Polar Bodies – Sydney Sheltz-Kempf

Polar Bodies

As I’ve matured into a clone of you
I’ve always wondered
how I didn’t end up as a polar body
since we’ve always been
polar opposites.

Sydney Sheltz-Kempf is a current PhD candidate at Western Michigan University in Biological Sciences.  Her previous work can be found in Intima: Journal of Narrative Medicine and The Scene and Heard.  Her first chapbook titled Adding Up Forever: A Memoir will be published by The Poet’s Haven in Fall 2018.

Whale Songs at 52 Hertz – Lauren Scharhag

Whale Songs at 52 Hertz


Once, a scientist heard the voice of a whale so singular

that he became obsessed, a benevolent Ahab.

He named the whale 52 for the unusual frequency of its song,

a frequency unable to be heard by fin, humpback, or blue.

The scientist recorded its calls through the trackless Pacific,

a voice rising from unknowable fathoms,

capable of carrying for thousands of miles through

brine and wave and coral grove.

For twelve years, the scientist searched and chased and dreamed

of this mysterious creature. Unable even to determine its sex,

he could only surmise it was doomed to solitude,

for so strange was its call, it might as well be mute,

or all the other whales of the sea be deaf,

incapable of being heard or understood.

Other scientists agree to disagree about its very existence,

its uniqueness, and whether or not it truly feels lonely.

Twelve years of listening, twelve years of searching,

twelve years of never even glimpsing tail, blowhole exhalations,

or ridge of spine. And no matter how many may sail together,

no one knows loneliness like men at sea,

bereft of our ancestral dust.

No one knows loneliness like one who seeks,

combing the world’s largest ocean for a single beast.

The man dies and the song fades, undefined.

Lauren Scharhag is an award-winning writer of fiction and poetry. She lives on Florida’s Emerald Coast. To learn more about her work, visit www.laurenscharhag.blogspot.com.

Women Artists We Love: Savannah Loebig

We are switching it up this week. Instead of a writer, we have the very talented artist, Savannah Loebig.  We featured her art back in January 2017.  We got a chance to catch up with her and ask her a few questions about her process and what she’s working on now.  

What inspires you the most? 
There are a lot of things that inspire me. I can be inspired by how nice the day is or how well my plants are growing, but I can also be inspired by things I hear in the news and stories of other women. When I hear about other peoples struggles I’m reminded of my own and I’m able to use that in order to think about myself from a different perspective. 
savWho are your favorite women artists?
Oh my god there are so many. I love Sally Hewett, Stephanie Law, Caledonia Curry (Swoon), Soey Milk, Bunnie Reiss, Jaw Cooper, Lauren Brevner, Kelsey Beckett, Paloma Smith, the list could go on forever. 
What does your process look like? 
I’m constantly looking at art and getting inspiration on a daily basis. I have a folder with thousands of pictures of things that I find interesting. I wish I could say that I create every day but I don’t. I have a million different interests and things I want to do but I just have to take it one day at a time.
What advice do you have for fellow women artists? 
My advice would be to work as much as you can and to be involved in the local art scene. Also be aware what other artists are doing so that you can be as informed as possible when making your own work. Have a thick skin and apply to all the shows around you that fit with your work and go to gallery openings to meet people.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on developing a body of work having to do with the female body and constraints surrounding it.

For more info about Savannah visit savannahloebig.com or check her out on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook

That sounds like a disease – Ann Gibaldi Campbell

“That sounds like a disease,”

you say when I say
I want to go
to coastal Louisiana to see
the nutria.

I know they are semi-
aquatic rodents.
And I have
a better mind than you.

They are not giant swamp rats.
I did not see
If the doctor was wearing
a wedding ring.
And I do not care
you have the hands of a 90-year-old.

Are you taking any medicine?
Are you taking anything at all?

I will want a bathing suit
good health
when I go to Grand Isle
to see the swimming of the nutria.

Ann Gibaldi Campbell holds a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she wrote her dissertation on Virginia Woolf. She identifies as a teacher, a mother, and a feminist. With poetry, she hopes to reinvent herself.

Women Writers We Love – Sneha Subramanian Kanta

Time for another interview with the lovely Sneha Subramanian Kanta! Her poem “Recovery” was featured on Dying Dahlia in January 2016.  Read about what inspires her, her excellent advice for fellow women writers and more.  Also, find out how you can read Sneha’s micro-chapbook, Synecdoche. It’s a must read!

Sneha-AuthorPhotoWhat inspires you the most? 

Narratives that have been long ignored by the world at large are of major interest to me as an academician and someone that engages with the written word. What moves me is the organic constitution of oral literature and the manner in which it has prevailed for decades. I’m interested in literature as being an alternate form of history. I’m very influenced by my maternal grandmother and mother. They were two strong women in my life and their lives have been nothing short of an inspiration to me. The legacy of kindness they’ve left behind continues to be an influence, as does everything they did for society. Their contributions to my life remain magnanimous.

Who are your favorite women writers?

There are many. A few names would be Akka Mahadevi, Rassundari Devi, Savitribai Phule, Amrita Pritam, Imtiaz Dharker, Arundhati Roy, Emily Brontë, Emily Dickinson, Tarfia Faizullah, Tracy Smith, Sharon Olds, Patricia Smith, Fatima Asghar, Chelsea Dingman, Kelli Russell Agodon. At this juncture, I must also recommend the books Women Writing in India—Part I and II. It is seminal in the sense of its extensive scope and research. The practice of this project is central in the recovery of voices from the South East Asian continent. It speaks to us from across centuries: from the voices of Buddhist nuns, or theris, and their songs, recorded as terigathas in the 6th century BC to more modern selections. The book is also important in the narratives it carries: Rassundari Devi, for instance, learned the alphabet by tearing pages from the notebooks of her children. She practiced writing them with charcoal inside a dimly lit kitchen, over walls. She later wrote her autobiography, titled ‘Amar Jiban’ in Bengali. These narratives speak to me of resilience and a certain detachment from the world.

What does your writing process look like? 

I’m quite disciplined about writing. I make sure to write, edit and spend some time with drafts regularly. I engage with reading extensively as I believe it is vital to read for as much time as one may accommodate for the practice in the day.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

Mostly— it is indispensable to be kind to each other. I love when women support one another as it is my belief that one rises only by raising another’s voice. We have incredible journeys, each one of us, and I am filled with admiration every time I encounter stories where women have been enablers of beautiful things for each other.

What are you currently working on? 

I’m working on my next collection at the moment alongside research. I’m also very interested in culinary skills and have been practicing the intersection of newer vegetarian recipes with good health. I’ve also been a mountaineering enthusiast and after a major hiking trail in 2015, I plan to undertake another in 2019.

Synecdoche - covers (1)
For more information and to download Synecdoche (for free!) visit here.  And be sure to visit her Goodreads page here and leave some love.