The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Marianna’s Beauty Salon by Bushra Rehman


Photo credit: Jaishri Abichandani



This selection comes from Marianna’s Beauty Salon, available from Sibling Rivalry Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for August is Saba Syed Razvi.

Bushra Rehman is a poet, novelist and teaching artist. Her novel Corona, a dark comedy about being South Asian American, was noted by Poets & Writers among they year’s Best Debut Fiction. Rehman is co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism, one of Ms. Magazine’s “100 Best Non-fiction Books of All Time.” Rehman is creator of the community-based writing workshop Two Truths and a Lie: Writing Memoir and Autobiographical Fiction. Her first poetry collection Marianna’s Beauty Salon was released in May 2018.

Saba Syed Razvi is the author of the collections In the Crocodile Gardens and heliophobia, as well as the chapbooks Limerence & Lux, Of the Divining and the Dead, and Beside the Muezzin’s Call & Beyond the Harem’s Veil. Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Offending Adam, Diner, TheTHE Poetry Blog’s Infoxicated Corner, The Homestead Review, NonBinary Review, 10×3 plus, 13th Warrior Review, The Arbor Vitae Review, and Arsenic Lobster, and others, as well as in anthologies such as Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (forthcoming), Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War Faith and Sexuality, The Loudest Voice Anthology, The Liddell Book of Poetry, Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity, The Rhysling Anthology, and Dreamspinning. Her works have been nominated for the 2017 Elgin Award, the Bettering American Poetry Awards, The Best of the Net Award, and the Rhysling Award, have appeared on the 2018 Stoker Award’s preliminary ballot and have received a 2015 Independent Best American Poetry Award. She earned her PhD in Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Southern California in 2012. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Houston in Victoria, TX, where in addition to working on scholarly research on interfaces between science and contemporary poetry, she is researching Sufi poetry in translation, writing new poems and fiction, and developing community based-programs to highlight poetry and contemporary literature in the Crossroads region of Texas.

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Marianna’s Beauty Salon by Bushra Rehman


Photo credit: Jaishri Abichandani



This selection comes from Marianna’s Beauty Salon, available from Sibling Rivalry Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for August is Saba Syed Razvi.

Bushra Rehman is a poet, novelist and teaching artist. Her novel Corona, a dark comedy about being South Asian American, was noted by Poets & Writers among they year’s Best Debut Fiction. Rehman is co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism, one of Ms. Magazine’s “100 Best Non-fiction Books of All Time.” Rehman is creator of the community-based writing workshop Two Truths and a Lie: Writing Memoir and Autobiographical Fiction. Her first poetry collection Marianna’s Beauty Salon was released in May 2018.

Saba Syed Razvi is the author of the collections In the Crocodile Gardens and heliophobia, as well as the chapbooks Limerence & Lux, Of the Divining and the Dead, and Beside the Muezzin’s Call & Beyond the Harem’s Veil. Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Offending Adam, Diner, TheTHE Poetry Blog’s Infoxicated Corner, The Homestead Review, NonBinary Review, 10×3 plus, 13th Warrior Review, The Arbor Vitae Review, and Arsenic Lobster, and others, as well as in anthologies such as Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (forthcoming), Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War Faith and Sexuality, The Loudest Voice Anthology, The Liddell Book of Poetry, Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity, The Rhysling Anthology, and Dreamspinning. Her works have been nominated for the 2017 Elgin Award, the Bettering American Poetry Awards, The Best of the Net Award, and the Rhysling Award, have appeared on the 2018 Stoker Award’s preliminary ballot and have received a 2015 Independent Best American Poetry Award. She earned her PhD in Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Southern California in 2012. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Houston in Victoria, TX, where in addition to working on scholarly research on interfaces between science and contemporary poetry, she is researching Sufi poetry in translation, writing new poems and fiction, and developing community based-programs to highlight poetry and contemporary literature in the Crossroads region of Texas.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Marianna’s Beauty Salon by Bushra Rehman


Photo credit: Jaishri Abichandani



This selection comes from Marianna’s Beauty Salon, available from Sibling Rivalry Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for August is Saba Syed Razvi.

Bushra Rehman is a poet, novelist and teaching artist. Her novel Corona, a dark comedy about being South Asian American, was noted by Poets & Writers among they year’s Best Debut Fiction. Rehman is co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism, one of Ms. Magazine’s “100 Best Non-fiction Books of All Time.” Rehman is creator of the community-based writing workshop Two Truths and a Lie: Writing Memoir and Autobiographical Fiction. Her first poetry collection Marianna’s Beauty Salon was released in May 2018.

Saba Syed Razvi is the author of the collections In the Crocodile Gardens and heliophobia, as well as the chapbooks Limerence & Lux, Of the Divining and the Dead, and Beside the Muezzin’s Call & Beyond the Harem’s Veil. Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Offending Adam, Diner, TheTHE Poetry Blog’s Infoxicated Corner, The Homestead Review, NonBinary Review, 10×3 plus, 13th Warrior Review, The Arbor Vitae Review, and Arsenic Lobster, and others, as well as in anthologies such as Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (forthcoming), Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War Faith and Sexuality, The Loudest Voice Anthology, The Liddell Book of Poetry, Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity, The Rhysling Anthology, and Dreamspinning. Her works have been nominated for the 2017 Elgin Award, the Bettering American Poetry Awards, The Best of the Net Award, and the Rhysling Award, have appeared on the 2018 Stoker Award’s preliminary ballot and have received a 2015 Independent Best American Poetry Award. She earned her PhD in Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Southern California in 2012. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Houston in Victoria, TX, where in addition to working on scholarly research on interfaces between science and contemporary poetry, she is researching Sufi poetry in translation, writing new poems and fiction, and developing community based-programs to highlight poetry and contemporary literature in the Crossroads region of Texas.

Poets in Pajamas: An Online Reading Series from Sundress Publications, Episode 35: Emily Jungmin Yoon

poets in pajamas

Looking for a Sunday night treat? Poets in Pajamas, an online reading series presented by Sundress Publications will be hosting poet, Emily Jungmin Yoon, live on Sunday, August 5th at 7pm EST. Poets in Pajamas through their online reading series connects readers and writers around the world. Using Facebook Live, our audienceconnects with each other bi-monthly in the comfort of their own home, or frankly anywhere (as long as internet is involved). Author Sam Slaughter will be hosting this event.

emily jungmin

Emily Jungmin Yoon is the author of A Cruelty Special to Our Species (EccoBooks, September 2018) and Ordinary Misfortunes (Tupelo Press, July 2017), winner of the Sunken Garden Chapbook Prize. Her poems and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Poetry, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, Ploughshares’ Emerging Writer’s Contest, AWP’s WC&C Scholarship Competition, The Home School in Miami, the Aspen Institute, New York University, the University of Chicago, Sarah Lawrence College, and Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. She is the Poetry Editor for The Margins, the literary magazine of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD student in Korean literature at the University of Chicago.

 

Featured writers will read for 15 minutes with an additional 10-15 minutes for questions or comments. These readings will be available on Poets in Pajamas Facebook on Sunday at 7pm EST twice a month.

 

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Project Bookshelf: Jenna Geisinger

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As you can see, my bookshelf isn’t much of a bookshelf at all. Right now, it is a box and three piles on the floor. I am in the process of moving to North Jersey for graduate school. This is not all of them. I have a terrible habit of leaving the books I’m currently reading out on coffee tables, counters, armchairs of couches, etc… It is this habit that made me want a bookshelf because my family will use my books as coasters (my biggest pet peeve) and leave coffee stains on covers, or just stain the entirety of Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. The pages are warped and stuck together. (My mom is trying to convince me to leave some books home, but I will lay in traffic before I leave my books with those careless people).

Some of my books are pieces of comfort—stories I love and reread over and over. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorites. When I transferred to Stockton University from community college, I was so nervous. What if I couldn’t do it? I found solace in Rowell’s novel, whose protagonist suffers the same social anxiety as me. Cath’s life and circumstances were very similar to my own, and even though she subsisted off of protein bars because she was too afraid to ask where the cafeteria was (100% something I would do), she made it. It was the first time I found a book where the protagonist suffered from anxiety, but the anxiety was merely a trait of the character, rather than the focus of the novel. I felt like someone understood how I thought and felt.

Other books I love because of the stories of course, but also because of the memories associated with them—as if they could be pressed into the pages like a flower. I reread them and remember who I was when I first read them, where I was when I bought them. I bought Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalist and read most of it on a trip to Yale with my independent study, where Shilo and I explored New Haven, CT, getting lost trying to find a bookstore. We went to handle the earliest edition of Aphra Behn’s Love Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister, which we had been helping our professor edit in terms of where to put footnotes for “The Clever College Student.” The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, which I bought in the second-hand bookstore we eventually found. Tenth of December by George Saunders is in the mix there, which I started reading because a professor commented that a short story I wrote reminded him of George Saunders, and then it became a comfort after I was in the hospital room when my beloved grandmother took her last rattled breaths.

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Jenna Geisinger is a fiction and creative non-fiction writer from New Jersey. She attends the MFA Professional and Creative Writing Program at William Paterson University, while working as an associate managing editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal and a reader for Philadelphia Stories, where she has been published.

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Passing Through Humansville Now Available for Pre-order!

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Karen Craigo’s Passing Through Humansville
Now Available for Pre-Order

Sundress Publications is excited to announce Karen Craigo’s new full-length poetry collection Passing Through Humansville is available for pre-order.

Tania Runyan, author of What Will Soon Take Place, had this to say about Craigo’s book:

Humansville

“I’ve been reading Passing Through Humansville during a time of despair, and they are among the few written words that have comforted me. Emboldened me. Spoken. These poems explore marriage and family, nature and politics, and faith and doubt from a wellspring of compassionate wisdom and grace—a still, small (but not timid) voice of a life lived and loved with intention. ‘There are so many / ways to move across Earth’s face and I / would just as gladly move or sit with you,’ Craigo writes. I feel the same way about this book. It’s a companion whose side I won’t leave for long.”

Karen Craigo is the author of two Sundress titles, No More Milk (2016), and Passing Through Humansville (2018). She is also the author of Escaped Housewife Tries Hard to Blend In (forthcoming from Tolson Books, 2018), and three chapbooks. She is the editor of a weekly newspaper, The Marshfield (Missouri) Mail, and she maintains Better View of the Moon, a blog on writing and creativity. She lives in Springfield, Missouri.

Pre-order your copy here! And now through August 15th, your pre-order also allows you to submit a manuscript to our open reading period for free!

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Lyric Essentials: Sarah Clark Reads Two Poems by Michael Wasson

Sarah Clark works in some of the most important areas of our industry. They are a VIDA board member and her work with Anomaly, Drunken Boat, and others has been outstanding. I swear they are busier than most anyone I know and yet she took the time to visit us here at LE with poems by Michael Wasson. We were able to talk about the colonializing of bodies in literature, discomfort, tropes, and so much more.

Black: What made you select these particular poems?

Clark: This is the question that I have been avoiding for weeks. Because it means having to answer a question that I didn’t want to and that you didn’t ask. I haven’t wanted to broach being asked to participate in this series when many readers, educators, and editors were wondering what to do now that Sherman Alexie has been accused of serial sexual misconduct. A startling number of people have asked, “Who will fill the void in Native American literature?” And I take issue with the idea that such a void ever could exist. There are so many extremely talented Native, First Nations writers (not to mention the many more indigenous writers across the American landmasses) who are, and have been, producing extraordinary work for decades.

The writer I almost chose was Ai.

Ai was the first Native writer I encountered in college who was unashamed to be mixed and unashamed to be queer. At this point in my life, certain Native (or Native-themed) literature had been passed my way. Because, since I was Native, wouldn’t I want to read the work of another Native author? But instead of feeling liberated, I felt chained to all of this turquoise, all of these fancydances, these misogynistic narrators encountering city life for the first time, these endless Educations of Little Tree, these writers who weren’t Native at all but felt it was their right to tell our stories.

There was something different about the way Ai wrote. She didn’t deal in those tropes. And, while their work isn’t formally comparable, when I found Wasson’s work for the first time, I felt a similar spark. It was like seeing a familiar face. It was like something unspoken—hope in a body of literature that I could relate to.

Black: What is your sense of Wasson’s work as a whole?

Clark: The most beautiful boneyard I’ve ever seen bloom.

A few years ago, I was hoping to work on a project, concerning a museum that had been selling postcards and displaying the remains of members of my tribe. I fell into a research hole, reading archaeological accounts of the dig sites where they gathered the bones, as well as the objects buried alongside these people. There were detailed descriptions of their bones. I hesitated, realizing I, too, was about to call them, simply, “the bones.” There was speculation about their heights, their diets, whether their pelvis bones suggested they had given birth before, whether one woman held an esteemed place in our tribe, because so many beads had been sewn to a shroud beside her.

I had to give up the project. My partner was driving me to the museum. I was going to see them. These people. Who had been seen so intimately by strangers.

I kept going back to one section of one anthropological journal. It’s standard practice to measure the bones. There was such dizzying detail. Every femur, every tooth, all quantified and numbered. Numbered.

I felt outside of my body, outside of what felt like this entire planet. That a thin line separated who I am from bone trivia.

My sense of Wasson’s work as a whole is that he’s grappling with questions familiar to many of us who are indigenous. The foremost of which is space. I’m not sure if it comes across when listening to these poems as opposed to seeing them on the page, Wasson makes expert use of space, and I can’t help but feel this is in part a reclamation.

Space has been taken from indigenous people in a variety of ways, most literally in the form of land, but also when it comes to seats at the table, and the temporal—there’s this idea that indigenous people are only real and valid when we embody certain traditional aspects of our respective tribes. I suppose it’s important to remind the readers here that we are after all over 500 nations across this landmass, but I digress. Wasson makes use of Nez Perce language as well as English, the language that ironically unites hundreds of tribes, yet Wasson’s work is never that which caters to tropes, to what is expected by non-Native audiences, the “Indian Poem” so to speak. Any indigenous people reading know what I mean.

Wasson’s work is a reclamation of the autonomy of indigenous thought, neither denying the traditional nor dependent upon it. Wasson’s work looks forward and inward.

Black: There is a tremendous force of/on/in the body within both of these works. Embodied seems like too soft a word for the way they resonate in the flesh. Is there a connection in this way to your own work?

Clark: Extremely. All of my work deals with the body in one way or another. For all of the times I’ve had to fight for my body, I now want nothing more than to fight for the bodies of others. For those with embodied experiences to tell their stories through poetry, essay—however a writer can feel their body is no longer erased or invalidated—that’s the work that I’m invested in, as an editor. I’m interested in the ghost stories of the living, and I’m interested in those of us who survive and reclaim our bodies day after day.

 

 

Black: Do poems grant us passage in the body of another?

Clark: It’s a colonial fetish to be granted passage into the body of an indigenous person (regardless of whether the author or I may want that to happen). However, I do believe in empathy and literature, and perhaps by truly opening oneself up to to the experiences of another, one may experience necessary growth not just as a person, but as a reader, a writer.

For that matter, I’m also interested in the ways that these poems do not grant passage into the body of another. The ways that a reader may feel lost or may realize they cannot relate. I think that there is great value in those truths and that it should not be a goal to always “skinwalk” as another, but to accept that there are lives that we for whatever reasons will never lead. To explore one’s own body and the connections that radiate out from it is always a good starting point for reading, writing, editing, and for being a fellow human being.

Black: What do you want readers to really notice when they hear or read these poems?

Clark: Any discomfort they might feel. And I hope they’ll hold onto that discomfort until it starts to make some sense. If any discomfort remains illegible, then that’s perfect. Because then, I’d want readers to turn to Wasson’s work, and really, truly listen. To abandon their gaze, as much as any of us can, and—bare and vulnerable, allow Wasson’s work to speak, uninterrupted.

 

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Michael Wasson’s poems appear or are forthcoming in DialogistPrairie Schooner, and Waxwing. He is Nimíipuu from the Nez Perce Reservation in Lenore, Idaho, and currently lives in Japan. (Bio from The Academy of American Poets.)

Sarah Clark is a disabled two-spirit Native editor, writer, and cultural consultant. They are a VIDA Board member, and Assistant Editor with the VIDA ReviewCo-Editor of the Bettering American Poetry series, and Managing Editor and Features & Reviews Editor at Anomaly

Clark curated Anomaly‘s GLITTERBRAIN folio and a forthcoming folio on Indigenous & Decolonial Futures & Futurisms, and edited Drunken Boat’s folios on Sound Art, “Desire & Interaction,” and a collection of global indigenous art and literature, “First Peoples, Plural.” They were co-editor of Apogee Journal‘s #NoDAPL #Still Here folio, and co-edited Apogee Journal‘s series “WE OUTLAST EMPIRE,” of work against imperialism, and “Place[meant]“, on place and meaning. Clark freelances, and has worked with a number of literary and arts publications and organizations, including The Atlas Review, Apogee Journalcontemptorary.org, Sundress Publications, Best of the Net, The Paris Review, and Blackbird. In her spare time, Clark has strong opinions and is very queer. They cannot pass a Turing test.

Links to the good stuff:

Michael Wasson on Lit Hub

Michael Wasson’s This American Ghost at YesYes Books

Michael Wasson at Passages North

Michael Wasson at Gulf Coast

Sarah Clark at VIDA

Sarah Clark at Anomaly

Sarah on Twitter

 

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Anna Black has served as the editor-in-chief of the magazines Hayden’s Ferry Review and Inkspeak, and is a twice awarded Virginia G. Piper global teaching and research fellow. She received her MFA at Arizona State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the anthologies We Will be Shelter, edited by poet Andrea Gibson and In Sight: An Ekphrastic Collaboration, as well as the journals 45th Parallel, Bacopa Review, Wordgathering, SWWIM, The American Journal of Poetry, and New Mobility among others. She has taught composition, creative writing, and/or publishing at Arizona State University, Western Washington University, Perryville Women’s Prison, and the National University of Singapore.

 

Nominations Open for 2018 Best of the Net Anthology

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Nominations are now open for the annual Best of the Net anthology from Sundress Publications. This anthology promotes the diverse and growing collection of voices who are publishing their work online and serves to bring greater respect to an innovative and continually expanding medium.

Nominations must have originally appeared online, and must have been first published or appeared on the web between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

Nominations must come from the editor of the publication (journal, chapbook, online press, etc.), or, if the work is self-published, it must be sent by the author. For journals and presses, each entry may include up to six poems, two stories, and two works of creative nonfiction for consideration. For individuals sending self-published work, please send no more than two pieces regardless of genre.

Please include both the URL of the poem, story, or essay as well as a full text version in a Word or RTF document. Nominations must also include the author’s name and email address as well as the name, contact info, and URL of the journal.

Submissions must be sent via email to bestofthenet@sundresspublications.com between July 1st and September 30th, 2018.

See the full submission guidelines here: http://www.sundresspublications.com/bestof/submit.htm

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: My Own Strange Beast by Melissa Atkinson Mercer


This selection comes from the collection My Own Strange Beast, available from Porkbelly Press. Our curator for July is Tierney Bailey.

Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. Amongst her pursuits, Tierney is currently the production editor at Redivider Magazine and a copyeditor at Strange Horizons. As a graduate student at Emerson College, Tierney is studying publishing in the Writing and Publishing program. True to her Midwesterner roots, Tierney still smiles upon the slightest bit of eye contact, makes small talk in lines and elevators, and exclaims “ope!” with barely any provocation at all. If you can’t find her on a train somewhere between Providence and Boston, she can easily be found screaming into the void on Twitter as @ergotierney.

Melissa Atkinson Mercer is the author of the poetry collections Knock (Half Mystic Press, 2018) and Saint of the Partial Apology (Five Oaks Press, 2017) as well as five chapbooks. Her work has recently appeared in Moon City Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Yes, Poetry, and A Portrait in Blues: An Anthology of Identity, Gender, and Bodies, among others. She has an MFA from West Virginia University where she won the Russell MacDonald Creative Writing Award in Poetry. She currently works and teaches at Lees-McRae College.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: My Own Strange Beast by Melissa Atkinson Mercer


This selection comes from the collection My Own Strange Beast, available from Porkbelly Press. Our curator for July is Tierney Bailey.

Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. Amongst her pursuits, Tierney is currently the production editor at Redivider Magazine and a copyeditor at Strange Horizons. As a graduate student at Emerson College, Tierney is studying publishing in the Writing and Publishing program. True to her Midwesterner roots, Tierney still smiles upon the slightest bit of eye contact, makes small talk in lines and elevators, and exclaims “ope!” with barely any provocation at all. If you can’t find her on a train somewhere between Providence and Boston, she can easily be found screaming into the void on Twitter as @ergotierney.

Melissa Atkinson Mercer is the author of the poetry collections Knock (Half Mystic Press, 2018) and Saint of the Partial Apology (Five Oaks Press, 2017) as well as five chapbooks. Her work has recently appeared in Moon City Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Yes, Poetry, and A Portrait in Blues: An Anthology of Identity, Gender, and Bodies, among others. She has an MFA from West Virginia University where she won the Russell MacDonald Creative Writing Award in Poetry. She currently works and teaches at Lees-McRae College.

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