Welcome back, Simone Muench & Jackie K White!

This month we are celebrating the titles that we’ve acquired over the past twelve months. These manuscripts came to us through our open reading periods. Today we bring you Simone Muench and Jackie K White, whose forthcoming book The Under Hum will be published next spring. This will be Simone’s fifth book with Black Lawrence Press and Jackie’s third. 

Have a manuscript you think we’d like? During our June Open Reading Period we are looking for poetry (chapbooks and full-length collections), short fiction (again, both chapbooks and full-length collections), novels, novellas, nonfiction (CNF, biography, cultural studies), anthology proposals, and translations from German. 


The Authors

Simone Muench is the author of several books including Lampblack & Ash (Kathryn A. Morton Prize for Poetry and NYT Editor’s Choice; Sarabande, 2005), Orange Crush (2010 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Poetry; Sarabande, 2010), and Wolf Centos (Sarabande, 2014). Her chapbook Trace won the Black River Chapbook Competition (Black Lawrence, 2014), and her collection, Suture, is a book of sonnets written with Dean Rader (Black Lawrence, 2017). She also co-edited the anthology They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (Black Lawrence, 2018). Some of her honors include an NEA Poetry Fellowship, several Illinois Arts Council fellowships, the Marianne Moore Prize for Poetry, and residency fellowships to Yaddo, Artsmith, VCCA, and VSC.

In 2014, she was awarded the Meier Foundation for the Arts Award that recognizes artists for innovation, achievements, and community contributions; and, in 2023, she received the Lewis University Career Scholarship Award granted “to a faculty member for their lifetime achievement in scholarly activity.” She received her PhD from the University of Illinois and is a professor of English at Lewis University where she teaches creative writing and film studies. Currently, she serves as faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review, as poetry editor for JackLeg Press, as a senior poetry editor for Tupelo Quarterly, and creator of the HB Sunday Reading Series.


Jackie K. White has has been an editor with RHINO, faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review, and professor of English at Lewis University. She has published three previous chapbooks–Bestiary Charming (Anabiosis), Petal Tearing & Variations (Finishing Line), and Come clearing (Dancing Girl)–along with numerous single-authored poems and translations in such journals as ACMBayou, Fifth Wednesday, FolioQuarter after EightSpoon River, Third CoastTupelo Quarterly, and online at prosepoem.com, seven corners, shadowbox, and superstitionreview.com, among others. An assistant editor for They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing, her collaborative poems (with Simone Muench) have appeared in Ecotone, Hypertext, The Journal, Pleiades, and others. 



On Writing The Under Hum

The Under Hum grew out of our experience working with an array of collaborative writing while editing the anthology They Said, and from previous collaborations with other poets, as well as from a joint poem we wrote at the request of Lewis University. After those challenging, but enlivening, undertakings, we decided to pursue our shared interests in experimenting with traditional as well as less fixed forms, from the sonnet to the cento, for example, as a way to interrogate both the textuality of the page and of the female body. We also wanted to play with notions of subjectivity and found ourselves creating self-portraits with multiple selves, ours and other poets, and using landscape as a kind of portraiture, as well. We wrote these poems through text and email, in coffee shops and wine bars, in Illinois and Colorado, sending each other lines or word lists or quotes and building the poems through back and forth additions and subtractions, followed by conversations to revise, edit, keep or discard each piece as it developed and transformed.


Selections from The Under Hum


Self-Portrait Lined by Anna Akhmatova

The secret of secrets is inside me again
             spooling its prickly threads into a twine
                         threat, a hanging loop, or a cordon
of light around my neck as I rise, shedding
             the evening from my sleeves. Asking myself,
                         am I the outline or the interior? Or an offering
between, like a mannequin draped each day
             in another’s making, with a make-shift
                         face, open-palm gesture, a kind of heft
against hopelessness—a supplication
             to the sun gods who lead a veiled dance,
                         braiding shadow to silhouette, eyelet
to hook. The more the exterior resembles
             the delicacy within, the quieter I can keep it,
                         or choose to let it rustle like a silk lining        
while my silence shirrs the incandescent
             curve of skin, hips wreathed in porch light.
                         A gold earring glitters against the dusk:
I am leaning forward into the hush, spooling
             loose again, from limb and cloth and land—
                         I cannot tell if it is the day or the world ending.

Against Teleology

They made Eve an event, a teleology
we’ve teethed too many mouths upon, jawing
uneven through supposed apple skin. We’ve
seeded and ceded enough. Enough gnawing                  
on our bones by canonized men. Let fang
become fallout, reverse this ache, this sorry.
Let bees shimmer inside our eyes instead
of men’s glory. Let’s mouth a modern story
revise every exodus, each line of dread
they put upon us in sackcloth or satin.
We took the garden with us, now the gavel
is our godhead. We’ll not be suckled or bled
to ghosts again. We’re the heart’s rattle,
razored at our core. Full of sharp. Full of sheen.


Abecedarian for the Walking Woman

Alleys: never. Boulevard: maybe. But only in broad daylight.
Corners: not without a label. Dead end to end up dead.
Entrance: not without a fee. Fear? Always. on route to a gangplank.
Hill: where they found Heather’s body. Into the garden: a flaming
sword swung against Eve. Near Joshua Tree: more bodies
and next to a knoll: a doll. Livid? Also always. when loathed
as marionettes in the morning; nowhere girls by night.
Overlook: not without witnesses. Passageway, ripe
with striations where ponytail or limbs were left, evidence
of trying a short-cut. Queue: movie, concert, or liquor
store, not without looking over your shoulder. Railway
tracks: stitches will be needed. And no forest trails
or tunnels for you. Underground: not without a few
hey baby’s. And whether by valley or viaduct, you’ll need
wings to bypass the xylophonic yelp from your own
throat. Wending: still not allowed. Yonder: always ziptied.