Dear Murph



The Bunburyist’s Bulletin’s “Dear Murph” is an advice column cleverly used as an “interlude” in Kayla Pongrac’s debut flash fiction collection The Flexible Truth. A quirky and can’t-be-missed character, Murph answers questions the best way he knows how: by not answering them at all. To celebrate the upcoming release of The Flexible Truth (now available for pre-order in the Anchor & Plume shop), Murph has kindly agreed to answer readers’ questions here on the Anchor & Plume website. Ask anything you want! We dare you.

Send your question for Murph to hello [at] anchorandplumepress [dot] com or via Twitter, @AnchorPlume.

P.S. Should you choose to submit a question, you’ll not only receive an answer to your question, but also a special offer from Murph himself. So . . . fire away—if you dare or even if you just need a laugh—Murph is at the ready, pen poised.

Issue 9 Contributors

Kindred Mag springsummer 2015

Aaron Brame, writer
Aaron Brame teaches English at a private school in Memphis, Tennessee. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Straight Forward, Pembroke Magazine, and Avatar Review, and his essay about witnessing the Challenger disaster was published in Greenhaven Press’s Perspectives on Modern World History. He has a writing degree from Rhodes College and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in literature from the University of Memphis. He lives with his wife and two children in Memphis.

Nichole Descant Chigoy, photographer
Nichole Descant Chigoy is a mother and wife living the good life in a Texas small town. She and her family live in a cheery bungalow with tall windows that rattle in the Texas wind. She enjoys dabbling in homesteading hobbies as her quarter acre lot can attest to her earnest intentions. Her front yard is bursting with vegetable beds and herbs while her backyard is home to a flock of hens and a hive of honey bees. In between her time tending to the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees, she enjoys nothing more than her first cup of morning coffee, a good book before bed, wildflower meadows in the golden hour, the company of her vivacious 5 year old, and her husband’s good charm. She blogs about her days at Live Free.

Melinda Clemmons, writer
Melinda Clemmons lives in Oakland, California. Her work has previously appeared in Eclipse, The Cimarron Review, Cavalier, and The Monthly.

Marissa Davis, writer
Though Marissa Davis is a native of Paducah, Kentucky, she is currently attending college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Her major is English Literature. To date, she has been published in Teen Ink, A Celebration of Poets (Spring 2013), and The Vanderbilt Review.

Kiki DeLancey, writer
Kiki DeLancey is an Ohio writer. Her fiction earned a grant from the Ohio Arts Council in 2003 and again in 2014. Her book Coal Miner’s Holiday (Sarabande Books, 2002), was named the best short fiction collection of that year by the Independent Publishers’ Association. Her stories are published from time to time in the literary press, and have been anthologized in The Jazz Fiction Anthology (University of Indiana Press) and These United States (Thunder’s Mouth Press). She has a blog about art at

Kika Dorsey, writer
Kika Dorsey is a poet and professor from Boulder, Colorado. She wakes up at 5:00 every morning and crafts poetry out of dreams, studies myths and folktales, taxis her children to activities, teaches, and runs with her dog. Her chapbook, Beside Herself, was published by Flutter Press in 2010 and her book, Rust, is coming out in 2016 with Word Tech Editions.

Kelly DuMar, writer
Kelly is a poet, playwright and Writing Truth & Beauty workshop facilitator from the Boston area whose poems have been published in many literary magazines, including Corium, Poydras, Tupelo Quarterly, Kindred, and The Milo Review. Her award winning chapbook, All These Cures, was published in Oct. 2014 by Lit House Press. She produces the Our Voices Festival of Women Playwrights at Wellesley College, now in its ninth year. Her website is

Katherine Faigen, writer
Katherine Faigen received her MFA from Emerson College, where she currently teaches in the First Year Writing Program. When she’s not at Emerson, you can find Katherine in the Writing Center at Berklee College of Music or on the Mystic River coaching high school rowing. Katherine’s work has previously appeared in the Rappahannock Review, 48 Review, Words Apart, and Moondance Literary Magazine.

Kate Gaskin, writer
Kate Gaskin grew up in Alabama and has poems and other writing published and forthcoming in Turtle Island Quarterly, Tar River Poetry, Cherry Tree, Hobart, and the Examined Life Journal. She lives in the panhandle of Florida with her husband and toddler. She can be found at

Bernard Grant, writer
Bernard Grant lives in Washington State. His writing has appeared in The Nervous Breakdown, The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, Hippocampus, and other journals. He is enrolled in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University, and is a 2015 Jack Straw Fellow.

Laura Anne Heller, writer
Laura Anne Heller lives in the Jackson area, works as a public librarian and archivist, and writes from her Mississippi and Kentucky roots. She prefers the persona poem, allowing older voices to tell stories from Southern history and culture. She has poems included in the Mongrel Empire Press anthology Ain’t Nobody That Can Sing Like Me: New Oklahoma Writing (2010), and a published book, Lexington Lives: Poems for Those Who Lived & Died in Lexington, Kentucky, 1800s-1900s (2013).

Janele D. Johnson, writer
Janele is a professor of English and Literature (and sometimes, of poetry writing) at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs. Much as her choice of career—not to mention her solitary, book-addicted childhood—steeped her in the beauty of words, she is a late player to the game of writing poetry, having only done so for about decade. Suddenly, she was galvanized to join a conversation she had only been attentively listening to all her life. She has published to In Other Words as well as to her college’s literary magazine, Almagre, and to the Colorado Springs-based web site, United States Represented. Most recently, a poem of hers appeared in this publication’s summer issue.

Lee Kisling, writer
Lee Kisling is a recent graduate of Hamline University in St Paul, Minnesota. In December 2013, his poetry chapbook The Lemon Bars of Parnassus was published by Parallel Press in Madison, Wisconsin.

Laurin Becker Macios, writer
Laurin Becker Macios earned an MFA in Poetry from the University of New Hampshire and is the program director of Mass Poetry. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in Extracts: Daily Dose of Lit, Boxcar Poetry Review, [PANK], RHINO Poetry, and more. She lives in Boston with six plants and one wicked awesome husband.

Scarlet Martin, writer
In May of 2012, Scarlet Martin graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas,with a Bachelor of Arts in English, creative writing. During her time at Texas Tech, she served asan editor for the campus’s literary journal, The Harbinger. Scarlet continues working on collection of poems and short stories while currently serving overseas in humanitarian relief efforts.

Victoria Martinez, writer
Victoria Martinez is a science and poetry writer based in Montreal, QC. Her poetry has been published in Sassafras, Cactus Heart, and Eat It, a collection of women’s writing regarding sex and food by Feathetale. Her science writing most often appears in the Canadian Light Source’s publications.

Kimberly McClintock, writer
Kimberly McClintock is the recipient of a Larry Levis Post-Graduate Fellowship from Warren Wilson College’s MFA Alumni Association. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in: Glassworks, Bird’s Thumb, Mountain Gazette, Chatahoochee Review, The Poet’s Attic, and Wazee Journal. After many years by the ocean in New Jersey, Kimberly currently resides on the Front Range in Colorado.

Amy Newell, writer
Amy Newell writes poems about madness, marriage, motherhood, and elevators. In addition to her poetry, she has a trail of abandoned blogs and decades of overwrought journal entries. She has been recently published in r.k.v.r.y. quarterly. She lives in the Boston area with her husband, two children, and cat. You can find her on Twitter at @psychescoins.

Marlene Olin, writer
Born in Brooklyn, raised in Miami, and educated at the University of Michigan, Marlene Olin recently completed her first novel. Her short stories have been published in Emrys Journal, Upstreet Magazine, Biostories, Vine Leaves, Arcadia, Poetica, The Jewish Literary Journal, Poydras Review, Ragazine, Edge and The Saturday Evening Post online. They are forthcoming in Meat for Tea and The Broken Plate.

Laura Pashby, photographer
Laura Pashby weaves together the words that make up her world, and illustrates them with her photographs. She has had her work published in Idle, 91 Magazine, Crumbs, and Crafty. She spent a year as a columnist for Your Cotswold Family magazine. Laura writes the blog Circle of Pine Trees and hosts an online reading group called The Year in Books project. Laura has an MA in Poetry from the University of Bristol. She lives in Gloucestershire, UK, with her husband and her three young sons.

Kayla Pongrac, writer
Kayla Pongrac is an avid writer, reader, tea drinker, and record spinner. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Vinyl Poetry, Split Lip Magazine, Oblong, HOOT, KYSO Flash, and Nat. Brut, among others. Her first chapbook, The Flexible Truth, is available for purchase from Anchor and Plume. To read more of Kayla’s work, visit or follow her on Twitter @KP_the_Promisee.

Scott Ragland, writer
Scott Ragland has an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) from UNC-Greensboro. His credits include Writers’ Forum, Beloit Fiction Journal, The Quarterly, apt, and The Conium Review. He also has a story forthcoming in NANO Fiction. A former newspaper reporter, he is now director of development communications at UNC-Chapel Hill. He lives in Carrboro, North Carolina, with his wife and youngest son; he also has an older son and daughter.

Ryan Tahmaseb, writer
Ryan Tahmaseb grew up in the South and now lives in New England. He teaches English at The Meadowbrook School in Weston, Massachusetts during the academic year and spends his summers studying at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English.

Lenore Weiss, writer
Lenore’s collections include Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail (Finishing Line Press, 2011), Sh’ma Yis’rael (Pudding House Publications, 2007), and Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island (West End Press, 2012). Her most recent poetry collection is Two Places (Kelsay Books, 2014). She currently teaches a memoir class at Ouachita Parish Library in Monroe, Louisiana and serves as the copy editor of Blue Lyra Review. Her blog resides at

Harold Whit Williams, writer
Harold Whit Williams is guitarist for the critically acclaimed rock band Cotton Mather. He was a featured poet in the 2014 University of North Texas Kraken Reading Series, and is also the recipient of the 2014 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize. His newest collection, Backmasking, is winner of the 2013 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize from Texas Review Press. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Pre-order your copy of Issue 9 here!

Cover photograph: Nicole Descant Chigoy

The Flexible Truth


When Kayla Pongrac’s collection came across our submission manager during our 2014 open reading period, there was a collective sigh and a mighty Yes! Kayla’s work is a breath of fresh air, populated with an unexpected and playful assemblage of characters. The cover, illustrated by Shayna Blackford, is just a hint of the magic you’ll find within.

Dinosaurs. Postcards. Hammocks. Fish. Maps. Tea. Piñatas. Trains. Bees.
Caveat lector! The Flexible Truth will startle you. From the wide-ranging subject matter to the careful construction of each piece, Kayla Pongrac’s debut flash fiction collection turns the world as you know it onto its head, then right-side up, then upside-down again. Prepare to meet an eccentric cast of characters who take up residence inside these pages; you, a most welcome trespasser, would be wise to pay close attention to their quirks and their struggles, their moods and their actions. Remember, be kind to the bartender. Show some sympathy for that dentist. Turn shovelfuls of soil with the gardener. These characters will, you see, return your favors and you’ll find that the truth really is flexible, and with that flexibility comes an unexpected sense of credibility—and beauty.

Advanced praise for The Flexible Truth:
“The flash fictions of Kayla Pongrac are playful and unique. These brief narratives often rely on odd disjunctures and strange juxtapositions (e.g., a locomotive can appear, quite literally, on a tongue). The titles are some of the most inventive you will ever see (‘The Benefit of Reading the Newspaper,’ ‘My Disappointment with Your Dentist,’ ‘Excerpts from Your Week as I Imagined It’). Familiar forms like the advice column get repurposed (see ‘Dear Murph,’ who never quite speaks to the questions he is asked). Imagine Lydia Davis and Gary Lutz in a fine coffee shop playing the old surrealist game Exquisite Corpse, and you’ll get half an idea what The Flexible Truth is all about.”
—Michael W. Cox, author of Against the Hidden River

“The innovative fictions that make up the The Flexible Truth are poignant, funny, provocative, and rhetorically sparkling. Pongrac, with her novelist’s eye and her poet’s ear, juggles and jumbles non sequiturs, riddles, and juxtapositions into truncated yet startling moments of resonance.”
—Tom Noyes, author of Behold Faith, Spooky Action at a Distance, and Come by Here

“Readers who open The Flexible Truth will find themselves in an urgent and unknowable land. With startling language and innovative form, these brief fictions cover significant ground, from mass extinction to existential crises to the passing of time and the end of the world. Pongrac’s stories offer a rich array of anxiety, hope, longing, and loneliness written with an immediacy that cannot be dismissed.”
—Laura Maylene Walter, author of Living Arrangements

Pre-order your copy of The Flexible Truth here. We expect to begin mailing orders in late March.

If you like Kayla’s writing and Shayna’s illustrations, be sure to take a gander at the fabulous Playing Cards / Cards Playing they collaborated on. It’s a fully functional deck unlike any other!

A Hole in the Light

A Hole in the Light_Lucas Jacob


We first read poems from Lucas Jacob whilst reading through submissions for Kindred, Issue 8. We were happy to include his work in that issue but happier still to find his chapbook during our 2014 open reading period.

Geographically, A Hole in the Light contains poems of and about North Texas—especially the natural and manmade environments to be found along the Trinity, Brazos, and Paluxy Rivers. The speakers of the poems, and the people in the poems, grapple with the ways in which unremarkable daily experiences can be transformed into sharpened moments of surprising awareness. Jacob brings the unexpected and the mundane together, capturing each experience, each moment in poems that remind the reader that one is both in and of the world and that life is at once scary and delightful.


Advanced praise for A Hole in the Light:

Luke Jacob has a musician’s ear, an aesthete’s eye, a moralist’s self-restraint, and a lover’s innate sensuousness. His poems are set in Texas, Chicago, Hungary, even in mid-air. Regardless of his subjects —a sister’s cancer, an erotic memory, a trip to a museum—he approaches this world with a clear intellect, a sense of wonder and appreciation, and a powerful hedonism held in check by his own cool moderation. His poems replicate the very beauty he finds all around him.
—Willard Spiegelman, author of How Poets See the World, and Editor-in-Chief, Southwest Review

There’s an acute awareness of space and light in the gaze of Lucas Jacob’s poems. Here we have phrases that surge out and draw back on one another, resemble “fireflies like buoy lights.” Jacob calls upon ekphrasis to recognize relations, and I cannot help but think of a scrim being lowered in a play—the action behind the dark curtain, allowing us a muted observation, something calm and quiet, the way lovers do in the smallest of moments, as in “It needed only the stroke / of your eyelashes / to brush runnels of melted snow / along my neck.” Too, there is a gentle eye to the landscape and instructive: “Let the breath of the woods be your / bellows.”
—Molly Sutton Kiefer, author of Nestuary, and Editor of Tinderbox Poetry Journal


Pre-order your copy of A Hole in the Light here. We anticipate an early March mailing date.



Belated New Year’s greetings readers and writers! We have finally put away the Christmas decorations and have been enjoying winter in the deep south—gumbo, camellias, and gorgeous sunny days. And with Mardi Gras right around the corner, there have been King Cakes aplenty in our shared office space.

Here at Anchor & Plume we have big plans for 2015. We will be putting out five chapbooks (we have our eye on a sixth *fingers crossed*), and two issues of our lit mag, Kindred.

Our first 2015 offering will be a chapbook by Lucas Jacob followed by the spring/summer edition of Kindred. Details on the chapbook are coming very soon!

To keep up with all of the Anchor & Plume happenings this year, may we suggest signing up for our occasional newsletter? By signing up, you’ll be first to find out about new offerings and discounts.