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.