Misty Skaggs’ Debut Chapbook: Biscuits and Blisters

If you want some fresh new poetry, Misty Skaggs’ first ever chapbook Biscuits and Blisters serves it up right. From her collection:

Country Eggs

The fear grips me
as I crack speckled
country eggs
on the brim
of my favorite mixing bowl.
The fear
of fertilization.
Sheer and sudden terror,
at the thought
of what I might find
beyond the thin shell.
The fear of a half-formed
fetal chick
plopping out
to land with a sickening splash
in my cake batter.


Here’s what people who know what’s what have to say about the work.

At one time, proper manners said that you never eat with your elbows on the table. However, Biscuits and Blisters said to hell with manners. This collection is a meal that doesn’t try to tell you how to eat. The poems of  Misty Skaggs are honest in their seasoning. Generous with her stories. And trust me. You will have no problem finishing your plate and asking for seconds. She’s that good on the page.

Jude McPherson , author of I Hate Crowds

I have known Misty Skaggs since she was a girl, and I’m here to tell you she is bone-true to the woman you’ll meet in these pages. She loves what the rest of us would do away with: weeds, peach trees without harvest, lard, the back road, our grandmothers.  In Biscuits and Blisters we have the first work of what will surely turn out to be a lifetime of beloved and wrought poetry from Skaggs. I look so forward to her next book and her next.  

Rebecca Gayle Howell, author of American Purgatory 



Misty Skaggs is an author, artist, activist and three time college drop out.  She was born and raised in the backwoods of Eastern Kentucky, where she still resides out at the end of a gravel road in Elliott County. She currently serves as Appalachian Features Editor at Rabble Lit, a working class journal for the arts. Skaggs’ roots  show through in nearly every sentence and her poetry and prose have been featured in literary journals across the Appalachian region for well over a decade. When she isn’t writing, the poet enjoys hitting up musty thrift stores, drinking too much coffee and growing a kickass garden. You can find more of  her work online at rabblelit.com or at her blog, lipstickhick.tumblr.com

Dan Howell’s Newest Collection: Whatever Light Used to Be

We are excited to announce the release of Dan Howell’s collection: Whatever Light Used to Be


Dan Howell’s collection of poems, Lost Country (Massachusetts), was the runner-up in 1994 for the Norma Farber First Book Award of the Poetry Society of America, and short-listed for the 1994 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry.  Other awards include a Writing Fellowship (Poetry) at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Tom McAfee Discovery Award (Missouri Review), and a citation for Notable Essay in Best American Essays 1993.   


Dan Howell’s voice rises elegant and calm through the carved surfaces of these poems. Regarding the strangeness of everyday moments with wonder, these amazing poems remind us that the broken world still lives.

Cynthia Huntington, author of Heavenly Bodies

The marvelous poems in Whatever Light Used To Bemove against the gravity of time and corrosion toward moments of ecstasy that are all the more convincing and ecstatic for their refusal to forget the gravity they momentarily overcome. These are seasoned poems, tough, disquieting and beautiful, impossible to forget.

Alan Shaprio, author of Reel to Reel



Her wattled fingers can’t
stroke the keys with much
grace or assurance anymore,
and the tempo is always
rubato, halting, but still
that sound—notes quivering
and clear in their singularity,
filing down the hallway—
aches with pure intention, the
melody somehow prettier
as a remnant than
whatever it used to be.

2017 Gauntlet Participant: Audrey Rooney


A well-seen, well-heard life, both wry and sweet, the occasional abyss no longer off-limits.  An invitation to seek out beginnings and endings, with the possible discovery that, at long last, there aren’t any. 


First Death

       Child, drowned by an alligator at Disney World, August 2016.

          after Dylan Thomas

My fail-safe psalm

fails. No shepherd there

beside still waters.  Only

baby steps, bliss

of wet sand, small hands

busy at scoop and pail

in tall reeds where

hinged daggers glide,

lunge, stretch open wide

slam shut.


Audrey Rooney, three times a Kentucky dweller, now living in Lexington, recalls a life filled with words.  Her mother was a published poet in Cleveland, where Audrey was born in 1938.  

As a journalist she has published in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Kentucky.  She is a trained soprano, still sings, and her watercolors and drawings hang in collections here and abroad.

Undergraduate philosophy studies, two postgraduate forays (MA in art history, doctorate in history), a long marriage, a daughter and a son, their daughter and sons, clusters of wondrous friends – all tinctured with loss and discovery – inform her poems. In 2016 Accents Press published her collection, Fountains for Orpheus.

Workhorse Writers Chapbook Books Series Selections

The following manuscripts were selected by a passionate team of readers for the inaugural Workhorse Writers Chapbook Series. Each author will receive 75 copies of their book and $150 dollars. These books will be available to order in the coming months. 


Biscuits and Blisters by Misty Skaggs


what if desire is a hungry thing | stories of broken teeth by Hannah LeGris


Whatever Light Used to Be by Dan Howell


You can have all three books (and a copy of each year’s Lexington Poetry Month anthology) delivered to you and support our mission to provide opportunities for working writers to share their work and grow in their craft by clicking on this link: Support Workhorse.

Workhorse Writers Chapbook Series

Our first chapbook reading period is open from December 1st to the 31st!

The Basics

We are looking to publish 3 poetry chapbooks by working writers, which we define loosely as anyone who does not make a living from writing alone. The manuscript should be 14-26 pages of poetry that has not previously been published as a whole. We aren’t considering translation at this time.

How We Choose What to Publish

Workhorse’s mission is to provide opportunity and access to writers at all stages of their practice. We incorporate writers/readers from our community to discuss the manuscripts and come to a final decision on what to publish. We hope to publish local writers and writers who we would like to introduce to our community. If you want to know more about us before submitting visit www.workhorsewriters.com.

What Authors Receive upon Publication

We want to provide an opportunity for a zero cost publication for our authors. Along with no reading fee to submit, author’s receive 75 copies of their book (from a print run of 150), $150 dollars toward travel expenses for readings they may give, and, if local, a featured reading at the Wild Fig to celebrate their release.

Help Us Sustain and Expand This Opportunity

This reading series is possible thanks to the generous support of people in our community of writers. If you would like to become one of those people, click this link to checkout ways to get involved. And join us on Facebook and Instagram!

Thank you. We can’t wait to read your work!

The Details

  • Manuscripts should be 14-26 pages.
  • We cannot publish previously published collections.
  • Only submit one collection.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine.
  • We do not need a cover sheet.
  • One poem per page, multi-page poems are good.
  • Use a standard, 12-point font  Times New Roman.
  • We cannot allow revisions once a manuscript has been submitted.
  • Decisions will be made by February 15th, 2018.

Click to Submit to the Workhorse Writers Chapbook Series

2017 Gauntlet Participant: Philip Corley


I want everybody to recognize that we are all human beings, that we all face the same human experiences, and with that mindset, we can learn how to come together and help each other out.


Eating Dopamine

He eats dopamine for breakfast,

he eats dopamine for lunch,

he eats dopamine for dinner, and

he eats dopamine at midnight.


He gets hungrier when he’s thirsting,

imbibing wrong conclusions.

He found a delicacy, lying in the dirt

and oh, he took a bite.


He was eating dopamine with ten-year-old discoveries.

He was eating dopamine on first web encounters.

He was eating dopamine to fight depression, loss.

He was eating dopamine and getting hungrier.


One man faked a few injuries

but he couldn’t fake the electrician’s chair.

One man made a few slaves,

they were never seen for years.

Another man caught her by herself in her room ,

swore a secret and had his way,

not even a decade in, she was destroyed.

All of them were eating dopamine.


He’s eating dopamine

because dopamine is eating him.

He’s out in the world hunting

like a hyena or a vulture,

every day eating at the feast

laid out for millions like him.

When the food never runs out,

how can we ever expect to change the culture?


Philip Corley, at 28 years old, has lived in the Lexington area his whole life, and has developed a fondness for the city he has always called home. He graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, but was unable to continue his schooling beyond that. However, his true passion has been writing. He started writing poetry while he was still in high school over ten years ago. Despite doing it for so long, he has only recently started going public with his work, with hopes to be getting a collection together soon for publication. Along with the poetry, Philip has also been working on a fantasy novel, the first in a series he has spent years planning. Until these projects take off, Philip finds work as a manager at a fast food restaurant. Philip has been attending the Gauntlet Poetry Class, hosted by Christopher McCurry, learning more about the craft. He hopes that this class will help him find the best way to balance his increasingly demanding job with his goals as a writer to be most productive with his time.