Women Writers We Love: Jessica Mehta

interview

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.

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Confession – Kortney Y. Watkins

poems

Confession

There’s a party here to witness all my sin.
It was not enough that there be just one; The Son
I feel most guilty about and it freezes my blood to ice,
unworthy and judged by others, yet not him.  How nice
to feel secure and safe and loved, kissed nose to nose
like Eskimos do to defrost the chilling snow cone,
flavored by the selfishness of me’s and my’s and I
Then it must be done.  To my love I’ve wronged, I confess.

Kortney Y. Watkins is a poet, short-story writer, novelist, and educator.  She lives for love, waits on the moon, and hopes for the sake of humanity; every slash of a pen and stroke of a key is dedicated to exploring those things often done, less considered.  She resides in the Atlanta metropolitan area amongst loving kin and friends.

Letter from the Editor

letter from the editor

Dearest Dying Dahlia Readers and Writers —

DDR will be taking another break.

Why? Well, I think there are many reasons a literary journal/review needs to take a break from time to time.

One reason, the biggest reason, is time.  The work we do at DDR is a labor of love, as cliché as the phrase may be. And like you, we have jobs. Jobs that generate an income or jobs that do not generate an income but are just as important (Talking to all you moms out there!).

And then there is the time we are not at our job. The time for us, the time with our family, the time to just be. The time to let our brains be creative and consider new ideas and come back to DDR with a fresh perspective.  All of us, including you, need to allow ourselves to take breaks. To take in everything, rather than work, work, work and potentially push away any creative ideas the universe might be sending our way that we may be too busy to notice.

So for that reason, my friends, we are taking a break. To refresh and renew. There are some changes that will be made to DDR.  Some reflections that need to be had.  But mostly, DDR does not want to push out just any ole poetry or story or art. We want quality. We want work that moves us.  And we also want to promote our contributors, these women writers to the best of our abilities. And most of all, we want to provide you, the reader, with a review worth reading.

So in order to do that, we have to carve out time to labor for this love, this passion, this purpose. We won’t be silent. We will NOT stop reading your submissions. We love them and look forward to publishing some amazing work by you amazing women very, very soon.

Until then, stick around. Keep submitting. Send us a note. Perhaps a message in a bottle. But above all, keep reading everything and always keep writing.

Much Love,

Abbie Copeland
Editor

P.S.  We have a wonderful archive.  Make sure you go back and revisit those beloved poems, flash fiction and art.  All of them are worth a second (and third) read!

Weeds – Tammy Daniel

poems
Weeds
 
She doesn’t know why she thinks
of it now—his unexpected phone call,
the hesitant static of goodbye.
 
As if it were yesterday,
she recalls that first night alone,
the way the bed grew weeds—
gallant soldiers, spear thistle,
black medick—
 
how, for days, she tossed…
turned…tossed…
lost beneath a milky canopy
of dandelion clouds, her whys
a trowel of tears sifting fog
low in a valley of dead-nettle.
 
Pervasive, she whispers,
as I watch her eyelids, thin
as time, drift against the wilt
of memory, but
 
suddenly, clear as a gleaned
field, she says, For a while,
didn’t think I’d last another day,
then talks of God and faith;
how His ways are often peculiar
as a compassionate enemy,
 
even that creeping vine,
a sign—three leaves.
Let it be.

 

Tammy Daniel was selected as one of the New Voices of 2015 by The Writers Place in Kansas City, Mo. Her work has appeared in I-70 Review, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Red River Review, The Ekphrastic ReviewTouch: The Journal of Healing, Rusty Truck, and Ink, Sweat and Tears.

2 Poems – Nikita Gill

poems

The Passion Grove

There is still dirt under my fingernails
from the burying of passions in groves
made of ashes. Scorched earth is meant
to grow better fruit trees after.
No one expected the weeds.

Gasoline Girls

Gasoline girls-
barehearted brazen
but bounded bones,
soft soiled sinews
disappoint death

Nikita Gill is a cat mama and a chocolate lover. Her work has been published in Foliate Oak, Literary Orphans, Agave Magazine, Gravel Magazine and elsewhere.

It Stays with You – M. Stone

poems

It Stays with You

I.

My mouth houses too many tenants—
overcrowded incisors and molars
yielding no space for canines.

The pediatric dentist recommends
a second surgery. I inhale grape-scented
gas from a rubber mask, am transported
to a twilight state. Nitrous oxide leaves me
limp and mute, swallowing dread.

I know from the time before
I will still feel the needle stab
in the roof of my mouth,
the curve where my jaws connect.

Hours are minutes, seconds are hours.
I regain use of my limbs. My cheeks packed
with bloody gauze, I carry a triple offering
for the Tooth Fairy in a plastic vial.

II.

Today in the dentist chair, I grow clammy
and wan, trembling—struck by sudden flu.

He guides a syringe toward my mouth.
No gas to subdue me now. My hand strikes,
snake-fast, connects with his arm. He pauses,
says, “It stays with you, doesn’t it?”

I nod, reply between shallow breaths:
“Let’s try it without, this time.”

M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes fiction and poetry while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She can be reached at writermstone.wordpress.com.

Dying Dahlia Review: Summer 2017

flash fiction, poems

It’s finally here! We are so happy to present the Summer 2017 edition of Dying Dahlia Review!  We are featuring some amazing flash fiction and poetry by some awesome women writers!  And check out that beautiful cover art by Ashley Parker Owens!  Make sure to snag yourself a copy today! Follow the links below to purchase the ebook at your retailer of choice.

DDRsummer2017

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Apple iBooks (Search for “Dying Dahlia Review”)

 

This Shit is Ripe – Elisabeth Horan

poems

This Shit is Ripe

Ready to play tag with poems in the night?
Open up I’ve got something nice

Some part of me lay dormant
it might have been my smile
it took a while to find it’s teeth, lost in the back of that van
where we met over seafood and smack and weed
you laid me down on a dirty sheet

I hid that away for so many days wasn’t gonna let it play out –
No neediness.

Just propped on a shelf, fine wine or a puppet.
I’m Bonnie you’re Clyde – made out like a bandit.

Cixous, what she do – only got me confused.
But damn, she was right on a hot summer night –
there’s steam coming out my ears
No pants can hold me –
I’ma bad fire.
I’ma​ cauldron.

Go ahead, take a sip – what I be brewing is good for your bones –
what I be needing, I left alone.
Watch out for me, Medusa’s back, I guess she gets the last laugh.

Ain’t no knockoff, Baby. This shit is ripe.
And I’m just started yelling.

Elisabeth Horan is a stay at home mom in Vermont, caring for her two young boys, feeding the animals and writing her heart out. Her poetry has appeared in The Feminist Wire, The Fox Poetry Box and Walking is Still Honest Press. She was recently featured at Anti-Heroin Chic and Swimming With Elephants. Meet her at http://ejfhoran.weebly.com/ and @ehoranpoet on twitter

The Edge of Middle Age – Kathryn Knudson

poems

The Edge of Middle Age

In the cul-de-sac culture
snippets of vulnerability
mar the illusion of harmony

I’ve always preferred to leave
the snags in my sweaters

I’m not letting invisibility
lock me into listlessness
Someone has to tell the stories

Kathryn Knudson’s short fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and featured in a 2017 podcast of Pushcart nominations. She works at a utility, writing poetry and fiction on her lunch hour, and lives in Minneapolis with her husband and their sheep dog.

2 Poems – Deborah Chava Singer

poems

Grotesque

well, isn’t this grotesque
me crying
and your mouth all wet

 

Woman, Fractured

a woman, broken
fractures fused
if not stronger
more complicated
than before

Deborah Chava Singer is a product of San Diego, California, the Mesa College Theatre Company, Queer Players, and other “stuff.”  She currently resides in Washington state.  Recently her writing has appeared in The Human Touch, MUSE, Jonathan, Cirque, Chaffin, Heart & Mind Zine, Snapdragon, and Twisted Vine. Her website is www.latenightawake.com.