2017 Gauntlet Participant: Clay Shields


Irreverence and reverence.


Bathroom Graffiti Diptych

Love yourself enough.

                                        I have low blood pressure.


Clay Shields received an M.A. from the University of Kentucky and now all he wants to do is deface it. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in STORY Magazine, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, Anthropoid, and Reservoir. He has crooked middle fingers, a floating clavicle, and is allergic to bee stings.

2017 Gauntlet Participant: Tina Parker


I hope a reader finds a raw honesty, and a sense of connection that brings deeper understanding.


On Women, Their Bodies

One uterus fussed
Another complained
I shushed them with cotton
Tampons saturated in glycerine

One uterus sang a right pretty tune
Another bickered with her tubes
One clamped down on my fingers
Another sputtered blood in my face
I cured them all with a daily salt douche

One tilted, tried to hide
Another shed its skin each time I went in
Some had long been empty
Most were full full of jewels
Full of pins
One held the watch and chain
I’d missed for years


Tina Parker grew up in Bristol, Virginia, and now lives in Berea, Kentucky, with her husband and two young daughters. Her chapbook of poems Another Offering is available from Finishing Line Press, and her poetry collection Mother May I is available from Sibling Rivalry Press. Her poetry has received support from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and individual poems have appeared in Rattle, PMS: poemmemoirstory, Appalachian Heritage, Still: The Journal, and The Collapsar, among others. To learn more about Tina, visit www.tina-parker.com.