Kore Biters is a bi-monthly interview series that highlights the writing and literary activism of women writers who are transgressive and transformative.

by Arisa White and Imani Sims


Unapologetic Solitude & Writing

Despite the Gaze

Tara Betts

To paraphrase an Adrienne Rich quotation about how a poem breaks silence to be made—what silences did you break to create your newest collection?

I wanted to break the silences around divorce—those feelings of shame, failure, and inadequacy, and even if a person feels angry, depressed, or abandoned, you remember there was love, at some point, and you can find it again. I have found that many successful people have confided in me and tried to seek support after their own divorces, but I also feel like this book is about claiming reinvention. You are not a niche, you are not a brand. You are an evolving human being, and even Adrienne Rich was a master of evolution as she wrote more and openly claimed herself sexually and politically. However, I often find myself thinking of Audre Lorde’s quote on breaking silences from “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action” from The Cancer Journals: “The fact that we are here and that I speak not these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.  (excerpt, read full interview here)

INDEX for Biters


Notes From The Motherfield is an edited column of fieldnotes, essays, and writings of various shapes and durations by motherwriters.

Little Book of Herbs by Jenna Korsmo

I quit smoking last summer. It’s the hardest thing I’ve had to let go.

My wife and I are parents. We adopted our daughter from foster care recently. It took 2 years. We also have a son that’s been with us for over a year. We are waiting to adopt him, too, but that might not happen due to really complicated, unfortunate, stomp your feet, unfair circumstances. But, it might happen, but it might not, but it might. We love him differently, and my mom who loves being his grandmother says it’s OK, because we’re just people, and we don’t have to love everyone we meet in the same way. But, I want to love him in a way I imagined to. I want my love to fit in the box I imagined it to fit in.

My mom and I used to travel back and forth from Tucson to Phoenix a lot when I was a teenager. She used to play Al Green tapes like she got paid for it. “Listen to this part, Niña,” she would say, “doesn’t that make your heart break?” And it did. I loved watching her in the car listening to music that made her feel that way. I wonder if my children will ever see me like I see her.

[excerpt] see the full piece here.

INDEX for Notes from the Motherfield



by Jillian Weise



I am so sick of reading poems by people
who must be bored in their homes
about soldiers with their legs blown off

and how sorry the people feel for them
and how awful America is and rotten.
I am so sick of reading poems by people

who have their civil rights and say, Yes,
I feel your pain
before they pull
a short night for a long poem about legs



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UnSilencing the Sexual Body, Tuesday, Nov 15, 6-8pm, a short reading and interactive conversation with Katherine Standefer at SAWS/EXO. 403 N 6th Ave Tucson, 85705; $5-$10 donation at the door, no one turned away for lack of funds.

As demonstrated all too vividly by this election, bodies are political. We are going to need your work as unsilencers in the weeks and years to come.

How have our bodies been silenced--in medical offices, in our private lives, and on the page? And what might it look like to embrace ourselves and our sexualities wholeheartedly? Join writer, sexologist, and Narrative Medicine professor Kati Standefer for a short reading and interactive conversation about the ways we silence each other and her work training medical students to respond to the stories patients tell about their bodies.

UnSilencing Anatomies was a city-wide engagement project designed by Kore Press (inspired by Monica Ong's Silent Anatomies), and developed with her collaborators, including the University of Arizona, Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, La Pilita and other cultural, health and justice centers, designed to promote critical thinking about the medical humanities and related questions of access/justice and racial/gender inequity. The series asks how art and story-telling can disrupt cultural invisibility and impact health disparities and public safety.



Lidia Yuknavitch selects MING LAUREN HOLDEN's "Refuge" as the winner of Kore's 2016 Memoir Award

"The story we need to hear right now in the only voice that can tell it."—Lidia Yuknavitch

Winner of Bellingham Review‘s 49th Parallel Poetry Award, Chattahoochee Review‘s Lamar York Nonfiction Prize and Glimmer Train‘s Family Matters Fiction Prize, MING HOLDEN is a writer, translator, activist, editor, teacher, humanitarian aid and development worker, and theater artist. She was invited by the United States Embassy to Suriname on a diplomatic speaking engagement under the U.S. Speakers Program to speak about creative writing and theater as tools for empowerment for Women’s History Month in 2014. (Here is the U.S. government press release.) In 2011, she founded the Survival Girls, a self-sustaining theater group for young Congolese women in the slums of Nairobi. Her book about the experience, the nonfiction novella  The Survival Girls, came out in 2013 through Wolfram Productions. Ming also won the USAID worldwide essay contest for inclusion in the USAID Frontiers in Development publication alongside work by Bill Gates, Indra Noori, Paul Collier, and others. Her essay about the Survival Girls got some love from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself in the book’s introduction!  (Ming’s writing about the Girls was also nominated for the AWP Intro Award for Nonfiction.)

see full contest info & finalists here


Robin Coste Lewis to judge

Kore's 2016 First Book Award

contest now closed, winner announced in Jan

$1500 + publication

see full guidelines and contest info here


Edwidge Danticat to judge

Kore's 2016 Short Fiction Award

contest now closed, winner announced

in Dec

$1250 prize + publication

see full guidelines and contest info here



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Sexy Brains tee-shirts

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the sale of each shirt feeds 12 hungry folks, and, supports women writers.


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Kore Short Fiction Winner selected by Roxane Gay

$11, 5.5 x 8.5", 24 pgs, stiched binding


by Tracie Morris

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by Amaranth Borsuk

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by Sarah Mangold

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by Allison Campbell

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Rachel Moritz

Myha T. Do

Mary Byrne