Autumn 2019 is Live

Rust + Moth’s Autumn 2019 issue is live! With new work from such writers as Courtney LeBlanc, Kathryne David Gargano, Lee Potts, and Scott Moncrieff, these poems explore the dark side of trees, tragic sweets, and the destructive beauty of nature.

We’ll be publishing new poems online every week and building momentum toward a finalized print edition in September. Join us online as the issue unfolds!

Summer 2019 in Print: Prism

Rust + Moth’s Summer 2019 issue is now available in print! Here you will find sarcophagi, nucleic acids, multiple tornadoes, and burning incense — all things beating back against the current as they rise.

With new poetry from Deirdre O’Connor, Ariana D. Den Bleyker, Clair Dunlap, Suzanne Grove, Caitlin Conlon, E.A. Petricone, Diane Callahan, Audrey Lewis, Imran Khan, Clint Margrave, John Amen, Bojana Stojcic, Rachel Roupp, Michael Mercurio, Emma Easy, Adina Kopinsky, Veronica Kornberg, Nels Hanson, Laura Lee Washburn, Marie Baléo, Emily Lake Hansen, Katherine Fallon, Alice Pettway, Cynthia Atkins, and Noor Alali.

Also available for Kindle.

Spring 2019 in Print: Aqueduct

Rust + Moth’s Spring 2019 issue now rises from the depths! This ominous volume, now available in print and on Kindle, is a treatise on fluidity, thirst, and water.

With new poetry from Ann V. DeVilbiss, John L. Stanizzi, Hannah Carpino, Robin Moss, Rhiannon Conley, Michael Martella, Adelina Sarkisyan, Patricia Caspers, Spencer Riggi, Natalie Solmer, Elizabeth Ruth Deyro, Vincent Petruccelli, Diana Clark, Theo LeGro, Mary Hanrahan, Arah Ko, Julia Roth, Theadora Siranian, Ben Togut, Emry Trantham, Emily Schultz, Steven Duong, and Suzanne Langlois.

In memory of the great Sharon Mansfield. Every student should be so lucky to have had a teacher like you.

Winter 2018 in Print: The Catchfly Window

Rust + Moth’s Winter 2018 issue is now out in print! These poems are liminal, evening-dark, and determined. Come leaf through the year’s last pages and take notes when you can — this is a graduate-level class on how to carry a silence.

With new poetry from Tanya Singh, Brandon Melendez, Kristy Bowen, Reilly D. Cox, Kanika Lawton, Keith Carver, Aldo Amparán, John Sweet, Yuan Changming, Jennifer Wolkin, Darren C. Demaree, Mariya (Masha) Deykute, Anthony Lawrence, D.W. Struthers, Luisana Cortez, Catherine Rockwood, Emily Paige Wilson, Ron Stottlemyer, Emily Tuttle, and Jen Stewart Fueston.

Also available on Kindle.

Best of the Net & Pushcart Nominees 2018

The Best of the Net Anthology gives much-appreciated recognition to authors and journals who publish online, while the Pushcart Prize honors the best of America’s small presses. This fall, Rust + Moth devoted time, love, and a few stamps to nominating our favorite poems for these anthologies, and we are proud to shout their names from the rooftops now.

Best of the Net Anthology

Pushcart Prize

Electricity, innovation, and language rarely strike the same hilltop like this. We invite you to take a closer look at these pieces and see with fresh eyes what poetry is capable of.

Also, if you’re thinking of contributing to Rust + Moth, there’s no better place to get a feel for our journal than these selections. It took us weeks to distill these twelve from the many wonderful poems we published last year — thank you to all of our contributors for making this such a difficult decision. And good luck to our nominees!

Autumn 2018 in Print: The Heavy Dark Water

Rust + Moth’s Autumn 2018 issue is now out in print! This is a heavy one, dear readers, laden with ink and black water. We invite you to fill your pockets, go deep, and hold your breath as long as you can.

With new poetry from Laura Passin, James Croal Jackson, Rebecca Kokitus, Brian Randall, Alexandre Ferrere, Pat Hanahoe-Dosch, Ashley Underwood, Jen Davis, Kate Wright, James Reidel, Alyssa Hanna, Catalina Righter, Phillip Watts Brown, David Gilmore, Erin Wilson, Daniel Pieczkolon, Deanne Napurano, Peter E. Murphy, John Grey, Gabe Herron, Amy Strauss Friedman, Christina Thatcher, Cynthia Atkins, Savannah Cooper, C. Samuel Rees, Mela Blust, Emma Bolden, Martin Ott, Brendan Stermer, Kimberly Dawn Stuart, Effy Winter, Sally J. Johnson, Cameron Morse, Susan Richardson, Neva Bryan, and Kathleen Mitchell-Askar.

Summer 2018 in Print: Ten Years and Counting

Ten years. Ten dizzy trips around the sun. Forty seasons, hundreds of authors, and the singular gift of poetry, flagged down and rebroadcast from the nearest moon tower.

Rust + Moth’s ten-year anniversary issue is now available in print! Featuring our favorite poems from our first decade as a journal, this special Summer 2018 issue features a litany of surprises for our beloved contributors and readers.

With poetry from Hannah Dellabella, Meghan Bliss, Tammy Robacker, Brittany Adames, Moriah Pearson, J.A. Batty, Katie Gleason, Chloe Stricklin, Liz Hogan, Monica Lewis, María Isabel Alvarez, Avery M. Guess, Lauren Yates, Emily Corwin, Erin Marie Hall, Kristen Case, Torrin Greathouse, Kevin Casey, Denise Rodriguez, Estlin Thomas, Isabella Black, Salvatore Attardo, Sergio Ortiz, Matthew Payne, Chera Hammons, Suzanne Langlois, Mary Alice Endicott, Matty Layne, M. Brett Gaffney, Tasha Graff, Sarah Nix, Jacqueline Sabbagh, Patrick Venturella, Brian D. Morrison, Hannah Kroonblawd, Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Tyler Kline, Tom Carrigan, and Vanessa Bissereth.

Ten years and counting, dear readers… this one’s for ya’ll. Thank you for being our mustard seed.

Spring 2018 in Print: Lonely as a Cloud

Rust + Moth’s Spring 2018 issue is now available in print! Come wander with us, high over hill and red vale.

With new poetry from Zoë Fay-Stindt, Elizabeth A. Dear, Lotte Lee Lewis, Catherine Esposito Prescott, Ginna Luck, Jack Martin, Wanda Deglane, Alana Saltz, Jessamine Price, Jack B. Bedell, Sarah Broussard Weaver, Erin Traylor, Kim Welliver, Bobby Steve Baker, Kelly Eastlund, Amber McBride, Kathryn Leland, Sara Brody, Mariel Fechik, Mike Soto, Jackson Burgess, Sherine Gilmour, and Charlotte Covey.

Review: The Patient Admits

“I explain to my patients that abused children often find it hard to disentangle themselves from their dysfunctional families, whereas children grow away from good, loving parents with far less conflict. After all, isn’t that the task of a good parent, to enable the child to leave home?”
Irvin D. Yalom

This is not the story of a good parent. The Patient Admits, a ferocious and singularly inventive chapbook from author Avery M. Guess, is a harrowing look at parental abuse, psychiatric hospitalization, and the author’s own black-eyed fight for autonomy and survival. Some will feel intimidated by the book’s acidic subject matter, but for those willing to take the leap, The Patient Admits reads like an army field manual, or perhaps a forbidden spellbook. These poems ― which, on a personal note, contain the single most chilling piece I’ve encountered in almost 10 years of editing a literary journal ― draw the reader back like an arrow and never let go.

The chapbook begins deep in the always-lit hallways of a psychiatric facility, and it is here that Guess unveils her first survival tactic: the manipulation of letters and words. By a process of subtraction and reordering, she rips apart her own admission paperwork and tells a far-more lived and comprehensive history than the original document ever could. Subsequent pieces, culled from inpatient writing exercises, employ acrostic poetry to defiant effect. Guess’ utilization of found poetry reveals her rare power over the written word, which, after appropriate dissection and reassembly, can be used to pick locks:

Anything I say will be held against me. This complaint for instance. You’ll label me non-compliant for complaining. I may be held. There are restraints for that. Medicine. Jackets. Rooms. But I swear, I’m only moving two letters around. I-A-N-T. A-I-N-T. The beginning’s still the same.

The beginning can’t be changed, but the present can certainly be medicated. The Patient Admits is littered with medicine of ambiguous efficacy. Prozac. Wellbutrin. Effexor. White tablets that open portals to snow-covered forests, where the trees “wear their skeletons on the outside.” It’s details like this, authoritative and strange, that mark Guess as a fierce voice and true wordsmith. And when the words themselves fail and fall apart in her hands, Guess keeps going, manipulating the very paper said words are written on. This process feeds into an unusually lucid description of PTSD and its attendant flashbacks:

Draw two dots, six inches apart, on a sheet of paper.

Label the first dot childhood (or substitute a time in your life that haunts you).

Label the second dot with your name and location. Include the current day, date and time.

Draw a line between the two dots. Call this linear time. It travels from point A (the past) to point B (which is always right now).

Call this good. Call it the past staying where it belongs.

Fold the paper in half so the two dots line up exactly.

Take a pencil or other pointed object and punch a hole from point A through to point B.

See how the distance between the dots shrank from six inches to barely a whisper in an instant?

This kind of poetic meta-manipulation casts a disorienting spell upon the reader. Simply put, there is no ground here, and each such masterful choice, further reinforced by frequent and powerful references to the ocean, are dizzying to read. Electroshock treatments are re-imagined through the lens of boiled lobsters. Dark memories hover like jellyfish underwater, where the will to live becomes the will to float. Depakote becomes a portal to a violent and vodka-drowned dollhouse. These are choppy seas, and the ending isn’t necessarily happy… or, for that matter, an ending. But this book, dedicated to the “good therapists,” is one of the most haunting portrayals of mental illness ― and survival ― to emerge from any medium in years. The Patient Admits is not the story of a good parent, a tragedy which becomes clearer with every fucked-up page-turn. But it is the story of a child. A child who endured, and a child who left home.

A child who became a writer when she grew up.

Michael Young,
Editor, Rust + Moth

For the Dancing Girl Press catalog entry, please visit:

Winter 2017 in Print: The Living, Whispered Warning

A strange and sped-up mind once said, “I am the living, whispered warning in the Roman general’s ear: ‘Glory is fleeting.’ And in that verb – that active verb ‘fleeting’ – there I live, there I reside.”

So too does Rust + Moth’s Winter 2017 issue! Find this unusually here-and-now issue on our website or purchase a physical copy.

With new poetry from Ann V. DeVilbiss, Brittany Adames, Twila Newey, Olivia Wall, Ronda Broatch, Matthew Heston, Dana Koster, Nathan Elias, Ashton Kamburoff, Erin Coughlin Hollowell, E.B. Schnepp, Caylie Herrmann, Phillip Watts Brown, Melanie Ritzenthaler, Molly Davidson, AJ Wolff, Jamie McGillen, Ginger Hanchey, and G. J. Sanford.

Pushcart Nominees 2017

The Pushcart Prize honors the best of America’s small presses. This November, Rust + Moth nominated the following six authors for the Pushcart Prize, and we are proud to shout their names from the rooftops now.

These poems tell the truth, and each one tells its story with discipline, music, and courage. We invite you to take a closer look at these pieces and see with fresh eyes what poetry is capable of.

Also, if you’re thinking of contributing to Rust + Moth, there’s no better place to get a feel for our journal than these selections. It took us a few weeks to distill these six from the many wonderful poems we published last year — thank you to all of our contributors for making this such a difficult decision. Good luck to our nominees!

Autumn 2017 in Print: A Broken Spiral

Rust + Moth Autumn 2017 is here! Follow the bread crumbs — these spiral pages carry broken homes on their backs. You can read this strangely cohesive collection on our website or purchase a physical copy.

With new poetry from Chera Hammons, Samuel Hughes, Jon Riccio, Maggie Fern, Laura Filion, Kieran Collier, Aden Thomas, Mitchell King, Kari Astillero, Suzanne Langlois, Michael Wayne Hampton, Erin Jin Mei O’Malley, Brian Cordell, Amorak Huey, Joshua Lee Martin, Lauren Yates, Elspeth Jensen, and Nicole Stockburger.




Summer 2017 in Print: Ignem et Mortem

Rust + Moth Summer 2017 is all lit up in print! Tilt your head – this volume is a counter-clockwise turn into the flames. You can read it on our website or purchase a physical copy. Adventurous readers are encouraged to bring their own gasoline.

With new poetry from Kristen Case, Al Ortolani, Susan Cossette, Shenan Hahn, Jamie La Londe-Pinkston, Kevin Del Principe, Molly Gutman, Erin Marie Hall, Bonnie Shiffler-Olsen, Suzanne Langlois, Heather Hughes, Robert Fillman, Jessica Dionne, Daniel Lassell, Amanda Galvan Huynh, Margot Armbruster, Colin Bailes, Topaz Winters, Caitlin Thomson, and S.A. Leavesley.

Review: Feeding the Dead

Monster. From the Latin root “monere,” meaning to warn. The word gained a kind of terror as it lumbered through Latin and into old French (where “monstre” also idiomatically describes a huge task, as in un travail monstre), and by the time it finally smashed its way into the English-speaking world, it was ripe with its bloody, modern meaning: a hideous being, often a freak of nature, coming right at you with either debased or dangerous intentions. The dark can be monstrous. So can the dead. So why is author M. Brent Gaffney devoting an entire chapbook to feeding such monsters?

The pages of “Feeding the Dead” are chock-full of them, and not the generic I-want-to-hurt-you kind. Her monsters are hungry. Vampires wanting blood, zombies wanting brains, and sweet hellhounds roaming dark neighborhoods in search of homes they haven’t known, food they haven’t killed. It is a remarkably consistent and approachable collection, the literary equivalent of Chiara Bautista’s art. Here, hunters pick out stars from the hides of wolves before they skin them, each día is of los muertos, and packs of adolescent hyena girls roam locker rooms in search of weaker peers to eat. From the title poem:

Her name is Maria, comida.
They eat her a little at a time.

She likes to be needed, to feel her blood
ebb and flow from their mouths,
tongues like whales lost at sea.

She travels with them, a shadow,
city to city, sneaking them pockets
of herself on the train, offering
her slender wrists
like holy bread in taxi cabs.

Gaffney’s monsters become metaphors for hunger, and that hunger becomes in turn a metaphor for any number of transformations: the make-believe made real, the meal made flesh, the child turned adolescent, the predator become prey. “This is where it happens. This is where faith goes to die, to emerge from the ashes something hungrier.” Here, the poems take place almost exclusively at night, or else in the half-lights of dawn and dusk (i.e. breakfast and dinner). This is a masterful choice. Monsters are always scarier when you can’t see them, and Gaffney’s literary transformations remain incomplete and ambiguous without daylight to complete the circle:

Meanwhile cars hum on the highway,
semis on routes they remember like a fawn’s
first earful of buckshot. Little white crosses
ghost the shoulder of the road like a fence
and the midnight trucker has learned their names
by now. Rosie. Nathaniel. Jerome. Jesus—
their memorial roses bloom in a flash of headlights.
But in the sun, the flowers are plastic,
wooden markers rotten from rain.

One of Gaffney’s greatest gifts as a writer lies in her ability to pen devastating closing lines; to reveal any of them out-of-sequence here would be a crime. It’s enough to say that her poems, so steeped in the subject of transfiguration to begin with, tend to turn a third corner with their final breath. And while it isn’t obvious at first just why Gaffney is feeding the dead, consider this: While the word monster might have stumbled out of Rome as a warning, its root, “monere,” can also mean to instruct — to teach, or give a sign. There are lessons in this chapbook. But only for those who brave each poem all the way to the end, who resist the enchantments of a gifted wordsmith, and who fail to heed the warning signs.

Michael Young,
Editor, Rust + Moth

For the Porkbelly Press catalog entry, please visit:

More of M. Brett Gaffney’s work can be found online at:

Spring 2017 In Print: Ohm’s Law

Rust + Moth Spring 2017 is now available in print! Featuring 32 new poems, this issue is fighting back. Perfect for any reader who refuses to come in out of the rain.

You can read it on our website or purchase a physical copy.

With new poetry from Staci R. Schoenfeld, Sergio Ortiz, Lisa Huffaker, JM Farkas, Peter Sagnella, Laurie Kolp, Kate Garrett, Julia Norton, John Liles, Angela Bilger, N.L. Shompole, Kate Peper, Lisa Beech Hartz, John L. Stanizzi, Thomas Nguyen, Beth Sherman, Lilith Kontos, Trina Askin, M. J. Arlett, Barbara Krasner, Stephen Toft, Natalie Crick, L.I. Henley, Chloe N. Clark, Michelle Site, Laura Page, and Carrie Redway.