Publications of Betsy Johnson

A Hit of Hope (for when it gets really bad) – 2022. In 2018, Betsy Johnson’s life went sideways. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, had to undergo chemo and radiation, and was asked for a divorce she didn’t want. Betsy knew there were all kinds of things she could do to numb the pain, but she wanted to get better, not worse. She decided to walk through this crucible with hope and grit, and thus began these meditations. To heal, we have to get real and name the mess, the fear, the pain. And we have to see a way forward. A way out. Or at least a way to sit while the storm crashes . . . because no storm in the history of the world has ever been able to hold the sky forever. Whatever you or someone you love are facing, these meditations can bring a hit of hope and help you not only to survive but to live light. Liturgical Press

when animals are animals – 2021. Poetry. Wrong ticks on, and it feeds on silence. In her book, WHEN ANIMALS ARE ANIMALS, Betsy Johnson refuses to be “the quietest person in the world.” She names where the teeth are, gets closer to the kick she knows is coming, and makes her weary spirit take up the empty rucksack, because there is work to be done. That is the work of standing up to the “cloud monster,” of being an antidote, of finding hope in a knot of stones. Small Press Distribution

“take all the get-well time you need,” Raleigh Review, 2021

“how to be alone and well,” Dunes Review, 2020 “breast cancer, metaphorically,” The Iowa Review (online), 2020

“in the real world,” Hayden’s Ferry, 2019

“Solstice,” Raleigh Review, 2019

“up to wonders,” Storm Cellar, 2019

“What kind of life,” Bitter Oleander, 2019

“plea,” Rock & Sling, 2018

“what if I am not fainting,” Hotel Amerika, 2018

“Truth be told,” Columbia Poetry Review, 2018

To the Space Beside Me – 2013. “To the Space Beside Me,” a featured essay, was published in the journal Under the Gum Tree. DigitalCommons@CSB/SJU

Fierce this Falling – 2012. “Fierce this Falling” is her second published book of poetry; she has also authored two books for young adults. Read about her new book, published by Mayapple Press


The Fountain – 2011 When Litney tells Dokken about their last adventure (which included talking bears and malevolent shapeshifters), she’s afraid she has scared away her one true friend. That is until a chance encounter with a terrifying man, his kindly wife, and their neurotic dog plunges them into a dazzling new world where they experience everything from jealousy and betrayal to surprising friends and creepy enemies. But the real question is will Litney and Dokken find what everyone is looking for before it is too late? Amazon

The Bracelet – 2009 The adventure begins when fourteen-year-old Litney Way finds an unusual bracelet at a garage sale. To her shock and surprise, inside the bracelet’s box is a note . . . from her own mother! The bracelet leads Litney on an adventure she never could have imagined. Who would have thought a fourteen-year-old could fight evil and save her world? Who would have thought a bracelet would be the key to everything? Amazon

Betsy Johnson, visiting assistant professor

SJU Quad 355C
[email protected]

College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Jessica Harkins
Chair, English Department
SJU Quad 350B

Laura Schmitz
Temporary Department Coordinator (Through spring 2024)
SJU Quad 362D/451

Facebook Instagram