WA129 recognized by WA Center for the Book

We’ve known how great Tod Marshall’s anthology of Washington state poets is, but it’s nice for others to notice as well!

“From time to time a book comes along that deserves recognition but defies categorization. In order to recognize the merit of such books, the Washington Center for the Book created a special award for this year’s ceremony:  “Washington Voices.” The first book we selected to honor with this award is Washington 129, a collection of poems by Washington poets selected by Tod Marshall. Gathered while Marshall served as Washington State Poet Laureate, a program sponsored by Arts WA and Humanities Washington, and containing a diverse gathering of poets’ works, WA 129 (published by Sage Hill Press) is an important contribution to the literary landscape of our state. The Washington Voices Award honors the importance of this collection and all of the poets’ works included in the book.”

If you don’t have a copy, you can order it here.

WA129 recognized by WA Center for the Book

#WA129 release!

WA129 Georges front cover only no bleedSelected from thousands of submissions by Washington poets, state poet laureate Tod Marshall’s WA129 features the overwhelming talent of the state’s writers.

Honoring Washington’s 129 years of statehood, this anthology features 129 Washington poets, some published for the first time. Each poem beautifully describes a deep felt connection to Washington through poems of cherished hometowns, Washington’s wonderous landscapes, racial divisions and cultures, experiences only found in this great state, and a variety of other topics. This is an expansive and memorable collection of voices.

Notable authors include Elizabeth Austen (Washington Poet Laureate 2014-2016), Sherman Alexie, Linda Bierds, Kathleen Flenniken (Washington Poet Laureate 2012-2014), Tess Gallagher, Samuel Green (Inaugural Washington Poet Laureate), Christopher Howell, Richard Kenney, Heather McHugh, Laura Read, Tom Robbins, Katrina Roberts, Derek Sheffield, Martha Silano, Ellen Welcker, Nance Van Winckel, Katharine Whitcomb, and Maya Jewell Zeller.

Poets will read from the anthology at a special launch event in the state capitol on Thursday, April 13th. Tod Marshall will be featuring it at events across the state throughout the spring (event calendar coming soon), and it will be available in bookstores state-wide. If you can’t wait, it is also available now on Amazon.

For retail and bulk orders, email sagehillpress@yahoo.com.


#WA129 release!

Release: After Our Departure

On sale today!

After Our Departure, by Ben Cartwright
winner of the Powder Horn Prize, selected by Nance Van Winckel
featuring original cover and interior art by printmaker Lindsey Merrell


In her introduction, Nance says

What first struck me as I read Ben Cartwright’s poems was the scintillating language. Even when bravely addressing the ho-hum moments of drudgery in daily living, Cartwright employs a certain muscularity and musicality. In fact, reading these poems I often felt myself teetering between extremes I recognize from actual life: energy/vitality/buoyancy vs. duty/stasis/entropy. The poems pace the long plank of these mental and emotional states, and even as we hover and balance near the fulcrum, we sense what’s on either side, what looms, what awaits.

Washington state poet laureate Tod Marshall:

“Nothing takes flight from me again,” a speaker in one of Cartwright’s poems announces, and the ongoing struggle against Romantic airiness propels this book.  And yet: the poems never fully embrace this declaration, never fully abandon the possibility of flight.  Which is to say:  the poet is smart, funny, and appropriately suspicious of his making.  Which is to say:  the poems in this book challenge, entertain, and compel readers to think and rethink expectations (of the poems, poet, and poetry).  There are sonically snap-chatty moments blisteringly aware of their sonic smirky-ness: “Still, I is shrill. / I flits in this, / pissing blight. / I is birthright.” There are imagistic and tender moments abashedly peeping from the pages.  And oh, did I mention that there are wacky and memorable illustrations, bizzaro voices, and formal dexterity to boot?  There are also no easy solutions to the tensions Cartwright explores; just “because we’re bored down here” and good things “take a little bit of time” should we abandon the possibility of “flight?”  As the title of the collection suggests, these poems resonate after their departure:  what more can one ask of a work of art?

Click here to order your copy today!

Or, if you are in Spokane, come to Auntie’s at 7:00 p.m. tonight to hear Ben read from the book.

Release: After Our Departure

New titles now available

AWCH and RTP side by side

Now available in bookstores and online (for ordering information, email sagehillpress@yahoo.com):

All We Can Hold, poems of motherhood

Collecting the work of over 100 poets from around the world, All We Can Hold is an honest and beautiful exploration of the language of motherhood from a variety of voices and experiences. Poets tackle the joys and the struggles of mothering through poems that address pregnancy, post-partum depression, puberty, the loss of a child, and watching a child grow.

All We Can Hold comes from a desire to read more poetry about motherhood and to provide a forum for those voices. What began as a search for poetry celebrating motherhood in its entirety became a movement, reaching thousands of poets and spurring an online publication of All We Can Hold with additional poetry following the printed release.

The collection is edited by Elise Gregory, Emily Gwinn, Kaleen McCandless, Kate Maude, and Laura Walker and features work from Dorianne Laux, Beth Ann Fennelly, Malena Morling, Laura Kasishke, Karen Craigo, Katie Ford, Martha Silano, Maya Jewell Zeller, Ellen Welcker, Sherman Alexie, Joyce Sutphen, Freya Manfred, Rachel Zucker, and an introduction from Jennifer K. Sweeney.

242 pages, $19.95

Railtown Almanac: a Spokane prose anthology

Flying above Spokane it’s easy to think: So that’s it? That’s the small place where I work and love people and walk around and mow my lawn. When you zoom far enough away, it does look pretty in a way, but it also doesn’t really look real.

Zoomed far enough away, you can’t see the ugly stuff. The petty thieveries and the various segregations and the over-full hospitals or the lump of fear that a person feels walking downtown at night. We might feel more comfortable when those things fade out of view, but we aren’t convinced that’s Spokane at its best.

For this collection we weren’t interested in an aerial view of Spokane, a Spokane where the bad swept into the cracks gets swallowed up to maintain a nice smooth surface. Nor one in which the trash-eating goat in beautiful Riverfront Park exists without the trash. We wanted to know what a place looks like to the people who love it, sometimes grudgingly.
What we’ve learned is that from the ground level, Spokane isn’t underwhelming or quaint at all. It’s complex, sometimes skeptical, and often difficult.

Editors Jeffrey G. Dodd and Kate J. Reed

Railtown Almanac celebrates the incredible wealth of talent in the Spokane area. Collecting the work of writers ranging from established award-winners to talented middle-schoolers, this anthology will serve as a way-marker in the rich history of the Spokane writing community.

Featuring short fiction and essays by Kris Dinnison, Sam Ligon, Shann Ray, Sharma Shields, Rachel Toor, Nance Van Winckel, and others.

186 pages, $16.95

New titles now available

Kill February, by Jeffrey Tucker

This book was selected by poet Kevin Goodan. Here is his introduction to the book, which you can purchase here.

If T.S. Eliot were writing today, he might well feel that his maxim “April is the cruelest month” no longer holds sway in a world increasingly augmented by human-created climate change. He might simply, and emphatically blurt out “Kill February”, as Jeffery Tucker has so poignantly and aptly titled his new book, which I have carried with me in my own engagements with landscape and weather driving from Idaho to Cape Cod in the wake of yet another tragic storm system. More and more we are beginning to mark changes in our lives by the occurrences of significant and tragic weather events. Post-Katrina, Post-Sandy and similar post-event terms are becoming part of our lexicon and indeed part of how we govern ourselves.

And now, as I write this, the drought-stricken West is beginning to experience what will be a monumental wildfire season, given what the primary indicators predict. Just recently, archaeologists have determined that America’s oldest civilization, the Caral, met its demise some 4,000 years ago in part due to climate change, more precisely because of severe, extended droughts. Our situation has a lot of people asking “how do we survive? And “will we survive”? Certainly, in North Idaho, these questions have ushered forth a thriving survivalist mentality. I have neighbors who’ve taken me down into their newly constructed bunkers. I have seen the stockpiles of ammunition and firearms. These people are prepared for the end of times. If Homo Sapiens are to go extinct, these neighbors of mine are going to make sure it is a bloody, brutal, fought out conclusion. If they live that long. What about the rest of us?

What Jeffery Tucker’s book of poems provides us with, in the face of an increasingly volatile environment is a focus on now. How do we best live now (which is truly the only thing we are granted) even while we are observant, and in acknowledgment of the storms, the devastations that happen in seemingly quicker successions, both ecological, and personal? These moments become the locus of memory as in the opening poem “Tropical Storm Frank”:

At eight, my sister’s friend fell in the back yard.

I pulled our fleabag dog off her, and ten years later

She drove off an overpass, but it was an open-casket funeral


The storms often become the backdrop, the canvas, to the storms of our lives, but not always. Tucker integrates the human with the larger primal forces of the world, as in the poem “Priming”:


                                                                                        Two Miles

Up Chapman Avenue, the fault line widens its hillside smile

More every year. And that hill, shagged in sage

And awaiting sparks. One burn season, my father says

Flames will find gas lines and we’ll burn to the beach.

Even if it is only a matter of time, we still have now, and now includes the people we hold dear. That is the hope, Tucker assures us, even as the environment severely shapes us (and we it). Take, for instance, the moment of confronting the fear of so common an occurrence in certain parts of the country, in “Early Summer, Hattiesburg”:

An hour later, the tornado past, no trees split, no deaths,

Not a home upended, it was still with me—

Not the reedy wind or the red radar-amoeba on the phone,

But my cry: “My wife.”

Oh, that primal fear of loss echoes through these poems. I am reminded of the plaster casts of a man and woman who died in each other’s arms in the volcanic blast that buried Pompeii at lunch time on the 24th of August 79 AD. These lives have become artifacts of the moment, containing both the personal and ecological. Kill February is one of those lasting testaments to how we lived and how we cared, and how we passed on. Tucker’s voice is one that comes to us beyond the constraints of time as sharp and clear as the details on the man and woman’s plaster faces.

Tonight, as I witness the double-star moment of Venus and Jupiter for the first time in 2000 years, I consider the fleeting auguries that are being derived of it. And yet, given the evidence that Tucker so hauntingly, so bitingly provides, we must embrace our only world, our only possible lives, our now: “Paradise?” he knowingly asks. “Look around. It’s vicious out here.”



Kill February, by Jeffrey Tucker

Powder Horn Prize Shortlist

And now, the short list:
After Our Departure, by Ben Cartwright
The Water in which one Drowns is Always an Ocean, by Jeff Encke
What Spirits Return, by Andrew McSorley
Grist, by Kate Peterson

Congratulations to all the semifinalists, this was a very strong field of submissions.

We hope to announce the winning manuscript by the end of the month.

In the meantime, our previous winner, Kill February by Jeffrey Tucker, selected and introduced by Kevin Goodan, is now available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0989035956).Kill Feb front cover

Powder Horn Prize Shortlist

Powder Horn Prize long list

Congratulations to the following poets, whose manuscripts were chosen as semifinalists for our first-book contest:


An Accidental Species, by Carol Berg

Blood, Metal, Fiber, Rock, by Elizabeth Bodien

Memory Palace, by Aaron Brown

After Our Departure, by Benjamin Cartwright

The Water in which one Drowns is Always an Ocean, by Jeff Encke

Sometimes at Night Hear the Weeds Crying, by Jim Gustafson

Gravity Dog, by Janet Norman Knox

315 Gods, by Jeffrey MacLachlan

What Spirits Return, by Andrew McSorley

Ulla Ulla, by Catherine Moore

Grist, by Kate Peterson

The Pioneer Sonnets, by Kristen Rembold

They Sometimes Behave So Strangely, by Stephen Scott Whitaker


A shortlist of four titles will be forwarded to judge Nance Van Winckel, with the winner to be announced soon.

Thanks to all of our entrants. Even paring to this list of 13 was a difficult job, given the overall quality of the submissions.

Powder Horn Prize long list