Kore Biters

by Arisa White and Rosebud Ben-Oni

An interview series that highlights the writing and literary activism of women writers who are transgressive and transformative.

October / Bitches' Brew with Erika L. Sanchez

Author Erika L. Sanchez wears many hats: poet, journalist, activist, Cosmopolitan for Latinas sexpert. In both her creative and journalist work, she's written extensively on issues affecting women today such as reproductive rights, LGBT youth, migrant workers, and Latino politicians. Rosebud had the good fortune of meeting Erika in Austin, Texas, where they both attended the 2013 CantoMundo retreat. In selecting our inaugural poet for the KORE BITERS feature, Erika was the perfect choice. 

What was your last bite?

Torta de mole. It was delicious!

You wear a lot of different hats: poet, journalist, sex columnist, burgeoning novelist. How do you juggle these passions?

I'm also working full-time as a strategist focused on sexual and reproductive rights. I think I'm going to develop a hunch back and carpal tunnel. I'm exhausted and my anxiety is through the roof. I'll have to start holding up my eyelids with toothpicks pretty soon. I'm always working, and when I'm not, I'm thinking and dreaming about it. I'm super Mexican like that. I'm terrible at balance, so I hope things get a little easier in the next coming months. Pray for me, please!

What is talisman? What is taboo?

Larry Levis always gets my creative juices going. If my brain is feeling clogged, his poetry often works wonders. Nothing is off limits to me when it comes to writing. I'm a shameless troublemaker. My mother always used to tell me "Cómo te gusta la mala vida." She was right.

What story/narrative/myth would you rewrite?

I'm tired of reading about la Malinche, so it would be an interesting challenge to rewrite it somehow. I've also been reading the Popol Vuh and trying to incorporate it into my poetry.

What is a creative strategist?

As a creative strategist, I elevate social justice issues through research, writing, and media strategies. Basically, I write a ton.

How do you define border?

A wound.

Name four poets you'd want in your coven.

Larry Levis, Emily Dickinson, Federico García Lorca, and Anna Akhmatova.

Writing prompt: 100 Things Worth Living For

I got this one from a professor. All you do is write a list of 100 things worth living for. It worked really well the first and second time I did it. I came up with all sorts of precise images. You will get very obscure and surprise yourself. It may seem easy, but it gets difficult after a while. You'll definitely have to do some digging and reflecting.

Tip: I took a craft class with Traci Brimhall at Bread Loaf recently and she suggested that when a poem is feeling stale, you should try replacing some words with their opposites. Easy and brilliant!

Erika L. Sanchez is a Fulbright and Bread Loaf Scholar, CantoMundo Fellow, and winner of the “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Pleiades, Witness, Hunger Mountain, Crab Orchard Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Copper Nickel, diode, Boston Review, “Latino USA” on NPR, and is forthcoming in Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Penguin 2015). She is also currently the sex and love advice columnist for Cosmopolitan for Latinas, and has contributed to The Guardian, NBC News, Rolling Stone, Al Jazeera, Truthout, Salon, and Cosmopolitan.com.


Why Kore Press?

"I used to think the function of art was the transformation of sorrow, but I now think it is the transformation of consciousness." —Jane Miller

Kore Press mission As a community of literary activists devoted to bringing forth a diversity of voices through works that meet the highest artistic standards, Kore Press publishes women's writing to deepen awareness and advance progressive social change.

Why women & girls?

* 12 of the 102 Nobel Prizes in Literature have gone to women

* Since 1948, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has gone to 16 women & 42 men

* Since its inception in 1923, Time Magazine has had one female editor

* 26% of the members of the New York Times editorial board are women, 35% at The Wallstreet Journal, and 33% at the LA Times

We believe that lifting up "half the sky" is the way to create long-term, sustainable change and a luminous future for all.


Why membership?

Do you believe in the power of women and girls' voices?

If the answer is YES, we'd love you to become a friend of the Press. Kore members invest in the Press' mission, and participate in a unique, national community of advocates for women and girls.

Artwork by Shelagh Mulvaney

Memberships directly help Kore Press advance its mission of sustainable, progressive social change through literary activism. All members are part of the Kore Press Sexy Brain Trust, a diverse collective of creative thinkers who contribute their intellectual capital to conversations and collectively imagine luminous futures for women and girls.

Together our voices can have a bold impact on building a bigger, more sustainable pipeline for women's words! Bring your voice to the conversation. Participate. Help Kore keep women at the table and in the game. Inspire women and girls. Become a member today.

Kore Press is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) literary arts organization made possible by grants, book sales, submissions fees, and gifts from individuals like you.































Writing & Programming

For 21 years, Kore Press has been dedicated to lifting up the voices of women and girls through literary activism. We inspire and support the creative genius of women writers to maintain a vivid stronghold for women and girls in the public and collective mind. We are one of a few feminist presses in the country that has lasted over 20 years, the only one to publish more than 5 literary titles/year by women AND to invest in the next generation of female leaders. We are keeping Kore bright and shiny for ALL women and girls.

Roxane Gay to judge Kore's 2015

Short Fiction Award

February 14, 2015 deadline

contest now open

contest details here
$1250 prize plus limited edition chapbook and e-publication

Roxane Gay’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, West Branch, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, and many others. She is the co-editor of PANK. She is also the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, and Hunger, forthcoming from Harper in 2016. See more at roxanegay.com.

Tracie Morris to judge Kore's 2015

First Book Award

April 30, 2015 deadline

contest open date to be announced

contest details here

$1500 prize plus trade book publication

Tracie Morris is a poet who has worked extensively as a page-based writer, sound poet, critic, scholar, bandleader, actor and multimedia performer. Her sound installations have been presented at the Whitney Biennial, MoMA, Ronald Feldman Gallery, The Silent Barn, The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, The Drawing Center, The Gramsci Monument with Thomas Hirshhorn for the DIA Foundation and other galleries and museums. Tracie presents her work extensively as a poet, performer and scholar around the globe and has presented, performed and researched in almost 30 countries and 37 US States. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Hunter College, has studied classical British acting technique extensively at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University. Tracie is Professor and Coordinator of Performance Studies at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York. 

2014 First Book Award Winner

Monica Ong

$1,000 for "Silent Anatomies,"selected by Joy Harjo

February 1, 2015

Monica Ong is a poet and artist dwelling in experimental spaces. She completed her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in Digital Media, and is also a Kundiman poetry fellow. Her work has been published in Seneca Review, Drunken Boat, Glassworks Magazine, Tidal Basin Review, and others. An exhibiting artist for over a decade, she draws from her professional design practice to innovate on the alchemy of text and image. monicaong.com

Joy Harjo says of "Silent Anatomies": This is one of the most unique poetry collections. It’s a kind of graphic poetry book, but that’s not exactly it either. Poetry unfurls within, outside and through images. They establish stark bridges between ancestor and descendant time and presence. This collection is highly experimental and exciting."

Contest details here.


2013 Short Fiction Award Winner

Myha T. Do

$1,000 for "To Boil Water," selected by Kate Bernheimer

December 2014

Myha T. Do was born in Anaheim, CA, and currently lives in Davis. She earned her BA in English and Comparative Literature from UCB (2007), her MFA in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s College (2009), and her MA in English Literature from Mills College (2011), and is currently a PhD candidate of Comparative Literature at UC Davis. “To Boil Water” is part of her novel manuscript, Earshot.

Contest details here.

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Stay tuned to literary activist news

and events with the Kore e-newsletter

Back issues are available here.







































Forthcoming December 2014

Chapbooks by award-winners

Mary Byrne & Myha T. Do

February 2015

new poems by Laynie Browne

2014 Pew Fellow

"Laynie Browne has a knack for moving between worlds to channel an orchestra of animal, vegetable, and mineral voices. Scorpyn Odes is gritty and sublime, a meditation on the affections and afflictions that make us human."—Lisa Jarnot

$15.95, 7x7," 56 pgs, perfect bound

A poetic-visual hybrid by Monica Ong

2014 First Book Winner selected by Joy Harjo

" In her sardonic, thus melancholic, Silent Anatomies, Monica Ong brilliantly skews the marking of surfaces. Writing—yes—but also defacement/effacement, surgical incision, racism. With text, photography, collage, and illustration, she maps the twisting way of familial shame; dissects metaphor; and hawks (and hocks) “Ancient Chinese Secrets” as medicinal cakewalks (who’s selling what to whom?). Slippery."Douglas Kearney

$17.95, 7x10," 96 pgs, perfect bound

New Releases

The Bright Field of Everything

poems by Deborah Fries

". . .packed with the telling of life beloved and ironic, full of ecstatic skepticism."---John Timpane, Philadelphia Inquirer

$14, 6x9," 64 pgs, perfect bound 

River Legs

poems by Jen McClanaghan

2013 First Book winner chosen by Nikky Finney

"River Legs is a powerful and haunting debut"---David Wojahn

$15.95, 6x9," 80 pgs, perfect bound 

This Coalition of Bones

poems by Cori A. Winrock

"Winrock's is an intense and compelling voice.

Tell your mama."

--Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

$15.95, 6x9," 88 pgs, perfect bound 

Sexy Brains tee-shirts designed by

the Grrls Literary Activism Workshop


Women's V-neck, dark gray with pink ink (women's XL, L, M, S)

Men's crew neck, white with pink ink (L & XL)

Kore Press T-Shirts Wear your activism!