The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Book Of Dirt by Nicole Santalucia

Bitchtown, Pennsylvania

Some bitch like me sets the fi re, cranks
the heat, burns the toast, swallows the flare.

The flowerpots and front lawns blaze
one little fire at a time. Flames sprout
from the gardens on Hanover Street.
Yellow fires and red fires and motherfuckers
drive trucks that are on fire. The chicken hut,
gas station, post office, and the neighbors: all on fire.

When the train passes through this neighborhood of flames
a gust of wind knocks over the bitch who lit the first match.
Her fire burns on fear. Pretty soon the black sky
swirls in fl ames and the clouds shrivel up,
dry out, and drop like dog shit

to the sides of the streets and highways
where heroin addicts are left for dead, where farmers
grow lettuce and trade sheep for shoelaces and guns,
where starving cows are auctioned
and eaten alive, and the people

confuse women for beef and love for needles.


This selection comes from the book, The Book of Dirt, available from NYQ Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Nicole Santalucia is the author of Because I Did Not Die (Bordighera Press) and Spoiled Meat (Headmistress Press). She is a recipient of the Charlotte Mew Chapbook Prize and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize. Her non-fiction and poetry have appeared in publications such as The Best American Poetry 2019, The Cincinnati Review, TINGE, Zócalo Public Square, The Seventh Wave, Gertrude, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Santalucia teaches at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and has taught poetry workshops in the Cumberland County Prison, Shippensburg Public Library, Boys & Girls Clubs, and nursing homes. She lives in conservative-small-town Pennsylvania with her wife.

Nilsa Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. Nilsa Rivera’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Book Of Dirt by Nicole Santalucia

Notes from the Commonwealth

Although I am on a diet from death
I am that abandoned warehouse
next to the farm and all the leftover inventory.
I am the broken hands and broken heads
working at the Lindt Chocolate Factory.
I am stuck in traffic.
I am the fake gold chain
hanging around my brother’s neck
and I am an unanswered phone call.
I am a long drive on Route 81
and all the cows in the field
that breathe car exhaust.
I am chewing through an electric fence.
Meanwhile, a beating heart breaks
into my house and the neighbors think I am dead.


This selection comes from the book, The Book of Dirt, available from NYQ Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Nicole Santalucia is the author of Because I Did Not Die (Bordighera Press) and Spoiled Meat (Headmistress Press). She is a recipient of the Charlotte Mew Chapbook Prize and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize. Her non-fiction and poetry have appeared in publications such as The Best American Poetry 2019, The Cincinnati Review, TINGE, Zócalo Public Square, The Seventh Wave, Gertrude, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Santalucia teaches at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and has taught poetry workshops in the Cumberland County Prison, Shippensburg Public Library, Boys & Girls Clubs, and nursing homes. She lives in conservative-small-town Pennsylvania with her wife.

Nilsa Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. Nilsa Rivera’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Book Of Dirt by Nicole Santalucia

Notes from the Commonwealth

I want to be the chicken in the front seat of that Cadillac
driving down Route 11. The chicken that reaches
for the steering wheel when there’s another chicken
in the road. The chicken that changes a fl at tire
and the chicken that doesn’t get beat up for loving
other chickens. I want to be the red feathered chicken
with white feathered chicks. The chicken with big breasts
that doesn’t wear a bra. The chicken that can actually fl y;
I’d soar over Pennsylvania, over cornfi elds,
and over the prison. I’d free caged chickens
and dig graves for dead chickens.
I’d tie a dollar to a string and catch the guards
who guard jailed chickens. I’d wear my human costume,
patrol the highways, and pull over chicken trucks.
Maybe I want to be a chicken because a chicken’s
life is short; a chicken’s panic is usually caged.
Maybe I am chicken when I don’t hold my wife’s hand
at the movies or on a walk through town. I’m chicken
when I pull my arm off her shoulder after someone
whispers, eww, homos. Chicken feathers have taken over
my face and skin and courage. I’m the chicken
craning my neck through bars and the chicken
with a broken beak.


This selection comes from the book, The Book of Dirt, available from NYQ Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Nicole Santalucia is the author of Because I Did Not Die (Bordighera Press) and Spoiled Meat (Headmistress Press). She is a recipient of the Charlotte Mew Chapbook Prize and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize. Her non-fiction and poetry have appeared in publications such as The Best American Poetry 2019, The Cincinnati Review, TINGE, Zócalo Public Square, The Seventh Wave, Gertrude, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Santalucia teaches at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and has taught poetry workshops in the Cumberland County Prison, Shippensburg Public Library, Boys & Girls Clubs, and nursing homes. She lives in conservative-small-town Pennsylvania with her wife.

Nilsa Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. Nilsa Rivera’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Book Of Dirt by Nicole Santalucia

Bitchtown, Pennsylvania

The Town of Bitch has one grocery store, one coffee shop, one
hospital, and one library. All the residents of Bitchtown wake up
early and drink Bitch Coffee (the coffee beans are from Bitches
County). The bitches go to the grocery store and fi ll their carts with
cans of Bitch Food. They stop off at the hospital to visit their old,
bitch mothers. Then they go to the library and read about how to
grow a bitch from scratch. By the time they get home it is time to
cook dinner, and by nightfall everyone in Bitchtown is lying in bed
counting bitches. They fall asleep and dream only bitch dreams.


This selection comes from the book, The Book of Dirt, available from NYQ Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Nicole Santalucia is the author of Because I Did Not Die (Bordighera Press) and Spoiled Meat (Headmistress Press). She is a recipient of the Charlotte Mew Chapbook Prize and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize. Her non-fiction and poetry have appeared in publications such as The Best American Poetry 2019, The Cincinnati Review, TINGE, Zócalo Public Square, The Seventh Wave, Gertrude, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Santalucia teaches at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and has taught poetry workshops in the Cumberland County Prison, Shippensburg Public Library, Boys & Girls Clubs, and nursing homes. She lives in conservative-small-town Pennsylvania with her wife.

Nilsa Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. Nilsa Rivera’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Book Of Dirt by Nicole Santalucia

Keystone Ode with Moving Violation in It

The spare tire in the trunk
is flat. The rubber is rotting;
it’s covered with deer guts and my guts
and my grandmother’s fingerprints.

On the way to heaven
I’ll probably get pulled over
by the cops. I’ll scratch the blue
paint and try to pick the lock.
My ride will break down near a volcano
that looks like a giant boob.

Stranded and thirsty, I ache for one
last taste of this life, dump my shame
in the trunk of a 1989 Dodge Dart
and trespass through cornfi elds.
Out here in the middle of Pennsylvania
there are no corners to turn.


This selection comes from the book, The Book of Dirt, available from NYQ Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Nicole Santalucia is the author of Because I Did Not Die (Bordighera Press) and Spoiled Meat (Headmistress Press). She is a recipient of the Charlotte Mew Chapbook Prize and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize. Her non-fiction and poetry have appeared in publications such as The Best American Poetry 2019, The Cincinnati Review, TINGE, Zócalo Public Square, The Seventh Wave, Gertrude, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Santalucia teaches at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and has taught poetry workshops in the Cumberland County Prison, Shippensburg Public Library, Boys & Girls Clubs, and nursing homes. She lives in conservative-small-town Pennsylvania with her wife.

Nilsa Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. Nilsa Rivera’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: A Brief History of Fruit by Kimberly Quiogue Andrews


In honor of Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, this selection comes from the book, A Brief History of Fruit, available from University of Akron Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sarah Clark.

Kimberly Quiogue Andrews is a poet and literary critic. A Brief History of Fruit was the winner of the Akron Prize for Poetry from the University of Akron Press. She is also the author of BETWEEN, winner of the New Women’s Voices Chapbook Prize from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Maryland and teaches at Washington College, and you can find her on Twitter at @kqandrews.

Sarah Clark is Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at Anomaly, Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2021), 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 a number of literary and arts publications and organizations.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: A Brief History of Fruit by Kimberly Quiogue Andrews


In honor of Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, this selection comes from the book, A Brief History of Fruit, available from University of Akron Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sarah Clark.

Kimberly Quiogue Andrews is a poet and literary critic. A Brief History of Fruit was the winner of the Akron Prize for Poetry from the University of Akron Press. She is also the author of BETWEEN, winner of the New Women’s Voices Chapbook Prize from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Maryland and teaches at Washington College, and you can find her on Twitter at @kqandrews.

Sarah Clark is Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at Anomaly, Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2021), 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 a number of literary and arts publications and organizations.

 

Lyric Essentials: Lucian Mattison Reads Juan Gelman

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Thank you for joining us at Lyric Essentials! This week, poet and translator Lucian Mattison reads for us Juan Gelman as he discusses history within Argentinian poetry and the bridge that connects people through poetry translation. Thanks for reading!


Erica Hoffmeister: What is your relationship with Juan Gelman’s work? Has his work influenced your own writing at all?

lucian

Lucian Mattison: Although Gelman is a heavyweight back in Argentina, I am quite new to his work. I started off with this book Unthinkable Tenderness because it highlights different time periods in his life in its different sections. In this format, you see his writing actively moving with him and grappling with his being exiled from the country and his son becoming one of the desaparecidos, the victims who were “disappeared” by the anti-communist, military government of the time. My mother grew up in Argentina during the same time and told me stories about living during a time where at any point, one could be snatched from their home if they were seen as sympathetic to radical opposition groups like The Montoneros. The book provides me with another poetic lens through which to view these same kinds of stories which I have always heard about through anecdotes and depictions in movies. As he is a newer addition to my library, I cannot say where [his influence is] exactly just yet. But I can, without a doubt, say he has and is currently doing so.

Lucian Mattison reads “VIII” by Juan Gelman

EH: Of all of Gelman’s collections, why did you choose to read these two poems, both from Unthinkable Tenderness?

LM: I chose to read these two poems because they both deal with the feeling of being exiled in spirit. Gelman wrote these poems between 1974-1980, as he was being chased out of Buenos Aires and finding refuge in Rome. Not being able to go back to his motherland and see his family and children, he worried constantly for their safety, and rightfully so. His son and wife were disappeared in 1976. While other poems directly reference the heartbreak and acidity related to the family tragedy, these two poems bookend the tragedy. The first poem represents a time while there was a certain romance to the persecution, which he defies with the persistence of love and beauty. The later poem comes from a time where he identifies with the deferred dream of an immigrant, where his heart is both displaced and without any place to return. I chose these poems because they are both insistent in their repetition, but come from two very different places, both physically and emotionally.

Lucian Mattison reads “What They Don’t Know” by Juan Gelman

EH: How does your role as a translator and role as a poet work together?

LM: I have been translating poetry from Spanish to English only since 2016, but I’ve been translating my whole life having grown up in bilingual household. In the small amount of time that I’ve been translating poetry, it became much clearer to me just how much Spanish influences my relationship to sound and sentence structure in English. Just like any poet, I defer to sound in a way that is specific to my experience of my languages. The simple fact is, my brand of Spanish is different from the rest of South America’s and, as a result, I relate differently to the world because I’ve been describing it with those terms for as long as I can remember. As a translator, the hardest work is preserving some of the emotional/experiential context inside a voice while working to keep it in line with contemporary English poetics. Being a poet who writes in English, I feel like it is my duty to use my experience in English poetry and craft, and my emotional relationship to my mother language to find an acceptable form for a translated work. I do it because it is important to hear the voices of our contemporaries across the globe and I am lucky enough to be able to build bridges like these.

EH: Are there any creative projects you are working on right now that you’d like to tell us about?

LM: Yes! I am currently looking for a publisher for a translation of Diego Alfaro Palma’s 2015 Santiago Literary Prize-winning collection of poetry, Tordo, published in Buenos Aires in 2016. This is his second collection of original poetry and the first translation of one of his books into English. As far as my own work, I am sending out my third collection of poems titled “Curare” for consideration at publishing houses. I am also writing a novellette that I hope to finish by the end of the year and, as always, I’m writing short stories.


Juan Gelman is an Argentinian poet, translator, journalist, and political activist who lived from 1930 to 2014, spending the last half of his life in political exile. Publishing over twenty books of poetry in his lifetime, he has earned several awards and accolades, including the 1997 Argentine Poetry Prize and the 2007 Cervantes Prize. Gelman is also a widely celebrated political journalist and human rights activist. Upon his death in Mexico City at age 83, Argentina’s president declared three days of national mourning.

Further reading:

Purchase Unthinkable Tenderness by Juan Gelman.
Read this piece on the life of Juan Gelman by Caroline Brothers.
Learn more about translation and Gelman’s poetry specifically at Reading in Translation.

Lucian Mattison is an U.S.-Argentinian poet and translator and author of two books of poetry, Reaper’s Milonga (YesYes Books, 2018) and Peregrine Nation (Dynamo Verlag, 2017), winner of the 2014 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. He is currently based out of Washington, DC, where he is an associate editor of poetry for Barrelhouse. He won the Puerto Del Sol Poetry Prize and has poetry, short fiction, and translations that appear in numerous journals including CutBank, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hobart, The Offing, Sixth Finch, Third Coast, and have been featured on poets.org.

Further reading:

Learn more about Lucian at his personal website.
Buy Lucian’s most recent poetry collection Reaper’s Milonga from YesYes Books.
Read the announcement naming Mattison the recipient of the 2014 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize

Erica Hoffmeister is originally from Southern California and earned an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in English from Chapman University. Currently in Denver, she teaches college writing and is an editor for the Denver-based literary journal South Broadway Ghost Society. She is the author of two poetry collections: Lived in Bars (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), and the prize-winning chapbook, Roots Grew Wild (Kingdoms in the Wild Press, 2019). A cross-genre writer, she has several works of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, articles and critical essays published in various outlets. Learn more about her at http://ericahoffmeister.com/

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: A Brief History of Fruit by Kimberly Quiogue Andrews


In honor of Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, this selection comes from the book, A Brief History of Fruit, available from University of Akron Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sarah Clark.

Kimberly Quiogue Andrews is a poet and literary critic. A Brief History of Fruit was the winner of the Akron Prize for Poetry from the University of Akron Press. She is also the author of BETWEEN, winner of the New Women’s Voices Chapbook Prize from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Maryland and teaches at Washington College, and you can find her on Twitter at @kqandrews.

Sarah Clark is Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at Anomaly, Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2021), 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 a number of literary and arts publications and organizations.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: A Brief History of Fruit by Kimberly Quiogue Andrews


In honor of Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, this selection comes from the book, A Brief History of Fruit, available from University of Akron Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sarah Clark.

Kimberly Quiogue Andrews is a poet and literary critic. A Brief History of Fruit was the winner of the Akron Prize for Poetry from the University of Akron Press. She is also the author of BETWEEN, winner of the New Women’s Voices Chapbook Prize from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Maryland and teaches at Washington College, and you can find her on Twitter at @kqandrews.

Sarah Clark is Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at Anomaly, Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2021), 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 a number of literary and arts publications and organizations.