Book Shelf

Heather Bartel

Founder & Editor 






informal Plath scholar

Aries sun; Capricorn moon and rising

the short story

Heather Bartel writes hybrid essays, poetry, fiction, one-act plays, and old-fashioned letters. She holds a BA in English from Webster University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. 


Beyond writing and editing, her projects include shooting a tarot-inspired Polaroid series, collecting rocks and houseplants, and practicing yoga and emotive dance aerobics.


Heather is a deeply rooted Midwesterner currently living with her husband and dog in Athens, GA.  


"FLOAT" is a small poem in a series of poems written as a practice in tethering phrases that flowed through my mind and bled into my journal. The image at the forefront of this poem's creation was a body floating in water (a river), face-up. It is, I think, ultimately, a poem about breath.


Forthcoming in Heavy Feather Review

"Murmurations (II): Mirrors"

"Murmurations (I): First Memory of Birds" is the first in a series of three essays within a larger collection of work about disappearing women. This particular essay explores memory and rupture, the ways in which these conditions of a life inform the story I tell of myself. 

Forthcoming in Fence




MURMURATIONS is a short essay collection that studies the lives, deaths, and disappearances of various women: Anna Karenina, Virginia Woolf, my cousin, my mother, and myself. The narrative explores how women shape life and death, how women are shaped by the stars, by their mothers, by their fathers, by the word woman, by each other; what is created by the reverberation of change, what is heard in an echo, what is attached to a shadow, the daughter. MURMURATIONS is about the roots a woman grows as a daughter, and how these roots both tether her to the past and unravel her into the future

This is a completed manuscript and is available for publication.

MURMURATIONS was long-listed for the 2019 Tarpaulin Sky Book Awards.


EXIT THE BODY is an essay collection, if a collection of essays can include a tarot reading, a one-act starring dead and dreamed women, conversations with Sylvia Plath in the mirror, letters to a ghost. I think it can. It is a work about illusion and choice, a meditation on the mind and its place within the body: what escapes, what ruptures, what is created, what echoes. The work considers what to do with an obsession with the mirror when the person in the mirror is either the only person you can trust, or the one who is trying to kill you.

This is a completed manuscript and is available for publication.

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Vintage Light Balls

She was color and brilliance and strangeness.

-The Diary of Anaïs Nin