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Mayapple Press is a small literary press founded in 1978 by poet and editor Judith Kerman. We celebrate literature that is both challenging and accessible: poetry that transcends the categories of "mainstream" and "avant-garde"; women's writing; the Great Lakes/Northeastern culture; the recent immigrant experience; poetry in translation; science fiction poetry.

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Fierce This Falling – Betsy Johnson-Miller

Fierce This Falling - Betsy Johnson Miller

Fierce This Falling – Betsy Johnson Miller

Poetry. Paper, perfect bound, 72 pp
$14.95 plus s&h
2012, ISBN 978-1-936419-12-8

In Fierce This Falling, Betsy Johnson-Miller writes with the hard won honesty of the seer who has walked through the fire. Her poems chart the course of mortality through nature and the body, creating a fragile world balanced always on the verge of falling away even as it reveals its beauty. These poems ceaselessly question without offering easy answers, only the possibility of knowing we are not alone, the consolation that the biggest questions are shared by even the “small congregations/ of geese spend(ing) the morning/ beseeching a world/ beneath the water’s surface,” or the deer “staring at the house/ her skin holding life/ like a corset.” Read Betsy Johnson-Miller and taste the cold peace and fierce falling of a life truly lived, a life where we freely acknowledge that pain rides beauty’s back and doubt is never far from faith.
      Peter Grandbois, author of The Gravedigger and Nahoonkara

“Belief” and “disbelief” are the easy answers to spiritual quests. In her latest collection, Fierce This Falling, Betsy Johnson-Miller explores the much tougher road that is “faith”–the dangerous openness to possibility (“Living lately on my knees, it feels perverse / this waiting for crumbs from the universe”). As readers, we bear witness to her wanting, her watching, her waiting; to those precious, small epiphanies of a woman who is “lost on a good road.” Johnson-Miller’s words are at once measured… and fiercely beautiful.-
      Robert Gray, Contributing Editor, Shelf Awareness


What If Winter Is My Buddha

I concentrate

on envy,
for those who are free

of winter
are surely at peace.

Holding onto winter
like a hot coal, intent
on throwing it at someone else,

I am not about
to have compassion
for winter—even if each
winter has its own suffering—

I am not about to discover
my winter and then—
with all my heart—give
myself over to it.

“Are you awake?” my husband asks.

“No. I am winter.”


Betsy Johnson-Miller lives in Minnesota and teaches at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. In addition to writing poetry, Betsy has published a youth novel entitled The Bracelet. This is her second book of poetry. Her first, “Rain When You Want Rain”, was published by Mayapple Press in 2010