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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What a Mouth Will Do – Betsy Johnson

What a Mouth Will Do - Betsy Johnson

What a Mouth Will Do – Betsy Johnson

Paper, saddlestitched, 36 pp
$8.50 plus s&h
2004 , ISBN 0-932412-29-7

Betsy Johnson’s poems speak about being on the edge, about being on the border of loving and not-loving, of faith and no-faith, of acceptance and resistance.


Psalm: my daughter’s drawings
by Betsy Johnson

Arise
O people
of seventy legs
and afflicted hair.

Lift up
your succulent
bodies.

How great
are your hands
(if they can be found)

and under prosperous eyes

your mouths
stand flat and silent
as altars.

Sometimes flowers
and seven blades
of grass reign

but how often
you are overtaken
by a wilderness
of white:

that absence
of firmament

most feared
in dreams.


Betsy Johnson grew up in Minnesota. In addition to writing, she teaches at Eastern Illinois University and preaches nearly every Sunday at two small churches.