Workhorse Writers Chapbook Announcement

We are excited to announce the Workhorse Writers Chapbook Series Selections to be published in 2021! 


Southern Ladyspeak by Libby Falk Jones 

Forward Through the Interval by Melissa Helton

Dimensions by Jonel Sallee 


This year we will also publish Cruising the Word Bar by Mary Allen. Her chapbook will be available in the winter.

These manuscripts will be available to order in the coming months. You can have all four 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. 

2018 Gauntlet Participant: Susan Stephens


“Honesty and a lack of pretension. An emotional connection.”


New Lovers

I’m getting around

keeping my own hours, leaving

lights on to see, touching,

feeling in new ways

I like it.


Last year I went to bed with a painter

and poet from India who

begin English at five years old

short deft brushes

long tantric whispers

dissolved my confines of love

redrew a fiery



Last month I went to bed with one of six

siblings fluent in Spanish three

ex-wives too many


too much blood

I couldn’t even finish


Last week I went to bed with the son

of a holocaust survivor

where no amount of stroking

could silence shrieks

or release pent up

horrors of power taking

and taking and



Last night I went to bed with a black man

who wrote a letter for his son

to own his own body

I quivered at invented disparity

my vanilla privileged

skin to his chocolate




My lovers vary from hard to soft

back, none needing

a pillow or some tongue

Bembo, Bulmer

Times New Roman, Eurostile Black

taking turns occupying

your side of the bed



Susan Stephens is a paradox as a Nationally Certified ASL Interpreter for the Deaf with a BA in music. Living in two worlds has aided her sprouting writing career via connection seeking. Creating justice, joy, compassion, and peace is her daily endeavor. She is known for hiding bizarre items in homes when visiting, and trying any food labeled “new” or “limited time.” Susan lives in Richmond, KY with her family.

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.