What's Right About What's Wrong - Cover Image

In the BLACK/ In the RED

Poems of Profit & Loss

Edited by Gloria Vando & Philip Miller

An illustrated anthology of poems about money: the financial crisis we face as individuals, as a nation, and as part of the globe.



The 175 poets and artists include:

Joel Allegretti • Philip Appleman
Francisco Aragon • Tony Barnston
Marvin Bell • Robin Becker
Michelle Boisseau •
Martín Espada
Alice Friman Dana Gioia • Albert Goldbarth
William Heyen • Brenda Hillman
H.L. Hix • Colette Inez
Ted Kooser • Richard Kostelanetz
Marilyn Krysl • Philip Levine
Timothy Liu •
Denise Low-Weso
William Matthews • Jo McDougall
Colleen McElroy • Samuel Menashe
Naomi Shihab Nye • Elise Paschen
Linda Pastan • Barbara Ras
David Ray • F.D. Reeve • Patty Seyburn
William Jay Smith • Robert Stewart
Judith Taylor • Mervyn Taylor
William Trowbridge • Jane O. Wayne
Charles Harper Webb • Gail White
Richard Wilbur • Al Young

Vando's most recent book of poems, Shadows and Supposes (2002), won the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award and was named the Best Poetry Book of 2003 by the Latino Hall of Fame. Her first book of poems, Promesas: Geography of the Impossible (1993), a personal encounter with the history of colonialism and her family roots in Puerto Rico, was a Walt Whitman finalist and won the 1994 Thorpe Menn Book Award. Other awards include a River Styx International Poetry Prize (Philip Levine, judge); two Billee Murray Denny Poetry Prizes; the first Kansas Arts Commission Fellowship in poetry; Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Grant; and CCLM Editors Grant. Her poems have appeared in many magazines, anthologies, texts, and on the recent CD release, Poetry on Record: 98 Poets Read Their Work, 1888-2006. She is a contributing editor of The North American Review. A Puerto Rican born in New York City, she writes in Spanish and English.

Gloria Vando headshot
Publication Date: 17 April 2012
Pages: 200; Size: 6 x 9
ISBN 978-1-884235-43-6
$12.95; Paper

To order copies and/or schedule author or editor interviews, please contact:
Eve Ott, Business Manager
3607 Pennsylvania
Kansas City, MO 64111
816.753.1095 • 816.753.1016 fax
helicon9@aol.com • www.heliconnine.com


Judy Ray Book Cover


Poems by Judy Ray

To Fly Without Wings offers poems with the theme of memory itself as well as memories of an English childhood, travels in East Africa, Australia, and the poet's adopted United States. And there are poems of concern for peace, justice, our natural world and how we walk upon it.



“Judy Ray is a true daughter of Mnemosyne, as one sees in such an exquisite memory-poem as ‘Blue Cardigan,’ where every detail of scene and mood has been recaptured or never lost.… The poems of To Fly without Wings see with a fine descriptive eye, but also and always, as in the charming poem ‘Evening,’ with compassion or joy.”

—Richard Wilbur

“Wise and warm, dramatic and dedicated, Judy Ray's skilled poems of passion for justice and boldness for peace stand out among contemporary voices. There’s nothing she can’t write about affectingly whether in small talk or shaped poem as she turns her past into our present.” 

—F. D. Reeve

“There’s a calm center in these sometimes playful and varied poems as Judy Ray guides us back to an English childhood with luminous family portraits, medita-tions on landscape and memory, the nature of matter and tributes to worlds both perceived and imagined.… Judy Ray is the real deal and I salute her.”

Colette Inez

JUDY RAY grew up on a farm in Sussex, England, and graduated from the University of Southampton. She lived in Uganda for some years before moving to the United States, the country of her poet husband, David Ray. Together they have lived in India, New Zealand, and Australia.

She was associate editor of New Letters magazine for a number of years, and was the first executive director of The Writers Place in Kansas City.

Judy’s recent chapbooks are Fishing in Green Waters and Sleeping in the Larder: Poems of a Sussex Childhood. Earlier books include Pebble Rings, Pigeons in the Chandeliers, and a prose memoir about India, The Jaipur Sketchbook. Her essays and poems have appeared in many journals.

Judy Ray Headshot
Publication Date: 1 September 2009
Pages: 106; Size: 6 x 9
ISBN 978-1-884235-42-9
$9.95; Paper

To order copies and/or schedule author or editor interviews, please contact:
Eve Ott, Business Manager
3607 Pennsylvania
Kansas City, MO 64111
816.753.1095 • 816.753.1016 fax
helicon9@aol.com • www.heliconnine.com


What's Right About What's Wrong - Cover Image HOW I CAME TO LOVE JAZZ
Poems by Phyllis Becker

How I Came to Love Jazz traces a young woman's bittersweet, often humorous, journey toward self discovery and acceptance. The backdrop is the segregated Kansas City of the '70s, where jazz music is more valued than the musicians who perform it; where black physicians, such as her father, are excluded from the AMA and banned from the staffs of so-called white hospitals; and where Angela Davis becomes the icon for a generation of college students trying to find their way in a maze of white power. Despite the polarization around her and the personal trials she encounters and surmounts over the years, she eventually finds a blossoming–if provisional–peace in herself, her family, and the "rhythms and riffs" of the city she comes to accept as "home." These are powerful and inspiring poems.


"These wonderful poems by Phyllis Becker continue the tradition of original voices that come from Kansas City. In using jazz to animate her poetry, she joins Big Joe Turner, Mary Lou Williams, Charlie 'Bird' Parker and Ralph Ellison as part of the orchestra of important cultural sounds springing forth from Kansas City. Her evocative poems are filled with epiphanies so necessary to understand the human condition and to illuminate the terrain in her own unique vision. Phyllis Becker is now part of this blessed group. 'Jump for Joy'!"

Bruce Ricker, film director/producer of The Last of the Blue Devils and Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends

"Phyllis Becker's fine collection of poems, How I Came to Love Jazz, is about sophistication: domestic, social, sexual, philosophic, and aesthetic. Each poem initiates its persona into a new, often troubled, but always evolving world view, as in 'Middle Child': 'I have learned how to/live with that edge,/like a rim of a bowl/or a cornered edge of a box,/a part but not center,/contained, circumspect/well-defined and sharp.' And as each small poetic drama defines its own variety of sophistication, Becker chooses her words with exactness and restraint, thereby allowing her emotional insights to enlighten her lucky readers."

Philip Miller, editor of The Same, author of Branches Snapping

PHYLLIS BECKER'S poems have been published in numerous literary magazines, including Fathers: A Collection of Poems (St.Martin's Press); Sacred Stones (Adams Media, F+W Publications); The Kansas City Star; and Chance of a Ghost: An Anthology of Contemporary Ghost Poems (Helicon Nine Editions). Her chapbook, Walking Naked Into Sunday, was published by Wheel of Fire Press.

Her poems have been set to jazz on the compact disc, Poetry of Love, which was produced, recorded, and arranged by national jazz vocalist Angela Hagenbach.

A graduate of Howard University, she works in human services and is on the board of The Writers Place, a literary center in Kansas City, Missouri. She is involved in literary outreach to schools in the metro area. She is coordinator of the Riverfront Readings series, which features local and regional writers.

Phyllis Becker headshot
Publication Date: 1 August 2008
Pages: 216; Size: 6 x 9
ISBN 978-1-884235-41-2
$9.95; Paper

Send check or money order to Helicon Nine Editions at the following address:


What's Right About What's Wrong - Cover Image WHAT'S RIGHT ABOUT WHAT'S WRONG
Poems by Donna Trussell

One of the KANSAS CITY STAR's "Noteworthy Books for 2008"!

One of SLATE'S "Best Books for 2008"! - Melinda Henneberger Review



"Concise, tough-minded, insightful poetry."

The Kansas City Star

"Every poem in this collection is a five star, worthy of the explicator's science and the sensitive reader's tears. Her poems of grief unavoidable, sustained, or in progress, join those of Emily Dickinson in their strength and assured longevity."

–David Ray, author of Sam's Book

Donna Trussell's poems are lean, and brilliant. They swerve and startle, the way life does, but somehow better. WHAT'S RIGHT ABOUT WHAT'S WRONG—you'll turn down corners of pages, copy poems for friends, come back and back again to images so potent and penetrating they feel almost eerie in their stunning beauty.

–Naomi Shihab Nye

If Donna Trussell speaks to us "from the fragile net of the living," she is spoken to by ghosts still animated by "the look of longing." That's what's right about what's wrong, that equation — life the dividend, death the divisor — "that solves," Trussell tells us in the title poem, "to an infinite fraction / that can't be right, / but is."

–H.L. Hix

These poems, passionate and sometimes angry, sting. And though succinct, they grow large in the silences they force us to listen to.

–Jo McDougal

Donna Trussell grew up in Texas. Today she lives in Kansas City with her husband. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Poetry, North American Review, TriQuarterly and other journals. In the past she has worked as an editor, film critic and teacher.

Her short story "Fishbone" appeared in Fiction of the Eighties, New Stories From the South, Growing Up Female and other anthologies. "Fishbone" was nominated for the Pushcart Prize, was a finalist for Best American Short Stories and was performed as a play in Seattle and as a monologue in Dallas. Today "Fishbone" can be found online at www.donnatrussell.com and in the SMU Press book Texas Bound II.

In 2001 Trussell was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Five years later Newsweek published her essay "Remember Me as a Writer, Not a Survivor."

Donna Trussell headshot
Publication Date: 1 August 2008
Pages: 62; Size: 6 x 9
ISBN 978-1-884235-40-9
$9.95; Paper

Send check or money order to Helicon Nine Editions at the following address:


The Movable Nest
A Mother/Daughter Companion
Edited by Marilyn Kallet & Kathryn StriplingByer

One of the best books of the year!
                     -The Kansas City Star

A multi-genre, multicultural anthology of
poetry, stories, creative nonfiction, and letters
written by 52 outstanding women
in contemporary American literature.

movable nest cover image

The selections are imaginative, gutsy, and often lyrical. Section I, "Call Me, Even if You're Happy," recounts the difficult task of bidding farewell to our daughters: we feel apprehensive, yet proud to have raised young women who can fend for themselves. Section II, "Hello, Mother, Goodbye," offers tender reflections on leaving home, as well as stories about caring for aging mothers, about grieving and healing, and about adoption.

Mothers and daughters everywhere will use and cherish this book.

Dr. Marilyn Kallet is the author of thirteen books, most recently Circe, After Hours, poetry from BkMk Press (2005) and Last Love Poems of Paul Eluard, new edition, translated for Black Widow Press (2006). She is a Lindsay Young Professor at the University of Tennessee.

Kathryn Stripling Byer is poet laureate of North Carolina. She has published six books of poetry, including Wildwood Flower (Lamont Selection, 1992), Catching Light (SIBA Award, 2002), and Coming to Rest, 2007, all with LSU Press.

Paperback ISBN: 9781-884235-301 Pages: 216 Size: 6 x 9 Price: $12.95 + $3 Shipping & Handling to order, email helicon9@aol.com or send check or money order to Helicon Nine Editions at the following address:


Chance of a Ghost
An Anthology of Contemporary Ghost Poems
Edited by Gloria Vando
& Philip Miller

The 172 spirited poets and artists represented in Chance of a Ghost include four former Poets Laureate of the United States: Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Richard Wilbur, and William Jay Smith; the director of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dana Gioia; Albert Goldbarth, the only poet ever to receive two National Book Critics Circle Awards; and others, famous, infamous, and new. The book’s cover image is by Otto Piene, who last year received both the Joan Miró Medal from UNESCO and the Leonardo da Vinci World Art Prize from Consejo Cutural Mundial.

The ghosts we chance upon in this anthology are as varied as the many ways ghosts choose to visit the living. They blend into the commonplace: curtains, wisps of clouds, empty rockers, cushions, the scent of mildew and perfume, strains of music, even a dry martini. They tease us with a stutter of static on the cell phone, a single hair on our lapel. Despite rumors that they jump out at us with a resounding Boo!, some prefer to remain in the shadows, tightly curled—the wallflowers of the other world. Or they interact: bring solace, issue warnings, harp, scold, or try to seduce us. And sometimes, to our chagrin, they don’t appear at all.

Chance of a Ghost is a project to benefit the library of The Writers Place, a literary community center in the heart of Kansas City. The library provides writers, readers, and scholars with a unique collection of small press books and literary magazines from the Midwest, and other parts of the country. The profits from this anthology will be used to expand and index the collection.

Paperback, ISBN:1-884235-38-7, $14.95 + $3 S&H, send check or money order to Helicon Nine Editions at the following address:


by Ann Slegman

One of The Kansas City Star's
10 Standout Books for 2004!

"Few experiences are more titillating than overhearing an intimate conversation, and those who listen in on Ann Slegman's Conversation will hear women moving in and out of their bodies, inventing stories for their blind husbands, and murmuring beside dozing children over the sound of mung beans poured into a jar. Slegman's poems offer up voices attentive to a treasuring of detail: strings of gum down the pavement, a coyote in a layer of ice, water seeping through seams in the drywall, a tea cup on a couch of blue Chinese silk."

—H.L. Hix

"The tone of the fable, the nuanced proverb, not African but American, the idiom a scrupulous meanness' (James Joyce), what Kenneth Burke called 'equipment for living' in these 'late, bad times'; not personal in the autobiographical moment but diagnostically sound as only a psychograph can be: across these borders the need compulsive, the want prodigious, the lessons in lineation, Ann Slegman's supple songs."

—Michael Harper

"As its title suggests, Ann Slegman's poems in her new collection, Conversation, are exchanges of language as if overheard or suddenly recalled, snatches and fragments of everyday speech, captured, reconnected and reconstituted into poems which reveal finally what these moments of human discourse really mean. Slegman selects images with a careful eye, words with a rightness of sound while she constructs lines with sly surreality, wit, and a sense of the absurd. These poems will stop you, move you, sometimes make you laugh out loud, timed and tuned as they are to disclose themselves stealthily, and then to let their meanings sing and resound."

—Philip Miller

Paperback, ISBN:1-884235-37-9, $9.95 + $3 S&H, send check or money order to Helicon Nine Editions at the following address:


Branches Snapping: Poems
by Philip Miller
editor of The Same Magazine

"An active supporter of literary arts in the area for many years, Miller directs the Riverfront Reading Series, is on the board of the Writers Place, and co-edits a magazine, The Same. He is also a prolific poet with several books to his credit. Miller's latest effort may well be the capstone of his career. In these consistently strong poems written during the last decade, he explores territory everyone can relate to."

The Kansas City Star

"From our Man of Letters, Kansas City's poker-faced showman and inquisitor of shadows and dreams, comes work ranging from narrative epiphany to contemplation of the most unwelcome of moments. His vision is unswerving, his anxiety level high, his offerings generous. This collection will be welcomed by old fans and make new ones."

—David Ray

"There's something in this for every one of us because the poems deal so incisively with--or they reveal--what we all have in common. Much of that you will think anew as you read these poems, which will--be warned--get under your skin and probably stay there."

—Martin Mitchell, editor, Rattapallax Magazine

Paperback, ISBN:1-884235-36-0, $9.95 + $3 S&H, send check or money order to Helicon Nine Editions at the following address:


Lick of Sense

“I loved the spirit and heart and wisdom of this manuscript, the way it took me directly into a region and a set of lives and made them strongly alive for me.…And the poems were so full of surprises. It’s very American to me, to feel that you can’t predict what’s going to happen in a poem. It keeps the hope going.”

—Alicia Ostriker, judge

“Rhodenbaugh evokes the textures and nearly tactile charge of knowing something deeply and well simply because one is capable of describing it—as if Elizabeth Bishop suddenly turned up in a Southern Gothic.”

—Molly Peacock

Paperback, ISBN:1-884235-33-6, $9.95 + $3 S&H, send check or money order to Helicon Nine Editions at the following address: