Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Peyton Vance


I’ve been a writer, in a sense, for as long as I can remember. Even before I knew how to spell my name I was conjuring up stories about spaceships and adventurers, making my own toys and building worlds around them.

Countless trees have fallen victim to my adolescent phases, such as drawing comic book spoofs of TV episodes. Dozens of mismatched comics I believed were worth millions, now sit in a folder in my closet, where they’ve been seen by 3 people, myself included.

When I was older, I started writing novels. Well, not exactly novels. More like the first two pages of the first chapter of the first part of a single novel. I would do this about a dozen times before I realized I was not good at writing.

Once I was in high school, I started taking creative writing classes. I received runner up for a stage play called “Olympus Family Therapy”. My mom helped me write it. She was an AP English teacher, so she got runner up for a stage play called “Olympus Family Therapy”. And I was still not good at writing.

Shockingly, my parents did not cry when I told them I’d be an English major, concentration; creative writing. And that’s where I was thrown in the deep end. My writing muscles went into maximum overdrive, and I wrote stage plays, screenplays, short stories, fiction, nonfiction, and even a web horror comic.

I have worked with UT’s literary arts magazine, The Phoenix, for over a year. I am the current prose editor. I’m also a creative intern for UnwarranTed, UT’s comedy sketch group. This year alone I have published 5 different pieces. I hope to publish and write more.

When people ask me what I want to be when I graduate, I tell them I am going to be a professional homeless person. I then explain it’s because I want to go into production, write screenplays or draw storyboards, and eventually pitch my own cartoon.

I’m still trying to be a better writer, and working with Sundress will not only help me learn, but it’ll be a crap ton of fun.

Sundress Announces the Release of Gender Flytrap

SD

FlytrapSundress Publications announces the release of Zoë Estelle Hitzel’s collection, Gender Flytrap. In this debut collection, Hitzel ambitiously portrays transgender experiences and confronts the systems and culture that initiate violence against the gendered body.

To see and be seen begets presumption and therefore is an act of violence, a violence that dictates how a person should look, act, and even perceive the world around them. Gender Flytrap delves into the multifaceted nature of prejudice from gendered stereotypes to a broken healthcare system to the realization that everything—including transness—is filtered through a cisnormative lens. Hitzel’s debut collection is an authentic portrayal of the constant hurt that a trans experience entails in a toxic, hegemonic culture where trauma is inherent to the trans existence.

After reading this collection, Nicole Walker, author of The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet, and Sustainability: A Love Story states, “I’ve never understood better than I do now or with such elegance and grace, that our bodies, and our words, are not for the taking.”

ZoeZoë Estelle Hitzel earned her MA in Creative Writing/Poetry at Northern Arizona University and her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Oregon State University. She is the 2019 Ofstad Writer in Residence at Truman State University. Her work has appeared in Blue Lyra Review, entropy, pacific REVIEW, and elsewhere.

Hitzel blogs about her transgender experience at znoted.wordpress.com. A citizen of the wind, she scores standardized tests remotely from Missouri, writes and edits freelance, and drums in the blues band, Deadwood.

Order your copy today!

Sundress Announces the Release of Space Baby: Episodes I-III

Sundress Publications announces the release of Nicole Oquendo’s chapbook, Space Baby: Episodes I-III.

Drifting through extraterrestrial worlds, poet Nicole Oquendo explores the raw power of deep, yet unsustainable love. Oquendo balances tension and passion, delving into the visceral nature of desire while depicting its inherent toxicity. In these futuristic poems is a passionate but destructive alien affair, wherein love engenders chaos. The cohesion of these lovers is intimate but dangerous, and an embrace can ascend to asphyxiation.

As the two beings grow closer they are ensnared, each simultaneously metamorphosing into captor and prisoner, paramour and adversary. In these pages, vivisection is an act of intimacy, and loving someone is akin to willingly tipping one’s face to a sky that rains glass. This chapbook examines longing for someone while wishing to escape them. While these poems demonstrate that the heat of passion can transform sand from grit to crystal, they also question whether such a thing is worth the sacrifice. It seems that to love something is to kill it. To love something is to burn.

After reading this chapbook, Amy Watkins, author of Milk and Water, said, Space Baby: Episodes I-III is violent and kinky and weirdly redemptive. Like all of Oquendo’s writing, it is clear and lyrical and just tender enough to disrupt expectations. You would be wise to savor these poems, but you may not be able to resist reading them all in one breathless go as I did.”

Screen Shot 2019-08-13 at 10.50.44 PM

Nicole Oquendo is especially interested in nontraditional, multimodal compositions and translations in all genres. Their work can be found in numerous literary journals, as well as in the chapbooks some prophetsself is wolfwringing gendered we, and Space Baby, and in the hybrid memoir Telomeres. They have also curated the Sundress Publications anthology Manticore: Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities. Nicole has also been serving the community since 2000, giving time as an editor to several literary journals and presses, and has been working as a writing educator since 2008.

Download your copy for free here.

Shitty First Drafts Episode 4, Featuring Lance Dyzak, is Live!

Picture1Sundress Publications announces the fourth episode of the podcast, Shitty First Drafts. A podcast made for and by writers, the show playfully investigates the creative processes of different artists to determine how a finished draft gets its polish.

Lance Dyzak joins Brynn Martin and Stephanie Phillips to discuss his short story “Extra Innings,” based on a bizarre event he witnessed at a park while walking his dog, and the various forms it went through before reaching its completion.

lance-dyzak-headshot.jpgIn the end, though the event helped Dyzak write a good story, he took it out and cautions writers against “injecting weirdness for the sake of weirdness” they are afraid to write something that feels like it’s been done before. He says, “A lot of writers are afraid of writing a boring story [but] it’s all in the details.”

In this episode, we also discuss the enneagram test (he’s a 5w4), baseball puns, killing your darlings (or filing them away for another time), and the world of online forums.

Lance Dyzak is a Ph.D. student in fiction at the University of Tennessee, where he is writing his first novel. His work has previously appeared in Southwest Review, Southern Indiana ReviewNew Limestone Review, and Per Contra. He is also the co-director of the Only-Tenn-I-See Reading Series, set to kick off in September.

 

Episode 3 of the Podcast “Shitty First Drafts” is Here!

sundress logo

Sundress Announces the Third Episode of the New Podcast, Shitty First Drafts

Picture1Sundress Publications announces the third episode of a new podcast, Shitty First Drafts. A podcast made for and by writers, the show playfully investigates the creative processes of different artists to determine how a finished draft gets its polish.

In Episode 3, Alyssa Molina joins Stephanie Phillips and Brynn Martin to chat about her winding road to writing: from secret notebooks as a child, to discovering poetry on Tumblr, to writing fan fiction, to performing with Knoxville’s spoken word poetry collective, The 5th Woman, at Bonnaroo. Still in her undergrad at the University of Tennessee, Alyssa is a force both in the classroom and on the stage. After being empowered by other women of color, Alyssa started her career as a spoken word poet, saying, “I realized that the person I had most wanted to see on stage as a little girl was me.” The two pieces she shares on the podcast focus on the women in her family and her relationship with them. Though the poems were written almost 6 years apart—the first while she was still finding her voice in high school and the second for an assignment in a college poetry class—Alyssa discusses the ways that both navigate concerns of womanhood, family, culture, and voice.

Picture2Alyssa Molina is a Knoxville-based poet in her undergrad at the University of Tennessee studying creative writing. Alyssa was born and raised in Miami, “Little Havana,” FL, as her Cuban family says. Being first-generation American, she is profoundly inspired by the tenacity of her family’s immigration story, their will to survive, and her Hispanic culture. She was a traveling poet with The Fifth Woman in 2017–2018, performed at Bonnaroo, hosted three poetry workshops with Marilyn Kallet, Seed Lynn, and Knoxville poet and mentor Daje Morris. Alyssa defines happiness as bare feet, a cigar, and salsa dancing.

 

 

 


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: www.sundresspublications.com             Facebook: sundresspublications
Email: erin@sundresspublications.com                 Twitter: @SundressPub

Sundress Releases Chickenhawks and Goldilocks by Grey Vild

Sundress Releases Chickenhawks & Goldilocks by Grey Vild

Sundress Publications announces the release of Grey Vilds new chapbook, Chickenhawks & Goldilocks. Vilds chapbook looks at the trans suicide epidemic. Vild explodes the topic with loss, rage, reverberating anguish, and fusions of love.

The honesty of Chickenhawks & Goldilocks washes in like a wild tide on griefs jagged shoreline, embracing the confusion and complexity that accompanies losing a loved one to suicide. Instead of a one-note lament, this chapbook recognizes confusion and examines how that confusion can make a person and a relationship seem improved through absence. Chickenhawks & Goldilocks reveals how a love can fill in our cracks and seams and make us feel whole. By juxtaposing poems that acknowledge this feeling with poems that delve into flawed relationships and the abandonment the speaker cannot help but feel, Vild portrays a more complete grief. Thoughts and feelings are intertwined, wrapped in each other such that they cannot be separated. Betrayal, love, rage, anguish, and guilt all bleed toward each other, trapped in the cage of our chests.

Chickenhawks & Goldilocks adroitly renders the liminal experience of grief, with notes of tender specificity dovetailing expressive and purposeful abstraction, each poem a shout against the silence absence carves into our lives. But make no mistake, Grey Vild doesnt wallow in these poems, nor allow us to do so; here we, poet and reader, overcome the loss that would have us lose ourselvesa loss all too present for those in and aside the Trans communityand find resolve to carry forward in the beautiful project of living, to make the choice every day while still honoring those who felt they couldnt, hiding nothing about how difficult, at times, the living is and will be.” —Cortney Lamar Charleston                                 
screenshot 2019-01-05 at 4.13.25 pm

Grey Vild is a goddamned transsexual. A recent graduate of the MFA at Rutgers-Newark, his work can be found at Them, Vetch, EOAGH, Harriet: The Blog and elsewhere.

The chapbook is available here.

###

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: www.sundresspublications.com    Facebook: sundresspublications

Email: erin@sundresspublications.com        Twitter: @SundressPub

Sundress Releases Marvels by MR Sheffield

Sundress Releases Marvels by MR Sheffield

Marvels by MR Sheffield

Sundress Publications announces the pre-release of MR Sheffield’s new collection, Marvels. An “irreducible kind of book that pivots on every page, refuses to be pinned down” says Julie Marie Wade, author of Catechism: A Love Story and SIX, cautioning that “this book will wild you, Reader, gently.”

MR Sheffield’s Marvels is a séance; a chant of snake bites, wrens, and spiders, nesting and untangling; the instinct of a mother disoriented by her grief; a daughter finding her way in sex and obsession; a family broken and searching for something to pull it back together. Sheffield utilizes H.D. Northrop’s found poems, which describe various creatures, to reveal the wild, instinctive nature of human emotion by repurposing Northrop’s descriptions and applying them to a family. Sheffield couples the poems with manipulated original images from Northrop’s text to drive the skepticism of the poems. Multiplied spiders in the wrong color, transposed boa constrictors, and streaked antelope eyes are juxtaposed with poems about familial grief and resentment, alerting the reader to her instincts. This is the collection that steps back and reveals that instead of visiting an exhibit, admiring the lifelike animals from the soft fur to the magnetizing eyes, we are the exhibit, propped up and trapped behind the glass.

“When the narrator of MR Sheffield’s collection imagines “making a nest of you,” we are invited to make a nest back. Each word and image in this text builds a found and invented structure, layer by layer, for us to writhe around inside of. This multimodal work aims to enthrall us with a nontraditional, visual magic, both human and animal.”

— Nicole Oquendo, author of Telomeres and some prophets

“‘…there is no grief like this and no name for it,’ Sheffield’s speaker confesses in ‘the boa-constrictor,’ which, like all poems inside Marvels, uncoils to reveal monstrous truths about love and loss in a wilderness haunted by the familial. I have yet to find my way out of Sheffield’s collection, months after entering—I don’t believe I’ll ever want to. Between admiring the partnering images and found language from H.D. Northrop’s book of the same name, this collection asks readers—no, dares them—to put their face close to its glass and tap.”

— James A.H. White

MR Sheffield’s work has been published in Black Warrior Review, Hayden’s FerryReview, The Florida Review, and other publications. This is her first book.

Pre-order at https://squareup.com/market/sundress-publications

Letitia Trent’s Match Cut Now Available for Preorder

SundressLogo

 

Sundress Publications is pleased to announce that Letitia Trent’s full-length  poetry collection, Match Cut, is now available for pre-order at the Sundress store.

match cut.tifIn Letitia Trent’s latest collection, her poems weave wraithlike through the breaths between cuts, lingering in spaces often left offscreen. The work approaches deified films from the perspective of women, framing lost and forgotten voices against the overpowering mythos of the auteur. Match Cut cherishes its cinematic muses as much it critiques them. It doesn’t burn down; it creates space for women and femmes to respond to scenes and characters created by men.

Trent’s collection emphasizes the limitations of the male gaze and the way women are often reduced to tropes. In “Blue Velvet” Trent says, “with every pan, / every match cut / that when it comes to women, // there are really only two—” The narrators living in these pages don’t wait for their directors to call on them. They shape their own stories, fleshing out tales we love with the woman and femme voices they’ve always been missing. Trent’s verses often dwell in dark places, but their existence is an act of deliverance.

Kolleen Carney Hoepfner, the author of Your Hand Has Fixed the Firmament, says about Match Cut:

“Somewhere between the magic surrealism of a cinematic experience and the transcendence of poetry lies Match Cut. Trent weaves narration through these reflections of films with a master’s precision, enticing the reader along with a bit of edge, the way Freddy Krueger pulls you through a dream. A fantastic collection for poetry readers, cinephiles, and pop culture enthusiasts alike.”

And, from Kristy Bowen:

“Letitia Trent’s Match Cut flickers like a reel of film, where scenes remix and reappear, cold and silver as the screen.  Where American and bodily anxieties sizzle and crackle with each frame, forging an electric tension between audience and character, the watcher and the watched.”

Other advance readers include Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick, who says:

“In Match Cut by Letitia Trent, the reader is warned by the speaker in the beginning: ‘don’t go to that carnival, / I can see what’s coming.’ But we should go, anyway, in terror and in awe, as the poems in this collection beautifully ‘utter lace, / sunsets, girls, and sickness’ and marry images such as ‘lizards / crawling into … bridal dresses.’ Much like the ‘several varieties of snakes and lizards’ found in these poems, the reader is reminded how, inside all of us, exists the reptilian brain where even ‘breathing is erotic. Dying is erotic.’ This collection is ‘the knife that shuts / your eyes and opens / the floors [we’re] bound to.’ Match Cut intelligently and boldly explores the horror film genre in startling new ways that teach us how ‘we are all red from the same accident’ with an evocative exploration into why we should take the time to appreciate ways in which the genre invites us to overcome our anxieties and, for a moment, ‘become [our] body /without apology…[and with] no language of sorry.’”

letitia trentLetitia Trent’s work includes the novels Echo Lake and Almost Dark and the poetry collection One Perfect Bird.  Her work has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, 32 Poems, and Waxwing, among others. Letitia works in the mental health field in a small town in the Ozarks with her husband, son, and three black cats.

 

Order your copy today in our store.

 

Charlie Bondhus’ Divining Bones Now Available!

sundresspub

Charlie Bondhus’ Divining Bones Now Available!

Divining Bones

Sundress Publications is pleased to announce the publication of Charlie Bondhus’ new book, Divining Bones.

Boys become crones; baked bread becomes a baby; electricity turns out to be Jesus; a first grade class stages Oedipus Rex. At the center of it all stands Baba Yaga, the child-eating forest witch and earth goddess of Russian folklore. Under her tutelage, Charlie Bondhus uses the occult and the magical to explore the fluidity of age, gender, and self-perception in this radical and playful book.

CAConrad, author of While Standing in Line for Death, had this to say about Bondhus’ book:

“Where divination meets poetry in extraordinary fashion!  After awhile you can look to this book for answers, opening and closing it nine times with a question in mind, the poet Charlie Bondhus leading the way.  Magic spells and paranormal experiences abound among beautifully written lines by a poet we will all want to share and know.  I love this book!”

Charlie Bondhus

Charlie Bondhus is the author of All the Heat We Could Carry, winner of the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Missouri Review, Columbia Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Nimrod, and Copper Nickel. He has received fellowships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Sundress Academy for the Arts, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers. He is associate professor of English at Raritan Valley Community College (NJ).

Order your copy today: https://squareup.com/store/sundress-publications/item/divining-bones-by-charlie-bondus

Passing Through Humansville Now Available for Pre-order!

Sundress Logo

Karen Craigo’s Passing Through Humansville
Now Available for Pre-Order

Sundress Publications is excited to announce Karen Craigo’s new full-length poetry collection Passing Through Humansville is available for pre-order.

Tania Runyan, author of What Will Soon Take Place, had this to say about Craigo’s book:

Humansville

“I’ve been reading Passing Through Humansville during a time of despair, and they are among the few written words that have comforted me. Emboldened me. Spoken. These poems explore marriage and family, nature and politics, and faith and doubt from a wellspring of compassionate wisdom and grace—a still, small (but not timid) voice of a life lived and loved with intention. ‘There are so many / ways to move across Earth’s face and I / would just as gladly move or sit with you,’ Craigo writes. I feel the same way about this book. It’s a companion whose side I won’t leave for long.”

Karen Craigo is the author of two Sundress titles, No More Milk (2016), and Passing Through Humansville (2018). She is also the author of Escaped Housewife Tries Hard to Blend In (forthcoming from Tolson Books, 2018), and three chapbooks. She is the editor of a weekly newspaper, The Marshfield (Missouri) Mail, and she maintains Better View of the Moon, a blog on writing and creativity. She lives in Springfield, Missouri.

Pre-order your copy here! And now through August 15th, your pre-order also allows you to submit a manuscript to our open reading period for free!