While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), a Kansas Notable Book and winner of the Nelson Poetry Book Award, is Melissa Fite Johnson’s first book of poetry.

“Settle back with these poems and get as comfortable as you would on the living room sofa remembering your way through a family photo album. In Melissa Fite Johnson’s While the Kettle’s On, we’re lucky to watch these four generations fall in love, take their chances, sip tap water from Mason jars, and lovingly polish their teaspoon collections. These poems are comfortable as an evening walk with the dog, often as soothing as a nightly ritual of washing dishes in lavender suds while the chickadee chirps on the pear branch outside the window. Take a minute while the tea steeps, scooch back into your favorite reading chair, and then sip from your steaming cup as you read these charming lyrics and personal yet universal stories.”

—From the book’s introduction by Laura Lee Washburn, author of This Good Warm Place and Watching the Contortionists

Click here to purchase a signed copy of While the Kettle’s On.



Melissa’s second book, Ghost Sign (Spartan Press, 2016), also a Kansas Notable Book, is a collaboration with fellow Kansas poets Al Ortolani, J.T. Knoll, and Adam Jameson.

“In the spirit of challenge and community, Al Ortolani, Melissa Fite Johnson, Adam Jameson, and J.T. Knoll give their poetry to us in Ghost Sign–a tribue to their native region, to both its ghosts and its very real characters and their stories.  This is honest work, lyrical and painful, joyous and sad.  It is rooted in folk and mystery and place, informed by powerful imagery…I predict that readers of Ghost Sign will find in it their own ghosts, those indomitable, lost places and folk, brought back by the craft and passion of four poets who know how to remember.”

—From the book’s introduction by Jo McDougall, author of In the Home of the Famous Dead and The Undiscovered Room

Click here to purchase a signed copy of Ghost Sign.