BWP National Poetry Month Reading Celebration

Join us Wednesday, April 26 at 7:00 p.m. at Gallery 1516 (1516 Leavenworth, Omaha) to celebrate National Poetry Month.

This event is free and open to the public. Enjoy desserts and drinks. Arrive early to spin our Backwaters Prize Wheel. Celebrate National Poetry Month with these three talented authors, Jen Lambert, Miles Waggener and our very own Michael Catherwood.

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BWP hitting NYC for a reading in May


Wednesday, May 3 Reading at Cornelia St. Café in NYC!

Charles Fort, Carole Stone and John J Ronan, distinguished poets published by The Backwaters Press, join in a tribute to the award-winner publisher celebrating its 20th anniversary.

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Pi(e) Day Poetry Reading with Backwaters Author, Susan Firer

Backwaters Press author Susan Firer celebrated Pi(e) Day (3/14/17) at a reading with Milwaukee Poet Laureate, Matt Cook, in Milwaukee, WI.

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Backwaters authors in an anthology of resistance

Backwaters Press authors in the news! Backwaters Press author Tyrone Williams is one of the editors of this new anthology forthcoming from Spuyten Duyviland and Backwaters Press author Susanna Lang is in this anthology as well. You can learn more about Resist Much / Obey Little at Spuyten Duyviland’s website.

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The Writer’s Block with John Ronan – Featuring Kim Garcia

Backwaters published poet, John Ronan,  interview’s Backwaters Prize winner, Kim Garcia.

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AWP 2017 Event: The Backwaters Press Celebrates 20 Years

AWP 2017 Event in D.C.:
Thursday, Feb. 9th at 10:30am
Virginia Barber Middleton Stage, Sponsored by USC, Exhibit Halls D & E, Convention Center, Level Two

The Backwaters Press, a nonprofit press out of Omaha, Nebraska, will celebrate 20 years in 2017. This event will feature five of our authors who are included in our 20th Anniversary Anthology, which will be released at AWP. This event will also feature our editor, Michael Catherwood, who will discuss the history of the press.

Lola Haskins’s poetry has appeared in the Atlantic, the Christian Science Monitor, the London Review of Books, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Georgia Review, and Southern Review, and been broadcast on NPR and BBC. Her most recent book is How Small, Confronting Morning.

Susan Elbe is the author of The Map of What Happened, winner of both The Backwaters Prize and the Jacar Press Julie Suk prizes, Eden in the Rearview Mirror, Where Good Swimmers Drown, and Light Made from Nothing.

John J. Ronan is a poet, playwright, movie/TV producer, and journalist. He has received national honors for his poetry and is a former NEA Fellow, Ucross Fellow, Bread Loaf Scholar, and Poet Laureate in Gloucester, MA, where his cable program The Writer’s Block with John Ronan is in its 27th year. Poems have appeared in Three Penny Review, New England Review, Southern Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, Folio, and many other publications. Media productions have won a Telly, an Aurora Gold, a First for Education Programming from NECTA, as well as other awards, and have been aired on PBS outlets. A previous book of poetry Marrowbone Lane (The Backwaters Press), was a Highly Recommended selection by the Boston Authors Club. His newest poetry collection is Taking the Train of Singularity South from Midtown (The Backwaters Press) and it will be released at AWP. (

Howard W. Robertson is a poet and fiction writer who has published nine books of poems, including most recently, Odes to the Ki of the Universe, and the short novel Peculiar Pioneer. His awards include the Sinclair Poetry Prize, the Robinson Jeffers Prize, the Bumbershoot Award, and others.

Susan Firer is the author of five full-length poetry collections,
including Milwaukee Does Strange Things to People: New and Selected Poems 1979-2007 (Backwaters Press, 2007). Her books have been awarded the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize, the Posner Award, and the Backwaters Prize. She has also been the recipient of a Milwaukee County Artist Fellowship, a Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship, and the Lorine Niedecker Award. Her poem “Call Me Pier” is included in the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Everywhere series. From 2008-2010, she was Poet Laureate of the City of Milwaukee. In 2015, Firer was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Her sixth poetry collection, The Transit of Venus, was published by The Backwaters Press in 2016.

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AWP Backwaters Press Author Signings

Stop at our booth #973 while you’re at AWP. We will have a prize wheel with fun giveaways plus these amazing BWP authors signing books:

Thursday, Feb. 9:

12pm John Ronan
12:30pm Susan Elbe
1pm Lola Haskins
1:30pm Howard Robertson
2pm Zeina Hashem Beck
2:30pm John Bradley
3pm Susan Firer

Friday, Feb. 10:

11am Richard Robbins
11:30am Kim Garcia
12pm Jeanne Emmons
12:30pm Michael Catherwood
1:30pm Charles Fort

Saturday, Feb. 11:

11am Susan Eisenberg

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BWP Reading: Kwame Dawes, Lisa Fay Coutley, and Michael Skau: POSTPONED

Wednesday, January 25th, 7 p.m.

Rescheduled for Wednesday, February 1, 7 p.m. due to weather.

1516 Gallery, 1516 Leavenworth St., Omaha.

Kwame Dawes is the author of sixteen collections of poetry, including, most recently, Duppy Conqueror, Wheels, Back of Mount Peace, and Hope’s Hospice. He has also published two novels, Bivouac and She’s Gone, winner of the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Best First Novel. An accomplished actor, playwright, and producer, fifteen of his plays have been produced, and he has acted in, directed, or produced several of these productions himself, most recently One Love at the Lyric Hammersmith in London. His essays have appeared in numerous journals including Bomb Magazine, The London Review of Books, Granta, Essence, World Literature Today, and Double Take Magazine. Until July 2011, Dawes was Distinguished Poet in Residence, Louis Frye Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts, and founder and executive director of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative. He is now Editor-in-Chief of Prairie Schooner and Professor of English at UNL.

Lisa Fay Coutley is the author of Errata (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award, and In the Carnival of Breathing (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition. Her poetry has been awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, scholarships to the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, and an Academy of American Poets Levis Prize. Recent prose and poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, and Poets & Writers. She is an Assistant Professor of Poetry in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Michael Skau was hired by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the Fall of 1973 and continued teaching there until his retirement in 2011. He is now emeritus professor. Skau has published books on the Beat poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gregory Corso and articles on Ferlinghetti, Corso, Richard Brautigan, William S. Burroughs, Jerzy Kosinski, and Jack Kerouac. He has published more than a hundred poems in such periodicals as Laurel Review, Kansas Quarterly, Passaic Review, Carolina Quarterly, Northwest Review, Midwest Poetry Review, Midwest Quarterly, South Carolina Review, Texas Review, California Quarterly, Paddlefish, and Hawai’i Review, among many others. He was named Winner of the 2013 William Kloefkorn Award for Excellence in Poetry. His poetry book, Me & God, came out from WSC Press in 2014. His forthcoming collection, After the Bomb, is due out from WordTech in May 2017.

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DRONE Recommended by Small Press Distribution

droneOur favorite distributor and online retail outlet, SPD, has recommended the 2015 Backwaters Prize winner, DRONE, by Kim Garcia in their latest e-mail news letter.

You can purchase the newly published DRONE from SPD and see why it was selected for the prize last year.

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2016 Backwaters Prize goes to . . .

We are thrilled to announce our latest recipient of the Backwaters Prize. This year’s top prize is $2,000 and publication of the submitted manuscript. The press received more than 300 manuscripts from around the world and our dedicated team of readers winnowed that number to the very best of the best which were submitted to our gracious judge, Henri Cole, for evaluation.


Physical Education, Emily Van Kley

A Different Physics, Lisa Rosenberg

What It Done to Us, Essy Stone

Lion Brothers, Leona Sevick

Fable of the Lost Boy, Cathie Sandstrom

Helpless Intruders in a Strange World, Heather Altfeld

Before the Drought, Margo Berdeshevsky

Was Body, Billie Tadros

The Zoo at Night, Susan Gubernat

The winning manuscript for the 2016 Backwaters is:

Stunt Heart, Mary Jo Thompson

We would like to thank all the poets who submitted their work and congratulate the finalists and Ms. Thompson for their extraordinary work.

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