Larkspur Queen by Megan Leonard

coming april 2023

Larkspur Queen

by Megan Leonard

Publication Date: 3 April 2023
Nightingale & Sparrow Press

Genre: Poetry

The poems in Larkspur Queen lead the reader through a strange, enchanted world where queens transform into castles and spiders and princesses eat their foes for dinner. Inspired by the contrapuntal rhythms of the Lais of Marie de France, these modern-day las embrace extravagance, overstatement, and largess, all while making space for the uncanny and the unknown.

Maximalist and lyrical, these poems explore chronic illness, mental illness, and disability; the voices in these poems upend traditional views of motherhood, womanhood, and selfhood. In a reclaiming and refashioning of the heroic, the voices and characters in this collection of poems reinvent what it means to tell their own stories on their own terms: unflinchingly, and taking up space.

About the Author

MEGAN LEONARD is the author of Larkspur Queen (Nightingale & Sparrow Press, 2023), book of lullabies (Milk & Cake Press, 2020).

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coming march 2023

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis by Eira Stuart

coming march 2023

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

by Eira Stuart

Publication Date: 21 March 2023
Nightingale & Sparrow Press

Genre: Poetry

M.E. is arguably the most stigmatized illness of this century! It stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis which means inflammation of the brain and spine with muscle pain Prof. Malcolm Hooper). It is a neurological-immune disease comparable with MS and polio Dr Bryron Hyde, Nightingale Foundation Canada).

However, a lack of research and funding have caused this biomedical disease to be stigmatised as a psychological/ psychiatric disorder for decades by some members of the medical profession, until research in recent years has begun to substantiate the organic biomedical nature of this disease for which formal recognition and policy changes were gained in 2015 (USA) and 2021 (UK).

I have dedicated this collection solely to raising awareness of this disease through my own journey and personal experience, in the hopes of shining a ray of understanding in to the metaphorical and literal darkness associated with this disease. It’s my most fervent aspiration to contribute to the paradigm shift regarding perception and understanding of this condition. While policies and clinical guidelines have formally changed, attitudes and perspectives have not yet fully caught up on a mainstream scale. This is a necessary breakthrough if patients are to have the medical, social, and community support they greatly deserve and require.

This collection is a labour of seven years. I began writing these poems in the dark while I was blind and paralysed in a nursing home, memorising them, then dictating them letter by letter through tracing on my carers hands over weeks, sometimes only managing a word a day. Sometimes with weeks of rest in between. To have them now in print to share with you is nothing short of miraculous and I’m truly grateful. I hope you find value, insights, and understanding in my creative offering.

About the Author

Eira Stuart is passionate about social justice and has written extensively in support of M.E. patient advocacy as guest writer for the M.E. Association. Her article M.E.; A Conundrum in Care has recently been published in nurse Gregg Crowhurst’s (a well regarded advocate nurse and expert on M.E. care) guide on M.E. care: More Notes for Carers.

Eira Stuart

Eira’s recent literary publications include featured micro poetry in Nightingale and Sparrow’s “Heat” issue press release, publication in an anthology entitled Screaming from the Silence, in support of victims of domestic violence (Vociferous Press 2020), But You Don’t look sick, an anthology to raise awareness of invisible chronic illnesses such as M.E. and Fibromyalgia (Indie Blu(e), Jand a nonfiction series of reflections on unity conscious entitled Eudaimonia. She has two published poetry collections: Sophistry (2012) and Metanoia (2020).

Eira has been nominated for Sundress Presses Best of the Net Anthology 2020 and short-listed at The Brit Writers Awards 2010.

Valley Girls cover

Valley Girls Become Valley Women by E. Oliver

Valley Girls cover

Valley Girls Become Valley Women

by E. Oliver

Publication Date: 20 February December 2023
Nightingale & Sparrow Press

Genre: Poetry

In an exploration of queer womanhood, Valley Girls Become Valley Women traces its narrator’s struggle to define herself in a space populated by female lovers, relatives, and friends. The enclosed poems weave together childhood traumas, teenage sexual awakenings, and adult anxieties, documenting both a burgeoning queer identity and growing familial expectations. At its core, the collection pulls on ties between women, unraveling the complexities of femininity in the process. The narrator finds herself continually defined by her mother, sister, grandmothers, aunts, and lovers, even as she fails to see remnants of herself within them. Although encapsulating a—rather than the—experience of queer American womanhood, Valley Girls Become Valley Women reflects a ubiquitous longing to understand and be understood without relinquishing one’s sense of self.

The collection travels chronologically from childhood to young adulthood, following its narrator from grade-school field trips to sex-talks over cocktails. Its 62 pages are undeniably a series of love letters to Southern California (if scorched a bit around the edges). The narrator’s life plays out over pitchers of lemonade, in lawns of plastic flamingos, and under brilliant Los Angeles sunsets. In the valley, she hears the stories of her mother and grandmothers and sketches a new one of her own.

About the Author

E. Oliver

E. Oliver (she/her) is a poet and short fiction author based in California. She received her BA in history from CSU Northridge and her MA in history from UC Riverside, where she focused on queerness, gender, and sexuality in Early California. Examples of her work can be found in FUNGI Magazine, Columbia Journal, Stonecoast Review, and Capsule Stories. Her latest poetry chapbook, Homing Pigeon, was released by Louisiana Literature Press in 2022.

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coming september 2024



Publication Date: 24 September 2024
Nightingale & Sparrow Press

Genre: Poetry

Over the last few years, I have been working on a collection of poetry that reflects the darker sides of my mind. The poems touch on themes like loneliness, mental health, death, hope, travels, and strength.

My poems will appeal to those struggling with mental health (or those supporting their loved ones), young adults, those who want to break through despite coming from marginalized environments, and fans of Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf.

Behind the Ghost Metropolis shows my struggle with bipolar disorder and attempts to make something of myself against all odds. I wrote the poetry to stop the stigma of mental health and to show people who may feel like they’re doomed and lost, that they can’t give up—there’s always hope for a better life. Written during my manic and depressive episodes, the poems are both realistic and personal.

About the Author

I am a bipolar writer, translator, and poet from Warsaw. I’ve lived in NYC, Italy, Spain, and London. My short stories, essays, and poems have been published in American and Polish literary magazines including “OC87 Recovery Diaries”, “The Beautiful Space,” “Unique Poetry,” “Island” and “Completely Different World.” I’m an author of the poetry book, “Behind the Ghost Metropolis”, published by Nightingale & Sparrow in 2024.

A Moon in Gemini by Rachel Boury Baxter

coming june 2023

A Moon in Gemini

by Rachel Boury Baxter

Publication Date: 6 June 2023
Nightingale & Sparrow Press

Genre: Poetry

A Moon in Gemini explores the loss of identity that a mother feels, particularly in the early years, as well as the subsequent piecing together of a new one. By musing on impactful life events such as the loss of loved ones, experiencing limerence, watching children grow, and indulging in nostalgia, A Moon in Gemini paints the mundane with a gentle, lyrical brush.

With short, punchy pieces centered on motherhood, marriage, memory, grief, and growing up, A Moon in Gemini puts big emotions into small poems. The speaker expresses her strong desire to express her authentic identity while climbing through the tangled weeds of our modern culture. Brief but purposeful, these poems attempt to tackle the conicting feelings that stem from society’s pressure on mothers and expectations on women in general.

Rachel Boury Baxter

About the Author

Rachel Boury Baxter is a poet, writer, and mom living in South Bend, Indiana. She has a B.A. in English writing and English literature from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. In 2016, she founded the publication, Poetry in Form, a celebration of poetic form. In 2020, she released her first chapbook of poetry entitled Mother Scorpion. Rachel spreads her love for literature and writing by working as a high school English teacher and by reading to her children.

Author Statement: Life Is But A Moment In Time

Dear Reader:

I have enjoyed writing since my early teens, but lost the habit once work and life took over. It was during a recent time of transition that I started writing again – based on a conversation of how people would react in various situations. Once I started writing I kept wondering “but what happens next?”

I don’t think it was an accident that my main characters were also going through a time of transition, and I loved bringing their journey to life. They were with me for a couple of years while I followed them to the end, and I fondly refer to this story as my writing baby. I hope you come to love my characters as much as I do, and from them have courage to tell the ones you love that you love them.

Learn more about Life Is But A Moment In Time by Essie Dee

River Ghosts by Merril D. Smith

River Ghosts River Ghosts
by Merril D. Smith

Publication Date: 12 April 2021
Nightingale & Sparrow Press

Genre: Poetry

River Ghosts is about love, loss, the natural world, and the passage of time. It explores family and memory, the ghosts that dance through our minds, and the ghosts that whisper from cobblestones, rivers, and houses. It is a book birthed in the grief for a parent and the world during COVID-19. Nevertheless, it also celebrates joy and laughter, and recognizes that though nature’s beauty is transitory, it recurs again and again. Spring follows winter, and new flowers
bloom. We see the light of long-dead stars, even as new stars are born.

This book was compiled after the author’s mother died of COVID-19 in April 2020, although some of the poems were written before pandemic and lockdown. The compilation is a tribute to life and love, and an exploration of mourning and remembrance.

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About the Author

Merril D. Smith

Merril D. Smith lives near the Delaware River in southern New Jersey with her husband and cat. She has a doctorate in American history from Temple University in Philadelphia. Her nonfiction books focus on history, gender, and sexuality. She turned to poetry as a creative outlet several years ago, and her poetry has been published in a variety of literary magazines. River Ghosts is her first full-length poetry book.

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