~ 2023 Debut Poets Events This Spring & Summer ~
~ 2023 Debut Poets Events This Spring & Summer ~
Ad Versus Reaction is a raw, rhythmic, and thought-provoking collection. Paleologos straddles the line between personal and political themes unapologetically. He dares to put pen to paper on a mission to shed light on controversial but very real issues. The intensity of his material and sharp wordplay combined, cause the poems to radiate with so much emotion. There is something in this book for everybody. I am both inspired and. completely blown away by the courage, vulnerability, and skill that marks each page from cover to cover.
- Rosalynn J. Diaz, author of Lady Lotus
Nick Paleologos has been called Cult Leader, Jersey Jesus, Kitty God, and Genegar...With rock star intensity and geek-like zeal, he launches us on a journey through the depths of self-destruction to the heights of creativity, connection, and wonder. And, like said avatars, he shifts, evolves, and resurrects throughout, morphing with each poem into stronger and more realized forms of himself.
- Emily Cordes, author of Armful of Poppies
2022 PenCraft Book Award Nominee!
Cordes' Armful of Poppies delivers us at an altar where heady images and lush vocabulary wrap like divine incense around the spirit. Allusions to Caravaggio and Plath, goddesses like Isis and Pele, create a garden growing out of a pandemic and politically turbulent time. She warns us 'the things you bury will grow back if you're not careful;' it is apparent that what's been buried here has blossomed into a very fruitful orchard.
- Alise Versella, author of 'When Wolves Become Birds'
Armful of Poppies is a call to freedom for women with large vocabularies and few safe spaces to flex them in. Emily transports us through emotions, torpedoing from "Hearts passed out like penny candy" to bombs exploding impending war. By the end of the book I realize that I have been wrapped in love.
- Jamella "Ray Jane" Raymore, Spoken Word Artist
Before the Streetlights Come On is an outstanding set of poetic observations on love, life, and living through the many circumstances of being a Black male in America. Fresh Linen provides personal insight with an intelligent perspective on growing up and going through. The poems are love letters to the experiences of Fresh Linen and the experiences of so many young people growing up in inner cities across the globe. Poems like "Mama Bear" and "Dear Black Boy" showcase his ability to create technique in free form. While "Limitless" and "Heartbreak on Reverb" showcase his ability to gut punch your brain with just a few iambic expressions. Regardless of your racial background, socioeconomic class, or the neighborhood in which you were reared, every man (and woman or person) can identify with the emotion in Fresh Linen's writing. Before the Streetlights Come On allows you to engage your feelings and reflect on what it was like to be young and learning to navigate the world on your own, while under the purview of those magnificent beings we call parents. Sit back and grant yourself permission to enjoy reliving some of the best, most interesting, and most compelling moments of being young and fresh, enjoying life while absorbing Before the Streetlights Come On.
- Dr. Otiz “O.T.” Porter-Fisher, International Psychologist and author of "Dear Anonymous Friend..."
Belly of the Snake is a deeply personal self-reflection that touches on topics like sex, abuse, religion, and folklore. It’s Chicanx, it’s Indigenous, it’s Feminist and unapologetic. Each poem channels a pained yet fierce voice that shares the most intimate memories and experiences while reconciling others. Denise is a border poet who is not afraid to bleed on each page of her debut collection.
- Reyna Muñoz
English Professor, El Paso Community College.
Denise Saenz's debut collection Belly of the Snake is a blessing interwoven with threads of introspection, unlearning, acceptance, and affirmations of power.
Through these poems, she breaks through smoking mirrors of doubt and aims for higher realms of Self and Community calling out hypocrisies, injustices, and traumas from the historical to the present. Unapologetic in her tone, Saenz evokes the musicality of ourselves - from the decrescendo of doubts to crescendos of condemnation and celebration. Much like the music, I find myself nodding in agreement to the words of this border poet!
- Richie Marrufo
Poems by Marissa Prada is a roadmap through the personal tragedy of a universal experience. A time of mourning that sends us spinning through feelings so deep we feel we will be swept away in it’s current. A collective acknowledgement that grief is dark and twisted. Confronting us with the painful recognition of loss, standing at the edge of darkness cloaked in a shroud in sadness, clinging to memories in despair, society doesn't have a manual for navigating the "river of woe."
Her words remind us of lost loved ones, of passages through desperate times where everything has been turned on its axis and daily life is anything but normal. Where nothing can fill the void of pain, where the ache and the sorrow, shades life’s’ joy. Days so dark that light has been forgotten.
She asks the endless nagging question of "why didn’t I ...." as she pens words for emotions our heart could never express. She reminds us that we do not walk through the shadow of darkness alone. Our loved one may not be here to share our daily milestones, but they live on in our heart and soul forever. And although it feels like the end, she promises that it isn't, that this pain is only one chapter in our lives.
- Jane SpokenWord
Marissa distills stages of grief into words that gradually become conversations; with the departed, the reader, and herself. From denial, through to realization, we are able to share her journey of losses, lost voices, lost dreams. Each poem helps transmute such a “crap hand” that life sets her to play with, into something beautifully intelligible, and that alone is remarkable. Even the changing experience of time is brought into view, with brutal eloquence, as in her hard edged insight, in the poem Progress.
Despite the subject matter veering in violent turn from suicide, and self-harm, through to the dreadful experience of a still-birth (her piece, Just Misplaced, is as powerful a meditation on the topic I’ve ever encountered) this is not, I suggest, a collection that leaves one exhausted and saddened; that’s because she’s done the hard emotional work for us. A collection that really is greater than the sum of its parts.
- Mike Huett
Miro's engaging debut is firmly rooted in both the streets of New York City and the mysterious regions of the heart. From the sharp specific details of the opening poem "Old Haunts" to the tenderness, vulnerability, and kinetic energy of "I Miss Being Kissed" and the strength and clarity of "Through the Glass" this collection offers insight into the triumphs and travails of living, loving, and learning. To quote her lovely poem "Your Body is a Tree," "resilient is how you evolved" and w, her readers, are the better for that evolution.
- Kate Angus, author of So Late to the Party
Miro invites us into a world in which she says the things we've all thought but didn't know we were allowed to put out into the universe. This book is the perfect encapsulation of the duality of wanting to be alone while also wanting to be adored in relationship. She feeds an entire generation words we've been craving to make sense of our identities. This book is one you'll tear through in a single sitting - sitting alongside Miro, drinking green tea, listening to Glass Animals in the quiet of the night.
- Gina Antonia Nepa
When you read Ma Duke’s, Epiphanies of the Soul you will learn that the only thing that matters is your heart. Ma Dukes is a champion of people and she delivers wisdom and poetic guidance and trust me, there is no shit on her boots. The poem, Unhate You is a highlight as this book is a tremendously powerful display of passion through her loving relationship with words.
These reflective lines allow you to walk in the shoes of a strong, determined, dedicated, and caring person who just happens to be a brilliant poet. This is a must-read book.
- James Mr. Speaker Sears
MrSpeakerInk/Poet/Author/Host of Verbal Vibrations
Everything I Think is All in My Mind...is just what the doctor ordered. Poems delve into the human mind; they are reflections of our fragile condition. Depression, anxiety, loneliness, and bullying are freely discussed. The Secret to Surviving Sinkholes, A Razor Blade a Day, while self-revealing, offer a renewed strength and hope to the reader. Why Wonder Bread is the True Eighth Wonder of this Wondrous Wold will leave you hungry for more. Selections are bold, witty, anecdotal, and will tiklw youe funny-bone. Your blues will surely take a blissful reprieve.
- Rita B. "Rusty" Rose, LGBTQ Poet Laureate of Long Island, Stonewall Trailblazer, author of Flower Poems
A poetic chief, Generalissimo Bryan Franco slices and dices his pieces of life with wit, wisdom, and precision. He then serves them to his reader on a delicate heart-shaped platter. ...Franco takes us on a journey and bares his soul along the way leaving us caught up in a whilrwind of emotions. And in the midst of it all, he reminds us to celebrate life by dancing instead of watching others dance.
- Tony Aldarondo, poet, author of Big Heart Poet
These are amazing poems about resolve and belonging—determined, tender and bold. Out of filial love, Marroquín here surveys the way an American life is often woven across great distance, in this case from El Salvador to California and beyond. These are bi-lingual poems about civil war, no time for dreaming, and reckoning the cost of big moves. There’s a dance here in the middle of the volume, of a mother tongue that will “dance circles around you,” a dancer who doesn’t need English for a date. For the bigger, cinematic picture, Marroquín insists that these verses also are binge-worthy episodes, chapters of an American odyssey--must-see viewing. They are also poems profoundly about identity, powerful reminders that who we are, ultimately, depends on whose we are.
- Matthew Packer
Professor of English, Buena Vista University
Ms. Kimberly Shaw's collection of poems titled Inspired by Actual Events is full of love, civil rights, gambling, prayers, advice, inspiration, and power from a poet, raised by a strong matriarch to be a true lioness. These pages are full of powerful lessons and words for women, mothers, and lovers. In these pages, between these lines, spilled neatly, you will find pain, growth, loss, joy, love, and life. You will learn in these pages and grow by reading these lines.
- James Mr. Speaker Sears
An amazing tasting course of this artist's work that hits on multiple levels. I want seconds...and thirds.
- Cel Landicho
Is this resiliency poetry? Ashley Edwards debuts by chronicling wounding. Will she ever regain an entirely free heart and sense of self-worth? The trials and tribulations of a loving hear; who has the sole market on pain, regret? Phoenix-ing through self-traps, choices, and results. Familiar with them? Bittersweet or soulless sour? Taste. Snack. Imbibe wisely.
- Diane Murray Ward
It Was Sweet Before It Was Sour is an amazing book of poetry. When reading the "sweet" part it brings me back to the days of my 17 year old self so in love with this person or the idea of being in love and all the sweet nothings that come with it. Fast forward to the "sour" and you get the harsh realization of love gone wrong. It reminds us how even in both times, love is love and its beauty in it is inevitable. Her words speak volumes to young and old souls alike...This book is amazing hands down amazing and I am so proud of this woman.
- Angie C.
A lotus unfurls in the Bronx. Lady Lotus is Diaz's battle cry. A strong Boricua woman's spoken word sings here. With rhyme schemes that dance like a salsa triumphant through the streets. Not only do these poems prove she will fight for justice in the world...they also prove she will fight against her own body...and win. Poems that encourage the reader to ready their petals and bloom where they stand.
- Alise Versella, author of "When Wolves Become Birds"
Lady Lotus was an experience. It captured the essence of the Bronx, of being Nuyorican, a woman, a daughter. Diaz weaves a powerful story of struggle and strength. She unapologetically discusses issues too many are afraid to address with verses that are impactful. Be prepared for a journey. Lady Lotus starts off with anger and pain, fiery courage sparks along the way, and ends with the beauty of life and found happiness. The arrangement of words are musical, rhythmic; you'll feel them in your core.
- J. Samborski
These poems - about grief, self-love, queerness - struck a cord deep within me. The beauty of the phrasing coupled with the raw emotion felt in each line, will have me coming back to them time and again. It was an honor to take these in.
- Molly Roach
In her debut book of poems Mourning Flowers, JiJi confronts her trauma of her father's tragic death, as well as her own identity in the queer community. The author takes the reader's hand as she shows us grief-filled images contrasted with words of hope and love. We are invited to bear witness to the beginning stages of her healing from sorrow, as well as her joy at the thought of future love. It made this Capricorn too emotional to stay dry-eyed throughout the first, second, and third readings. Well done, my friend.
- Pagan R. Maeve
Poet Khan Rass Fiyaa is a dynamic writer and her debut book My Abyss proves that her pen wins. Come, read, and take this journey to a level of love most have never achieved. A level of love even the author was not ready for but to our benefit, she was able to write about. In My Abyss, she speaks of a love that transcends life and a distance love she has replaced with words. Feel the passion as she longs for love while living and loving outside the system. You should pay special attention to her offering on page 87, "ATROPE BELLADONNA," my personal favorite. Share and grow as this author makes love through pain and waits for her king to take his throne. This book is a conversation piece and you will love it.
- James Mr. Speaker Sears
MrSpeakerInk/Poet/Author/Host of Verbal Vibration
Lutz is such a powerhouse as a performer and her work is just as potent on the page. This collection of poetry made me feel with each typed letter.
- Nick Paleologos, author of Ad Versus Reaction
Emotionally relevant and timely. It tears you down, throws you to rock bottom, and then points out the flowers trying to push through the soil where you landed.
- Johnathan Riley, poetry editor for Barnstorm Literary Journal
A forthright and profound plunge into the depths of human emotions.
- Nick Austin, author of Voices in my Bed
A courageous journey through the torrential landscape of the soul. Hill shows us how to walk through the fire and grab the charred, fragmented pieces of ourselves, bringing them by the fireside to mend.
- Shivani Pechtl, Mindfulness & Somatic Practitioner
With intense descriptions of internal visceral strife, "The Struggle Within" projects the poignant battle onto the pages and frames it as part of the larger human collective experience. Through explorations of human emotions such as grief, depression, sadness, belonging, worth, and love, Pam weaves words like lace, only to deliver the sting of steel with the final lines. And all those final lines will hit you right in the heart. To make you emote, or to heal, this book should be on your shelf.
-Danelle A. Callahan
Imagine having to consume all of the strife in your life that make up who you are. To have no control over your intake as if you were force feed your trials. Your initial unwanted nourishment. With each bite you feel stuffed, with each swallow you feel swollen. Until you completely succumb to food comatose. Wrapped up in your comfort zone of unconsciousness. Now imagine that your skin has harden and greyed, and all the trauma you’ve swallowed turns into healthy muscle, abundant wisdom and self-love. You burst out the mouth of your former self. Molting out of the shell that housed your pain and abuse and flap your newly grown wings of hope. That is the genius that Sarah Bellum Mental delivers in her overwhelming masterpiece, Swallow My Sparrow. From her unorthodox style keeping you on the edge of your seat, to her hard-hitting deliveries that will sure to leave you grabbing your chest. In this book, Mental will show you the power of overcoming the hardship of life and graduate to strength and self-love…through her story. Eat with your eyes, on this issue of, Swallow My Sparrow.
- Call Me King
The words that Sarah Bellum Mental has written in, “Swallow My Sparrow” jump off the paper like a motion picture. This writer has successfully placed her pain in a cocoon as she goes through metamorphosis in this book. Read and watch how the vulnerability in each poem has given her wings. Each page is a wing flutter towards freedom from her demons. The mental health struggle is not a happy story, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t have a happy ending.
- Fresh Linen
If Hell has no fury like a woman scorned then Heaven must have no serenity like a woman's lust. Touching Tongues is an extraordinary collection of erotica from some of the finest female authors in the world. This anthology holds the true power of women in the comfort of their own sexuality. These ladies stimulate all levels of intimacy. Arousing you mentally, physically, and even spiritually. This book makes you horny without you even realizing it until you find yourself texting your ex, "Hey, Big Head" at 2AM. I hope you have your lotion and Rose nearby, when you start to read Touching Tongues.
- Call Me King, poet, author, spoken word artist
Touching Tongues is a bold foray of women owning their sexualities. A titillating movement of feminism at the height of orgasm, this anthology will help get anyone in the mood for love, emotional intimacy, and sex. Dripping in desire and lots of fire to boot, the words of each work ignite off the page and create a deep yearning within for more. Buckle up for an intimately deep, wet, lustful and thrilling ride on the highway of erotica.
-Kimberly Shaw the Closer, writer, poet, spoken workd artist, and author of "Inspired by Actual Events"
The poems in Wordsmith Philly's book, Voices of the Fallen make each page cry. Poems ...take you on a journey through the eyes of each character in the story. At the same time, poems...reveal Wordsmith's ability to pull on your heartstrings like the swiftest game of Tug of War. As your eyes slide across each line in this book, your mind will paint the poetry in your soul. The work ethic, research, and vulnerability drip from one poem to the next in this collection. This collection...holds the stories your black history class never taught you.
-Fresh Linen, TEDx Speaker, poet, author of "Before the Streetlights Come On"
In Voices of the Fallen, by Wordsmith Philly, the reader is transported into the mind and heart of desperate, ill-treated, and imporperly buried American slaves. You will find a symphony of words and sentences detailing the heartbreak, secret loves, desperate determination, and struggles of the slave fused together poetically while shedding light on America's untold barbaric history. Within these pages, you will find the old soul of a young person seeking to amplify the voices of those who fell during this dark time. A time where rebels acted more like devils and death was the closest many could get to freedom. While reading this wondering offering, I ask you to imagine all the things individuals endured just for you to read, live, smile, and love freely.
-James Mr. Speaker Sears, MrSpeakerInk / Poet / Author / Host of Verbal Vibrations
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