We had a busy year!
Swimming with Elephants Publications produced several books during 2018. Review this years publications and get your hands on them before we embark on our publications for 2019.
All our books are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BookWorks Albuquerque, and can be ordered by Independent Bookstores around the world.
Get your hands on Swimming with Elephants Publications 2018 Anthology, Parade, featuring the poetry of Kevin Barger, SaraEve Fermin, Wil Gibson, Jessica Helen Lopez, Matthew Brown, Maxine Peseke and so many more!
Only $7.95 and free shipping with Amazon Prime. Make great gifts and are a fine sampling of the poets Swimming with Elephants represents.
“La Diáspora de un Aztlán norteño” details the unique ‘MiChicanidad’ experience of life on the border in Michigan. This is another definition of Aztlán, as seen on a Northern Border, this time between Canada and Southwest Detroit’s predominantly Mexican American neighborhood. Growth of this Spanish speaking barrio began in the earlier part of the 20th Century due to the rise of migrant labor and employment at factories. Later, the area prospered as those immigrants began to choose to stay. Their addition to the interpretation of life on the border, as well as the community’s vibrant nature, is unparalleled especially as it is defined through creativity.
“…this collection carries both the beauty of human resilience and the searing pain of postatomic burning carnage. The poetry, like hope, is an obstinate and sturdy survivor, for ‘what could i do but write songs.’ These verses often push the envelope, asking questions that make more sense than our grammar. ‘are you out there in the stealth night on the edge of blue? listening/ are you loving me for sending you this fix of heartbreak/ slid down metal, taut and wound. electric. are you?’…haunting, resonant odes and the rhythmic power of promises and truth, poems spread across Hiroshima and Barcelona, Laos and Albuquerque. These poems bring the world into a familial embrace, but spit out the naked power of truth, both personal and political, as if it were a well-chewed chicken bone, gnawed raw. Through it all, this mother-daughter poetic duo reminds us that, in the beauty of human hope, ‘nothing sacred can be lost.’”
-Carmen Tafolla, State Poet Laureate of Texas
“Mercedez Holtry’s poetry speaks to the origin stories of her Chican@ and Mestiz@ people. It is a mixed bag of mixed blood and the celebratory songs of family, culture and the history of the la tierra that she has blossomed from. Her poems are resistance and resilience. She is a fierce page poet warrior who also casts her spells from the stage, as a true bruja does. Oppressors beware. Holtry mixes up curses, prayers and incantations with her poetic brew. This is a poet who uses her mas palabras for healing and retribution. Her collection de poesia es muy firme, a true reckoning of what is to come from a generation of woke poets who have much to say and aren’t afraid to say it. ”
-Jessica Helen Lopez, ABQ Poet Laureate, Emeritus and Author of the award winning book
Originally written in french by Werner Lambersy, this short book serves as an homage to Pina Bausch, an extraordinary modern dancer. This English translation, by Jack Hirschman, serves as a continued remembrance to not only an amazing modern dancer but the poet whom she inspired.
“Bassam writes poems that feel like slow motion car crashes where, at every turn, you’re also reassured that it’s ok to feel like this, like even if nothing is going to be ok, there is strength to hold like a parking brake, like the axis of a planet. Bassam’s words are a gut punch, a pull to beating heart chest, a hand that holds yours in the bleak. One senses that the act of poetry for Bassam is truly one of survival. What a strength it takes to show our deepest insecurities, to not ask for forgiveness. To not be the hero of your own story. Bassam is a bright non binary voice. One that asks not for acceptance, but simply is, and tells the stories of body and mind that is so intimate and accessible to those of us who endlessly battle with our shapes, our selves. What a gift to give.”
—Charlie Petch, Spoken Word Artist, Playwright, Musician
Within these pages, entitled “Bekimi I Nënës, A Mother’s Blessing,” Jack Hirschman and Idlir Azizaj present a translation of Jusef Gërvalla’s poetry. This is the first time this collection, originally published by the Naim Frashëri Publishing House, in Tirana, Albania in 1983, is translated in the English Language. In 1983, a year after the original publication in his native Kosovo Albanian, Jusuf Gërvalla, his brother Bardhosh, and comrade Kadri Zeka were allegedly murdered by the Serbian secret service in their exile in Germany. Gërvalla was known as a journalist and a musician as well as a poet, novelist, and founder of the Marxist-Leninist group, the National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo. For the first time, Jusuf Gërvalla’s poetry, including selections from his three books: They Fly and Fall, Green Stork, and Sacred Marks, can be shared by the english speaking population.
“Unease at Rest” is an ‘ugly butterfly’, anatomized. It is the death’s-head moth pinning itself under glass. Every poem is another marking on the insect’s back, resembling a human skull. Each one steadfastly reminds its author that it isn’t, in fact, a skull. But each feels about that heavy. In this grossly gorgeous collection, Gibson doesn’t wrestle or toss away the bones on his back. He quietly, humbly carries them. Wil doesn’t fly straight into the lantern’s yawning flame. He stares it down, he names it, and he reaches for it. He does so for us, sparing us the discomfort. And he does it with a steady and trained hand: imperfect palms stretched perfectly. The textual body of his poems, too, flex and fold this way. Every page a ‘soft, awkward, and most authentic’ wing. Wil reaches for the fire with such an ugly human grace, that it explains the ugly human light that swallows us too, by which we are lit from inside, to which we all are bound.”
– Bill Moran – author of “Oh God Get Out Get Out”
This collection of poems alternately pierces the reader with astute and heartbreaking observations (Good Drums is a particularly devastating musing on white, male American-ness) while at the same time using evocative language to spar with and challenge the ideas of belonging and connection and love. These poems invite the reader to contemplate what it means to come from somewhere, and how it feels to long for a place that isn’t home, but could be. They invite us to see the mundane as essential, and to see and celebrate the things that connect us to our identity. The title of this collection is apt; like a nail gun, these poems violently pierce, but do so in service to building something sturdy and sheltering, and every one is a love letter to the dance that makes us who we are.
– Sherry Frost, Educator
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).
“These poems are a way of telling you what I saw, at least the remnants of those things. My poems have codes in them. They have forms that have long since lost favor. They have rhyme schemes and syllabic structures of old and new places. They have formlessness that abides by current trends, but embraces none of them wholesale. They are, as Milton once wrote, poems that attempt to champion the unnamable and the indeterminable. Mine are the equations of empty sets and irrational numbers as much as they are of ritual and nostalgia. I have decided not to appease all critique. I am at rest, because the people I trust most have said that there is something in them, something of where I am from, what became of my home, and what is becoming in the world. And for the first time in a long time I’m not ashamed of my part in this story. With all that I am, let these poems be a part of my apology to the world and to my beloveds, an apology for each moment as it passes to the next…”
~from the preface
Due to a successful fundraising event during the month of December, we are able to pass on our good fortune to our amazing readers.
Our goal as a publisher of predominately poetry collections is to get the words of our writers into the hands of our readers, and what better way than to lower the price!
We have many new publications released during 2018, including chapbooks by Paulie Lipman, Bassam, and Manual Montoya, and full length poetry collections by Wil Gibson, Mary & Aja Oishi, and Beau Williams. But this particular anthology contains work by all of them and many more. Get a wonderful sampling of what Swimming with Elephants Publications does and the work we produce and then find more books by these authors from us or other small presses.
Save the Date: December 15, 2018
This December recognizes five years of publishing and we have a lot to celebrate: We have a new anthology, Parade, a new logo, SwEP Swag, a new commercial and a photo slideshow.
Join us for the festivities on December 15th at Tortuga Gallery from 6-9. We will incorporate music and poetry throughout the night beginning at 6pm and going until 9pm, with a toast at 7:30pm.
Any SwEP authors who would like to perform, please contact me. We really just want to have you there. You will be able to pick up your SwEP Swag and contributor copies of our anthology.
Keep your eyes on the website and facebook page for more information on our upcoming festivities.
Open Call for Chapbooks
Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC (SwEP) is hosting a chapbook open call to find some fresh work and new voices from October 15-December 15, 2018. Click here for more information.
From our submissions, our guest judges will choose three for publication. All three chosen publications will receive the same award of 25 author copies. All our publications include an ISBN, Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC contract, and creative control over cover and production. For more information on what SwEP provides its authors or to see a general contract, please email us.
- Unease at Rest by Wil Gibson
- Pina Bausch by by Werner Lambersy, Jack Hirschman (Translator), Jami Proctor-Xu (Illustrator)
- Rock Paper Scissor by Mary Oishi and Aja Oishi
- BEKIMI I NËNËS / A Mother’s Blessing by Jusuf Gërvalla (Author), Jack Hirschman (Translator), Idlir Azizaj (Translator)
Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC currently has its hands full with various projects:
- We are working diligently on the submission process for our Open Call for Chapbooks, creating a new edition of Light as a Feather, wrapping up two publications: Diaspora and Parade, planning our Anniversary party, and organizing and reading submissions for the Weekly Write 2019.
Support and Donations
There are many ways to support our authors: Purchase books from our poets, review books on websites and in print journals, see our poets perform when they come to a town near you, interact with our website and Facebook page, or send them compliments and applause.
Supporting our writers and events also helps support our press, but as a not for profit, growth can be difficult. Consider supporting our press by purchasing anthologies, donating through our website (via PayPal), or placing orders for multiple copies directly through us rather than a major book distributor. All our contact information is available on our website.
As always we encourage interaction with our website and Facebook page, as well as welcoming reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book review places. Please contact us with any questions or queries.
Unease at Rest
by Wil Gibson
Available on Amazon $15.00
“Unease at Rest is an ‘ugly butterfly’, anatomized. It is the death’s-head moth pinning itself under glass. Every poem is another marking on the insect’s back, resembling a human skull. Each one steadfastly reminds its author that it isn’t, in fact, a skull. But each feels about that heavy. In this grossly gorgeous collection, Gibson doesn’t wrestle or toss away the bones on his back. He quietly, humbly carries them. Wil doesn’t fly straight into the lantern’s yawning flame. He stares it down, he names it, and he reaches for it. He does so for us, sparing us the discomfort. And he does it with a steady and trained hand: imperfect palms stretched perfectly. The textual body of his poems, too, flex and fold this way. Every page a ‘soft, awkward, and most authentic’ wing. Wil reaches for the fire with such an ugly human grace, that it explains the ugly human light that swallows us too, by which we are lit from inside, to which we all are bound.”
– Bill Moran – author of “Oh God Get Out Get Out” – Write Bloody Press