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!


Kat Heatherington to Feature at Mindwell Poetry September 18

Kat Heatherington is the featured guest at an upcoming poetry reading, and we would like to invite you to attend! 

Please read the following invitation from Kat to learn how to attend and get a copy of The Heart is a Muscle:

Mindwell Poetry’s The Poet Speaks series will be held over Zoom on Friday, September 18th, at 7pm – so  you can attend from anywhere in the world.  There’s an open mic, and then the host will briefly interview me , and then I’ll read from my new book, The Heart is a Muscle, which came out in March – and for which this is the first feature-length reading I’ve done, given how this year has turned out. 🙂

I’m really looking forward to sharing this work with you, and I’d love to see you there!

Event details are here: https://www.facebook.com/events/315470969761143/
<https://www.facebook.com/events/315470969761143/> and the Zoom link
will be available from there as well, a little closer to the date.  Even if you are not on facebook, this page should be accessible.

If you haven’t picked up your copy of the book yet, they’re available directly from me, as well as at Harvest Moon Books, https://harvestmoonbooks.com/category=Poetry<https://harvestmoonbooks.com/?category=Poetry>, and Amazon, along with my first book, The Bones of This Land.

And if you enjoy my work and would be interested in receiving poetry in your inbox a couple times a month, check out my Patreon page! Patreon has been a source of deep delight in this difficult year. For as little as $1/month you will receive brand-new and unpublished poems in your
inbox, or for $5/month, you can have a handwritten postcard poem mailed
to you. Both the postcard photo and the poem are my original work.
https://patreon.com/yarrowkat <https://patreon.com/yarrowkat>

I hope to see you on the 18th!

Pre-orders are Available for A Duet of Dying

“What is it to face something defined as inevitable and find some still breathing beauty within, however imperfect that beauty may be? If you are Shanna Alden or Erin Schick, then the answer is: sing your heartsong as vibrantly, fiercely and unapologetically as possible. With this collection, they do all of that and more. These are poems that do not attempt to define or even simply describe the experience of living with disability, or surviving terminal illness within a broken system of care. No, these are poems that translate every breath into a minor miracle, speaking to the blossoming of pain as eloquently as the slow simmer of determination beneath the surface. A Duet of Dying is, almost, improperly titled – because with every poem, you can almost hear the swelling voices of the choir, of all of those out there in the wide world who have experiences that will make this work invaluable. This collection is so utterly, inevitably human, it will leave you shaken.”

Zachary Kluckman, CPSW

Author of Some of It is Muscle and The Animals in Our Flesh

Pre-order A Duet of Dying today: https://py.pl/AMg6UcckG7C !

SwEP Mid-Month Review: the heart is a muscle

Review by Lizzie Waltner

Kat Heatherington’s poetry collection, the heart is a muscle, brings to light ideas of love that address all aspects of life in a powerful manner and has a deep connection to nature throughout. Her use of, or lack thereof, of capital letters throughout her collection gives the pieces a softness. There are no sharp edges in this collection, which makes it very comforting. These pieces are bright and playful but not downplay the serious issues that wring our hearts.

In her first section, a house by the river, Heatherington’s poem ‘planting poem’ we not only get a taste of spring, but also the touch of the past and endings. For example,

i need to plant more food this year, and less flowers,
but that thin pale green leaf lifts my heart,
and i pray for rain enough to give them all blossoms.
the cat’s grave, her small lilac,
is undisturbed and thriving.

In this small section we see her powerful use of the past contrasting with the present. It not only reflects on the past, the previous dirt being flower filled and a resting space for her cat, but also what it can become which is more sustainable and hearty for the soul, growing more food and the ability of there still being beauty in her memories of her cat that can be represented by the thriving lilac.

This idea of needing more food, could also be applied to more than just nutritional value, and how sometimes all we can do is hope to get through the next months. We all need a little rain sometimes.

The central section is aptly named, stunning transitional moments, as it is not only done stunningly, but addresses some of the toughest realities everyone learns as an adult. In ‘breathing room’ Heatherington tackles the idea of distance and leaving, and the complexity we all feel when walking away from something we love.

now we both have room to breath
and are using it to cry with.
now I can see your stormcloud eyes
filled with pain, and watching me walk away
and not feel all the wind in my sails
fly towards the storm in your heart.

The piece ends with ‘we are both standing’ and I think that hits home hard, because despite sometimes leaving being a difficult idea to grapple with it can have a positive ending, such as being able to stand on ones own.

The last section of this collection, the flammable heart, is admittedly my favorite. This entire section made my heart ache, but in the best way possible. My favorite piece in this section is, maybe. It’s simplicity about wishful thinking with the simple phrase ‘or maybe not’ got me every single time it’s used throughout this piece. This repetitive technique in this poem is repetition at its highest.

and you will visit now and then,
or maybe you won’t,
and i’ll love you anyway,
and send you postcards and text messages
about the rain and the corn and the sweet desert stars,

The way the poems presents this idea of unconditional love, despite being aware of things not working out makes it that much more heart-breaking. At the end of the day, there is always wishful thinking for love and always a realization, that maybe it won’t work out.

Overall, this collection really gets under your skin and claws itself in, sometimes making you feel warm and fuzzy, other times letting those emotions sting throughout. It makes you feel alongside the narrator and presents itself in a relatable manner and uses wonderful metaphors and similes to give visual representation to emotions. Kat Heatherington does a fantastic job in this collection, and anyone with a heart will adore it.


Click the image to order the heart is a muscle from Bookworks ABQ.

the heart is a muscle
by kat heatherington

Kat Heatherington is a queer ecofeminist poet, sometime artist, pagan, and organic gardener. She lives south of Albuquerque New Mexico, in Sunflower River intentional community with a varying number of other humans and cats. Kat’s work primarily addresses the interstices of human relationships and the natural world. She has one previous book, The Bones of This Land, published in 2017 by Swimming with Elephants Publications and available at Bookworks and Harvest Moon Books in Albuquerque, as well as on amazon.com. She can be found online at https://patreon.com/yarrowkat and on instagram at @sometimesaparticle. You can contact the author at yarrow@sunflowerriver.org.

News from Swimming with Elephants Publications


I am sure I do not need to say that today has found us in very strange times.

Because of social distancing, shut downs, and quarantine, small businesses and performers are being hit  in a big way. We at SwEP want to take a moment to  encourage everyone to keep poetry circulating by purchasing books directly from Independent Bookstores and Individual Poets.

Several of our poets have begun virtual Open Mics or virtual Poetry Slams, where work can still be shared. SaraEve Fermin has begun a group called: I need you so much closer: a virtual bi-monthly artist talkspace.  Kai Coggin has taken her Wednesday Night Poetry to the web and is hosting her show on April 1st (WNP Virtual Open Mic, Poetry Through the Pandemic). Zachary Kluckman and his Mindwell Poetry Team are also hosting a weekly Open Mic with a featured poet: The Poet Speaks: Open Mic & Featured Poet.

These are just a few of the many, many virtual shows which have popped up. A quick search of Facebook or Instagram should reveal several more events all over the world which you can participate in. (If you have a show, leave a link to it in the comments on this page to be shared).

Please support these poets and organizers by virtually attending or participating in their shows, purchasing their wares directly from them, and/or sharing the information with interested parties . Also, be willing to tip or donate a little extra to their cause.

Bookworks, our official affiliate out of Albuquerque, may have it’s doors closed, but it is still open for online orders and still has many SwEP titles on their shelves. You may also consider supporting them by purchasing a gift certificate or purchasing a book for as a gift. There are plenty of people in their homes who would love a surprise book delivered to their door.

As far as the current situation has affected Swimming with Elephants Publications, it should be noted that all of our upcoming publications and much of our advertising is currently on hold while we are out of the office. We do have five publications scheduled for release this year (an anthology out of Denver, our three chapbook winners, and our yearly anthology). We also have several new releases which we have yet to be announce due to the cancellation of their release events. We apologize for these delays and encourage our authors to continue to share their work and promote their publications in anyway that suits them at the moment, and, as always, let us know how we can help.

We have faith that once our offices reopen we will be able to tackle these projects with little delay.  

Although we have no idea what the future holds for our small press, we have our fingers crossed that we will survive this difficult time and come out on the other side better than before. You can continue to support us by supporting our poets and supporting independent bookstores.

Thank you for your time.


Katrina Crespin & Maxine Peseke


Now Accepting Submissions!

Swimming with Elephants Publications is now accepting submissions!

Whether you have a chapbook, short collection, or just a couple of amazing pieces seeking a home, Swimming with Elephants Publications might have a spot for you.

Visit our website and under the submit tab you will find our current Open Calls. The specific guidelines for each call can be viewed on our Submittable page or contact us with any questions.

We do charge a submission fee. To find out why: Click Here.

To learn more about this year’s guidelines for our Chapbook Open Call and meet our guest judges, click here. To be considered for publication during 2020 you must submit before December 15, 2019.

To learn more about the Weekly Write series for the 2020 publication year, and find out how to be our Weekly feature, click here. 

We can’t wait to read your work!