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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All Things Grow… even in the crisp autumn cold.

Lately I find myself in a transition phase of recognizing where my own trauma and anxieties end and I begin. This poem, “All Things Grow” by Lydia Havens, performed with Kate Noel, at this summer’s National Poetry Slam in Denver, paid tribute to that transitional phase; and while I didn’t get a chance to see the poem performed in person, I read reactions to it left and right and, upon reading it (and seeing the video), felt a growth inside of myself.

I believe that’s the true meaning of poetry: feeling yourself grow and flourish in the moment, alongside another person, because of another person’s experience and words. I think there’s something especially enchanting about poems like that, and furthermore something enchanting about Lydia — they have this remarkable talent of being explicit and raw and shaping it into something beautiful, something that… grows, far beyond the usual expectations of what one thinks of when they walk into a poetry slam. And that might be one of my very favourite things about Lydia Havens as a writer, too: they are so far beyond the typical slam artist. Instead, they are the true definition of a poet. In a few brief words, they are walking, talking, magical, lizard-y poetry themselves.

“All Things Grow” by Lydia Havens, performed with Kate Noel

bless every poem about trauma,
& struggle, & loss i have written
thus far, for getting me this far.
bless all the space they needed to take up. bless them for knowing
when to step away.

bless all the songs i cannot
listen to anymore because
nostalgia & association will be
the death of me. bless the fact
that i am not dead yet. bless
the fact that i don’t know
where my abuser is anymore,
and i am okay with that.

it doesn’t mean i’ve forgiven him,
but it does mean i’ve forgiven myself.

bless my mother for believing me.
bless my mother for driving me
to all the psych wards, then picking me
back up after discharge. bless
my mother for believing in me.

bless my friends for carrying me home.
bless my friends for making me a home.
bless the city of Boise. bless all the light
it gives us, even at night. bless all
the rivers, even when they want
to overflow. bless the scars on my arms
that faded, and the ones on my face
that didn’t. bless all the ways i spill
like metal secrets against the floor.

bless the glitter always on my hands,
and the becoming. bless the way
my hair is growing out. bless the meds
that worked until they didn’t. bless the way
i never stopped working.

bless the fact that once, i thought
i didn’t know how to write a happy poem.
so bless all the cliches i am learning to love
because i like being a happy person
more than i like being a good writer.
bless vulnerability. bless bravery.
bless whatever it is i’m doing right now,

because everyone that’s ever hurt me
has tried to make me quiet—drown me
in the frantic water i just learned how
to endure. this is not a survival song.
this is the song I sing because I’ve survived.
the opportunity for the joy i have always deserved,
because i have always deserved to take up space.

that’s all. that’s all.

(text posted with permission)
You can visit Lydia’s website, here, and further support them by buying their book, “Survive Like the Water” and, of course, watch the video performance of “All Things Grow” again and again.
Don’t forget to follow them on instagram for magical selfies, and on twitter for more updates about poetry and their life in Boise.

 

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Now Available: …but my friends call me Burque

Burque…but my friends call my Burque
Poetry by Manuel Gonzalez
Available at Amazon and Createspace for $10.95.
Available at SwEP events at discount pricing.

About the collection:

The first complete collection from beloved New Mexico poet Manuel Gonzalez contains many of his most popular performance pieces along with poems he has used and shared in classrooms throughout the state.

Manuel states:  “I’m proud to be from New Mexico, and to me it’s more than just green chile and desert. It’s seeing the value of famila and respect. It’s the Rio Grande valley and Santuario de Chi-mayo. It is feasts, dance, poetry and prayer.”

This collection honors New Mexico, her traditions and her beauty.


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Matthew Brown

MattMatthew 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.

Matthew Brown’s latest chapbook Verbrennen is now available on Amazon, Createspace, and Bookworks Albuquerque via Swimming with Elephants Publications.


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Now Available: Some of it is Muscle by Zachary Kluckman

Some of it is muscle promo 1Swimming with Elephants Publications is proud to announce its newest publication: Some of it is Muscle by Zachary Kluckman. Currently the book is available through Createspace and Amazon.com.

To order from Amazon.com please visit the link: Some of it is Muscle

To order from Createspace Direct: Some of it is Muscle  

A little about the book: The poems in this collection are meant to be read from beginning to end. These are poems of endurance, written with the conviction that “we survive” is the thread that connects the body to the spirit, and from that recognition comes an appreciation of the beauty that exists in the simple acts of living. These are poems that celebrate the anvil and the hammer, those things that shape and reshape us.


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Jessica Helen Lopez

JessicaRecently named one of 30 Poets in their 30’s to watch by MUZZLE magazine, Jessica Helen Lopez is a nationally recognized award-winning slam poet, and holds the title of 2012 and 2014 Women of the World (WOW) City of ABQ Champion.

She’s also a member of the Macondo Foundation. Founded by Sandra Cisneros, it is an association of socially engaged writers united to advance creativity, foster generosity, and honor community.

Her first collection of poetry, Always Messing With Them Boys (West End Press, 2011) made the Southwest Book of the Year reading list and was also awarded the Zia Book Award presented by NM Women Press.

She is the founder of La Palabra – The Word is a Woman collective created for and by women and gender-identified women. Lopez is a Ted Talk speaker alum.

You may find some of Lopez’s work at these sites –LaPalabra.abqnorthwest.com, thebakerypoetry.com, and asusjournal.org.

Her work has been anthologized in A Bigger Boat: The Unlikely Success of the Albuquerque Slam Scene (UNM Press), Earth Ships: A New Mecca Poetry Collection (NM Book Award Finalist), Tandem Lit Slam (San Francisco), Adobe Walls, Malpais Review, SLAB Literary Magazine and the upcoming Courage Anthology: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls (Write Bloody Press).

Her forthcoming release, Cunt. Bomb. a chapbook of poetry, will be released in January of 2014 from Swimming with Elephants publications.