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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Featured SwEP Author: Wil Gibson

Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC would like to reintroduce to you to Wil Gibson.

Wil Gibson’s full length poetry collection, Quitting smoking, falling in and out of love, and other thoughts about death, was published by Swimming with Elephants Publications in April 2016.

Listen to Wil Gibson perform his poetry here:

Wil Gibson’s full length poetry collection, Quitting smoking, falling in and out of love, and other thoughts about death, from Bookworks ABQ

or order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble today!

Already own a copy? Please write a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads, or submit a review to swimwithelephants@gmail.com for publications on this site.

 

Wil Gibson

WilWil Gibson was born from a good idea and a bottle of bourbon and raised in some of the poorest communities in northern Illinois and eastern Arkansas. He has had work appear with Midwestern Gothic, Radius, Yellow Chair Review, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and Electric Cereal (among others), was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net 2015. He would like to talk to you for hours on end about lighthouses and random other things. (also, in the interest of full disclosure, he has already started smoking again) He currently lives in California, but the locals call it Jefferson.

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Featured SwEP Author: Matthew Brown

Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC would like to reintroduce to you to Matthew Brown.

Matthew Brown’s collection, Verbrennen, was published from Swimming with Elephants Publications in January 2014 marking it one of the earliest publications by SwEP.

Listen to Matthew Brown perform a poem from his collection here:

Pick up Matthew Brown’s collection, Verbrennen, from Bookworks ABQ

or order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble today!

Already own a copy? Please write a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads, or submit a review to swimwithelephants@gmail.com for publications on this site.

 

MattMatthew Brown

Matthew Brown is a young poet born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Though relatively new to slam poetry, he has preformed alongside some of Albuquerque’s most seasoned poets, and represented New Mexico two years in a row as a member Unidos Poetry Collective at Brave New Voices. Matthew Brown’s poems expose social, racial, and economic inequalities from both a Hispanic and African American perspective.


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Featured SwEP Author: Liza Wolff Francis

Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC would like to reintroduce to you to Liza Wolff Francis.

Liza Wolff Francis’s chapbook, Language of Crossing, was published in the fall of 2015 by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC.

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.

 

Liza Wolff Francis’s chapbook, Language of Crossing, from Bookworks ABQ

or order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble today!

Already own a copy? Please write a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads, or submit a review to swimwithelephants@gmail.com for publications on this site.

 

Liza Wolff-Francis

Liza Wolff-FraLizaHeadShotncis 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.

 


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Coming Soon: “from below/denied the light” by Paulie Lipman

Welcome, Paulie Lipman, to the Swimming with Elephants Publications family!

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Out of Denver, Colorado, Paulie comes “from below” and rises to join our parade of writers.

A two time National Poetry Slam finalist, Paulie Lipman is a loud Jewish Queer poet, performer, and writer. His work has appeared in the anthology ‘We Will Be Shelter’ (Write Bloody Publishing) as well as The Emerson Review, Drunk In A Midnight Choir, Voicemail Poems, pressure gauge, and Prisma (Zeitblatt Fur Text & Sprache).

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A magical individual, I’ve had the chance to share at least one meal with Paulie in a group setting during the 2015 Denver 40 oz. regional slam; from there, I can recollect Paulie’s genuine kindness, their welcoming spirit, their talent in writing and performing, their endless inspirations and ideas, and their sort of soft loudness that allows others to be heard while their voice lifts in passionate intervals. At the time, I was a “newbie” to competitive slam, but it was with that interaction that Paulie, a veteran to slam to my eyes, made me feel heard throughout the group conversation, going so far as to ask me questions personally so I might be involved in the busy-ness that often overwhelms when you’re sat at a table full of poets.

Their upcoming title with SwEP, “from below/denied the light,” is a deep exploration of addiction, sobriety, spirituality, and identity. With micro-poem interludes, Paulie captivates with self-recognized flaws from the beginning, sharing with readers:

I am a snob when I have no right to be

I judge people who don’t read

Even though I’m a recovering junkie, I have
little tolerance for current ones

I love and help those who deserve it, don’t
ask me how I determine that

Nevertheless, he shines as an example in this brutal self-recognition of knowing he may be “horrible to love”; and still, his work is so easy to fall into as he touches on subjects of his queer identity and how it conflicts with his Jewish blood, and his path into recovery as he addresses past self-destruction.

Of course, with all this to consider, as the title may suggest, Paulie’s book is not a “light” read. Combatting demons throughout, Paulie has managed to create a subtle journey into sobriety and spirituality without overwhelming in its occasional anger and the quiet sadness of providing his own funeral dirge (in a poem aptly named Dirge). And even then, there is a tenderness on the final, lamentful line (but I’ll leave that to mystery).

Beautifully worded and artfully ordered, “from below/denied the light” is available for pre-order on Paulie’s site.

You can also follow them on Facebook or catch them on Instagram.

 


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Book Review: They Are All Me by Dominique Christina

They Are All Me by Dominique Christina
Book Review by SaraEve Fermin

They are all me
Dominique Christina is a woman who wears many hats—activist, poet, performer, educator, author. Emblazoned across all of those titles one word sticks out, clearer than the rest: mother. Nowhere is that more of a celebration than in her newest book, They Are All Me. Please, don’t expect a book of sing-song rhymes or lullabies. Christina is here to sharpen her tongue and pen on the rarely explored edges of humanity, dealing with race, genocide, and womanhood.

In the books introduction, Jack Hirschman describes his reaction to first hearing and then reading Christina’s work ‘…I saw PAGE, I saw BOOK—which is not usually the case when it comes to a lot of so-called Slam or spoken word poetry I’ve heard.’ What makes Christina’s work so readable and relatable is the intensity as well as the connection to content. The first poem in the book is aptly titled Summer of Violence, words that ring heavy and true in our time, cutting into the heart of what is killing us–

Your tomorrow has a bullet in it.
Ask Trayvon Martin.
Your tomorrow has a bullet in it.
Ask Jordan Davis.
Your tomorrow has a bullet in it.
Ask Michael Brown.

Christina dares the entire country to look at what it has done, to ask what is happening to all the black and brown bodies disappearing into the open mouths we call graves, guns, cells. No one is off the hook—not the president (A Letter To Obama, Which Means Nothing), not Hollywood (Bad Blood, For Whitney Houston and Her Daughter Bobbi), certainly not White Men (The Sons of Oil Men), even the Country has to answer for it’s inexcusable course in Oh, America:

I went out looking for
what you promised and
found a toothless grin,
an empty pot,
boneyard lullabies,
sweet-less shores,
witches burnt to cinder,
little black girls bombed in churches,

they are all me.

…See how incurably permanent I am.

Many of the poems in this book are dedicated to the mothers or family members of people who have been murdered for simply living. From the Civil Rights Movement to #BlackLivesMatter, Christina refuses to turn a blind eye to the cruel treatment of African Americans, will not swallow the phase ‘post-racial’ no matter what you chase it with. She remains vigilant in the struggle to keep many of these names relevant in today’s clickbait and celebrity status driven world. A mother herself, the rage she feels over these losses as well as the heartache can be felt in every carefully placed word. She examines the devastating violence of the Civil Rights Movement in poems such as Birmingham Sunday and A Poem For Coretta:

They need me to do something about it,
wrestle the past down to a fairy tale and affix
‘And they all lived happily ever after’ at the end.

It has been almost fifty years since the man who said ‘I Have A Dream’ was assassinated for sharing his ideas of tolerance and peace. Still, Christina opens her heart to those who are murdered, to the black and brown boys we are losing, to the mothers grieving. It is here we see the frustration in being so full of language and still so denied the right to speak, here that Christina howls for the mothers who have only tears. In Mothers of Murdered Sons (For Mami Till, Emmet’s Mother; Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s Mother; and Leslie McFadden, Mike Brown’s Mother), she splits open each family drama, again drawing on the juxtaposition between violence and faith:

The prayers of mothers with murdered sons
don’t arrive in heaven anymore.
Could be they never did.
And maybe God’s a charlatan pitching pennies
to the sound of black boys
breaking the world with their bleeding.
Maybe he’s busy with more righteous indignation.
Maybe the melody ain’t right.

Intersecting motherhood and poetry is a woman, a powerful woman who can conjure up words that might make you think twice before hitting send. When an unnamed ‘Dude on Twitter’ made an offputting comment about menstruation and sex, attempting to bring shame to womanhood, Christina wrote The Period Poem, blasting all misconceptions people may have about the resilience of being female–

And when you deal in blood,
Over and over like we do,
When it keeps returning to you,
That makes you a warrior and
While all good generals know not to discuss
Battle plans with the enemy
Let me say this to you, dummy on Twitter:
If there’s any balance in the universe at all…
You’ll be blessed with daughters.

DC Bio PicBecause women ARE strong as HELL! Christina has written a testimony to the women who have been holding it together for years, women fighting for their lives, women who have lost children, women who we have lost to violence. Through each poem, no matter how brutal the content shines a core of love, a central subject that is being a woman of color in today’s world. In Improbable Bird (for Elaine Brown), Christina writes about the fight between patriarchal expectations and the need for independence in order to make change–

You were supposed to grow up to
Be one of them,
To imprison you wanderlust,
In favor of a husband and
A job that asked of you high heels
and long skirts, but you
Knew something about the madness

That revolutionaries have to keep.

They Are All Me is a reminder that the past can not remain silent. That we need to keep digging at the damage until we find the source of what is wrong and fix it, that the band-aids are not working. She addresses national crisis the so many others have shied away from. She covers Vietnam, Katrina, 9/11, Ferguson, all from a personal perspective. These poems are powerful in the way they transport you back in time, how they pulse the blood, remind you there is more at stake than just a title or a prize. Christina is writing to save lives. In No Consonants, No Vowels, she writes

Language is slippery
when you don’t use it,
when nobody speaks to you,
when no letters come.
Language is a graveyard
of carrier pigeons.

The book contains many of Christina’s slam poetry favorites that can be viewed on YouTube—Birmingham Sunday, Karma, The Period Poem, and others. It is a collection of heartbreak and of celebration. A telling of this country from the blood that runs through it, through us. Dominique Christina has given you all of her with this book. Take the gift with hungry hands.

Click Here to Order They Are All Me Today!

 

Book Reviews by SaraEve Fermin:

SaraEve is a performance poet and epilepsy advocate from New Jersey.  A 2015 Best of the Net nominee, she has performed for both local and national events, including the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam and for the Greater Los Angeles Epilepsy Foundation 2015 Care and Cure Benefit to End Epilepsy in Children. The Editor in Chief of Wicked Banshee Press, a Contributing Editor for Words Dance Magazine and Book Reviewer for Swimming With Elephants Publications,  her work can be found or is forthcoming in GERM Magazine, Words Dance Magazine, Drunk in a Midnight Choir and the University of Hell Anthology We Can Make Your Life Better: A Guidebook to Modern Living,, among others. Her first full length book, View From The Top of the Ferris Wheel, will be published be Emphat!c Press in 2016. She believes in the power of foxes and self publishing.  Learn more here: http://saraeve41.wix.com/saraevepoet