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About Bent Paddle Press

Jeanie and Steve Tomasko on a mountain in Maine (the wild blueberries were awesome!) They live in Wisconsin.

Bent Paddle Press is a venerable institution that's been around since, oh, 2016 or so. It’s a small thing, there’s me, Steve Tomasko, chief designer and comma herder and Jeanie Tomasko, chief poem organizer, awesome critiquer and aesthetics checker.

(If you want to read more about Jeanie and Steve Tomasko and see their poetry and books, see their website here). 

I wanted to print a small book using one of Jeanie’s poems (Pray at All Times). So, we printed it, hand-sewed it, and then thought, “hey, we need a press name.” Jeanie and I often joked about the odd press names we've come across, especially in poetry: Unwavering Stare Press, Hobgoblins, inc. Press, Lugubrious Toad Press (OK, I just made those up, feel free to use them if you want). After pitching a few names back and forth we came up with Bent Paddle. We do own a couple of bent paddles to go along with the canoe that we don't use nearly so much as we used to, or wish to. 

The next use of the press was also "in house." Jeanie had a  collection of poetry that needed to be published. That was The Collect of the Day, a lovely mix of the spiritual and the quirky and a tribute to a good friend and poet who passed away much too early. Then Jeanie teamed up with poet and artist Sharon Auberle (not for the first time). They traded drawings/sketches and each wrote poems to each other's artwork. With that, Dove Tail was born. 

With Bent Paddle's next four publications we've gone outside the home to publish books from authors Richard Merelman, Ronnie Hess, Ron Czerwien and B.J. Best. 

Steve does most of the design for the book covers and interior layout. I work closely with the authors to make sure they are happy with the finished product. Our print runs are small, usually 100-150 books.

Bent Paddle Press endeavors to not only publish great poetry (which is, of course, the heart of the matter), but to design beautiful books. Click on the “Chapbooks” link to your left to check out our books. To order, you can do so from our store.  We also offer editing and design services (for any project, not just poetry). Read more on the “Editing and Design” page.

Submissions: At this time Bent Paddle Press is taking submissions of manuscripts by invitation only.


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