Sundress Publications Announces
2018 Open Reading Period Results
Sundress Publications is thrilled to announce the results of the 2018 Open Reading Period. The winning selections are: Albert Abonado’s JAW, Chera Hammons’ Map of Injury, and JM Miller’s Nightsong. Each is slated for publication in 2020.
Albert Abonado’s poems have appeared in Boston Review, Pleiades, The Margins, Zone 3, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and has received a fellowship for poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Every Thursday from 2-3PM, he hosts the poetry radio show Flour City Yawp on WAYO 104.3 FM-LP. He also curates the CityVerse column for City Newspaper. He teaches creative writing at SUNY Geneseo. He lives in Rochester with his wife.
Chera Hammons is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT. Her work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Connotation Press, Rattle, Sugar House Review, Tar River Poetry, Tupelo Quarterly, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among other fine journals. Her chapbook Amaranthine Hour received the 2012 Jacar Press Chapbook Award. Books include Recycled Explosions (Ink Brush Press, 2016) and The Traveler’s Guide to Bomb City (Purple Flag Press, 2017; winner of the 2017 PEN Southwest Book Award).
JM Miller is a queer/trans writer based in Seattle. Their first poetry collection, Wilderness Lessons, was described as a love letter to the earth. JM teaches creative writing at the University of Washington Tacoma and has recently adopted a kitten named Cielo. Please visit jm-poet.com for more.
Kara Dorris, A Phobia of Dying if Motion Stops
Jonathan Duckworth, Night, Translated
Amanda Galvan Huynh, Mexican Bingo
Stephanie Lane Sutton, Femme Pastiche
Billie Tadros, Was Body Billie Tadros, Graft Fixation
Danielle Badra, Like Still We Speak
Reese Conner, The Body He Left Behind
Megan Merchant, Paper Mother
Jed Meyers, Burning Man
Laura Passin, You are Not God’s Sparrow
C. Pope, Forgotten Stages of Grief
Shannon Sankey, A Crooked Kind of Flowering
Marvin Shackleford, Monstrous
Sarah Wolfson, A Common Name for Everything
Sundress Publications is a 501(c)3 non-profit literary press collective founded in 2000. It is an entirely volunteer-run, non-discriminatory publishing group focused on the creativity of all artists, regardless of race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, education, etc.
My relationship with books and with reading has been constant for my entire life. Both of my parents are English professors, and I have been fortunate enough to be around an environment that put reading and talking about books in a place of high esteem from a young age. There was really no escaping this environment, actually, and I just ended up really lucky that I happened to love every facet of it.
I continued loving my books, sometimes to the extreme, in all situations. For family vacations I would have the heaviest bags because of all the books I wanted to bring. I was notorious for asking for a book and then finishing it in a matter of hours, no matter how lengthy.
However, despite my devotion to reading and my willingness to take down any obstacle to be immersed in a book, when I registered for my first semester at UTK I had no intention of being an English major. I had decided to study French because it was a subject that had thrilled me as much as my English courses throughout High School, and I had an idealized notion that I would become an academic in French Literature and possibly move to France.
Within the first month of my Freshman year I had switched to a double major in French and English Lit. There was a physical pull that I felt whenever I was in my English classes and when looking at the catalogue of courses and I found myself pouring over all the offered English Literature ones. After I declared my double major, I lost my notion of how my life was going to end up. I felt so unsure and also so happy because in a way I had found my identity again.
I know I am happiest when I am working with any type of writing or writing based art, so I am really looking forward to this internship with the Sundress Academy for the Arts and a new chance to learn and grow with others in a field that brings me the utmost joy.
Hannah Kitterman is a native Tennessean currently living in Knoxville. She graduated from the University of Tennessee last May where she studied English Literature and French. During her time at UTK Hannah was a member of the Pride of the Southland Marching Band where she played the trombone and gained experience with heartbreaking losses and feverous fandom. Hannah is currently serving as a member of AmeriCorps with I Bike KNX, a nonprofit that advocates for safe bicycling habits. You can find her at various intersections in Knoxville counting the number of pedestrians and people riding bicycles or reading with a cup of coffee while on the lookout for dogs to pet. She has never met a burrito or a dog that she did not love.
At Doubleback Books, we believe that out of print should not mean out of mind. Although other publishers rescue works that have fallen into the public domain from obscurity, few reprint books from small, independent presses that have folded during the twenty-first century and (often through no fault of their own) left new, exciting books to go out of print before their time.
If you are the author of a book that has recently gone out of print because the press closed, we want to read it. We are hosting an open reading period through August 2018. Authors of works that have gone out of print due to the closure of the original press may submit full-length or short books, including novels, novellas, chapbooks, short story collections, poetry collections, essay collections, and memoirs. Editors may also submit out of print manuscripts their presses published before closing. To be eligible, works must have been both published and out of print after 2000.
Accepted manuscripts will be released as free downloadable e-books on the Sundress Publications website. Previous titles include Karyna McGlynn’s Alabama Steve, Jehanne Dubrow’s The Hardship Post, and Virginia Chase Sutton’s What Brings You to Del Amo(forthcoming).
The Sundress Reading Series is excited to welcome Chris Barton, Gwen E. Kirby, and Pamela Schoenewaldt to the May installment of our reading series! The event will take place 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, at Hexagon Brewing Co., located at 1002 Dutch Valley Dr. STE 101, Knoxville, TN 37918. The Sundress Reading Series is free and open to the public.
Chris Barton‘s work has appeared in Hobart, Entropy, Word Riot, Funhouse, Potluck Mag, and elsewhere. He was the winner of the 2013 undergraduate creative writing award from the University of Tennessee. He currently works at two cafes, helps with his roommate’s monthly open mic poetry event, & lives in a blue house with three cats in Knoxville, TN.
Gwen E. Kirby‘s stories appear in One Story, Guernica, Mississippi Review, Ninth Letter, SmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere. Guest editor Aimee Bender selected her story “Shit Cassandra Saw . . .” for Best Small Fictions 2018 and her story “Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories” won the 2017 DISQUIET Literary Prize for Fiction. She received her MFA from Johns Hopkins University and her PhD from the University of Cincinnati. Starting in the fall, she will be the 2018-2019 George Bennett Fellow at Phillips Exeter Academy.
Pamela Schoenewaldt is a historical novelist and a USA Today Bestseller whose work has been translated into four languages. She was short-listed for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction. Her short stories have won international awards. She was the UT Library’s Writer in Residence and is in the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. Her one-act play in Italian, Espresso Con Mia Madre, was performed in Naples, Italy. She taught writing at the University of Maryland European Division, and UT. She lives in Knoxville with her husband, Maurizio Conti, a physicist, and dog Jesse, a philosopher. Her most recently completed novel is set against the backdrop of the 1919 Knoxville Race Riot.
For the last five years, my life has been on the move. For three years, I lived in dorms at the University of Texas at Arlington, getting my bachelor’s in English, and for the past two years I’ve lived in campus apartments at the University of Central Arkansas, getting my MFA in creative writing. So every winter and summer break, I move out and return to my parent’s house, my childhood home—where my actual bookshelves, packed in total with hundreds of books, reside.
The sparse offerings pictured here are what I decided to bring from home a few weeks ago, when I returned to Conway, Arkansas and my campus apartment. In the picture above, the stack on the right is comprised of all my books for my classes, except for Dracula, which I am supposed to be reading for a class right now and so is on my desk. The stack on the left is a personal TBR pile, about half comprised of books I stole from my mother’s bookshelf at home (and promise I will return), and also two personal essays anthologies—I have become obsessed with the personal essay form after taking a creative nonfiction class last semester—the Writing about Writing textbook, and a book called A Literature of Sports, which my dad—a baseball fanatic and a high school baseball and football coach—gave me. There is also a bowl of Reese’s minis, my favorite candy (especially when I’m stressed with school stuff), and in the back a Robert Johnson sheet music book.
Pictured above is my more immediate TBR pile, stacked on my desk. The first two books are by Kazuo Ishiguro, recent Nobel Prize winner who I’ve never read anything by (yet). Then there is a mix of history books, such as the Abraham Lincoln biography and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time, screenplays—Lincoln and Magnolia—a collected stories book by fellow Texan Katherine Anne Porter, a poetry book by Rubén Dario, and an anthology of film criticism and theory.
The books pictured here are all a sort of random mishmash of stuff I’m interested in right now—either because I’m just randomly interested or because I’m being forced to be interested by a class. It’s annoying and a bit ridiculous, a bit Sisyphean, lugging books from Waxahachie, Texas to Conway, Arkansas every three or so months, especially when I’ll probably not even read half of them—instead becoming interested with a topic or author that I can find plenty of resources on in the campus library—but I can’t help it. I love being surrounded by books, and don’t feel at home otherwise.
Cass Hayes is a writer from Waxahachie, Texas. She attends the Arkansas Writers MFA Program at the University of Central Arkansas and works as the managing editor of the online literary journal Arkana. Her fiction and poetry appears or is forthcoming in various online and print literary journals, including Five:2:One, Work Literary Magazine, and Déraciné Magazine.
Like every bookworm, we love to ring in the new year with a new read. To help get your 2018 off to a great start, we asked our authors, editors, and staff to choose some of their favorite books published in the past year.
Here’s a list of our top choices for your consideration–and from all of us at Sundress Publications, have a warm and happy new year.
“WHEREAS confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators. Through a virtuosic array of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers, Layli Long Soldier has created a brilliantly innovative text to examine histories, landscapes, her own writing, and her predicament inside national affiliations.”
“Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don’t Call Us Deadopens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality—the dangers experienced in skin, body, and blood—and a diagnosis of HIV positive. ‘some of us are killed / in pieces,’ Smith writes, ‘some of us all at once.’ Don’t Call Us Dead is an astonishing collection, one that confronts America where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.”
“Akbar proves what books can do in his exceptional debut, which brings us along on his struggle with addiction, a dangerous comfort and soul-eating monster he addresses boldly (‘thinking if I called a wolf a wolf I might dull its fangs’). His work stands out among literature on the subject for a refreshingly unshowy honesty; Akbar runs full tilt emotionally but is never self-indulgent” (Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal, Starred Review)
“Inspired by stories from her Brazilian-born mother, Traci Brimhall’s third collection—a lush and startling ‘autobiomythography’—is reminiscent of the rich imaginative worlds of Latin American magical realists. Set in the Brazilian Amazon, Saudade is one part ghost story, one part revival, and is populated by a colorful cast of characters and a recurring chorus of irreverent Marias.”
“In Surgical Wing, surrealistic poems visit an experimental hospital ward, manifesting visions of winged angels and medical tests, as we bear witness to a doctor’s meddling and miracles. Robertson’s poems challenge the internal and external metamorphoses of the human condition and the juxtaposition between death and life by personifying the soul through images of birds.”
“Throughout this haunting first collection, Patricia Colleen Murphy shows how familial mental illness, addiction, and grief can render even the most courageous person helpless. With depth of feeling, clarity of voice, and artful conflation of surrealist image and experience, she delivers vivid descriptions of soul-shaking events with objective narration, creating psychological portraits contained in sharp, bright language and image. With Plathian relentlessness, Hemming Flames explores the deepest reaches of family dysfunction through highly imaginative language and lines that carry even more emotional weight because they surprise and delight. In landscapes as varied as an Ohio back road, a Russian mental institution, a Korean national landmark, and the summit of Kilimanjaro, each poem sews a new stitch on the dark tapestry of a disturbed suburban family’s world.”
“Meditative and richly written, this collection of poems by Kathy Fagan takes the sycamore as its inspiration―and delivers precise, luminous insights on lost love, nature, and the process of recovery.
“It is the season of separation & falling / Away,” Fagan writes. And so―like the abundance of summer diminishing to winter, and like the bark of the sycamore, which sheds to allow the tree’s expansion―the speaker of these poems documents a painful loss and tenuous rebirth, which take shape against a forested landscape. Black walnuts fall where no one can eat or smell them. Cottonwood sends out feverish signals of pollen. And everywhere are sycamores, informed by Fagan’s scientific and mythological research.
Spellbinding and ambitious, Sycamore is an important new work from a writer whose poems “gleam like pearls or slowly burning stones” (Philip Levine).”
“The existential magnitude, deep intellect, and playful subversion of St. Thomas-born, Florida-raised poet Nicole Sealey’s work is restless in its empathic, succinct examination and lucid awareness of what it means to be human.
The ranging scope of inquiry undertaken in Ordinary Beast—at times philosophical, emotional, and experiential—is evident in each thrilling twist of image by the poet. In brilliant, often ironic lines that move from meditation to matter of fact in a single beat, Sealey’s voice is always awake to the natural world, to the pain and punishment of existence, to the origins and demises of humanity. Exploring notions of race, sexuality, gender, myth, history, and embodiment with profound understanding, Sealey’s is a poetry that refuses to turn a blind eye or deny. It is a poetry of daunting knowledge.”
“Afterland is a powerful, essential collection of poetry that recounts with devastating detail the Hmong exodus from Laos and the fate of thousands of refugees seeking asylum. Mai Der Vang is telling the story of her own family and by doing so, she also provides an essential history of the Hmong culture’s ongoing resilience in exile. Many of these poems are written in the voices of those fleeing unbearable violence after U.S. forces recruited Hmong fighters in Laos in the Secret War against communism, only to abandon them after that war went awry. That history is little known, but the three hundred thousand Hmong now living in the United States are living proof of its aftermath. With poems of extraordinary force and grace, Afterland holds an original place in American poetry and lands with a sense of humanity saved, of outrage, of a deep tradition broken by war and ocean but still intact, remembered, and lived.”
“One of the most magnetic and esteemed poets in today’s literary landscape, Patricia Smith fearlessly confronts the tyranny against the black male body and the tenacious grief of mothers in her compelling new collection, Incendiary Art. She writes an exhaustive lament for mothers of the ‘dark magicians,’ and revisits the devastating murder of Emmett Till. These dynamic sequences serve as a backdrop for present-day racial calamities and calls for resistance. Smith embraces elaborate and eloquent language— ‘her gorgeous fallen son a horrid hidden / rot. Her tiny hand starts crushing roses—one by one / by one she wrecks the casket’s spray. It’s how she / mourns—a mother, still, despite the roar of thorns’— as she sharpens her unerring focus on incidents of national mayhem and mourning. Smith envisions, reenvisions, and ultimately reinvents the role of witness with an incendiary fusion of forms, including prose poems, ghazals, sestinas, and sonnets. With poems impossible to turn away from, one of America’s most electrifying writers reveals what is frightening, and what is revelatory, about history.”
“Andrea Jurjevic’s Small Crimes begins during the Croatian war years of the early 1990’s. In the midst of bombings, sniper shootings, and firing squads, the speaker of the poems manages to live an almost normal adolescence, thanks to her grit, her attachment to family, and her skepticism. The book then moves to the postwar years and onward into America, which is not without its own perils. This is a collection that is often dark but just as often beautiful. Jurjevic’s language crackles with energy, and she lingers lovingly over the intimate details of a life that is lived with the eyes wide open.”
My boyfriend, Joe and I just got this bookcase from a friend who is moving to Poland. We’ve been looking for an extra bookcase for months since we both have so many books (and, let’s face it, we’re going to keep buying them). For now, I’ve been putting favorite books and recently-read books on this shelf. My goal this summer is to read through all of the poetry collections I gathered during the school year. Some recent favorites on here:Blues Triumphant by Jonterri Gadson, Forest Primeval by Vievee Francis, Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open by Diane Seuss, Gilt by Raena Shirali, Careful Mountainby Sara June Woods, Take This Stallion by Anaïs Duplan, Meet Me Here At Dawn by Sophie Klahr, Wasp Queen by Claudia Cortese, Bestiary by Donika Kelly,Wunderkammer by Cynthia Cruz, Landscape with Headless Mama and Protection Spell by Jennifer Givhan, and Sugarblood by Liz Bowen.
Emily Corwin is an MFA candidate in poetry at Indiana University-Bloomington and the former Poetry Editor for Indiana Review. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Gigantic Sequins, Day One, Hobart, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, THRUSH, and elsewhere. She has two chapbooks, My Tall Handsome (Brain Mill Press) and darkling (Platypus Press) which were published in 2016. Her first full-length collection, tenderling is forthcoming in 2018 from Stalking Horse Press. You can follow her online at @exitlessblue.
My “school book bookshelf” was salvaged from the belongings of my husband’s late grandmother. The top shelf houses my rare books, including a copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories from the 1870s and my prized possession, a signed copy of The Last Unicorn. The rest of the shelves hold books on how to teach composition, pedagogy, and linguistics, and a mini figurine of Aragorn, son of Arathorn.
My fiction bookshelves are, upon closer examination, mostly weird dog figurines that my grandparents send me and Neil Gaiman novels, though I do have a surprising (embarrassing?) number of Sookie Stackhouse novels as well. I also use my bookshelves to house her collection of vinyl records, tapes, and cute wine and beer bottles.
Chloe Hanson is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tennessee. She earned her MA and BA from Utah State University, where she also helped to establish and direct the Science Writing Center. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in several journals, including Public Pool, Off the Coast, and Driftwood Press. While she’s procrastinating her homework, she can often be found with a beer in her hand and her dog, Simon, by her side.
Sundress Publications is pleased to announce that in month of January 2017, we will donate 10% of all of our subscription profits to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
“Whether it’s achieving full equality for LGBT people, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age of widespread government surveillance, ending mass incarceration, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach.
“With more than 1 million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., to safeguard everyone’s rights.” (Source: ACLU.org)
A Sundress subscription makes a great gift for yourself or a friend who is eager to stay connected to the literary world, support independent publishing, read new and exciting work from emerging and established authors, and this month, make a meaningful donation to an organization that is committed to establishing peace. Order 2017 Sundress subscription and get all of our 2017 titles including books from Natalie Giarratano, Sarah Marcus, Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick, Sarah Chavez, Stephanie McCarley Dugger, Jim Warner, and more! All subscribers will also receive Sundress swag and goodies and free entry into our contests!
Books pile everywhere in my house. My husband and I are both voracious reader who are always saying, “I really shouldn’t” while at the check-out line at a bookstore.
Below is the bookshelf in our living room, what I think of as the NEAT bookshelf, because it’s full of things that we saw that were too NEAT not to buy, like a coffee table book about the circus.
And these are the bookshelves that sit in the guest room, the books that live in and around my heart, the books that I read for fun, for classes, books that I read until their spines were falling apart and books that I read once. I love these messy, lived-in shelves.
When we got married, we spent our wedding gift cards on the bookshelf below, which we spent three days putting together in our living room while watching documentaries about magicians. This shelf is my favorite for a few reasons. First, because it holds my favorite books: the collectibles, the beauties, the ones that we both need close at hand on a rainy day. And second because it represents my husband’s and my collaborative effort to build a home of books; this bookshelf represents the culmination of a dream: the presence of a bookshelf in every room of our house. It’s a meeting place of our minds and hearts and imaginations, and I love it.
Kristen Figgins is a writer of fabulism, whose work has appeared in such places as The Gateway Review, Sleet Magazine, Hermeneutic Chaos, Sakura Review, Menacing Hedge, and more. Her story “Track Me With Your Words, Speak Me With Your Feet” was winner of the 2015 Fiction Award from Puerto del Sol, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Micro Award, and Write Well Award. Her first chapbook, A Narrow Line of Light, is available for purchase from Boneset Books and her novella, Nesting, is forthcoming from ELJ Publications in the Summer of 2017.