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.