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Bent Paddle Chapbooks

Go to the Bookstore to purchase any of the books below.

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.

Cover art: "Blue Medley" © copyright Elwira Pioro.

A little rain, a little more

Poetry by Ron Czerwien. Bent Paddle Press, 2018, 34 pp., $12.

Czerwien writes the strange familiar and the familiar strange. Snowflakes, owls, fathers, loves, premonitions; familiar but new. These poems surprise. They are conversations with friends you always knew you had but never knew you had. Poems of close attention; poems from that place poets go and bring back something entirely their own. Pull up your wing chair, sit awhile at this window on the world.

“This is a wonderful new chapbook, ...full of feeling and elegy, language and play!”
—Robin Chapman-poet, artist and Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences.

[This] book is graceful, sad, strange and beautiful. Attending as carefully to things of language as to the observed world, the acuity of these poems is matched by their formal economy. Everything’s essential.
—Andy Gricevich-musician, performer, poet and editor of cannot exist.

You can read (and hear!) some sample poems here.

Bent Paddle Press, 2017, 50pp., $12.

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Winner of the 2018 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook Prize!

Canoeing a River with No Name

Poetry by Ronnie Hess.

Follow poet Hess on this riverine journey of thoughtful, nuanced poems. Hess' unique voice can come across as almost matter-of-fact, yet  there are depths to her poetry that belie this seemingly straightforward tone. Rocks and rapids lie just underneath the gentle current and surprises wait around the next bend.   

Read some poems here.

See the author's website here.


Bent Paddle Press, 2017, 25 pp., $12.


Poetry by Richard Merelman.

Merelman finds a way into the human condition with storied, deeply layered poetry. Merelman cares about his poems the way an expert woodsmith does his cabinets. He is an adept wordsmith and exquisite craftsman and polishes his works til they shine.

Read some poems here.


Bent Paddle Press, 2017, 25 pp., $12.

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Winner of the 2017 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook Prize!

Dove Tail

Art and Poetry by Sharon Auberle and Jeanie Tomasko.

Another poetry / artwork Collaboration between Jeanie & Sharon Auberle. The two exchanged drawings and then wrote poems to each other's art. A superb collaboration of both visual art and poetry!

Read some poems and see some of the artwork here.


Bent Paddle Press, 2017, 30 pp., $12.

The Collect of the Day

Poetry by Jeanie Tomasko.

Limited edition of 126 hand sewn chapbooks with French covers.

A blend of grief and beauty and prayer and hope with a touch (sometimes a big touch) of quirky.

Read some poems here.

Go to the bookstore to purchase any of the books.