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.

Bent Paddle Press News

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A second Bent Paddle Press book wins the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets annual Chapbook Prize!

Canoeing a River with No Name, by Ronnie Hess won first place in the 2018 WFOP chapbook contest. The award was announced in late April, 2019.

Available now from Bent Paddle Press: A new chapbook of poetry by B.J. Best

Cover designed and letterpress printed by Wendy Vardaman (

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.

Read more about the book at Bent Paddle Press’ new website.


Readings and Events:

Steve Tomasko wins the 2018 Hal Prize.

Steve won the 2018 Hal Prize for his poem, "Pareidolia." It was published in the Peninsula Pulse. He also won an honorable mention for the poem, "This is just to say."


Jeanie's newest book from Red Bird Chapbooks, dear little fist.


44 pages
8.5" x 5.5" single signature with hand sewn binding.
Published February 2018, $12

Here's what the publisher had to say about this chapbook:

"In dear little fist, Tomasko crafts a collection that mirrors the many ways a heart can beat, sometimes frantic, sometimes steady, and sometimes strikingly quiet. Moving from poignant to funny and back and dealing with a palpable sense of angst connected to the questions of what it means when you can't trust your heart, Tomasko delivers moments of softness, contemplation, and wanting that resound in rhythms reflecting arrhythmia. The next moment is not always what you expect, but you must carry on with it and follow where they lead."

Order from our store or from the publisher.