A Note from Mel

Make the connection…

New Publisher on the Block! Cherry Castle Publishing June 9, 2016


I joyfully took on the role of Poetry Editor for an exciting new press, Cherry Castle Publishing.


Cherry Castle Publishing, LLC is one of America’s newest and most energetic publishers of great literature—a press where words grow mighty trees. It is a press that honours the vibrant multicultural voice of American literature, one book at a time. Our fundamental commitment is to practice literary equality and to embrace work that is informed by the social, political and cultural vigor of our times.


The press has put out exciting new work, We Didn’t Know Any Gangsters by beloved DC poet Brian Gilmore, and “This” Ameri-can-ah by prolific poet Curtis L. Crisler.


Truth Thomas, the founder of Cherry Castle Publishing, delved into children’s literature with the amazing protagonist, Mya, who challenges the images and morality standards fed to her by her television in My TV is Not the Boss of Me.


New work is forthcoming from the press, including the exciting anthology, Songs for a Passbook Torch, which will include works by varied poets and writers in honor of Nelson Mandela’s freedom-fighting legacy.


Stay abreast of this fresh new publisher’s news and publications at: http://www.cherrycastlepublishing.com/index.html.


In love and poetry,


Melanie Henderson



P.S. We continue to accept submissions for the Mandela Anthology. If you have a gem or two or three that addresses the tough beauty of this ancestor, feel free to send. Check the guidelines below.


We are looking for poetry and short essays that:
(1) honor Nelson Mandela’s freedom fighting legacy (first and foremost);
(2) offer tribute to Winnie Mandela for her related activism, and all appropriate others active in the anti-apartheid struggle;
(3) shine light on the past and present fight for racial justice in SA (particularly in the context of police brutality);
(4) shine light on the profound similarities between police brutality in SA under the height of Apartheid, and current race-based police brutality in America.
Songs for a Passbook Torch, edited by award-winning poets, Truth Thomas and Melanie Henderson, is scheduled for publication when all the type is right. Payment will be in the form of one contributor’s copy.

Send your work as a SINGLE attachment (.doc; .docx; .rtf; PDF). Submit up to five previously unpublished poems and essays (honoring a 3,000 word limit) to:


Please direct questions to editor@cherrycastlepublishing.com
THE SUBMISSION PERIOD FOR THIS ANTHOLOGY IS CURRENTLY OPEN-ENDED. Decisions for inclusion in the anthology will be made on a rolling basis




Where I’ll Be at AWP: Tidal Basin Basin Review Reading and Reception, 2/3/11, 7:15 pm January 30, 2011


Tidal Basin Review will host a reading at the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage, 1816 12th Street N.W., Washington, DC 20009. No charge. Donations welcomed. Featuring Reginald Dwayne Betts, Iman Byfield, Ching-In Chen, Michela Costello, DéLana R.A. Dameron, Kyle Dargan, Elizabeth Fogle, Brian Gilmore, and Douglas Kearney. Music by DJ AJ and refreshments to follow.


Reginald Dwayne Betts is a husband and the father of a young son. He is the author of the memoir A Question of Freedom and the poetry collection Shahid Reads His Own Palm.

Iman Byfield is an MFA-Poetry candidate at Chicago State University. She works as an editorial assistant at Third World Press, and is a poetry editor for 95Notes literary magazine.  Her work has appeared in the Garland Court Review and Eight Magazine, a student publication.

Ching-In Chen is the author of The Heart’s Traffic (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press). Daughter of Chinese immigrants, she is a Kundiman, Macondo and Lambda Fellow. A community organizer, she has worked in the Asian American communities of San Francisco, Oakland, and Boston. Ching-In is a member of Save Our Chinatown Committee, which is focused on preserving the historical Riverside Chinatown.

Michela Costello is a poet and teacher in Washington, DC. She is currently an adjunct professor of English and Education. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in The Glasgow Review, Wanderlust and Poetryfish, among others.

DéLana R.A. Dameron is the author of How God Ends Us selected by Elizabeth Alexander as the 2008 South Carolina Poetry Book Award winner. She currently resides in New York City.

Kyle Dargan is the founder and editor of POST NO ILLS magazine and an assistant professor of literature and creative writing at American University. His most recent collection is Logorrhea Dementia: A Self-Diagnosis (UGA, 2010). His first collection, The Listening, was awarded the 2003 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and his second, Bouquet of Hungers, won a 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.

Elizabeth Fogle writes poems very much rooted in place and myth and though she is no longer living in the Carolinas or near the Atlantic, she continues to write about the places and people that haunted her as a child. She currently teaches in the English program at Penn State Erie, the Behrend College and lives in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Brian Gilmore is Poet, public interest lawyer; two books: elvis presley is alive and well and living in harlem, (Third World Press 1993); Jungle Nights and Soda Fountain Rags: Poem for Duke Ellington (Karibu Books 2001), columnist, The Progressive Media Project, contributing writer: Ebony Magazine (online); Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2001, 2003; Cave Canem fellow 1997; Pushcart Prize nominee 2007.

Poet/Performer/Librettist Douglas Kearney’s work has been featured in many fine publications and venues in print, in-the-flesh and digital code. His first full-length collection of poems, Fear, Some, was published in 2006 (Red Hen Press). His second manuscript, The Black Automaton, was a National Poetry Series selection (Fence). He lives in the Valley with his family.

Click AWP 2011 Off-site Events for more information.


Third World Press Event, 4.24.2010 April 6, 2010


Third World Press Foundation Fundraiser

Saturday, 24 April 2010 Contact : Quraysh Ali Lansana: 773-651-0700

Parish Gallery 1054 31st Street N.W., Washington, DC 20007 

Third World Press Foundation Fundraiser hosted by Quraysh Ali Lansana and featuring Haki R. Madhubuti and Walter Mosley Saturday, April 24, 2010; 7:00 – 9:30pm at Parish Gallery 1054 31st Street N.W.; Washington, DC 20007; ph. 773-651-0700 There will be readings from Brian Gilmore, Melanie Henderson, Tony Medina, and Venus Thrash Suggested donations: $50 for a gift bag and one book or $100 for a gift bag and three books To get tickets, visit http://www.twpfoundationdc.eventbrite.com

A message from Dr. Randall Horton about the Third World Press event:

“Please come out, all are welcome regardless of whether you can make a donation or not. Come out and support one of the oldest Black presses in the country….also, please pass around and tell your friends…….we need your help to make this a success….”

See you there!