Category Archives: Small Press

Catching Lightening from Perfume & Cigarettes

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Perfume & Cigarettes release date Friday 9/25!

The new book of poetry from Six Ft. Swells: Perfume & Cigarettes by Madeline Levy will be available this Friday 9/25/15 through this website and, so start saving your pennies, collecting cans, or selling plasma to get your copy. Advanced praise for Perfume & Cigarettes:

Madeline Levy has an uncanny talent for revealing the raw and sometimes uncomfortable truths in life and love. She’s not afraid to tell us what she likes, what she wants in a relationship, and what she definitely doesn’t want, which is to become another “wordless warrior/waving a hand for the check before dessert.” We can all learn from this poet–to live boldly, sharing our light, ever cautious of the “hand/closing the lid.” –—Shawn Aveningo, Poet, Editor, Publisher, The Poetry Box®


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Perfume & Cigarettes from Six Ft. Swells Press is on its way!

The brand new release from Six Ft. Swells Press, Perfume & Cigarettes by Madeline Levy is coming out soon! It brings all the after-hours poetry to the barstools… here’s a teaser for you. Don’t forget to subscribe at and like us on Facebook/Sixftswellspress to receive up to date info on the books and random poetic missives from the crew.

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The Swells Grow Bigger by the Day

Sometimes when we stand at the shore and look out to the horizon we can see the swells grow bigger and bigger, feel the trade winds shift and pick up, and we know something big is on the way.  Stay tuned lovers of poetry and our press…..keep watch, batten down the hatches, put on your favorite Perfume and bum a Cigarette….the time to set sail, pillage and plunder is upon us once again. No need to hide the women and children though bring ’em along. You are all invited.



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Six Ft. Swells Press wants to give it to you…

Book Giveaway

Send us a poem or two that is 20 lines or less about the one who left you OR if you were the lucky one to leave them, to with SUBMIT in the subject line and if chosen, you will receive A FREE signed copy of Six Ft. Swell’s new release, The Girl Who Left You by Amber Decker!  As Al Swearengen says “Free Fucking Gratis!”  The deadline is extended for your pleasure to midnight Monday October 27.  C’mon all you poets out there…give us your passion or pain in 20 lines or less and you just might get something in return. We, at Six Ft. Swells Press, believe in returning the favor.


Filed under break up, Contest, Giveaway, lost love, Poetry, Publishing, Small Press, The Writer's Life

New Book on the Horizon

Hello Mates!
Yes, we are sailing in the summer breeze, frosty brews in hand, smiling up at the sun. We haven’t just been kicking our feet up, though, there is work being done after hours that is causing all the smiling. We are happy as New Orleans clams (wait, there are clams in NOLA, right?) to announce that we will soon be releasing a new book of poetry!

Poet Amber Decker

Poet Amber Decker

This is exciting news in itself, but when you see this collection of poems by the amazing Amber Decker of West Virgina, titled, The Girl Who Left You, everyone will be raising their mugs to her talent and ability to knock us on our asses with one phrase. In true After Hours fashion, Amber’s poems are so visceral and rich, we can almost drink them.  And if they were whiskey, we’d drink the whole bottle, loving the way it burned all the way down.

Here is what we’re talking about:

by Amber Decker

You board a plane to Las Vegas
bound for a supporting role in a wedding
you do not believe has anything to do with love.
Earlier, we’d made love on an old mattress
on the floor of your best friend’s apartment,
the hard shell of your suitcase banging
into my knee, your mouth wet
with the harsh scrape of my name.
There was little romance in it,
only the frenzied unleashing
of the not-knowing,
the possibility of unhappy endings, cutthroat desire.
I do not love you.
Or, rather, I love you
as I would love a deck of cards
while waiting for a train or a bus.
Our goodbyes fly across a crowded room
like small white birds.
At the ticket counter,
you kiss me with lips smooth as Carey Grant.
In the car, the radio plays songs to name
every sort of love
that does not bloom
in my heart for you,
and the long white lines of the road,
like dark-haired college boys
with bodies pale as ghosts,
take me home to bed.


So, friends, pour yourselves a coldie, grab your nearest sweetheart, and kick your feet up (for us). The Girl Who Left You will arrive shortly, and you’ll want to receive her properly.

Be back soon…

Julie & and the SFS Crew



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New Poems and Pics from NOLA on Medusa’s Kitchen

Thursday, July 03, 2014

High Heels & Short Dresses

—Poems and Photos by Todd Cirillo, New Orleans

She owns a .357 Magnum,
tells me—
that she is a very good shot.

I have yet
to forget
a birthday
or special occasion.


Our first meeting
was like that moment
when someone feels something
and wonders
“was that a raindrop?”
with no idea
of the storm
that’s about to hit.


She is stunning
with a disheveled style,
wears purple glasses,
no ring,
flashes a great smile,
bounces through the crowd
with an athletic way
handing out flyers
for a free concert
this weekend.
I promise myself
that if she comes my way
I will tell her
these little words
that can change everything.

I watch her
move through the people
and don’t care what they are thinking,
then she is in front of me,
small hand with flyer outstretched.
I take it and ask her name,
introduce myself
and fulfill my promise
by saying all of those little words
to her.
She keeps smiling.

At the end I ask,
“Do you have a significant other?”
she touches my shoulder,
leans in close
and whispers
those little words
that change everything,

“Of course I do.”


for Bill Gainer

Sitting at the bar
I think of you
while listening
to Bob Dylan,
not the, Like a Rolling Stone
or Tangled Up in Blue Dylan
but later, current Dylan–
voice like three packs of cigarettes,
sandpaper and rotten whiskey.
The Dylan that is hard to understand
but can still write lines
like a motherfucker
when you listen closely.

I ordered three fingers
of Bourbon
even though
I don’t drink Bourbon,
but I know you did
on those dark and tense neon nights
of years ago
when you too spoke loud
and clear.

I drank the Bourbon slowly,
looked around at the girls,
paying particular attention
to their shoes
which you like so well.
Dylan sang,
the whiskey burned hard and fast,
the heels were high,
the dresses short
and I thought this might be a long way
of saying
that even though
the times went a-changing,
I think of you
and your voice,
loud and clear.

and that  you too,
still write lines
like a motherfucker.
 Bill Gainer and Todd Cirillo
Our thanks to ex-Grass Valley poet Todd Cirillo for today’s delectable delights. Todd is co-editor and publisher of Six Ft. Swells Press. He continues to run up bar tabs under the neons while flirting with dangerous words like love, lust and longing. Look him up at or Todd can be found dancing in the second-lines which pass by his home in New Orleans.


Today’s LittleNip:

There are bigger cities than New Orleans, more beautiful cities than New Orleans, and more important cities than New Orleans but there is no city more interesting than New Orleans.

—James Carville


Todd Cirillo


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April Is National Poetry Month and it runs a close second to October’s Banned Book Month as my favorite. The memories take me back to the beginnings of Six Ft. Swells Press when I worked at Odyssey Books in Grass Valley. Utah Phillips held court outside of Flour Garden, Gary Snyder always brought his long out of print hard cover books out of the chicken coop  down to the store.  And every Sunday in April, The store would hold poetry readings from local poets and some bigger names as well. Many poems were read about dimensions and crystals and the inner feelings of trees and what makes rivers happy.  But, every so often poems would include words such as whiskey, jukebox, records, New Orleans, Bukowski, Otis, lust, hangovers, passion, redheads, PBR tallboys, fuchsia, fights, blowjobs and pirates.  Uttered from the mouths of Julie Valin, Todd Cirillo, Bill Gainer, Will Staple and myself.  This my friends is where the spark began. the big bang, if you will.
2006-09-24 001 177
When some of us asked ourselves, if these are the poems that we like then why not put them out for the masses. For them to consume, get drunk of off and dance on the bar.  April, the thawing of winter.  When drinks and the radio begin to move out onto the porch.  Where soon the sweat will become heavier and the clothes fewer.  It’s no accident that Poetry Month is in April.  It’s the gateway time of year.  The rapping on the chamber door. When Nicholson sticks his head in and says “Here’s Johnny” .  Letting you know that the Winter is gone and the season of Rebirth is upon us and some pirates have showed up, ready to read some poems.


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I too, am a total Sucker…

“Got this fantastic book of poetry today. I must say it couldn’t have arrived at a better time. With all the tears I’ve cried the past few days it was nice to laugh a little. Todd Cirillo totally love this. I’ll be rereading it later tonight with a nice glass of wine or a couple shots of rum or maybe both.
I to am a total sucker.”  –April Barlow, Oklahoma Six Ft. Swells fan

True Testimony from another satisfied sucker!  You all can pick up your New Years copy of Todd Cirillo’s “Sucker’s Paradise” on along with all other illicit Six Ft. Swells titles; “The Distance Between” from Julie Valin and “The Coast is Clear” by Matt Amott.



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Ride the Bull, Merry Christmas…


Happy Happy Holidays—

May your next black out…be the one you remember most.  It is time to put on some Doors music and whip the horses eyes on this trip…This is where Six Ft. Swells Press truly shines…through the rose colored lens of our felonies and misdemeanors, illegitimate children and body doubles for world leaders…how wonderful to be such as we are…golden, eternal, tough, arrogant, untouchable and forceful.  This is the holiday message Six Ft. Swells brings to you…and isn’t it a lovely one?  full of funk and fucked up ness and blues and soul…man…that’s a good evening…..there comes a time when we have to sing…”this is the end…my only friend…the end…”  I like that.

For everything that has happened this year… the slipping on the side of goodness aint that bad…You are good and we are good…what can top that?  This is beauty and if it don’t turn out…oh well.  Truth be told…I was trying to find some Quicksilver Messager Service.  Anyway..Happy Holidaysetc. etc.  Listen to the MC5 and Son HouseThank you Dr. Cullen you put me on this wicked path.. thank you.  

In an effort to feature others that make our poetic hearts smile; I want to celebrate and acknowledge, a man who understands After Hours Poetry and taught me bullshit journal entry vs. substance…Ladies and Gentelmen…love him…touch him…feel him….John Cullen….

The Spark

 Ladies get in free and compete

for the grand prize if they ride the bull

wearing a bikini.  It’s Saturday night,

and every drink’s on special at the recreation

room behind the new arcade.

No one’s worked since Tri-Tool closed,

but The Spark’s lights brag twenty six

lanes with “imports on tap!”

The fifty dollar winner is the woman who strips

and sits the bull long enough to bounce her boobs.

Young guys stare and drink one buck draft.

Back on the lanes, a few guys bowl,

swapping frame for frame.  Teenagers roll free-hand.

They sight the head pin, then spin their balls, harder

and harder, hoping they can roll over average.

–John Cullen, Big Rapids, MI

Originally from upstate New York, where he attended SUNY Geneseo and later worked in the entertainment industry.   In the late 70’s he moved a hair west and ended up in Ohio for a few years, teaching at BGSU.  In the 80’s he moved to Michigan where for many years he has kept bees and taught at Ferris State University.   Currently he lives a bit further west, purchased a few horses to keep his dogs company, and continues to teach at Ferris.   His poetry has appeared recently in Grist, The Milo Review, Bicycle, and IthacaLit.   His chapbook Town Crazy won the 2013 Slipstream Chapbook contest and the title poem received a Pushcart nomination from Slipstream Press.      He can be contacted at


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