The Very Edge


Join Flying Ketchup Press as it releases its first collection of international voices in poetry. “The Very Edge” is an intense collection of urgent and inspiring poetry that brings together writers in English, Spanish, and French. It features New York poet, Anne Whitehouse, and Kansas Poet Laureate, Huascar Medina. Co-edited by Polly Alice McCann and Araceli Esparza.

Take a journey from the hustle of Kansas City, the launch of a new press, with a global poetic voice: you’ll fly from the top of the Swiss Alps, across border towns and prairies, down the Amazon and up to Manhattan and Tokyo rooftops. This book is now available on Amazon for $16.99 and on kindle as an eBook for $5.99.

Flying Ketchup Press invites the Kansas City and global poetry community to join them, on Saturday, October 24th at 1p (CST) (8p Paris time). They will have a virtual reading open to the public. Visit to stay up to date on this reading and others.  You can follow them on Facebook: Instagram: @flying_ketchup_press Twitter: @press_flying

An Interview as Introduction from the Editors of “The Very Edge”

Araceli Esparza: When did this journey start called “The Very Edge”?

Polly Alice: I put out the call for poets in September of 2018, just a month after we had our soft opening for the press.

Araceli Esparza: So how many poets do we have? Where are they from?

Polly Alice: These poems were sent from poets the world over, from the top the Swiss Alps, to the U.S. border, and the sky rises of Manhattan and Tokyo. We have 37 poets and artists in this collection if you include the both of us.

Araceli Esparza: That is impressive!

Polly Alice: So what do you think of them as a whole? What do you feel readers will appreciate about this collection?

Araceli Esparza: It’s a page turner. I highly recommend that readers go through this collection in short spunks of moments that are bookended with the beautiful photography.

Polly Alice: Yes, I like what you said earlier about the poems being powerful. It’s like they were written in the back of a truck or in a tent at night. They feel urgent, important. I’m glad you like the art. The art and photography just sort of happened. Poets are artists and artists are poets. However, we have two featured artists for this collection. Samantha Malay is the textile designer and photographer poet who is featured on the cover. And Mano Sotelo is the award winning feature artist who I felt captured the perfect visual aspect of this book with his meditative portraits that capture someone living at an intersection that I would call “the very edge.” I have to mention Janet McMillan Rives and Omar Bárcena who sent vibrant photography.

Araceli Esparza: Yes, the art is important in this book. It takes me on a journey. I think these images reflect the poems so that you are allowing a new light to come into the narrative. And who are the poets featured in this collection?

Polly Alice: This collection features three main poets, but there are forty additional poets in all. Poet Laureate of Kansas, Huascar Medina graciously sent us three poems to feature. The one called The New Americans, I heard him perform it in person and I’ve kept hearing it in my mind ever since, especially as I worked on this book. Anne Whitehouse who is a prolific New York poet, journalist and book reviewer. And you are the third featured poet, Araceli. I love the way your poems helped root the others. They get to the quick center of personal emotions behind how political actions can affect our daily breath, our daily identity, and our daily choice of word–and even more so of the poet. I wanted the collection to serve first as a table for international poets to gather around with our words to cross borders.

Araceli Esparza: What is the heart of the book?

Polly Alice: I’ve gathered these voices to show how much we are all the same, how we all face borders and boundaries of the mind, the heart, the spirit, and of course, political borders which threaten to divide us. What would you tell writers? How can we support each other at this time?

Araceli Esparza: I’d say the message is already in this book: to be a welcome beam of light—to be a reflection of acceptance. We all believe in the power of belonging. The traditions of social justice have shifted, and we need to stay nimble for these new waves. In this book we read and see that narrative. Last Words?

Polly Alice: I think we should thank these poets and artists for their gentle fierceness for putting our borders and boundaries into words, so we can carry them with us and continue to push for a multicultural literary community. We are deeply grateful for the featured visual artists.

Araceli Esparza: And a reminder that while we strive to present all languages with dignity and respect, we let the dialect of different poets and their regions speak for themselves. Over grammatically correct language, we focused on the emotional tinder. When it came to choosing correct “Spanish” we chose poetic license and the poets everyday way of speaking. Our focus was to represent a visual and authentic voice.

Polly Alice: Yes, to create an array of natural, lyrical voices to bring our edges together. To mend.

Both Editors: We hope you enjoy the multitude of voices and journeys in this book.

You can follow the action on social media via these hashtags: #theveryedge #poetontheedge #flyingketchuppress #writerscommunity #poetaextremo #poeme #poème #poema #poèteaubord  #poésieurgente

By Huascar Medina

Huascar Medina

Huascar is a poet, writer, and performer who lives in Topeka. He currently works as a freelance copywriter and as the Literary Editor for seveneightfive magazine publishing stories that spotlight literary and artistic events in northeast Kansas. He is the winner of ARTSConnect's 2018 Arty Award for Literary Art.

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