square words no back.jpg

OK, you’re thinking, what do these pictures have to do with poetry, chapbooks or design? You’re right, nothing, but there’s plenty of that on the other pages. And then, there’s just something about water. Water is never wrong.

What We Do

Bent Paddle Press endeavors to not only publish great poetry, but to design beautiful books. You can check out Bent Paddle's offerings on the chapbooks page, and read more about us on the About page. Scroll down the page for readings and events related to Bent Paddle books. The navigation bar is over to your left (no, your other left) or above if you’re using one of those phone thingies.

Bent Paddle Editing & Design: Besides poetry chapbooks, we also offer services in editing, critique, layout and design of other books (not just poetry), articles, brochures, flyers and whatnot (a highly technical catchall term I learned from my car mechanic). Read more on the Editing and Design page.

Playing a Part, by Melaney Poli

This is not a Bent Paddle Press book of poetry, but a magical ride of a novel written by our friend Melaney Poli (aka Sr Therese). The book is available from the publisher, Wipf and Stock Publishers.

About the Book (from the publisher)

All they wanted was to know how. I could do this, I could invent something . . .

It is 1991, and on a trip to the United States to research a new novel, British artist and writer Brinsel Thomas discovers she has more to deal with than just writing. When two police officers show up at her door with questions, her next stop is the police station. One little lie intended to extricate herself from what she is certain is a terrible mistake instead snowballs into a story she cannot get out of, trapped with a secret she cannot risk giving away.

Instead of working on her novel, Brinsel finds herself enlisted to help solve a murder, attempting to fabricate an incriminating correspondence, shedding a few copyrights, and dodging insistently prying questions.

There is one person who she is convinced might be able to help her: a private detective and sometime-professional musician named Max Thompson. Then again, he might not. Because there is one enormous, indisputable complication . . .

Melaney Poli is an artist and writer, and a nun of the Order of Julian of Norwich. She is also the author of “You Teach Me Light: Slightly Dangerous Poems,” also available from Wipf and Stock Publishers.

winner decal.png

Bent Paddle Press News

Canoeing a River with No Name, by Ronnie Hess, won first place in the 2018 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook Contest! This is the 2nd (of only 5 published) Bent Paddle Press books to win the chapbook contest. The other was Dove Tail, by Sharon Auberle and Jeanie Tomasko in 2017. Read more about these books on the chapbooks page.

Cover designed and letterpress printed by Wendy Vardaman (wendyvardaman.com).

Available now:

A new chapbook of poetry from B.J. Best, Everything about Breathing.

In Everything about Breathing author B.J. Best writes about simple things: snow boots, a rain gauge, an anemometer, clouds, lawnmowers. There is sadness and humor (sometimes together) and more good lines than most poets write in a good long lifetime. A couple examples to wit:

From “how clouds are formed”

...the mice were skittering above the ceiling
again, a little jazz percussion,
just enough to jangle the metronome

of your sleep

And from “snow boots”

they wait by the back door like a pair of gray cats,
ready to pounce on the snowswirls

mousing across the yard. i pour my feet
into those soft cisterns, and soon they’re lifeboats

floating across the troubled ocean
of a field, licking the land, kicking corn stubble,

This is not stuck-on-to-make-the-poem-sound-interesting language. This is poetic artistry at its best.

Read some sample poems here.

Go to the chapbooks page to see our other books.

Bent Paddle Book Readings and Events

Find Jeanie and Steve Tomasko’s homepage here.