Thursday, February 21, 2019

Daniel Thompson: One Tough Poet

Documentary - Daniel Thompson: One Tough Poet (2019)
Daniel Thompson at Cafe Noir, 2003
foto © Steven B. Smith, agentofchaos.com
This new film, directed by Jim Wolpaw, is the culmination of a twelve-year effort to document the life of a cultural hero. Daniel Thompson was a fearless poet and social activist. In 1992, he was proclaimed the first poet laureate of Cuyahoga County. The resolution states, “Daniel Thompson has distinguished himself as one of Cuyahoga County’s most colorful, talented and concerned citizens.” Well-known for his humorous, playful and poignant work, Thompson’s legacy lives on in the Northeast Ohio poetry community. 

Two showings:

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 7 p.m.
2345 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
(216) 932-3600

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
Main Library Auditorium
15425 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
(216) 226-8275

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

South Euclid Poet Laureate to launch Second Sunday Poets open mic

[From John Burroughs:]

My next reading is March 10th at 3 p.m., where I'll have the honor of being the first featured poet for a new monthly series curated by M. A. "Doc" Janning, Poet Laureate of South Euclid, OH, at the Cuyahoga County Public Library's South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch. I hope you'll join me in supporting Doc in this new endeavor and bring something to share at the open mic.

William N. Skirball Writers' Center
Cuyahoga County Public Library
1876 South Green Road
South Euclid, Ohio 44121

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Coming Up at the Lakewood Public Library

This spring Lakewood Public Library and Wick Poetry Center will be presenting an interactive poetry exhibit with a plethora of supporting programs focusing on poetry and the immigrant experience. Here are a few highlights:

Exhibit ─ Traveling Stanzas: Immigrant Voices
Presented by The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University
Main Library Second Floor Gallery  
Lakewood Public Library and Wick Poetry Center present Traveling Stanzas: Immigrant Voices, an interactive exhibit including creative writing tools and activities. Acknowledging the unique experiences of immigrants in our community, this public display engages a dialogue through the intimate and inclusive voice of poetry. The exhibit is open to visitors from March 1, 2019 through April 30, 2019, with supporting programs throughout the spring and summer.

Traveling Stanzas: Immigrant Voices Opening Gala
Featuring: David Hassler, Director Wick Poetry Center; Katie Daley, Teaching Artist Wick Poetry Center and a performance by Global Connections
Friday, March 8, 2019 music starts at 6:30 p.m., opening remarks begin at 7:00 p.m.
Main Library Grand Reading Room
We invite you to celebrate the opening of Traveling Stanzas: Immigrant Voices. David Hassler will speak about the history and impact of the Traveling Stanzas exhibits, and Katie Daley will speak about leading workshops in our community to create poetry featured in our exhibit. The poetry created in these workshops is directly reflected in this public display. There will also be a performance by Global Connections and a poetry reading.    

Poetry Workshops
Led by Leanne Hoppe
Thursdays: March 14, 2019; March 28, 2019; April 11, 2019 and April 25, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Tuesdays: March 19, 2019 (18 and younger only); April 2, 2019 and April 16, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Main Library Second Floor Gallery
From the Italian, stanza means a room—a place to pause. Indeed, Traveling Stanzas offers individuals moments of pause, with which to reflect on their lives, their city and a shared experience of their community. Leanne Hoppe, local teacher, editor and translator will lead workshops in the Traveling Stanzas Exhibit to give attendees a structured moment to explore the interactive tools. Tuesday, March 19, 2019 is reserved for individuals 18 and under.  

WordStage- Give Me Your Tired: Expressions of Immigration
Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.
Main Library Auditorium
Poet Emma Lazarus wrote, “The New Colossus”. Its most iconic line reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Join us for this performance featuring immigrant stories through the poetic voice. The poems featured will come from community members and influential poets. WordStage is a chamber music reader’s theater dedicated to the presentation of works with special literary, historical and musical merit.

Traveling Stanzas: Immigrant Voices Poetry Contest Reading
Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Main Library Auditorium
The Traveling Stanzas: Immigrant Voices Poetry contest will culminate in a poetry reading featuring the winners and two runners up from each of the three age categories. The winners will be selected by a panel of local poets. Each submission is inspired by the Traveling Stanzas Exhibit, exploring the theme of immigrant voices and reflecting on the impact of immigration in our community. Join us to hear from the winners as well as from a local poet.

For details on these and additional programs, visit lakewoodpubliclibrary.org.

Lakewood Public Library

15425 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
(216) 226-8275

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Valentine's Reading in Sandusky

Saturday Feb. 9th we will feature author Robert Smith and an Open-Mic Valentine's Reading. We have been doing Coffeehouse Readings for about 18 years here in Sandusky, Ohio...sponsored by the Firelands Writing Center and Bottom Dog Press. All are welcome...The writing is celebrated.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Madhouse is coming to Cleveland!

Madhouse, a Michigan-based arts event, is coming to Cleveland at Guide to Kulchur, 5222 Lorain Ave., February 1st @ 7 pm.

Self-described as an artistic spectacle of music, poetry, and mayhem, Madhouse has been a flourishing community series staple in lower Michigan.

The initial Northeast Ohio event features the following performers:

Donora Rihn
Andrew Rihn

Michelle Smolarski

Erika Blakemore

No photo description available.
Ray Swaney

Leo Todd Jarret

Barry Graham

John Burroughs

w/ musical guest, Pavlica

Open mic to follow!!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Poet Claudia Rankine at Cuyahoga County Public Library

Claudia Rankine will visit the Parma Snow Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library on January 23 at 7pm.
(2121 Snow Road, Parma, OH  44134)

The event is FREE but registration is required.  Register here.

Claudia Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric and four previous books, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. A provocative meditation on race, Citizen recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. The book was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism and has won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, the NAACP Image Award, L.A. Times Book Prize and PEN Open Book Award.
Rankine is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, the winner of the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize, and a contributing editor of Poets & Writers. She is also the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University.
Rankine will be joined at this event by Ohio Poet Laureate, Dave Lucas. Born and raised in Cleveland, Lucas earned his B.A. (English) at John Carroll University, M.F.A. (Creative Writing) at the University of Virginia, and M.A. and Ph.D. (English Language and Literature) at the University of Michigan. His first book of poems, Weather, received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. He has been awarded a Creative Workforce Fellowship from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture and a 2016 Cleveland Arts Prize. 
Books will be available for purchase and signing courtesy of Mac's Backs - Books on Coventry.

This event is part of the NEA Big Read and is presented in partnership with The Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University and The Center for Arts-Inspired Learning.
This program is made possible, in part, by Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Looking back at Poetry in 2018

Michael Dirda, discussing the Best American Poetry 2018 volume, says that the theme that most characterizes American poetry is "American poetry’s reverence for genuineness, for authenticity":
In the introductory essay, Dana Gioia points out an odd statistic: for years, surveys show that youngest group of adults (ages 18–24) read more poetry than any other segment, and poetry reading is increasing, not decreasing.  He suggests that a huge cultural shift has occurred with literary performance and digital media. Technology has allowed poetry to reconnect with its auditory origins:
"The chief way American poets now reach their audience is through readings, either live or transmitted by radio, television, and internet... Print now coexists with other equally powerful media for poetry."

and Tracy K. Smith, in the New York Times, proclaims "political poetry is hot again".
(but I still hate political poetry*).

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"We Need Writers Now More Than Ever..."

"Authoritative lying debases the truth. The resulting confusion of fantasy and reality is the definition of psychosis, a perilously vulnerable mental state.

     "...By writing and reading, we remind ourselves of the value of empathy, subtlety and contradiction. Literature is an antidote to the blunt distortions—good vs. evil, us vs. them—that are so easily exploited by those who would manipulate us."

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Another Season of The City

With the turn of the weather toward coolness, and the approach of the holiday season like a freight train loaded with turkey and tinsel, it's another season of The City poetry, Kathy Smith's electronic zine of poetry and art:
"Bloom", by JJ Stick

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Mark Kuhar celebrates d.a. levy

Collage by d.a levy. "Agent from Vega H.S." , collage by d.a. levy 1967, Cleveland, Ohio" handwiitten by levy verso. The collage was used in levy's underground newspaper The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle.
On the 50th anniversary of d.a. levy's death, Mark Kuhar celebrates the man and his legend:

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Dave Lucas: Poetry for People who hate Poetry

The new Poet Laureate of Ohio, Dave Lucas, has been appearing one week every month in Scene Magazine, with "Poetry for People Who Hate Poetry."
You can find it here:
Or, read it at the Ohio Arts Council site: 1 2 3.

--He'll be reading in Arkon on November 21 at Latitudes Poetry Night (which happens the third Wednesday of each month, Compass Coffee, 647 East Market Street, Akron).

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Come Write in Appletree Books’ Windows! (Plus Contests!)

Have you ever thought about writing in the windows of an independent bookstore?
For a third year, Appletree Books  invites Cleveland-area writers of all ages, formats, and genres to come write in our store windows this November in celebration of National Novel Writing Month!

You do not need be a novelist.  Whatever you write, whether you write for love or money or a grade or the glory of winning NaNoWriMo, we want you to come write with us!  Bring the tools of your trade; we’ll provide you a small table, a chair, and an electrical outlet in our store windows. Pick up your pen (actual or metaphorical), take a seat in our independent bookstore, a fixture in the Cedar-Fairmount district since 1975, and let your view of our vibrant neighborhood inspire you.  Sign up at https://tinyurl.com/yawkke8n.  For questions or more information, contact Jane Rothstein at jane@appletree-books.com.

Appletree Books Writing Contests

For the first time, Appletree is sponsoring two writing contests in conjunction with our month-long Writer in the Window program this November.  1) Student writers in elementary, middle, or high school are invited to submit a short work, no more than one page, in whatever format they wish.  2) In conjunction with Heights Arts’ Heights Writes Committee, we invite adults writing poetry to submit 1-3 poems that speak to the part that books and reading play in our lives.  Contestants in both contests must be signed up to be Writers in the Window at Appletree, and they are encouraged to write at least part of their entries in our windows. Entries are due no later than midnight, Saturday, December 1, 2018. Winners will be announced on December 10 and will be invited to read their work at a celebratory reception at Appletree Books on Friday, December 14. Multiple prizes, including Appletree gift certificates, will be awarded in each contest.  Sign up to be a Writer in the Window at https://tinyurl.com/yawkke8n.  For questions or more information, contact Jane Rothstein at jane@appletree-books.com.

Appletree Books
12419 Cedar Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
(216) 791-2665

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Wick announces their poetry season

The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University has announced their slate of events, readings, exhibits, and a creativity festival, starting this Thursday (!) with a poetry reading at the Akron Art Museum.

Wick Poetry Center Reading Series
We are excited to share this years' reading series with you below. Join us for a full slate of readings and events starting this week at the Akron Art Museum. From the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize Reading honoring Michael McKee Green's new book with contest judge Khaled Mattawa to Celebrating Our Own and our 17th Annual Giving Voice, we hope you'll join us this year.

To open, we are inviting you to attend the first event of the Series: Poetry Reading at the Akron Art Museum this Thursday, September 13, at 6 pm. 


Date: 6:00 pm | Thursday, September 13, 2018
Location: Akron Art Museum 1 South High Street Akron, OH 44308
Poetry Reading with Wick Poetry Center and Urban Vision below the Nasser Al-Salem Arabi/Gharbi neon installation in the lobby of the Akron Art Museum. Stay and tour the exhibition FRONT: An American City after the reading.
Register for free here.


Date: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm | Saturday, September 29, 2018
Location: Lester A. Lefton Esplanade outside of the May Prentice House,  Poetry Park
The Kent community invites you to join us for the annual Kent Creativity Festival! This will be an opportunity for people of all ages and skill levels to come together to create, share, and explore the creation of all kinds of art. 


Date: 7:30 pm | Thursday, October 4, 2018
Location: Room 120, CAED
(College of Architecture and Environmental Design, 132 S Lincoln St, Kent, OH 44240)
A recipient of awards and grants from the Academy of American Poets and the Cabin Literary Center, Michael McKee Green is a 2018 artist in residence at the Boise Public Library at Bown Crossing. Poems of his appear in journals such as Michigan Quarterly Review, Tagvverk and Fog Machine, and his poem "In Remit" won the Burnam Poetry Scholarship (Judge, Ed Skoog). Currently, he is an MFA candidate at Boise State University, where he sits on Ahsahta Press’ editorial board and teaches creative writing.
Khaled Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya, in 1964 and immigrated to the United States in his teens. His collections of poetry include Tocqueville (New Issues, 2010), Amorisco (Ausable, 2008), Zodiac of Echoes (Ausable, 2003), and Ismailia Eclipse (Sheep Meadow Press, 1995). He is also the author of Mahmoud Darwish: The Poet’s Art and His Nation (Syracuse University Press, 2014). Mattawa has also translated many volumes of contemporary Arabic poetry and coedited two anthologies of Arab American literature. Mattawa is the 2010 recipient of the Academy of American Poets Fellowship. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the PEN American Center Poetry Translation Prize, three Pushcart Prizes, and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2014, Mattawa was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Currently, Mattawa teaches in the graduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Date: 6:00 - 8:30 pm | Friday, October 19, 2018
Location: Group Ten Gallery (201 E Erie St, Kent, OH 44240)
A collaboration of words and art between the artists of the Group Ten Gallery and the Wick Poetry Center.


Date: 7:30 pm | Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Location: Room 306 ABC, Kent Student Center
Come to celebrate poetry with us by sharing your poems and discovering the new voices around you.


Date: 7:30 pm | Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Location: Room 120, CAED (College of Architecture and Environmental Design, 132 S Lincoln St, Kent, OH 44240)
Kent State international students, staff and faculty members from different countries will share poems they love from their own cultures facilitating a global conversation through the intimate and inclusive voice of poetry.


Date: January 24-February 24, 2019
Location: Taylor Hall
The 2018-2019 school year marks the 10th anniversary of our Traveling Stanzas project. What began as a collaboration between Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center and Professor Valora Renicker’s Visual Communication Design students has evolved into a leading international poetry exhibit pioneering state-of-the-art digital tools. With Traveling Stanzas, the Wick Poetry Center is at the forefront of a national movement to pair technology with art as a means to increase access to creative expression, encouraging new voices in poetry and facilitating meaningful conversations in communities around the world. This year we are excited to feature the following Traveling Stanzas projects 


Date: 7:30 pm | Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Location: Room 306 ABC, Kent Student Center
George Bilgere's seventh collection of poetry, Blood Pages, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2018. He has given readings for the Library of Congress, the 92nd Street Y in New York, A Prairie Home Companion, and at schools and literary venues all over the country. He has received a Pushcart Prize, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council, the Midland Authors Prize, the May Swenson Poetry Prize, and the Fulbright Foundation. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins has called Bilgere's work "a welcome breath of fresh air in the house of American poetry." He teaches at John Carroll University in Cleveland.


Date: 7:30 pm | Thursday, April 18, 2019
Location: Room 310, Kent Student Center
Kate Daniels was born in Richmond, Virginia. The first in her family to graduate from college, Daniels earned a BA and an MA from the University of Virginia and an MFA from Columbia University. She converted to Catholicism as an adult, and her often lengthy, narrative poems engage engages themes of working-class experience, family, trauma, racism, and Southern culture. Daniels has won the Hanes Award for Poetry from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a Pushcart Prize, the Louisiana Literature Prize for Poetry, the James Dickey Prize, the Crazyhorse Prize for Poetry, and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and Harvard University's Bunting Institute. Her work has been widely anthologized, including in Best American Poetry. She has taught at Bennington College, Louisiana State University, the University of Virginia, and Wake Forest University. Currently, she is a professor of English and Creative Writing at Vanderbilt University.


Date: 6:30 pm | Thursday, May 2, 2019
Location: Ballroom, Kent Student Center
The 17th annual performance of Giving Voice features local students (grades 3-12), Kent State University undergraduate students and international scholars performing original poetry. All material is created in Wick outreach programs, including workshops led by Kent State University undergraduates enrolled in the service-learning course “Teaching Poetry in the Schools.”

All events are free and open to the public.
We hope to see you at the readings!
   In peace and poetry,
   David Hassler
   Wick Poetry Center

Friday, September 7, 2018

Spoken Word Every Last Friday in Akron

Michael DeBenedictis has been hosting a poetry series the last Friday of every month at Nervous Dog Coffee Bar, 1530 W. Market Street in Akron, Ohio. The show often features music in addition to spoken word.

This month's installment (September 28th from 6 to 9 p.m.) features several Cleveland poets including Ray McNiece, Kisha Nicole Foster and John Burroughs.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Waiting for the Wind to Rise August 30th at Mac's Backs

poster by Christopher Franke

M.J. Arcangelini's new chapbook, Waiting for the Wind to Rise, was released today by Greater Cleveland's own NightBallet Press. Originally from Ohio, Arcangelini now lives in California but will be returning to Cleveland for a special book release event and reading on August 30th at Mac's Backs Books on Coventry.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Four Ohio Poets

A handful of books published by Ohio poets recently happened to cross my path, so I decided to read them to see what's new in Ohio. All of them had something to admire; I tend to judge books mostly on the strongest poems in them, not on the weaker ones, although none of the books had poems that I though were actually bad.

Invisible Fish, Susan F. Glassmeyer, Dos Madres Press 2018 (www.dosmadres.com)
cover of Invisible FishInvisible Fish featured nature poems, interspersed with several poems that dealt with the narrator’s childhood in the land of “polished cotton pinafores, church bonnets, shiny shoes with bows, Friday night bingo”— laid out most explicitly in “From the Land of Stuffed Mangoes.” “Invisible Fish”, the title poem, was amusing and insightful, a nostalgic defense of naïveté and imagination against a world that laughs with those who fool you. Threaded through the book are poems about a darker side of the same upbringing, a tale of escaping from a cycle of family abuse and small-town oppression. Near the end, the prose-poem “Miss Carlton” is a poignant view of the other side, a brief slice of life of an inconsequential encounter in a grocery checkout line. One comment, though is that in my opinion, one dead animal poem would have been enough.

How the Universe Says Yes to Me, M. J. Werthman White, Main Street Rag Publishing 2017 (www.mainstreetrag.com)
How the Universe Says Yes to Me is a short book with a lighter take on the subject. A handful of the poems are simple list poems (most amusingly “Lies I’ve Told”), inviting the reader to draw the lines between the items.  It has a few very amusing poems where the universe itself is personified, including the title poem, and “The Universe Speaks,” in which the ways of the universe are hard to understand: I found these whimsical, somewhat surrealistic, and quite charming. Some of the poems are historical— “Tycho Brahe’s moose,” for example, is about a real moose that the astronomer Tycho Brahe really brought to parties; “For Alex, the African Grey Parrot” is an elegy for the death of the celebrated parrot of animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg, feaured (among other places) in Scientific American.

A Green Line Between Green Fields, Steve Abbott, Kattywompus Press 2018 (www.kattywompuspress.com)
A Green Line Between Green Fields is the only book of the four books here daring to venture into rhymed verse (although most of the work is unrhymed), with the rhyme (often slant) of “The Fool’s Boy” and “Trained.” I have to admit to an unabashed admiration for form— a twelve-stanza terza rima using only two rhymes (as in “The Fool's Boy") is not easy! “ The Torturer’s Daughter” ventures (obliquely) into political commentary; and “Pulling Yourself Up by Your—“ somewhat less obliquely. The title poem is a tribute to the late Maj Ragain, an anecdote showing his humor and wordplay, and a bit of his buddha-nature.

500 Cleveland Haiku, Michael Ceraolo, Writing Knights Press 2018 (https://writingknightspress.blogspot.com)
I have to admit to some degree of envy that Michael Ceraolo published this one first, since back in 2011, I published on the web my own haiku series, "52 Cleveland Haiku," with one Cleveland haiku for each week through the year (find it here, here, and here.).  So, Michael goes there and a few hundred more. His haiku (not to mention senryu, zappai, and various other 'ku forms) span the range from observations of the cityscape, to cynical observations about people and politics, very often focussing on observation of the many ways in which Cleveland is a very different city for the rich than for poor. He winds his way through the seasons of the city, watching with alternating compassion, passion, and scorn, celebrating the cracked concrete and the ice-covered lake equally.

poet Mary Jo White is from Xenia, OH
Michael Ceraolo is from Cleveland, OH
poet Steve Abbott is a native of Columbus, OH
Susan F. Glassmeyer is from Cincinnati, OH


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