Happy New Year from Swimming with Elephants

After much contemplation and reflection, Swimming with Elephants Publications has made the decision to close its doors for the year of 2021.

We will be taking a hiatus to reflect on our goals and presence in the community and decide, over the next year, if there is still a place for SwEP in our ever changing world. We hope this time off will provide the opportunity for us to decide whether are best course of action is to recuperate, or if it is time for us to go gentle into that goodnight.

We at SwEP have been incredibly grateful for the support and encouragement of our community over the past several years. The opportunity to work with such a vast selection of poets and artists across the United States and beyond has been more than any small press could aspire to achieve. We are grateful to have been able to represent new and emerging voices, as well as provide awareness to various social issues and public concerns through topical anthologies.

All our publications are still available at this time through Independent Bookstores, like Bookworks Albuquerque, as well as the major distribution centers. If it becomes clear that it is not possible resume our business, these publications will go out of print at the end of 2021.

If you are published with Swimming with Elephants Publications, you can expect your annual statement within the next two weeks which will include more information regarding the break and options concerning your publication.

Much love, respect, and gratitude to everyone who has helped us become and maintain the small presence we have. Please remain safe and compassionate to each other during these trying times.

News: Wrapping Up 2020

In is no secret that this has been a difficult year for our small press. We have struggled over the last several months to complete the contracts from the beginning of the year, and are happy to say with the publication of Unlocked Poetry, we have fulfilled our obligations.

Now that we are caught up with all of our outstanding projects, we will be suspending our publications for the undeterminable future. We have already canceled our Weekly Write and this year’s Open Call for Poetry Chapbooks. I would very much like to say we will be back next year, but I am hesitant to make any promises at the time being.

If you are one of our authors, we want to remind you that according to your contract you retain all the rights to your work and if you choose to take work previously published by Swimming with Elephants Publications and publish it elsewhere, we will wish you the very best of luck in your endeavor. If you are interested in retiring your publication from SwEP to seek publication elsewhere, please send us an email and we can conclude the production of your work. I assure you, there will be no hard feelings on our end.

As I have previously stated, the publication of chapbooks is a luxury and not a priority in the world we are currently trying to navigate. I would much rather put the press to rest than attempt to conjure new publications that of a lower quality and/or are not meeting the needs of our authors and community.

We will know early in 2021 if our doors will be shut for good and what the outlook will be.

Currently, all our publications are still for sale through the major book distributors, but as always, we encourage readers to seek their purchases from independent bookstores or from the authors themselves.

We continue our affiliation with Bookworks Albuquerque and encourage our readers to purchase our latest releases through Bookworks or other independent Bookstores.

Find our complete catalog here: https://swimmingwithelephants.com/catalog-by-author/

Be safe and be well!

Oct. 28th UNM-Valencia Literary Reading Review

Wednesday night met us with a brief but powerful literary reading hosted by Patricia Gillikin and Justin Bendell. We heard poetry and literature from a passionate group which included the likes of Kristian Macaron, Julia Brennen, Tyra Belle Lechner, Maxine Peseke, and Matthew Brown. Hosted on Zoom Webinar, this reading felt true to the speaker-audience dynamic that we are used to with literary readings. This reading lacked the exchange of community energy that would otherwise be present, however as Patricia Gillikin pointed out, there is beauty in the audience interacting with the readers via writing in chat. In that respect, the hosts were still able to foster an atmosphere for open dialog between audience members and readers alike.

The night earnestly contemplated feelings of uncertainty we all face as the rollercoaster year of 2020 heads towards its winter season. Themes of trauma, desire for escapism, black beauty, racial tensions, god, and everyday harsh realities stood out heavily during Wednesday night’s reading. To say that I was blown away by the passion and visceral imagery of the literature would be an understatement; at times I felt my mouth plop open and eyebrows raise at the starkness of each piercing piece of work. As the night progressed, each poem/piece of literature brought a powerful perspective to that of the previous. Imagery of bright gas station signs, pre-apocalypse life, looking hate in the face, and working with populations experiencing homelessness painted a vivid and all too real picture of my own community. In many ways, my own hopelessness and uncertainty was reflected back to me through the night’s literature, as I found myself experiencing a much-needed emotional release. Matthew Brown wrapped up the night well, touching on the underlying sense of urgency we all relate to as election day nears, “There isn’t room to discriminate when there’s no room at all”. At times, it does feel like there is no room at all. With all the pain and precariousness we find ourselves wrapped up in, I am glad that Patricia Gillikin and Justin Bendell provided a space for our emotions to collapse into literature.

If you are interested in learning more about Patricia and Justin’s work, head over to their Facebook pages and be sure to check out the amazing featured writers along the way!



Aaron Ambrose

Aaron Ambrose is a white, disabled, trans femme poet, herbalist and artist. A step-parent, a pretty good cook and tends to know a little bit about a lot of things. They’ve produced numerous chapbooks, performed at all kinds of events, moved a million times, started a million gardens and raised sheep, goats, llamas and chickens. Their cultural and political work is most always something to do with keeping poor and disabled lives at the front and center. As a survivor and former sex worker their low class, home-sick, scorpio heart is forever with the ones that are never in the room.

Order from Bookworks

Swimming with Elephants Publications always encourages our audience to purchase books from independent books stores and author sales.
Our official independent bookstore affiliate is Bookworks Albuquerque, and we encourage purchases through their website to people all over the United States of America.

You can now order our most recent release, Worn Out Gorgeous by Aaron Ambrose, from Bookworks Albuquerque. Click here to order today!