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American Daguerreotypes

Ekphrastic Poems by James Penha

Available for Kindle

A new chapbook of poems inspired by 19th Century Daguerreotype photos of famous and infamous Americans including Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, James McNeil Whistler, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Tom Thumb, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Daguerreotypes are included in the book.

Claire Matturo, author of the Lilly Cleary mysteries published by Morrow, says of American Daguerreotypes: "The poems are accessible, thoughtful, insightful—and beautifully written. The design of the book is unique and lovely. Nearly all the poems follow a daguerreotype of a historical figure, most also have a quote from that person or information about him or her, followed by Penha’s poem on the subject. A few poems about slaves do not have daguerreotypes with them, and they are among the most moving and poignant of this collection. Penha has carefully footnoted the history and gives appropriate attribution to the sources of the daguerreotypes in a scholarly manner that does not intrude upon the eloquence of his poetry.... All in all, a fascinating and well done presentation of graphic, history, and poetry."


Snakes and Angels

Adaptations of Indonesian Folk Tales

by James Penha

Winner of the 2009 Cervena Barva Press Fiction Contest

Like baroque pearls on a string, the narratives possess the beauty, wisdom and universality of folktales. The wonderful poetic adaptations speak to us today. —Rochelle Owens

Snakes and Angels is a remarkable feat of preservation of folklore through ingenious retelling by a masterful hand. The mythic lives on through the creative effort to ease the division between past and present by giving it a new voice that tells us not what was but what is and always will be. —George Economou

On the Back of the Dragon

Winner of the 1992 Omega Cat Poetry Chapbook Competition, On the Back of the Dragon was James Penha's  first collection of lyric and narrative poems from exotic locales in Asia. Although the book is no longer in print, it remains available for reading and free downloading below thanks to Scribd.

James Penha's Greatest Hits

The Pudding House (publisher and editor, Jennifer Bosveld) was a remarkably successful small-press poetry publisher in Central Ohio since 1980. In that year Pudding Magazine began; in 1982, Bosveld began publishing chapbooks, books, and anthologies. The poets came from all over the United States, and a few from other countries. One of the characteristics of Bosveld’s editorial work was the wide variety and inclusivity of styles and approaches she embraced. From the wildly experimental, to mainstream small press styles, and to academic poetry: Pudding House included them all.

The inclusivity is especially apparent in the Greatest Hits series. Begun in the year 2000, this was a project in which each invited poet chose twelve of her/his/their most important poems and provided an introduction to them.

Out of print now, James Penha’s Greatest Hits, published in 2001, is embedded here thanks to Scribd.

Micro Chapbooks

Download Now

Four collections of James Penha’s poems have been formatted by The Origami Poems Project on single pieces of paper to be folded, origami-style, into palm-size, downloadable micro-chapbooks.

Lessons From the Archipelago

Sumatran Highways


Stalking Celebrities

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