Sundress Announces the Release of Jason B. Crawford’s Year of the Unicorn Kidz

Sundress Publications is pleased to announce the release of Jason B. Crawford’s Year of the Unicorn Kidz. Crawford’s poetry delicately details the thrills and dangers of self-discovery on the margins of reality.

Jason B. Crawford’s Year of the Unicorn Kidz beautifully explores existence on the intersections of gender, race, and sexuality. Their profound navigation of identity, violence, and desire transcends boundaries and binaries. Vulnerability takes the centre stage as the speaker of these descriptive and passionate poems unburies old relationships and haunting memories. Year of the Unicorn Kidz reads like a coming-of-age story for marginalized youth in America, sketching the body in terms of disconnection, loss, and the explosive nature of desire. From burning rage to healing friendships to the thrill of forbidden encounters and the regrets that follow them, Crawford revisits the reckless elements of youth that capture the inner and outer conflicts of self-discovery. They bring incredible depth to their poetry with urgent and vivid storytelling that delicately reveals the complexity of reality, while also leaving room for readers to reflect on their own.

torrin a. greathouse, author of Wound from the Mouth of a Wound, and boy/girl/ghost says, “In Year of the Unicorn Kidz, ode and elegy coexist by necessity. Crawford crafts for us a poetic landscape sat at the intersection of violence and desire, drenched in neon and horror movie fog. Even in this book’s happiest poems, risk is always in the periphery, whether they are writing about beloved friends, cruising, or childhood memories. Undergirding the entire collection is Crawford’s particular talent for writing through violence with stunning tenderness, rendering knives and teeth blunt even as they speak them sharp into a poem.”

Pre-order your copy of Year of the Unicorn Kidz on the Sundress website: https://sundress-publications.square.site/

Jason B. Crawford (they/them) is a Black, nonbinary, queer writer. Crawford is the author of three chapbooks: Summertime Fine (Variant Literaure, 2021), Twerkable Moments (Paper Nautilus, 2021), and Good Boi (Neon Hemlock, 2021). Crawford is a current poetry MFA candidate at The New School in New York, NY.

Sundress Reads: Review of The Body He Left Behind

Are there nuanced steps—complicated travels—between the shapes of vulnerability and viciousness, prey and predator? How do we, as humans, form these shapes when we face loss? These are only a few questions that arise from Reese Conner’s debut poetry collection, The Body He Left Behind (Cider Press Review, 2021). An homage to Conner’s father and his cat Lewis, The Body He Left Behind provides a unique space where animalistic movements initiate a poetic voice that calls attention to the way grief, love, or violence can shape us just as tangibly as our own bones.

The Body He Left Behind pulls from a kaleidoscope of observances about human and animal nature that weave together so interchangeably throughout the collection’s five parts that they seem causal and interdependent. In repeating images of toothpicks, rubber bands, spillages, and balsa wood, Conner constructs human and animal bodies according to a material vulnerability, thus exposing the way that humankind stands to bind both themselves, and the nature surrounding them, to a physical compartmentalization and self-imagined organization. “The Rapture”, for instance, illustrates a vomiting ocean as analogy to our view of an exposed human materialism: “a gentle murmur / spread in the bellies of the observant, / who saw even the ugly things begin to ascend—blobfish, Smart Cars, murder weapons, every issue of Us Weekly—and they began to think: / What about us?” In “The Necessary”, Conner points to the losses that occur at the intersection between nature and humanity’s material constructions: “if roads, cars, and quick commutes / mean one, two, one thousand dead cats, then / the choice is still clear: It would be far too expensive, / not to mention logistically irresponsible, / to make cat-retardant roads, so, of course, / a run-over tabby or two is necessary / unpleasantness.” By so clearly pointing to the downfall of human efficiency, Conner makes congruencies between human and animal survival—both of which, at times, reach towards the same beauty—the same menace.

Throughout The Body He Left Behind, the tricky intersection between nature, nurture, and survival becomes the similarity between humans and animals. The need for humans to build their world, to frame the bodies of other people, holds the same mindset as a cat with a dying chipmunk, urging its prey “[t]o move differently, / willing her back to the life he took / so that his purchase / might be made again”. Similarly, the way emotions are sharpened, changed, and buried within a person’s mind holds the same survivalist instincts as a cat licking the cyst on his forepaw: “It is the logic he knows, but it will not work. He’ll lick. It will blue… He’ll lick. It will burst”. The speaker of this collection not only acknowledges these similarities, but takes ownership in the connection, confessing, “I am the reason / the cat, domestic and heavy / with wet food, still kills the cockroach—tears it limb by limb by limb, by limb… Forgive him, he is a violent shape.” In weaving between these images, Conner grants all the room necessary to air the true dichotomy of violent shapes in our world, creating ruminations that ask whether, “desire, even with menace / has meaning”, “how many monsters suffocate / the things they love, and how many / call it kindness,” or if “Frost was right about gold, / about every type of happiness ending / in a quiet violence.”

The dichotomies in The Body He Left Behind not only lead to a forgiving tone throughout the collection, they contribute to a dynamic contemplation about the self and its relationship to loss. As the speaker ruminates on the death of their father and the passing of their cat Lewis, they also question how one reacts to an encounter with impermanence, and how there could ever be a right way to do so. This is particularly prominent in the poem “Thank You,” when the speaker notes that their father: “received the bag / full of Lewis, / who, / like all dead cats / that are carried, / became broken rubber bands / heavy as ball bearings, / and said thank you / as if it were a kindness / to yank a dog / from the cat it killed, (13-21).

Speaking to another loss in the title poem “The Body He Left Behind”, the speaker moves from the act of politely concealing emotion in “Thank You” to describing the adamant desire to let go of a loved one’s image: “It’s time to let go / of the body he left behind, / the one that’s lodged / in your eye like a floater…Yes, it’s time to let go / of the body he left behind. / It’s lodged / in your throat—you mistake it for breath.” It is the struggle to both intimately feel and pull beyond the absence of a loss, the stress in both knowing of an end and ignoring it, that Conner places as a centerpiece in his work. In recognizing the loss of their cat Lewis, for example, the speaker comes to the bittersweet understanding that, “My father told me the saddest stories / are not about broken things—no, the saddest stories are the happy ones / told in past tense because we know everything is broken and we have to see it untouched first, we have to do the breaking ourselves.” By so dynamically illustrating the feeling of recognizing a goodbye that is already in the room, Conner looks unflinchingly towards grief, while also allowing it to hold its own gentle, dismantling character—just as humans, just as animals. “I am lonely for my father,” the speaker says in “Bring Flowers to What You Love.” “I am lonely for my cat” they say in “Lost Cat”. These statements, if any, encompass The Body He Left Behind—they speak to the violent, beautiful impressions humans and animals trace into one another and the way naming that impression, claiming it, is powerful for the same reason naming a cat is: “because naming a cat / does not make him ours, / it makes him us.” Conner’s work shows us how we do that naming, over and over again. 

The Body He Left Behind is available at Cider Press Review


Hannah Olsson holds a double BA in Cinema and Creative Writing English from the University of Iowa. During her time in Iowa, Hannah was the president of The Translate Iowa Project and its publication boundless, a magazine devoted to publishing translated poetry, drama, and prose. Her work, both in English and Swedish, has been featured in boundless, earthwords magazine, InkLit Mag, and the University of Iowa’s Ten-Minute Play Festival, among others.

Sundress Reads: Review of Wanting Radiance

“I had to say goodbye to who I’d always been. I drove faster, rolled the window down and hung my head out and yelled it as loud as I could. ‘Miracelle Loving!’ I felt my name arc in the wind and slam back against the windshield, breaking into pieces as I drove on.”

Passages like this frame the way Miracelle Loving reaches out into the world in the novel Wanting Radiance by Karen Salyer McElmurray (South Limestone, 2020). Sinking deep into asphalt roads and long-forgotten, liminal spaces, Wanting Radiance presents the identities and secrets of its characters not as permanent fixtures, but as hollow spaces always wanting something more—a want that is tied to the past perhaps more than it rests in the future.

In introducing main character Miracelle, McElmurray constructs a woman with confidence in her own transience. A tarot reader’s daughter, Miracelle parks her life near weekly rented motels and neon-lighted bars, using a card deck to read off futures that suit the wishes of lonely women and hungry men.

Haunted by the mystery of her mother’s death in Dauncy, Kentucky, unaware of her own father’s name, displaced from her birthplace, and desperately trying to grasp the concept of love, Miracelle is a wanderer who finds permanence only in her ability to drift. However, when the voice of her deceased mother, Ruby Loving, suddenly wedges its way into Miracelle’s mind, it encourages Miracelle to find the past she has never known. Following news clippings from an odd wonders museum known as Willy’s Wonderama, Miracelle decides she cannot possibly know who she is meant to be—or who and how she is supposed to love—until she discovers everything her mother used to be.

Alongside the present, first-person perspective of Miracelle Loving, McElmurray intricately interweaves the histories of Miracelle’s mother Ruby, her father Russell Wallen, and Russell’s wife Della Branham through a third-person perspective. As the truth of Miracelle’s birth in the small town of Radiance comes to light, so too do different textures of wanting—deep, emotional desires for pre-envisioned futures—haunt each character Miracelle meets.

 While describing Miracelle’s migratory movements through “smaller and smaller towns” filled with “Fresh Eggs, Jesus, One Way or No Way” signs and gravel roads eaten by dirt, McElmurray showcases the wants of each character as synonymous to the folds of mountainside towns that have decomposed under capitalist pressure, or fleeted into the skittishness of rear-view mirrors. While Miracelle’s mother wants Russell’s love, a love she finds as “water draining between my fingers”, Russell transforms love into a thing that owns and excavates, until his form of want becomes a thing which “reached inside the mountains and pulled out their hearts.”

McElmurray transforms the ideas of want and love within the character of Della Wallen, who wants a marriage with Russell in the way she can fix a car with warm, slick oil between her fingers, a love that is “the making and doing and seeing it come alive, the work of their hands.” While their definitions of love and want clash inside a depleted mountainside, Russell, Della, and Ruby lend Miracelle Loving the challenging task of finding a name for herself, rather than one that she can weld together from her past.

While realizing the truth behind her mother’s death—and all the desires which lead up to it—Miracelle speaks throughout the novel of “would” and “could.” Many sentences transition into the conditional tense throughout the novel, speaking to the way Miracelle continually works to foretell her future in a way that aligns with the lines of her past—lines which seem to rigidly anchor her body to her family history and the contours of the earth she travels through. Many times, Miracelle revises the trajectory of her future when reading her palms, falling on statements like, “By autumn, I could be standing in a doorway at night watching lightning bugs with a person I had yet to meet” or “Russell Wallen took hold of my hands, and we swung each other round and round. It could have been,” or, “I’d like to say I found just the right potion made of lavender and thyme and mystery, one to make all the world right.” However, only after finding the past, only after listening to the last echoes of her mother’s voice—“you know what to do”— does Miracelle find a new history for her name Miracelle Loving—an acceptance not based on her past, but based on something Wanting Radiance finds at its end: a feeling of present, steady reconciliation that, while not entirely full, still leaves enough space to pull one’s soul into something present and new.

While Miracelle succeeds in discovering her family history, she also realizes that it is not this history which affects the way which she now pursues her own life— her own form of loving. She concludes herself, “Miracelle Loving. My whole history was in that name. Loving I’d never wanted, but searched for like it was the last thing I’d ever find. And here I was, back from searching for the Holy Grail of family and I’d filled in a blank or two or three inside myself, all right, but a hundred more seemed to follow.” In this statement, Miracelle recognizes a new form of journey, one only she can follow; she finds freedom in traversing bravely through blank spaces that have never been defined by her past—spaces available for Miracelle to sculpt herself. Wanting Radiance illustrates a love in Miracelle Loving that arises not from grappling for a specific future, or returning to an unclear past, but instead from simply letting her soul step outside all of the seamed lines (the lines of family history and roadmaps and skin) to become something she can look at deep inside, and define as her own.

Wanting Radiance is available at South Limestone, an imprint of The University Press of Kentucky


Hannah Olsson holds a double BA in Cinema and Creative Writing English from the University of Iowa. During her time in Iowa, Hannah was the president of The Translate Iowa Project and its publication boundless, a magazine devoted to publishing translated poetry, drama, and prose. Her work, both in English and Swedish, has been featured in boundless, earthwords magazine, InkLit Mag, and the University of Iowa’s Ten-Minute Play Festival, among others.

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: anaispeterson.weebly.com

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:

Finalists:

Secret Hallelujah Amen, Marcia LeBeau

Dela Torre, Dani Putney*

Semifinalists:

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

Adopt a Farm Animal and Support Sundress Academy of the Arts

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is writers residency on a 45-acre farm in Knoxville, Tennessee, that hosts workshops, retreats, and residencies for writers in all genres. All are guided by experienced, professional instructors from a variety of creative disciplines who are dedicated to cultivating the arts in Appalachia.

Photo courtesy of Andi Avery.

We are inviting sponsors to name animals at Firefly Farms to help fundraise to cover the cost of upkeep at the farm for 2021. Your tax-deductible donation includes naming rights for the life of the animal, a framed picture of the animal, recognition and support from SAFTA’s social media platforms. 

  • Name a Sheep: $100
  • Name a Duck: $35
  • Name a Chicken: $35
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Phillips.

A subsidiary of Sundress Publications, the Sundress Academy for the Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on literary education and practice.

Find out more at our store.

SAFTA & Friends Present: A First Friday Variety Show

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.

So come by and check it out on February 7, 2020 from 7-9PM at The Casual Pint, Downtown

Meet our New Intern: Mary B. Sellers

My sweet-tooth for stories and books is entirely my mother’s doing. From the beginning, she ingrained in me the importance of make-believe; the easy, seductive escapism that goes along with a good book. My childhood library was a vast, impressive thing, which my mother also had a hand in making. On my last visit home, I climbed the winding staircase with the odd bend in its middle up to my old bedroom, where I remembered seeing these childhood books last.

I found them neatly stacked—tall and glossy with the hardcover’s requisite fierce laminate shine—on the old twin-sized trundle bed, their pages stuck shut by time and that species-specific dust bunny native only to suburbia.

I tried to be gentle as I sifted through them, rereading some entirely like Audrey Wood’s King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, which I remember being one of my particular favorites as it was about a king who did just that—held court in his bathtub. Bubbles pop and soak marble floors while jesters make silly grimace-grins: I imagine it must have inspired from my then-toddler-self, a deep awe for the interdimensional aspects of the average-looking bathtub. Others, too, like Grandfather Twilight, about a kind old man who puts the moon in the sky after his evening walk each night; The Rainbabies, too—a classically structured folktale dealing in magic rain, the moon, and wishes coming true—depicted in careful sketching and pastel watercolors, soft and cool-toned.

The first time I “seriously” wrote anything was the summer my mother had her first manic episode (bipolar psychosis), and her first stint at the psych ward. It was the summer before eighth grade. It was also the last summer that my mother ever wrote anything seriously again. Specifically, I mean the book she’d started writing a few weeks after quitting her job as a speechwriter. I’d been beyond excited at the prospect of having a real-life author for a mother. I fantasized about this scenario, made sure to brag to my friends at school about it. My mother, the writer.

Because it was true, how it’d always been: my mother was the writer in the family; the reader, the dreamy girl who spent her teenage weekends with bent, seventies’ paperbacks. Looking back on photos of my mother as a teenager and young twenty-something, I see a pretty girl with olive skin and dark fly-away hair who seems to always be laughing with a book in hand. It’s the true sort of happiness that’s hard to fake. Bliss, joy, a silliness I’ve never seen on her. There’s light in those black eyes of hers, and the skin around her happy mouth is stretched tight and young with delight. I wish I’d known her then, could talk to that version of her now that I’m grown.

Originally from Jackson, MS, I now live and work in Seattle, WA, with my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who I (nerdily) christened Daisy Buchanan after the leading lady in The Great Gatsby. (I’ve always loved her ‘beautiful little fool’ quote towards the beginning of the novel.) I currently am a part time children’s creative writing instructor for Pacifica Writers’ Workshop, a Split Lip Press nonfiction reader, and a freelance writer. Side hustles include: web development, selling on Poshmark, dog sitting, and trying to write a novel.

I graduated with a BA in English Literature from the University of Mississippi in 2013 and an MFA in Creative Writing with a Fiction emphasis from Louisiana State University in 2018, where I served as graduate prose editorial assistant for The Southern Review, social media editor for New Delta Review, and cohost for the Underpass Readers & Writers series. In 2018, my graduate thesis—a hybrid novel, Rapunzel Has Insomnia—was a finalist for the University of New Orleans Publishing Laboratory Prize.

My fiction, essays, articles, and reviews appear in Psychopomp Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, Grimoire, Third Point Press, Sidereal Magazine, Crab Fat Magazine, Literary Orphans, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Dream Pop Press, The New Southern Fugitives, Click Magazine, Mississippi Magazine, Young Professionals of Seattle, and New Delta Review, among others.

For the past decade, I’ve attempted to keep at least one toe in the book publishing and literary worlds, which is why I have such eclectic work experiences: summer editorial assistantships for lifestyle magazines, an NYC-based literary agent, and a couple of online magazines, and Thacker Mountain Radio, a weekly radio show. Fresh out of college I even worked for Fat Possum Records, a record label located in my college town of Oxford, MS, while studying for the GRE and applying to 12 MFA programs. After being rejected from all 12 schools and subsequent identity crisis, I spent the next year working remotely as associate publisher for the small indie press Blooming Twig Books and freelance writing. They would later go on to be kind enough to publish my first collection of short stories, Shoulder Bones, in 2014.

During my time in graduate school, I had the opportunity to live and workshop my writing abroad for one month in Prague, thanks to the 2016 Prague Summer Writers Program. Also, in 2017, I participated in the Sewanee Summer Writers Residency. Recently, my short story “The Other Mother” was second runner up in Psychopomp Magazine’s 2019 Short Fiction Contest. My personal essay “Inheritance: A Timeline” was nominated for a 2019 Best of the Net award, and my short story “Alice and the Moon” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.


Mary B. Sellers lives and works in Seattle, WA, and is at work on her second book, a novel of autofiction. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Mississippi and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Louisiana State University. Most recently her writing has appeared in Psychopomp Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, Grimoire, Third Point Press, Sidereal Magazine, and Young Professionals of Seattle.

Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents “Finding an Appetite: Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Food Writing”

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is proud to present the next installment of their workshop series, “Finding an Appetite: Poetry Creative Nonfiction, and Food Writing.”  This workshop will be led by Katie Culligan and will be held in Room 252 in the Hodges Library from 6 to 7 pm on October 28th. This event is free and open to the public.

Mark Twain said, “Part of the secret of success is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” When we begin to consider this active role that food plays in our lives and bodies, we must think about the senses, the land we live on, our families, both nuclear and national, and the labor-system-latticework we all must somehow live in the cracks of. In this workshop, we will investigate together how these considerations, and how food writing in general, can enrich your personal essays and poetry. If you’ve ever grown a mint plant in your kitchen, or waited a table, or eaten a hot dog that your mother cut up to look like an octopus, then you have enough to write about for the foreseeable future. Writers we read together will include those who specialize in both journalism and lyric nonfiction. We will not be reading Mark Twain.

Katie Culligan is a nonfiction writer living in Knoxville, TN, where she is the Fall 2019 Writer in Residence at Sundress Academy for the Arts. She is the recipient of the 2019 Eleanora Burke Award for Nonfiction and the Margaret Artley Woodruff Award for Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee. Recent work appears in Geometry, Noble/ Gas Qtrly, Columbia Journal, American Chordata, and others. She can be reached at katieculliganwriting.com

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Tennessee Creative Writing Program and is free and open to the public.

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

Sundress Announces the Release of Gender Flytrap

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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!

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.