Brick Road Poetry Press

poetry made to entertain, amuse, and edify

The mission of Brick Road Poetry Press is to publish and promote poetry that entertains, amuses, edifies, and surprises a wide audience of appreciative readers.  We are not qualified to judge who deserves to be published, so we concentrate on publishing what we enjoy. Our preference is for poetry geared toward dramatizing the human experience in language rich with sensory image and metaphor, recognizing that poetry can be, at one and the same time, both familiar as the perspiration of daily labor and as outrageous as a carnival sideshow.

Bad Behavior by Michael Steffen


Bad Behavior by Michael Steffen


Winner of the Brick Road Poetry Prize

Paperback: 106 pages
Publisher: Brick Road Poetry Press (December 11, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983530459
ISBN-13: 978-0983530459
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.3 inches

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Steffen’s wonderfully companionable poems range from belly-laugh-worthy to gut-wrenching, from shocking to tender, to witty to blackly humorous and back.  His Ripley’s Odditorium of characters are each the speaker—and us—stumbling through our lives’ ordinary terrors and beauties, into and through the everyday truths we comprehend only briefly as the great ones—doomed to relearn them as our “fingers point to every possible desire,” and all too oblivious in our accidental wisdom, to all we already have.

—April Ossmann, author of Anxious Music (Four Way Books, 2007)

These poems are elegiac yet irreverent, elegant yet unflinching in their deliverance of searing emotional truth—an apt juxtaposition in these ruinous times.  A palpable will undergirds this language.  The speaker is as much a force of nature sent forth to confront the conundrum of our common predicament, as he is a fallible, recognizable human struggling with the smallest details of existence.  Bad Behavior is a deeply engaging, enjoyable collection.

—Pam Bernard, author of Blood Garden:  An Elegy for Raymond (WordTech Communications, 2010)

Bad Behavior catalogs the range and shades of our shared humanity.  Michael Steffen’s unblinking gaze is often ironic, which makes his capacity for tenderness even more impressive, as he gives voice to a flood-ruined farmer at a pawn shop, or imagines a convict’s botched execution, a worker having to listen to himself being fired in corporate double-speak, or shows us a son caring for his ill mother.  Steffen imagines the past with its unfixable wrongs “stalking us, bumming cigarettes/wearing holes in its shoes,” as if to suggest it is ourselves we give to or refuse.  And it is indeed ourselves these poems give back to us, newly tenacious, tenuous and aware.  

—Betsy Sholl, author, most recently, of Rough Cradle (Alice James Books, 2009)