The perfect pairing for all your stillhouse reads


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. 


  • 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


  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.


  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.


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.


  • 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


  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. 



  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.


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, this spacey brew will have you reaching for your dearest... or maybe just another mug of this stellar concoction. 


  1. Combine ingredients in punch bowl.

  2. Add ice.

  3. Garnish with rosemary and serve immediately.


  • 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



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. 



Preliminary Cover Art; Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Kent Adams.

Preliminary Cover Art; Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Kent Adams.

One of the most difficult parts of turning a manuscript into a book is the visual nature of the final product: the cover. We certainly don't want to merely represent a story or poem, but to encapsulate what the whole of the manuscript is doing in the visual equivalent of a thirty-second pitch; essentially, how do we tell the reader what this book is about without telling them exactly what it's about? With DIG, one of my first goals was to create something that tapped into the material presence of a book—the page texture, the way that the physical construction mirrors the content—creating a conceptual argument for reading a physical book, a proposition as essential as DIG author, Bryan Borland's assertion that "the world needs another love poem / like it needs blood in the throat."

Working with Jonathan Kent Adams, the cover artist for DIG, we've been able to create something that transforms some of the more subtle themes in the text into a featured part of the experience of reading the book. Conversations with Bryan early in the editing process led us in the direction of imagining as abstract a landscape as possible, one in which definitions and forms become abstract as well—a concept that Jonathan's work engages with. While the editorial staff was deeply into the layers in the book's text, we picked up on the distinct visceral nature of the text, and Jonathan decided to foreground it.

The reader might work through the process of the book in a way that is similar to the tactile and visual nature of the cover that Jonathan has developed.

“After reading some of the manuscript for DIG, I realized how much my process as an artist related to the content of the poetry. I am constantly wanting my viewer to go within. To dig. To search. To rethink. To struggle. To reinvent. The content reminded me of peeling through all of the layers of the self. Digging to the heart. I used anatomy and figurative drawing, because I wanted the imagery to be about the human experience and not necessarily any specific objects. I also wanted something that was not very direct to the viewer. I wanted the image to seem as if you needed to search or pull back a layer. I believe the best art allows the viewer or reader to search. DIG made me search. I hope the cover is a reflection of that," Jonathan explained.

DIG  in two parts; Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Kent Adams.

DIG in two parts; Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Kent Adams.

The reader might work through the process of the book in a way that is similar to the tactile and visual nature of the cover that Jonathan has developed. Essentially, the top-most layer engages with its nature as the 'skin' of the book, allowing the reader to delve further through physical layers until reaching the text itself—the most abstract part—the poems. Now that I write it, "delve" seems to be a perfect companion to the notion of digging, a willingness to fall headlong into what has been dug up. With the cut-out cover and the multi-layer physical depth of the book, the conceptual argument of the manuscript seems all that much clearer, that there's an essential kernel buried beneath the surface—even if you have to dig a little while to find it.

DIG (forthcoming Sept. 2016) is a book of poems by Bryan Borland. Borland is the author of two previous collections of poetry, My Life As Adam and Less Fortunate Pirates: Poems from the First Year Without My Father.

Douglas J. Luman is the Poetry Editor for Stillhouse Press, the Book Reviews Editor for the Found Poetry Review, Editor of So to Speak, and Assistant Poetry Editor of the journal Phoebe. He can likely be found asleep in a library somewhere in Northern Virginia.