The perfect pairing for all your stillhouse reads


THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS UPON US!

As 2018 steadily approaches, we've go a few drink recommendations
 to pair with your favorite Stillhouse Press selections.


Carmen Gillespie’s latest collection interrupts the everyday to bring us the spiritual visitations of Sally Hemings, her half-sister Martha Wayles Jefferson, and other famed and forgotten residents of the Monticello plantation. These poems reach into the distant past to unearth songs of pain and longing, weighty with the long history of American silence that continues to circumscribe our lives today.

Monticello Spiced Rum Punch

History is a tough pill to swallow. For this, we'll need plenty of rum.  
Adapted from this Bon Appétit recipe, this rum punchis made to satiate partygoers and historical ghosts alike. 

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup Kopper Kettel chai spiced rum
  • 1 cup George Bowman rum
  • 1 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 cup meyer lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup, 2 teaspoons bitters (Angostura works well)
  • 1 cup sliced mangoes
  • 1 cup of assorted citrus fruits, sliced into rounds

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to bowl. Mix well.
  2. Chill.
  3. Serve with ice. 

Maybe mermaids and robots are lonely. Maybe stargazing dinosaurs escape extinction, and ‘80s icons share their secrets and scams. A boardwalk Elvis impersonator declines in a Graceland of his own, Bigfoot works as a temp, families fall apart and come back together.

The Elvis Peach

Rumor has it, Elvis once reportedly drank so much peach brandy
it nearly killed him. 
Adapted from Food & Wine, this brandy-based brew will take you from fabulist faraway worlds to Great Recession realism in a single sip.

Directions

  1. Add the rum, peach brandy, black tea, simple syrup and lemon juice to a large pitcher.
  2. Stir, add the water and stir again.
  3. Refrigerate until cold.
  4. Serve in collins glasses with citrus garnish. 

Ingredients


    When Mark Polanzak was seventeen, his father spontaneously combusted on the tennis court, vanishing forever. It is also entirely possible that he died of a heart attack. 

    The Gin Fiz Wallop

    Like Polanzak's hybrid memoir,
    each slurp of this fizzy little number
    is scarcely what you might expect.

    Ingredients

    • Combine 2 ounces Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin
    • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
    • 2 teaspoons of simple syrup
    • Club soda
    • 1/2 package of Pop Rocks
    • Pinch of granulated sugar 

    Directions  

    1. On a small plate, combine Pop Rocks and sugar
    2. Wet rim of highball glass with a slice of lemon 
    3. Add gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice to cocktail shaker and shake well.
    4. Strain into glass, careful not to disrupt the rim.
    5. Top with club soda and serve.

    Bryan Borland’s third poetry collection examines what it means to dig—to undertake the intense labor of unearthing the personal/political/artistic self and embracing the consequences of that knowledge.

    The "DIG This" Manhattan

    We're craving bourbon for this sexy love story, the way readers crave
    their next Stillhouse fix. Adapted from this Ted Allen cocktail, you need this Manhattan like you need blood in the throat. 

     

    Directions

    1. Add ingredients to cocktail shaker.
    2. Shake well.
    3. Rub an orange pee along the rim of your martini glass.
    4. Strain drink into glass.
    5. Garnish with one (or two!) cherries.



    Ingredients


      For poet Anna Leahy and scientist Douglas R. Dechow, quintessential children of the Space Age, love for each other and love of space are inseparable. The moon landings, the shuttle program, the prospect of manned travel to Mars: each stop in humanity’s journey to space has marked a step in their ongoing love affair with each other and the cosmos.

      [Generation] Space Punch

      Adapted from the Belle Isle Craft Sprits recipe,
      t
      his spacey brew will have you reaching for your dearest...
      or maybe just another mug of this stellar concoction. 

      Directions

      1. Combine ingredients in punch bowl.
      2. Add ice.
      3. Garnish with rosemary and serve immediately.

      Ingredients

      • 1 bottle Belle Isle Ruby Red Grapefruit
      • 2 bottle sparkling wine (try Virginia's Horton Sparkling Viognier)
      • 5 ounces St. Germain elderflower liquer
      • 5 ounces white grapefruit juice
      •  3 ounces lemon juice

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        Lindley Estes is a first-year fiction student in
        George Mason University's Master's of Fine Arts program
        and an editor for the Moonshine Murmurs blog.
        She's partial to bourbon. 

        Questioning the Past: An Interview with Carmen Gillespie

        By Caitlin Herron

        Carmen Gillespie’s The Ghosts of Monticello, the third book of poetry from Stillhouse Press.

        Carmen Gillespie’s The Ghosts of Monticello, the third book of poetry from Stillhouse Press.

        Carmen Gillespie gladly finds time to discuss the importance of questions and [re]creation of historical figures. These ideas are central to the evolution of her latest poetry collection, The Ghosts of Monticello: A Recitatif (October 2017), winner of Stillhouse Press' 2016 Poetry Contest.

        Despite a busy week taking care of her 10-year-old and the close of George Mason's annual Fall for the Book festival, Gillespie found some time to speak with me about her inspiration for her new book and what brought her to this moment in her writing career.

        Although she has always written poetry, and can’t imagine her life without it, Gillespie says her love of the form has been deeply intertwined with her academic pursuits over the last 15 years. “In academics, I tend to focus on black female writers. There is so much that is still covered that needs to be excavated,” says Gillespie, English professor and director of the Griot Institute of Africana Studies at Bucknell University and the author of several books of poetry and critical works.  

        Part of what motivates her work in both poetry and Africana studies are questions, she says. “Sometimes poetry and academics have the same questions but not the same answers, and sometimes poetry is more effective at answering them.” 

        This was certainly the case while attempting to answer some of the central inquiries about the life of Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, Martha Jefferson, and others featured in her collection. Primarily, Gillespie wanted to explore the idea of whether or not Hemings had any agency in her story, especially in her relationship with Jefferson, the third president of the United States, with whom Hemings was thought to have had six children. “I can’t believe that every encounter she had with Jefferson was about violence. My understanding of human beings is much more complicated than that, so that is what I wanted to explore,” Gillespie explains.

        Stillhouse authors Douglas R. Dechow, Carmen Gillespie, and Anna Leahy, with Acquisitions Editor, Marcos L. Martínez at George Mason University's 2017 Fall for the Book festival. 

        Stillhouse authors Douglas R. Dechow, Carmen Gillespie, and Anna Leahy, with Acquisitions Editor, Marcos L. Martínez at George Mason University's 2017 Fall for the Book festival. 

        But she did not stop with Jefferson. Gillespie also wanted to expand upon what Hemings' relationships might have been like with others on the plantation, given her position as both a slave and the lover of such a powerful character. “So many people have said so much about Jefferson, but it was interesting to me to focus on her other relationships with her mother, Martha Jefferson, and her half sister, and how that dynamic would work if they were to have a conversation,” says Gillespie.

        She sees her collection as a dynamic story, and one which she hopes “makes the link between our contemporary situation and the paradoxes of the past.”

        Interestingly, this questioning of the past in Gillespie's collection is formed by language that was originally written to be sung on-stage. The Ghosts of Monticello had its beginning as a libretto for an opera performed at Bucknell University, where Gillespie enjoyed engaging with the actors and musicians. “I am inspired, energized, and sustained by theater, dance, and music performances,” she says, noting that when composing something for people to sing versus developing the structure of a collection, the writing can be quite different. 

        For those thinking about writing fictionally or poetically about history, Gillespie offers some choice advice. First, she says, research is critical. “If you are going to write about something that actually happened, it is really important to know your subject well... People are often afraid to do that research, and think it will inhibit the imaginative experience, but I don't find that to be the case.” Second, she emphasizes how important it is to be “an observer of human experience and understand how people interact.” Says Gillespie, “Ask the questions: what does it mean to experience grief or lose a child? Once you start thinking about these things, the characters speak to you rather than you having to create them.”

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        Caitlin Herron is the events intern for Stillhouse Press.
        She will graduate with a BA in Writing and Rhetoric in December 2017.  
        She also works part time in Parks and Recreation for Fairfax County.