Poetry. Paper, Perfect Bound. 74 pages
2017, 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
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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 conception of
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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. It showcases the work of all participants in the first 5 years of workshops who came from as far as
……. Read more about Greenhouse: The First 5 Years of the Rustbelt Roethke Writers’ Workshop – Judith Kerman & Amee Schmidt, eds.
Poetry. Paper, perfect bound, 98 pp
$16 plus s&h
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.
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
Poetry. Paper, saddlestitched, 28 pp
$6 plus s&h
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
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