Naissance Chapbooks

The Goatfish Alphabet
Kristen McHenry

The Goatfish Alphabet, by Kristen McHenry

her website

Kristen McHenry brings us a collection of poems that open up like a velvet bag of marbles. Here is a steely, here a cat’s eye, here an aggie, here a clearie, here an alley, here a princess, here a galaxy. Anyone who thinks you can’t pack both breadth and depth into a chapbook will be disproven by this collection. An excerpt:


For so long they’ve pitied
our sickly alphabet—
words thick as thugs
in our throats’ brown gloaming.

They’ve felt us dumbstruck
fighting loamy bloats of lung,
page-frightened, speakfevered.

So the goatfish have toiled
with rock-teeth and fins.
They’ve eaten
miracle characters
into coral and sea stone,
weed and drowned ship.

When we are slug-muffled
half-dead with unspoke,
they will lead us
to their cryptic kingdom
and unveil the Goatfish Alphabet:

A language for the redemption
of failsay and tongue-muzzle.
Every never-said will come.

Life will be so different then—
there will be words to drizzle like silver tea,
words to pluck like fruitbells.

All will be leapspeak,

—Kristen McHenry

36 pages. $10, includes standard shipping within the Continental USA.


Twenty-Six, by Meghan Brown
Glory Glory, by Matthew Leavitt Brown
Traditions, by Michael Aro
Tickets for the Broken Year, by Dan Lewis
The Light That Shatters Darkness: Poems From the Spartan Mine, by David Bond
Finding Betty Crocker, by Amy Alexander
when the river is hungry, the river eats, by Tyrel Kessinger
Trouble Shooting, by Magdalena Sørensen
In the Dreamed of Places, by Julia Klatt Singer
Small Pomes for Average People, by B. Mason
The Hoax of Contagion, by Michael Leong
The Roman Alphabet In Its Original Contexts, by Karl Young
Third Ear, by Richard Kahn
Wear White And Grieve, by Jennifer Diskin
Forest Frottage, by John Martone
Some Mythology, by Jessica Breheny
Psychosis, by Steve Giasson
The Inside Scoop, New and Selected Poems, by Carlos Colón
Smoke And The South, by Peter G Res
Of Collocated Rhythms, by Felino A. Soriano
Regular Expressions: the facebook status update poems., by Jenny Hill
Watching the Windows Sleep, by Tantra Bensko
Variations on Ten Rounds, by Matthew S. Hinton
The Lost Shoe, by Martha Deed
The Goatfish Alphabet, by Kristen McHenry
Body Art, by Wendel Scutti
Open your I, by endwar
Illusions Delusions and Dreams, by Neil Ellman
Missed Preflections, Refracting Back, & Other Vectors of Days, by Kellar Wilson
Escaped Without Injury, by Carol Clark Williams
Outpost Entropy, by Candace Kaucher
No L, by Jennifer Hill
Roman Holiday, by Eileen R. Tabios
Two Poems, by Michael Aro