The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: a simple verb by JJ Rowan


This selection, chosen by guest curator Addie Tsai, is from a simple verb by JJ Rowan, released by Bloof Books in 2019. 

the simple verb is only as good as its distractions. the brain is good for a ride if you hold on. the brain takes a breath / memory evacuates. the pen is in an undisclosed location. the song pulls you firmly into the seat of a car. fuzz goes the voice of the future. fuzz goes the voice of the lovers. you are making a distinction here. you are holding the blank in your hand. you, the immediate soft crumble.

pressed between two safe bodies in an undisclosed location you watch understanding bloom. one hand to okay you. a reenactment of forever’s face and its sick trill.

you & i & the immediate instinct to blank.

somewhere nearby a series of people walk to a series of destina-tions. some seal a thought in plastic before dipping it deep into steaming water. an idea takes a breath.

a memory chokes on itself.

//

we were separated from ourselves, the women from their parts, no one was alarmed by any of this, no one tried to put the women back together, no one tried to get her, no woman was such, no word like it among the parts.

the word doubled: the sorrow doubled, too: left us a cloud. the cloud never dies.

//

the simple verb tends to remember.

//


JJ Rowan is a queer poet and dancer living in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, looking for the places where the written line and the lines of the moving body intersect. Their poems, hybrid work, and VisPo have appeared in Phoebe, the HungerDream Pop Journal, and others. Their collaborative sonnets with Nate Logan were recently published in where is the river and in the chapbook mcmxciv. from Shirt Pocket Press. Their most recent chapbook, a simple verb, is available from Bloof Books.

Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color. They collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. Addie holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear TwinUnwieldy Creatures, their adult queer biracial retelling of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in 2022. They are the Fiction Co-Editor at Anomaly, Staff Writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: a simple verb by JJ Rowan


This selection, chosen by guest curator Addie Tsai, is from a simple verb by JJ Rowan, released by Bloof Books in 2019. 

was a cloud once collected bodies in parts in living pieces: he hid the pieces mostly woman pieces in the earth the trash the homes of others the cold climates the shallow earth: too shallow: too many woman parts and some other parts too.

//

bolts made of wood or wood made of bolts: imagination how many times stronger than reality. nothing made of solid wood. wait for / lean on. some assemblage of tires. some spring to the night air. four bodies on a platform? five? the body keeps count. in the news humanity has been cleared from a wood. the community clenches its inhabitants or else floats them away. or else they float. or else.

parts or parted. the suggestion of form where form’s away.

a strange moment wrote a city into the space the city didn’t occupy. under feet of snow a city chuckles with suggestion. a window shatters, or half shatters, clung with plastic. a bat in a cardboard vehicle. hundreds of books on the floor. the shape of words on paper relative to snow.

//


JJ Rowan is a queer poet and dancer living in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, looking for the places where the written line and the lines of the moving body intersect. Their poems, hybrid work, and VisPo have appeared in Phoebe, the HungerDream Pop Journal, and others. Their collaborative sonnets with Nate Logan were recently published in where is the river and in the chapbook mcmxciv. from Shirt Pocket Press. Their most recent chapbook, a simple verb, is available from Bloof Books.

Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color. They collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. Addie holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear TwinUnwieldy Creatures, their adult queer biracial retelling of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in 2022. They are the Fiction Co-Editor at Anomaly, Staff Writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: a simple verb by JJ Rowan


This selection, chosen by guest curator Addie Tsai, is from a simple verb by JJ Rowan, released by Bloof Books in 2019. 

the cloud said come into my house. the house abandoned itself: the house where the cloud lived in the careful awful separation of parts where the cloud lived the cloud worked: the heaviest cloud is one with a storm in it. heaviness is moving in and out of houses. heavy steps. heavier noises.

was also this home: severed: the true separation. he hid the woman parts within his family. he salted his family to unslick them. in this way he made a home.

//

there are three simple tenses: present, past, and future.

//


JJ Rowan is a queer poet and dancer living in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, looking for the places where the written line and the lines of the moving body intersect. Their poems, hybrid work, and VisPo have appeared in Phoebe, the HungerDream Pop Journal, and others. Their collaborative sonnets with Nate Logan were recently published in where is the river and in the chapbook mcmxciv. from Shirt Pocket Press. Their most recent chapbook, a simple verb, is available from Bloof Books.

Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color. They collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. Addie holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear TwinUnwieldy Creatures, their adult queer biracial retelling of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in 2022. They are the Fiction Co-Editor at Anomaly, Staff Writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: A Net to Catch my Body in its Weaving by Katie Farris


This selection, chosen by Sundress intern Ryleigh Wann, is from A Net to Catch my Body in its Weaving by Katie Farris, released by Beloit Poetry Journal. 

Against Loss

I don’t remember this December on the precipice
of holiday: your hair poorly cut, the pile of calico fur between
my right shoulder and your left, purring.
                                    The year and the truck out back
both idling, idling and dying.

                                    This memory I do not have—
I would like to give it to you,
            a prophylactic against loss: just four arms and four
paws and eight legs. Just six lungs,
sending our breath to the air,
                                                            just
            the air.


Katie Farris’s work appears in American Poetry ReviewGrantaThe Nation, and Poetry, and has been commissioned by MoMA. She is the author of the chapbook A Net to Catch My Body in its Weaving, which won the 2020 Chad Walsh Poetry Award from Beloit Poetry Journal, and boysgirls, a hybrid-form book, as well as co-translator of many books of poetry. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Brown University. She is currently Associate Professor in Creative Writing at Georgia Institute of Technology. Standing in the Forest of Being Alive (Alice James Books, 2023) is her first book of poems.

Ryleigh Wann is an MFA poetry candidate at UNC Wilmington. Her past experiences include reading poetry for Ecotone, editing with Lookout Books, teaching creative writing, and working for the Parks and Recreation Department in Michigan. Her writing can be found in Rejection Letters, Flypaper Lit, and Kissing Dynamite Poetry, among others.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: A Net to Catch my Body in its Weaving by Katie Farris


This selection, chosen by Sundress intern Ryleigh Wann, is from A Net to Catch my Body in its Weaving by Katie Farris, released by Beloit Poetry Journal. 

Standing in the Forest of Being Alive

I stand in the forest of being alive:
in one hand, a cheap aluminum pot
of chicken stock and in the other,
a heavy book of titles. O once, walking through
a cemetery I became terribly lost and could not
speak (no one living knows the grammar).
No one could direct me to the grave,
so I looked at every name.
Madness hung out over the gravel paths,
swaying like laundry.

A heavy bird flapped its wings over someone’s
sepulcher. Some of us are still putzes
in death, catching birdshit on our headstones.
Some of us never find what we’re looking for, praying
it doesn’t pour before we find our names; certain
we’re headed in the right direction, a drizzle begins,
and what’s nameless inside our veins
fluoresces, fluoresces in the rain.


Katie Farris’s work appears in American Poetry ReviewGrantaThe Nation, and Poetry, and has been commissioned by MoMA. She is the author of the chapbook A Net to Catch My Body in its Weaving, which won the 2020 Chad Walsh Poetry Award from Beloit Poetry Journal, and boysgirls, a hybrid-form book, as well as co-translator of many books of poetry. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Brown University. She is currently Associate Professor in Creative Writing at Georgia Institute of Technology. Standing in the Forest of Being Alive (Alice James Books, 2023) is her first book of poems.

Ryleigh Wann is an MFA poetry candidate at UNC Wilmington. Her past experiences include reading poetry for Ecotone, editing with Lookout Books, teaching creative writing, and working for the Parks and Recreation Department in Michigan. Her writing can be found in Rejection Letters, Flypaper Lit, and Kissing Dynamite Poetry, among others.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: A Net to Catch my Body in its Weaving by Katie Farris


This selection, chosen by Sundress intern Ryleigh Wann, is from A Net to Catch my Body in its Weaving by Katie Farris, released by Beloit Poetry Journal. 

I Wake to Find You Wandering the Museum of My Body

Twenty-four Greek urns
Painted with wrestling boys
Comprise my spine.

My ribs, the bows of
Fourteen Viking archers,
Pinched from their graves—
Their fingers forever drawing.

Unusually well-preserved, my
Feet are the elaborate slippers of a
Beloved Chinese concubine, heavily
Embroidered with vein and shadow.

My bald head? A lofty sunlit dome
Lined with pietà after
Pietà, every mourning
Virgin great in grief and
Execution.

My organs are
The furniture galleries
Everyone skips, but for you,
Carpenter, standing
Guilt-fingered before
My heart’s armoire,
Stroking always toward the grain.


Katie Farris’s work appears in American Poetry ReviewGrantaThe Nation, and Poetry, and has been commissioned by MoMA. She is the author of the chapbook A Net to Catch My Body in its Weaving, which won the 2020 Chad Walsh Poetry Award from Beloit Poetry Journal, and boysgirls, a hybrid-form book, as well as co-translator of many books of poetry. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Brown University. She is currently Associate Professor in Creative Writing at Georgia Institute of Technology. Standing in the Forest of Being Alive (Alice James Books, 2023) is her first book of poems.

Ryleigh Wann is an MFA poetry candidate at UNC Wilmington. Her past experiences include reading poetry for Ecotone, editing with Lookout Books, teaching creative writing, and working for the Parks and Recreation Department in Michigan. Her writing can be found in Rejection Letters, Flypaper Lit, and Kissing Dynamite Poetry, among others.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: A Net to Catch my Body in its Weaving by Katie Farris


This selection, chosen by Sundress intern Ryleigh Wann, is from A Net to Catch my Body in its Weaving by Katie Farris, released by Beloit Poetry Journal. 

In the Event of my Death

What used to be
a rope descending
my vertebrae to the basement
of my spine
grew thin.

In solidarity with my first chemotherapy,
our cat leaves her whiskers on
the hardwood floor.
I gather them, each purewhite parenthesis,
and plant them
in the throat of the earth.

In quarantine,
I learned to trim your barbarian
hair. Now it stands always on end:
a salute to my superior barbery skills. In the event
of my death, promise you will find my heavy braid
and bury it—

I will need a rope
to let me down into the earth.
I’ve hidden others
strategically around the globe,
a net to catch
my body in its weaving.


Katie Farris’s work appears in American Poetry ReviewGrantaThe Nation, and Poetry, and has been commissioned by MoMA. She is the author of the chapbook A Net to Catch My Body in its Weaving, which won the 2020 Chad Walsh Poetry Award from Beloit Poetry Journal, and boysgirls, a hybrid-form book, as well as co-translator of many books of poetry. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Brown University. She is currently Associate Professor in Creative Writing at Georgia Institute of Technology. Standing in the Forest of Being Alive (Alice James Books, 2023) is her first book of poems.

Ryleigh Wann is an MFA poetry candidate at UNC Wilmington. Her past experiences include reading poetry for Ecotone, editing with Lookout Books, teaching creative writing, and working for the Parks and Recreation Department in Michigan. Her writing can be found in Rejection Letters, Flypaper Lit, and Kissing Dynamite Poetry, among others.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: A Net to Catch my Body in its Weaving by Katie Farris


This selection, chosen by Sundress intern Ryleigh Wann, is from A Net to Catch my Body in its Weaving by Katie Farris, released by Beloit Poetry Journal. 


Tell it Slant

You float in the MRI gloam,
several spiculated masses,
I name you “cactus,”
carcinoma be damned—you make
a desert of all
of me.

Have I said it slant enough?
Here’s a shot between
the eyes: Six days before
my thirty-seventh birthday,
a stranger called and said,
You have cancer. Unfortunately.
Then hung up the phone.


Katie Farris’s work appears in American Poetry ReviewGrantaThe Nation, and Poetry, and has been commissioned by MoMA. She is the author of the chapbook A Net to Catch My Body in its Weaving, which won the 2020 Chad Walsh Poetry Award from Beloit Poetry Journal, and boysgirls, a hybrid-form book, as well as co-translator of many books of poetry. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Brown University. She is currently Associate Professor in Creative Writing at Georgia Institute of Technology. Standing in the Forest of Being Alive (Alice James Books, 2023) is her first book of poems.

Ryleigh Wann is an MFA poetry candidate at UNC Wilmington. Her past experiences include reading poetry for Ecotone, editing with Lookout Books, teaching creative writing, and working for the Parks and Recreation Department in Michigan. Her writing can be found in Rejection Letters, Flypaper Lit, and Kissing Dynamite Poetry, among others.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Ghost Moose by Margo Taft Stever


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Ghost Moose by Margo Taft Stever, released by Kattywompus Press in 2019. 

End of Horses

I write to you from the end

of the time zone. You must realize

that nothing survived after

the horses were slaughtered.

We sleep below the hollow

burned-out stars.

We look beyond dust bowls

searching for horses.

When you walk in the country,

you will be shocked to meet

substantial masses on the road.

We do not know who to accuse

or where the horses were driven,

who slaughtered them, or for what

purpose. Had the horses slept

under the linden trees? The generals

and engineers pucker

and snore on the veranda.


In 2019, Margo Taft Stever’s second full-length collection of poetry, Cracked Piano (CavanKerry Press), a 2021 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist, and her chapbook, Ghost Moose (Kattywompus Press), both appeared. In 2022, her third full-length collection, THE END OF HORSES, will be forthcoming from Broadstone Press. Her four other poetry collections include The Lunatic BallThe Hudson Line, 2012; Frozen Spring; and Reading the Night Sky. Her poems have appeared widely in literary magazines including Verse DailyPlume, upstreet, Academy of American Poets, Poem-A-Day BlackbirdSalamanderPrairie SchoonerNew England ReviewCincinnati Review, RattapallaxWebster Review, and West Branch. She is the founder of the Hudson Valley Writers Center and the founding and current co-editor of Slapering Hol Press. In 2021, as Adjunct Assistant Professor, she taught Poetry and Bioethics in the Bioethics Department of the Medical School at Case Western Reserve University. She also teaches poetry at Children’s Village, a residential school for at-risk children.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Ghost Moose by Margo Taft Stever


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Ghost Moose by Margo Taft Stever, released by Kattywompus Press in 2019. 

Locked Ward, II

Two Canada geese and three goslings
crib grass in a corner patch
triangulated by Redcoat Lane,
Tower Hill Road, and the reservoir.

The goslings nip green shoots
in their narrow constriction,
strangulated strip—downy
feathers fluttering in summer haze.

The geese hover over them, protecting
from menacing cars, blurring by
at breakneck speed, drivers cursing
out windows—pests, vermin.

They turn their radios up—“Love,
O careless Love….
” But at dawn, no
cars, no noise, all people
sleeping, the parents bring

their goslings across the vacant
road to teach them how to swim.


In 2019, Margo Taft Stever’s second full-length collection of poetry, Cracked Piano (CavanKerry Press), a 2021 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist, and her chapbook, Ghost Moose (Kattywompus Press), both appeared. In 2022, her third full-length collection, THE END OF HORSES, will be forthcoming from Broadstone Press. Her four other poetry collections include The Lunatic BallThe Hudson Line, 2012; Frozen Spring; and Reading the Night Sky. Her poems have appeared widely in literary magazines including Verse DailyPlume, upstreet, Academy of American Poets, Poem-A-Day BlackbirdSalamanderPrairie SchoonerNew England ReviewCincinnati Review, RattapallaxWebster Review, and West Branch. She is the founder of the Hudson Valley Writers Center and the founding and current co-editor of Slapering Hol Press. In 2021, as Adjunct Assistant Professor, she taught Poetry and Bioethics in the Bioethics Department of the Medical School at Case Western Reserve University. She also teaches poetry at Children’s Village, a residential school for at-risk children.