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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Distant Music – John Palen

John Palen Distant Music ISBN 978-1-936419-74-6

Poetry. Paper, Perfect Bound. 74 pages2017, ISBN: 978-1-936419-74-6 $15.95 & S&H

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Distant Music by John Palen is available for Kindle here.


The poems in John Palen’s Distant Music inhabit a harsh Midwestern America of damaged prairies and inward-turning small towns, whose people are nonetheless touched by moments of grace. Unmarked graves of paupers in a rural cemetery underlie native flowers “in glorious bloom.” A victim of childhood sexual abuse grows into her own recovery by “Learning to Breathe.” A snow-plow driver burdened with guilt finds respite after a long night’s

…….    Read more about Distant Music – John Palen

Mayapple Press author John Palen to read from his works on Saturday September 22nd – Champaign IL

PROSE, POETRY, MUSIC
Saturday September 22nd at INDI GO

Two East Central Illinois writers and a singer-songwriter perform Saturday night at Indi Go Arts Co-Op, 9 E. University, Champaign.

Roxane Gay, Lania Knight and John Palen will read from their works in the 8 p.m. event. Jeff Arrigo will sing and play guitar. There is no cover charge.

Gay, who teaches at Eastern Illinois University at Charleston, is widely published. Her book Ayiti came out in 2011 from Artistically Declined Press. She has work in several anthologies and recent publications in Mid-American Review, Midwestern Gothic, Big Muddy and elsewhere.

Knight, who also teaches at Eastern, is the author of Three Cubic Feet, a novella from Main Street Rag. She has published stories and essays in PANK, Midwestern Gothic, and Jabberwock Review.

Palen’s latest book is “Small Economies”, a short-fiction chapbook from Mayapple Press. His “Open Communion: New and Selected Poems” came out in 2005, and he has recent work in Citron Review, Lingerpost,

…….    Read more about Mayapple Press author John Palen to read from his works on Saturday September 22nd – Champaign IL

Small Economies – John Palen

Small Economies - John Palen

Small Economies – John Palen

Fiction. Paper, Perfect Bound. 58pp.
$13.95 plus S&H
2012, ISBN 978-1-936419-09-8

Small Economies’s short stories and flash fictions are economical in narration but comprehensive in their suggestion of the past, present, and future lives of their characters. The moments they contain are set against the background of diverse public spaces: the institutions, stores, factories, restaurants, even the street corners where people must come together and choose to serve, reject, or compete against one another. Palen writes with a poet’s sensitivity to language and the physical, as well as empathy for all of his characters. The stories convey his clear

…….    Read more about Small Economies – John Palen

Greenhouse: The First 5 Years of the Rustbelt Roethke Writers’ Workshop – Judith Kerman & Amee Schmidt, eds.

Greenhouse: The First 5 Years of the Rustbelt Roethke Writers' Workshop - Judith Kerman & Amee Schmidt, eds.

Greenhouse: The First 5 Years of the Rustbelt Roethke Writers’ Workshop – Judith Kerman & Amee Schmidt, eds.

Poetry. Paper, perfect bound, 78 pp.
$14.95 plus s&h
2008, ISBN 978-0932412-683


Greenhouse: The First 5 Years of the Rustbelt Roethke Writers’ Workshop
Edited by Judith Kerman & Amee Schmidt

The Rustbelt Roethke Writers’ Workshop/Retreat was inspired by the work and life of Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), who was born and brought up in Saginaw, Michigan. The Workshop has met each July since 2002, providing experienced writers with a comfortable, egalitarian atmosphere of peer (teacherless) workshops and public readings. This anthology was published during the centennial year of Roethke’s birth as part of the year-long Roethke Centennial celebration.

…….    Read more about Greenhouse: The First 5 Years of the Rustbelt Roethke Writers’ Workshop – Judith Kerman & Amee Schmidt, eds.

Open Communion: New and Selected Poems – John Palen

Open Communion: New and Selected Poems - John Palen

Poetry. Paper, perfect bound, 98 pp
$16 plus s&h
2005, ISBN-0-932412-31-9

This selection, reaching back twenty years, establishes John Palen’s quiet eloquence in poems which convey a deep, straightforward honesty about the fumblings, failures and occasional radiance of human life.


Prurience
by John Palen

“It’s like playing the slots,” my doctor says.
“The right allergens line up,
and — ka-ching! — you hit the jackpot.”
I’m naked and cold on his examining table,
my skin distressed like a faux antique.

These scaly spots and bumps
itch like fire — like the thoughts
Ann Landers says we all have,
but should try not to scratch.

After 10 weeks
I’ve given up

…….    Read more about Open Communion: New and Selected Poems – John Palen

Staying Intact – John Palen

Staying Intact - John Palen

Staying Intact – John Palen

Poetry. Paper, saddlestitched, 28 pp
$6 plus s&h
1997, ISBN-0-932412-11-4

These poems, as with any real poetry, make us see in new and deeper ways. Most of the works involve common feelings or occurances that we do not normally deem significant or beautiful. John’s elegant use of words brings out that beauty (not always a pleasant beauty).


Sundays at the Office
by John Palen

Each office has its individual touch,
a map of Canada or photographs,
cartoons from the New Yorker. It’s with such
details we intersect each other’s paths
and point to life beyond the cubicle.
Her flowers, dried at home, adorn a shelf,
his children’s crayon drawings crowd the

…….    Read more about Staying Intact – John Palen