Monday, June 6, 2022


There's no sugar-coating it: two years of pandemic living strangled NightBallet Press. I've put off writing this post as long as I can, but here's the truth of where we are now. 

As much as I passionately love the press, I simply cannot justify trying to keep going the way I did before 2020. Due to supply issues, rising costs, unforeseen circumstances, and medical concerns, I've been forced to downsize the press to include offering only the books I published before 2020.

This means I won't be accepting any new manuscripts for publication. That part of the press is shut down. I'm truly sorry. I loved 
with all my heart working with poets as an editor, designer, and publisher.

The press is not totally moribund, however. 

I will continue fulfilling online orders for individual copies of existing NightBallet Press titles as long as I can do so. I had already produced many copies of books ahead of 2020, anticipating a busy year of conferences and literary festivals (2020 being my first full year of retirement from my day job), so I have quite a few books on hand and available to purchase. 

Also, if you are a poet who has already had a NBP book published, your title is not necessarily out of print. I will continue to make small press runs of your book as long as possible. It depends on the local family print company I use to make the covers. If they can print the covers, and I have the card stock and paper on hand, we're in business. Please contact me with any questions you might have.

Thank you to all the stalwart supporters of NightBallet Press. You are appreciated more than you'll ever know. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunities I had to work with so many gifted poets. It was a privilege and pleasure to read your poetry manuscripts and to be entrusted with making books for you. 

We had ten years. It was a good run. 

Sending love to all of NightBallet Press' family and friends,


Monday, August 17, 2020


Monday, March 23, 2020

On Hold

These are unsettling times. We here at the press were as blindsided by the rapidity of onset of the health crisis and the closing of businesses as were you all. Although I agree with the social distancing and self-isolating that we've been encouraged to follow, it has impacted NBP in ways I didn't foresee.

Because of the way NBP approaches an art-book concept, we rely heavily on various small businesses to continue our work. At the core of the press is how we obtain our paper and card stock. As all non-essential businesses are now closed in Ohio, I cannot get the paper, nor the card stock, I need to make books. I also cannot have covers printed at our local print shop. NightBallet Press is on hold.

Although I have some titles in stock, I will not be going out to the post office, so book orders are also on hold. This includes both individual titles to the public, and bulk orders from NBP poets who want more copies of their book.

I wish to reassure my poets, my subscribers, my readers, my supporters, that NightBallet Press is very much alive and eager to get back to work. We can only hope that this crisis passes quickly and that our friends can get their businesses reopened so we can resume publication. I realize how disappointing this must be for many of you, and I want you to know I appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, your friendship, your patience, your understanding, and the trust you've put in me and NBP.

May you stay healthy and safe during this time. I love you.

Dianne Borsenik
Editor/Publisher NightBallet Press

Sunday, February 23, 2020

DROP JAW by Rikki Santer

NightBallet Press is ecstatic to announce
the publication of its 124th title,
Drop Jaw by Rikki Santer!


Drop Jaw is a brilliant concept book of poems about ventriloquists and their dolls/dummies. After visiting the International Ventriloquist Vent Haven Convention in July, 2019, Rikki Santer pursued investigating the art of ventriloquism at the Vent Haven Museum. The Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, houses more than 900 dolls used by ventriloquists from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, and is the world's only museum dedicated to ventriloquism.

With references, sometimes overt and sometimes oh-so-subtle, to Charlie McCarthy, Se├▒or Wences, Darci Lynne Farmer, Lamb Chop, and Jeff Dunham's Achmed, the poems in this book sing with appreciation for the cultural touchstones of ventriloquism. Santer lays bare the search for identity between ventriloquist and doll, exploring both inner and outer dialogues.

Praise for Drop Jaw:

Rikki Santer is that rarest of poetssomeone more interested in the investigation of other lives than in meticulously documenting her own inner weather. She seems fascinated by the intimate minutiae of "ordinary history," from her previous book on the decades-long presence of the Kahiki Supper Club in Columbus, Ohio, a dismantled cultural landmark that now lives on in her poems, to this new study, Drop Jaw, where like some kind of surrealistic sociologist, she lets us wander through the inner history of the ventriloquist's world. As such, through this wild documentary tourpart historical record, but more often a verbal play on where voices come fromshe becomes the poet of mirrored second-hand through the transformation of her language, where who is speaking is as much a mystery as where all those many thrown voices were coming from. Do they arise from lips that appear not to be moving as all, or from the poet herself, imagining the twisted avenues inside these dreams-out-of-timeas she puts it, a kind of "vaudeville language with wings"?

Terry Hermsen, author of The River's Daughter (Bottom Dog Press, 2008) and A House for Last Year's Summer (Bottom Dog Press, 2017)

Drop Jaw pursues the kind of space only the traveling voice occupies. These lines dutifully collide as concrete and illusion, a surprising arrangement of precise details and sound. Santer's poems perform a trick within a trick: where craft is in complete control, each word plucked and places on a tight wire. Here, carefully constructed imagery and diction inhabit oddities and a precarious politiceach rendering, an unknown and in between, like the dead air listening closely.

Dionne Custer Edwards, poet, educator, creator of Pages at the Wexner Center for the Arts

Drop Jaw, printed on creamy ivory paper, contains thirty-two pages with eighteen poems. It also features a full-color art piece within its pages, "Brainyo" by Dana St. Mary. "Brainyo" originally appeared in  Rattle's Ekphrastic Challenge, October, 2019. Permission was given by both the editor of Rattle, Timothy Green, and the artist, Dana St. Mary, to reproduce the image in Drop Jaw, for which we are grateful.

Many thanks to Jeanette Powers, who graciously consented to my Photo Lab PRO manipulation of their photograph to use for the front cover of Drop Jaw. Is the figure the ventriloquist or the doll? Has the figure been turned into fragmented mirrors? Is the figure throwing something (throwing the voice)? The tattoo on the right arm says it all: Know Thyself.

About the author:

Rikki Santer's poetry has appeared in numerous publications both nationally and abroad, including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Margie: The American Journal of Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, Hotel Amerika, and Slipstream. Her work has received many honors, including five Pushcart and three Ohioana Book Award nominations, as well as grants from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She earned a M.A. degree in journalism from Kent State University and a M.F.A. degree in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.

To celebrate the release of Drop Jaw, Rikki has scheduled a book launch that will feature ventriloquist Bob Abdou, a.k.a. Mr. Puppet, at the Streetlight Guild, 1367 E. Main Street, Columbus, Ohio, on March 3, 2020, at 8 p.m. This promises to be an evening to remember!


You can order your very own copy of Drop Jaw here, through PayPal, for only $12 plus $4 shipping/handling! Order your copy today!

(U.S. customers only; out-of-country customers please contact NightBallet Press publisher Dianne Borsenik for information on the cost of postage)


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

THOSE WHO PRAY TO RICE by Julio Montalvo Valentin

NightBallet Press wishes all of you a very Happy New Year!

To celebrate the beginning of 2020 — a new year, a new decade 
we have a very special treat for you!

We are enormously pleased to announce the publication of
Those Who Pray to Rice, a new book of poems by Julio Montalvo Valentin!!

                                         (Striking cover art by Jeanette Powers)

Those Who Pray to Rice contains nineteen beautifully written poems about Puerto Rico and what it means to be Puerto Rican-American, expanding on themes of family, food, and the experiences of hurricanes, poverty, and survival. He deftly weaves Spanish words and phrases throughout his poetry, musically and naturally, to give the reader a true sense of his cultural identity. 

Of Those Who Pray to Rice, Antonio Barrios, Executive Director at The Lorain Arts Council, has written, "What joy Mr. Valentin brings with the wonderful analogies uses of the everyday simple pleasures of cultural identity through food...and he has added depth to the age-old story of Juan Bobo."

Beginning with the central theme of "13 Ways of Looking at Rice," Valentin continues to explore how rice is not just a staple but a way of life in poems like "Rant," "Interlude in My Mother's Mouth," and "The Power Went Out for Three Days."


and no one died.
and the bodegas fed everyone.
and we used the supplies for Y2K.
and the drum fires sang us to sleep.
and the fiends shared their childhood memories.
and the sirens went silent.
and the zombies kept watch.
and litter didn't float in the sky.
and no one had to sell their food stamps.
and we all sipped on the goodnight juice,
and we didn't have curfew.
and all the stars appeared in the Bronx.
Fifteen years ago,
Grandma cooked all the rice in the neighborhood
and no one died.

Other poems offer the intriguing titles of "Diaspora of the Banana Cloud," "Under Steve Buscemi's Eyes," and "She, the Bomb."

Julio Montalvo Valentin (they/them) has authored two previous chapbooks, Don't Give Up the Ship (2015) and Ship Lost (2016). Julio is poetry editor for Coffin Bell Journal and Variety Pack, both based in Buffalo, NY. They also serve as teaching artist at Just Buffalo Literary Center. Aside from studying poetry and English literature at Buffalo State University, they can be found working on their next project, converting a school bus into a poetry caravan.

Those Who Pray to Rice is only $10 plus $3 shipping, and is available through PayPal, right here and now! You need not be a member of PayPal; just have your debit or credit card number available for checkout. (All prices are for U.S. customers only; for out-of-country postage prices, please email the editor.) Get your copy of Those Who Pray to Rice today!

Those Who Pray to Rice made its initial debut at "Streetlight Imaginations: Poets Read from Recent Books" at Cuyahoga County Public Library in South Euclid, Ohio, on November 23, 2019. Sponsored by Laurie Kincer and co-hosted by NightBallet Press/Dianne Borsenik and Crisis Chronicles Press/John Burroughs, S"treetlight Imaginations" brought eight poets together for a wonderful afternoon of readings. This event doubled as the book release for Those Who Pray to Rice



"Streetlight Imaginations"
Pictured left to right: Karen Schubert (NBP), Nicole Hennessy (CCP), John Burroughs (publisher of CCP), Julio Montalvo Valentin (NBP), Dianne Borsenik (publisher of NBP), Elaine Schleiffer (CCP), Sean Thomas Dougherty (NBP), Lisa M. Dougherty (NBP), Cat Russell (CCP), and Nick Gardner (CCP).


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Pushcart Prize & Ohioana Book Award Nominations

Each year, Pushcart Press permits little magazine and small press editors to nominate up to six works by writers they've published during the calendar year. The deadline is December 1st. Acceptances for the annual Pushcart Prize Best of the Presses anthology usually begin arriving in April.

This year, NightBallet Press is pleased and honored to nominate the following poets and their poems for this year's Pushcart Prize:

Kathleen S. Burgess
from the NightBallet Press book The Wonder Cupboard, September 2019

Karen Schubert
“Letter to Youngstown”
from the NightBallet Press book Dear Youngstown, February 2019

Sean Thomas Dougherty
"Ask the Ghost Roads"
from the NightBallet Press book The Answer Is Not Here, May 2019

Lisa M. Dougherty
"Ask of the Feather You Found on the Ground"
from the NightBallet Press book The Answer Is Not Here, May 2019

Gregg Shapiro
“Florida Bang Bang”
from the NightBallet Press book Sunshine State, July 2019

Julio Montalvo Valentin
"13 Ways of Looking at Rice"
from the NightBallet Press book Those Who Pray to Rice, November 2019


Each year, NightBallet Press proudly nominates books written by Ohio residents for the Ohioana Book Award. The Ohioana Book Awards are the second oldest, and among the most prestigious, state literary prizes in the U.S. This year, we are pleased and honored to nominate the following books for the 2020 Ohioana Book Award in poetry:

The Curve of Her Arm by Robin Mullet & Holli Rainwater

The Wonder Cupboard by Kathleen S. Burgess

Dear Youngstown
by Karen Schubert

Results of the judging will be announced in July 2020.

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees!

Thank you to all the poets who have entrusted me to make books for you. It is an honor and a privilege to work with you and your poems.

This year has been an especially difficult one for me personally, and I appreciate the support, encouragement, and patience of everyone involved with the press. We experienced delays and fewer publications, but the books we did publish are full of outstanding and astonishingly beautiful poetry. There is more to come in 2020!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

THE WONDER CUPBOARD by Kathleen S. Burgess

NightBallet Press is delighted to announce the publication of the first title in our ninth year of publishing...The Wonder Cupboard by Kathleen S. Burgess!


In The Wonder Cupboard, Kathleen S. Burgess has written poems both filled, and filling, with wonder..."Why We Went to See Madame Luminitsa," "Marilyn's Lips," "I'm a pilgrim light needles into space," "Unearthing Earth Day." Using skillful language to draw crisp, colorful sketches of time and place, Burgess addresses a child's thrilled reaction to a father's wild driving, an F2 twister, Singer sewing machines, bird-watching, going braless, pregnancy, sunflowers, a Chinese lantern festival, missing women, mass shootings, and quiet hikes through Southern Ohio beauty.

The Wonder Cupboard contains thirty-four poems on forty-four pages. The cover is a pale ivory textured card stock, with a warm wren-brown textured card stock insert. The poems are printed on pale ivory paper. Once again, we are ecstatic to have Bree's art grace the front cover of a NightBallet Press book. Many thanks to her for giving us permission to use "White Tailed Fawn 4.13.19" for The Wonder Cupboard.


Kathleen S. Burgess is senior editor at Pudding Magazine: The Journal of Applied Poetry, and has been published in dozens of journals and anthologies. Collections include Reeds and Rushes: Pitch, Buzz, and Hum (Pudding House Publications, 2010, as editor), What Burdens Do Those Trains Bear Away (Bottom Dog Press, 2018), Gardening With Wallace Stevens (Locofo Chaps, 2017), and Shaping What Was Left (Pudding House Publications, 2006). Retired public school music teacher and union officer, she has worked pink-white-and-blue collar jobs, and served as president of Datagang Corporation, a 501(c)(3) video production company commissioned by The Ohio State Libraries, the Ohio Endowment of the Arts, et al. She and husband Jack Burgess enjoy trails, earthworks, the arts, and four adult children.

You may buy a signed copy of The Wonder Cupboard from Kathleen herself, should you be local to Chillicothe/Columbus/Southern Ohio. Beginning 8/30/19, you may purchase copies directly from NightBallet Press for only $15, which includes shipping/handling. Use the PayPal button below; you don't have to have an account to pay. Treat yourself to some wonder...order The Wonder Cupboard today!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

We Celebrate Eight-Going-on-Nine-Years of NightBallet Press!

Well, we've had an exciting year here at NightBallet Press, to say the least! Our year, or Season as we call it, runs from September to September. We've just completed Season Eight, and we couldn't be more proud of the poets whose books we've produced over the past twelve months:

Waiting for the Wind to Rise by M. J. Arcangelini

Fragile Capacities by Sandra Feen

As Falls Trees by Mark Danowsky

Throwback Thursdays by Margie Shaheed

The Curve of Her Arm by Robin Mullet and Holli Rainwater

Dear Youngstown by Karen Schubert

The Answer Is Not Here by Lisa and Sean Dougherty

Sunshine State by Gregg Shapiro

Although beset by a couple of months' delays early this year -- the publisher was in an accident in February that totaled her car, gave her a concussion and seat-belt injury, and shook her to the core -- we've still managed to publish eight excellent titles for poets across the United States!

AND, we've already accepted seven exciting manuscripts for Season Nine, September 2019 to September 2020.

The Wonder Cupboard by Kathleen S. Burgess

Those Who Pray to Rice by Julio Montalvo Valentin

Semidomesticated (working title) by Jonie McIntire

Pawning My Sins by M. J. Arcangelini

Holding Your Breath by Jennifer Hambrick

Leaning Toward Greenland by Andy Roberts

Miracle Days by Paula Lambert

We expect to accept several more over the coming year!

The printer, ink, paper, cardstock, postage, business cards, envelopes, packing tape, staples, and pens are only a part of what makes NightBallet Press run smoothly. We have our covers professionally printed by a local family-owned print shop. We make regular runs out to Brunswick (about a forty minute drive) to obtain our paper and cardstock from another family-owned business. Wherever possible, we support other small presses and family-owned small businesses, and we travel to literary festivals to publicize and promote our poets and their books.

We have produced over one hundred titles for poets across the United States and Canada. We have used the art of over a dozen artists and photographers for our covers, and we actively seek out exciting new art for future covers.

To any-and-everyone who has ever bought a NightBallet Press book, promoted the press, given us a table at an indie/literary festival, invited us to participate in workshops, ordered additional copies, subscribed, or donated money, THANK YOU. You make it possible for NBP to give voice to some of the best contemporary poets alive today. I appreciate you, from the bottom of my heart.

This summer, NBP offers you an opportunity to participate in this grand endeavor and to be directly responsible for the next season's publications, by joining the Wingman Club. What is the Wingman Club? It's a one-year subscription to the press, which will start September, 2019 and go through to September, 2020. For $50, you receive every book that we publish during Season Nine, including the ones listed above! We guarantee you'll get your money's worth!

Season Seven's books, 2017-2018, totaled $126.00, before shipping. Season Eight, even with the accident's setback, totaled $80. Plus, the subscription offers an additional bonus: no charge for postage! That's a huge savings, in addition to the incredibly low cost of a subscription.

A wingman is someone who supports a friend or associate. Feel the wind beneath your wings and take advantage of this offer while you can!  (Due to the high cost of postage, this offer is only for residents inside the United States, but we are more than happy to make alternate arrangements for anyone outside the U.S. who wishes to subscribe! Just contact us and we'll discuss it.)

Support this small press and you'll know that your subscription donation is going directly into books we publish. We do not receive grants or funding from any outside source but YOU. As a bonus, subscribe now and we'll include a copy of Throwback Thursdays, Margie Shaheed's final book, along with your first copy in the new subscription.

Join NightBallet Press' Wingman Club and begin your one year subscription today!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

SUNSHINE STATE by Gregg Shapiro

NightBallet Press is incredibly pleased to announce the publication
of a new collection of poems
  by Florida resident Gregg Shapiro:
Sunshine State!

Gregg Shapiro observes and writes about his adopted state with wisdom, passion, a quiet humor, and a sharp eye for detail.  

"When you live/in a state shaped like a gun, everything/is a bullet, a target."

"Hurricanes want grave/and dodgy names that inspire terror, words that cause the speaker and/the listener to wince, struggle for breath. Hurricane Motherfucker./ Hurricane Bloodbath. Hurricane Apocalypse. Hurricane Armageddon."

His poems also sing about Florida's beauty. In his poem "Wynwood Walls," he writes

"Maureen told me about them first, in a poem/she read at Los Manos Gallery in Andersonville./Her detailed and vivid description made my eyes/and mouth water simultaneously."

In "Making Light," he observes

"The days are long and/filled with more daylight than anyone could possibly use./It's a losing battle to keep your face from turning towards/the glow..."

Shapiro reveals having "Peas for Breakfast" and bemoans "Because of Facebook." And he celebrates beloved dogs.

"Adopting a dog was not in the plans, a little/more than a week after k.d. died, but Sharon said/it was bashert, a mitzvah, to provide her with a new/home when Willie grew too ill to care for her."

Sunshine State contains 28 pages of 17 poems. The poems are printed on a richly textured ivory paper. The cover card stock is a creamy matching ivory; the inside card stock is a warm textured pumpkin color. The gorgeous cover art, "Electric Entrance, 2014," by Cleveland artist Timothy Gaewsky, explodes with life and light.

Gregg Shapiro is the author of Fifty Degrees (Seven Kitchens, 2016), selected by Ching-In Chen as co-winner of the Robin Becker Chapbook Prize. Other books by Shapiro include the short story collections How to Whistle (Lethe Press, 2016) and Lincoln Avenue: Chicago Stories (Squares and Rebels Press, 2014), the chapbooks GREGG SHAPIRO: 77 (Souvenir Spoon Press, 2012),  and More Poems About Buildings and Food (Souvenir Spoon Press, 2019), and the poetry collection Protection (Gival Press, 2008). His poetry was recently featured in South Florida Poetry Review, Gay and Lesbian Review, Chelsea Station Magazine, the 2018 anhinga press anthology Reading Queer, and the anthology Lovejets: Queer Male Poets on 200 Years of Walt Whitman (Handtype Press, 2018). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.

Shapiro will begin a book tour in August, and will make a Cleveland appearance on his tour. He will read and have copies of his book...and NightBallet Press will be there!

The 2019 Summer Tour itinerary is as follows:

Aug 3    OutWrite 2019 - Washington D.C.

Aug 4    Outlandish - Cleveland, OH

                                Outlandish Imprint Zine Fair
                                9740 Madison Ave.
                                Lakewood, OH

Aug 7    Women & Children First Books - Chicago, IL
Aug 8    Outwords Books - Milwaukee, WI
Aug 14  Southland Books (w/musical guest Jeff Heiskell) - Maryville, TN
Aug 15  Charis Books and More (w/Collin Kelley) - Decatur, GA

Shapiro's poems will warm your heart and singe your senses, in the best of ways! Published today, here in the dog days of summer, Sunshine State is a seasonal reading list must-have!

Bask in the light of the Sunshine today for only $10 plus $4 s/h!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

THE ANSWER IS NOT HERE by Lisa M. & Sean Thomas Dougherty

NightBallet Press is delighted to announce the release of a new collection of poetry by
Lisa M. Dougherty and Sean Thomas Dougherty, The Answer Is Not Here!

The Answer Is Not Here reads as a type of call-and-response, with poignant and passionate poems by Lisa and Sean Thomas Dougherty. The poems include "Tell Me the Alphabet of Us Is Nothing New" and "The Wind Has a Name It Tells No One" by Lisa, and "Ask the Breath of this Blue Hour" and "Ask the Evening Light Its Shape" by Sean Thomas. The poems alternate in the narrative, with Sean's poems being italicized. These poems whisper, rather than shout, begging you to lean in and listen more closely to sweet words sharing secret truths. Each poem is like a little prayer of the soul.

The Answer Is Not Here contains 17 poems on 32 pages. The cover is a pale green card stock, with a thick, textured and patterned card stock insert. The cover art is a lovely collage by Bree, "Rockin Robin 12.26.18." The collage was made from this single photograph of a guitar in Lewis Mathis Studio in Shelbyville, Kentucky. It was made with Paint, enhanced by Polarr. You can find more of Bree's work here.

Lisa is the author of Small As Hope In the Helicopter Rain (Cervena Barva, 2018), and Sean Thomas' most recent book is The Second O of Sorrow (BOA Editions, 2018). Recently married, they live in Erie, Pennsylvania, where they are raising their two tumultuous daughters, Andaluzja Akhmatova and Amara Rumi.

Find Sean Thomas Dougherty here and on Facebook.
Find Lisa M. Dougherty on Facebook.

The Answer Is Not Here was released this weekend on Saturday, May 18, 2019, at the Borderlands: Poetry on the Edge event at Main Street Books in Mansfield, Ohio. It is available for mailing tomorrow.

Pick up your own copy of this collaboration! The book is a bargain at only $5.

You can obtain a copy of The Answer Is Not Here directly from the poets, or you may order from NightBallet Press for only $5 plus $3 shipping/handling! Order now, and NBP will pop it in the envelope today!

(This price is for United States of America customers only. Out-of-country customers, please contact NightBallet Press for information on shipping charges. Thank you.)