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!


Coming Soon: Worn Out Gorgeous

Coming Soon:

Worn Out Gorgeous

by Aaron Ambrose

We would like to announce the upcoming release of Worn Out Gorgeous by Aaron Ambrose, the second of three chapbooks which were chosen for publication from our 2020 Chapbook Open Call. Originally scheduled for release in June, the pandemic has pushed our release date to October, 2020.


Follow our website and Facebook page for upcoming release and performance information.


An additional note to our followers:

The ability to publish is a luxury which should not be the top priority of our society at the moment, and it has not been the top priority for our staff. However, we have every intention of fulfilling the contracts we made before the pandemic.

Due to the pandemic we have postponed this year’s Open Call for chapbooks and the Weekly Write. After the new year, in 2021, we will reevaluate our business model and decide on our next steps.

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 but it is far too soon to know what we will look like in the next year.

We still have one more chapbook from last year’s Open Call which we hope to release before the end of 2020 and are hoping to still be able put together our 2020 anthology. We have extended our timeline for these publications and we appreciate the patience of our followers and poets.

You can continue to support us by supporting our poets and supporting independent bookstores.

Weekly Write: “The Squall, Soon” by Zachary Kluckman

The Squall, Soon

I claim the rain as my father.

Who hung its wet form more often in my door
than the man whose DNA wrote the map of my palms.

This body is almost entirely water.
My fingerprints are his, a sand garden

raked by the waves of his movement, by the presence
of tides, anchored to bone as hollow as his name,

whispered in storms. His face was built of screen doors,
easier to witness the world through his rust than see

the man. For years I believed the shriek of hinge
was my name. Named after him, the sound of doors

closing. The sound of absence. Our grass always was
eager for blood. And the rain, eager to sing the skin clean,

pulled the torn skin aside when I fell, open to inspection
by insects, I watched the water pool in the bowl of my wound,

listened to crickets divorce the dark with their legs.
Explosion is common with new birth. The wet

taught me mud, taught me womb, before fathers,
before abandoned, born with the knowledge of water.

We way we slide within our skin, barely contained.
The way teeth form a seawall, to contain our drowning.

Each storm brings the scars to the surface, my feet
to the door, eager to meet the sky halfway through its fall,

a child running to introduce himself to his father.

COVID Updates and Hard Choices

New Releases

Due to COVID in the United States, our production has slowed tremendously. Whereas last year we had almost 17 publications by this time, we are now only presenting our fourth completed collection.

“A Duet of Dying is a poignant and honest approach to surviving terminal sickness, living disabled, and the constant navigation of the healthcare system of the United States. From honest confessions like remaining with somebody caught cheating “Because I was on his health insurance,” in Why Did You Stay? part 3, to the foreign and familiar feeling of not knowing yourself apart from the “alien” in Pathogen, this collection is a special one for its approach through — and more aptly: with — sickness. Then there is the raw cruelty that is given a voice so aptly in Ringtones into Dirges; here, at last, are words for the battle with collections calls for MRIs and diagnostic tests; those which are necessary to life, but the collected debt of which could easily drive somebody to death. And I think, finally, finally, here is an honest testament — of love, of life (while actively dying), of death (and still living). And wonderfully, a narrative from two powerful queer voices, who offer this bittersweet collection, so purely.”

~Reviewed by Maxine Peseke

As always, we encourage ordering the collection from the authors personally or through an independent bookstore, but the collection is also available through Amazon and other distributors.

Click here to order today!

About the Authors

 Shanna Alden (they/them) is a queer poet, photographer, barista, and bartender living in Seattle, WA with their chosen family and a couple very soft cats. They sit on the board of Rain City Poetry Slam and consistently host weekly poetry shows.

Erin Schick (they/them) is a queer, trans, and multiply disabled social worker living in upstate New York and focused on disability justice and queer liberation. Their interests include the Pacific Northwest, women’s soccer, and sled dogs.

Coming Soon

Before the end of the year we have two more books scheduled for release: Worn out Gorgeous by Aaron Ambrose and Double-Knotted Shoelace by Trixi Rosa. We are also working on putting together an anthology called Unlocked Poetry from the Lyrical Vagabonds in Denver. Hopefully, we will still be able to create our annual anthology, but we won’t know the details until December.

Effects of COVID 19

Since the beginning of the COVID situation in the United States our office has been closed which means all work for the press is being done via my home computer. My outdated, slow, simple home computer. This has already lead to many unforeseen troubles with formatting of the books we are currently producing.

Not only has the production time has slowed tremendously and we have had to switch back to a print on demand service after the closing of the local printer we only recently acquired. We are still committed to putting out quality publications but our ability to produce publications the way we want has changed greatly.

Because of this, we are postponing our annual Open Call for Chapbooks this year, and possibly our Weekly Write series. This is not a decision I have come to easily, but I do believe it is the right decision at this time. I would much rather slow down and survive, than push through and burn out.

What’s to Come

The ability to publish is a luxury which should not be the top priority of our society at the moment, but we do believe we will return to a place where a small press like ours has a purpose and a future.

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.

Weekly Write: “Reflections” by Maxine Peseke


I saw you this morning
slightly hurried,
one eyebrow groomed in
a somewhat socially acceptable
Excusing the other with murmurs of reassurance —
“Sisters, not twins”

you left with a smear
of toothpaste
on the corner of your lip

When I saw you saw, frazzled,
in the afternoon,
toothpaste was replaced
with a crumb from whatever
mediocre lunch you fed yourself —
but you’re only human

though it’s safe to say
the toothpaste
was a cleaner look

Regardless, you should eat more, dear.

But keep going —
I’ll send you packing
with a snack in your purse.

When you arrived home,
your eyes looked drawn;
a corner of your prided eyeliner
had streaked from some absent
midday eye rub

and really,
I thought this morning,
you should get more sleep.

But I smiled when the mirror
fogged up with steam —
you probably didn’t see —
and you wiped your face

Maxine L. Peseke is a writer, mother, and sometimes freelance editor; she also works closely with Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC, as an organizational assistant. She is currently living in a small Northern Ontario town, transplanted from New Mexico respectively where she originally met each of Saturday’s Sirens as part of the Albuquerque poetry community.