**Monique Quintana** is the author of Cenote City(Clash Books, 2019), Associate Editor at Luna Luna Magazine, and Fiction Editor at Five 2 One Magazine. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from CSU Fresno and is an alumna of Sundress Academy for the Arts and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Her work has appeared in Queen Mobs Teahouse, Winter Tangerine, Dream Pop, Grimoire, and the Acentos Review, among other publications. You can find her at [moniquequintana.com]Read More
ASTROLUSHES is a podcast at the intersection of astrology and literature, ritual, wellness, pop culture, creativity — and, of course, wine. Hosted by Luna Luna editor-in-chief Lisa Marie Basile and contributor Andi Talarico (both water signs!), you can expect guests, giveaways, book reviews, and more. You’ll have fun, but you’ll also go deep.
Episode 1 is an introductory episode during which the hosts chat about astrology’s impact in their own lives, plus they tackle the ideas of reductive astrology memes, pop culture (Rihanna lyrics!), folk magic, family lineage and trauma. They also a Rapid Fire Round of Guess That Sign (which sign is Poe?).
For now, you can listen to ASTROLUSHES on Anchor.Fm (there’s an app and also a website), but the podcast will soon be available on iTunes, Spotify, and everywhere else podcasts can be found. If you like what you hear, leave them a clap or star the show on Anchor. You can also listen below!
You can tweet them at @astrolushes.
…the borderlands, outer space, and the neon glow of chisme…Read More
marginalized writers are not monolithic and our own relationship to writing will continue evolving…Read More
I fell in love. Fell in love with the sadness and the mystery, the make believe and the darkness, the dead and the living, the monuments, the reverence for the lost, and the eternalness of myth.
Follow me through this photo diary of just a few of my favorite sites from my recent travels—places of heartbreak and glory, mist and fog, warrior queens and poets.Read More
Julia Knobloch is a journalist and translator turned project manager and administrator. Before moving to New York from Berlin, she worked 10+ years as a writer and producer for TV documentaries and radio features. Her essays and reportage have been published in print and online publications in Germany, Argentina, and the US (openDemocracy, Brooklyn Rail, Reality Sandwich). She occasionally blogs for ReformJudaism.org, and she recently was awarded the Poem of the Year 2016 prize from Brooklyn Poets for her poem Daylight Saving Time. Her poems have been published in or accepted by Green Mountains Review, Yes, Poetry Magazine, in between hangovers, poetic diversity, ReformJudaism.org and are featured on Brooklyn Poets’ social media outlets.Read More
Lisa A. Flowers is a poet, critic, cinephile, ailurophile, the founding editor of Vulgar Marsala Press, and the Reviews Editor for Tarpaulin Sky Press. She is the author of diatomhero: religious poems, and her work has appeared in various magazines and online journals. Raised in Los Angeles and Portland, OR, she now resides in Colorado. Visit her here.Read More
...a feverish quest for youth and beauty.Read More
I guess I was about four and puking in a bucket with a fever of 105, which I heard his mother tell my mother on the phone, and Old Yeller was on. I was trying to throw up quietly because Luke’s dad would be home soon. I tasted a grape chewable. I was crying.Read More
BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
This is a short list of books that have been published in 2016, by both large and indie presses. There are so many more amazing books out there that I either have yet to read, am still reading, or haven't had the pleasure of discovering.
I hope you let these draw you into their world. Maybe you'll even give them as gifts to others, and make their worlds bigger too:
1. “Blood Song” by Michael Schmeltzer (Two Sylvias Press)
2. “Theater of Parts” by M. Mack (Sundress Publications)
3. "The Voyager Record” by Anthony Michael Morena (Rose Metal Press)
4. "So Sad Today" by Melissa Broder (Grand Central Publishing)
5. "The Performance of Becoming Human" by Daniel Borzutzky (Brooklyn Arts Press)
6. "Dahlia Cassandra" by Nathanial Kressen (Second Skin Books)
7. "Blood on Blood" by Devin Kelly (Unknown Press)
8. "Falter Kingdom" by Michael J. Seidlinger (Unnamed Books)
9. “Fish in Exile” by Vi Khi Nao (Coffee House Press)
10. “Reel” by Tobias Carroll (Rare Bird Books)
11. “Patricide” by D. Foy (Stalking Horse Press)
12. Sad Girl Poems - Christopher Soto (Sibling Rivalry Press)
13. "Chelate" by Jay Besemer (Brooklyn Arts Press)
14. "Fire in the Sky" by E. Kristin Anderson (Grey Book Press)
15. "Take This Stallion" by Anaïs Duplan (Brooklyn Arts Press)
16. "Annihilation Songs" by Jason De Boer (Stalking Horse Press)
17. "Leaving Lucy Pear" by Anna Solomon (Viking)
18. "Dear Everyone" by Matt Shears (Brooklyn Arts Press)
19. "Lunch Portraits" by Debora Kuan (Brooklyn Arts Press)
20. "Night" by Etel Adnan (Nightboat Books)
21. "Being Human" by Julia Gari Weiss (Thought Catalog)
22. "Straight Away the Emptied World" by Leah Umansky (Kattywompus Press)
23. "Sing the Song" by Meredith Alling (Future Tense Books)
24. "Go Ask Alice" by Liz Axelrod (Finishing Line Press)
25. "The Birth Creatures" by Samantha Duncan (Agape Editions)
25. "Too Many Humans of New York" by Abigail Welhouse (Bottlecap Press)
26. "Angeltits" by Katie Longofono (Sundress Publications)
27. “The Fry Pans Aren’t Sufficing” by Peyton Burgess (Lavendar Ink Press)
28. "OOOO" by Erin Taylor (Bottlecap Press)
29. "Trébuchet" by Danniel Schoonebeek (University of Georgia Press)
30. "i can remember the meaning of every tarot card but i can’t remember what i texted you last night" by Elle Nash (Nostrovia Press)
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (2016, ELJ Publications), & Xenos (2016, Agape Editions). She received her MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM. Some of her writing has appeared in Prelude, The Atlas Review, The Feminist Wire, BUST, Pouch, and elsewhere. She also teaches workshops at Brooklyn Poets.
Let’s put these sleaze-balls back into the dusty, forgotten books where they belong.Read More
Everyone seems to know who Michael J. Seidlinger is, even if just by name. Seidlinger is a ghost — the kind of ghost who messes up you book case and reorders everything so you can't actually find what you're looking for. But then when you actually look back at all of the reordered books, you find something beautiful stuck in there that you hadn't seen before.Read More
After reading Nathaniel Kressen’s debut novel, "Concrete Fever" (2011, Second Skin Books), I was utterly entranced by his ability to skillfully weave together a compelling story. This is also why I was absolutely thrilled to find out Kressen’s second book “Dahlia Cassandra” was released this past June, also by Second Skin Books.Read More
BY SUSAN RUKEYSER
The night I found the chinchilla, I was on crutches, snooping around the newly-built mansions behind my aunt’s subdivision. I looked into empty rooms where nothing had happened yet. Life might still be pretty, inside and out.
It used to be thick Georgia forest back there, but they stripped it to clay, trucked in sod and saplings and built nine distinctive homes for no one. Flags on stakes heralded a Spring Open House, with pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids.
I figured that’s where the chinchilla came from.
He lay on a bricked driveway, wet from sprinklers. He looked like a tiny squirrel with huge ears. Fur twisted in dark curls. It took some doing, with leg casts, but I managed to pick him up. I tucked him into my messenger bag. Back in my aunt’s kitchen, I laid him on the counter. I tried to dry him with a towel, then my hairdryer. An internet search showed me what he should look like. Chinchillas were beloved for their beautiful, dense fur. Farmers raised a hundred for a single soft coat. Or they were sold as cuddly pets. Beneath the fur, he was a scrawny, pink-skinned rodent. You weren’t supposed to see that.
He wasn’t dead, but he was close.
After what happened in New York, my aunt invited me to Georgia, to live in her house until it sold. She didn’t know me well, her Yankee niece. But she understood the need for escape.
She’d just moved to Orlando with her new boyfriend. She said I could keep tabs on her good-for-nothing realtor. Keep the nosy HOA off her back. They didn’t like vacant homes. They worried their houses looked shabby, compared to those nine new mansions. They planted more crape myrtles at the entrance.
“People like crape myrtles, I guess,” said my aunt. “But every winter they’re hacked back. The branches are blunt as fists. When they finally bloom again, I can’t look. Ornamental trees, where there used to be wilderness,” she scoffed.
I didn’t mind the crape myrtles, but then I only saw them at night. My aunt told me her neighbors turned in early. I’d have the sidewalks to myself after dark. She’d heard from my mother, how people stared.
I’m big. Tall, but more than that: I’m hefty. Large. Thick limbs, dense trunk. Not a pruned ornamental, but a tree that crowds out the neighboring flora.
When people stare, they seem angry.
The New York detective said my size probably wasn’t a factor in the balcony collapse. Balconies should be locked, even on the lower floors, in a building full of NYU undergrads.
Thankfully I’d been alone.
Awnings broke my fall. No one on the street was dead, but some were close.
In my hospital bed, I burned with pain the narcotics couldn’t reach. Humiliation squeezed my heart until I gasped. My pulse looped.
The chinchilla wasn’t interested in the lettuce I ripped up for him or the carrots I diced. He wouldn’t rouse himself to sip water from the dish. He was utterly still, at peace or in shock.
Next door, Mr. Patel went out back for a cigarette. His smoke hung in the thick, humid air. When he was done, he flicked the cigarette away from his azaleas, into brush. I watched until the ember went dark.
Fire scares me. I imagine air sucked from my lungs, flesh melted to bone, my body reduced to weightless ash. I want that so much it scares me.
Before NYU, there was a doctor who wouldn’t help. He said my hormones were normal. No pituitary tumor. My weight was okay, for my height, which appeared to be levelling off.
“Your weight doesn’t qualify you for bariatric surgery,” he said. “And, Gerry, you are not a giant. Leg shortening is very rare. Extreme. You don’t want surgery. You’re just a big girl.”
“Worst kind of girl you can be.”
“Fashion models are tall,” he said too brightly. He gave me a kind, reproachful look, like my father did sometimes. Then he stood to leave. That also reminded me of Dad.
Hours later, the chinchilla hadn’t moved. His fur was still damp. I found the number of an emergency vet.
“Lethargy, diarrhea, cloudy eyes,” she repeated. “There’s only one thing I can do for him. But it won’t be long. Keep him home.”
I told the detective I went out on the balcony for some air. In the common area by the elevator, I shoved aside a couch that blocked access to doors that were locked, but things break easily in my big hands.
It was Friday afternoon, classes done. My roommate and a cute Hellenic Studies major sat on her bed and licked ice-cream. I left, wishing I had a cone, too, but I won’t eat in public.
I imagined my roommate’s sticky hands on that boy. Skin meeting skin: it was easy for some people.
I imagined it was easy.
I wanted to leave a hole as big as me. Free up the space I’d taken, more than my share.
If only that surgeon had cut me down to size.
By dawn, the chinchilla was dead. I tucked him back into my messenger bag, made my way on crutches to those empty mansions. One of the never-used backyards had a young magnolia tree, the base circled by stones. I brushed away leaves like leather scraps, pulled back a corner of sod and dug a hole. I whispered a eulogy: He was more than his fur. He was forgotten, but I’ll remember.
Then I put one of the stones in my bag and hobbled to the glass patio doors. Inside were rooms full of lies. I threw the rock, hard as I could. Sometimes you need to hear something splinter.
Later, back inside my aunt’s house, I watched Mr. Patel toss another cigarette. This one also failed to catch.
Susan Rukeyser is the Reviews Editor for Necessary Fiction, a Copy Editor for Newfound, and Managing Editor of the Twitter-zine escarp. She is the author of Not on Fire, Only Dying.
Check out the exclusive cover reveal of Lucky Bastard Press' HYSTERIA anthology + enter to win a copy & bonus swag.
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
As both editor of Luna Luna and a contributor to Hysteria (an anthology of writing by female and nonbinary writers about their biology and anatomy and experiences with the body) I thought doing a reveal of their cover would be a great way to create a dialogue about this amazing collection of works. When E. Kristen Anderson presented the idea, I thought Luna Luna would be the perfect home for this.
Want your own free copy? Here's how!
1. Tweet or post a link to their fundraiser (or just write a super cute supportive tweet/post about the book).
2. Leave a comment below (with the link to your social post) + your email (so we can contact you!)
3. We'll pick a comment at random and send you the anthology, along with E. Kristin Anderson's gorgeous Lana Del Rey-inspired poetry collection (I've read it, blurbed it and adore it).
LMB: Who is the team behind Hysteria?
EKA: Allie Marini and Brennan DeFrisco gave me the platform to do this anthology when they green-lighted the project at Lucky Bastard, but it’s basically been me and the contributing authors. Allie and Brennan definitely helped with soliciting some fine voices I hadn’t heard of, and have been a great support, so I don’t want to be like, oh, hey, this was all me. But in a lot of ways it was. And it’s been both intense and rewarding.
I think what Hysteria does so well is take a topic that is hard to write about successfully and inclusively (the body and notions of femininity, in many cases) and make it subversive; it's envelope-pushing. What sort of bodies did you want to include here?
It kind of started with me writing erasure/found poetry from tampon packaging. I’m not even kidding. And Allie and I got to talking about a tampon/period anthology and we expanded the idea out to other body-related themes. We went from there.
I certainly did want to push the envelope. But what I found interesting is that some poets that I thought would submit told me (before later submitting and being selected for the anthology) thought their work wouldn’t be edgy enough. And my answer to everyone asking “would my work be suited for HYSTERIA?” was “there are many ways to experience the female body/being female.”
So I wanted lots of bodies. Including nonbinary and trans bodies, which was a little harder because I know that many of these writers have been excluded from this type of project. We went looking, and we found some amazing work.
Tell me a little bit about what spoke to you when selecting content?
Diversity of topic and voice was really important to me. I wanted—like I mentioned above—lots of experiences to be represented. There was a point at which I think I posted on my original call “no more period poems, we’ve got that covered!” But it wasn’t just about topic. It was also about style. There’s some experimental work in HYSTERIA that I don’t know I would have read or picked up if I were shopping in a bookstore, but that I’m glad showed up in my inbox because it spoke to me within the context of this project.
And diversity of cultural background was important to me, too. And by cultural background I mean race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity. I really wanted pieces about wearing a hijab. About bat mitzvahs. About non-hetero sex. I hope I did a good job with this. I hope I found authors and pieces that people enjoy and relate to and learn from.
What do you think the anthology speaks to in the climate we're in right now – as women, as creatives?
You know, every day it feels like there’s something else going down that I want to throw this book at. Women being told their dreadlocks are unprofessional. Women’s tough questions being written off as the result of PMS. (Looking at you, Trump.) Bills being passed that could undo years of work for women’s rights. People trying to tell me, personally, that “hysterical” is just a colloquialism and not a gendered hate word. Folks thinking that just because we’ve achieved parity in one little bubble of the lit world that sexism is over for all of lit. The VIDA counts for big magazines (hello, the Atlantic) and smaller magazines. Songs on the radio. Things I overhear kids say to each other when I write at the Starbucks that’s next to the middle school.
So often we think, well, it’s just a joke. It’s just one guy. It’s just one magazine. It’s just a handful of nut-jobs. It’s just the radical right, and their minds can’t be changed. But! But. Sexism is so ingrained in us that even you and I do sexist things every day without thinking of it. I think I’ve referred to a woman I didn’t like as a bitch even this week.
I hope HYSTERIA gives us a place to talk about uncomfortable subjects, to start and continue conversations with ourselves, our daughters, our peers—but I also hope it’s a place to find comfort and community. Maybe the patriarchy isn’t listening. But maybe we can rally anyway.
I was particularly thrilled to write for this anthology. I am alongside some amazing writers and also emerging ones. How did you vote for pieces? Was this about making a space for all voices, new and established?
I read and selected the submissions myself. Aside from the solicitation—which I did ahead of time, before sending out the call—I just wanted to make sure we had everything covered. I didn’t care if folks were famous or brand new, just that the work was good. And I’m super fortunate that we did get some big names for the anthology. People who said yes when we reached out and asked. But I’m also super fortunate to have new voices with new things to say. Because that’s what community is about and I think that, in a way, that’s what HYSTERIA is about, too.
What are the plans for the anthology?
I’m hoping to set up a launch party here in Austin, TX when the book is ready. I think it will be a good time, and hopefully, as many contributors as possible can come and read. We’ll definitely be sending out review copies and doing our best to entice booksellers and librarians. We want this book in as many hands as possible. It’s a beautiful book if I don’t say so myself.
How will donations help?
The funds from the Indiegogo campaign are going to help us pay some of the up-front costs (like hiring our cover artist, Jodie Wynne, and the Adobe Cloud account we had to open to manage the many, many contracts for the individual authors) as well as printing. But the biggest reason we wanted to do an Indiegogo was so that we could pay our authors better. So if you can help us out with that, that would be amazing. Should we exceed our goal, any extra funds will go toward a launch and/or future anthology projects at Lucky Bastard Press.
Tell us what it's like to work with Lucky Bastard Press.
Lucky Bastard was founded by Allie Marini and Brennan DeFrisco and somehow I tricked them into letting me do an anthology with them. They really gave me free reign, which was scary but also really thrilling. I’m now on board with LB as a full editor, but at the time it was just, here, EKA, make a book. So I did. And I’m really excited that it’s with a press that is all about the underdogs and the long-shots. Isn’t that how many of us feel, as artists, especially as women? Lucky Bastard is here to champion the weirdos. And, in this case, it’s the hysterical weirdos that we want to show the world.
The writer list, as provided by
Lucky Bastard Press: