Happy New Year from Swimming with Elephants

After much contemplation and reflection, Swimming with Elephants Publications has made the decision to close its doors for the year of 2021.

We will be taking a hiatus to reflect on our goals and presence in the community and decide, over the next year, if there is still a place for SwEP in our ever changing world. We hope this time off will provide the opportunity for us to decide whether are best course of action is to recuperate, or if it is time for us to go gentle into that goodnight.

We at SwEP have been incredibly grateful for the support and encouragement of our community over the past several years. The opportunity to work with such a vast selection of poets and artists across the United States and beyond has been more than any small press could aspire to achieve. We are grateful to have been able to represent new and emerging voices, as well as provide awareness to various social issues and public concerns through topical anthologies.

All our publications are still available at this time through Independent Bookstores, like Bookworks Albuquerque, as well as the major distribution centers. If it becomes clear that it is not possible resume our business, these publications will go out of print at the end of 2021.

If you are published with Swimming with Elephants Publications, you can expect your annual statement within the next two weeks which will include more information regarding the break and options concerning your publication.

Much love, respect, and gratitude to everyone who has helped us become and maintain the small presence we have. Please remain safe and compassionate to each other during these trying times.

News: Wrapping Up 2020

In is no secret that this has been a difficult year for our small press. We have struggled over the last several months to complete the contracts from the beginning of the year, and are happy to say with the publication of Unlocked Poetry, we have fulfilled our obligations.

Now that we are caught up with all of our outstanding projects, we will be suspending our publications for the undeterminable future. We have already canceled our Weekly Write and this year’s Open Call for Poetry Chapbooks. I would very much like to say we will be back next year, but I am hesitant to make any promises at the time being.

If you are one of our authors, we want to remind you that according to your contract you retain all the rights to your work and if you choose to take work previously published by Swimming with Elephants Publications and publish it elsewhere, we will wish you the very best of luck in your endeavor. If you are interested in retiring your publication from SwEP to seek publication elsewhere, please send us an email and we can conclude the production of your work. I assure you, there will be no hard feelings on our end.

As I have previously stated, the publication of chapbooks is a luxury and not a priority in the world we are currently trying to navigate. I would much rather put the press to rest than attempt to conjure new publications that of a lower quality and/or are not meeting the needs of our authors and community.

We will know early in 2021 if our doors will be shut for good and what the outlook will be.

Currently, all our publications are still for sale through the major book distributors, but as always, we encourage readers to seek their purchases from independent bookstores or from the authors themselves.

We continue our affiliation with Bookworks Albuquerque and encourage our readers to purchase our latest releases through Bookworks or other independent Bookstores.

Find our complete catalog here: https://swimmingwithelephants.com/catalog-by-author/

Be safe and be well!

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!


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.

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!

Weekly Write: “edges burn more readily than centers” by kat heatherington

edges burn more readily than centers

edges burn more readily than centers.
setting an edge alight is a simple matter,
though putting it out again may not be,
if it is inclined towards fire.
the center doesn’t light so well
unless you reach it through the edge,
take the slow route in, open its defenses.
only water will put the center out, once alight.
anything else just picks up the blaze,
amplifies, and burns.
you came pretty close to the center,
smoldering your way in from my furthest edge,
taking a lazy course through the perimeter,
tossing sparks, until suddenly, you had arrived
in the flammable heart,
and everything around you ignited.
surprised, you could only
watch it burn, turning in slow circles,
observing, unable
to reach your hands out toward the flame.

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.