Thursday, November 22, 2018


I am thankful
for all the wonderful people who touch my life during the year, and for the honor and privilege of making books for poets who trust me with their manuscripts.

Each year, Pushcart Press permits little magazine and small book 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.

These are the NightBallet Press Pushcart Prize nominees from 2018:

Pat & Bill Hurley
from the NightBallet Press book Hard to Swallow, February 2018

Alex Gildzen
"Our Lady of the Dark"
from the NIghtBallet Press book Son of Hollywood, March 2018

John Burroughs
from the NightBallet Press book Loss and Foundering, April 2018

Jeanette Powers
"How We Got to Cedar Creek"
from the NightBallet Press book Gasconade, April 2018

M. J. Arcangelini
"Marcus Has Sold His Pick-Up Truck"
from the NightBallet Press book Waiting for the Wind to Rise, August 2018

Sandra Feen
"Palms Monday"
from the book Fragile Capacities, October 2018

Congratulations to the nominees! We will keep the fingers on both hands crossed as the envelope carrying your works wings its way to New York.

If you wonder how I've arrived at the choices above, it's entirely subjective. These are poems that caught my attention, made me laugh, made me cry, made me want more.

If your work wasn't chosen, please don't think your words touched me any less. I can only choose six poems from all the ones I've published over the last eleven months. Your poetry is just as special to me, and I assure you I'll continue to seek showcases for you and your books.

Thank you, all of you, the poets, the readers, the supporters, for another spectacular year here at NightBallet Press.
I love you.

Sunday, November 18, 2018




Today's NightBallet Press publication of
Throwback Thursdays by Margie Shaheed
is a bittersweet and heartbreaking joy.

The cover photo, a work by the artist Bree, is titled "Longevity 8.7.18" and shows a vibrant sunflower facing both forward and backward. I felt this to be an apt representation of the poetry in Throwback Thursdays.

Before she became ill, Margie and I had talked about the new manuscript she was working on. She was excited about the prospect of having a new book in the new year. When she phoned me in September to tell me she had cancer, she again mentioned her new manuscript. After she died earlier this month, her daughter Aqueelah and I discussed NBP publishing Throwback Thursdays as a posthumous and loving tribute.

photo by the Shaheed family

Today would have been Margie's 60th birthday. Today, this book is published to celebrate and honor her.

Of the fifteen poems in Throwback Thursdays, my personal favorite, and one I think is pure Margie, is "Life Lesson":

Life Lesson

poetry ran through mama's veins like blood
runs out of a slaughtered pigfast and hot
she said life was nothing without the poem
to clarify its existence. i believed her

photo by John Burroughs

Margie Shaheed was a treasured community poet, writer, and performance artist. She was an enthusiastic and dedicated supporter of NightBallet Press. But more than that, she was my friend. I am privileged to have known her, to have heard her read, and to have produced four books for her, including her three previous NBP books of poetry,
Mosaic, Onomatopoeia, and Dream Catcher. I will miss talking with her on the phone. I will miss making books for her.

photo by Chad Parmenteau

NightBallet Press wishes to extend our deepest sympathy to the Shaheed family, and to thank them for allowing us to send Margie Shaheed's poetry, once more, out into the world. NightBallet Press will continue to represent Margie Shaheed, and will continue to make sure her Voice is heard.

Throwback Thursdays is our memorial tribute to this remarkable poet. It is a testimony of Margie's work...her honest, poignant portrayal of an African-American woman's life experiences, memories, and hopes for the future. You may obtain a copy of Margie's final book of poetry by clicking on the PayPal link below.

Sunday, November 11, 2018


born November 18, 1958
died November 3, 2018

Mosaic (NightBallet Press, 2013)
Onomatopoeia (NightBallet Press, 2015)
Dream Catcher (NightBallet Press, 2017)
Tongue Shakers: Interviews and Narratives on Speaking Mother Tongue in a Multicultural Society (Hamilton Books, 2016)
Playground (Hidden Charm Press, 2015)
Throwback Thursdays (NightBallet Press, 2018)

I first met Margie Shaheed when she read for Poetry in the Woods at the Shaker Heights Public Library. Here are several photos from that night. The reading changed both our lives forever. 

(photo by John Burroughs)

(photo by John Burroughs)

(photo by John Burroughs)

On February 14, 2013, at 10:14 pm, I wrote to Margie on FB Messenger:

"Hi, Margie, here I am: Dianne Borsenik, NightBallet Press. LOOOOOOVED your reading tonight! You RAWK, gf! Can't wait to hear more. Let me know when you're reading in the Cleveland area...will try to be there!"

Margie immediately responded:

"Ok. So nice to meet you. I hope we can do a chapbook together. You have a nice looking product. I'll check out your website and we'll talk. Glad u enjoyed the reading. I had fun too."

By March 14, 2013, she had sent me her manuscript of poems, which became Mosaic, the first book NightBallet Press published for her.

(Mac's Backs, Cleveland Heights, OH, 2018,
photo by Chandra Alderman)

                                                                         (Ohioana, Columbus, OH, 2014
                                                                               photo by Julie L. Moore)

(Shoreway Poets, Cleveland, 2014,
photo by Dianne Borsenik)
She sent me two more manuscripts, which became Onomatopoeia and Dream Catcher.

Margie Shaheed was a remarkable force of nature. At the time Margie died,

Dream Catcher was in its 9th printing, in August, 2018.
Onomatopoeia was in its 29th print run.
Mosaic was in its 44th print run.

To the best of my reckoning, with the three titles combined, Margie sold at least 1,800 copies of her NBP books.

A friendship was born that first day we met. She was intelligent, proud, and funny. Although we saw each other only occasionallyshe lived/worked between Cleveland Heights, OH and Memphis, TNwe were in frequent contact. I last saw Margie and heard her read when she visited Cleveland for Kleft/Crisis in April, 2018.

We worked together very well. She trusted my design skills and editing implicitly. I loved her unique Voice and the way she wrote about the African-American experience so clearly, honestly, and poignantly. Her poems were true gems, and I am honored and privileged to have been given the opportunity to publish them.


(Appletree Books, Cleveland Heights, OH,
photo by Dianne Borsenik)

(Guide to Kulchur, Cleveland, OH,
photo by John Burroughs)

From Mosaic:

Nostalgic Hair Affair
for Eula and Alicia

Your life, a shrine I've erected in my mind...
where today I see you sitting on the porch of our Hough
Avenue apartment in a ragged turquoise dining room chair.
Cotton sticks to the back of your housedress whenever you rise.
Barefoot, your toes wiggle against the warm concrete floor in cool
satisfaction of a large jelly jar filled with ice cubes and Pepsi-Cola.
The heat of summer and cornbread and pinto beans cooking
have long pushed you out of the kitchen.

Your life, a shrine I've erected in my mind...
where I hear you call me in from the dirt yard.
Poised for my next shot, I look up at my friend
because now we must abruptly end our game of marbles.
Armed with a brutish Afro comb and hairbrush,
you sit me down between your legs;
your familiar scent settles me.
As you grease my scalp with Dixie Peach
I can't help but remember the first time I met my friend Silk
       "Do you know why dey call me Silk? Cuz, Ah'm sooo Black.
       If you was to rub some Vaseline on mah skin right now,
       I'd look jus' like a pair of black silk stockin's."
I recoil from the pain of teeth
dragging through my resistant napps.
You hit my hand
with the back of the comb
and tell me to be still.

Your life, a shrine I've erected in my mind...
where I feel you momentarily break away from your task
to sing along with a stactic-version of the Temptations
song blaring from our hi-fi.
Although I dare not turn around to look at you
I know your head is bobbing up and down
like an apple in water to the beat.
When the last lyric fades into radio announcements,
your knees tighten against my shoulders.
I wipe the beads of water from my neck,
the sweat that has dripped from the jelly jar,
and I fearfully brace myself for round two.

Your life, a shrine I've erected in my mind...
where my hair eventually loses the fight
                to six plaits intersected by crooked parts.

From Onomatopoeia:

Rhyme and Rituals (Part 1)

We are poem with story to tell 'bout how in Newark Brick City
we hit rhythms hard-pounding beginning from the nature of
rhyme we maintain essential breath dead center of mama's
heartbeat we are rhythm background melody humanity's
collective memory swingin' in the womb rockin' us time-
thrusting forward we are life's ritual voices unleashing
saxophones of pure language yeah soul-stirring music telling
the world what must be told we paste paper to the wall
penning poems and stories in single breaths we are books
breathing pages of tongues loosened & sharpened Piscean
visions blowing we become mouths of air awakened
renewed a-pant of hopes and fulfilled roundness & when
despair and pain come a-creepin' we invoke our warrior
selves to redirect the beat cuz we are notes bent on writing
rhymes rhymes that reaffirm the ritual of telling it exactly like
it is so read our words as we unroll oil dust & silver beats
from underneath fingernails of blue matter contained in
native selfwe seek to understand the compositionblood
is thicker than water & knowing a belly full of gritty hot fish &
buttery grits, a philosopher's stone & a city's bricks it is the
passion from where we live holding it all down keeping it real
like mama's heartbeat background memory humanity's
melody the only rhyme we know we are poem with story to
tell the ritual swingin' in the womb readying to be born

From Dream Catcher:

Age Has Found Me

Age has found me with a tube of red lipstick
a missing front tooth and a partial I had to put
in the layaway cuz it cost too much to buy outright
Got pesky moles removed from my face an early
Christmas present from my friend who told me my skin
would look like the excitement I felt the first time
I went roller skating

Age has found me with a pair of red stilettos
an unused membership to the Y and the good sense
not to have my grandchildren sewn into the hem of my skirt
I've seen this in women I've known beforevoluntarily raising
another set of kidsmakes you forgo the fruit
that makes this old woman shake

Age has found me with a bottle of red nail polish

five bottles of pills a handful of supplements
and doctors' appointments disguised as social events
Mama's wisdom once elusive as an eclipse
canvas stretched over my chest
soft flames fly from my mouth
cuz now I turn my face to hers
as I repeat what she always called truth

Age has found me with a red laced mini-dress
books of blank pages a calligrapher's pen
and a palm full of brown sugar
thrown into a pot of boiling corn
My back is sore my right knee aches
but my strokes are bold and long
penning scripts exploring landscapes
walking the terrain anticipating what's next

No one could deny that Margie Shaheed read her poems slowly, sweetly, truly, from the heart. Her poems were a part of her very being, and everyone who heard her read knew it.

(Mac's Backs, Cleveland Heights, OH,
photo by John Burroughs)

(Appletree Books, Cleveland Heights, OH,
photo by Dianne Borsenik)

Margie phoned me on Friday, September 7, 2018 to say good-bye. I can't believe she's gone. Her daughter Aqueelah has give me permission to publish one last book of poems for Margie. The forthcoming Throwback Thursday will be my tribute to this dear, wonderful, passionate friend.

(Nancy Gerber of Mom Egg Review has also written a tribute piece to Margie Shaheed; you can follow the link to it here.)

 Peace & Blessings to you, Margie. Rest in Peace. I love you. I will never forget you.
                                                          (photo property of Aqueelah Shaheed, 2018)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


NightBallet Press is greatly pleased to announce the publication of
Fragile Capacities
by Sandra Feen!


Fragile Capacities, subtitled School Poems, is the result of a career spent in the classroom. In her 32-year career, Sandra Feen taught high school English, Creative Writing, QUEST, and Humanities, and twice won Teacher-of-the-Year at her school. Feen also taught adult evening high school for several years, along with writing workshops at Ohio State University, Clark State Community College, and Wright State University.

Fragile Capacities contains 40 pages of 21 poems. At times showing frustration, at other times, keen observation and an uncanny ear for dialogue, the poems range from poignant to tragic to triumphant, and Feen's Voice is strong and clear throughout the book.

Before the Tardy Bell

I'm supposed to give you a copy of my anxiety plan
so I don't do this no more
. Stacy holds up arms
sleeved in razor cuts; it says she's to smell lavender candles
next time she's upset. Another girl places
in my other hand her new schedule, just out of juvie.
Others eye an ankle bracelet as she ushers herself, wordless,
to the only seat left, the one in the back with swastikas
carved on its desktop. And the boy next to her
continues to throw spit wads, staples, spiral paper fringe
all over the 40-year-old carpet.
He thinks he can read my mind: Don't think
I'm gonna pick up that piece of trash 'cause that ain't
one I threw!
 A stink bug drops from the ceiling onto
a girl's syllabus. She screams, while another focuses
all her attention on my response to her question pronounced
as a statement: Let me go to the bathroom before the tardy bell.
I miscarried last night and need to go whenever I need to go.

Of Fragile Capacities, Terry Hermsen writes:

"The title of long-time teacher and ever-persistent poet Sandy Feen's new book of poems about her thirty years in the trenches of our schools says it all: we are--and have always been--creatures riding on our "fragile capacities" to foster genuine life, deep connection, and living communities. These poems are a testament to the difficulties our educators now face, when schools are expected to solve all our problems while the support for genuinely innovative instruction remains so weak. These poems let us as readers live that dilemma, and should be a required text for anyone trying to imagine a new world where schools are valued as places of transformation, where we spend more on shoring up our cities, supporting struggling families, and counseling our troubled youth, than on the next round of military deployment and fossil fuel subsidies. These poems show us where the real wars to be won are being fought in our inner city classrooms, by front-line-soldiers-of-the-heart known as our nation's teachers. I come away from this book realizing once again how essential it is that we give teachers credit for what they do--and the resources to truly make change."

Sandra Feen is a former associate editor of Pudding Magazine, and currently works as an independent poetry and urban fiction editor. A member of the poetry troupe Concrete Wink, she has also been a featured reader in and out of Ohio. She has a BFA in Creative Writing and a BS in English Education from Bowling Green State University, and an MA in Literature from Wright State University. She was one of twelve teachers selected for the National Endowment of the Arts' first "Change Course" program, through W.S.U.'s Institute on Writing and Its Teaching. Publications include Poetry Motel, Elastic Ekphrastic, and The Pudding House Gang. Her work has been commissioned as part of Thin Places: Poetry and Art Exhibits and Installations at Columbus, Ohio's Jung Haus, and for the Cap City Poets: Columbus and Central Ohio's Best Known, Read, and Requested Poets anthology. She lives in Grove City, Ohio.

Fragile Capacities will be officially released on Saturday, October 20, at Borderlands: Poetry on the Edge, held at Main Street Books in Mansfield, Ohio, from 2 pm to 4 pm, where Concrete Wink (Sandra Feen, Chuck Salmons, and Rikki Santer...NightBallet poets, all!) will be performing. (Rikki will have copies of her new Crisis Chronicles Book, as well.)
BUT! You can preorder Sandy's book right now, here through PayPal, and I'll put them in the envelope, ready to mail on Friday. Fragile Capacities is only $12 plus $3 shipping/handling. You know you want one! Don't be tardy...order now!  ;)

Pre-Order FRAGILE CAPACITIES by Sandra Feen


Thursday, October 4, 2018

AS FALLS TREES by Mark Danowsky!

NightBallet Press is pleased to announce the publication of
As Falls Trees
by Mark Danowsky!
NightBallet Press first met Mark Danowsky at the 2017 Western Maryland Independent Literary Festival in Frostburg, Maryland. Not long after that, he queried about sending a short manuscript of poetry to us. The result is As Falls Trees.

Danowsky chose the idiosyncratic title As Falls Trees deliberately. He "likes that it resists immediate comprehension, and that it leaves space for the reader to reflect and to use his/her own imagination or interpretation regarding it." All thirteen poems in the book relate in some way to the lives of trees. From the whimsical "An Open Letter To Mangroves" to the cautionary "Invasive" to the meditational "Cries of the Forest" to the celebratory "Chronology," Danowsky guides us through a forest of white walnuts, dawn redwoods, elms, and hemlocks to a clearing where "we both can survive a lightning strike."

NightBallet Press found it appropriate to release As Falls Trees during the 2018 Western Maryland Independent Literary Festival this past weekend, and delivered Danowsky's books to him there!


Danowsky is a writer from Philadelphia. His micro-chapbooks Nightfallen and Becoming aware of the tide were published by the Origami Poems Project in 2016, and are available free online. His poems have appeared in About Place, Gargoyle, Right Hand Pointing, Shot Glass Journal, and others. He is managing editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal and cofounder of Wood & Water Press.

As Falls Trees is only $5 with $3 shipping, and is available now to order through PayPal! Get your copy today!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

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

NightBallet Press is excited to announce the publication of
Waiting for the Wind to Rise by Michael Joseph Arcangelini!

Season Eight is beginning early here at NightBallet Press--we usually publish our first book of the season in late September or early October--but this year we have so many great books to put out, we can't wait!

Waiting for the Wind to Rise is released today in conjunction with tonight's Belle, Missouri, reading featuring the cross-country-traveling Arcangelini, and Jason Ryberg. You can read about the reading's details HERE. It promises to be a fantastic reading, and NightBallet Press urges you to catch the reading if you can (we certainly wish we could be there)!

Waiting for the Wind to Rise is a phenomenal collection of poems by an accomplished poet. It contains twenty-six poems on forty pages, and includes a special arrangement of one of the poems, "Zombie Politics," by Cleveland-area poet Christopher Franke. The cover is printed on white linen card stock, and features stunningly beautiful art by Becky Hernandez (who will also be at the reading in Belle tonight).

The poems have tantalizing titles, such as "My Aging Prostate," "Future, Like a Gift," "Deer Berries," and "Marcus Has Sold His Pick-Up Truck." In them, Arcangelini exposes his body's responses to aging, explores cherished memories, and expresses his outrage at today's political happenings.

 (photo by Marcus Borgman, used with permission)

M. J. Arcangelini was born in 1952 in western Pennsylvania, and grew up there and in Cleveland, Ohio. He currently lives in west Sonoma County, California. He began writing poetry at age eleven, stories in his teens, and memoirs in his forties. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and he has two previous books, With Fingers at the Tips of My Words (Beautiful Dreamers Press, 2002), and Room Enough(NightBallet Press, 2016). You can find his poetry, memoirs, and more at Joe's blog:

The best way to obtain a copy of Waiting for the Wind to Rise is by attending tonight's reading in Belle, Missouri, where you can meet Arcangelini in person, hear him read, and have him sign your book! But if you can't do that, you can order a copy right here at NBP, through PayPal (all you need is a credit or debit card--you don't have to be a member of PayPal to use it). This book is only ten dollars, with four dollars for shipping/handling. Get your copy now, and get a jump on a brand-new season at NBP!*

*(Our seasons, or subscription/publishing years, usually run from September to September.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


It's midsummer, and things are going swimmingly here at the press. Season Seven finished out with an appropriately "hot" book (Arson by John Reinhart), and we've bought a brand new printer (HP OfficeJet Pro 8710) to replace the one that gave out while printing sixty copies of The Studs Turkel Blues and The Ugly Side of the Lake for Jason Baldinger. With the next season we have planned, it's a relief to know the new printer is up and running and ready to go!

Our Season Eight, which is our eighth year in business, will officially begin in September, 2018. And what a season we have in store for you! We'll begin by jumping the gun and producing a book early in August.

Joe Arcangelini, a poet originally from Cleveland who now lives in California, is traveling cross-country with a stop in Belle, MO, for a reading. NightBallet Press will have his new book, Waiting for the Wind to Rise, ready for him as he sets out! We're working on proofreading it and designing the cover today.

After Joe's book, which is the second title we've published for him, we will be publishing Columbus-area poet Sandra Feen's Fragile Capacities, poems written after 32 years of teaching in an urban high school. They highlight "an array of students and all their delicious complexities" and why the profession is "cherished by each individual teacher." Pre-orders for this book are already available, in the left column right below the "donate" button.

As Falls Trees by Mark Danowsky

This tightly compact collection with the irregular title (the poet prefers you make up your own interpretation concerning its construction) is from a Philadelphia poet I met at the Frostburg Indie Fest last year, and will be released at this year's Frostburg Indie Fest.
Dear Youngstown by Karen Schubert

Karen Schubert, who is a longtime resident of Youngstown, OH, and a fabulous poet, is a dynamo as one of the directors of Lit Youngstown and the Fall Literary Festival taking place September 21 and 22, 2018.
The Curve of Her Arm by Robin Mullet and Holli Rainwater
This is a "collaboration of two poets, combining haiku and free verse in a theme-based collection of poems on the art and practice of qigong. The poetry goes beyond the movements ekphrastically to the emotions and memories brought to the forefront by the ancient form." The cover art, which was commissioned by NBP, is by Becky Hernandez, and is simply stunning!

We are very pleased to have the manuscripts to two collections from excellent and exceptional poets for whom we've published numerous titles in the past:

Capicola Slang by Joey Nicoletti
Leaning Toward Greenland by Andy Roberts

and an as-yet-untitled collection of poems by Buffalo poet Julio Montalvo Valentin. He writes of rice and Puerto Rico, and we're leaving the Spanish words in. 

This is only the beginning!  We plan on accepting at least two, and depending on how things go over the course of the coming months, maybe four, more manuscripts for the season. We already have several in hand and under consideration. Our goal is at least a dozen titles per season. Last season, we had fourteen!

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 particpate 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 midsummer, 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 August, 2018 and go through to September, 2019. For fifty dollars, you receive every book that we publish during Season Eight, including the ones listed above! We guarantee you'll get your money's worth!

Last year's books, 2017-2018 Season Seven, totaled 14 books at $126.00, before shipping. The total worth of next season's books is estimated to exceed one hundred dollars. This 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. Join NightBallet Press' Wingman Club and begin your one year subscription today! You'll receive your first book before the month is out!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Hot Hot Hot: ARSON by John Reinhart!

We are on a HOT streak here at NightBallet Press, and we don't mean the outside temperature (although it has been in the nineties this past week)...we mean poetry books that will set your mind aflame!

It's Independence Day, and we have a firecracker offering for you:
NightBallet is extremely pleased to announce the publication of Arson by John Reinhart!


Arson is a stand-out collection of poems that explores the themes of light and enlightenment, heat and ignition, in varying ways. The cover is printed on a light brown card stock, with visually exciting cover art - "Skeleton" - by Kevin Eberhart. The thick card stock insert is - of course - hot red. The book contains thirty-three poems on forty-four pages, printed on crisp cream-colored paper.

"I'm busy" is one of the editor's personal favorites among the special poems in this book:
I’m busy
writing a manifesto
for the Second Coming
and, Jesus Christ,

it’s too dramatic –
I mean, I could do without
all the fire and brimstone,
the wailing and gnashing –
let’s substitute some wood-fired
pizza, eaten around the hearthstone
in an alpine lodge while the Wailin’ Jennys
perform while the crowds nosh –
maybe the original plans were misunderstood,
maybe the Author had just taken a big bite
from a peanut butter sandwich –
on second thought, let’s just
scrap the whole thing. The end
of days doesn’t need a fucking manifesto
or roadmap or bullet-pointed agenda. Just let it
come, blow holes through our socks,
rattle the window panes, and disrupt
our Scrabble games, playing Johnny Cash songs
at top volume while lightning and thunder
and volcanoes erupt like pyrotechnics –
I’ll write the grocery list:
beer, cookies.


Perpetually sharpening his fiddle at the crossroads, John Reinhart is an arsonist, father of three, and poet. He was born in Denver, which suffered major fires in the 1860s, leading city officials to change building code standards. A long distance admirer of Herodotus and William Butler Yeats, he has encouraged his children to play with matches from an early age.

The recipient of the 2016 Horror Writers Association Dark Poetry Scholarship, he's won the Poetry Nook Weekly Contest and has been a Pushcart, Elgin, Rhysling, and Dwarf Stars awards nominee. His work ranges from fantastical to experimental, and has been published in Pedestal Magazine, Holy Shit!, Fleurs du Mal, Liquid Imagination, Popshot, Better Than Starbucks, and many others, various anthologies, and across seven collections of poetry. Find his work at, and on social media.

Arson is the fourteenth and final book in NightBallet's seventh season (year) of publishing vital, contemporary, exciting poetry. The new season - our eighth - will begin in late August/early September, with ten manuscripts in hand and scheduled for publication so far. Thank you to all who have been a part of the past seven amazing seasons!

Arson is only 12 dollars plus 3 dollars shipping/handling (USA customers only; all others, please email the editor at for information on shipping charges.) Come, celebrate the Fourth of July with us and order a copy of Arson today - I swear you can hear the crackle and boom of it from here!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Andy Roberts is Out of Blue!

NightBallet Press is very pleased to announce the publication of
Out of Blue by Ohio's own Andy Roberts!

Out of Blue is the fifth title NightBallet Press has published for Andy Roberts, and this collection of poems is outstanding. Michael F. Latza, editor of Willow Review, writes

"Andy Roberts invites us in to a life, a world of memory. He gives us a withdrawal slip to cash in at his overflowing bank of images and story. Out of Blue is a montage of music, nature, a keepsake of rotten-framed buildings with borders of pink and white petunias, triggered by the smells and tastes of apple butter, beans and franks, juicy fruit kisses, ham and cheese sandwiches eaten in a cemetery, washed down with a combination of sugared half-coffee milk and cigar ash. Peopled with fathers, sons, girlfriends, a loving wife, and bound-for-jail schoolyard buddies, Andy rings the bell of recollection within each of us, inviting us to enter his world, and to ponder our own."

Printed on a warm, pale caramel cardstock, Out of Blue features another stunning piece of art by Kevin Eberhardt, "China 1." Kevin Eberhardt's art has been featured on sixteen NightBallet Press covers, and we are truly grateful that he's given us permission to use his wonderful pieces to grace our books.

The text of Out of Blue, twenty-four poems on thirty-two pages, is printed on thick ivory paper. Roberts expresses the title and theme of the collection in this poem:

Out of Blue

Working on a book of poems
8:00 on an April evening, 

laptop on the table playing
"Kind of Blue" by Miles
and I say "Thank you, God,"
aloud. Apropos of nothing,
save I'm alive and "working."
Pure joy. Cigarette and a glass of
iced bourbon. Muted trumpet,
little bit of blue in the night sky
fading to black, drummer playing brushes.
I'm happy and I acknowledge it here
as a phosphorescent fingernail of moon
wanders east to west above the shingles,
my white plastic chair where I scratch down
notes about feeling good. Wonder where
the part about God comes in. But I'll take it,
I'll take it, and smile as I'm doing so.
Here on the patio with my computer,
glass of bourbon and the night sky growing
a little darker every minute, a little richer every minute.

Roberts is a master of story-telling and recollection. Enter his world of "Geezers," "Egg Rolls," and "Walking Stick," and find yourself aching to see what's around the next curve in the road.

Andy Roberts is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and is the author of eight collections of poetry. His work has appeared in a wide array of literary journals and small press publications since the mid 1980s. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he handles finances for disabled veterans.

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