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:

Be safe and be well!

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.

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.

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:
<> 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,<>, 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. <>

I hope to see you on the 18th!