Started on a whim, but damn we're having fun!
Bent Paddle Press is a venerable institution that's been around since, oh, 2016 or so. 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 figured 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, but who knows, they may be out there somewhere. 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. Oh, sorry for the tangent.
The next use of the press was also "in house." Jeanie had a collection of poetry that needed to be published, that became 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, Dovetail was born.
With Bent Paddle's third publication, we've gone outside the home to publish Sensorium, a chapbook by Richard Merelman. His poetry is precisely drawn and deeply layered. The kind that you can read more than once and find new insights each time.
Bent Paddle Press endeavors to not only publish great poetry, but to design beautiful books. You can check out our offerings below. If you care to order, you can do so from our store. Stay tuned for more books to come (a little bird says there may be a collection coming from Ronnie Hess).
The Collect of the Day
By Jeanie Tomasko. Bent Paddle Press, 2017, 30 pp., $12.
Limited edition of 126 hand sewn chapbooks with French covers.
A blend of grief and beauty and prayer and hope with a touch of the quirky thrown in.
Read some poems here.
Art and poetry by Sharon Auberle and Jeanie Tomasko. Bent Paddle Press, 2017, 25 pp., $12.
Another poetry / artwork Collaboration between Jeanie & Sharon Auberle. The two exchanged drawings and then wrote poems to each other's art. A superb collaboration!
Read some poems and see some of the artwork here.
Richard will be reading poems from his new book at various venues in the coming months. The events are listed below.
Sunday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m., Art In, 1444 East Washington St., Madison. This is part of the WFOP, Winter reading series, five other poets will read on this Sunday.
Monday, March 19 at 7 p.m., The Draw, 800 S. Lawe St., Appleton, WI.
Wednesday, May 9 at 7 p.m., Original Voice, Coloma Hotel, 132 Main St., Coloma, WI.
Saturday, June 16 at 8 p.m., Arts + Literature Laboratory, 2021 Winnebago Street, Madison, WI.