Kore Biters is a monthly interview series that highlights the writing and literary activism of women writers who are transgressive and transformative.

by Arisa White and Rosebud Ben-Oni

Being projection-able Hoa Nguyen

AW & RB-O: We really dig your words in the "Talking About What We Don’t Talk About" roundtable on Harriet, especially when you affirmed: "I’m at a place (age?) where I won’t play nice—and yes, I think this will make me a target. But hell, just being an Asian American woman who is confident and claims space has made me—trying to be “nice” or not." Tell us more.

Hoa Nguyen: "I call it "being projection-able." By target I mean the experience of being suddenly and utterly rejected because I have not behaved in keeping with the ideas of how people want me to be, not following the script, not being what they deem as acceptable. 

So when insisting on being otherwise, as having my own trajectory, of being messy or complicated—and on top of that, being bright and visible, well, it can get ugly. It has led me to some really horrible interactions with white intellectuals and artists: men and women both.

I don't let it get as ugly any more because I can see more clearly when it is happening and speak. Or I just walk." 

[excerpt] See full interview here.

Sept/Playgrounds & Piraguas with Denice Frohman

Aug/ALL the Way Open... with Rae Gouirand

June/Beginning with Her... with Lorna Dee Cervantes

May/Sibilant Sentences & Rhymes with Tsering Wangmo Dhompa

April /Candor is My Default with Airea D. Matthews

Feb / Skin. Muscle. Bones. with Minal Hajratwala

January / Mammoth & Moxie with Rachel McKibbens

Nov-Dec / Mettasphere with Metta Sáma

October / Bitches' Brew with Erika L. Sánchez


Notes From The Motherfield is an edited column of fieldnotes, essays, and writings of various shapes and durations by motherwriters.

Writing Natural Birth by Toi Derricotte

"It was as if my body betrayed me, became evidence against me. The flesh and bones pressed out "showing" what I so wanted to hide, my sexuality, and, mostly, my own helplessness and vulnerability. I was the daughter of a man who taught me, Never show your fear, and, about dogs, They can smell it. When he’d beat me, he’d say, "Wipe that look off your face or I'll knock it off," meaning anger, and even pain. I had been apprenticed in not showing for nineteen years. What could be more disruptive of the self I had constructed in great peril? What could be more alarming than this "showing" I couldn't stop, couldn't "wipe off"?

Two things happened that finally pushed me to speak. First, as I said, my son was away on an Outward Bound trip, and I think this signaled his independence. I felt he would be strong enough to hear the truth and bear it. Second, I read an article in Ms. magazine by author Catherine Breslin about a nun who, not knowing she was pregnant, had committed infanticide at the birth of the child. She had put a stocking around the newborn's neck, choked him, and left his body in the wastebasket. The principal of a Montessori school, she was pregnant and no one had noticed. At her trial, she said:

I know it matters if I'm convicted, but I've already imprisoned myself in my mind and heart. I'm imprisoned because I can't escape from my thoughts. I want to know if I harmed the child. I know I must have, because I was the only one there.

The compassion I felt for her allowed me to see my experience in a different context. It connected me to feelings of sadness and rage that I had been unable to access before."

[excerpt] see the full essay here.

This is How it Happens by Christine Simokaitis

motherhood is requiring that much by Adria Bernardi

Motherhood as Grand Mal by Soma Mei Sheng Frazier HERE

Living In-Between by Shefali Milczarek-Desai HERE

Invisible Labors by Monica J. Casper HERE


Roll call! Huge shout out of appreciations to Kore's 2014 Open Submissions Editorial Team!

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If the answer is YES, please consider helping lift up these voices by becoming a member of the Press. Kore members are invest in the Press' mission of progressive social justice through feminist publishing and literary activism.

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For 22 years, Kore Press has been dedicated to social justice and the voices of women and girls through literary activism--- inspiring and supporting the creative genius of female-identified writers. Kore is one of four feminist presses in the country that has lasted over 20 years and the only one to invest in activism workshops for youth.


Lidia Yuknavitch Judges

Kore's New Memoir Award


$1000 prize plus book publication

A new award to be given annually for a full length memoir / memoir-in-essays (150-300 pages) written by a female identified writer. $25 entry fee, online submissions accepted Oct 1- midnight Dec 10 MST. Full guidelines here.


2015 Kore Press Short Fiction Winner

Tayler Heuston for "Hostages"


winner receives $1250 prize plus limited edition and e-pubs

Roxane Gay: "'Hostages' is the best kind of short story--multi-layered, nuanced, rich with detail. Henry and Therese Hines have a seemingly normal life, a happy marriage, until the FBI shows up, and their neighbors learn that many years ago, Henry kidnapped Therese, and she has, it seems, been his hostage for decades. Hostages isn't their story though, not really. Instead, this is a story of a woman who hardly knew the Hines's trying to make sense of the public spectacle of trauma and the ways in which we can be drawn to the people or things that hurt us."

Tayler Heuston, 26-year old California-native, just completed an MFA in fiction writing at North Carolina State University. She received the Robbie S. Knott endowment in 2014, and was a finalist for the 2015-2016 Wisconsin Institute Fellowship. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Two Serious Ladies, Spectrum, Into the Teeth of the Wind, and she has a story forthcoming in At Length Magazine. She is also a fiction reader for the Raleigh Review. Tayler lives in Raleigh, NC.

Finalists: Julia Lichtblau for "Petrouchka"

Roxane Gay: In "Petrouchka," ballet dancer Alex Trecher takes up teaching after an injury derails his career. As his relationship falters along, Alex becomes enamored by one of his more promising students and hopes that student, Kevin, will star in a ballet he is choreographing. Here is a story about ambition and obsession and the quietest, perhaps most painful betrayal, when the hopes we have for ourselves are not enough for others."

Julia Lichtblau’s work has appeared in Superstition Review , American Fiction 13 , Narrative , The Florida Review, Best Paris Stories, The Common, and Ploughshares blog, among other publications. She was shortlisted for the Graywolf SLS Novel Prize, finalist for the American Fiction Prize, two Narrative contests, and won the Editorial Prize of the 2011 Paris Short Story Contest and 2nd Prize in the Jeanne Leiby Chapbook Contest. She is book review editor for The Common, and covered international finance in New York and Paris for BusinessWeek and Dow Jones for 15 years.

Camellia Freeman for "Real Americans"

Roxane Gay: "'Real Americans' is unsettling and ambitious. The narrative follows a family who we only know by the roles they play. The parents are Child Abuser and No Mercy. The children we know as Oldest, Second, Boy Twin, Girl Twin. Everyone's roles shift, however, after a car accident that leaves Child Abuser and No Mercy critically injured. In stark prose we learn about this family and their haunting relations while also seeing how identity, faith, and culture, can work in terrible ways."

Camellia Freeman's work has appeared in Crazyhorse, Image, Indiana Review, Cream City Review, and elsewhere. In 2014, she received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and was an OAC summer writer-in-residence at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. She is the upcoming 2015-16 Milton Fellow at Image and is at work on a short story collection as well as a collection of personal essays.

Many thanks to all the writers who submitted this year, to our judge, Roxane Gay, and to our readers (Rosebud Ben-Oni, Soma Mei Sheng Frazier, Ansley Moon, Kelcey Parker, Ivelisse Rodriguez) for your time, dedication, and hard work these past few months!

contest details here

Tracie Morris judges

Kore's 2015 First Book Award


judging is underway

contest details here

$1500 prize plus trade book publication



Why Kore Press? "I used to think the function of art was the transformation of sorrow, but I now think it is the transformation of consciousness."—Jane Miller


Why women & girls?

* 12 of the 102 Nobel Prizes in Literature have gone to women

* Since 1948, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has gone to 18 women & 42 men

* Since its inception in 1923, Time Magazine has had one female editor

* 42% of the members of the New York Times editorial board are women, 42% at The Wallstreet Journal.



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Back issues are available here.







by Crystal Williams



                                                                                          & when
        by some fluke you return, dragging your blue black behind you,
        nothing is as it was. The city is stasis,
        not dance. Bereavement, not dance. The music has darkened
        & stopped its sway, the boulevards are empty theatre.
        & who should love this? Who recognizes this? Broken curbs
        & potholes & shoes hanging from power lines
        & snatches of weave hair blowing like sagebrush. Statues
        & statuses. Someone once said that crows are old, wise folks

         Previous POWs: celeste doaks,

Joy Ladin, Lee Kava, Angela Peñaredondo, Dawn Lonsinger, Cathy Linh Che, Vickie Vértiz, Katie Ford, Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Natalie Diaz, Ruth Forman, Shauna Osborn, Adria Bernardi, Kimberly Johnson, Sarah Browning



Borrowed Wave by Rachel Moritz

"We sometimes view beauty with suspicion—how does the pleasure it affords seduce us, mislead us? The startling beauty of Rachel Moritz’s poems serves a different purpose. This beauty spatializes experience as an exquisite, if partially remembered—wavering—landscape."

—Elizabeth Robinson

$16.95, 6x9," 80 pgs, perfect bound

ISBN 978-1-888553-67-3


Kore's 3 most recent award-winning

short stories, published in limited editions,

hot off the binding table and available for

delivery to your doorstep through Oct 31!

$25 (plus shipping)

To Boil Water by Myha T. Do

A Parallel Life by Mary Byrne

(and back by popular demand, a second printing of)

The Death of Carrie Bradshaw by Patricia Grace King

reserve your 3 books set here


To Boil Water by Myha T. Do

Kore Short Fiction Winner selected by Kate Bernheimer

"To Boil Water is so iconoclastic, so elliptical and so very mystic—I just couldn't stop thinking about it. This story channels Yoko Ono via Franny Glass; it’s a prayer: an occult and traditional meditation on loss that lives in the past and future at once."Kate Bernheimer

$11, 5.5 x 8.5", 16 pgs, photograph fixed

to cover, staple binding


A Parallel Life by Mary Byrne

A Kore Short Fiction Winner selected by Karen Brennan

“This remarkable story traces the life of a Serbian woman, Zorica, marooned for years in Paris, struggling with illiteracy, bureaucracy, aging and the forces of history that have shaped her life. Told by a nameless narrator with an effortless blend of humor and pathos, “A Parallel Life” is structured like a document—eschewing the traditional dramatic action of literary realism and straddling the borderland between fiction and nonfiction."—Karen Brennan

$11, 5.5 x 8.5", 32 pgs, color cover on kraft paper,

staple binding

April 2015

new poems by Laynie Browne

""The mysterious power of the scorpion, both animal and constellation, informs the complex emotions of wrenchingly ongoing departure in this beautiful collection of odes to distance, absence, connection, and memory. The scorpion is the "miniature vessel of time" that both poisons and heals: the gorgeous poetry around it is the "house of hope/constructed solely of words." In this world of departures, Browne allows us to "Say possibly nothing is forgotten."—Marcella Durand

$15.95, 7x7," 56 pgs, perfect bound

ISBN 978-1-888553-70-3


A poetic-visual hybrid by Monica Ong

2014 First Book Winner selected by Joy Harjo

" In her sardonic, thus melancholic, Silent Anatomies, Monica Ong brilliantly skews the marking of surfaces. Writing—yes—but also defacement/effacement, surgical incision, racism. With text, photography, collage, and illustration, she maps the twisting way of familial shame; dissects metaphor; and hawks (and hocks) “Ancient Chinese Secrets” as medicinal cakewalks (who’s selling what to whom?). Slippery."Douglas Kearney

$17.95, 7.5 x10," 96 pgs, perfect bound

ISBN 978-1-888553-69-7