The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021. 


And Ryegrass, and Wind

When we drove by the field where the horse
always stood, the chestnut
named Loretta, you’d move
your small hand to the glass, say Horse,
you’d circle your hand in the air to ghost
the mall carousel, I’d say
But those horses
aren’t real
, you’d say
Nay, and one day
the field had no horse in it.
One day the air was a hole
all the nutbrown real
had fallen through. That day
you splayed your hand on the glass
and said Horse the way
you’d say Milk, and there
was only thistle and a lip of light.
The next day there was a paper
on the fence, some child’s
crayon paper of a horse.
And you made me drive
to the fence and climb out
and touch the muddy sheet.
Or we’d drive and park
in front of the raw, unstained grass,
our windows up, and watch
the brown crayon lick the wet
pulp dripping from last night’s
rain. You’d bring your cup
of red juice or a book
in the car. And you are two arms
lifting and spinning, you
are nosing the glass and I
am your mother, I am the one
who is supposed to save you, my flank, my gambol, my
mane, who can never save you, my flesh,
my field, my whinny, my clover hair.


Sally Rosen Kindred’s third collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Award (Diode Editions, 2021). Her previous books are Book of Asters and No Eden, both from Mayapple Press, and her most recent chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing workshops online for The Poetry Barn.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021. 


Fairy Tale for Mother and Teenage Son

A wolf dreams his death
at the foot of a bloodied alder. You know this
because it’s your son who dreamed it.
You had a son who’s now a wolf.
The snow-hour he wakes to is bright with breath
from his new mouth and moonlit by his cry.
You had a son. Now you are bewildered.

A wolf can be mistaken for a rock.
A wolf can be mistaken for the moon.
A wolf must be mistaken when
he looks at his body and sees your son.
He was a child, felt his body enter snow
but the snow was the muscle
of a dream, stretched past howl and bone.

He looks at you now from beauty, his dread-body.
He sees you through his hackles, his smoke eye.
You are no wolf: can’t be. Are soft, white, a rat–
whiskered other. Your hungers smell wrong. You lean,
all flesh-belly song–he remembers. You pry a lullaby
from your crowded mouth: he sees teeth. Wolf hunches now,
hungry. Numb. He was your son. He turns away.


Sally Rosen Kindred’s third collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Award (Diode Editions, 2021). Her previous books are Book of Asters and No Eden, both from Mayapple Press, and her most recent chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing workshops online for The Poetry Barn.

Lyric Essentials: Shannon Wolf Reads Olivia Gatwood

Welcome back to Lyric Essentials! This week we are joined by poet and editor Shannon Wolf to discuss the work of Olivia Gatwood, the particular power of seeing poetry performed live, and writing as a therapeutic act. As always, thank you for tuning in!


Ashley Hajimirsadeghi: We all have an origin story for when we discovered a favorite poet. How did you discover Olivia Gatwood?

Shannon Wolf: Just like many of her fans, I found Gatwood through Youtube performances of her poems. She has a huge following in the slam poetry scene, and I found both her performance style and the actual content of her poems really compelling. She’s best known for earlier poems – like “Alternate Universe in Which I Am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me” – and I think it’s because these poems (especially for women) are accessible in their language and ideas, which is not to say they aren’t well written. She has a wonderful eye for making magic from the minutiae. So many of her poems are about the female experience, the female body, and all of its burdens and blessings. Her work is somehow both refreshing and dark, and as a poet myself, that seems like one unattainable feat to accomplish.

Shannon Wolf Reads “If a Girl Screams in the Middle of the Night” by Olivia Gatwood

AH: During our correspondence, you mentioned that you’ve actually seen Gatwood perform her work live. How was the experience? Did the experience of hearing and seeing it performed change anything for you?

SW: It was really fantastic. I think it’s important to note how the venue was packed with so many people identifying as women and it felt like this safe, collaborative, familiar environment – the laughter and the emphatic noises of agreement you often hear at poetry readings seemed three times louder than usual in that room in Portland, Oregon. She performed with a musician, Mexican singer-songwriter Joaquina Mertz, setting her poems to sound, and it was a total sensory experience. Gatwood’s performances (with and without music) definitely add a layer of meaning to the written word. Her style of reading, her tone contextualizes the work – she has this great deadpan delivery that just lights each piece on fire. This particular performance was on the tour for her chapbook New American Best Friend, so I’d love to take in a reading of poems from Life of the Party, which I think drill a lot deeper into the female consciousness (and the dangers that seem to surround it).

Shannon Wolf Reads “My Mother’s Addendum” by Olivia Gatwood

AH: In an interview with The Adroit Journal, Gatwood said the following about Life of the Party: “I was in a constant state of feeling afraid, and instead of running from that feeling or trying to soften it, I held a magnifying glass up to it, tried to figure out where it was born, then write from the beginning.” As a writer, have you felt similar emotions and experiences when trying to write a particular piece?

SW: Absolutely! I would be surprised if there isn’t a writer who doesn’t use their work as some kind of therapy, honestly. I think whether it’s fear, or a specific trauma, or even just making sense of a memory, stepping toward it with your writing can produce something really striking. I often say that Gatwood’s poems are so personal – many in her chapbook refer to specific details from her own reality – but in Life of the Party, Gatwood appears to distance herself much more. Somehow though, this serves to bring the reader in even closer. In “If A Girl Screams In the Middle of the Night”, the singular scream of a girl becomes universal. In inspecting her own fear, she taps into our collective fear. I try to do this in my own work when I inspect generational trauma, and abusive relationships. Perhaps this hard stare into the sun eventually softens the fear anyway.

AH: Have any exciting news you want to share (it can be anything! Life, writing, new revelations)?

SW: I do. I just recently signed a contract for my first full-length poetry collection. Green Card Girl, which will be forthcoming from Fernwood Press in September 2022. It’s about my immigration journey from England to the US, the genesis of my chosen family, and the slow rot of toxic relationships. You can follow me on Twitter @helloshanwolf or check my website helloshanwolf.com for updates on the book! I also have poems coming out with Sledgehammer Lit and HAD, and I’ve just started a new teaching job here in my new hometown, Denver, CO. There’s a lot going on right now!


Olivia Gatwood is a writer and activist. She is the author of the full-length collection Life of the Party and has performed her poetry both in the United States and internationally. Her poetry has appeared in The Winter Tangerine Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and The Missouri Review, among others.

Find her website here.

Watch her perform her poem “We Find Each Other in the Details” here.

Purchase her collection Life of the Party at Penguin Random House.

Shannon Wolf is a British writer, living in Denver, Colorado. Her debut full-length poetry collection Green Card Girl is forthcoming from Fernwood Press. She received a joint MA-MFA in Poetry at McNeese State University and also has degrees from Lancaster University and the University of Chichester. She is Co-Curator of the “Poets in Pajamas” Reading Series. Her poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction (which can also be found under the name Shannon Bushby) have appeared in or are forthcoming from The ForgeGreat Weather for MEDIAHAD and NoContactMag among others.

You can find her on social media @helloshanwolf.

Read her poem “Ode to Tony Soprano” here at No Contact Magazine.

Learn more about Shannon on her website.

Ashley Hajimirsadeghi is a multimedia artist and writer. She has had work appear, or forthcoming, in Barren Magazine, DIALOGIST, Rust + Moth, and The Shore, among others. She is the Co-Editor in Chief at both Mud Season Review and Juven Press, and reads for EX/POST Magazine. More of her work can be found at ashleyhajimirsadeghi.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021. 


Dear October

By the soft collar
you claimed me, season
of early dark, October
at my pin curl’s end. My father
was now a Wednesday night,
a Nova in the drive.
The sedan pulled up at six, horn
hurtling through the bricks:
his headlights fixed mist
in the front-room glass.
And my mother, unwived
for weeks, already down in the den,
sleeping the dahlias off.
Cold month, you turned
me eleven: purse in hand, buttoned
and clasping at the mirror.
Ready. Unready. Afraid.
Dear stairs, dear ladder
of stars, how do I climb down
to wet gravel, away from her?
Where
would I hold my purse,
what could I keep inside?
There was no prayer for this,
no kindness. Dear branch
gusting between porch
and windshield rain,
whose girl are you?
Do you lift your head, or bend?
Dear October, dear door.
By the garnet sleeves you held me.
By the braid.


Sally Rosen Kindred’s third collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Award (Diode Editions, 2021). Her previous books are Book of Asters and No Eden, both from Mayapple Press, and her most recent chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing workshops online for The Poetry Barn.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021. 


Crown

Believe a crown of kingfishers, their spines
tuned for ascent, their belted
feathers split

with blue light that scatters
as they loose the tree–
a crown, a wound, a consequence

of birds whose blue light rattles sky,
whose feathers, strung beneath our star,
sing to bruising. Believe

a curve in the road, the climb
of its spine that sings
under a boy, standing

where an officer’s car
might come, might shatter blue light
into the trees. Believe corona

of our sun
belting its flares at twilight,
suspended: a gown, a wound, a wish.

Believe the crown of my son,
soft, unhooded–fifteen
is a crown cleaving to its own shine:

he swings an arm from the shoulder,
his hair inks shadows
over the moss–

he lifts a lighter to the paper
birch, beholds a leaf almost
to burning.

Believe that my son–his skin brown
as the sparrow’s throat, his collarbone tender
as kingfisher’s wing–

belongs to me, my absent
white body–no, belongs
to the trees

that loosed a crown of birds, a mercy:
believe my son
no ornament, no thorn–

that he should not
be loosed
from this place, that he

should not need to fly
from blue light–
a wound, a crown, a circling–

believe the trees
will keep close his body,
that he might still hold fire in his hand.


Sally Rosen Kindred’s third collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Award (Diode Editions, 2021). Her previous books are Book of Asters and No Eden, both from Mayapple Press, and her most recent chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing workshops online for The Poetry Barn.

Sundress Publications’ Open Call for Poetry Broadside Contest

Sundress Publications is pleased to announce that we are now open for submissions for our annual poetry broadside contest. The contest will be open for submission between September 1st to November 30th, 2021.

The winner’s poem will be letterpress-printed as an 8.5” x 11” broadside complete with custom art and made available for sale on our online store. The winner will receive $200 and 20 copies of their broadside.

To submit, send up to three poems, no longer than 28 lines each (line limit includes stanza breaks but not the title), in one Word or PDF document to contest@sundresspublications.com by November 30, 2021. Be sure to include a copy of your payment receipt or purchase order number (see below for payment of fees). Please make sure that no identifying information is included in the submitted poems.

The reading fee is $10 per batch of three poems, though the fee will be waived for entrants who purchase or pre-order any Sundress title. Entrants can place book orders or pay submission fees at our store, https://squareup.com/market/sundress-publications. Once the purchase is made, the store will send a receipt with a purchase code. This code should be included in the submission, or you may forward the email receipt at the same time as you send the submission. This fee is waived for all BIPOC writers.

Previously published material is welcome so long as you maintain the rights to the work. Let us know in your cover letter if any of your submitted poems have been previously published.

Poems translated from another language will not be accepted. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but we ask that authors notify us immediately if their work has been accepted elsewhere; poems accepted for publication are still qualified provided the author retains the rights to the work.

This contest will be judged by Sarah Clark, a disabled two-spirit Nanticoke editor, writer, and cultural consultant. They are Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at Anomaly, Editor of beestung, Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2021) and the Bettering American Poetry series, a reader at The Atlas Review and Doubleback Books, and an Editorial Board member at Sundress Press. She’s edited folios for publications, including Anomaly’s GLITTERBRAIN folio and a folio on Indigenous & Decolonial Futures & Futurisms, Drunken Boat’s folios on Sound Art, “Desire & Interaction,” and a collection of global indigenous art and literature, First Peoples, Plural. Sarah freelances and has worked with several literary and arts publications and organizations, including the Best of the Net anthology, contemptorary, Curious Specimens, #PoetsResist at Glass Poetry, Apogee Journal, Blackbird, and The Paris Review.

Sundress Announces the Release of Ugochukwu Damian Okpara’s I Know the Origin of My Tremor

Sundress Publications announces the release of Ugochukwu Damian Okpara’s I Know the Origin of My Tremor, an elegiac collection that tugs at the nerves of our deepest yearnings. These poems explore the types and shades of loss that humankind can experience and the vibrant sorrow that loss can elicit. They dig through grief, the body, loneliness, longing, and gender dysphoria, making this collection unforgettable in its haunting vulnerability. Here, you will find a father’s ghost hovering, tremors earthquaking the page, and a narrator searching to untangle themselves from the in-between.

A striking testament to survival, I Know the Origin of My Tremor reminds us how boldly a body can long for something.

Lannie Stabile, author of Good Morning to Everyone Except Men Who Name Their Dogs Zeus, says, “I Know the Origin of My Tremor tries again and again to be a collection of queer joy, but joy is not often found in a world that wishes you dead. So, you learn to hide the body of desire, to dig a hole and bury it deep. After all, as Damian writes, ‘Fear is the language that saves us.’”

Jake Sheff, author of Looting Versailles and A Kiss to Betray the Universe, writes that this collection “weaves the personal and universal into a world at once both familiar and strange. This collection makes the line come true: You will rejoice at remembering how “joy falls like freshwater,” and that desire really can “dance like fire.” To rephrase this terrifically talented poet, grief and forgetting have nothing on these poems.”

I Know the Origin of My Tremor is available to download for free on the Sundress website, here.

Ugochukwu Damian Okpara, Nigerian writer & poet, is an alumnus of the SprinNG Fellowship, and Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing Workshop held annually by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. His works appear in African Writer, Barren Magazine, The Penn Review, 20.35 Africa, The Masters Review, and elsewhere. In 2019, Okpara was the 1st runner-up in the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize. He was also a contributing interviewer for Poetry at Africa in Dialogue.

Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents “Exploring Wilderness Through Writing”: A Writers Workshop

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present “Exploring Wilderness Through Writing,” a workshop led by Korrin Bishop on September 26, 2021 from 1-7:30PM. This event will be held in-person. Please note that there are only 10 spots available for this event, and it is restricted to only vaccinated people (must show vaccination card in advance.) Also, parking is limited at Firefly Farms, so please carpool. Those interested in this event can register at tiny.utk.edu/wildernessworkshop.

Novelists, memoirists, poets, screenwriters, and more have long been inspired by time spent in the great outdoors. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll gather at Firefly Farms in Knoxville—home of Sundress Academy for the Arts—to take our own walk in the woods. We’ll use our five senses, some foraging, and a few writing prompts to explore our inner and outer wildernesses. We’ll try to define what exactly makes something nature writing and discuss why these works carry importance.

This workshop will take an expansive view of the genre to challenge outdated narratives that outdoor adventure stories are reserved for White, male perspectives—or even that one must go on a grueling physical adventure to appreciate nature. It will focus on sharing poetry and creative nonfiction by women, LGBTQ, and BIPOC writers to explore the richness of wilderness writing that takes place beyond the boundaries set by tales of man versus wild.

Make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes, a pen, notebook, water, and whatever else you need to feel safe and inspired in a woodsy outdoor environment. This workshop is for everyone—from seasoned backcountry campers to individuals who staunchly declare they are not “outdoorsy”—so, if you’re wondering if you belong here, please know that you do.

While there is no fee for this workshop, those who are able and appreciative can make direct donations to Korrin via Venmo @KorrinLBishop or PayPal korrin.bishop@gmail.com.

Korrin Bishop is a writer and editor with passions for mission-driven work and the great outdoors. She co-founded the outdoor group Wild Wilderness Women in 2014 to empower women to get outside, skill share, and build a more inclusive wilderness community. Her writing is heavily influenced by a sense of place, as over time she has found home amongst California’s redwoods, Washington, D.C.’s cherry blossoms, Oregon’s caves, South Dakota’s badlands, Florida’s Everglades, and Appalachia’s Smoky Mountains. Korrin has written for the National Park Service, Misadventures Magazine, Sierra Magazine, Smokies Life, She Explores, and Fodor’s Travel, among others. She is currently on a quest to hike every trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park—when not getting distracted by her kayak.

Sundress Reading Series Seeks Readers for 2021-2022

From December 2021 to March 2022, the Sundress Reading Series will continue online via Zoom. Readers will receive publicity across Sundress Publications’ social media channels in the lead up to their event, and, thanks to a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Sundress is now able to compensate readers $100 for their services.

The Sundress Reading Series is an award-winning literary reading series previously hosted on-ground in Knoxville, TN. An extension of Sundress Publications and the Sundress Academy for the Arts, the Sundress Reading Series features nationally-recognized writers in all genres from around the US while also supporting local and regional nonprofits. 
 
Our readings take place the last Wednesday of every month from 7-8PM EST. The spring series will stream December 29, January 26, February 23, and March 30.
 
We are currently seeking readers with books recently released or to be released in 2022, with an emphasis on marginalized voices. Please note in your cover letter if you identify as a BIPOC writer, a trans and/or nonbinary writer, and/or a writer with a disability. To apply to read for the spring, send 6-8 pages of poetry or 8-15 pages of prose, a 50-100 word bio, CV (optional), and a ranking of preferred reading dates to sundresspublications@gmail.com. Please make sure the subject line reads “Reading Series Application – Your Name.” 
 
Applications to participate as a reader are open and the deadline to apply is October 1, 2021. Those selected will be notified by November 1, 2021.
 
Find our more or to view some of our past readers and schedules, visit us at: www.sundressacademyforthearts.com.

Sundress Reads: Review of Skinny Vanilla Crisis

When your marriage is suddenly on the line and you are forced to start over, what do you do? Colleen Alles addresses this question in her debut novel Skinny Vanilla Crisis (Atmosphere Press, 2020), which follows Holden Averett as he struggles to navigate life while on a trial-run separation with his wife of eighteen years. When Sophia asks Holden to move out for the summer so they can reevaluate their marriage, Holden has no choice but to take up temporary residence at a questionable hotel and start working at a local coffee shop for some extra money. While the position eases some of his financial stress, Holden’s already-complicated situation gets even more confusing when he meets his new coworker, Lila, a former student of his ten years prior. Both Holden and Sophia begin to doubt their relationship as concerns are brought to question, and the two must choose between working through their differences for their family or moving on with other people.

Skinny Vanilla Crisis is both witty and real, focusing on deep topics such as marital problems with authenticity and humor interwoven with more serious moments. Since the story is primarily character driven, the tone of Alles’ writing reflects Holden’s personality and mentality. Holden’s thoughts start off as self-deprecating, with sarcastic, dry jokes included in emotional scenes to mirror his tendency to deflect responsibility. However, the more Holden grows as a character, the more mature and deep the tone becomes, which Alles uses as a way to further establish Holden’s character, as well as subtly depict the growth that he experiences.

The first half of the novel focuses on Holden’s struggle to adapt to his new life while apart from his wife for the first time in decades. While men are oftentimes written as strong or unemotional characters in literature, Alles highlights Holden’s vulnerability. Her realistic portrayal of human emotion through Holden’s character is a refreshing perspective to read from since it opposes the traditional tropes of the romance genre. Alles also does not shy away from focusing on Holden’s negative feelings and how his emotions affect his actions, giving his character more depth. The showcasing of Holden’s hurt makes him more real, his blindsided confusion written so clearly that it can resonate with any reader regardless of whether they can relate or not.

Alles balances this vulnerability with additional focus on Holden’s weaknesses and flaws in the second half of the story. Alles does not establish a “right” or “wrong” person in this situation; instead she gives equal responsibility to both Holden and Sophia. Alles does not paint them as perfect characters; both Holden and Sophia have their own flaws that affect the relationship in different ways. One of the strongest passages in the novel is when Holden acknowledges his own fault in the relationship and what he needs to say to Sophia, stating: “I had what felt like a million things rattling around in my brain that I wanted to tell her. I think you’re right, Soph, I wanted to say. We got way off track. I’m sorry I made you feel so alone for so long. Let’s start rebuilding. Okay? From where we are today” (223). The shift in his mindset from the beginning of the novel to the end shows that his way of approaching the situation has changed. This growth reflects a struggle that many people experience when in a similar situation, which is what makes Alles’ novel so impactful. The reality of their inevitable marital problems encourages readers to put their actions into perspective and even evaluate their own relationship dynamics.

Skinny Vanilla Crisis is not only a story of two people coming back together and resolving to overcome their problems, but also of Holden’s self-discovery. The journey that Holden goes on is eye-opening, inspiring readers to consider their relationships with those that matter most to them. While the novel does not wrap up with a perfect bow like other books with a romance plotline do, it ends on an optimistic note that is fitting for both the story and the situation. The ending emphasizes the message behind Holden’s story, which is that you should never give up fighting for those you love, and that sometimes additional work and self-reflection is necessary to keep relationships healthy. An enjoyable read with an important theme, Skinny Vanilla Crisis is sure to leave a long-lasting impact on any reader as they are inspired to examine the role they play in their relationships.

Skinny Vanilla Crisis is available at Atmosphere Press


Victoria Carrubba is a senior English Publishing Studies student at Hofstra University. She is currently a tutor at her university’s Writing Center and a copyeditor for The Hofstra Chronicle. She has also worked on her university’s literary magazines, Font and Growl, and was previously a fiction editor for Windmill Journal. Outside of work, she can be found reading, dancing, or drinking chai.