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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Bill Nevins

Bill Nevins

 

Bill Nevins grew up Irish Catholic near and in New York City in the 1950’s and 60’s. He moved to northern New England and raised his three children, one of whom, Special Forces SFC Liam Nevins, died in combat in Afghanistan in 2013. Bill has lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico since 1996.

His poetry has been published in Malpaís Review, Green Left Weekly, The Rag, Central Avenue, Sage Trail, Adobe Walls, Más Tequila Review, Special Forces Charitable Trust online, Maple Leaf Rag II, The Heartbreak ridgeCornelian, KUMISS, and other publications. His journalism is found in The Guardian, Forward Motion, Z Magazine, RootsWorld, Hyper Active, Trend of Santa Fe, EcoSource, LOGOS, Thirsty Ear, ABQ ARTS, Local iQ, TM Transmission, The Celtic Connection, Irish American News, An Scathan/Celtic Mirror and other journals.

Bill Nevins hosts second-Wednesday monthly poetry readings at The Range Cafe in Bernalillo, New Mexico. He can be contacted at bill_nevins@yahoo.com and at Bill Nevins on Facebook.

Bill Nevins’ collection of poetry, Heartbreak Ridge, is now available from Swimming with Elephants Publications.

 

author photo credit: Mark Fischer


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Submission Period Ends March 31st

Only Three Days Left to Submit to this Anthology!

We have already received many great submissions and are eager to start editing and sending our acceptance notices. However, for those who have not yet sent in your work there is still time.

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Swimming with Elephants Publications is currently searching for material for a new publication. The focus is writing by and for people of all ages and genders who have suffered or are currently suffering from eating disorders, body image issues, depression, suicide, and survival. The goal is to spread awareness and share the stories and truths of those who have suffered with or witnessed the often devastating effects of these ailments. We are looking for stories of survival as well as stories of loss and hopelessness in an effort to reach those who feel they may be alone in their battle.

Elephant Logo AgainIf you have a poem, a short story, or a piece of creative non-fiction that you feel is appropriate for this publication please email it to: swimwithelephants(at)gmail(dot)com. You may submit up to five pieces of varying written genres.

Previously published and simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please give proper acknowledgement for past publications. Please include a brief cover letter and short biography with every submission.