Tag Archives: amy watkins

2018 Chapbook Contest Winner

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Katie Burgess’ Wind on the Moon Named Winner 
of Sundress Publications’ 2018 Chapbook Competition

Sundress Publications is delighted to announce the winner for our seventh chapbook competition, Katie Burgess. Her chapbook, Wind on the Moon, rose to the top among many other outstanding works.

Stacey Balkun, Chapbook Series Editor of Sundress Publications and author of Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak, had this to say about the chapbook:

“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. Katie Burgess uses playful form Katie Burgessand 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 the 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.”

Katie Burgess holds a PhD in fiction from Florida State University. She lives downwind of a mayonnaise factory in South Carolina and performs with Alchemy Comedy Theater. She is also editor in chief of Emrys Journal.

It is also our pleasure to announce that Amy Watkins‘ Wolf Daughter was selected for publication. We were thrilled by all the great works submitted this year and would like to thank everyone for participating.

Other submitted Chapbooks of Note

Finalists
Rachel Federer- Lunar Fragments for the Scorpion Child 
Gail Griffin- Virginals
Jayme Russel- Threadbound
Amy Watkins- Wolfdaughter*

Semifinalists
Rachel Heimowitz-The Story of Dark Matter
Jed Myers- The Wire Said
Sara Ryan- but pink but want but blue

*Also selected for publication

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Nicole Oquendo’s Interview with Amy Watkins

 My first experience with Amy Watkins’ poetry was the Milk and Water preview “Never Never.” I try to approach every poem I read with a distant objectivity, but there was something about the experiences of the I in this poem that rang out as fact to me. The more I read, the more connected I felt to the poet and her real life beyond the page. Every word felt true.

This is not a common interpretation for me. I’ve studied both nonfiction and poetry extensively, and something that has stuck with me over the years is the rigid objectivity I mentioned previously. I work hard to not impose my own idea of the author speaking each word. I couldn’t avoid it with this poem, though, because of the connection between the speaker (the I), her mother, her daughter, and the rich undercurrent of fear. I came away from each read tenser than the last.

After completing Milk & Water, I had the privilege of asking Amy Watkins about the possible nonfiction elements in her writing directly. She confirmed my original suspicions, but her own words represent her work much better than I ever could. I’m not sure which one of us suggested the idea of recording our interview rather than relying on traditional distant Q & A, but I feel that hearing Amy speak about her poetry in her own voice is its own work of art. I hope that you excuse my nervous laughter and “ums,” and enjoy listening to our conversation about family, locality, and feminist rants.  

Listen to the interview here!

 

Amy Watkins grew up with the alligators and armadillos in the Central Florida scrub, the oldest child of a nurse and a carpenter. As a kid, she wanted to be an artist, a doctor, a teacher and a contestant on Star Search; she became a writer instead. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Small Poems, BloodLotus, and Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. She lives in Orlando with her husband and only child, Alice.

This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected Nicole Oquendo. Nicole Oquendo is an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and the Nonfiction Editor of Best of the Net. Her most recently published essays and poetry can be found in DIAGRAM, fillingStation, Storm Cellar, and Truck.

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Amy Watkins’ “Things You Don’t Know”

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Things You Don’t Know
for my mother

I gave my sister her first taste of wine
on the steps of a vineyard
overlooking the Mediterranean.

Lowering sun turned the whole world gold,
except for the white stones of the jetty
where fishers brought home their golden boats.

We toasted our brother, who was not with us,
our dead sister, the sea, and you.
Though you would not have approved,

I think you would forgive us.
The wine was the color of sunlight
and tasted of apples.

~

The baby ducks we had when I was small,
I hated them.

The one so beautiful: orange, hard candy beak
and smooth white feathers.

The other, the one the bobcat got:
split bill clatter and wheezing quack.

I couldn’t wish one dead
and not the other.

~

I didn’t bake the pies you asked for Christmas.

I kicked the dog for peeing on the rug.

I told your grandchild there is no such place as heaven.

~

When Stacey died, I said, “She’s only
sleeping,” what you had taught me
to believe. I didn’t know what else to say.

For you, I tried to have the faith
of a little child. I was a little child
following a script with pages missing.

Did you see what I was doing, making
a story of pieces, more than half of them
borrowed? That was the moment I knew

I would be a doctor. Something like that.

~

You: kneading bread dough, your hands

covered in flour and yeast, pushing

the hair from your forehead

with the clean back of your wrist.

Of the ten sacred images I carry,

this is one.

You know three of the other nine.

“Things You Don’t Know” appeared in Amy Watkins’ book, Milk and Water, available from Yellow Flag Press.  Purchase yours today!

Listen to an audio recording of “Things You Don’t Know” read by the author!

Amy Watkins grew up with the alligators and armadillos in the Central Florida scrub, the oldest child of a nurse and a carpenter. As a kid, she wanted to be an artist, a doctor, a teacher and a contestant on Star Search; she became a writer instead. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Small Poems, BloodLotus, and Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. She lives in Orlando with her husband and only child, Alice.

This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected Nicole Oquendo. Nicole Oquendo is an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and the Nonfiction Editor of Best of the Net. Her most recently published essays and poetry can be found in DIAGRAM, fillingStation, Storm Cellar, and Truck.

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Amy Watkins’ “The Viewing”

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The Viewing

My mother reached in,

touched the pale freckles

gently with the flats of her long fingers.
In the dim funeral parlor,

the white coffin glowed.

She turned to me, face crumpling,
asked if I wanted to hold

my sister’s hand

one more time.

I feel my nine-year-old eyes
opened wide. Woman,
what are you offering me?

 

“The Viewing” appeared in Amy Watkins’ book, Milk and Water, available from Yellow Flag Press.  Purchase yours today!

Listen to an audio recording of “The Viewing” ready by the author!

Amy Watkins grew up with the alligators and armadillos in the Central Florida scrub, the oldest child of a nurse and a carpenter. As a kid, she wanted to be an artist, a doctor, a teacher and a contestant on Star Search; she became a writer instead. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Small Poems, BloodLotus, and Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. She lives in Orlando with her husband and only child, Alice.

This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected Nicole Oquendo. Nicole Oquendo is an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and the Nonfiction Editor of Best of the Net. Her most recently published essays and poetry can be found in DIAGRAM, fillingStation, Storm Cellar, and Truck.

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Amy Watkins’ “To the Water”

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To the Water

A surfer climbs a green wave
with toes pointed, her arms a prayer
and challenge to the water.

My girl, mysterious, pale pink as a shell,
stretches her small arms toward the blue
beyond the blue horizon. Navy fades
to glassy aqua, green, gray foam,
and butterscotch. For this there is no word,
and she does not search for one.

What does the infant know,
taken and returned by tsunami waves?
His mother smashes coconuts,
milk and water for gods’ rage and mercy.
She names the boy a second time, his own name.

Rising from the bath, I am surprised:
mine is my mother’s body,
flushed with heat and marked by birth.
All shells know: the ocean is inside.

“To the Water” appeared in Amy Watkins’ book, Milk and Water, available from Yellow Flag Press.  Purchase yours today!

Listen to an audio recording of “To the Water” ready by the author!

Amy Watkins grew up with the alligators and armadillos in the Central Florida scrub, the oldest child of a nurse and a carpenter. As a kid, she wanted to be an artist, a doctor, a teacher and a contestant on Star Search; she became a writer instead. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Small Poems, BloodLotus, and Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. She lives in Orlando with her husband and only child, Alice.

This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected Nicole Oquendo. Nicole Oquendo is an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and the Nonfiction Editor of Best of the Net. Her most recently published essays and poetry can be found in DIAGRAM, fillingStation, Storm Cellar, and Truck.

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Amy Watkins’ “Firstborn”

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Firstborn

There is a globe of silence around them
after the doctor leaves with his uncertain news.
Will the lesions on my mother’s spine
spread upward, dragging paralysis over
her lungs and heart like a heavy blanket?
Or will the stillness seep from her abdomen,
down her long legs, and out through the soles
of her swollen feet, pooling
at the end of the hospital bed
like the light from the open door?

My father cups her face between his hands,
his crooked middle finger over the pulse point
at her temple, and I wonder if he feels its flutter.
His lips tremble against her dark hair,
she holds his wrist, and my presence
makes their loneliness complete.
“We’ve been through harder fights
than this,” she says and means the two of them.
Her dry throat breaks the words like kindling,
and he blinks, rapidly, his blue eyes.

At home, I kiss your ten fingers and watch
the slow rise and fall of your breath
even after you turn away from me
to sleep. Our daughter, an unborn witness,
rearranges her miniature limbs.
When I press my hand against my abdomen,
she presses back, the way months from now
we will touch hands, palm to palm.

 

“Firstborn” appeared in Amy Watkins’ book, Milk and Water, available from Yellow Flag Press.  Purchase yours today!

Listen to an audio recording of “Firstborn” read by the author!

Amy Watkins grew up with the alligators and armadillos in the Central Florida scrub, the oldest child of a nurse and a carpenter. As a kid, she wanted to be an artist, a doctor, a teacher and a contestant on Star Search; she became a writer instead. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Small Poems, BloodLotus, and Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. She lives in Orlando with her husband and only child, Alice.

This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected Nicole Oquendo. Nicole Oquendo is an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and the Nonfiction Editor of Best of the Net. Her most recently published essays and poetry can be found in DIAGRAM, fillingStation, Storm Cellar, and Truck.

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