Blue Cactus Press Lit Journal

Essays • Poems • Interviews • Reviews

Cover Reveal: Red Earth by Esther Vincent Xueming

We’d like to introduce you to the lovely and whimsical cover of Esther Vincent Xueming’s debut poetry collection, Red Earth. The artwork utilized in the cover was created by Singapore artist Shu Yin. To give readers a sense of how the cover art came to be, and a peek into the artistic viewpoints of Esther and Shuyin, we interviewed them both earlier this month. Scroll down to immerse yourself in Red Earth‘s dreamy book cover and author and artist interviews! An Interview with Esther Vincent Xueming Christina Butcher (Publisher): Esther, will you talk about how the artwork for Red Earth […]

Sad Horror & Blood, Blood Blood

An author interview with Moss Covered Claws author Jonah Barrett It’s true, we love chatting with Jonah Barrett. There’s something about their cheeky humor and blatant honestly that keeps us leaning in to learn more about their writing, filmmaking, and multiverses of monsters and ghouls. I sat down with Jonah just after Moss Covered Claws, their debut short story collection, hit shelves around the Pacific Northwest last month (don’t worry, they’re in my COVID bubble!). Here’s what Jonah had to say about writing books and making art: Q: What was one of the most unexpected things you learned about yourself […]

Hybrid Poetry by Ching-In Chen

Hello, dear readers! This month, we’re excited to bring you hybrid poems from one of our favorite writers in Washington state: Ching-In Chen. Ching-In Chen is a genderqueer Chinese American hybrid writer, community organizer and teacher. They are author of The Heart’s Traffic and recombinant (winner of the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry) as well as the chapbooks how to make black paper sing and Kundiman for Kin :: Information Retrieval for Monsters (Finalist for the Leslie Scalapino Award). Chen is also co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities and Here Is […]

It’s Your Country, Too

With the launch of The Bedouin by Yousef Allouzi and There Are No False Alarms by Samuel Snoek-Brown right around the corner, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to give readers a deeper understanding of the how’s and why’s behind the paired chapbooks and their authors. So, we asked Yousef and Sam to chat with us about their writing, the publishing process, and their relationship as writers and co-conspirators. Enjoy, friends!

Learning From My Garden in Four Colors

Learning From My Garden in Four Colors An essay by Tamiko Nimura Green Mid-March 2020, Washington state. Too anxious to even buy seeds. Too soon to plant seeds outside. I remember what I’d started a few years ago: my desktop garden. The ends of romaine heads, the tops of carrots, the bottoms of baby bok choy. Soon I’ve got trays of vegetable scraps on my work desk. Daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, I begin to “upcycle” (hoard) the plastic clamshell containers for strawberries, the aluminum trays and clear covers that came with our takeout dinners.

Allyship in This Time of Civil Unrest

A note from the publisher, Christina Butcher Now is the time to stand up and support Black community members across the country in the fight against police brutality, systemic injustice and racism. Yes, this is a fight. And yes, we need to stand in solidarity as a community of supporters, allies and activists to ensure personal safety and freedoms of Black people, especially, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), generally, as they are continually targeted by police and racists across our country. Refusing to take a stand in some way, even in the smallest, most personal show of […]

Artist Interview: DJ Smokey Wonder

Yeah. A whole podcast episode of nothin’ but good-good music by one of our favorite, Tacoma-based musicians, DJ Smokey Wonder. Why? Because life is hard and sometimes it’s refreshing – and necessary – to participate in things that bring us joy and don’t expect a damn thing in return.  So take a break from worrying about  the CODIV-19 heath crisis, the overwhelming number of online meetings you have to attend, work or the lack thereof, and everything else cramping your style this summer and just listen to some damn-good music. After a six-month-ish podcast hiatus, we’re back and eager to […]

Cayote Speaks to Me by Gina Hietpas

Coyote Speaks to Me by Gina Hietpas So you want to know this place? Be up at dawn, when first light brushes the sky beyond the grove of madrones you call the seven sisters. Don’t whine. Learn by exposing yourself to the dark and cold. I sleep in the blackberry tangle edging the hayfield, my thorn fortress warmed by southern light. Every fall, glossy fruit hangs outside my door. Breakfast. There’s the pioneer orchard, trees gnarled, apples like knobs, but I tell you – nothing like a feast of field mice and fallen apples. It’s a quick lope along the […]

Author Interview: Kellie Richardson

We can’t keep Kellie Richardson’s book cover under wraps any longer! It’s too good to keep to ourselves, and the story behind it – and behind Kellie’s creative work in collage – is worth sharing. So, let us introduce you to The Art of Naming My Pain, a collection of prose, poetry and collage by Kellie Richardson.

Anal Pleasure & Health

Filmmaker, writer and multimedia artist Jonah Barrett recently debuted a personal essay, “Anal Pleasure & Health,” at Creative Colloquy in January 2019. Jonah’s essay is authentic, humorous and heartfelt, and for those reasons (and many more), we’re incredibly excited to  feature “Anal Pleasure & Health” here at Blue Cactus Press. We’ve also included a video recording of Jonah’s performance at Creative Colloquy below. Go ahead, read your heart out, friends. Anal Pleasure & Health by Jonah Barrett I’m bad at bottoming. I’m just horrible at it. Throughout my life I’ve successfully done the deed about four times, with three of those instances […]

Author Interview: Samuel Snoek-Brown

If you’ve been wondered what was rolling around in author Samuel Snoek-Brown’s head as he wrote his new short story collection, There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, today’s the day to find out! We sat down with the Tacoma-based author to chat about how his new collection came to be, the narratives inside, and some of the secrets hidden within its stories. Enjoy! Q: We heard through the grapevine you like to hide secrets or slip riddles into your stories … is that true? A: I’m a big fan of literary puzzles and Easter eggs! So yeah, I […]

Book Review: Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts

Earlier this afternoon I had a wonderful conversation about the synthesis of science, art and literature with a quirky entrepreneur (thank you, Spaceworks Tacoma and Creative Colloquy for landing me in that exquisite moment). Before the conversation was over, my brain started buzzing and whirring as I thought about some of my favorite, recent collaborations across media. Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts, a collection of poetry by Maya Jewell Zeller and visual arts by Carrie DeBacker, was the very first that came to mind. I picked up Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts (which is a little beauty of […]

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