Swimming with Elephants Publications

an independent, not for profit, publishing agent focusing on supporting the working author and non-profit organizations


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Available Now: I Bloomed a Resistance from my Mouth by Mercedez Holtry

Book ended artfully by two poems (“Dear Donald Trump” and “For Latinos Who Voted for Trump”) that bring much needed attention to the political climate and how the Trump presidency affects her and her people, Mercedez Holtry’s newest publication from Swimming with Elephants Publications is everything you could imagine from the renowned poeta. It, as the title proclaims, is a resistance of performance, blooming like sunflowers stretching to an Albuquerque sunset sky.

Mercedez goes further in speaking not only about the national political climate but also local change and gentrification of her beloved hometown — Albuquerque, New Mexico — in poems like “La Central gets a Makeover” in which she calls out by name former Mayor Berry and the many failings of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) and its continued construction. Woven with a deep woe for being the final generation that might cruise Central Avenue, she takes you on a journey of the Albuquerque she knows and loves.

But there is a softness to this resistance, too. In “You Bring Out the Burqueña in Me,” dedicated to her beloved, she journeys through all the makings of herself and her culture, her love and her home, painting an image that echoes the vulnerability in the poem prior, “The Heat of Summer.” Both veer away from the political undertone of this publication and yet, there is still a softly flowering rebellion in her words. A rebellion of self, of love, of light.

But as with nature, there is darkness behind the light. A persona poem, entitled “La Llorona Speaks,” takes the reader on a shadowed journey into muddy waters of loss, exploring the legend of La Llorona, or The Wailing Woman. Another stunning exploration of her own culture, this particular poem was a hauntingly beautiful read.

As ever, Mercedez does not fail to enlighten and educate with her second collection from Swimming with Elephants, bringing an artfully entwined variety of work.

You can purchase I Bloomed a Resistance from my Mouth on Amazon, along with her first publication, My Blood is Beautiful. And don’t forget to like Mercedez’s artist page on Facebook, and keep a lookout as she heads out for the Blooming Resistance Tour this May (and for inquiries about booking her for a feature, please contact our partners at sugarbookingentertainment@gmail.com).

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Coming Soon: Nail Gun and a Love Letter by Beau Williams. 

Heralding from Portland, Maine, Beau Williams describes himself as a “fairly optimistic” poet, and what better way to describe his newest collection of poetry from Swimming with Elephants Publications than as “fairly optimistic.” Bittersweet journeys to bar floors and the bottoms of bottles, Nail Gun and a Love Letter is reminiscent of beat poetry days and the pilgrimages we must take to find ourselves.

Whether these pilgrimages occur literally or otherwise, Beau has managed to make an astonishing and beautiful book; these are love letters soaked in liquor, poking nails through your heart only to fill the holes with the sort of honesty that only being three sheets to the wind can bring. This book is better described as a cure for hangovers, best enjoyed with a hot cup of tea (or maybe a hot toddy for those frigid winter nights). Beau is undeniably honest in his descriptions, and there’s something chilly in his work, reminiscent of winter along the Northeast coast, but he always manages to wrap the reader up in warm words. From micropoems like “Sacred Vows” to full length bar hymns like “Looking for Brooklyn in a Shit Bar in Portland,” it’s clear that Beau has an inspired affinity for storytelling based heavily in symbols and setting. This book is a journey.

I first met Beau when he was on his own journey with GUYSLIKEYOU, a poetry collective with Wil Gibson and Ryan McLellan. It was his soft demeanour that caught my attention, allowing a contrast to his occasionally sharp edged poetry. Again, this brings to mind poets like Allen Ginsberg; there is a subtlety in these pages, a sharp as a nail, unforgiving as alcohol sort of sensation. And yet, reading this collection was like having a drink with an old friend. Like coming out of the Maine cold to warmth, at long last. And maybe he’ll burn a bit of you, but he will always wrap you up again with a love letter.

Nail Gun and a Love Letter will be released soon. Meanwhile, don’t forget to like Beau’s Facebook page to show him some support and for book release updates.


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Now Available: Gypsy Horses by Courtney A Butler

Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC is excited to announce the release of Gypsy Horses by Courtney A Butler.

Come to her release party on December 9th from 7-8:30 at the Lomas Performance Space, 10601 Lomas Boulevard, ABQ NM.

Also at the release will be artwork from the talent Judy Marquez who created the cover of this lovely publication. Musical Guest to be announced.

“Courtney Butler has written a book that manages to be strong and fierce while remaining innocent and full of wonder. Balancing the line between jaded adult and hopeful youth while painting the clearest picture of why the writing evokes that same sentiment- this is a fun, emotionally fulfilling collection that I will enjoy the 37th time as much as the 1st. I’ll be pre-ordering her next book, as there will surely be many more.” – Wil Gibson, author of Quitting Smoking, Falling In and Out of Love, and Other Thoughts About Death

“Courtney Butler has a finesse with the image of the word, but it is her visceral emotion that feeds the reader’s need to connect on a gut level. Her words rumble throughout your body, clang around your brain and leave their stories imprinted on your heart.” ~Jessica Helen Lopez, author of Cunt.Bomb. and The Language of Bleeding

 Courtney is one of the winners of this year’s chapbook competition, judged by ABQ Poet Laureate Jessica Helen Lopez.

Courtney’s book is currently available on Amazon for $10.95.

Or Barnes and Noble for $10.95

If you can’t wait for the release, pick one up today!

 

 


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New Release: Elegy for a Star Girl by Christopher Grillo

Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC is thrilled to introduce you to Christopher Grillo through his publication Elegy of a Star Girl.

Elegy of a Star Girl is a concise collection of poetry bringing together lyrical imagery with the science of humanity. Cover art by Alex Kuzyuberdin.

Have you met Christopher Grillo?

Christopher Grillo is the author of Heroes’ Tunnel (Anaphora Literary Press, 2015). His poems appear in Drunk Monkeys, Sport Literate, Biline, Spry, Aethlon, and more. Grillo is a graduate of the University of New Haven where he played strong safety for the Chargers, and of Southern Connecticut State University’s MFA program. He lives and works in New Haven, Connecticut as an 8th grade language arts teacher and moonlights as an assistant football coach at his high school alma mater.

Available at Barnes and Noble.

Available at Amazon.

We encourage anyone who picks up this publication to review it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads, or to write a review which we can publish.


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The Book You Need to Have

Language of CrossingWhen the manuscript of Language of Crossing first crossed my desk, I immediately knew it was an important work which profoundly reflected upon some of the most disturbing issues concerning immigration in America. In light of recent events, the building of “the wall” and American relations with Mexico, it is even more important than ever.

Through poetry, Liza Wolff-Francis tells the stories, demonstrates the horrors, and gives a human face to those people who are so greatly affected by the immigration. The struggle continues. This is not a reflection of what is past, but a collection of what continues. If you want to truly understand the strife of the undocumented, start here.

Order the Language of Crossing from Amazon for only $10.95 by clicking here.

About the Publication:

Liza Wolff-Francis’s Language of Crossing is a collection of poetry that mirrors the true heart-stories along the US/Mexico border. Giving face, voice and humanity to all those who make their way across fronteras, her work is that of a necessary endeavor. She writes of a reality that must be ignored no longer. It is the struggle, strife, and violence that is endured by those who flee their country in hopes of a better life. Her poems, brutally honest and minute, rouse compassion as all good poetry must and begs the question of accountability. Language of Crossing is a political outcry, a finely tuned collection of endurance of a people, and a passionate advocacy for all to take notice. Wolff-Francis is a real activist planting poetic prayer flags across the vastness of a desert.

Reviews from Amazon.com:

By Francois Pointeau

“In Brownsville there’s a hundred
stash houses where they keep the immigrants
once they’ve crossed over in north heaven.
The coyotes take their shoes from them,
take their clothes so they don’t run, keep them
behind locks. Quiet. Callados.
En silencio, until the next trek
on into the land of the free.

(from the poem “In Brownsville there’s a stash house where they keep the immigrants”)

The poems in Language of Crossing by Liza Wolff-Francis will break your heart. Is this the America we live in? Yes it is. Is this the way we treat the poor and the needy? Yes it is.

Whatever happened to: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” –The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus

These words have become the Myth of America. Wolff-Francis brings the tragedy, the reality of the true faces of the immigrants to life, not the myth…she paints us a picture of what is going on right now on our southern borders. She gives individuals crossing our borders a human face, a human heart, and a human longing for a better land, a better place, a simple place where you can raise your family without the fear of death at every corner. And for many of these immigrants, what they find is everything but. Wolff-Francis doesn’t pull any punches. What she writes about, we can not ignore, we can no longer turn a blind eye to. This is an important collection of poems, and you need to read it.

By hanginwithlewis

I’m so glad I was able to get a copy of Language of Crossing. As I’ve been listening to NPR and hearing about humanitarian crises in Africa and the Middle East, I’ve kept wondering at how strong our national political policies must be, that we turn a blind eye to what’s happening at our threshold. Before the book launch reading at La Resistencia Bookstore in Austin, I knew there were people crossing the border, and many if not most of those journeys did not have a happy ending. But I hadn’t realized there was a humanitarian crisis in progress, so I feel that I’ve at least had my eyes opened in a way that allows me to look at what’s going on more critically and realistically. Not that I’ve saved any lives yet, per sé, but I’m glad to be able to read about your perspective, rather than only hear the President’s. And the found poem that opens the collection, “Border Trauma,” is still haunting me months later.

LizaHeadShotAbout the Author:

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Edge, Twenty, unseenfiction.com, Border Senses, and on various blogs. As a social worker, she has worked with Spanish speaking immigrant populations for twenty years. She wrote the play “Border Rising” from interviews with undocumented Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles. She currently lives in Albuquerque, NM.