Friday, March 31, 2023

national poetry month icon

 Once again, it's National Poetry Month, and that means that the Cuyahoga Public Library is doing its tenth annual Read+Write: 30 days of Poetry. Sign up, and get a poetry prompt, and a new poem by an Ohio writer in your box every day!

Post your poem in the comments, and read what others post.

How to sign up for the daily poetry emails:

  1. Go to this page, Email Preferences - Cuyahoga County Public Library (
  2. Fill in first name, last name, email address.
  3. Scroll to the bottom to “Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry” and click Yes.
  4. Click the yellow subscribe button right below it.

Siaara Freeman becomes new Heights Poet Laureate!

Congratulations, Siaara Freeman! The following is from our friends at Heights Arts:

Heights Arts Appoints Eleventh Poet Laureate


Heights Arts proudly presents the Heights’ eleventh Poet Laureate —Siaara Freeman. She begins her two-year term in April, joining a long line of celebrated laureates, the most recent of whom was 2022 Academy of American Poets Fellow Ray McNiece. The new laureate’s official duties will begin in April (National Poetry Month), at Heights Arts’ popular Ekphrastacy—Artists Talk and Poets Respond series.

About Siaara Freeman

Currently a teaching artist for the Center for Arts Inspired Learning, Freeman has a wide-ranging, much-heralded foundation in writing and performing arts. She has spent recent years with Cleveland Public Theatre (Catapult Fellow 2021-22); as Watering Hole Manuscript Fellow (2020); Tangerine Chapbook Fellow (2018); Poetry Foundation Incubator Fellow (2018); and she is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her first collection of poetry, Urbanshee, was released in August 2022. Her poems have appeared in many publications including BOAAT, Tinderbox, Josephine Quarterly, and The Offing, which describes Freeman as “an avid reader, a reliable nerd, a poet, a performer, and the friendly neighborhood hope dealer.”

Freeman has performed at poetry festivals, colleges, and universities both locally and internationally. Norway, Canada, and Costa Rica have hosted her, as have educational institutions including Oberlin, Ohio State, Allegheny College, Michigan State, Louisiana State, and Penn State. In conjunction with the Picturing Motherhood exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2022, she made a five-minute “commercial” spoken-word video that aired on the museum’s website to promote the show.

Of her hero, Toni Morrison, in a piece for Cleveland magazine in 2019 Freeman writes, “She (Morrison) was transcendent, yet undeniably human. She had no need to rely on stereotypes or tropes. She knew blackness, women, Ohio, magic, herself, and she used that knowledge and her boundless imagination to give us worlds where her characters existed, but we could as well.” It was clear to the members of the Heights Writes Community Team whose members select the new laureate every two years, that Freeman herself would transcend the ordinary through her poetry writing, performances, and work with young people. Team member Annie Holden speaks for the Team. “On paper, Freeman is deeply impressive. In person, she has a level of energy and dynamism that electrifies the space she inhabits.”

Cleveland Heights – Home to the Arts

Freeman joins a long line of celebrated past poet laureates. Says Freeman about her appointment, “I am incredibly honored to be chosen to continue in a legacy carved by such brilliant and generous poets. It is a privilege to sit amongst personal heroes and close friends who embraced the opportunity to serve the community.”

Cleveland Heights Mayor Seren honors the laureateship and what it represents in a city with arguably the biggest population of artists and arts professionals in the region. “Poetry grounds us in our shared humanity in times of celebration and sorrow, and as “home to the arts” Cleveland Heights recognizes poetry’s significance through this laureateship. I look forward to working with Ms. Freeman to give her art a broader platform in our community.”

A New Partnership with University Heights

With the naming of the new laureate comes a new partnership between Heights Arts and University Heights, an evolution that will change the title from “Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate” to simply “Heights Poet Laureate”. Heights Arts’ executive director Rachel Bernstein shares her thoughts about Freeman’s upcoming tenure. “The Heights Poet Laureate program is the longest-running laureateship in the state and has been conferred through Heights Arts since our inception in 2000. Not only are we thrilled to welcome Siaara Freeman as the next laureate who will lead us into our twenty-fifth anniversary in 2025, we are equally excited about our new partnership with University Heights to expand this position to the greater Heights area—something I have been hoping to do since I became director. Cleveland Heights and University Heights share a school system and a library system, and we are grateful for Mayor Brennan’s enthusiasm in supporting another cultural asset in the Poet Laureate, which will expand civic engagement through the arts. I look forward to Freeman sharing her inspiring words and presence with a new community.”

University Heights Mayor Brennan shares Bernstein’s enthusiasm. “As we continue to grapple with the many challenges in today’s post-pandemic world, poetry can help us reconnect and heal. University Heights is excited to support the Heights Poet Laureate, and we look forward to working with her at our community events.”

Inaugural and Upcoming Events

The new laureate will be welcomed officially by Cleveland Heights on April 17, 2023 at Cleveland Heights City Hall, and at University Heights City Hall on May 1, 2023.

Her first public events will occur at Heights Arts’ Ekphrastacy – Artists Talk and Poets Respond event on April 20th at 7pm, and at a Heights Arts “Community Celebration of Laureates Past and Present” on May 4th at 7pm at the Grog Shop.

Upcoming events

More about Heights Arts Literary Programming

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

2023 Ohio Poetry Day Contests Now Open

[Cross-posted from the Ohio Poetry Association blog:]

Our friends at the Ohio Poetry Day Association have announced their annual contests! May 15, 2023, is the deadline (postmark) for nearly two dozen contest categories. Categories include humor, formal poems, parody and more. As always, a “Welcome Aboard” category for first-time submitters and an art category to design the cover art for the 2023 Best of Ohio Poetry Day anthology are also open to submissions. 

Below is a copy of the submission form, which provides full contest information. 

Ohio Poetry Day 2023 will take place in October. Stay up to date on OPD information, including the event date, location, and agenda, by getting your name and address on the OPD mailing list. To do so, contact:

Amy Jo Zook

3520 State Route 56

Mechanicsburg, OH 43044

Checks for all contest fees and purchases should be made payable to: Ohio Poetry Day. For questions, call (937) 834-2666.

Click and download the images below to view them at full size.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Coming soon: Hope Springs Eternal anthology from Simple Simons Press

From JR Simons:

Fresh off the publication of our first anthology, Mad As Hell: An Anthology of Angry Poetry, Simple Simons Press is launching its second call for submissions for a new anthology titled "Hope Springs Eternal." Poets interested in contributing, please submit using this link:


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Christine Howey Has a Poem About That

Crisis Chronicles Press is ecstatic to announce the publication of their first title of 2023, I Have a Poem About That by Cleveland's own Christine Howey.

I Have a Poem About That is 36 pp, 6 x 9", perfect bound, with cover art by Jessie Herzfeld. ISBN 979-8-88596-993-2. Available for $10 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 535 Parkside Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44143 USA.

This volume features 23 poems, including "When We Die We Become Birds," "My Skiff," "Camus at Camp," "A Meeting of Suburban Deer," "Eternity on Elm Street," "Inside Out," "Invert at the Gem Saloon, Deadwood, South Dakota, 1876," "My Name Is John Doe," "Mount Everest," "Paul Desmond's Slot Machine," "Ten Ill-Conceived Kitchen Gadgets," "Maybe I Should Have Told Different Lies," "After I'm Gone," "Blueberries, Summer, 1944," "The Last One," "The Road Oft Taken," "Sign of the Cross," "A Bubble-Off Romance," "The Birds and the Bees," "The History of Television," "The Universal Usage Guide," "An Ode to Richard Howie," and "My Words Are Too Big Today."

Christine Howey is a performance poet and former executive director of Literary Cleveland. Her one-person play of poetry about her transgender journey, Exact Change, premiered at Cleveland Public Theatre and was selected by the New York International Fringe Festival. A film version of the play was an official selection of the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival. 

Christine has also been an award-winning theater critic in Cleveland for 25 years, currently with Cleveland Scene. She was named Transgender Leader of the Year in Northeast Ohio and received the Torch Award from the Human Rights Campaign for leadership on transgender issues. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Sandusky Reading Event Saturday at 1:30


Eve Martinez is a Kenneth Patchen expert and vocalist.

She will be presenting some of Patchen's poems to vocal settings.

She comes to us via New York City, having moved to Oberlin. 

Her work with Kenneth Patchen was through composer Jack Eric Williams. 

She directs Flagrante Music Productions.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Inaugural Toni Morrison Poetry Contest

From our friends at the Lorain Public Library System:

Share your gift of writing by entering our inaugural Toni Morrison Poetry Contest! Open to adults, as well as students in grades 6 to 8 and 9 to 12. All entries must be submitted to by Dec. 19!

Local poets are welcome to perform their original works during our Open Mic Event on Feb. 1 at the Main Library. Prizes are $75 for 1st place, $50 for 2nd place and $25 for 3rd place and will be awarded at a reception at the Main Library on Toni Morrison Day, Feb. 18. You need not attend the open mic event to be considered for a prize.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Applications for Ekphrastacy and the next Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate

From our friends at Heights Arts:

Cleveland Heights Poet Laureateship

Heights Arts is selecting the 11th Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate – to serve between April 2023 and March 2025. The poet laureateship is the longest-running laureateship in the state of Ohio, and will raise your profile in the community; give you experience writing occasional poems; and increase your awareness of Cleveland Heights communities, organizations and individuals you may not have met before. You will have a deep connection with Heights Arts and will collaborate with artists across genres.  

Serving as Poet Laureate may increase your future funding possibilities. Our outgoing poet laureate, Ray McNiece, was awarded a substantial grant from the Academy of American Poets as a direct result of his role as CH poet laureate. Says McNiece of his laureateship, “Serving as The Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate has provided me with the opportunity not only to refocus on my poetry, but more so on my role as a community poet. Writing is often a solitary art, but the laureateship by its very nature engages my art, particularly through the Ekphrastacy series, which provides me and other poets in the community with an opportunity to work with a wider audience.” 

Learn more and apply to be the next Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate 

Ekphrastacy: Artists Talk and Poets Respond

The Ekphrastacy literary program is a series of artist talks + poetry readings held regularly in the Heights Arts gallery, in conjunction with our four, yearly exhibitions. Cleveland-area writers are invited to view the installed artworks and respond with poetry. Five weeks after the exhibition opening, the artists talk about their work and the poets read their poems, often resulting in a surprising dialogue. Participating poets receive an honorarium for their participation.  

Learn more and apply to perform in the 2023 Ekphrastacy: Artists Talk and Poets Respond series

Porcelains and Poetry in South Euclid: Rescheduled for Spring 2023

[UPDATE: due to unforeseen circumstances, this event will be be rescheduled for Spring 2023.]
On December 10th at 6:30 p.m., twelve area poets will read brand new ekphrastic work to raise funds for a very good cause. Porcelains & Poetry will be hosted by South Euclid Poet Laureate Doc Janning and One South Euclid at the Museum of American Porcelain Art.

From the press release:

"Enjoy readings by a dozen prominent local poets created in response to art at the American Museum of Porcelain Art with musical interludes by a string quartet from Charles F. Brush High School. Hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served. Proceeds from the fundraising event will support a One South Euclid program that helps senior residents age in place."

Buy your ticket ($55) at

Participating poets:
Doc Janning
Raja Belle Freeman
John Burroughs
Ray McNiece
Shelley Chernin
Amy Kesegich
Jeremy Jusek
Cat Russell
Russ Vidrick
Barbara Marie Minney
Mimi Plevin-Foust
Abdul Ghani

Museum of American Porcelain Art
4645 Mayfield Road
South Euclid, Ohio 44121

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Himalayan Poet to Visit Cleveland; Ray McNiece Leads Poem for Cleveland Project

From Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate Ray McNiece:

Poet Friends, two events upcoming:

One, this Sunday at the Millard Fillmore on Waterloo, world-traveling Himalayan poet Yuyutsu Sharma will perform with the Tongue in Groove Jam band and you can too, bring a poem of gratitude or gray, or gratitude for gray, the palette of Cleveland from November until May for the open mic. [Side note: Yuyutsu will also be leading a workshop, to be followed by open mic, on Monday at G.A.R. Hall in Peninsula.]

On that note, those of you who would like to participate in the Poem for Cleveland Project (and that includes Northeast Ohio) can come to any free workshops listed below.  This Saturday's workshop at the MLK branch of CPL on Stokes Avenue is being covered by a reporter from the Plain Dealer.  It happens, as do all the workshops, from 10:30 till Noon.

Thursday, November 3, 2022


 Join us in lovely downtown Sandusky for a Celebration of haiku 

and Barbara Sabol and Larry Smith's new book CONNECTIONS. 

We will all be writing and sharing haiku. Come and share. 

Saturday Nov. 19th...1:30 - 3:00

Monday, October 31, 2022

Kan Zaman by Judith Mansour to be released November 5th

Crisis Chronicles Press is thrilled to announce the imminent publication of Kan Zaman, a memoir in poetry and prose by Judith Mansour. Pre-order now for $15 and receive free shipping. Or meet the author at our book release event on November 5th at Beaumont School in Cleveland Heights.

Mansour, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, walks the minefield of grief and nostalgia in her first full-length collection. Soot-covered porches from the once-booming steel industry of the Mahoning Valley are the backdrop for visceral, playful and devastating memories.

The title, Kan Zaman, is Arabic for "a long time ago"
— often used to mean once upon a time or way back when. Apropos for this collection born of losing people Mansour loved and who shaped who she is.

"Judith Mansour’s Kan Zaman is an irresistible evocation of the Lebanese household she grew up in. This magical book is both a love poem to her family and an invitation for all of us to revisit our childhood, that paradise to which we can only return through memory. Mansour’s writing, by turns both sensual and hauntingly lyrical, is as welcoming as a warm kitchen on a winter night."
George Bilgere

You may also pre-order Kan Zaman from our friends at Mac's Backs Books on Coventry in Cleveland Heights.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Judy Garland is Not a Sunrise

Congratulations to Cleveland writer E.F. Schraeder, whose new chapbook just went live for pre-orders from Finishing Line Press. Inspired by the life and work of Amy Winehouse, Judy Garland is Not a Sunrise offers a close look at the passions and perils of creative life through a feminist lens.

Available here:

In Judy Garland is Not a Sunrise, E. F. Schraeder coaxes Amy Winehouse’s life from somber shadows into a powerful klieg spotlight, with insightful poems that are both dissection and homage. In “Cameras and Ink,” she notes that Winehouse is …swimming in vinegar, a brine of declension; in “Junk,” she observes that Her noose <is a> a microphone / swinging. Schraeder’s concluding poem in the collection, “Twenty Seven,” nails it succinctly: Don’t worry about much / or over commit, / we tell ourselves: / we have time. / And we do / until we don’t. Whether or not you are familiar with Winehouse and her music, these poems are sure to rock you.

— Dianne Borsenik, Raga for What Comes Next (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019)
Judy Garland is Not a Sunrise is a meditation on fame and the horrors and responsibilities that come along with it, for better or worse. This collection gives an honest look into the life and lifestyle of artists and discusses how fans oftentimes marry suffering to the creation of art, all while commenting on mental health, the body, and how the heart processes pain, overstimulation, and the need to constantly produce and survive. A must-read for poets and artists alike.”
Stephanie M. Wyotovich, Bram Stoker Award® winner

Lyrical and melancholy, Schraeder's Judy Garland is Not a Sunrise is an unfiltered Norma Jean tribute to songstress Amy Winehouse. A small volume with 'velvet insides', this collection comprises exquisite 'fire-kiss' poems that 'sing from the veins' on ashtray-regret themes of self-destruction and addiction. An unsettling and compelling offering from an exceptional voice in horror poetry."

— Lee Murray, USA Today Bestselling author and double Bram Stoker Award® winner



Lit Youngstown Fall Literary Festival: October 20th through 22nd

Lit Youngstown's 6th annual Fall Literary Festival will be centered around the theme “The Places That Make Us,” a conversation about writing, publishing, teaching, community outreach, and inclusion.

Supported by Ohio Humanities, the conference aims to sustain and enhance discussion on real and imagined literary places that shape our memory, experience and identity.

This year’s featured presenters are film scholar & screenwriter Laura Beadling, fiction writer Kelly Fordon, filmmaker Karla Murthy, children’s author Candace Fleming & poet Joy Priest.

For more information, to register, and to view the full schedule, click here.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Two Area Poets Pair up in New Book of Tanka and Haiku Poetry


two area poets pair up in new book 
of tanka and haiku poetry


Morning Dew: Tanka by Larry Smith
core & all: haiku by Barbara Sabol

Order online from Bottom Dog Press 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Congratulations to our new Ohio Poet of the Year, Erica Manto Paulson

On October 15th, the Ohio Poetry Association will serve as the virtual host of this year’s Ohio Poetry Day (OPD) celebration. The afternoon will spotlight the 2022 Ohio Poet of the Year, Erica Manto Paulson, for her winning book, Hunger (Finishing Line Press, 2021). We also are inviting OPD contest winners to take part and read their winning poems. To that end, OPA will host a virtual reading using Zoom and broadcast live on the OPA Facebook page.

This event is free and open to the public, but Zoom space is limited. Viewers can also tune into the event on Facebook. Click here to register.

OPD contest winners are invited to share their winning poems during the event. To reserve a spot in the reading, winners should contact the OPA team via email at

Registration via Eventbrite on the OPA website:

Registration closes October 14, 2022.


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Timothy Russell

 Here is a poem and tribute to Ohio 

Working-Class poet Timothy Russell.

Rustbelt Girl Blog

(two clicks to get there, but worth it.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

This week in Kent, Ohio

 From our friends at the Wick Poetry Center:

Join Us This Week for Events and Workshops 

We are excited to share this week's events and workshops. Come and celebrate design and poetry with us at the Akron Art Museum this Thursday at 6 pm. A Mapping Akron workshop will follow at 7 pm.On Friday, the Wick students and interns will facilitate our weekly workshop, Wick Weekly, from 1-2 pm in the May Prentice House. Find us on Friday from 3-7 pm at the Black Squirrel Festival at Risman Plaza with fun games and Wick swag.On Saturday, we will host our Market Stanzas project at the Haymaker Farmer's Market. More details are below and on our webpage:
Wick Events and Workshops 2022/23
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the "Celebrating Our Own & Open Mic" event has been rescheduled to Wednesday, September 28! Celebrating Our Own banner



This event will spotlight the 2022 Wick Poetry Center scholarship winners. Each winner will have the opportunity to share their work. An open mic, in which anyone is welcome to read, will follow. Come celebrate poetry with us by sharing your poems and discovering the new voices around you.  

More information about this week's event:Market Stanzas


Saturdays, September 3, 17, 24, and October 22 | from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. | Haymaker Farmers’ Market

Market Stanzas is a community arts project created by the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University in partnership with Haymaker Farmers’ Market in celebration of their 30th anniversary. Community members can share memories about the market, its vendors and volunteers, and the important way it serves the Kent community to the online gallery or by visiting the Traveling Stanzas Poetry Makerspace at the market. Each visitor's contribution will add to a growing community poem:  

Market Stanzas is funded by generous grants from the Kent Rotary Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. 

Poetry & Design Talk


Thursday, September 15, 6:00 p.m. | Akron Art Museum (1 S High St, Akron)

For 13 years, the Traveling Stanzas project with Wick Poetry Center has translated the creative expression of poets in our community into stunning works of visual art. New posters from this project will be on display starting 9/2. Join us for a conversation between the young poets and the poster designers. 

Mapping Akron


Thursday, September 15, 7:00 p.m. | Akron Art Museum (1 S High St, Akron)

Following the presentation about Traveling Stanzas (see above), join Teaching Artists from the Wick Poetry Center for a writing and placemaking workshop from its new initiative “Mapping Akron.” In a yearlong series of creative writing and placemaking workshops with everyday Akronites, the Wick Poetry Center will build an interactive, digital map of Akron, which will explore individuals’ sense of place and home and contribute to the vital artistic ecosystem of the city. 

Wick Weekly


Every Friday, 1:00 p.m. | Wick Poetry Center (in May Prentice House) Starting September 2nd

Join the Wick Poetry Center student workers and interns for a free workshop each week. Wick Weekly invites Kent State students and community members to engage in informal writing prompts and activities. No prior writing experience is required. 

Wick Weekly follows the Kent State University Academic Calendar, and will not take place on days when the University is closed. No registration is necessary.

We hope to see you at the events.Wick Poetry Center

Twitter Twitter
Instagram Instagram

Monday, August 29, 2022

Thoreau's Journal

 Thoreau's Journal - August 29, 1859

It is so cool a morning that for the first time I move into the entry to sit in the sun. But in this cooler weather I feel as if the fruit of my summer were hardening and maturing a little, acquiring color and flavor like the corn and other fruits in the field. When the very earliest ripe grapes begin to be scented in the cool nights, then, too, the first cooler airs of autumn begin to waft my sweetness on the desert airs of summer. Now, too, poets nib their pens afresh. I scent their first-fruits in the cool evening air of the year. By the coolness the experience of the summer is condensed and matured, whether our fruits be pumpkins or grapes. Man, too, ripens with the grapes and apples.

Poetry Version

Thoreau's Journal - August 29, 1859


It is so cool a morning that

for the first time I move into

the entry to sit in the sun. But

in this cooler weather I feel

as if the fruit of my summer were

hardening and maturing a little,

acquiring color and flavor like the

corn and other fruits in the field.

When the very earliest ripe grapes

begin to be scented in the cool nights,

then, too, the first cooler airs of autumn

begin to waft my sweetness on the

desert airs of summer. Now, too, poets

nib their pens afresh. I scent their

first-fruits in the cool evening air of the year.

By the coolness the experience of the summer

is condensed and matured, whether our fruits

be pumpkins or grapes. Man, too,

ripens with the grapes and apples.


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau