Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Laura Moe writes, Confessions of a Failed Poet.
"The title intrigues, the words themselves glitter the page, yet ultimately the poem is vapid; it is a mannequin in the store window wearing a great outfit you want to try on, and the first few lines seduce you, but in the end the zipper is stuck, or the pants are too short. Failed poems do not deliver on their promise... 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Renegade Flowers: LevyFest 2014


"For the first time since 2006, Cleveland will be host to levyfest, which honors the city’s own alternative publisher and poet d.a. levy, as well as his contemporaries in the Mimeograph Revolution.  This festival will celebrate the history of small press publication and poetry in Cleveland and from around the world. It will include guest panels, readings, community and publishing events, and other programming" [info swiped from the HydeOut Press blog].

Here's the listing of On-Campus events (at Cleveland State University's Michael Schwartz Library) for Saturday, October 25th:

Information on Off-Campus events can be found at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/levyfest/2014/community/

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cleveland Heights, Looking for a Laureate

Want to be poet laureate?  Know somebody who would?  Live in Cleveland Heights?
Now's your chance: Cleveland Heights is looking for nominations for the next poet laureate.
Nominations are due by the end of October.

2011 Poet Laureate Cavana_Faithwalker

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fall: Leaves Fall

photo by Geoffrey A. Landis
Fall: leaves fall.
Fall leaves fall.
Fall, leaves, fall.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Art Interactions Here and Now, feat. Clarissa Jakobsons 10/11 at CMA

Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44106
October 11th, 2014, from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

The Ohio Poetry Association's Ekphrasis 3-C series continues this fall on Ohio's north coast. Clarissa Jakobsons will present “Art Interactions Here and Now.”

Participants are invited to enter conversations with displayed artwork and bring them to life via words. We will begin with warm-up exercises, examples, and a variety of ekphrastic approaches. There will be a brief docent tour, as well as alone time to observe and allow specific artwork to inspire our words. To conclude, there will be a read-around to celebrate our new poems.

Clarissa Jakobsons instructs a variety of art and writing classes at Cuyahoga Community College and at the Sage program at Akron University. She weaves art and poetry into artist books, which are internationally exhibited. A series of Camille Claudel artist books have been shown at the Cleveland Museum of Art - Ingalls Library. In another life, she taught art in the schools and initiated integrative art and writing programs for children and adults. Sample publications include Hawaii Pacific Review, Glint Literary Journal, The Poetry Forum, Kattywompus, Ruminate, Qarrtsiluni, Tower Magazine, Van Gogh’s Ear, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, and others.

Upcoming free exhibits at the Cleveland Museum of Art:
  • “The Believable Lie: Heinecken, Hope, and Feldmann”
  • “Surrealist & Dada Photography”
  • “Epic Systems: Three Monumental Paintings” by Jennifer Bartlett
  • “Forbidden Games: Surrealist and Modern Photography”



This event is free and open to the public. Participants will meet in Classroom A.
Workshop is limited to the first 24 registrants. Register by September 30, 2014. Send an email with your name and contact info to Chuck Salmons at charles@ohiopoetryassn.org or call (614) 829-5040.

If using museum parking facilities, participants will have to pay for parking. Directions & Parking: http://www.clevelandart.org/visit/directions-and-parking.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Artist Talks and Ekphrastacy at Heights Arts on September 25th

Join us for an evening with Isabel Farnsworth, associate professor of sculpture at Kent State University, and Hui-Chu Ying, professor of printmaking at University of Akron, who will share insights about their works on view in the gallery, artistic process and vision.

Poets Dianne Borsenik, John Donoghue, Sarah Gridley, Susan Grimm, and Mary Quade will also read new works inspired by select sculptures and works on paper in the exhibition. FREE. 

Heights Arts 
2175 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118
(216) 371-3457

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Free Yo Mind at Guide to Kulchur September 20th

[From the event page on Facebook:]

Guide to Kulchur and Children's Defense Fund / New Abolitionist Association (Ohio) would like to invite you to Free Yo Mind Hip-Hop Cradle2Poetry Slam, the funky-fresh poetry slam contest hosted by Cleveland's youth. Food, drink, $25, $50, and $100 gifts and prizes, plus special guest entertainment.


Slam Rules for Competitors:
1. No Props or Musical Accompaniment (must be a-cappella if you sing).
2. You must perform your own original poetry.
3. All poems must be 3 minutes long or less. (Competitors who go over set time will lose points for every 10 seconds over 3 minutes.)
4. There are three knock out rounds so you must have three poems prepared to compete.

Slammers or poets interested in reading during the open mic intermissions contact Joe: 216-650-1961, Deisha: 216-239-4409, or Philip: 937-238-4843 via phone or text.

Winners receive $25 for 3rd, $50 for 2nd, and $100 for 1st place.

More details, audience participation and slammer rules will be announced day of slam.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Many Thanks Visible Voice Books

Guest post by Steve Thomas
Many of you already know Visible Voice Books is closing. I find it fitting that September is its last month. Today, while customers scramble for last minute deals (40% off). I sat admiring the wood interior of the store and appreciated the gated red bricked court yard. It made a statement beauty could be found anywhere. The store brightened up the street with an appealing grace and charm.
   What better way to spend a Friday or Saturday evening with a friend a glass of wine and live music in the background. Dave Ferrante presented a multi faceted entertainment venue. There was an eclectic book selection along with writing workshops (thank you Claire) combining for a wonderful atmosphere for art lovers of all shapes and sizes.  Dave supported a women’s speaker series titled She Speaks. Regina Brett spoke there as well, presenting 50 Lessons about life. There were poets from Erie to California that performed in the courtyard or in a room upstairs. And can we talk about the wine tastings? This wasn’t a book store but a gathering place for unique thoughtful people.
  It’s a cool quiet Tremont night with church bells counting time. There’s sign on the door closing Sept 27th. I can feel the door swinging shut now as Brownbird sings Americana in the back ground. In the courtyard The Lost State of Franklin is setting up for their performance. It’s a good night for books and music. After all the experiences I’ve had here I’m glad to say thanks Visible Voice for a great deal on memories. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Celebrating the Living Legend: Russell Atkins

Celebrating the Living Legend: Russell Atkins

Contact: Sheba Marcus-Bey
Phone (216) 541-4128
14101 Euclid Avenue
East Cleveland, OH 44112

East Cleveland, OH, October 25, 2014:  Four Friends of Russell Atkins, in collaboration with East Cleveland Public Library, is proud to present a program “Celebrating the Living Legend: Russell Atkins” on Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the Greg L. Reese Performing Arts Center, 14101 Euclid Avenue, East Cleveland, OH 44112.
The event seeks to pay tribute to Cleveland’s long-standing iconoclast, who has been known as an avant-garde poet, dramatist, musical composer, and editor throughout his lengthy and productive career. The program will feature music, tributes, and readings of Atkins’ poetry. The 88-year-old Atkins will be in attendance. Atkins is the subject of a new book, Russell Atkins: On the Life and Work of an American Master (Pleiades Press), edited by Kevin Prufer, a native Clevelander now at the University of Houston, who will speak at the event.
In 1950, Atkins cofounded Free Lance, which is one of the oldest black-owned literary magazine. Through this publication of avant-garde writing, Atkins contributed to the development of New American poetry. During his career, Atkins corresponded with famous twentieth-century poets Langston Hughes and Marianne Moore.
The event is planned by four writers who have been helping Atkins in his recent transition to a nursing home: Yaseen AsSami, Diane Kendig, Robert McDonough, and Shaheed Mutawaf. “It was a difficult time,” said Kendig, “Much of his life’s work was destroyed in the move.” Their friendships with Atkins go back to creative writing workshops in the 1960s and 70s, and they wanted to rally to his support. “We had a birthday party for him in February,” says Kendig, “and writers came out from all over Cleveland and from out of state in a Northeast Ohio blizzard to be there, with cards pouring in front all over the U.S. He is clearly loved and respected.”
When the group contacted the East Cleveland Public Library for the event, Executive Director Sheba Marcus-Bey quickly responded with the invitation for the library to host the event. “We are happy to offer a venue and resources to celebrate such an esteemed, creative force. We are honored to host this event,” says Marcus-Bey.
Following with the program, there will be a reception and sale of the book. The public is welcome to attend. Further information is available through the East Cleveland Public Library, (216) 541-4128 and Diane Kendig, (330) 479-7132 or Mutawaf Shaheed (216) 272-1509.

Russel Atkins, On the Life and Work of an American Master:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Green Panda Press Eros Nature Love Collection Hot Hot

Day 4 

Buy "Day 4" Here

Eros was worshiped by a fertility cult in Thespiae. In Athens, he shared a very popular cult with Aphrodite, and the fourth day of every month was sacred to him. In Day 4 four poets give their unique takes on erotic nature and love poetry. While each voice is different they complement each other. Alexis Fancher, Catfish McDaris, John Swain and Bree are widely published in the very small press. See how Green Panda Press gets them to...come together.

order online at the above link below or direct from Panda (for free shipping) via paypal to greenpandapress@gmail.com (Cover art by Bree) perff bound $10 dollers cheap!

Bree is a Cleveland poet, memoirist and artist. Her Green Panda Press has produced chaps & anthologies, broads & sundry of the small independent press since 2001.

Alexis Rhone Fancher’s poems are in  RATTLE, Carnival, Fjords Review, Deep Water, This Is Poetry: Women of the Small Presses and so forth. She has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net award. Her collection of erotica, “How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen & Other Heart Stab Poems,” has just been published by Sybaritic Press (2013).

Catfish McDaris is a New Mexican living near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has four walls, a ceiling, heat, food, a woman, a daughter, two cats, and a typing machine, which is plenty.

John Swain of Louisville, KY is the author of several collections including Ring the Sycamore Sky (Red Paint Hill 2014), Rain and Gravestones (Crisis Chronicles 2013) and White Vases (Crisis Chronicles 2013). He’s published widely in the small press.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Monday at Mahall's schedule for the last third of 2014

For the past few years, the Monday at Mahall's Poetry & Prose series has featured some of the best literary talent from northeast Ohio and across the nation - along with one of our area's best open mics.  The trend continues with these four fabulous upcoming events:

Monday September 1st 2014 at 7:30 p.m.:  Featured poets Ray McNiece and Mary Weems (two of Cleveland's finest) will read, followed by an open mic.  We'll still be celebrating the release of Oct Tongue -1, a collaborative book by Mary Weems, John Swain, Steven Smith, Lady, Shelley Chernin, John Burroughs and Steve Brightman.

Monday October 6th 2014 at 7:30 p.m.: The official book release for the third annual Lipsmack anthology, published by NightBallet Press, will feature contributors including Jennifer Hambrick (Columbus), Andy Roberts (Columbus), Jason Baldinger (Pittsburgh), Jason Irwin (Pittsburgh) and Dan Smith (Cleveland), followed by an open mic.

Monday November 3rd 2014 at 7:30 p.m.: We'll feature the group Writer’s Root (whose authors include Lauren Parsons, Margaret Hnat, Amy Bue, Regina Geither, Kay Cosgriff and Elise Geither - all of northeast Ohio), followed by an open mic.  Crisis Chronicles Press plans to release poet/playwright
Elise Geither's new chapbook at this event.

Monday December 1st 2014 at 7:30 p.m.: Featured poets will be Joey Nicoletti (Buffalo, NY), Juliet Cook (Medina, OH) and Baraka Noel (Wheaton, MD), followed by an open mic.

John Burroughs will be your emcee for these four events.  Stay tuned for more great lit performances - and more than a few fab surprises - in 2015.  Here's just one: Ray McNiece will be our special guest host in February, April, June and September.  Please join us the first Monday of every month at Mahall's 20 Lanes, 13200 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Oct Tongue -1 book release Wednesday August 27th at Mac's Backs

cover photo by Smith

Join Cleveland's Crisis Chronicles Press Wednesday 27 August 2014 (7 pm) at Mac's Backs for the official release of Oct Tongue -1, a collaborative book by Mary Weems, John Swain, Steven Smith, Lady [Kathy Smith], Shelley Chernin, John Burroughs and Steve BrightmanOct Tongue -1 is perfect bound, over 300 pages and like seven 31-poem chapbooks in one.  Six of its seven authors will be reading at this special event.

Mac's Backs - Books on Coventry
1820 Coventry Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118
(216) 321-2665

About the authors:

Dr. Mary Weems is a poet, playwright, imagination-intellect theorist, social/cultural foundations scholar and former Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights. Weems is the author and/or editor of twelve books and five chapbooks, most notably white (Wick Poetry Chapbook Series) and Tampon Class (Pavement Saw Press). Two of her books were full collections of poetry: An Unmistakable Shade of Red and the Obama Chronicles (Bottom Dog Press, 2008) and For(e)closure (Main Street Rag Press, 2012), both finalists for Ohioana Book awards.

John Swain of Louisville, Kentucky, is the author of several acclaimed books including Rain and Gravestones (2013, Crisis Chronicles), White Vases (2012, Crisis Chronicles) and Prominences (2011, Flutter Press). His latest, Ring the Sycamore Sky, is forthcoming in the summer of 2014 from Red Paint Hill Publishing.

Steven B. Smith was born, is living, will die. He's been a poet 50 years, artist 49 years, the publisher of ArtCrimes, editor of AgentOfChaos.com, he blogs on WalkingThinIce.com, and sings at ReverbNation.com/MutantSmith. Smith & Lady published his bio Stations of the Lost & Found, a True Tale of Armed Robbery, Stolen Cars, Outsider Art, Mutant Poetry, Underground Publishing, Robbing the Cradle, and Leaving the Country in 2012 via The City Poetry Press.

Lady, a.k.a. Kathy Ireland Smith, is a poet, publisher, artist and surreal photographer from northeast Ohio. She and her husband Smith spent 31 months of traveling in 10 countries on 3 continents from 2006-9, and you can follow their ongoing adventures at WalkingThinIce.com. Kathy is also founder and editor of The City Poetry (thecitypoetry.com), a cutting edge art and poetry zine based in Cleveland.

Shelley Chernin is a freelance researcher, writer and editor of legal reference books and a ukulele enthusiast. Her poems have appeared in places like Great Lakes Review, Scrivener Creative Review, Rhapsoidia, Durable Goods, Big Bridge, and the Heights Observer. She was awarded 2nd Place in the 2011 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest.  Her chapbook, The Vigil, was published in 2012 by Crisis Chronicles.

Steve Brightman lives in Kent, Ohio. He firmly believes in two seasons: winter and baseball. His most recent chapbooks include 13 Ways of Looking at Lou Reed (2013, Crisis Chronicles Press), In Brilliant Explosions Alone (2013, NightBallet Press); Like Michelangelo Sorta Said (2013, The Poet’s Haven), Absent The (2013, Writing Knights Press) and Sometimes, Illinois (2011, NightBallet).

John Burroughs is the founding editor of Crisis Chronicles Press and hosts the Monday at Mahall’s Poetry and Prose Series in Lakewood, Ohio.  He is the author of It Takes More Than Chance to Make Change (2013, The Poet’s Haven), The Eater of the Absurd (2012, NightBallet Press), Barry Merry Baloney (2012, Spare Change Press), Water Works (2012, recycled karma press), Electric Company (2011, Writing Knights) and more.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Poetry Pages Open Mic Series


The Poetry Pages Open Mic Series happens the second Thursday of each month at Swerve Grille, 20126 Chagrin Blvd. in Shaker Heights.  For updates, please join the Poetry Pages group on Facebook.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Deep Cleveland suspended in flight

Over on the Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour facebook page, Josh Gage announced that the reading series is suspended indefinitely.  It had been one of the longer-running monthly poetry readings in the area.  It had been slowly dwindling in attendance-- actually, in my opinion, it never was quite the same after Border's bookstore went out of business and the reading had to move, over to the Mugshotz coffee house, and it never really recovered its attendance. 
The event was founded by Mark Kuhar at the turn of the millennium, back in 2001, but for most of the last decade was hosted by Joshua Gage, who kept it running rain or shine, over good years and bad.
For years, this had been my "home" reading; the one reading that I attended almost every month, if I could, although sometimes other events got in my way.  Apparently there was a reading with an attendance of only one audience member (that was one I missed), and then the next time the coffeeshop was locked-- there wasn't enough business to keep the venue open late for the reading.
This is the end of an era, I guess.  Or maybe just a breathing space. 
The area is rich in poetry readings, though. John Burroughs just updated the poetry calendar (which you can find at the top of the page here) and I count 41 events coming up over the 30 days of August.  Not all of these are readings, of course.  Still, that's over one event a day.

Over on facebook, I posted this:
I wish I had a solution to the problem of attendance at poetry events, but I don't. On the one hand, the Cleveland & north Ohio area is amazingly fortunately with a huge selection of live poetry events, on the average one every day, sometimes more. On the other hand, that does have its down side as well as its good side-- can't attend them all; can't attend even a small percentage of them.
The people running local poetry events here are amazing people, putting in long hours and many miles with, for the most part, only the occasional "Thanks! Good show!" as recompense. I do want to see people at the events.
There have been some excellent readings at Deep Cleveland-- one time or another, all the great poets of the area have featured.  So, thanks for the good times.

Josh Gage as the MC of Deep Cleveland,
back at the Borders venue

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Now We Are Six

On Thursday, July 17, Clevelandpoetics: the blog turned six years old.
Michael Salinger set up the blog and made the first post, "Welcome to Clevelandpoetics – the blog!" on Thursday, July 17, 2008, followed in quick order by posts from Joshua Gage, Sara Holbrook, Bree, Larry Smith, Steve Ferguson, and Mark S. Kuhar.

Happy birthday, Clevelandpoetics.

Cleveland Premiere of Poetry is an Island at Karamu House

Please join us for the Cleveland premiere of Poetry is an Island,
a new feature documentary about the life and work of St. Lucian
Nobel Laureate poet, playwright and painter Derek Walcott at
Karamu House on Sunday, August 17th, from 2 to 5 pm. It's
a celebration of the importance of the arts in everyone's life.
The program will include live St. Lucian Steelpan music, a reading
from the Derek Walcott play Dream on Monkey Island, images
of Derek Walcott's and his son Peter Walcott's paintings and an
80 minute feature documentary about Derek Walcott's life
followed by a live Skype Q&A interview with the director of the film,
Ms. Ida Does, from The Netherlands.
Tickets at the door ($12).
We hope to see you there.

Sponsored by the the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards,  
presented by the
Cleveland Foundation

Karamu House
2355 East 89th Street
Cleveland, Ohio


Sponsored by the the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, presented by the
Cleveland Foundation
More about the film:
"Derek Walcott, Poetry is an island, is a feature documentary film about
Nobel laureate, poet, playwright, and visual artist, Derek Alton Walcott
(1930). The film depicts an intimate portrait of Walcott, as we visit his art
studio, his childhood home, and his current residence in St. Lucia. It also 
includes exclusive archive material from the Nobel Prize Festivities in 1992. 
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this film is about Walcott’s poetry.
Derek Walcott grew up in St. Lucia–Castries–in a small family. His father
died when he was very young, and so, Derek, his twin brother Roderick,
and their sister Pamela, were raised by their single mother. Walcott is of
African, English and Dutch descent. He grew up in an artistic ambiance,
his father being a painter and writer, and his mother–a teacher–encouraging
him from early on to write poetry.
In Poetry is an island  we share Caribbean moments with Walcott as we
visit some of his favorite places, his studio, and St. Lucia home. We travel
through St. Lucia and encounter childhood friends whose ‘lives became
poetry’ through Walcott’s work. We discover the anger and frustration that
the poet holds against the downtime of the arts as he talks to us about the
meaning of poetry to him personally, and about the significance of art for
humanity. Family members reveal some of the poet’s life challenges, and
people who have worked with him speak frankly about their experiences
with Walcott. Poetry is an island is an intimate portrait of the man, the poet,
and son of the Caribbean: Derek Walcott."

Karamu: 100 Years in the House

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Eye to the Telescope

We've talked here before about the poetry of science:
Just recently, I was the guest editor of the Science Fiction Poetry Association's poetry web-zine Eye to the Telescope for a theme issue on science poetry, which went live today.  If science is your passion, or if you just want to see whether science and poetry can mix, check it out.

Table of Contents
Editor’s Introduction • Geoffrey A. Landis
Some astronomy • Anastasia Andersen
The Linnet’s Nest • Erasmus Darwin
Discoveries • Emily K. Bright
Descent of Radium • Jim Fisher
Laboratory Philosophy • J. A. Grier
A Formulaic Love Story • Claire Ibarra
Oneshine • Dianne Borsenik
Coleopterblitz • David C. Kopaska-Merkel
The Epiphenomenalist • Rob Stuart
Gravity Drives the Blood • Bruce Boston
Grant Proposal • Adele Gardner

Monday, July 14, 2014

Forward thinking

The Forward Prize for best poetry collection-- one of Britain's most prestigious poetry prizes--wasn’t given out this year, and the judge, Jeremy Paxman, made some comments somewhat disparaging of current poets, and suggesting that they are failing the reading public. “It seems to me very often that poets now seem to be talking to other poets, and that is not talking to people as a whole.”

Over at the Daily Beast, Mandy Kahn takes him on. Are poets failing the audience?  Are the audiences failing the poets?  And, further, do poets have a responsibility to judge marketplace, or is a poet's job only "to find their own voice and to speak their truth"?
If this is a person’s project, he will know it. Each poet needs only learn to hear his own voice, and hone it, and present it. The thing that feels universal—that hits a popular chord—may be the sort of work that Paxman likely imagines it would be, the voice of a Yeats, ringing with music, one that feels solid and sure and wise—but perhaps for this generation, a generation of people whose lives are disjointed, often distracted, spent largely on screens, that voice will be something else: something broken, maybe, something quiet and disjointed.
She continues:
The bigger question is—or could have been—how do we keep morale up among those whose job it is to make something for a marketplace that seems not to exist? But that hasn’t proven to be a problem. Writing poetry is so necessary to some people—and I count myself among them—that they need perceive no water in the pool before diving in. You dive knowing the pool may never fill, or may, while you’re in the air.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Some Beautiful 'Zines

                                        Handbow.  Image by Smith, from The City
One thing about the new era of poetry 'zines published electronically is the full-color art.  Now, a great poem is a beautiful thing even typeset in black and white, but we are living in an era when 'zines are not merely text, but works of art, with images and poetry woven together.

I was thinking about this because a couple of 'zines I follow recently came out with new issues.

 Preeminent among local 'zines with poetry and art has to be Lady Smith's The City Poetry.  The summer issue, as usual, is gorgeous, with poetry (and art) by the Cleveland poets we're all familiar with.

 In the way of fantastical poetry, Goblin Fruit's Spring Issue recently came out.  Over the years Amal & Caitlyn have featured several northeastern Ohio poets; this issue has a poem by Mary Turzillo.

And, the summer 2014 issue of Astropoetica just came out, with the art and poetry of the stars.  Two of my poems reprinted here, but still, a bittersweet issue, since Emily Gaskin, the editor, says that it will be the final issue.  For ten years Astropoetica has been the premier showcase for stellar poetry, and I'll be sad to see it conclude its run.

NGC-6302, the Butterfly Nebula.  Photo by Hubble Space Telescope.
                                           Butterfly Nebula.  Photo by Hubble Space Telescope.
These are some of my favorites.  If you have your own favorite 'zines blending art and poetry, list them in the comments.


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