Editor's Letter: Happy New Year!

December 31, 2019

 

RHYTHM & BONES PRESS

 

 

REFLECTING ON A YEAR OF BEAUTIFUL ART,

ANTICIPATING THE YEAR AHEAD

 

 

The end of the year always offers a time of reflection for everyone. All we have accomplished, maybe things we wish we hadn’t accomplished, goals we set for ourselves that we achieved or perhaps didn’t achieve. Either way, I hope you can all look back on this year as a success, regardless of any goals maybe you didn’t meet, you’ve done it! We survived 2019, and the world hasn’t ended yet, and we are still creating art. That’s my main focus as this year comes to an end: how much beautiful art the year has been filled with. I feel immensely fortunate and lucky, to come to the end when I started this year full of doubt, full of fear. I didn’t quite know what I wanted to achieve but I knew I had big dreams, huge goals, and I think I can say I exceeded what I set out for at the start of this year.

 

As founder and editor-in-chief of Rhythm & Bones, I have felt so fortunate watching this passion project continue to grow. We hit 7k followers on Twitter this year, which feels like a wonderful achievement in itself, so thank you all who follow us there. We published 9 books, as well as our first anthology YANYR one year ago, December 2018, which was just named a top book by Margaret Atwood and mentioned on her end of year book list as part of a collection of books about women (we had contributors from all genders, races, orientations).

 

 

 

I have been amazingly proud of all the work Rhythm & Bones has accomplished this year: we published three issues of our online lit mag, a few months of a Necropolis blog featuring some wonderful talented writers, and nine (9) total books from stunning authors. Each of them have shown me something this year, have motivated and inspired me with their words and given me overall hope, strength to continue on with this publishing (which can often seem very lonely). I will never be able to thank all my authors enough for the gift of their words, allowing me to bring these books into the world, making this endeavor much less lonely. It's a dream come true. Last year, I didn't quite fully realize my intense dream of publishing books, editing books, creating this beautiful press. But now that I have, I'm extremely exited to keep going, keep growing, reach for the stars, and can't wait for the year ahead, and many more to come after that.

 

So, I know this is a little long but I hope you'll sit in and help me celebrate our last year, and all that is upcoming. Please give some love to our 2019 authors, and all they have accomplished bringing these often difficult and amazingly brave and bold books into the world. I know as someone who has written about my own traumas, how isolating and scary it can seem. I hope to make that process a little less lonely, to give hope and strength to our authors. I hope our authors' stories and books only have continued success, exposure, and the adoration they deserve. Each collection is immeasurably special to me and I am excited to see them in the world, traveling to other countries, entering hands and homes and (I hope), hearts. That's my truest goal as a publisher.

 

* * * 

 

THE PAST YEAR: 2019

 

 

 

A short recap of what we've offered this year before we get into some of the amazing things we are excited to bring your way in 2020! You can also find a recap on Twitter of our year in review. This past year was a year of "firsts" for us - our first chapbook, first full-length, first collaboration, first memoir. 

 

*February 2019: Our very first chapbook Lady Saturn by Wanda Deglane was published. It was featured at Writers with Mental Illness as one of their reading picks for a month (big thanks to this group!). The book is a must-read, in itself a navigation through depression and anxiety to find love – the utmost important self-love.

 

*March 2019: Next came our release Puritan U, a collection of sonnets, footnotes & verse which follows its author, Kristin Garth, as she relives an assault on her college campus, marking each piece like a crime scene marker. It also explores her childhood, growing up in a Puritan home and attending a Puritan college. Shining a light on dark memories, while also blooming into a woman who has survived. 

 

*April 2019: Our very first (and the author's first!) full-length collection of poetry, The saint of milk and flames by Kate Garrett is a true treasure. We are immensely proud of this book and having it at our press. The poetry explores faith, becoming, motherhood, history and so much more all from a personal and worldly lens. Kate is a true master of words and this exploration burns as bright as an endless, infinite candle, lighting up any darkness for all.

 

*May 2019: A special release for us, our first erotic collection exploring romance and release of the body, Effy Winter's Flowers of the Flesh takes the reader on a journey of wounds, loss, and opening of the self and the body like a holy confession, blossoming from the mouth of this book like a bleeding bouquet. 

 

*June 2019: Our first collaboration, a three-poet opera through poetry, A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony by Kristin Garth ("The Doll"), Tianna G. Hansen ("The Firebird"), and Justin Karcher ("The Wizard"). Taking on three unique personas and weaving in the poets' own experiences, this book is unlike anything we had seen let alone published before. It also features original illustrations by Russ Daum. This is a book of fantasy, enchantment, spells, dueling dancers, and falling into flames of jealousy, trauma, disarray. 

 

*July 2019: We had an exciting summer, and this chapbook The Discontinuity at the Waistline: My #MeToo Poems by Marion Deutsche Cohen is a beautiful, strong one to launch and release. A collection of poems focusing on everyday micro-aggressions many women face throughout their lives, from pre-adolescence to adulthood. 

 

*August 2019: When we first read Elisabeth Horan's brave collection Was It R*pe, we knew it had a home at our press. Eli writes with a bold beauty that is unique, wrapping the reader's mind into her own thoughts, poetic observations, and making even her declarations of pain into a certain type of beauty. 

 

*September 2019: A beautiful collection featuring some found poetry and personal revelations, Nadia Gerassimenko's second colleciton of poetry at the water's edge came to us in the fall of 2019. This book is a ritual in itself, a reclaiming, a rising up from burning flames to become a brilliant phoenix. The cover art is art by Tiffany Chaney. 

 

*November 2019: Another first for us, our first memoir by Rohan Sharma, A Very Thin Line: My Journey with Bipolar is half-prison memoir, half-self help and exploration. From a misdiagnosis that resulted in a severe bipolar episode, this book follows Rohan in his most honest, darkest moments. Committing a crime that led him to be locked up in jail, a dark and dismal sentence, a place he never expected to open his eyes and find light, to find himself. 

 

* * * 

 

THE NEW YEAR: 2020

 

This coming year is shaping up to be one of immense excitement! We have some very exciting collections, including a debut from C. Aloysius Mariotti going on preorder tomorrow, January 1st. A perfect way to kick off the year! His collection 'Scream into my Mouth as a Waterfall' will be published in March 2020. Super excited to included cover art and illustrations by Mathew Yates in this book, and some art from Stuart Buck! 'Scream into my Mouth as a Waterfall' is an exploration into existence of the self and the ways memories evolve with time to define who we are. Writing from various points of view in this riveting collection of poems and prose, C. Aloysius Mariotti sends readers on a journey into the deepest parts of the psyche, with many pieces an attempt to squeeze out and examine episodic darkness the author has seen, and lived, in this world. With allusions to modern and classic mythology throughout, Mariotti delves into childhood trauma, adult anxiety, lost relatives, and desert landscapes in this dazzling debut collection.

 

Coming in April 2020 is a debut full-length collection by Jane Marshall Fleming, a hybrid of essays and poetry called 'Violence/Joy/Chaos', with beautiful cover art designed by her brother Jordan Aman. This collection explores the moments of joy and chaotic hilarity that mingle with the experiences of trauma and trauma recovery. Jane Marshall Fleming writes with a boldness and shows the beauty in every moment of her life amidst the darkness of violent chaos, embracing joy just as much as darkness. Moving from a backdrop of a small Virginia town and eventually finding herself in the freedom and wildness of the desert, readers will follow the author on her journey mapping her skin, sharing in her joys, grief, pain, loss, finding love, and self-growth throughout even the deepest chaos, blooming like a desert flower.

 

Next up in May 2020, we have our very first collection of short fiction and a debut release from Justin Hunter, 'Leaving Arizona'. We're incredibly excited for this, with cover art designed by Stuart Buck. A collection of short stories featuring characters who are stuck: in reality, in their lives, in bad decisions and the darker sides of life backlit by the unforgiving heat of the desert. The desert can be as cruel as a neglectful parent, an abusive lover, leaving these characters in a drought of love and nourishment. It is the perfect setting for the women, men, children and even the dead who traverse these stories by Justin Hunter, characters gripped in their own struggle, some finding a way to shed their identities like skins, others able to leap through time, but many of them remaining stagnant and unaltered.

 

We have some further announcements in the works for our BoneChap selections, the first of which we hope to release in Summer 2020 from our upcoming shortlist. This has been an incredible undertaking, in so many ways. I never expected so many people to want a home at Rhythm & Bones Press, but for everyone who has taken the chance and time to submit their work and offer it to my hands, I am eternally grateful. I wish I could give everyone a home who has submitted their work. I have been awed, stunned, amazed by what I have read and the decision process is going to be one of the most difficult I have had to do. That being said, if your work isn't accepted, I hope you will not take that as any reflection on its quality or on the importance of your voice, your story, your experiences, your writing.

 

When we hit fall 2020, we are bringing to you our second collection from Kate Garrett who released the stunning The saint of milk and flames in April 2019 with us. October 2020 brings her pamphlet, 'A View from the Phantasmagoria', to everyone. We cannot wait! This is a paranormal chapbook about living with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (pmdd), a very real and severe illness that haunts many women whether they are aware of it or not. The poems inside explore phantasmagoria, Death, magic, ritual, identity, the paranormal, and survival of trauma from pmdd. We're so excited to have Kate joining us again and honored to share more of her work. 

 

And in November 2020, we are thrilled to be publishing Stuart Buck and his third poetry collection, 'portrait of a man on fire'. This book is a riveting collection of poetry. What happens when we fall in love, when we fall in rapture? Are we able to rise above, to embrace a hopeless love? What happens when we are on fire, constantly burning, constantly craving the infinite which will always remain just out of reach? Stuart Buck explores all of this and more in his poetry collection, taking the reader with him on a journey of memory, of wishes, of rapture and longing. That infinite longing which distinguishes Stuart Buck's work from all the rest.

 

I hope everyone will join us in welcoming (and re-welcoming) these amazing, stunning authors into the Rhythm & Bones family. That's what we are and what I try to cultivate: a family, of survivors, of writers who explore and discover themselves. I'm darn proud of that and cannot wait for more, more work, more books, more authors, more discoveries. 

 

* * *

 

I've just turned 27. A new year is ahead. I feel like I've accomplished a lot this year. Both in my press and in my own work, my own writing. I began writing a werewolf collection which quickly grew larger than I ever expected. I have much more planned for that, but the fact that in what feels like a short time, I have written over 80 pages of a hybrid poetry and CNF collection is something to celebrate. I've experienced some literary loss of my own work this year which I chose to remain silent about. It has been a struggle, sent me spiraling back into grips of trauma and panic attacks, but it has also made me stronger. I have an amazing group of support, friendship, and so much love which I am eternally grateful for. And this is one reason my werewolf collection was born. A little excerpt I'd like to share from one of the CNF pieces in the collection, as it related to trauma:

 

"As a trauma survivor, it can often feel like my life isn’t in my own hands. Like I am living at the mercy of many things beyond my control: triggers, flashbacks, nightmares, etc. But I have been slowly taking back my control, reclaiming my mind, my body, my creativity. That’s what writing these werewolf poems has given me—a freedom I have sought for a long time but only now begun to discover. . . . 

 

Each new year feels like coming to a crossroads, the end of another string of months and the chance to start fresh, begin anew. I always find myself thinking about the roads I have wandered down over the course of a year. All the paths I could have taken, the choices I made. As I write this, my 27th birthday is nearing. It’s a coincidence my birthday always comes at the end of every year, but it makes the closing out of each year special to me. A time for reflection, a time for redemption. When it comes down to it, a year is just a human concept. Wolves don’t keep time except marking it in seasons. I wonder if they notice the way ice sometimes hangs on each branch of a tree, delicate and dangling, casting the world in a sheer, sleek embrace. 

 

The new year lingers around the corner, offering many promises, discoveries to be had, lessons to learn. I look back and see the tests I have undergone this year. The struggles I have overcome. The trauma I have faced, looking deep into its dark eyes, and how I have risen above it. Writing and werewolf lore has helped me to rise and continue rising. No matter how treacherous the road ahead may appear, there is always beauty to be found. There are howls waiting in the back of my throat, declarations of my independence, all that I have learned and grown into, all I have become."

 

* * *

 

Rhythm & Bones Press was born in chaos, but I hope to continue growing it, to prove we are here to stay, we are a small indie press that is setting down roots in a beautiful, welcoming community. We are giving homes and helping amplify voices we believe in, voices we want to be heard. We are helping turn Trauma into Art. I am so grateful to everyone who has embraced this passion project of mine, and all who have helped me along the way. Infinite thanks to all who have been there, who have supported our authors, who have lifted us up from the start, who told us to keep going and encouraged us. We cannot wait to bring even more to you all in the coming year, and hope you will still embrace us and all we aim to achieve. 

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Tianna G. Hansen

Founder, EIC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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