Flavia Reviews Scraped Knees

16 Feb 2017 / Justin

This review was written by Hermione Flavia and originally shared on her blog, CravenWild.


Scraped Knees


Poetry is a funny thing. It’s kind of forced on us in school, and becomes something we love or hate, something that bores us to tears or moves us deeply. It’s also something that, well, a lot of modern hipsters like to think they’re poets, right? Poems are a lot like man-buns, lumberbeards, Mac laptops in Starbucks and toting copies of Nietzsche that you’ve never read.

But poetry can also be Wordsworth, Byron or Maya Angelou. Or Eminem for that matter.


Kristine Brown, to get to the subject at hand, sent me an email asking me to review her little chapbook of poems, Scraped Knees, published by Ugly Sapling. I got the good vibes from her, so I said yes, though I don’t normally deal with poetry in this blog. I do happen to quite like poetry.


The book itself you can see in the picture above, it’s a neat little tome, and feels nice to touch. The poems inside vary, and include short prose. The themes vary from observations to exploring themes of loss, violence, law, sadness, relationships. They feel quite raw and honest, personal. I actually really enjoyed them, and especially liked how they felt young, not in the sense of being inexperienced or lacking nuance or quality, but rather about modern, youthful feelings. They mention school, bicycles, coming of age, concerns of a mid-twenty year old. I like how well they captured those feelings, evoked them, encapsulated them. Poetry does not have to be dusty and dry. (Or be just for those who wear skinny jeans)


Kristine Brown has been published in quite a few literary journals, and she also has her own successful blog, Crumpled Paper Cranes which you can find HERE. I recommend taking a look on her blog, you’ll get a really strong sense of who she is, and it’s full of interesting things, poems, thoughts, short prose, and a great series called 500 Cats, with pictures of cats and inspired poems.


Thank you, Hermione!


Don’t believe us? Read Scraped Knees for yourself on Amazon and Kindle.

Finch Reviews Scraped Knees

11 Feb 2017 / Justin

Cammie Finch reviews Scraped Knees by Kristine Brown:


Scraped Knees, Kristine Brown’s newest poetry collection, is a celebration of childhood wonder and curiosity. It’s a celebration of the lightness and darkness and the gray complexities that make up the phenomenon of “growing up.”


Brown is a scientist, creating her own poetic compounds by morphing two unique subjects into one novel piece of compression. There are moments where, as a reader, I found Brown’s voice had jumped over harrowing subjective valleys and turned darkened corners before I was ready to jump and turn with her. She left me standing self-consciously at the edge of a stanza watching her language go, go, go boldly down the page. Brown has the confidence in her ability to truly surprise the reader. Prepare to be shocked!


It is easy to get lost in her language, easy to snuggle up inside of her images like a blanket you fumble through and forget where the opening is. Often, I’d read a poem and get to the end and forget what i had read before. While perhaps this is a lack of concentration on this reader’s end, it also is a strength of Brown’s writing. She demands her poems to be well attended to. Her work is not intended to become a one-off read. It wants to be studied, stared at, thought about, considered again and again. Her poems are knees that will continue to be scraped. They will continue to live.


Read Scraped Knees for yourself. Get your copy on Amazon today.

Scraped Knees

6 Feb 2017 / Justin

We’re pleased to announce Scraped Knees, a collection of stories and poems, by Kristine Brown.


Scraped Knees


In her debut chapbook, Kristine Brown captains thirty-nine beautifully crafted poems and stories that bite with honesty. Scraped Knees is an exploration in sensory details; an incense-thickened yet clear-eyed look into the often hazy world around us. Brown scratches at the surface of tender obscurities–fear, love, loneliness–while ripping the scab right off our more tangible struggles–domestic abuse, homelessness, first dates, and suicide hotlines. The poems churn like an ocean. At times choppy, with sharp, staccato notes, the pains of a speaker grown and still growing; and then again calm, driven by lilting, lullaby-like prose that carries the speaker, and the reader, gently to shore.


Pick up your copy today on Amazon, Kindle, Gumroad, or Ugly Sapling Direct.

Put Me Down, I’m Terrible

25 Sep 2016 / Justin

We’re pleased to announce a new poetry chapbook by Katie Lewington!


Put Me Down, I'm Terrible

In Put Me Down I’m Terrible, Katie Lewington explores mundanity: a couple making love in a car, a woman preparing for a date, a donut shop. But to say these occurrences are mundane is only half the story. In poetry as achingly familiar as it is uncharted, Lewington feeds readers scenes of fumbling vulnerability, teeth-clenching honesty, and unrelenting self-awareness. There’s something in every poem that rings true; the awkward intimacy of a dentist appointment, the doldrum of Mondays, the inexorable journey of stray hairs. But Lewington takes these occurrences further, with precision as sharp as a knife, making the familiar strange and shaking up the norm. A walk of shame becomes a woman’s sphere for agency. Cold sores become a badge of power. New shoes, an insufficient patch. Uncompromisingly honest and hauntingly explorative, Put Me Down I’m Terrible is a celebration of the now, the everyday life, and the vulnerability that comes with it. As Lewington pens in one of the poems, “I don’t need to journey I’m gonna celebrate where I’m at.” Each poem is a celebration, and the collection, a festival unto itself.


Available on Amazon, Kindle, Gumroad, and Ugly Sapling Direct.

Solstice Review: Summer 2016

13 Jul 2016 / Justin

Our first Solstice Review is on the shelf! Read prose and poetry from 7 authors in Ugly Sapling’s first lit review.


Solstice Review: Summer 2016

An accident during the summer of 1969. A home that’s become a breeding ground for spiders, fed on dirty dishes and discontent. Two teenaged girls, one aching to grow up, the other bound down by secrets. A couple struggling to stay together under the pressure of a parental request. In its first ever Solstice Review, Ugly Sapling features work by up-and-coming writers as well as literary veterans that explores the dark corners of family, duty, and the ties that bind us. Set in the unrelenting heat of summer, this collection of longer-format prose and poetry deals with issues of love and loss, nostalgia and heartbreak, and the aches of growing up. The stories demand we reassess our understanding of relationships–husband and wife, father and child, friend and friend–and ultimately ask us how far we’d go for the ones we love.


Available on Amazon, Kindle, Gumroad, and Ugly Sapling Direct.

The Book of Apparitions

24 Jun 2016 / Justin

Ugly Sapling is excited to announce The Book of Apparitions by Jacob Steven Mohr!


The Book of Apparitions

Jacob Steven Mohr’s debut novel follows imaginative, empathetic Marshall Brithaus across twelve years of his life as the stressors of growing up – both natural and supernatural – drive him to his physical and emotional limits. Over the course of his life, Marshall encounters four highly unusual characters: a laid-back Valkyrie called Valerie, a spitfire water sprite (and part-time lifeguard) named Selene, a burned-out, body-snatching sandman-in-training called Diane, and a manipulative, carnivorous muse named Claudia. These ‘apparitions’ each make their indelible mark on Marshall’s maturation, and prove beyond any color of doubt there is more magic in growing up than in staying young.


Buy it now on Amazon, KindleGumroad, and Ugly Sapling Direct!

Last Chance To Submit To Solstice Review

18 May 2016 / Cody

There’s less than a week to go until the deadline to submit material for our Solstice Review, but Ugly Sapling is still seeking and encouraging submissions! Send us prose of around 2,000 to 6,000 words and poetry of any length by May 22 for an opportunity to be featured in our first ever publication of longer format creative work. Click on the submit tab to send us something today! 

Cammie Finch reviews “all girls”

12 May 2016 / Justin

Review of Elizabeth Tsung’s all girls will not feel pretty at some point

By Cammie Finch


Elizabeth Tsung’s debut chapbook of poems is the kind of book which demands to be read again and again. Tsung’s poetic voice is so strong, the only way to read her beautiful product is aloud. Her voice stretches through the pages, punches through walls, flosses through teeth, and covers the generations, land masses, and social anxieties of her ancestors. The topics of her poems are relevant, pressing, and relatable to all in one capacity or another. Although I myself am not Asian American, for a poem or two, I transcended bodies and ethnicities, and felt social pressures unknown to me before. That is what separates great writing from good writing – the ability to slap a new set of eyes and a second heart onto the reader and give them a chance to experience someone else’s way of living and being. Even when she says she is having “conversations with myself,” Tsung opens up courageously to you – the reader. She wants you to listen. And so we nod and listen very closely.


Elizabeth, along with her editors, have arranged the poems in a naturally flowing way, each divided by a blank page which creates moments for pause, meditation, thought, questioning, and rereading. I also greatly appreciated Tsung’s range of poetic styles. One page might be a paragraph-length prose poem, while the next page displays a single musing, hacked up by slashmarks. This keeps the pace fresh, snappy, and energetic.


Along with the raw sketches by Trevor Williams, Elizabeth’s mastery of language reminds us that a blessing can be a glass of lemon water poured by your mother; the happiest of tunes can have hidden sorrows; skin color is something you can buy at the drugstore; the best kind of poetry and truth-seeking begins with a question. I highly recommend picking up Elizabeth Tsung’s poetry as soon as you can! You might find a piece of yourself within the poems – a piece of yourself you’ve been waiting to catch or perhaps you didn’t even know was yours.


Buy the book!

Submit Today to Our Solstice Review

3 May 2016 / Cody

Ugly Sapling is still seeking submissions for our Solstice Review! We’re looking for prose of around 2,000 to 6,000 words and poetry of any length. Work must be original, compelling, and free of grammatical errors. Every submitter will receive a free physical copy of the Solstice Review, and a free Ugly Sapling postcard. Head over to the submit tab and send us something awesome by 22 May!

all girls will not feel pretty at some point 

27 Apr 2016 / Cody

Ugly Sapling is excited to announce the publication of all girls will not feel pretty at some point by Elizabeth Tsung!


All Girls Cover

Featuring twenty-five poems by Elizabeth Tsung, all girls will not feel pretty at some point is a gripping debut anthology that grapples with issues of identity, violence, femininity and coming of age. The poems weave through the intersections of life, from the ache of growing up different in the suburbs, to the adolescent feelings of displacement and alienness in one’s own life, to a maturity haunted by shadows of the past. These poems, paired with evocative illustrations by Trevor Williams, tell stories of survival, growth, and acceptance; of motherhood and daughterhood, of prettiness and ugliness.


Available on Amazon, Kindle, Gumroad, and Ugly Sapling Direct.