2023 E-Chapbook Contest Winner Announced

Sundress Publications is thrilled to announce that Heather Qin‘s chapbook, Nomad, was selected by Rita Mookerjee as the winner of our annual e-chapbook contest. Heather will receive $200 and publication.

A photo of the author of "Nomad," Heather Qin.

Heather Qin (she/her) is a writer from New Jersey. A Best of the Net nominee, her work has been recognized by The New York Times, Narrative, and Hollins University, and can be found or forthcoming in Sine Theta Magazine, Pidgeonholes, and Diode, among others. Besides writing, Heather loves classical music and reading.

We are also excited to announce that Moni Brar’s chapbook, Migrant Wish, was this year’s Editor’s Choice. Moni will receive $100 as well as publication.

A photo of the author of "Migrant Wish," Moni Brar.

Moni Brar was born in rural Punjab and raised on the land of the Tse’Khene peoples. Hailing from a long a lineage of illiterate subsistence farmers, she spends much of her time contemplating land, loss, language, and longing. She is the recipient of a Banff Centre Residency, the Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee Medal, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award, and The Fiddlehead’s Poetry Prize. Her writing appears in Best Canadian Poetry, The Literary Review of Canada, Passages North, and elsewhere. She believes art contains the possibility of healing. Instagram: @monibrar

Zaynab Bobi’s Sixteen Songs of Loss was also selected for publication.

The entire Sundress team would like to thank Rita Mookerjee for serving as this year’s judge.

A photo of this year's judge, Rita Mookerjee.

Rita Mookerjee is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Worcester State University. In 2020, she was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Kingston, Jamaica. She is the author of False Offering, forthcoming from JackLeg Press (Fall 2023). Her poems can be found in The Baltimore Review, New Orleans Review, The Offing, Poet Lore, and Vassar Review. She edits poetry at Split Lip Magazine and Honey Literary.

We would also like to thank everyone who sent in their work. Finalists and semi-finalists include: 


Torey Akers’ Good-Time Girl
Madeleine Bazil, Snake Season
Zaynab Bobi, Sixteen Songs of Loss*
Michael Colbert, Are Bisexual Men Real: Case Studies
Griffin Epstein, i don’t believe in sex
Javeria Hasnain, Sin Poems
Crystal Ignatowski, Rabbit Hole
Sara Puotinen, Mood Rings
Fiona Stanton, The Voluptuary
Rachel Trousdale, A Long List of Small Mercies
Ellen Welcker, WHICH THE HORSE


Owólabi Aboyade, Lee, Young Lee
Sage Agee, Manifesting Boyhood
Colleen Alles, Alewives Returning
Jazmine Aluma, RAW TO THE TOUCH
Susan Barry-Schulz, Prednisone Season
Noah Benham, a night journey into day
Ashley Bunn, living amends
Finnian Burnett, Red Shirts Sometimes Survive
Kristen DeBeasi, A Hallelujah Escaping
Chiara Di Lello, Tender
Cat Dixon, Daring to Stay Adrift
Sheila Dong, The Monsterchild Primer
Emily Duffy, Miradouros
Kristin Emanual, Rescuing Chimera
Gabriela Frank, midday:abyssal
Jade Gaynor, GOD & MEN & THE MOON & SUCH
Lynn Gilbert, My Ear is a Magnet for Music
Cat Green, Just Stay Alive
Dina Greenberg, Prayers for the Lost and for the Living
Sarah Herrin, Your Body Is A Crime Scene
Emily Kiernan, Fissions
Meg Kuyatt, Obsolete Hill
Charlotte McManus, Long Fingers
Casey Moore, Sturdy
Sodïq Oyèkànmí, a theatre of wounds
Max Pasakorn, On Mothers, Drag Queens and Gold
Michelle Petty-Grue, Blue Velvet Couch
Heather Pulido, Good Damage
Laura Ring, Last Seen Leaving
Shei Sanchez, Ruminations of a Nomad
Mervyn Seivwright, Chasing Cherry Blossoms
Alex Shapiro, The Chamber of Commerce 
Ashley Steineger, In the End Only This
Para Vadhahong, From Star to Island
Laura Vazquez, Downtown Puerto Rico
Natasha Wolkwitz, Mess Choir
Kenton Yee, The Octopus of Happiness

* Selected for publications

Sundress Announces the Release of Esteban Rodriguez’s The Valley

Sundress Publications announces the release of Esteban Rodriguez’s The Valley. Rodriguez’s poetry asks readers to consider what is real and what is home, when borders carve deep sections out of us.

In this visceral collection, poet Esteban Rodriguez introduces the voice of a boy straddling the valley between two geographies, two generations, two languages. Under the relentless Texas sun, these poems traverse desert landscapes and moonlit fields carved by an aching loneliness and gentle laughter. Here, a father crosses a river of starlight and corpses, a child is awed by a mirage-like circus and the gilded rims of lowriders, and a mother travels home to Mexico to heal the decay of her body. The Valley explores the tenuous boundaries between citizenship and belonging, memory and tradition, silence and forgetting. Rodriguez’s poems take us through stories of survival and violence as the young speaker’s imagination tries to make sense of these ruptures. Tender and searching, The Valley offers solace to those of us who must navigate silences and cross borders in order to survive.

Steve Scafidi, author of Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer, said of The Valley, “Esteban Rodriguez knows that the valley of the shadow of death is where we all grew up, where there is a river and someone swimming to cross. The Valley is that rare collection of poems where, over and over again, the mythic shimmers in and illuminates the real. The woman in her nightgown is your mother, the man in his garden is your father. They are ordinary, they are divine, somehow. How does it happen we survive this place? ‘In each of us there is a river,’ he writes, ‘and it’s long gone.’ What remains is this ghost, this river of language we chance and cross as we read. What an achievement, this lovely beguiling book.”

Order your copy of The Valley today!

Esteban Rodriguez is the author of the collections Dusk & Dust (Hub City Press, 2019), Crash Course (Saddle Road Press, 2019), In Bloom (SFASU Press, 2020), and (Dis)placement (Skull + Wind Press, 2020). His poetry has appeared in Boulevard, The Rumpus, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He is the Interviews Editor for EcoTheo Review, an Assistant Poetry Editor for AGNI, and a regular reviews contributor for PANK and Heavy Feather Review. He lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

Sundress Publications Opens Submissions for 2020 Chapbook Competition

Sundress Publications announces its ninth annual chapbook contest. Authors of all genres are invited to submit qualifying manuscripts during our reading period of April 1st to June 1st, 2020.

Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and hybrids are welcome. Manuscripts must be between twelve to twenty- six (12-26) pages in length, with a page break between individual pieces. Individual pieces may have been previously published in anthologies, print journals, online journals, etc., but cannot have appeared in any full-length collection, including self-published collections. Both single-author and collaborative dual-author manuscripts will be considered. Manuscripts must be primarily in English; translations are not eligible.

The entry fee is $10 per manuscript, though the fee will be waived for entrants who purchase or pre- order any Sundress title. Nominations for entrants are accepted provided the nominating person either pay the reading fee or makes a qualifying purchase. Authors may submit and/or nominate as many chapbook manuscripts as they like, so long as each is accompanied by a separate reading fee or purchase/pre-order. Entrants and nominators can place book orders or pay submission fees at our store.

The winner will receive $200, plus publication as a beautiful full-color PDF available exclusively online. Runners-up will also be considered for publication.

Esteban Rodriguez will be judging. Esteban Rodríguez is the author of the poetry collections Dusk & Dust, Crash Course, In Bloom, (Dis)placement, and The Valley. His work has appeared in Boulevard, Shenandoah, The Rum- pus, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He is the Interviews Editor for the EcoTheo Review, an Assistant Poetry Editor for AGNI, and a regular reviews contribu- tor for [PANK] and Heavy Feather Review. He lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

All manuscripts should include a cover page (with only the title of the manuscript), table of contents, dedication (if applicable), and acknowledgments for previous publications. These pages will not be included in the total page count. Identifying information should not appear in any part of the manuscript. Authors with a significant relationship to the judge (friends, relatives, colleagues, past or present students, etc.) are discouraged from entering.

To submit, attach your manuscript as a DOCX or PDF file along with your order number for either a Sundress title or the entry fee to contest@sundresspublications.com.

Simultaneous submission to other presses is acceptable, but please notify Sundress immediately if the manuscript has been accepted elsewhere. Multiple submissions are allowed, but a separate entry fee must accompany each entry. No revisions will be allowed during the contest judging period. Winners will be announced in Fall 2020.

Sundress Releases The Familiar Wild: On Dogs & Poetry

Sundress Publications announces the release of The Familiar Wild: On Dogs & Poetry, an anthology edited by Ruth Awad and Rachel Mennies.

What does it mean for a poet to love a dog—especially knowing it will never outlive them? The Familiar Wild: On Dogs & Poetry catapults readers into the marrows of living and feeling alongside our mysterious canines: a species that often teaches us what it means to be human. These selections interrogate our lives as they’ve intertwined with humanity’s most beloved house companion. What catalyzes our hunger to share our vulnerabilities and lived realities with these curious, interdependent animals?

Writers, including Chen Chen, Noah Baldino, Hanif Abdurraqib, Carly Joy Miller, Maggie Smith, and Raena Shirali, among others, grapple with the simultaneous heaviness, happiness, love, and loss that comes with dog companionship, exposing deep truths about what it means to share space with our fellow non-humans. This collection examines both the routine and the unexpected lives this anthology’s poets have built with their dogs, exploring wildness and domestication, boundaries and freedom, rescue and grief through works centered on the complicated, expansive writer-to-canine connection.

Ruth Awad is the Lebanese-American author of Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and the 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Poetry, Poem-a-Day, The Believer, The New Republic, Pleiades, The Missouri Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and she lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio, with her four bratty and joyous Pomeranians.

Rachel Mennies is the author of The Naomi Letters, forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2021 and The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards, the 2014 winner of the Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry and finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. Her poetry has appeared at The Believer, Kenyon Review, and American Poetry Review, and her nonfiction has appeared at The Millions, The Poetry Foundation, and LitHub, among other outlets. Mennies serves as the reviews editor for AGNI. She lives in Chicago, where she works as a freelance editor and writer, with her spouse and her rescue greyhound mix, Otto.

The Familiar Wild: On Dogs & Poetry is available for order now!

Pretty Owl Poetry Joins Prototype PGH’s 2020 Incubator

Pittsburgh, PA –– Pretty Owl Poetry (POP), an online feminist literary journal based in Pittsburgh, is one of ten newly selected organizations that will participate in Prototype PGH’s 2020 Incubator. Prototype PGH is a nonprofit devoted to promoting gender and racial equity in technology and entrepreneurship. It will provide resources, workshops, and consultation to assist in the growth of the journal, which seeks to establish a chapbook press called Pretty Owl Press.

POP will begin publishing two chapbooks a year in conjunction with the quarterly journal issues starting in 2021. Like the literary journal, Pretty Owl Press will also publish socially conscious work from marginalized voices; however, this new venture will also help build authors’ careers through online advertisements, book launch celebrations, and sales facilitation. POP is excited to continue giving back to the literary community by joining the Prototype incubator cohort, the range of which—according to Prototype founder Erin Gatz—“underscores the true richness of Pittsburgh’s communities and cultures.”

Founded in 2013, POP is dedicated to uplifting underrepresented voices, especially those belonging to people of color, LGBTQIA+, neurodiverse individuals, as well as womxn, non-binary folx, and trans folx. POP publishes poetry, flash fiction, and art on a quarterly basis. Over the past seven years, POP has become an integral part of the Pittsburgh literary scene by hosting readings with established authors on tour as well as local Pittsburgh writers on a regular basis.

Additionally, the journal runs a bi-weekly writing prompt series inspired by the mystery and magic of the tarot called POPcraft, and it also produces POPcast, a podcast centered around publishing and the world of writers. In its monthly newsletter and social media feeds, POP promotes its sister Sundress publications and past contributors—affectionately referred to as “Pretty Owlers.” Because the contributors make the journal possible, POP seeks to expand its support for writers and grow its audience through the creation of Pretty Owl Press.


A 501(c)(3) non-profit literary 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.

Sundress Announces the Release of Gender Flytrap


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!

CookBook Announces New Episodes for 2019/20


CookBook Announces New Episodes for 2019/20

CookBook, a video series from Sundress Publications, is pleased to announce new episodes for 2019/20. Hosted by Darren C. Demaree and published six times per year, The CookBook features cooking and conversation with guest writers.

washuta-headshotElissa Washuta, who will be featured in September/October 2019, is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of Starvation Mode and My Body Is a Book of Rules, a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, Artist Trust, 4Culture, and Potlatch Fund.

Barb Fant pic 1Barbara Fant, who will be featured in November/December 2019, is the author of four poetry collections: Paint, Inside Out (2010), two chapbooks RibCaged and Them Brilliant Suns (both in 2017), and Aligning Water and Bearing Stars (2019). She has represented Columbus, OH in 9 National Poetry Slam competitions and placed 8th out of 96 poets in the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry.

WNW-2-Large-BWNick White, who will be featured in January/February 2020, is the author of two books of fiction: How to Survive a Summer and Sweet and Low. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, Catapult, Guernica, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing at The Ohio State University

yfK7_0VYHost Darren C. Demaree is the author of eleven poetry collections, most recently Emily As Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire (June 2019, Harpoon Books). He is the recipient of a 2018 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Louis Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and the Nancy Dew Taylor Award from Emrys Journal. He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.

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

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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 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

Katherine Riegel’s Letters to Colin Firth Named Winner of 2015 Sundress Publications Chapbook Competition


Knoxville, TNSundress Publications is pleased to announce that Katherine Riegel is the winner of our third chapbook competition. Among a record number of strong and engaging manuscripts, Riegel’s collection, Letters to Colin Firth, stood out. Judge Nicole Oquendo had this to say about the chapbook:

Katherine Riegel’s Letters to Colin Firth is a chapbook that refused to let me forget it was there, creeping, waiting for me to read it again. On the surface, the writing was boldly funny, and I never once felt alienated that the letters weren’t addressed to me directly. I knew they were for Colin Firth, for Katherine, for me, and for anyone else willing to take part in the journey they lay out.  Over time, the letters reveal a quiet depth that sneaks in and spreads itself thick across each page. The density of it speaks for itself. Start reading for tea and trip to England, and stay for a run through the tar pits of grief. Don’t worry; I’m still stuck, too.”

Katherine Riegel is the author of two books of poetry, What the Mouth Was Made For and Castaway. Her poems and essays have appeared in a variety of journals, including Brevity, Mead, and The Rumpus; five of the pieces from this chapbook recently appeared in The Offing. She is co-founder and poetry editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection and currently teaches at the University of South Florida. Visit her at www.katherineriegel.com.

We also are excited to announce that Jessica Rae Bernamino’s The Desiring Object OR Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them was also selected for publication – both collections will be available later this year on the Sundress website at http://www.sundresspublications.com.

Other Submitted Chapbooks of Note:


Jessica Rae Bernamino – The Desiring Object OR Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering Stars How  She Came to Glow Among Them*
Dana Kelli – Push
Kate Peterson – Grist


Amy Ash – Echo, Unravel
Yu-Han Chao – Triptychs on a White Belt
Declan Gould – Creating a Chain Reacting
Erin Radcliffe – Bottomland
Jennifer Stein – A Girl in Three Acts

*Selected for publication