Featured Artist Christine Taylor's Summer Reading List

Looking at those long, lazy summer days ahead and wondering how on earth you're going to fill them? Never fear -  Featured Artist Christine Taylor has your summer reading covered.

Christine Taylor's Summer Reading Suggestions

Now that summer is in full swing, here are some poetry titles (full-length, anthologies, and chapbooks) with which to spend some time.  All of these have been impactful for me, and I continue to return to them as mentor texts.  (All the links go directly to the book’s publisher’s website/store so you can check out the descriptions of these fantastic books!)

#1:  Black Girl Magic (The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 2) edited by Mahogany L. Brown, Idrissa Simmonds, and Jamila Woods; Haymarket Books

#2:  Good Morning America I Am Hungry and on Fire by Jamie Mortara; YesYes Books

#3:  Lord of the Butterfliesby Andrea Gibson; Button Poetry

#4:  Set the Garden on Fire by Chen Chen; Porkbelly Press

#5:  The Second O of Sorrow by Sean Thomas Dougherty; BOA Edition…

Christine Taylor on Breaking Down Publishing Barriers

Today, Animal Heart Press Managing Editor Amanda McLeod talks with Featured Artist Christine Taylor about breaking down publishing barriers, and what draws her to a poem.

Amanda McLeod: On the Kissing Dynamite Poetry website, you talk about the overarching question of 'who gets to tell the story?', and barriers that have historically excluded entire groups of people. How do you think we can begin, as writers and publishers, to subvert that traditional 'gatekeeper' model? How can we ensure more perspectives on the story?

Christine Taylor: I think part of the process is continually being critical and questioning standards.  Our definition of what constitutes “good” writing has an ugly history and honestly unpacking and challenging the criteria for “good” writing will move us forward.

AM: Challenging the murkiness of 'good' writing is difficult, especially when we are aiming to encourage multiple perspectives. Do you think there are markers for 'quality' wri…

Our latest Featured Artist - wildlings, meet Christine Taylor!

Wildlings, we are blessed to have Christine Taylor joining us this week as our Featured Artist!

Christine Taylor identifies as multiracial and is an English teacher and librarian residing in her hometown Plainfield, New Jersey.  She is the EIC of Kissing Dynamite: A Journal of Poetry and the author of The Queen City (Broken Sleep Books, 2019) and Petal (Bone & Ink Press, 2020).  Christine has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and her work appears in Glass, Turtle Island Responds, Haibun Today, and The Rumpus among others.  Right now, she’s probably covered in cat hair and drinking a martini.  Visit her at or follow her on Twitter.

Christine is a master of the poetry form, and she'll be sharing some of her extensive knowledge with us over the course of her feature. Today we introduce her to you with a previous unpublished haibun piece, selected just for Animal Heart Press.
On the block, the lawns leave behind the bleached hue of winter. …

A Stunning Micro-Film Featuring The Poetry And Photography of Siham Karami

Wildlings, this is stunning!
For her final day as Featured Artist, we've worked with Siham Karami to create this micro-film, featuring her stunning photography as she reads to us her beautiful poem, Stopping by Butterflies, Remastered. Enjoy this spectacular blend of words and images!

Stopping by Butterflies, Remastered
All that lives   in black and white—    butterflies pulsing on a boulder  startle the multi-faceted forest’s greening
Papery wings' stark     slow/flip  wraps rock to oblivion black/white   black/white  on/off   on/off tuxedo flashing code
blooming on a graph    telegraph alive   a live crowdsourced  complex eye/ tiny-all-in-one heartbeat
of text  / simple / indecipherable  writ in shiny bodies / wing-scale overlays leaf-light
typeset through fleeting years  prints this very  instant
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Siham Karami's Feline Nativity

Wildlings, it takes the heart of an animal. When we saw this beautiful combination of words and images from Siham Karami it seemed like such a perfect fit! Enjoy Feline Nativity!

Feline Nativity

Her paws much too small for this, I’m worried
thinking baby sweetie pie her pink claws
retract, she spreads her body widening her eyes
like a question mark into mine, not on the kitchen floor

where we had gathered scraps of paper into a nest
but here in this towel-lined box on a chair & I’m holding her
talking her through it don’t worry sweetie little pie
you’ll love your tiny squeakies & I remember

the terror of birthing, the mountain I am, opening
forever, an inevitable unleashing, irreversible,
& every womb is a mountain—we all must break free—
I know she can feel it change everything

but now I think it’s time, the stirring
a dread, the moment’s force, her eyes pleading—
Keep going little sweetie & somehow
I leave it to her, the small grey cylinder she licks

strenuously, eats t…

Siham Karami Reads For Us

Wildlings, today we have the joy of listening to Featured Artist Siham Karami read to us from her poetry collection 'To Love The River'.
You can purchase a copy here!
In the meantime, let her words soothe you...

Gently Still Finding You Between

spirals in the shell you left behind,
on staircases, in tiny unseen rooms,
interstices, hidden ventricles,
auricles collapsed and yet alive,
imaginary origami hearts,
a nautilus still pumping through the days
that lost you in their downy underside
like sepals undernoticed, or a potted
cactus near the window no one looks through.
What liquids had been stored in you for years?
Love or some restrained guffaw or blooming
should have burst through sediment and rock.
So much to say, we found no way to talk.
The droplets never touched the cavern floor—
bonded to the minerals that melt
in geologic time, you are no more,
although your shape still shadows my old thoughts:
a gentle tapping on the window's cold.
A film of rain coats footprints o…

Poetry And Photography From Siham Karami, Part II

Today, wildlings, come forest bathing with Siham Karami's soothing poetry and photography.

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