A Certain Kind of Cleanse – Lindsay Haber

A Certain Kind of Cleanse

In my fantasy, my ex and I are wrestling in pudding, or Jell-O, or applesauce. We sprint towards each other, tackle—aim below the knees, claw and pull and punch and kick, all without being the type capable of leaving scars. We release aggression that’s been simmering like a bare shoulder in July heat. We scream our how the fuck could you’s and our I should’ve knowns while slipping and sliding and licking the sweet taste of sugar off of fused skin.

When it’s all over, we rinse in separate showers and walk in opposite directions. It is serene. This sloppy dance has cleansed us.

Lindsay Haber teaches in the First-Year Writing Program at Emerson College. She has work forthcoming in The Normal School and Booth. Her writing has appeared in Print Oriented Bastards, FiveontheFifth, Gambling the Aisle, and 365 Tomorrows. Her story ‘Clean’ was awarded second runner-up for Folio Magazine Editor’s Prize and appeared in their Spring 2017 issue. She is thrilled to be a 2016 nominee for the Pushcart Prize. She is a Jewish woman, lover of the outdoors, canine enthusiast, and current Boston dweller, trying to figure out this thing we all call life.

Women Writers We Love: Alicia Hoffman

This week, we are thrilled to feature the very talented Alicia Hoffman.  She is the author of Railroad Phoenix and two of her poems, This Haunting We Know and Elegy, were featured on Dying Dahlia in January 2017.  Learn what inspires her, what her writing process looks like and more!

Railroad Phoenix master

What inspires you the most?

When I was writing Railroad Phoenix, what inspired me most was landscape, and how landscape and nostalgia for that lost landscape created in me sensory experiences that I needed to explore on the page. Images associated with the landscape of a lost youth prompted me to explore those images in many ways throughout the book. Depending on how one looks at it, I am either blessed or cursed with a good memory, and I used many of those memories of my time as a child to ground the poems.

Who are your favorite women writers?

This is such a tough question. I just finished reading Ada Limon’s Dead Bright Things. I am still floored by the beauty; the vivid, unexpected, overwhelming, joyous truth-blasts of those poems. Also, I am lucky enough to live in Rochester, New York, home to so many incredible women writers I admire. Sarah Freligh, author of Sad Math, was the first to recommend Limon’s book. (Thanks, Sarah!) Rachel McKibbens, whose book BLUD came out recently through Copper Canyon Press, is another writer who consistently floors me with her powerful work. Carol McMahon, another Rochester poet I only got to know when we both showed up across the country in Washington State to complete our MFA at the Rainier Writing Workshop, renders beautiful and haunting poems, too. Continue reading “Women Writers We Love: Alicia Hoffman”

Love – Madeleine Gallo


When he told her she was a work of art,
he did not mean that she was a work of art.
What he meant to say was

you remind me of a time when I was seven-years-old and my mother took me to a museum in the city. Dad wasn’t gone yet and Mom still smiled and all was okay. On that day, I saw a painting of a mermaid playing on the shore, her woman’s torso on the sand and her amethyst scales underwater as the sun struck her in brilliant, golden lines. She was more fluid and alive to me than my own body. In that moment, the painting and my mother and my youth together sculpted within me a collage of splendid color, and now you too have evoked my mind’s rainbow.

He called her a work of art — she called him a pig.

Born in Radford, Virginia, Madeleine Gallo is a Virginia Tech graduate and currently a first year MA student at Wake Forest University. Her work has appeared in Susquehanna Review: Apprentice Writer, Fermata, Sun and Sandstone, Belle Reve Literary Journal, The Pylon, Into the Void, and Rattle. After graduation, she plans to pursue a PhD in Contemporary American Poetry.

2 Poems – Andrea Capere

To Consume a Woman

The subtle chew
or pilfered sip
I am gnawed
To cherry stems

The slightest hand
A magic trick
Refusal springs

Wrenching bow
Against violin string
Pulled taut

There used to be a warning
A glorious airshow
Now resilience is battered
Worn By nicety
And benefit of doubt

With curiosity I observe
Gazelle made lion’s meal
Necklace made noose
I barely notice
Your walls closing in


No Measure in Loss

The whole of me becomes a wash
undoing sense
abandoning ideology
I cease the politic;
the economy of reason
I am pleasure, wine, meat –
torn from yesterday’s meaning
Here I am
speaking in tongues
believing in ghosts
doing what I said I never would
with fervor
with reverie
I welcome you home
tell you about my day
weep in that solitary space we could never fill
and toast those bitter ashes of you

Andrea Capere is an emerging poet and filmmaker living in Tacoma, WA. She’s been published in college publications Trillium (Tacoma Community College) and The Matrix (Pacific Lutheran University’s Social Justice Literary Magazine).

Women Writers We Love: Aileen Santos

This week we are thrilled to be featuring Aileen Santos, author of Someone Like You (Two Wolves Press, 2016). This past year she was published in two anthologies, Wherever I Find Myself: Stories by Canadian Immigrant Women published by Caitlin Press and Currents published by Ricepaper Magazine. Aileen’s flash fiction story, Work of Art, was featured on Dying Dahlia in April 2016.


What inspires you the most?

Listening to music and the constant struggle of the human condition inspire me most. I’m fascinated with the struggle within us to do good, to choose good, though people are often broken inside. It’s interesting for me to observe how this brokenness can affect our actions.

Who are your favorite women writers?

I tend toward Asian writers. Two are Evelyn Lau and Jhumpa Lahiri but I especially enjoy reading emerging or new authors who write through the lens of diverse realities.

What does your writing process look like?

I journal every day to exercise the writing muscle. As for stories, I write snippets in the notes section on my phone but do not write linear stories. I may start something and then a year or a few years later, while I’m working on something new, I will dig it up to see if it fits with what I’m currently working on. A huge part of my writing process is reading every day. Even if I’m not writing, I’m always reading and I find this helps my craft immensely.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

Support each other, whether that means meeting up for coffee to talk about what you’re working on, showing up for readings or posting when a fellow writer has an event or accomplishment. I’m not very good at using Twitter but I try to do these things on Facebook and Instagram.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on many things at once. Just like my novel, it did not take shape until the very last year prior to publication so I’m not sure what it is yet. It has no shape or form. I’m simply writing.

Spinster – Kay Vandette


Being alone
That’s not it
The fear of living unencumbered by the exquisite baggage
Of someone to have and hold
It’s the maybe
When you hear a love song
And think, what if

Kay Vandette is a freelance writer, blogger, and poet. She draws inspiration from her travels, her experiences, and her passion for equality and women’s rights. She has been published in the Broke Bohemian.

Women Writers We Love: Dina S. Paulson-McEwen

This week we are featuring the talented Dina S. Paulson-McEwen. Her poem “Verboten” was featured on Dying Dahlia in August 2016. Her first book, Parts of Love, will be out in March but is available for preorder until January 19.

Author Photo - Dina Paulson-McEwenWhat inspires you the most?

The interstices/cruxes of love and loving. As Parts of love developed, it went from uplifting/making memoiristic a celestial/romantic love to incorporating those exigencies with scratched love. The book’s mind spread to different actors–fractured and connected love not only between lover and lover, but between bodies relating as family and friend, bodies close through intention and chance, bodies who can hold worlds (and can be worlds themselves) inside of themselves.

Who are your favorite women writers?

So many! Favorites include Rebecca Lindenberg, Nikki Giovanni, Franny Choi, Sappho, Joy Harjo, Anne Carson, Ada Limón, and Gillian Flynn.

What does your writing process look like?

Recently, I have been starting my day with an autowrite about five times a week. In general, I tend to write in the afternoon or evening. An autowrite (taught by a Winter Tangerine workshop at Poets House!) is writing for thirty minutes–keep the pen moving, don’t stop to analyze, just get it (something) out. Some of my autowrites have made their way into a current project. I get inspired by science, animals, walking fast, being outside, watching, being close with other bodies, listening, feeling. Sometimes I edit and send revised stuff late at night to my editor, and I am lucky she is a night owl!

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

I think the idea of being (or deciding) you are a woman writer is powerful to begin with. I didn’t really start out seeing myself like this, but I do now because I think how I make up my womanhood is a central force in the way I see and put words together. Every woman’s version of what being a woman means to herself/themselves is unique. I think the most important thing is to feel where you feel yourself fit with yourself. Women writers have a lot of power not only because women and writers are powerful as individual identities but because women writers can tell certain stories that perhaps only women writers can tell.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a full-length poetry manuscript. The concept keeps growing into itself so I keep adding words to its title in Google Docs in caps, so it’s like it’s yelling, but it helps me focus.

Book Cover - Parts of love

To find out how you can preorder Parts of Love, visit the website here.

Women Writers We Love: Devon Balwit

This week we are excited to feature writer Devon Balwit, author of The Bow Must Bear the Brunt, We are Procession, Seismograph, In Front of the Elements, How the Blessed Travel and Forms Most Marvelous.  Her poems “Missing” and “pholcus” were featured on Dying Dahlia in July of 2016 as well as “Hive Sisters” in March of 2017.


What inspires you the most?

Overall, art, other poets, nature, and the news provide the bulk of my inspiration. That said, I’m open to anything–prompts, things my husband/friends/kids suggest, found poetry from street signs, etc. I’m always trying to shake things up–sometimes free verse, other times ghazals, sonnets, golden shovels, right/left justified poems, persona poems, etc.

Who are your favorite women writers?

Even though the casual anti-semitism of her journals bums me out, I love the work of Sylvia Plath. I also love Sharon Olds and Wislava Szymborska. (There are many modern female poets I love, but I would have to list every one so none felt left out!)

What does your writing process look like?

I write every day, both when I first wake up and when I get home from work. If I’m not creating new work, I’m revising old work. Every day. I wake up, look at the newspaper, see if there’s anything there that grabs me, look through FB feed (but quickly so I don’t get sucked into mindless scrolling), then to work.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

Send your work out again and again. Don’t be daunted by rejection. Trust your voice. Be persistent. Take up space.

What are you currently working on?

I’d love to get a second full-length collection picked up somewhere. I’m also working on giving more readings. I did two in November and am reaching out to more local venues. I hope to build a larger local audience.


Her book Motes at Play in the Halls of Light will be coming out in 2018 (Keslay Books).

Burning dead things – Abigail George

Burning dead things
(for R.)

        This is how I burn dead
        things. I have slow hands.
The first step is to light a match
        before you watch it burn.
        Set fire to it. That first
        step for me was to burn a
        diary. The letters I wrote
        to you. I had to erase all
        memory of conversation.
How handsome you looked in that photograph.
        In that light. I tried not to
        remember specific details.
Thought that would save me.
        It was easy at first not
to let the past linger. When I burn things now
        I stay at the shallow end

of things.

Pushcart Prize nominated Abigail George is a South African-based blogger, essayist, poet and short story writer. Recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council, one from the Centre for the Book, and another from ECPACC. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg.

Women Writers We Love: Jessica Mehta

We are super excited to present our newest feature on Dying Dahlia where we talk to some amazing women writers and get a peak at what they are up to, what inspires them and more!  This week we are happy to present Jessica Mehta, author of ORYGUN: Poems, What Makes An Always, Last Exotic Petting Zoo, Secret-Telling Bones and The Wrong Kind of IndianShe also has two books that will be released in 2018 and 2019.  Jessica’s poems “Recipe for an Indian” and “Look at All that Beautiful” were featured on Dying Dahlia in February of 2017.

Headshot Mehta 2

What inspires you the most?

My husband. (How cliched is that?). All eight of my books are dedicated to him, and my one (and only) novel explores our story. I didn’t start writing fervently until that particular relationship, and it continues to feed and inform all of my collections. However, another major source of inspiration is the woods. As a native Oregonian, I NEED at least one session of hiking and forest bathing a week to unclog my thoughts. My collection Orygun is an homage to how the wild feeds us.

Who are your favorite women writers?

Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison will always top the list. However, I fell deeply in love with Alissa Nutting’s first book, Tampa.

What does your writing process look like?

I simply write when I feel like I need to. With eight books published in less than eight years, it seems like that’s pretty often! It’s common to come up with the first line of a poem while on a hike or in the middle of the night. I agree with the idea that 4 a.m. is the “writer’s hour.”

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

The good stuff comes when you let all your shame and guilt hang out. You don’t need to be a likable voice. You don’t have to strive to be a relatable one. Don’t pull the punches, and submit, submit, submit at a feverish pace. Define your own lines (for me, self-publishing will never be an option. Cheers to those who found their groove in it). Work towards always having at least one manuscript in the wings. Finally, don’t pay for reading fees simply for regular submissions (book contests are different). It’s not worth it.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on my two books that will be released in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, Constellations of My Body is being published by Musehick Publications. In 2019, Savagery will be released by Airlie Press, a unique publisher collective based out of Oregon. I also have a prequel to my first novel and a collection of essays based on Native American mythology tucked away and slowly looking for a home.