havens Memorial Fellowship for Service to the Community (Spring 2021 or Fall 2021) – Deadline September 15, 2020: Dr. Kristi Larkin Havens served as the Community Outreach Director for Sundress Academy for the Arts and then as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Sundress Publications for over six years. She earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she was a Lecturer and the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies. She was a photographer who served as a producer on films for several local competitions including The Knoxville 24-Hour Film Festival and the Grindhouse Grind-out. For many years she served as a coordinator for the Knoxville Girls Rock Camp, an organization dedicated to fostering inclusivity and creativity. For her, the arts were a natural venue for pursuing the aims of social justice.
This fellowship will be awarded to a writer who has shown exceptional service to their own community through any of the following: volunteering, organizing, fundraising, board membership, etThis fellowship will be awarded to a writer who has shown exceptional service to their own community through any of the following: volunteering, organizing, fundraising, board membership, etc. Fellowship winners will receive a one-week fully-funded residency the Sundress Academy for the Arts at Firefly Farms in Knoxville, TN for either the spring or fall of 2020. The spring residency period runs from January 3 to May 16, 2021, and the fall period runs from August 22-January 2, 2022.
Fellowships for Marginalized Writers (Spring 2021) – Deadline September 15, 2020: Thanks to an anonymous donor, we are able to offer two 100% scholarships to marginalized individuals who struggle with mental illness. For this application, please briefly note in your personal statement how you define yourself as a marginalized writer.
Please note in your application if you are applying for one of these fellowships. For all fellowship or scholarship applications, the application fee will be waived for all BIPOC writers and also those who demonstrate financial need. Please state this in your application under the financial need section. Limited partial scholarships are also available to any applicant with financial need.
The Sundress Academy for the Arts is proud to present “A Virtual Reading Series” on June 24th, 2020 from 7-8PM EST on Zoom with Ashley Elizabeth, Ever Jones, and Cy Ozgood! Access the event at tiny.utk.edu/sundress. The password is sundress.
Ashley Elizabeth is a writing consultant, teacher, and poet. Her works have appeared in Rigorous, yell/shout/scream, and SWWIM, among others. Her chapbook, you were supposed to be a friend, is now available from Nightingale & Sparrow. When Ashley isn’t serving as assistant editor at Sundress Publications, teaching, or freelancing, she habitually posts on Twitter and Instagram (@ae_thepoet), watching way too many dog and food videos. She lives with her partner in Baltimore, MD.
Ever Jones (they/them) is a queer/trans writer, artist, & instructor based in Seattle. They are the author of three poetry collections, nightsong (Sundress Publications), Wilderness Lessons (FutureCycle Press), & Primitive Elegy (alice blue books). They were a finalist for terrain.org’s 2013 poetry contest and the grand prize winner of the Eco-Arts Awards in 2014. Ever is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Washington in Tacoma & teaches at Richard Hugo House. Their most recent publications include work in POETRY Magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, About Place Journal, & other places. Please visit everjones.com to view some art.
Cy Ozgood is a queer poet and witch living in Wisconsin. They are the author of several chapbooks including Cynthia (forthcoming from The Magnificent Field, 2020) and Girl Tramp (Horse Less Press, 2016). Their work has been featured or is forthcoming in Twang, baest, Gritty Silk, and The Operating System. Find them at www.silencemerryroads.com.
From August 2020 to January 2021, the Sundress Reading Series will be conducted online via Zoom. Applications to participate as a reader are available and the deadline to apply is June 30th.
The Sundress Reading Series is an award-winning literary reading series usually hosted on-ground in Knoxville, TN, just miles from the Great Smoky Mountains. An extension of Sundress Publications and the Sundress Academy for the Arts, the Sundress Reading Series features nationally recognized writers in all genres from around the US while also supporting local and regional nonprofits.
We are currently curating our fall reading series schedule on August 26, September 30, October 28, November 18, and December 30, and January 27. Our readings take place the last Wednesday of every month from 7-8PM EST through the online platform of Zoom.
We are currently seeking readers with books recently released–or to be released in 2020– with an emphasis on marginalized voices especially BIPOC writers, trans and nonbinary writers, and writers with disabilities. To apply to read for the fall, send 6-8 pages of poetry or 8-15 pages of prose, a 100-word bio, CV (optional), and preferred reading dates to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure the subject line reads “Reading Series Application + Your Name.”
We will make every effort possible to contact those chosen by July 15th. While we are currently unable to pay our readers, authors’s work will be promoted on the Sundress Academy for the Arts social media platforms both during and preceding the 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 including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, journalism, academic writing, playwriting, and more.
Joshua Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American writer, a collegiate national poetry slam champion (CUPSI), and a native Houstonian. He has received fellowships from Kundiman, Sundress Academy For The Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. He has been published in The Offing, Wildness, Button Poetry, The Texas Review, Auburn Avenue, Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, and Hot Metal Bridge. He is a PhD student at The University of Mississippi, where he also received his MFA. He is a bubble tea connoisseur and works in a kitchen.
Angela Narciso Torres is the author of Blood Orange (Willow Books Literature Award for Poetry), To the Bone (Sundress Publications, 2020) and What Happens Is Neither (Four Way Books, 2021). Recent work appears in POETRY, Missouri Review, and PANK. A graduate of Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and Harvard Graduate School of Education, Angela has received fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Illinois Arts Council, and Ragdale Foundation. She serves as a senior and reviews editor for RHINO Poetry. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manila, she resides in South Florida.
Sarah M. Sala is a poet, educator, and native Michigander. She is the founding director of Office Hours Poetry Workshop, assistant poetry editor for the Bellevue Literary Review, and teaches expository writing at New York University. Her debut poetry collection, Devil’s Lake, is forthcoming August 2020 from Tolsun Books. www.sarahsala.com
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 including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, journalism, academic writing, playwriting, and more.
The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is excited to announce that they are now accepting applications for short-term residencies writers in all genres including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, journalism, academic writing, playwriting, and more. Each residency includes a room of one’s own, access to a communal kitchen, bathroom, office, and living space, plus wireless internet.
SAFTA is currently accepting applications for our fall residency period, which runs from August 24, 2020 to January 3, 2021. The length of a residency can run from one to three weeks. The deadline for fall residency applications is May 31st, 2020.
A Note Regarding COVID-19: We are moving forward with fall applications with the assumption that travel will be permitted again by late summer. However, if you are accepted for this residency and are unable to travel due to continued social distancing measures or other coronavirus-related problems, your residency can be moved to the fall of 2021 with all scholarships still applicable.
For the fall residency period, SAFTA will be partnering with VIDA to offer two fellowships (one full fellowship and one 50% fellowship) for a week-long residency to two women or nonbinary writers in any genre. One fully-funded Writer’s Coop residency scholarship is also available for Fall 2020. VIDA’s mission as a research-driven organization is to increase critical attention to women’s writing as well as further transparency around gender equality issues in contemporary literary culture. Fellowships will be chosen by guest judge, Christina Mun-Lutz.
Christina Mun-Lutz is a Korean-American poet who lives in St. Petersburg, FL where she teaches creative writing and is a staff member at Eckerd College. Her work has appeared in Puerto del Sol, RHINO, Juked, Spoon River Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She currently serves on the Board of Directors at VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is the Editor-in-Chief of the VIDA Review.
The SAFTA farmhouse is located on a working farm that rests on a 45-acre wooded plot in a Tennessee “holler” perfect for hiking, camping, and nature walks. Located less than a half-hour from downtown Knoxville, an energetic and arts-forward city of 200,000 in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, SAFTA is an ideal location for those looking for a rural get-away with access to urban amenities.
The residency bedrooms are 130 sq. ft. with queen-size platform bed, closet, dresser, and desk. There is also a communal kitchen supplied with stove, refrigerator, and microwave plus plenty of cook- and dining-ware. The facility also includes a full-size working 19th century full-size letterpress with type, woodworking tools, a 1930’s drafting table, and an extensive library of contemporary literature.
I was supposed to be in med school by now. Actually, I suck at dissection, so scratch that. I’d have probably wound up in a lab, looking at nice, sterile slides under a microscope. Science was the plan. It had rules and tangible logic, a promise that greater study would positively correlate with greater understanding. In high school, I was the everything AP science kid, the never-missed-an-exam-prep-session kid, the kid who origami folded what looked like a voice out of textbook pages and prayed it never got wet. But then, of course it did.
Perfection is a dead end. A perfect test score ends in a zero, is applauded and then silenced on a transcript to be filed away. I was a size double zero senior year of high school, the ideal anorexic for four and a half years by that point, not sick enough to demand attention, not well enough to quit walking round and round the same cul-de-sac whittling my stomach down. I could achieve these goals, but without fresh air they would decompose into a dark garden inside me one day.
My cousin killed himself during the fall of that year. He was twenty years old. We were never close—spread across the eastern half of the U.S., my extended family typically gathers only every three or four years for a requisite wedding, graduation, or, in this case, a funeral. Nonetheless, the image of his powdered face and overstuffed chest flash flooded my years of panicked perfectionism, dissolved carefully pleated calorie charts and diagrams of cellular respiration into bits of colored paper, arranging themselves into some visceral understanding of why he did it. Suicide—by gunshot, poison gas, alcohol, and silence—had marked both sides of my family tree, and I knew that no equations or scholarships could keep it from blossoming in my imagination as well. Stuck in my cul-de-sac, I needed something open-ended. So, I started writing.
It didn’t fix me. I was bad at it, but I also learned how to honor imperfection. My first poems were collections of teen angst clichés – hearts, oceans, and all – but poetry taught me resilience. I started college as a biological engineering major, and by the middle of the first semester I switched to English and Spanish. The more I studied, the less things made sense. Once, I wrote an entire paper about how I didn’t understand Ezra Pound, and that was okay.
Junior year, I decided to seek professional treatment for my eating disorder and writing became a tool to free lies that had lain silent at the bottom of me for years. I still struggled, still panicked watching my years’ worth of rules and self-control dissolve as I learned to cry open-ended instead of running in circles to numb out. But I learned to love open-ended too. To give myself to others in a way that didn’t fit neatly into an equation; no matter the numbers, there was always some remainder left. And the better I learned to care for my body, the stronger my voice became. Eventually, I heard about something called an MFA and decided to apply to graduate programs in creative writing (my undergraduate university didn’t offer a CW program).
Graduate school has pushed me to rethink much of what I thought I knew about learning. It’s introduced me to writers whose work has entirely shifted my relationship to language. Poetry workshops have shattered my ideas about reading and writing and how a classroom can function. Moving from a rather insular community in Arkansas to a new city stretched my sense of self in unexpected directions, and here I’ve found a group of writers and friends who continually teach me what it means to be fully human. I’ve met mentors who honor my voice but also call me on my bullshit and push me to put my truth rather than just my intellect on the page. And I never would have guessed how hard that would be.
So, I wasn’t born with a pen in my hand and a song in my heart. Sorry if that’s what you were expecting. Hell, I didn’t even sing along with the radio as a kid. But I do now. Writing taught me how to break patterns that would have tethered me to a legacy of silence and slow destruction. Slowly, I’ve built a voice that’s no longer paper-thin, and it’s taken me far away from that old cul-de-sac, though I’ve still got farther to go.
Emily Bradley is a second year MFA candidate at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she teaches and serves as the assistant poetry editor of Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts. She loves poetry, falling asleep on the couch, and the color yellow.
I never dreamed of being a writer, yet here I am: writing. Growing up, I daydreamed while taking bus rides home from school about having superpowers. I played outside on historic military weaponry like military brats living on base typically did back then. I also played inside, but only with my younger sister, who’s five years my junior—she was the only one who understood the importance of maintaining societal standards that reflected High School Musical.
I especially loved to pretend I was going to become a mega-rockstar. Maybe I still have time to fulfill that dream despite my complete lack of musical talent.
Until the day comes when I absorb superpowers or musical prowess, I enjoy writing: I want to write no matter if I attain any of these seemingly unrealistic qualities.
In my own right, I feel like a rockstar. My experience as a writer in middle school and high school was nonexistent outside of papers for class. I didn’t think much about those papers. I thought more about the books I read in school and in my free time.
Each English class I took throughout my years in high school typically ended up being my favorite class. I annotated, took notes, and participated in class—giving my take on how I thought Romeo and Juliet were more desperate than star-crossed and how drawing comparisons between characters like Heathcliff and Edward Cullen weren’t as applicable as my peers believed.
I had no idea where I wanted to go for my higher education experience. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do or become. My dad, my forever peer-reviewer, pointed out I was always reading and writing. Sure, I wrote rough drafts of story ideas on my laptop: I even dreamed about publishing a novel, one that could surpass the likes of John Green, whom I later discovered would be the center of some UTK Creative Writing Club jokes (Apologies Mr. Green, we mean well and admire your success).
I only applied for two schools and only for their writing programs. I got into both, but I picked the University of Tennessee. It wasn’t the bright orange beckoning me or because my dad graduated from the university in 1989 that I chose to come here. I came to discover myself.
If someone from today’s present went back to tell college freshman me that I would become motivated to join a lot of organizations thanks to the empowering music by seven men from South Korea, I would have no idea what to think.
Today, I still write more for class than anything else, but I love writing more than ever. As an English Major with a double concentration in rhetoric and creative writing, I’m learning about various forms of writing, challenging myself to write within multiple disciplines.
Since freshman year, I’ve been a member of UTK’s Creative Writing Club. Without my friends, I wouldn’t have the bravery to share my work. In the following year, I joined Honey Magazine in its first semester. Now I’m the Editor-in-Chief and hope to finalize our first publication by the end of the 2020 spring semester.
During the same year, I became a member of Sigma Tau Delta and ran for the Executive Board. In the year I’ve been a member, I will get the opportunity to present my rhetorical research on K-Pop group BTS and their fandom BTS ARMY at an international conference that focuses on literature. It’s crazy and a wild dream come true.
Another dream come true is getting to intern for Sundress. I might’ve never grown up dreaming of becoming a writer, but learning how to become a writing rockstar sounds amazing to me.
Emma Hudson is currently a third year student at the University of Tennessee working on her double concentration BA in English: Rhetoric and Creative Writing, along with a minor in retail consumer science. She’s a busy bee; she is the Editor-in-Chief of the up-and-coming Honey Magazine. Emma is also a long-time member and leader in UTK’s Creative Writing Club and on the Executive Board for UTK’s Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Epsilon chapter. In her free time, she figures out how to include K-Pop group BTS into her research projects and watches “reality” tv shows.
Sundress Publications announces the twelfth 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.
He tells Brynn and Stephanie about his many names, how his love of retro comic books and hip hop lead him to poetry, and the audacity and vulnerability of slam.
Listen to hear two original spoken word poems as well as one of Black Atticus’ songs! Find him performing in and around Knoxville, TN with a show that rocks, raps, flows, & vibrates with every principal of Hip Hop culture: peace, fun, love, and unity.
Black Atticus hails from Knoxville, TN with a show that rocks, raps, flows, & vibrates with every principal of Hip Hop culture: peace, fun, love, and unity. His songs and lyrics are geared to heal and connect, and his poetry provides thoughtful insight and inspiration for all who listen.
The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present a First Friday Variety Show on Friday, February 7, 2020 from 7-9PM at The Casual Pint, Downtown. This free event, hosted by JoAnna Brooker, will feature musicians Redd Daugherty and Ryan Dunaway, poets Brynn Martin and Summer Awad, and comedians Ana Tantaris, Clinton Ricks, and Emaleigh Kierstin.
There will be raffle drawings to win a six-pack provided by the Pint, koozies, and Sundress Publications titles, and there will be a donation jar by the bar in support of Sundress. A portion of the sales of Miller Lite drafts during the event will be donated to Sundress Academy for the Arts.
The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is a writer’s residency that hosts workshops, retreats, and residencies for writers in all genres including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, journalism, academic writing, playwriting, and more. All are guided by experienced instructors from a variety of creative disciplines who are dedicated to cultivating the literary arts in East Tennessee.