Radical Country poetry that ain't goin nowhere

Stubborn Mule Books 2018 & 2019 Seasons

Heaven We Haven't Yet Dreamed


Our last book of 2019!

 The Mule loves femmes anthologies and here is our first contribution, Heaven We Haven't Yet Dreamed.

Features 23 pages of poems each by Dianne Borsenik, Juliet Cook, Puma Perl, and Mule founding editor, Jeanette Powers. 

Something Like Forgiveness | poems by Rebecca Schumejda with art by Hosho McCreesh


Submitted for the Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize

Review at Poetry Bay by Shawn Pavey

Albany Poets shout out and video

Misfit Magazine review

good universe next door essay

This full-color poetry book by Rebecca Schumejda features a single long-form poem about the incarceration of her brother and its rippling effects across their family. Includes artworks by Hosho McCreesh.

"How do you forgive the unforgivable? This is the question Rebecca Schumejda wrestles with, on a grand scale, in this emotionally taut, tightly structured, intensely personal poem. Using a slow reveal, the poet dispenses morsels of information, with regard to the nature of the crime, and her struggles with coping with her love for her brother who committed it and, finally, the heinous nature of what he did, until we learn, as well, what happened. She asks, among the many effective refrains, “What if you had died that night?” Somehow life could have been easier if he had. Maybe. I know how she feels. I’ve been there: different relative, similar crime.      Something Like Forgiveness is not simply a must read, it is an experience."

—Alan Catlin, poet, editor 

Misfit Magazine

Lived in Bars | poems by Erica Hoffmeister


 Erica Hoffmeister's Lived in Bars is an exquisite road trip across America's still-feral landscapes and people. The poems are a woman's experience in lostness and finding: brutal and benevolent, in crisis and of tremendous grit.  

Think of the World as a Mirror Maze | poems by Caitlin Vance


Misfit Magazine review

Think of the World as a Mirror Maze is a ruthless foray into the hazards of family life, from being a child to having a child and the devastating love in between. Vance approaches the familiar with curveball imagery, uncommon language, and devastating honesty, leaving the reader astonished at the new visions of shared familial experience.

"Caitlin Vance’s Think of the World as a Mirror Maze is the antidote to the apocryphal stories about women the culture wants us to believe. No sugar and spice, no Miss Manners, no cleaving unto a man. Instead, on these pages, Vance paints vivid, sometimes bloody, and always mesmerizing images of a striving toward a truer, fiercer sense of the feminine, or at times, more pointedly, images of how that fierceness is contained and repressed: “My mother’s skin is stretched on the hunter’s wall/like a canvas left to dry.” The speakers in Vance’s poems make clear they are not going to end up stretched across someone’s wall. They may just be the hunter and not the hunted. Their smiles are: “made of small, sharp bones/meant to rip/the flesh of a dumber animal.” As the speaker in the final poem says, “The sun can do whatever it wants/and, I realize suddenly, so can I.” And in this book, Vance does whatever she wants, bravely and without regard for what anyone thinks she should do."

—Christopher Kennedy, Author of 

Clues from the Animal Kingdom

What the Night Keeps | poems by M.J. Arcangelini


 M.J. (Michael Joseph) Arcangelini was born 1952 in western Pennsylvania, grew up there & in Cleveland, Ohio.  He’s resided in northern California since 1979 & currently lives in west Sonoma County. He began writing poetry at age 11. He has been a factory line worker, farm laborer, portrait photographer, fern picker, professional fisherman, banker, kitchen worker, pornographer, outlaw, and occasional layabout. He currently works in a law office, which he frequently finds disconcerting. His work has been published in little magazines, online journals (including The James White Review, Whisky Island, Taproot, Jonathan, lilliput, Rusty Truck, The Ekphrastic Review, The Gasconade Review), and a dozen anthologies. He is the author of three prior poetry collections, the full length “With Fingers at the Tips of My Words” 2002, from Beautiful Dreamer Press, and the chapbooks “Room Enough” 2016, and “Waiting for the Wind to Rise” 2018, both from NightBallet Press. A chapbook, “Pawning My Sins” is pending from NightBallet Press. He maintains an occasional blog of poetry and prose at https://joearky.wordpress.com/ He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

That's How It Is | poems by Jared Smith


Misfit Magazine review

Jared Smith is the author of 14 books of poetry, 2 CDs, and stage productions in New York and Chicago.  He has served on the Editorial Boards of Home Planet News, The New York Quarterly, Turtle Island Quarterly, and The Pedestal Magazine, as well as on the Board of Directors of literary and arts non-profits in New York, Illinois, and Colorado. Jared has taught at New York University, La Guardia Community College, and Illinois Institute of 

Technology.  He has also worked as Vice President of a consulting company, Associate Director of Education 

and Applied Technology Research at Institute of Gas Technology; Special Advisor to Argonne National 

Laboratory; and as a technical advisor to The White House under President Clinton. He lives in Colorado, where he spends much of his time in a rustic log cabin in Roosevelt National Forest.

Too Young Too Know | poems by Kevin Ridgeway


Misfit Magazine review

"The needle of the cosmic player has set the soundtrack to Kevin Ridgeway’s new collection of poetry, TOO YOUNG TO KNOW. This is a stunning collection of poems syncopated to jazz, bebop, and the psychic chants of a spinning rock’ n roll record full of dead voices and madness. The piano of the silent film era mingles with the laugh track of endless sitcoms, game shows, and commercials. Ridgeway’s deceased mother sings in her vibrato urn as the suicidal poet wanders the streets of a burned-out Southern California dream. We inhale the exhaust and hear the freeway traffic under a Velveeta sunrise. We hear the silence of the catatonic lunch room of his Pictionary teammates. We hear the voices of the mental health professionals interrupted by a transistor radio blasting The Flying Burrito Brothers. While

this poet may describe himself as “young, dumb, and full of cum,” he is a soul born to embrace the mystery, dance to the music, make love, be happy, and, ultimately LIVE."

Wendy Rainey

Author of GIRL ON THE HIGHWAY (Picture Show Press 2019). Contributing poetry editor with Chiron


2019 Books

Crying at Walls | poems by Macey Webb


Submitted for  Stonewall Book Awards - Barbara Gittings Literature Award 

Featured Book: 27th Poets House Showcase 


Macey Webb writes a potent and poignant poetic memoir of the loss of Webb's partner to cancer from diagnosis to death and then the aftermath of those left behind. This genuine and intimate experience of grief is raw without dramatics, devastating while resilient, and manages to keep the sense of humor that shows our deepest humanity.

Crying at Walls chronicles the passing of a life and a life changed by that passing. Grief is encapsulated in moments by time, although “chronoclock time isn’t a good measure of life” and the grand spirit of Jessica Elise could never be fully expressed in a single day of elegy. The monodies written by Macey Webb “cobble together a whole religion/ called i love you & you are sacred” and after reading these poems I, too, am left a believer.
—Huascar Medina, Poet Laureate of Kansas

Hero Victim Villain | poems by Brice Maiurro


Steuben Press Shout Out

"Maiurro spills his mind onto the page with fervent energy, chasing after each notion through a series of rabbit holes as though it may never run its course. In his characteristic narrative prose style, he brings together a seemingly paradoxical combination of grim confessionalism and romantic idealism while inhabiting a surrealist world—a recognizable-yet-dreamlike corner booth of Denver, Colorado, where canaries swallow fire and poets swallow cities, where cities are moving, breathing characters comprised of the people who reside in them, and where people can make their blood stand still if they follow his directions...Through all of this abstraction, metacommentary, and philosophical curiosity, Maiurro remains a poet of the people, never straying into academic or literary pretense. Instead, he speaks onto the page like a punk-themed poetry night microphone for anyone willing to listen. All told, these poems make for an imaginative and readable collection by a storyteller who captivates readers whether they consider themselves fans of poetry or not."

-Tim Becker, Author of Sorrow Birds and New York City Bones

Shoot the Alligators Closest to the Boat


Nathanael Stolte brings us his first full-length collection of poetry with Shoot the Alligators Closest to the Boat. He is a well-seasoned poetry vet, having toured relentlessly across America with his captivating performances and this book is well over-due. It is the second winner of the Victor Allen Smith Poetry Prize for a first full-length, a prize issued by Mule editor, Jason Ryberg.

Some poets are born of the fire that makes the world in all of its beautiful doom, Stolte is one of those poets – let him sing.
—RA Washington, author of BLACK Eunuch

Ride the Pink Horse | poems by Kyle Laws


Misfit Magazine review

Kyle Laws’ collections include So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press, 2015); Wildwood (Lummox Press, 2014); George Sand’s Haiti (co-winner of Poetry West’s 2013 award); My Visions Are As Real As Your Movies, Joan of Arc Says to Rudolph Valentino (dancing girl press, 2013); Storm Inside the Walls (little books press, 2012); Going into Exile (Abbey Chapbooks, 2012); and Tango (Kings Estate Press).       

With four nominations for a Pushcart Prize, her poems and essays have appeared in Abbey, Anglican Theological Review, Chiron Review, Cities (U.K.), The Delmarva Review, Exit 13, here/there: poetry (U.K.), IthacaLit, Journey to Crone (U.K.), Living Apart Together: A New Possibility for Loving Couples (Canada), Lummox, The Main Street Rag, Malpaís Review, The Más Tequila Review, Mead: The Magazine of Literature & Librations, Misfitmagazine, The Nervous Breakdown, Pearl, Philadelphia Poets, Pilgrimage, r.kv.r.y Quarterly Literary Journal,  St. Sebastian Review, and Turtle Island Quarterly.

She is editor of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press and publications director for the Pueblo Poetry Project www.kylelaws.com

Atlas of Wolves | poems by John Macker


Award- winning poet/playwright/essayist John Macker lives in Santa Fe, NM. His latest books are The Blues Drink Your Dreams Away Selected Poems 1983-2018 (Stubborn Mule Press), Gorge Songs (DCArt Press,2017) with Denver wood- block artist Leon Loughridge and Blood in the Mix (with El Paso poet Lawrence Welsh) Lummox Press, 2015. In 2014 Disassembled Badlands was published (the 3rd book in the Badlands trilogy). Other books include Woman of the Disturbed Earth, Underground Sky, Adventures in the Gun Trade , Las Montañas de Santa Fe and The Royal Road: Impressions of El Camino Real ( both in limited edition and with woodblock art by Leon Loughridge.). In 2006, he edited the Desert Shovel Review. He has won a Colorado Council on the Arts grant, A Colorado Arts (Tombstone) Award for Poetry and the 2006 Mad Blood magazine award for the long poem, “Wyoming Arcane.”

In Pearl Broth | poems by Rikki Santer


 Rikki Santer has worked as a journalist, a magazine and book editor, co-founder and managing editor of an alternative city newspaper in Cleveland , and a poet-in-the schools. 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. Her work has won honors from The Poetry Forum (the William Redding Memorial Contest), Black Lawrence Press (the St. Lawrence Book Award Competition), the Ohio Poetry Association, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, the Best of Ohio Writer Contest sponsored by the Poets' & Writers' League of Greater Cleveland, as well as two Pushcart and Ohioana Book Award nominations, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  You can contact her through her website: www.rikkisanter.com 

After the Flood | paintings by Greg Edmondson


 "After the Flood" is a series of 18 paintings by Greg Edmondson, completed in a whirlwind of creative energy after the last big flood on his nearby river, the Gasconade. In addition to creating the series of paintings, Edmondson has curated a knock-out selection of poets and writers who have created pieces to accompany the visual work and compiled everything in this beautiful and piquant book reflecting on what we are left with after disasters ... of nature and of the heart. 

When I Was a Girl Like Me | Margaret Bazzell-Crocker


Review by  g emil reutter  at North Oxford

Interview at Albany Poets
Interview at As It Ought To Be

Featured Book: 27th Poets House Showcase  

Misfit Magazine review

"This is a book I’ve been waiting two decades for, one written without excuses or apologizes, one that shows a multi-dimensional view of the female experience. Crocker explores the journey from girlhood to womanhood in a way that makes me consider how easy it is to blink and wake up decades later, having given away so much of yourself that you have to rediscover who you are. In her introduction, Crocker talks about anger, but what I see throughout is passion shape shifted into a voluptuous collection of heterogeneous poems. And maybe she is showing us that the heroines we worshiped, the Lynda Carters, weren’t the real heroes at all, maybe the heroes are the women who redirected their rage, put pen to paper and shared their experience in a way that unfeignedly resonates."

—Rebecca Schumejda, author of Cadillac Men (NYQ Books, 2012)

Bedroom Music | Steph Castor


Review of Bedroom Music at "Staining the Timbre"

Steph is a poet, freelance publicist, music journalist, and content writer currently living on a farm in Eudora, KS, A long time poet and community builder in the Lawrence and KC areas, notably they helped to establish the #LFK Poetry Slam back in 2014. Steph has written for several websites and magazines, but perhaps most notable include GuitarWorld.com, Curve Magazine, Outburn Magazine, RevolverMag.com, AudioBaby.com, Tattoo.com and most recently Guitar Girl Magazine. Steph has workshopped and performed with outstanding writers including Andrea Gibson, Robb Q. Telfer, Jack McCarthy, Tara Hardy, Sonya Renee, John Sinclair and many more.

"I believe that people should be living to their fullest potential and not selling themselves short." --Steph Castor

Against the Dark | James Benger & Tyler Robert Sheldon


Against the Dark: Road Poems

Benger and Sheldon team up for this split investigating the power of life on the road, with the focus of high beams on country roads and the squealing tires of sudden veering, these poems will take you for a ride you won't want to end.

"As much an existential buddy trip as On the Road, Against the Dark is an engaging imagined travelogue ... beat, gritty, and open-hearted. Although we pass through smoky hotels and Mexican diner dives, in the end, it’s about the open road: “foot on the gas / another bug on the glass.”   "

—Kevin Rabas, Poet Laureate of Kansas (2017-2019), Like Buddha-Calm Bird

Raga for What Comes Next | Dianne Borsenik


Featured Book: 27th Poets House Showcase 

"This collection is organized around the idea of traditional music of India, but like all traditions, is thick with our collective pasts and presents. When they zoom out, the poems engage world religions, arts and sciences to frame our experience; then they zoom in on a Paul McCartney look-alike, a glass eye, the saltiness of skin and butter. These meditative poems are part directive, part observation, part instruction manual, part call-and-response. They breathe human life into the loneliness of a planet, and draw a line from the paleontology of dinosaur bones to the contemporary struggle." 

—Karen Schubert, Director, Lit Youngstown, Coordinator, Power of the Arts

To Grow a Hole the Size of Everything | poem by Jason Preu, illustrations by Jeanette Powers


This monster project is a stellar collaboration between poet Jason Preu and the Mule's own founder, Jeanette Powers, who illustrated the poem. This is a full-color, 100+ page book of pure magic. It's the sort of book that one can pour years of curiosity into. We find the word illustrations to be a bit misleading, it's more like a visual dance back and forth between the words and the images: perhaps an illumination

2018 Books

First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places | Mike James


As It Ought To Be: Interview

Albany Poets: Interview

Wombwell Rainbow: Interview

Keep the Blues Alive: Interview

 Featured Book: 27th Poets House Showcase 

Misfit Magazine review

This exquisite collection is the 12th in James' ouvre of full length books of poetry. It is a rare and unique voice in contemporary writing, without pretense and decidedly original. The poems range from nostalgic assays on television stars of yore to questioning gender norms in an unsupportive environment, to a delicious and irreverent association with not just one river, but all of them. It is the kind of literature which investigates deeply personal obsessions, foibles, longings, repressions and joys without lingering on a terrifying political climate. This book celebrates identity in a deeply intimate and powerful way.

MJ's website  

One Hundred Years Among the Daisies | George Wallace


Interview with Albany Poets

Sensitive Skin: REVIEW

Featured Book: 27th Poets House Showcase 

George Wallace – winner of the First International Poetry Festival ÓRPHEUS – PLOVDIV 2018 with his poem ‘Orpheus on the Elbrus’ — is one of the best contemporary world’s poets I have ever read. His poetry is like a message from God, but it isn’t enough to say that because while plenty of poets think that they write under God’s dictation, to hear the message, to catch the message, is different.

—Anton Baev, poet, writer, Chairman, Plovdiv Writers’ Union

Dog Alley | poems and paintings by Hugh Merrill


KCUR Online Article

Submitted for  Thorpe Menn Literary Award 

Featured Book: 27th Poets House Showcase

 Dog Alley is a hybrid, full-color book of poems and paintings by the renowned artist Hugh Merrill. The poems are an intimate look at memory, aging, loss, privilege and sexuality all wrapped up in the potent and visceral language of emotion that only Merrill can achieve. These poems signal the beginning of a two year journey Merrill has traversed investigating his deep family ties to Jim Crow, legal lynching and his attempts to atone by telling the story.

The Blues Drink Your Dreams Away | John Macker


 Misfit Magazine review

Award- winning poet/playwright/essayist John Macker lives in Santa Fe, NM. His latest publications are Gorge Songs (DCArt Press, 2017) with Denver woodblock artist Leon Loughridge and Blood in the Mix (with El Paso poet Lawrence Welsh) Lummox Press, 2015. Other books include Woman of the Disturbed Earth, Underground Sky, Adventures in the Gun Trade, Las Montañas de Santa Fe and The Royal Road: Impressions of El Camino Real In 2006, he edited the Desert Shovel Review. 

Idylls of Being ... | Melvin Litton


Melvin Litton’s stories have appeared in Chiron Review, Mobius, Foliate Oak, Floyd County Moonshine, Pif, First Intensity, with poetry in Broadkill Review, The Gasconade Review, e Literary Hatchet, Stray Branch, and a chapbook From the Bone via Spartan Press.  He is a retired carpenter and lives in Lawrence, KS with his wife Debra and their black and tan shepherd Jack. He also writes and performs songs solo and with the Border Band: www.borderband.com 

Leadwood: new & selected 1998-2018 | Daniel Crocker


Our very first Stubborn Mule Press book!

Interview at Albany Poets

Featured Book: 27th Poets House Showcase
Poetry Bay review by Linda Lerner

Sundress Publications Review by Grace Prial

As It Ought To Be: Interview

Wilderness Literary Review by Joseph Farley

Home Planet News review by Cheryl A. Rice

Daniel Crocker brings an exquisite tome with this 200 page book of poems, many unseen before and all gut-wrenching in their honesty and intimacy. The poems are a side of Missouri all too common and all too unspoken of: lead poisoned towns, child abuse, bi-sexuality, poverty, coping with mental illness. What makes Crocker's work so astonishing is the deep sense of humor that comes with the most gut-wrenching truths. Let Elmo tell you all about it, you will be tickled! We hesitate to call a book important but this is a voice unheard in the poetry world and we are honored to be publishing it.