Space Baby: Episodes I-III by Nicole Oquendo

Drifting through extraterrestrial worlds, poet Nicole Oquendo explores the raw power of deep, yet unsustainable love. Oquendo balances tension and passion, delving into the visceral nature of desire while depicting its inherent toxicity. In these futuristic poems is a passionate but destructive alien affair, wherein love engenders chaos. The cohesion of these lovers is intimate but dangerous, and an embrace can ascend to asphyxiation. As the two beings grow closer, they are ensnared, each simultaneously metamorphosing into captor and prisoner, paramour and adversary. In these pages, vivisection is an act of intimacy, and loving someone is akin to willingly tipping one's face to a sky that rains glass. This chapbook examines longing for someone while wishing to escape them. While these poems demonstrate that the heat of passion can transform sand from grit to crystal, they also question whether such a thing is worth the sacrifice. It seems that to love something is to kill it. To love something is to burn.

"Space Baby: Episodes I-III is violent and kinky and weirdly redemptive. Like all of Oquendo's writing, it is clear and lyrical and just tender enough to disrupt expectations. You would be wise to savor these poems, but you may not be able to resist reading them all in one breathless go as I did."
-Amy Watkins, author of Milk & Water

Manticore: Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identity edited by Nicole Oquendo

"Hybridity, for me, has always equated to possibility, and the creative work I enjoy most inhabits multiple genres at once. Within the last few years, growing and changing along with the labels that make up my identity—nonbinary, disabled, queer, Latinx, brujx, and so much more—I have discovered there is a glorious intersection of identity and form when it comes to the creation of work outside the boundaries of what is traditionally accepted. In gathering the work for this anthology, I wanted to focus on hybrid identities and the hybrid work these identities inspire, and I believe this collection—in the form of various media, highlighting both the truth and what is imagined—is a fantastic representation of what we can do when we embrace possibility with ferocity."
-Nicole Oquendo, Editor

"Manticore is as surprising as it is lovely; exquisite, gut-wrenching hybridities that capture what it is to be outside. This collection of stories, poems, and images will captivate readers—its venom heady and delightful as it is deadly. A monstrous kind of magic is afoot here."
-M.R. Sheffield, author of marvels

Wind on the Moon by Katie Burgess

"The stories in Wind on the Moon fit together seamlessly, creating a world that's as real to us readers as it is enchanted with love and grief. Burgess uses playful form and familiar tales to distill the most complex family dynamics: a daughter reckons with her mother meeting her lover in the language of a math textbook. Adam and Eve become a husband and wife who 'always did encourage each other's bad behavior.' In the final story, the act of writing conflates with the creation of the universe, our narrator critiquing the work of a god: 'I liked how in your first draft everything revolved around Earth. That makes a lot more sense if the people there are going to be important.' And Burgess shows us the importance of all people, encouraging empathy and the desire to get to know every character, every person, no matter how insignificant they may seem at first. Burgess writes with an honesty so clear it aches. Wind on the Moon is one of those books you can't wait to share with everyone you love."
-Stacey Balkun, author of Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak, 2018 Chapbook Contest Judge

"I've never read in the literary biographies how Lydia Davis and Donald Barthelme hooked up, but the result is clear: Katie Burgess. Wind on the Moon is an amazing collection of short, jaundice-eyed, hilarious, sly, insightful, intelligent stories that the world needs now. One problem: This collection needs to be about ten times as long. These characters are human, human, human. They navigate in times that are increasingly disconcerting. They triumph and/or fail. I don't know when I last read a collection of stories that made me think, 'Yes! Yes, yes, yes!' Exactly."
-George Singleton, author of Staff Picks

"From the guys who faked the moon landing to what really went down in the Garden of Eden back in the day, Katie Burgess's sly and sharp stories take you on a trip through the secret soul of America. Her prose shines like polished steel and cuts like an obsidian blade. She's as funny as David Sedaris and twice as bold, giving God editorial advice and taking down the college industrial complex. Burgess is a writer on her way up. Read her now and be cooler than your friends!"
-Diane Roberts, author of Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America

Wind on the Moon was the winner of the 2018 Sundress Chapbook Contest

The Tripart Heart by Sarah Einstein

"The essays in this collection are exactly what we have come to expect from Sarah Einstein: wise, witty, sharp-eyed, and full of compassionate heart. She takes a hard look at how we treat and accept each other, how we overlook and discard each other, and how we revere and love each other. The Tripart Heart asks us to work a little harder at the job of being good humans. With these narratives, Einstein both urges us to try alongside her and offers us an encouraging nod because she knows we can always do better."
-Penny Guisinger, author of Postcards from Here

"The clarity and grace of Sarah Einstein's writing is once again evident in The Tripart Heart. Only Einstein can infuse such tenderness for her younger self into the first essay—a rip-roaring, movie-worthy tale of drugs and love. And only a fifty-year-old Einstein can end the chapbook with an exploration of sex and desire from within a marriage that is written with a fierce, profound honesty that seems to burn up off the page."
-Sandra Gail Lambert, author of A Certain Loneliness

"Walking a line between deeply-felt memory and tender nostalgia for hard-scrabble times, Sarah Einstein's chapbook delineates the path from trying to change the world to letting the world soften and make fertile the heart."
-Alex DeFrancesco, author of Pscyhopomps

Chickenhawks & Goldilocks by Grey Vild

The honesty of Chickenhawks & Goldilocks washes in like a wild tide on grief's jagged shoreline, embracing the confusion and complexity that accompanies losing a loved one to suicide. Instead of a one-note lament, this chapbook recognizes confusion and examines how that confusion can make a person and a relationship seem improved through absence. Chickenhawks & Goldilocks reveals how a love can fill in our cracks and seams and make us feel whole. By juxtaposing poems that acknowledge this feeling with poems that delve into flawed relationships and the abandonment the speaker cannot help but feel, Vild portrays a more complete grief. Thoughts and feelings are intertwined, wrapped in each other such that they cannot be separated. Here betrayal, love, rage, anguish, and guilt all bleed toward each other, trapped in the cage of our chests.

"Chickenhawks & Goldilocks adroitly renders the liminal experience of grief with notes of tender specificity dovetailing expressive and purposeful abstraction—each poem is a shout against the silence absence carves into our lives. But make no mistake, Grey Vild doesn't wallow in these poems, nor allow us to do so. Here we, poet and reader, overcome the loss that would have us lose ourselves—a loss all too present for those in and aside the trans community—and find resolve to carry forward in the beautiful project of living, to make the choice every day while still honoring those who felt they couldn't, hiding nothing about how difficult, at times, the living is and will be."
-Cortney Lamar Charleston

Mend by Kristin LaTour and illustrated by Angel E. Perez

"Aristotle said that the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. In Mend, Kristin LaTour proves the point. While the heart in these poems is many things, it is practical above all else, functional as well as versatile, from a cherished vase skilled in dispersing the light of a life into its constituent colors, to a Persian rug into which hopes are woven—something both useful and beautiful that stands the test of time, gathering and protecting a lifetime of stories. Each of LaTour's poems is a gift that shows us a new way of seeing the heart, that symbol of our emotional lives, of what makes us human."
-Nancy Chen Long, winner of the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry

"What is the heart? It's a container: a repository for our most complex feelings of love and loss, of nostalgia and growth. The illustrated poems in this collection explore and explode that metaphor. Life 'may not / be pretty all the time,' Kristin LaTour writes, but it is durable, resilient, full of nourishment. 'Glass can be made strong, / but it is still breakable,' one poem offers, and we know the opposite is also true: a breakable thing can still be strong. What does the heart do? It keeps us alive, and so do these poems."
-Amorak Huey author of Seducing the Asparagus Queen

"The heart was first considered the center of emotions by the Egyptians, who noticed that it was a vehicle for blood that would circulate through the entirety of the body and that when a person felt strong feelings, it would increase the strength of its pumping. In 2015, scientists discovered the heart contained neurons, that it is, in fact, part of the nervous system. Such a sensitive vessel then, would be bound to be a bodily collector of memory. This is what Kristin LaTour explores in her latest collection Mend. LaTour representatively catalogues all the artifacts a heart can contain and become through its sojourn from first beat to last. The heart can 'disperse light...split it into...the colors of joy,' and also be a home for 'silver tip tetras...who eat their own young.' Although it can gather rust, thistles, algae, and fall victim to "the slow work of sand and water," LaTour endeavors to 'mend her, make promises.' The artwork of Angel Perez provides a lovely unexpected touch. His ink strokes are filled with emotion—at times desolate, at times exuding a playfulness. The drawings add corporeality to the extended metaphor. This collection is delicately introspective through the use of lushly tangible imagery. Each poem is a delight to linger in."
-Jill Khoury, author of Suites for the Modern Dancer

"Luminous words for dark times...Kristin LaTours's poems in Mend are USEFUL, which is the highest compliment I can give. Angel's art is wondrous and has an elegant simplicity to it."
-Jon Dee Graham, Austin Music Hall of Fame Singer/Songwriter

The Tyranny of Heirlooms by Erika Eckart

"Erika Eckart's The Tyranny of Heirlooms is itself 'magical material,' a meditation on the necessity for escape, the impossibility of escape, and maybe, ultimately, 'the illusion of escape' that salves and saves us all. Equal parts a 'hope chest' and a list of regrets, the book burgeons with the accumulations of lives which are always 'much more than...could ever fit inside.' Eckart, then, brings those accretions outside in all their poverty and persistence. Her narrators know we 'can't start fresh all the way from scratch,' so they are offered the next best thing: brute sequences of sustenance, always a day late, a dollar short, but somehow complete."
-Nicole Matos

"The box-shaped poems in the first section of Erika Eckart's powerful manuscript struggle to contain the wild energy of the characters fenced within. Each one has an obsession, whether it be the woman who scrapes the scabs from her husband's diseased body into a jar from, which she ritualistically inhales, or the Cicada Man who never gets over the emergence of a biblical swarm of cicadas, none can escape the event or obsession that binds them. The second section, The Tyranny of Heirlooms, from which the book takes its title, imbues domestic objects and rituals with menace. In 'Monopoly,' a punitive mother lifts young children into a dumpster to search for a missing monopoly piece while the neighbors hear them through the night 'like mice scratching at the wall.' In 'Housekeeping' children attempt to create a home by building a fort from rotted logs and wooden pallets, decorating the surfaces with vases of weeds in empty beer bottles. Theirs is a game less of fantasy than of survival in face of the abuse. The tyranny in the book's title is expertly rendered, but because the collection is also about survival, Eckart ends on a note of affirmation. In the face of darkness, the poet is still capable of song, as the last line of the final poem asserts: 'I am still here and we have music.'"
-Victoria Anderson

epithalamium by Laura Page

"What Laura Page has given us with epithalamium is a set of poems that refuses to blush, refuses to slow down, and refuses to ever pose for us. This book approaches the real world with an otherworldly understanding of its machinations, and despite that deep look into our workings it emerges with a passionate idea of where this could all be headed. These poems question the archetypes and mythologies that deserve to be questioned, and through that process something larger emerges. This is a work that I will return to whenever I feel like being challenged by Page's undeniable energy and music."
-Darren C. Demaree, author of Two Towns Over

"The body is the star of Laura Page's wonderful collection epithalamium, as it should be since its title celebrates the union of two bodies: 'if you'll have me, hot ash mirror to your own bright sadness, / i promise to be a real hearth, in time...' The bodies in these fine poems offer themselves up to and demand reading—in palmistry, before / during / after lovemaking, and even prior to commitment, as when the narrator seeks to 'parse a flirt' with her would-be lover. This body is not the coldly-perfect architectural body of the basilica, but rather that 'fleeing limestone / for a pale, lewd sun.' Her tulips are 'aching to be muddied somehow, to be unpetalled.' During masterful lexical play, as in her poem 'juleps, an inventory,' we come across 'ice, sweat / grip, gripe,' sensations of physical extremis. Trapped in time, trapped in our desires, we echo mouse-bodies, 'human dark, buttered, baited.' Even in repose, we attract tangible substance from the universe, from the ether: 'soot, spit, rug, scab, / algae, dung, latex, talcum.' The reader delights as this collection's poems knit together, animated by their author's passion. In the title poem, Page addresses us as well as her bride when she says: 'you'll have said / i do / so do. despite the salt in the / deeper splinters.' I enjoin you also to say I do and give yourself up to the pleasure of reading."
-Devon Balwit, author of Motes at Play in the Hall of Light

epithalamium was the winner of the 2017 Sundress Chapbook Contest

Fly Back At Me by Bernard Grant

"Bernard Grant's Fly Back at Me is filled with riches. One short-short after another shocks, hurts, entertains, and enlightens. His sentences are spot-on. If we thought we knew how households work, we discover how much we need to learn. Each page tells us a new truth and the linked whole leads us to an ending that makes us reel, makes us rethink everything, wises us up. Here is a brand-new and powerful young author whose voice insists on silence and revelation. Get in on the ground floor!"
-Kelly Cherry, author of Twelve Women in a Country Called America: Stories

"Bernard Grant's tight and masterful collection Fly Back at Me is a story shown and never told, a mysterious and also detailed account of one childhood. We learn about a life through scene, detail, and image. Grant reveals his characters through shimmering slices of writing, fragments of a past that we can only grab onto fleetingly before going back to read and reread. Joy and tragedy and a deep mother-son love rattle here in their cages. Poignant and immediate."
-Jessica Barksdale Inclán, author of The Burning Hour

"Bernard Grant writes with acute clarity; his language and his imagery alike are sharp and clear, and this collection seems nearly etched on the page. These fragments of childhood that Grant has gathered are—like childhood, like memory itself—both lovely and brutal, gentle and harsh. In prose utterly stripped of excess, Grant brings to life an era, a younger self, and a world that the reader will not soon forget."
-Marya Hornbacher, author of Wasted and Madness

Curious Specimens edited by Wren Hanks and Beth Couture

Featuring the work of Eric Baus, Mathias Svalina, Emily O'Neill, Sonya Vatomsky, Moss Angel, and MANDEM, among many others, Curious Specimens is an anthology of the strange and wondrous things that make us human.

"Beth Couture and I sought poetry, prose, and hybrid text / ephemera that explored what it meant to be someone (or something) caught between worlds. Like many queer writers, I've long been sympathetic to the monster in the scary story. Writing from the perspective of sea serpents and celestial wolves has allowed me to speak candidly about my trans body and to embrace the messiness of my (ever-shifting) queer identity. I hoped this anthology call might inspire other writers to use persona to interrogate their own relationship to monstrosity and possibly tap into this same kind of catharsis. Thankfully, submitters were both less literal and more creative than I could ever be! Andi and Lance Olsen catalog the effects 'one's memories breaking loose' has on the body. A speaker warns of alternate selves coming for her 'crystal core'. A Jackalope-Girl gets a late-night tattoo. Comfort comes in the form of Cerebus, crocodile eggs, a pile of bones. As Susan Slaviero writes, it might even be 'better to be an anomaly,' someone who defies easy classification."
-Wren Hanks, editor of Curious Specimens

Bitches of the Drought by Lauren Eggert-Crowe

"Lauren Eggert-Crowe paints big, gorgeous, preternatural flora and fauna in this small luscious package of poetry. 'Hair aflame,' there are pink claws and a narrator who claims, 'I was a neon emergency.' Bitches of the Drought will burn a hole in your heart with the glow of these poems that deliciously straddle the line between delicate and fierce."
-Wendy C. Ortiz, author of Bruja, Hollywood Notebook, and Excavation

"Bitches of the Drought is Rocky for riot girls—all ecstatic anger and beat-him-to-the-punch puns. Los Angeles's climate change induced, bone-dry summer is the perfect backdrop to an ambivalent end of the road love story, with its final moments of sad magic like 'a cupcake atop a gazelle,' 'a panic of silk,' and 'a slowed glacier.' A beautiful little book."
-Kate Durbin, author of E! Entertainment

Bitches of the Drought was the runner-up for the 2016 Sundress Chapbook Competition.

Bottomland by Erin Elkins Radcliffe

"Erin Elkins Radcliffe's Bottomland is both fresh and timeless. Like the poems of Po Chu I, which leap across centuries to convey directly to our senses humble, country things like the taste of fresh bamboo shoots (delicious!), Erin Radcliff's poems penetrate all the contemporary static that surrounds us to show us the unaltered, unalterable cycle of life. Father, Mother, children, calves and chickens, barn swallows drowned in the washtub, bees making honey in the walls which can never be tasted 'because to extract them was to destroy the only sweetness we could keep.' Bottomland is delicious—and, thankfully, we can extract its sweetness without destroying it."
-Richard Cecil, author of Twenty-First Century Blues and In Search of the Great Dead

"The poems of Bottomland are visceral, gross, yet filled with fecund beauty and so, so tender—a lot like life itself. These poems do seem to pulse, bleed, lay eggs, rot, make promises, and have eyes and veins and sickness and spirit. As soon as I finished—and this has never happened to me before—I immediately started over again. I wish there were more and am anxious to read more of Erin Elkins Radcliffe's work."
- Bonnie Nadzam, author of Lamb and Lions

Bottomland was the runner-up for the 2016 Sundress Chapbook Competition.

Deviants by Colleen Abel

"In Deviants, 'The eye alters all that it falls on.' And the eye is everywhere—in every poem and in the lyric essay, 'Fat Studies.' There is no escape, even in the darkness: 'It's true I like you better in the dark. / Deep dark. Where I can't even see your face.' And the eye is keen in its appraisal. What it sees is what is most often offered up for alteration—the female body. The poems and the lyric essay all deal in issues of body. These bodies are not, however, places of comfort and safety. Instead the body is dangerous: 'My heart is not a heart, it is a little nest of razorblades. I look soft, but if you touch me, your hands will be instantly pulverized, as if you had slammed them into concrete.' Or the body becomes something to escape: 'If it helps, I don't want to be myself / either—to slip out of this body when / when you enter, to exchange within the puff / of magic smoke my life for another. / Leave me other.' The body is in turns stark and lush and finally 'the body / is a planet you tilt / on its axis spinning.' Deviants left me both spinning and altered. It made me want to say, Thank you for helping me understand."
-Staci R. Schoenfeld, 2016 Chapbook Contest Judge

"Colleen Abel's wonderful book, Deviant, is mesmerizing—once I began, I couldn't stop reading. The speaker provides a moving account—sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes wry, and oftentimes both—of what it means to be 'fat' in this world. The central piece is called 'Fat Studies' with references to sociologists and humorous pieces about Jackie Kennedy. Ultimately, Deviants is a beautiful book by a talented writer on material so many of us can understand and relate to, but oftentimes don't have the opportunity to read in this form."
-Victoria Chang

Deviants was the winner of the 2016 Sundress Chapbook Contest

Angeltits by Katie Longofono

"Katie Longofono's collection Angeltits is a magnificent look into modern personhood—especially when that personhood revolves around the identity of being a woman—or female-bodied. It questions gender stereotypes and why humans interact in such a closeted, emotionally violent way. In her poem 'We Are Mostly Merciful,' it begins with sage lines: 'We are mostly merciful we give in/we say uncle relatively speaking/it's easy not like sifting flour/or kneading,' and then powerfully ends with the line: 'women walking between/familiar rooms.'"
-Joanna Valente

"Angeltits comes in real as the blood of a cut lip in a kiss, 'a sweet red decanted/ on their tongues.' Here, Longofono, in strong boned poems by turns quiet and loud with pain and sex, defies objectification, and in so doing, reclaims her subjectivity. In her aubade 'One Morning, Every Morning,' Longofono's speaker becomes a poem: 'you break but can't explain/where. You'd call yourself a shell/except it evokes the cage/of something pink and tough which is true/but you also mean how often/you are a single line.' This work voices the unspoken moments, musky with sex and violence, in which women are portrayed and betrayed, reduced, and replies, 'I am not a bird or a symbol. / I am a woman burning.'"
-Marina Weiss

"In her electrified, electrifying poems, Katie Longofono writes lines that spark with anger, hurt, and intelligence. Like a cross between an open wound and a live downed wire, this collection dares its readers to look more closely at all the damage and power a young woman's body can contain. By turns elegant and brutal, Angeltits is a remarkable, potent collection, and Longofono a sharp, wild poet."
-Heather Christle

Letters to Colin Firth by Katherine Riegel

"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."
-J. Nicole Oquendo, 2015 Sundress Chapbook Competition Judge

Letters to Colin Firth was the winner for the 2015 Sundress Chapbook Competition.

The Desiring Object OR Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them by Jessica Rae Bergamino

"In Jessica Rae Bergamino's The Desiring Object OR Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them, each word carries a heavy weight. This chapbook forced me feel every vibration in order to fully experience the hybrid collage of science and sound. From the epigraph that contextualizes the ambitious theme, and through the immediacy of every line down to the last, I traversed the stars."
-J. Nicole Oquendo, 2015 Sundress Chapbook Competition Judge

"We rarely ask about the instruments behind scientific discoveries, but perhaps we should. Or, better yet, perhaps we should ask them how they feel about themselves and their work. Jessica Rae Bergamino's The Desiring Object imagines the inner workings of a Voyager Two who—like Star Trek's V'ger and Welcome to Night Vale's Fey—has become sentient and pursues desires of her own. As she wonders 'what body knows what's left of herself / when she's drifting from her shadow,' we can't help but turn skyward, dream of probes barreling through interstellar space and how, if they spoke as beautifully as Bergamino, they'd answer our questions."
-T.A. Noonan, author of The Bone Folders

The Desiring Object OR Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them was the runner-up for the 2015 Sundress Chapbook Competition.

In the Voice of a Minor Saint by Sarah J. Sloat

Sarah J. Sloat's chapbook, In the Voice of a Minor Saint, showcases small moments that belie great significance and trumpet the author's ear for the specific. This collection is rich with metaphor, and Sloat uses form in a way that emphasizes the lyric. Broad in scope, while still giving the reader intimate insight into the speaker's psyche, these pieces are touched with the divine.

The One Where I Ruin Your Childhood by Daniel Crocker

"The poems in The One Where I Ruin Your Childhood are urgent and raw. Crocker uses popular culture to gut punch coming of age insecurities and all the ferocious sexual energy that comes with growing up. Whether in the form of a lust poem from Skeletor to He-Man, an existential lament for Snuffleupagas, or a poignant rumination on siblings, Crocker's poems are at turns funny and haunting, and always bristling with the electric murmur of their characters making a place in the world for themselves."
-James Brubaker, author of Liner Notes and Pilot Season

"I've never read a book so heartbreaking, so funny, so tender, so powerful, and so real. At a certain point in this book, one loses one's bearings completely, and enters the darkness and confusion that Crocker has been hinting at. Then, Crocker takes that sensibility a step further. These poems needed to be written."
-Steve Henn, author of And God Said: Let there be Evolution

The Bureau by Les Kay

"Les Kay's The Bureau is unlike anything I (or you) have ever read. A brilliant series of interconnected poems, it's like Kafka and Berryman drinking poison tea while discussing the new normal. Funny, strange, and horrifying. Visionary. Bartleby the Scrivener on acid. Rimbaud's appearance in these poems seems completely natural, inevitable really. Kay has his finger on the pulse of a monster here—a monster called The Bureau."
-Jim Daniels, author of Birth Marks and Eight Mile High

Portage by Sarah Ann Winn

Age fermenting us, we drive ourselves into glass bottles, like crushed apples ready for the pie. Winn's Portage prepares us for this dance, serving us the tilt of our grandmother's bowl-porting arms, and with each poem we remove the masquerade of complexity—she magnifies our all-too-human tendencies and sloughs away the excess, until only what we hold most dear is left. As a result, we're marooned in taste & texture: the cold clay of our history, river-swollen language, the sweet twist of a golden apple skin around a wooden spoon. Winn's poetry exudes warmth and the commonalities inherent in the foreign. She saws the whole into barbs of possibilities, reminding us of the comfort kitchen counters bring to the soul. And though we cool as a result of detachment—the kiln in need of fuel—Portage reveals the blaze within the mold of our two hands, the masters of catching falling things.

Portage was the runner-up of the 2014 Sundress chapbook contest.

Exodus in X Minor by Fox Frazier-Foley

"Fox Frazier-Foley's Exodus in X Minor offers us an extraordinary album of portraits drawn from the darkest reaches of upstate New York. Her broken figures are awash in drugs, death, and Spiritualism, and what hopes that have left seem raw and intimate, yet inevitably dangerous. The constellations of darkness that illuminate these poems begin to swirl into an accelerating vortex, and even the most righteous reader will have to face going down."
- David St. John

"Fox Frazier-Foley chills us, makes hair bristle, palms sweat, in engaging bright language, in vibratory, sinuous poems. Exodus in X Minor traverses an unbounded inner being, alive at the crux of risk, and enters the world, trauma seeping outside-in through the poet's porous lines."
-Susan McCabe

"I've read Fox Frazier-Foley's Exodus in X Minor about ten times now, more, and I still don't quite know what to do with it. I go back to it, roll images and phrases around like blood red berries in my mouth, and every time I think I have a handle on it, I realize I just can't grasp it. This isn't a book you 'get.' It's a book that gets you. You dream about it and wake up sweating, shaking, like you've been chased all night by a strange animal, one you can't quite identify. You're desperate for it to reveal itself. This sharp, elusive book is smarter than I am, and it scares me in the best way possible. I'm so grateful for the challenge, for the lack of comfort these poems provide."
- Beth Couture, Judge, 2014 Sundress Chapbook Contest

Exodus in X Minor was the winner of the 2014 Sundress chapbook contest.

Print copies are also available!

Alabama Steve by Karyna McGlynn

Karyna McGlynn's chapbook Alabama Steve is a swirl of captivating Deep South truisms, borderline psychosis, fame, and poignant still-life. She employs an ambitious layering of realities with imagination, meaning that her characters are often tasked with clarifying their own realities. This gyroscopic consciousness volleys from small town porches to university offices to Ecuador, often meeting and re-meeting Alabama Steve himself. McGlynn displays anxiety, obsessive and misleading trains of thought which works with the gypsy-like world she has created where supposedly normal characters uncover the unknown at every turn.

Truly, Alabama Steve has something for everybody. Conversations with famous authors and celebrities, Seuss-like advice, and elements of the erotic and the grotesque. McGlynn with one line can be reminiscent of the Beats and on the next of Lewis Carroll. McGlynn wrote "you can't know what it's like—the life that surges through you, when you first put your tongue to the BONE." Readers will want to put their tongue to the bone, in this case, and find that same indefinable surge in pages of Alabama Steve.

When I Was a Girl by Jennifer Jackson Berry

Jennifer Jackson Berry's latest chapbook When I Was A Girl is a powerful collection of poems that dares to take readers back to the puzzles and insecurities of adolescence. The poems travel chronologically from age eleven to college, each describing a feeling, circumstance or concept through a specific age lens. Most of all, Berry's poems follow the generation of adult yearnings that begin in youth. This is a chapbook for anyone who has ever grown up, and wants to remember with precise, often uncomfortable certainty, exactly what it was like.

When I Was A Girl was the second place winner in the Sundress chapbook contest.

Negotiating With Objects by Lisa M. Cole

"In Negotiating with Objects, Lisa M. Cole trains her vision on the human body with such intensity and originality that it becomes a wholly new artifact. It is 'a shaky boat' and 'a misguided earth.' It is 'an electric chair.' It is dangerous, the site of pleasure and of brokenness—'a ribbon / wrapped around a bomb.' Cole reminds us that what makes the body so very precious is its impermanence. 'What is formless matters less & less,' she tells us, and with every read, these poems matter more and more."
-Nick McRae, Sundress Publications Chapbook Contest Judge and Author of The Name Museum

Negotiating with Objects was the second-ever winner of the Sundress chapbook contest.

Bestiary of Gall by Emilia Phillips

Emilia Phillips' collection of fractured fables take their titles from the writings of Hippocrates, Virgil's Georgics, and a Bestiary Being an English Version of the Bodleian Library. At turns both beautiful and bizarre, Phillips introduces us to a violent and beastly world where "we mutiny like secrets" and are "full of still image." These poems surprise, delight, and terrify, all at the same time.


Kristy Bowen's new chapbook, I*HATE*YOU*JAMES*FRANCO, falls into strangeness unfolding over and over like a letter. The poems are enticing, addictive, and strangely beautiful, and the collection itself is brilliantly constructed, bringing to life all the things you think but never say. Before you know it, you'll be watching 127 Hours rooting for the rock.

Hush by Jan LaPerle

"Jan LaPerle's strange tales venture deeper than one might expect. There are plenty of laughs--a woman pregnant with a dishwasher? a man who buys a new head each year?--yet beneath the surface humor is a swift current of love, home, and the need for human connection. Escape is impossible once you're caught in Hush. But then again, you won't want to."
-T.A. Noonan, Sundress Publications Chapbook Contest Judge and Author of The Bone Folders

Hush was one of two runners-up for the 2011 Sundress chapbook contest.

Isla by Charity Stebbins

"Beginning and ending with dreams—first 'of milkfish and of becoming a doctor' and finally of 'an exoskeleton' left by a 'parrot...bounded into the air'—Stebbins guides the reader on a tour of the Philippine Islands. Yet this is no mere sightseer's catalog; Isla is as much meditation as it is documentary. Stebbins has (re)created a landscape that wavers between the exotic and familiar, drawing you in until you, too, are haunted by the distant afterimage of water."
-T.A. Noonan, Sundress Publications Chapbook Contest Judge and Author of The Bone Folders

Isla is the first-ever winner of the Sundress chapbook contest.