Anacostia Swim Club member anthology

Day Eight is excited to announce forthcoming publication of a nature-themed anthology featuring works by sixteen poets and four visual artists. The volume was designed to celebrate a future in which the Anacostia River—once one of the most polluted rivers in the United States—will be swimmable once again. The anthology examines the human relationship to nature within the context of the Anacostia river, including the complex history and future of pollution and public spaces. The art and poetry in the book were selected by Kim B Miller, Hope Greenleaf, and Thea Joselow, and the book is produced in partnership with The Anacostia Swim Club and with support provided by the Chesapeake Bay Trust through the D.C. Department of Energy and the Environment.

Kim B. Miller, who is poet laureate of Prince William County, wrote, “It was great working with fellow curators of nature and art. The artistic work we selected translated nature perfectly and allowed it to blossom into a book.”

Book curator Kim B Miller (photo by Katherine Costello; courtesy the artist)

The Anacostia Swim Club was created to crowdsource awareness of the loss that results from forced separation of humans and the natural world. Anacostia Swim Club co-founder Robert Bettmann wrote, “That humans have so toxified our local bodies of water that we cannot swim in them is representative and symbolic of sickness in our culture. Through publishing this nature anthology, and subsequent connected programming for children and youth, we hope to galvanize efforts to clean up the Anacostia river and reconnect to the natural world.” Interested readers are encouraged to visit the Anacostia Swim Club site and sign up for (free) membership.

Featured poets in the book, from top left to bottom right: W.F. Lantry, Susan Notar, Susan Bucci Mockler, Pacyinz Lyfoung, Ori Z. Soltes, Anne Becker, Marianne Szlyk, Grace Cavalieri, Luther Jett, Marlena Chertock, Gregory Luce, Kathryn Sadakierski, John Johnson, Naomi Ayala, and Sally Zakariya

Contributing artists:

Anne Becker, poet, editor and teacher, is the author of Human Animal (Pond Road Press, 2018), The Transmutation Notebooks: Poems in the Voices of Charles and Emma Darwin, and The Good Body.

Grace Cavalieri, Maryland’s tenth Poet Laureate, is the author of Grace Art-Poems and Paintings (Poets’ Choice, 2021), and her latest play “Quilting The Sun” was produced at the Theater for the New City, NYC in 2019.

Gregory Luce is the author of Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications), Drinking Weather and Tile, (Finishing Line), and Riffs & Improvisations (forthcoming from Kelsay Press). In 2014, he was awarded the Larry Neal Award for adult poetry by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

John Johnson is the 2018 winner of Day Eight’s DC Poet Project and founder and creator of Verbal Gymnastics Theater Company. Johnson is a director, actor, public radio contributor, and arts educator.

Kathryn Sadakierski’s 2020 micro-chapbook Travels through New York was published by Origami Poems Project. She was also awarded the 2020 C. Warren Hollister Non-Fiction Prize.

W. Luther Jett is the author of four poetry chapbooks, “Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father”(Finishing Line Press, 2015), “Our Situation” (Prolific Press, 2018), “Everyone Disappears” (Finishing Line Press, 2020), and “Little Wars” (Kelsay Books, 2021).

Marianne Szlyk is a professor of English and Reading at Montgomery College where she is an associate editor for Potomac Review. She is the author of On the Other Side of the Window and Poetry En Plein Air.

Marlena Chertock is the author of Crumb-sized: Poems (Unnamed Press) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press). She is queer, disabled, and a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee.

Naomi Ayala is the author of Wild Animals on the Moon (Curbstone Press), This Side of Early (Curbstone/Northwestern University Press), and Calling Home: Praise Songs and Incantations (Bilingual Press, University of Arizona).

Ori Z. Soltes is a Georgetown University professor and the former Director and Curator of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum. His latest book of poems is Then and Now: Love Lost and Sometimes Found (Canal Street Studios).

Pacyinz Lyfoung is a French-born, Minnesota-grown Hmong/Asian American woman poet. During the pandemic, she used poetry to build community in solidarity for racial and economic equity.

Sally Zakariya’s poetry has appeared in over 80 journals and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her most recent publication is Something Like a Life (Gyroscope Press).

Susan Bucci Mockler is a professor at American University and Marymount University. Her poetry chapbook, Noisy Souls, was nominated for the Virginia Library Literary Award.

Susan Notar’s work has appeared in publications such as GyroscopeWritten in Arlington, and more. She works for the U.S. State Department helping vulnerable communities in the Middle East.

W.F. Lantry, PhD is the editor of Peacock Journal, and his poetry collections include The Terraced Mountain (Little Red Tree, 2015) and The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree, 2012), winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry.

Dr. L. Kaleb Friend is an orthopedist affiliated with Children’s National Hospital. In addition to being an avid rock-climber, hiker, skier, and cyclist, Dr. Friend is a superb photographer & passionate birder. His work is featured on his Instagram account @kalebfriendphotography.

Ruth Trevarrow is a visual artist & printmaker whose artwork focuses on nature. She has done an extensive series of animal bones using scratch-board renderings, prints, and hardboard silhouettes. Ruth’s artwork can be found on Instagram @trevarrowr

Ray Smith is a contemporary artist whose exuberant paintings & sculptures reflect his bi-cultural American and Mexican heritage. His art has been featured in exhibitions all over the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Robert Bettmann is an artist and arts writer who contributes to several local and national news outlets. He authored the 2009 book Somatic Ecology and currently serves as editor of the arts magazine Bourgeon. Before founding Day Eight, Robert had a decade-long dance career where he performed with modern and ballet dance companies.

In addition to this anthology, Day Eight will publish books by D.C. authors Jenn Koiter (Aug. 2021) and Shaquetta Nelson (Oct. 2021).

Recent books from Day Eight include Mecca Verdell’s Things to Unlearn, Laura McCarty’s Just One Swallow, and an interfaith poetry anthology on the topic of consolation and loss, Falling Leaves, edited by Susan Meehan and Robert Bettmann.