Shop for Print Issues & Books
All the covers and listings on this page are clickable. They take you to a purchase page on Lulu, our print publisher. Many of the issues are also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. If you purchase from those venues enough to reduce your shipping cost, you can search "Better Than Starbucks" on their sites, but we don't make much on those sales. Purchasing on Lulu helps us move toward paying more contributors.
All our books are now available directly
from Better Than Starbucks Publications
BTS issues for 2021 and 2022 are also available here
in Premium and ebook versions.
Free shipping on orders of over $50.
The more issues we sell the closer we will be to our goal of paying more contributors for their work. Thank you all for your support, and for sharing our love of poetry and creative writing. —Vera Ignatowitsch
Click on the cover to order your copy!
Save 15% on orders of print books
Use Code: WELCOME15 at checkout
If you are a bookstore or retailer please contact us for discounts.
Print costs continue to rise.
We're finally giving in and raising the price of the Trade version to $9.
If you are interested in reviewing one of the books on this page, please email us at email@example.com and we will send you a review copy.
click on the cover to order your copy:
Click on cover to go the purchase point.
The Beautiful Losses
poems by Frederick Pollack
101 poems, 125 pages
The Beautiful Losses is an unusually beautiful book, telling with wit, irony and occasional satire, stories that feel lived, advancing thematically towards a kind of goal. The stories are informed by a complex of loves — ‘Our fridge, the size of love’ is a generous fridge. The voices are often those of older people in conversation. Moving through the world they have memory, resentment, anger, but integrity, too, so they hang on to the possibility of rapport. They keep talking, and the end — even at the very end of the book — is not silence. Old age has a very different sensuality from what the young enjoy, and it is wonderful to find it here so intensely evoked, so that the reader lives it.
— Michael Schmidt, editor of Carcanet and PN Review.
Reviews: Reader's Favorite
Coming Soon! October 1, 2023.
Another Crescent Moon
a novel by Josh Cook
The story of Cliff Emerson, a man with cerebral palsy and a big heart but no voice, and his friendship with Ayo, a new caregiver who listens differently — and takes big risks to help him feel more human.
Cliff’s unheard narrative, told from his perspective, traces the history of his care, from his time in the state hospital to his move into the group home where he has lived for twenty years. Though it was designed to help him grow his independence, his group home program often fails him. His staff are lazy and complacent and their superiors aloof and unobservant. It seems like Cliff’s the only one who sees this — until the day that Ayo starts.
Ayo is new not only to Cliff’s home but to America. Where he came from and why he left are mysteries. He doesn’t like to talk about it much. But his optimism, like his smile, is infectious, and Cliff soon learns to trust him. For Cliff, it is a revelation, being understood by someone without having said a word. All that was required was willingness and patience, things staff haven’t given him in a long time. As Cliff begins to see himself through Ayo’s caring gaze, he starts believing that he deserves and is able to live a life as full as anyone’s. The challenge is convincing those in power of this truth.
Reminiscent of Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, this novel is unflinching in its portrayal of disability care and also, more broadly, of life in America. It is touching and darkly comic, at times bordering on the absurd. But at its core, it is the story of a man in search of something meaningful in a time and place opposed to his whole being, and yet who, with Ayo’s help, manages to maintain his sense of dignity and personhood — and, for the first time, to taste real freedom.
Coming Soon! November 1, 2023.
Voices from the Past
poems by Peter Mladinic
Early on in Voices from the Past Peter Mladinic set down some prescriptive rules for dealing with memory and loss. In the poem “If” Mladinic tells us: “If you don’t go where they are and knock / they'll go on with their lives. / Should some sight or sound remind them of you / it will be you don’t care, you never loved them. / You tell yourself approaching that shore / I love, loved and will love them. They are better / left alone, going on as they have been / since the morning I set out from the mainland. / I had to. That much was clear.” For my money, the poet is cataloguing Existence—as in the poem “Reciprocity” that assembly is a dialogue that begins: “If you help me get what I want I’ll help / you, Ethel, one of the dead, / cold in your grave, wanting everything.” The poet is saying what others are thinking, of the Spirits of the Dead: If you’ll help me, I’ll make you visible again. Which is what Mladinic does with small dogs and great boxers—he brings the world that is passing, and has passed to never return, into view with no small degree of reverence for the true-ish as well as the truth. Not to understate the whimsy of “Autobiography,” saying: “An autobiography / of a lizard should contain the lizard’s preferred / bowling team, it’s preferred soup and rainforest.” And so it should.
— Roy Bentley, author of Walking with Eve in the Loved City, and Starlight Taxi.
A Life Lived Differently
by Kathryn Jacobs and Rachel Jacobs
A5 (5.83 x 8.27 inches)
Perfect Bound Paperback
A poignant portrait of autism in verse and prose.
Chris Bonello's (Autistic Not Weird) recommendation of A Life Lived Differently on Facebook.
When Correlation is Causation
and other poems by Heikki Huotari
6x9. Perfect Bound Paperback.
105 Pages. $15 USD
This collection of 80 experimental poems frequently looks through a prism of terms and concepts taken from mathematics and physics. The words dance to an otherworldly melody, and when the music ends one is left with questions and observations about life which are often startling. Heikki Huotari’s poems follow no drummer. A thrilling adventure for lovers of experimental poetry.
Heikki Huotari’s poems oscillate between intense moments of scientific clarity and absurdist pirouettes that remind us that, while the world may be a dance of entropic chaos screened by a thin veneer of rational apology, the universe is “largely laughing matter.” His work is absolute proof that Surrealism is not dead.
It seems that Heikki Huotari’s poetry knows no boundaries. I come across poems that remind me of those old Rube Goldberg contraptions. Others have a keen intimacy with nature like the illustrations in Sibley’s bird guides. A poem of Huotari’s can seem to lead me on a wild goose chase with no purpose other than to confuse me, then, pow, a line slams into my heart and puts me deeply in touch with myself and my place in the universe, whether either exists or not. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Descartes!
—Stefanie Marlis, author of Slow Joy.
Knives on a Table
poems by Peter Mladinic
A collection of intensely atmospheric poems.
In this richly varied collection, Peter Mladinic’s myriad voices reveal his extraordinary gift for lyric storytelling. The speakers in his fresh and unexpected dramatic monologues populate a universe of recognizably American experience, telling of joys and horrors, childhood memories, murders committed, lovers desired and lost, lives fractured, heartbreak endured and survived (or not). An always believable surrealism of the everyday sometimes takes us into the dream life of families, births and deaths, moments full of illumination and love, sorrow and exhilaration. Mladinic’s poems are all about the inescapable reality of others whom he fully imagines in all their unforgettable poignance and irrepressible vitality. His disciplined, energetic, highly pressured free verse and brilliant attention to local detail celebrate life — its tragedy, its comedy, its romance and abundance — all the while taking into account, with the deepest compassion, the relentless passage of time.
— Elizabeth Frank, Pulitzer Prize winner in 1986 for her biography Louise Bogan: A Portrait.
A richly varied collection of 62 poems by Peter Mladinic
Cover art by Paul Klee, 6” x 9” 99 pages, $18.00 USD
Reviews: compulsive reader
Law of the Jungle
a novella by Christina Hoag
The secrets of the South American jungle are worth millions to the right person. Christina Hoag’s riveting, atmospheric narrative reveals a twisty tale of betrayal reminding us where the seeds of greed are sown, revenge grows. A thrilling, captivating read.
— James L’Etoile, author of Black Label, At What Cost, and Bury the Past.
A sweet tale of revenge, set in the jungle, and served up like a tropical drink. Rowena Aldus is everything you could want in a heroine — smart, bold, and coming into her own. Readers will root for her as she takes on start-ups, junk science, and a villain slimier than an Amazonian slug.
— Jenny Milchman, Mary Higgins Clark award winning author of Cover of Snow and The Second Mother.
A brilliant, flawed protagonist, exotic locations, and a compelling plotline, Law of the Jungle will crawl under your skin and set up camp until an ending that you won’t see coming.
— Elena Taylor, author of All We Buried and the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series.
Ten Seconds In-Between
by Doug Hoekstra
Click on the cover to order. $20.
A delightful literary collection of 24 stories, in a mix of short and flash fiction. 111 pages.
Ten Seconds In-Between is a collection about connection. There’s something elusive yet immediate about the characters in these tales; as a line in “Performance Art” goes, “You remember reading somewhere that psychologists say when people meet, they decide within 7 and 17 seconds whether or not they will like each other. You wonder about the 10 seconds in between.” The pieces herein range from flash to extended, mirroring ephemeral transactions and relationships; as with life, the hope is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
— Doug Hoekstra 2021
First Place Winner for Collection of Short Stories in the 2021 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards.
Short Story Collection Finalist for 2022 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Read “Essence”, from the collection, here. (Chapter 16)
Listen to the author read “Silently”, from the collection, here
and "Essence" here.
Interviews with Doug about his new album and also about Ten Seconds In-Between:
Read about Doug's new music release, The Day Deserved, here.
poems by Susan Sheppard
Click on the cover to order. $15 USD
A collection of vividly haunting poems by Susan Sheppard.
When I first read the poems of a young woman from Appalachia, thirty years ago, I knew she was one of the best poets I’d ever met. I never forgot the brooding witchcraft, the mystery and magic in her work. There’s no writer like Susan Sheppard. She writes like a woman who has nothing to lose and I place her at the top of poetry’s canon. It is the world’s fault that a Sheppard poetry book is not in our libraries. Every page of Glamoury is rich, resolving to bring truth to life with language smoldering, ready to burst into flame. I read this book and feel lucky to know a poet who keeps poetry alive. This is the book of the year.
—Grace Cavalieri, Maryland Poet Laureate
Mist in Their Eyes
by William Doreski
Click on the cover to order your copy. $15.
Everything is alive in Doreski’s delightful poems. They take the time to see the small things of the world, and they do it beautifully. I also love how he’s not afraid to poke the people around him with wry social needling. You’ll read this book and feel like you walked through your hometown wearing some kind of special glasses that let you see what’s always being going on.
— Matthew Rohrer, Hopwood Award-winning poet and Pushcart Prize recipient.
Read a review on Amazon here.
Better Than Starbucks Haiku Anthology 2020
Click on the cover to order your copy, $12.
Hardcover $25 available here.
In this anthology, Kevin presents 132 haikuists and 455 of their haiku. He has chosen 307 haiku from BTS issues 2016-2020. 125 of the haiku are new and not previously published. There are also ten of Kevin’s haiku included in his chapter introductions, and well as the one on the back cover, and six bonus haiku on the hardcover dustjacket.
This is a wonderful collection Kevin! I find your parenthetical comments insightful. As an undergraduate many years ago at SUNY Oswego, I studied with the formalist poet Lewis Turco. I read and wrote poems following the structure of many forms, including haiku. This anthology has inspired me to write more haiku. I like how you remind readers in your foreword to not "speed-read haiku. Savor the verse. Be open to the possibility that the haiku may present unexpected gifts." Well, this anthology is an unexpected gift!
— Steven M. Smith