Art, words, noise! Rust and Moth has a table at the MenilFest Gulf Coast Indie Book Fair today (Saturday, April 18th). If you’re in the Houston area, come visit us and a host of other wonderful authors and publishers on the Menil Campus. We have candy, both literary and actual! More information at:


Spring 2015 in Print

Spring 2015 is finalized and available in print! With 18 new poems from 16 gifted writers, this bright yellow edition is ready to take flight. You can read it on our website, buy a physical copy, or download a Kindle edition. Thanks to all our contributors for a wonderful spring!

Summer 2015 Submissions Open

R+M is now accepting submissions for our Summer 2015 issue! Thanks to everyone who contributed to our Spring issue this year – our community of authors and readers means the world to us. If you’re interested in being published in our summer issue (and we hope you are), check out our Submission Guidelines for more information!

Duotrope Interview

Rust + Moth recently sat down with the good people of Duotrope for an exclusive editor interview! We present it to you now as a behind-the-scenes look of what makes our journal tick.

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Entropy be damned.

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: Berfrois, Burningword, Tahoma Literary Review, Bat City Review, Front Porch Journal.

Q: Who are your favorite writers?

A: J.A. Batty, Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Sergio Ortiz, Tyler Kline, Denise Rodriguez, Diana R. Zimmerman, Salvatore Attardo, Safwan Khatib, Natalie Easton, Antonio Renaud, Charles Simic, Billy Collins, Alexander Popa, Michael Ventura.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: You’ll never need to hold a mirror under our nose at night to see if we’re still alive—we publish poems as we accept them, meaning that our journal changes and updates and even mutates from week to week. We pride ourselves on our relatively quick turnaround time from submission to publication, which we know is important to writers. We’re invested heavily in both our online and print editions and we strive to make our issues look crisp and visually evocative. We are also active on social media, which we know brings additional publicity to our published writers.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: If you’ll look at our recent issues, you’ll see that we’ve highlighted the poems that we nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Reading those poems is an efficient (and hopefully inspiring) way for a writer to get to the core of our journal’s aesthetic.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: If every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, then so too is an ideal submission—it’s very hard to predict what combination of words will blow the fuses in the walls. That said, some guidelines apply seemingly everywhere. Read your poems out loud before you submit them. Err on the side of the concrete, the sensual, and the specific. Remember that the root of imagination is the word “image.” And finally, the late and wonderful Mark Strand might have said it best: “The poet provides the reader with a surrogate world through which he reads this world.” Or she.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: Our process is fairly well streamlined at this point. We seldom have any problems!

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: A brief cover letter is a lovely proof of humanity, the literary equivalent of an apéritif. That said, if you try to get us drunk before the main course, we’ll wonder about you.

Q: How much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: We do our best to read pieces in their entirety—we know how much care goes into a good poem and we feel inclined to reciprocate. But if we find evidence that such care was lacking—noticeable typos, errors in tense or grammar, etc.—then we’ll stop reading. This doesn’t happen very often though.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: We have four editors on our staff. If three of us like a poem, it’s in. If the voting is split, sometimes we’ll get together and make impassioned arguments for and against.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: We’ve discovered many of our favorite writers through this journal! It is an honor to read such work.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: From the advent of spoken language, all the way through the invention of writing, the printing press, and digital media, and every step in between, artists have gained new tools for expression and for sharing their work. We believe in continuing that tradition as fully as possible, so we offer a full online edition and an e-book edition as well as a traditional print publication. It helps that one of our editors is a web developer.

Review: The Bear Who Ate the Stars

We know, from the ancient Greek poet Archilochus by way of Isaiah Berlin, that “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Different tactics for survival, perhaps, or a way (or ways) of looking at the world. In her chapbook, The Bear Who Ate the Stars, Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach credibly knows both the many and the one, a hedgehog-fox of clarity and invention.

The one big thing is the thing that Dasbach can not escape: impermanence, perhaps, or dread, the running and sickness unto death. Her poems burn with illnesses ill-defined but brought to vivid life through the lens of magic realism. Lilacs burst through eardrums. Lungs fill with sawdust and cedar. Bruises are not bruises but plums. There is pain here, and fear. These are poems about what it is like to live in a body, and what it is like to love another whose body could fail at any moment, as easily as the power going out in the middle of a cold night.

Dasbach, however, does not falter in the face of the one big thing. In poem after poem, she offers the reader fox-like stratagems for escaping the trap. Medical diagnoses are broken down, syllable by syllable, until only their roots remain. Radiation breaks free from its reactor and chases soldiers and citizens alike across Ukraine, but Dasbach deftly turns this disaster’s mutagenic power back on itself, transforming the black plumes of Chernobyl into the titular ursine monster. Her chapbook braces the reader like a bleak fairy tale, asking us to “recall the worry: would he find his way / or fall, body glowing against the dark / like that child who fell out of the sky but / never came home again?”

Her poems speak powerfully of connections to beloved people and places, and so it’s fitting that she so readily harnesses the connecting magic of hyphens: “Bone-heavy,” “sleep-water,” “skin-prayer,” “hip-fire,” the Siberian “winter day-nights” that illustrate how extreme conditions can crush words together despite vast distances of meaning. Dasbach herself has traveled great distances as a Jewish refugee, and her poetry contains backward glimpses, both haunting and beautiful, of her childhood in Ukraine. What is so masterful about The Bear Who Ate The Stars is how the past and the present so easily breathe the same air:

But it is strange,
surprising even, to the child and lover
on the inside of my smile, that the Jew
and German both prefer a cold beer inside
a Soviet winter, and hold kosher
dark-chocolate-gelt in their palms
until they can color my childhood’s wallpaper
with a trail of guilty hand prints.

In passages such as this, Dasbach connects the world that was to the world that is to Olam Ha Ba, the world to come. And regardless of the grief (the one big thing) that the future may hold, the reader is nonetheless given a sense, as comforting as any form of fox-magic, that in memory there is a way back home, to be taken in times of need.

Michael Young,

Editor, Rust + Moth

More of Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach’s work can be found online at:

Autumn 2014 in Print

Autumn 2014 is finalized and available in print! With 31 new poems from 25 formidable voices, this issue is chomping at the bit. You can read it on our website, buy a physical copy, or download a Kindle edition. Thanks to all our contributors for a wonderful season of poetry!


Spring 2015 Submissions Open

R+M is now accepting submissions for our Spring 2015 issue! Thanks to everyone who contributed to us this fall – we are continually humbled and gobsmacked by the wonderful poetry we get to read. See our Submission Guidelines for more information (and please know that response times may be somewhat longer over the month of December, as we struggle to keep enough kerosene and beer on hand).

R+M back issues now available on Kindle

The entire Rust and Moth poetry archive, going all the way back to Summer 2008, is now available on Kindle! Only $3 per issue.


Spring 2014 in Print

Spring 2014 is live & available in print! 22 new poems from 16 powerful voices… we bet they’ll get under your skin. You can read it on the website, buy a physical copy, or read the online magazine.

Autumn 2014 Submissions Open

R+M is now accepting submissions for our Autumn 2014 issue! A big thank you to everyone who contributed to us this spring. See our Submission Guidelines for more information.