Spotlight on Sarita Sol Gonzalez

saritasolmemeWhen I first met Sarita Sol Gonzalez (she must have been ten years old at the time), I remember being wrapped up in silent awe at the strength and earthquaking power such a young girl could exude. I, quite honestly, envied her, in that “I want to be Sarita when I grow up” kind of way; y’know the kind of envy that isn’t all green monster, all consuming? It was simply the “this girl is amazing and I’m going to step aside, but maybe hold her hand, lift it up, and shout her name from Sandia mountaintops just so everybody knows how amazing she is, too.”

Not that she needed much help in that. Her voice is one that carries without assistance, and her hands are held high enough on their own, with all the character of a young girl, now turned into a young lady, who speaks without shame or hesitation. Sarita Sol is my every wish for the future of performance poetry come true, not only because she performs with such character, but because she speaks with so. much. truth.

Perhaps this is because she doesn’t adhere herself to “slam trends”; instead, there is a constant flow of themes like ancestral and cultural pride, identity, evolution and change, and more, in Sarita’s writing. She speaks her truth, with a beautiful mix of metaphor and imagery, but as a youth writer, she isn’t just representing herself, or her community, but an entire slew of youth poets to come. Of course, you hear “raw talent” and “prodigy” thrown around a lot when it comes to youth poets, and this certainly isn’t a discredit to any who wear those words pressed to their hearts or allow them to escape their lips, but when it comes to Sarita, I wholeheartedly believe those words entirely apply. She has a whole list of accolades that support that, including being Swimming With Elephants Publications’ youngest author! 41sO02dIKJL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Sarita is that she began writing when she was seven years old — I, myself, have an eight year old who loves writing the most imaginative and silly illustrated stories, so I can only imagine the world through a seven-year-old-Sarita’s eyes. Now, at thirteen, she is still one of the youngest active members of the Albuquerque poetry community and, needless to say, she continues to absolutely slay, not only in her writing, but what she uses her writing and her voice for: community outreach, female empowerment, and, really, just utter divinity.

Some call her an old soul, but I call her a walking goddess of dreams come true. And for this, I still want to be Sarita Sol Gonzalez when I grow up; but I guess (considering I am what most consider to be grown already) I’ll settle on watching her grow up, and supporting her every effort to make her own dreams come true. And (here’s the selling point), you can, too! So won’t you consider donating to her education?

Or better, still, buy her book, so you can support her and dive deeply into the magical world of her writing. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

 

 

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A Writer’s Guide To Revision — Elan Mudrow

I peek out from the analog…paper skin, bone and water…hue, saturation…body tweaked with vibrance, a layering of edits, revision…revised with dark lines, shades on skin, adjustments…adhered, affixed. Fixed. My face, my story, a template, structure of desire, rouge of action…series of alignments…light and color, words to squeeze into a promising book with the softest palms […]

via A Writer’s Guide To Revision — Elan Mudrow

New and Upcoming Publications from Kat Heatherington

Kat Heatherington, author of the bones of this land, and Swimming With Elephants Publications’ 2017 chapbook competition winner, has been busy!

Three of Kat’s poems have been accepted to the forthcoming Manzano Mountain Review winter issue, but to keep you warm and waiting, you can check out the Sky Island Journal, another New Mexico-based creative writing journal; they will publish a piece by Kat in their upcoming issue on October 20th.

And available to read right now, four of Kat’s poems have been published in a small collection entitled Erotix: Literary Journal of Somatics. What looks to be a promising and awakening collection, it is described as a journal that “explores the poetry and prose of the erotic experience in many different forms.” Included in a baker’s dozen of writers, 51wjF6pvWjL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Kat helps to “explore the idea of what it is to be adventuring in a body: what is it to connect with others? What is it to experience intense sensation? What is it to transform? What is it to live in this particular body that we have?” Further, it uses “erotic touch, somatics, BDSM, love, and more,” and surely holds the promise of shedding light on one’s most intimate thoughts and mindset. I, personally, can’t wait to get my hands on a copy; won’t you help support Kat and buy a copy, too?


Kat Heatherington is a queer ecofeminist poet, sometime artist, pagan, and organic gardener. She has been living in Albuquerque since 1998, when she moved here to earn a Master’s in English at UNM.15871565_10210320273297158_5000576831974740644_n

In 2007 she collaborated with a group of three other unrelated adults to buy land in the Rio Grande Valley and form Sunflower River intentional community, sunflowerriver.org.  Ten years and many life lessons later, Sunflower River is still going strong, and still providing plenty of material to write poems about.

Kat’s work primarily addresses the interstices of human relationships and the natural world.  She has several self-published chapbooks, available from the author at yarrow@sunflowerriver.org.  Her work can be read at https://sometimesaparticle.org.

Happy fourth SWEP-aversary, Kai!

Today marks FOUR YEARS since PERISCOPE HEART, Kai Coggin‘s debut collection with Swimming With Elephants Publications, was released! PH Postcard 4x6We want to take this time to congratulate Kai on her many and continued efforts in pursuing change in the world through writing.

More recently, she was published in HER Magazine, in an article that showcased her work in poetry and the ties to her culture therein. We are SO proud of our parade in everything they do. Congratulations, Kai! And happy publication anniversary, from all of SWEP family, to you!


Kai Coggin was born in Bangkok, Thailand, but is currently a happy blip in the 3-million-acre Ouachita National Forest in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. Author of PERISCOPE HEART, published by Swimming With Elephants in 2014, and Wingspanpublished by Golden Dragonfly Press on Earth Day 2016, Kai was a 9th/10th grade English teacher I wish I’d had, before she transitioned fully to a career in writing. She has more accolades than could fit on a page, and basically continues to slay in the writing world. Please be sure to check out her website, kaicoggin.com (where you can get a full list of all those accolades!) and continue to support her in all of her efforts.

Bassam on Wax Poetic

Swimming with Elephants Publications’ own Bassam was interviewed by Wax Poetic, a Canadian based poetry podcast that you can listen to for FREE! (and as poets, we sure love free things, don’t we?) They talk about their SWEP release, bliss in die/unbinging the underglow and more…

bliss in die

You can check out the podcast here!

And don’t forget to like Bassam on Facebook and support them further by buying their book on Amazon; while you’re there, don’t forget to check out their new release from Gen Z Publishing!

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Bassam Bassam(they/them or xe/xim) is a spoken word poet, proud auntie, and settler residing on the traditional territory of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant (Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendatt, and Mississaugas of the New Credit). they are a member of the League of Canadian Poets, an executive board member with Spoken Word Canada, and has toured Turtle Island performing spoken word. Bassam earned title of national poetry slam champion at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW) in 2016 with the Guelph Poetry Slam team, and Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (CIPS) finalist in 2017. they were editor-in-chief for ‘these pills don’t come in my skin tone’, a poetry collection exclusively by Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) on the topic of mental health and illness, released in fall 2017. a (gender)queer, Jewish person of Middle-Eastern descent and a long-time sufferer of body dysmorphia, bipolar and eating disorders, bassam believes in radical kindness as resistance to colonization, that there is no peace without justice, and that intersectionality is vital in the struggle against kyriarchy.