What To Do If You’re Buried Alive by Michael Meyerhofer – Available Now!

Michael Meyerhofer, What To Do If You're Buried Alive









Super excited to announce Michael Meyerhofer’s What To Do If You’re Buried Alive, his fourth full-length poetry collection, is now available from Split Lip Press! Find it at our website or Amazon today, pick up a copy, read it, and then contact Split Lip Press and tell us how hard your world had been rocked––if you’re still conscious enough to write us.

In his latest collection of poems, What To Do If You’re Buried Alive, Michael Meyerhofer’s narrative verse is tight and full of torque: storytelling in the vein of Richard Hugo, humor in the likes of Ron Padgett, absurdity a little like Stephen Dobyns and surrealism much like the dearly missed Tomaz Salamun. And this collection is huge! 130+ pages of the type of poems you can recite to a buddy at a bar without your buddy having any clue that you are speaking a poem aloud. This is the type of book for short story fans who want to explore the world of poetry while bypassing confusion, trickery, the diction of Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus and other poetic pollutants that interfere with one’s reading pleasure. If you’re seeking poetry you can feel you are a part of, know where you’re at in, and have a friend in the narrator, then this is the book for you! As poet George Bilgere puts it: “Meyerhofer sings in a pure American tenor, his voice haunted by late night diners, small town heartbreak, and somehow, out there in the desolate vastness of the heartland, a flash of humor and a sweet glimmer of hope.”

Michael Meyerhofer









A Note About Michael Written by Michael: My first fantasy novel, Wytchfire (Book 1 in the Dragonkin Trilogy) was published by Red Adept Publishing. The book went on to win the Whirling Prize from the Kellogg Writers Series, and was nominated for a 2015 Readers’ Choice Award in fantasy by the premier book review website, Big Al’s Books & Pals. The sequel, Knightswrath, will be released shortly.

Meanwhile, I’ve been writing and publishing poetry for many years. My fourth poetry book, What To Do If You’re Buried Alive, was just released by Split Lip Press. My third, Damnatio Memoriae (lit. “damned memory”), won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest. I’m also the author of two other poetry books: Leaving Iowa (winner of the Liam Rector First Book Award) and Blue Collar Eulogies (Steel Toe Books, finalist for the Grub Street Book Prize).

In addition to my full-length poetry books, I’ve also published five poetry chapbooks: Pure Elysium (winner of the Palettes and Quills Chapbook Contest), The Clay-Shaper’s Husband (winner of the Codhill Press Chapbook Award), Real Courage (winner of the Terminus Magazine and Jeanne Duval Editions Poetry Chapbook Prize), The Right Madness of Beggars (winner of the Uccelli Press 3rd Annual Chapbook Competition), and Cardboard Urn (winner of the Copperdome Chapbook Contest).

I’ve also won the Marjorie J. Wilson Best Poem Contest, the Laureate Prize for Poetry, the James Wright Poetry Award, and the Annie Finch Prize for Poetry. My work has appeared in Ploughshares, North American Review, Arts & Letters, River Styx, Quick Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and other journals.

Split Lip News You Can Use

There is so much brewing in the Split Lip world that this little blog has been way too neglected. We are trying to make it a more regular thing so that you can come and read it more regularly.  Popping in today to share what’s been going on/what’s going to be going on:

Split Lip Magazine/Press at AWP 2015 in Minneapolis, MN
Table #1657 (with BULL: Men’s Fiction)

We’ll have SWAG and BOOKS and HUGS. And our Spring Issue on display.
Please don’t be shy–come and say hello!


And we have some more great news:

Congratulations to MICHAEL SOLOWAY whose non-fiction piece “Share the Chameleon” was selected for Sundress Publications’ 2014 Best of the Net!

Congratulations to JESI BENDER whose story “Linda,” was a finalist for the Queen’s Ferry Best of the Small Fictions Anthology 2015!

Much more to come, but we have errands to run and packing to do. Hope to see you all soon!


An Option for Poets in a Rut

I’m a poet, meaning I’m well acquainted with insecurity, plateau and stagnancy. Poets––the artistic type; not the CV-building, award-seeking, willing-to-write-whatever-to-get-published type––desire only one thing: growth. When asked which poem I’ve written is my favorite, I always say: “The one I haven’t written yet.” While a poet does, for one minute (one emphasized), feel pleasure upon completing a poem they like or can at least tolerate, and while a poet does feel proud (for one minute) when a journal picks up a piece, it’s still never enough. Poets want their next poem to be THE poem they’ve been meaning to write ever since the start, but oftentimes––even when a final piece presents an illusion that it is, in fact, THE poem the poet’s been waiting for but a day later decides it’s not––satisfaction is never at the level one would like it to be. This pattern is a lineage to utter frustration and thoughts about giving up.

If you’re a poet with no clue about anything above, clearly you are a very happy person without neurotic symptoms, or you are the type with an “anybody can write poetry just like anybody can play hand drums or paint abstract pictures” mindset. As for this poet? Well, you can say I’m familiar with mental health facility lobbies, and you can say I’m a stubborn dick who does not believe anybody can write poetry, though I should clarify–– While, yes, anybody can technically write a poem since there really isn’t a set of criterion to evaluate what makes for a good poem anymore, NOT everybody can write poetry with a deep, intense drive to master the art because that takes a lot of work, most being very hard work that needs to be done while feeling uninspired, exhausted, doubtful, self-loathing, et cetera. Simply put, while anybody can write a poem, only few are willing to do what it takes to write a good poem.

What can be done, then, if discouragement and doubt is beating a poet down? My answer, though pertinent to those not studying writing at a university, is: Investigate some universities or community colleges and look at what creative writing classes they offer––anything from Intro to Creative Writing through Advanced Poetry Writing. While combing a given semester’s course offerings, note the instructor’s name who is scheduled to teach the classes you’re interested in. When finished, Google the instructors’ names and see what you find.

I did this in 2013 just after I had completed my undergrad degree in creative writing. I didn’t need to go back for more classes because I didn’t know how to practice on my own; it was a desire for a new challenge, and by that I mean I like to write, at times, as per an assignment or prompt, and I’ll admit having a deadline is a nice motivator, too. During the Googling process, looking up those writing instructors, I didn’t find many I was interested in. There are too many old-schoolers out there with a very specified agenda, the same they’ve been teaching for up to decades. For example, you can take a poetry class with an instructor you know nothing about and then discover he/she teaches only Whitman––nothing else––because the instructor believes only Whitman is worth studying. It happens with fiction as well, the case often being: only Raymond Carver is worthy of study. I’m not going to quarrel with that, though. Carver is the man.

After several fruitless searches, I gave Ivy Tech Community College a try. (FYI, this is back when I lived in Indiana.) They offered an Intro to Creative Writing class taught by Norman “Buzz” Minnick. I pasted his name in Google and landed on his website, where I found this poem:



even the gumball machine, is grimy.

The mechanic has his name on a patch

above his heart. His fingernails

and the deep lines in his cracked hands

are forever black. The shop smells

like tires and stale coffee.

Chilton’s service repair manuals

and parts catalogues are stacked

behind the counter. No one notices

the zweep zweep sound of an air

impact wrench torquing lug nuts.

Cigarette butts float in the toilet

above which hangs a pinup

showing a woman wearing only a pair

of bright red high heels

that compliment

the bright red muscle car

she sprawls over.

She has thick, dark pubic hair

which upon closer examination

is only the smudge

of a greasy thumbprint.

First appeared in the Oxford American, later published in his book Folly.

I was SOLD. (I’m one of those frowned upon poets who champions poems that make sense, though Norm has the capacity to write some pretty tricky shit.) There was no need for any further investigation. I contacted the school, said I wanted to audit the class and showed up a few weeks later to the first session. Norm came in with tattoos cloaking his arms, and I think I remember his first remark was along the lines of: “If you can’t stomach vulgarity, sex, violence and such, then this might not be the class for you.” After letting the class know what they were in for, he opened with his first lesson by asking: “What is love?” Every answer was exactly what you had likely thought of just now––something grounded in a feeling or emotion. I didn’t say anything since I had no idea what he was trying to do. But as more and more clues started to surface every time he’d reply to an answer, I picked up on his trickery. I raised my hand and said, “Love is authentic gumbo found in Nebraska by a Louisiana native.” I had never been asked how to define an abstract noun before. I knew to avoid them when writing––not all the time, but more often than not––but I’ve never given very much thought to solving how to work around an abstraction, so I’d just bypass them altogether. That answer I gave triggered a poem I wrote called “A Cincinnati Boil,” which was later published by The Baltimore Review. In fact, after the semester studying with Norm, four out of however many poems I penned for the class wound up published. Along with Baltimore, poems were taken by Atticus Review, Hobart and Cleaver Magazine.

Through the course of the semester, Norm and I discovered we had a lot in common outside of poetry. In fact, I’d argue we have more in common with most everything BUT poetry since we’re both outspoken, stubborn assholes with strong opinions about the craft (e.g., Norm doesn’t care much for George Bilgere‘s poetry while I, however, think he’s a damn fine poet.) This is likely due to the fact we both were (me: past tense / Norm: still at it) members of punk and/or hardcore bands at one point or another. Norm is lead singer for a thrash hardcore band called Bush League. I was bassist for a few lesser-accomplished hardcore bands back in the 90s. So, as fellow punk-poet hybrids, we have had a few poetic debates (Norm knows well how to defend a good argument) over the past couple of years––always edifying, though. I will always remember meeting with Norm and his (who I think is) mentor Larry Atwood, who is as hardass as they come. We were at a bar reading our poems to each other. Following each reading came some serious shit-talking––sometimes warranted, other times just to be a dick––but it was a good time, and there were, for the record, moments we praised another’s work when we couldn’t deny its worth.

Anyway, I think I’ve harped a lot longer than I had planned to. Bottom line: If you want an extra boost when feeling like you’ve plateaued or that you’re in a rut, consider auditing a college creative writing class of some sort. Just be sure to look up the instructor so it doesn’t result in wasted money. Had I not stumbled upon Norm, I would likely not be posting this advice, but given the fortune I found in studying with the guy, and how I learned new things in new ways, I felt inclined to let fellow poets know that auditing a class is a viable option to help amplify your writing.

Interested in Norm? Here are some online poems I really like, and some just happen to appear in Split Lip Magazine. Huh. 🙂 5 Poems as Featured Poet in Atticus Review. 3 Poems in Split Lip Magazine. And 5 Poems in Gadfly. Find Norm online at www.buzzminnick.com.

And if you liked the “Repair Shop” poem among others from links above, you can find it along with other outstanding works in his latest book Folly. Go and get yourself a copy!


Katie Schmid Wins the Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest!

Katie Schmid Cigarettes Web

Photo by Aaron Ottis Photography








Though Split Lip Press does not condone or promote smoking cigarettes, take a look at this pic of Katie Schmid, winning author of our Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest with her manuscript Forget Me / Hit Me / Let Me Drink Great Quantities of Clear, Evil Liquor. Such a cool photo, but even cooler, her book tentatively forthcoming sometime in late summer. Stand by for the official release date announcement.

Though a tough decision, our guest judge Meg Pokrass selected Katie’s manuscript as winner, finding it original and expansive in its entirety, and I concur. The collection is diversified with regards to both content and form. Her poetics are delicious, and she is astute in discerning the form that will serve a given poem best, ranging from those only in line, others broken in stanzas of different lengths, others with some long lines / some short lines, others as prose poems, some formatted with text aligned to the right or centered, and my favorite part, her series in the middle called “Daughter Psalms,” which are not individually titled pieces, just blocks of text unified by the series’ title placed mid-page on each page of the section. Another cool part is a series of prose poems titled “The Boys of the Midwest,” followed by a number as per the order they appear in. And, most importantly, the quality of her writing is masterful and striking––full of risk, balanced and tasteful shifts in diction choices, daring syntactical moves, and a touch of wit within otherwise dark, haunting poems––how, at times, such wit serves as a stepping stone to begin a lineage of rising tension as seen in “Some Brief Information About the Spartans”––

Boys pay tribute to Saint Jude: patron saint of dollar single cigarettes from the bar, patron saint of working a double at the granite factory, patron saint of watching the bitter candle of your father going to hell.

Dear god, the escalation: a gritty denotation of the Saint Jude figure.

And then how she manages to personify her narrators and characters with such a high degree of verisimilitude. It fascinates me, like this passage in “Letter to the Midwest”––

I too, am afraid that I can never escape:

these cracked sidewalks, the empty storefronts

like raw wounds, the fair weather drunks

who lie in doorframes with their abandoned

bodies in a puddle of vomit. And me:

I wake to find myself scuffed, badly bruised,

like a peach your thumb could sink into

with the lightest touch.

Beautifully tragic in my opinion.

So, that’s the skinny on our winner Katie Schmid, but let’s give props to those contestants who wound up finalists:

In the Valley of the Sun by Gleah Powers

The Prophetic Western by Meredith McDonough

11:58 by Ann Stewart McBee

PERSONA: Noun, Feminine, Singular by Carolyn Moore

Sleepstart by Heikki Huotari

Stranger Underneath by Trish Hopkinson

American Spirits by Jackson Burgess

Take Me Home by Sarah Levine

Tiger Laughs When You Push by Ruth Lehrer

Velocity by Martha Clarkson

Winter & Construction: Michigan Stories by Matthew Fogarty

Rock n Roll, Split Lip fans. We appreciate your support and look forward to bringing you Katie’s book Forget Me / Hit Me / Let Me Drink Great Quantities of Clear, Evil Liquor this coming summer.






Split Lip Sunday Night Rumble (on a Monday, again), February 16

candy heart lips2_edited-1

image via Jayme Cawthern

Eventually, I am sure that I will be sitting down to write one of these on a Sunday night, but last night was my 33rd birthday, and I was a little incapacitated (by wine and exhaustion).  So here I am, on a freezing cold President’s Day that is not a three-day weekend at my house (or, rather, it is a three day weekend for my oldest child, which means she’s home, which means I don’t get any time to myself, except these few stolen moments at the computer when she’s playing quietly).

Maybe you’re just hanging out today, avoiding chapped-cheek-and-lip-weather. Maybe you need something to read.  Look no further:

New Issues

-Atticus Review’s Love Stinks issue came out last week and it’s really good (and I don’t just say that because I have a short story in it!).

-It’s not a new issue, per se, but Lockjaw Magazine has an awesome Choose Your Own Adventure project going on, which just launched yesterday.

Contributors Kicking Ass

-Jared Yates Sexton kills it yet again, with a story from his collection featured over at the Good Men Project (previously printed in PANK). Punch-for-Punch happens to be one of this editor’s favorites, so I’m thrilled to see it out in the world.

-Split Lip Press author Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach’s poem, “The Secret to Remembering” is featured over at the Sundress Publications’ blog, The Wardrobe, in this week’s Best Dressed.

Stories I Loved

It was actually pretty fortuitous that I waited to post this today because I fell in love with a story and can’t get out. Go, read Susannah Felt’s piece “Map” at Smokelong Quarterly.

Stay warm–and well-read,


Split Lip Monday Night Rumble, February 9

On Saturday, I reminded myself that I needed to write a Sunday Night Rumble post, but between a freelance deadline and my really terrible organization skills, I forgot.

So here we are, rumbling on a Monday night, which isn’t so bad because Mondays traditionally suck. But at least now you’ll have some great things to read.


New Issues

Hippocampus Magazine is a fairly new-ish destination for short creative non-fiction. Their new issue went live February 1st and includes a piece by yours truly (my first published CNF piece, so I feel like I’m allowed to humblebrag a bit).


Contributors Killin’ It

Jared Yates Sexton isn’t just a contributor–he’s also the author of Split Lip Press’s first full-length collection, The Hook and the Haymaker.  He has a great story over at Juked right now, and you can check out the first review of his collection over at Alternating Currents (thank you to Al Kratz for reading and seeing all the good in it that we saw).


Stories I Loved

Two Hurts by K Brattin  at Wigleaf

Tell Me What to Do by Kerry Cullen at Luna Luna Magazine (I may be a little biased, but still. Read it.)


Rumor has it that it’s National Pizza Day (I know that for some of you out there, it’s every day), and I have a couple pies on the way. Hope your evening is as delicious/fraught with heartburn/etc.


Split Lip Sunday Night Rumble, February 1st


Editor’s Note:  In the spirit of literary citizenship (and the cheesy title I just thought of for this series), I’m going to be rounding up some weekly favorites from around the web here on the blog.

Happy Super Bowl (some roman numerals) to you all! We don’t have cable because we’re poor, and we also don’t have cool friends who have fun parties, so here I am, on Sunday night, writing a blog that likely no one will be reading.

But maybe you’ll catch it during your Monday morning crockpot-dip hangover.

New Issues

Our friends at Noble/Gas Quarterly released their second, super-stellar issue. Check it out here.

Contributors Killin’ It

Loved and lol’ed at (Issue 7) Tabitha Blankenbiller’s Guy Fieri fanfiction (oh yes she did) over at The Mondegreen (who also released a killer inaugural issue a few weeks ago).

(Note to previous contributors: I try to keep track of you on Twitter, but it’s hard–especially since some of you don’t even use Twitter! If you have news or pubs to share, please feel free to email so I can include them here.)

New Magazines

The inaugural issue of THIS. Magazine blew me away. Gorgeous design, even more gorgeous work. I especially liked Shasta Grant’s piece “Don’t Ever Change.”

Story I Loved

“I Knew I Loved You” by Claire Comstock-Gay in the newest issue of Midnight Breakfast.

Happy reading!