Sundress Announces the Release of Athena Nassar’s Little Houses

The cover of a book with the illustration of a girl of Egyptian descent with a gray head scarf and dark red lipstick against a black background. The girl's neck transitions into a brick wall which forms part of a house, and there are various pieces of different houses and buildings where her shoulders would be. The title, "Little Houses" is written in tan letters, and the authors name, "Athena Nassar" is written in light gray letters below the tile.

Sundress Publications announces the release of Athena Nassar’s Little Houses. Nassar’s poetry is bold, and walks readers down a harrowing, heartfelt, passionate road.

“a part of you wants to stay wedged / in the throat of what will kill you.”

Athena Nassar’s piercing debut full-length collection, Little Houses, unravels one American family’s conflicted Southern existence. Nassar’s speaker first surfaces from an alligator’s mouth to beckon readers through a series of revolving doors. Behind one door, she reckons with a complex history of colonization; behind another, Princess Peach mourns her own hard-coded impotence. In this way, Nassar does not shy from exploring all sides of her speaker’s sexuality, heritage, and familial connections. To occupy her Little Houses is to find freedom in contradiction.

Kevin Prufer, author of The Art of Fiction writes, “In Little Houses, Athena Nassar meditates with unusual clarity on the complexities of race and displacement, the pervasiveness of violence, and the vagaries of love and sex. In poems at once deeply personal and vast in scope, the weight of history and memory hangs heavy—imperial, ancient, familial, and personal. This is a marvelous debut collection by a poet deeply attuned to the possibilities of language and introspection.”

Order your copy of Little Houses on the Sundress website.

A woman with a medium-dark skin with long dark hair, wearing a black long-sleeve shirt and black pants seated in a black chair, one arm is resting on the back of the chair and the other is draped into her lap, in a gray room with a grayish wood floor.

Athena Nassar, author of Little Houses (Sundress Publications, 2023), is an Egyptian-American poet, essayist, and short story writer from Atlanta, Georgia. A finalist for the 2021 Poets Out Loud Prize, she is the winner of the 2021 Academy of American Poets College Prize, and the 2019 Scholastic National Gold Medal Portfolio Award among other honors. Her work has appeared in Southern Humanities Review, The Missouri Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Salt Hill, Lake Effect, The McNeese Review, New Orleans Review, Zone 3, The Los Angeles Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, PANK, and elsewhere. She attends Emerson College, where she is the Poetry Editor of The Emerson Review.

Sundress Publications Open for Microgrant Applications for Black and/or Indigenous Writers

Call for Submissions for Light Bill Incubator Grant

Sundress Publications is now open to submissions for grant applications from Black and/or Indigenous identifying writers with a chapbook in progress. All eligible authors are welcome to submit during our application period from August 1st to October 31st, 2022.

The Light Bill Incubator Microgrant will award $500, a slot in Sundress’s reading series, a residency at the Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville, TN, and the potential for digital publication. This award will go to one Black and/or Indigenous writer with a chapbook in progress, to support the completion of said project

All applications will be read by members of our editorial board. One writer will be selected, who will then work with Sundress’s reading series coordinator, residency team and editorial board. 

Applicants may apply with any genre; however, the proposed project must be chapbook-length, meaning the planned final version should be no more than 48 pages. 

To apply, please send a sample of the chapbook in progress along with a brief (no more than 500 words) artist/personal statement. These items should be sent to our editorial board as DOCX or PDF files at Please include the phrase “Light Bill Incubator Microgrant Application” in the subject line. There is no fee to apply.

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.