Friday, May 18, 2018

Celebrating Maj

Maj Ragain, one of Northeastern Ohio's most well-respected, and well loved, poets, died on April 19.

Michael Heaton says of Maj:
Ragain first came to Kent in the summer of 1969. He taught at Kent State University over the past six decades. He worked with a veterans' group through the Wick Poetry Center and Warriors' Journey Home, a healing circle for veterans. 

The Wick Poetry Center at Kent will be celebrating Maj's life and work on the weekend of June 1 to 3.  David Hassler writes:
A Celebration of the Life of Maj Ragain
Join us June 1 to June 3 to celebrate the life and work of the late poet, mentor, teacher, and friend, Maj Ragain. 
Friday, June 1
Art Exhibit Opening
Paintings by Jessica Damen & Poems by Maj Ragain
Downtown Gallery, 4-9 pm (Program begins at 7pm)
141 East Main St., Kent, OH

Saturday, June 2
Kent United Church of Christ
1400 E Main St., Kent, OH

Sunday, June 3
Venice Cafe, 4pm
Bring a poem by Maj to share
Music by The Numbers Band
163 W Erie St., Kent, OH
Please visit the project website www.hometosargassosea.com:
Home to Sargasso Sea
   In peace and poetry,

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Kleft Crisis 2018 and Steven Smith Book Launch

Where Never Was Already Is by Smith
(2018, Crisis Chronicles Press)
This weekend, Crisis Chronicles Press (out of Cleveland) and Kleft Jaw Press (out of Denver) celebrate National Poetry Month by presenting a Friday/Saturday litfest you won't want to miss featuring authors from across the United States at three of the best bookstores in Ohio. Then Ray McNiece will follow it up on Sunday with a Tongue-in-Groove Poetry Jam featuring Cleveland art/poetry legend Steven Smith, whose new book, Where Never Was Already Is, was just published this month by Crisis Chronicles.

Friday 4/20, 7pm till ? at Guide to Kulchur Books
5222 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, OH 44102
featuring readings by
Iris Appelquist (Kansas City, MO)
Steve Brightman (Akron, OH)
John Burroughs (Cleveland, OH)
Ryder Collins (Milwaukee, WI)
Azriel Johnson (Canton, OH)
Mark S Kuhar (Medina, OH)
Frankie Metro (Denver, CO)
Jeanette Powers (Kansas City, MO)
Austin Price (New York, NY)
Gabriel Ricard (East Northport, NY)
Margie Shaheed (Memphis, TN)
Nathanael Stolte (Buffalo, NY)
RA Washington (Cleveland, OH)

Saturday 4/21, 2pm to 4pm at Main Street Books

104 N. Main St,, Mansfield, OH 44902
emcee: Mark Sebastian Jordan
featuring readings by
Iris Appelquist (Kansas City, MO)
Frankie Metro (Denver, CO)
Jeanette Powers (Kansas City, MO)
Gabriel Ricard (East Northport, NY)
plus open mic

Saturday 4/21, 7pm to 10pm at Mac's Backs
1820 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
featuring readings by
Dianne Borsenik (Elyria, OH)
Theresa Brightman (Akron, OH)
Christina Brooks (Detroit, MI)
Shelley Chernin (Novelty, OH)
Ryder Collins (Milwaukee, WI)
Juliet Cook (Medina, OH)
Steve Goldberg (Cleveland, OH)
Clarissa Jakobsons (Aurora, OH)
Alynn Mahle (Mentor, OH)
Austin Price (New York, NY)
Heather Ann Schmidt (Oberlin, OH)
Margie Shaheed (Memphis, TN)
Kathy Smith (Cleveland, OH)
Steven Smith (Cleveland, OH)
Nathanael Stolte (Buffalo, NY)

Sunday 4/22, 6pm at the Millard Fillmore Presidential Library
15617 Waterloo Rd., Cleveland, Ohio 44110
Tongue-in-Groove Poetry Jam
emceed by Ray McNiece
featuring a performance by Steven Smith
plus open mic (your chance to perform with the band)

Please come celebrate with us!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Return of the Haiku Death Match:This Saturday

Haiku Death Match logo

Just in case you missed it: the sixth Not-exactly-annual Heights Arts "Haiku Deathmatch" is coming up this Saturday, April 21, at the Ensemble theatre.  Cleveland Haiku master Ray McNiece will be defending his title against seven haiku challengers:
  • Michael Ceraolo
  • Lorraine Cipriano
  • Christine Donofrio
  • Cordelia Eddy
  • Azriel Johnson
  • Pat Robertell-Hudson
  • Bill Schubert
Always fun to see who will win the face-off of haiku masters.

Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 7 p.m.

Order your tickets NOW and support our literary arts programming!

Members: $10.00
General Admission: $15.00
Heights Arts Logo

Saturday, April 7, 2018

A Dozen Ways To Revel In Poetry

image by xXRavenSongXx
For National Poetry Month, Laura Grace Weldon gives us A Dozen Ways To Revel In Poetry:
Leave poems where they’ll be discovered... Pull a poem from a hat... Dine with poetry...

national poetry month logo

Sunday, April 1, 2018

April and the City

Easter Lake by Smith (from the City poetry Winter Spring 2018
Today is April Fool's Day, Easter, and the first day of National Poetry Month, and in celebration, the City Poetry 'zine has their Winter Spring 2018 issue out.

Cleveland Public Library also has the first day of their "Read+Write: 30 Days of Poetry" posted, with the poem "Tall Skeleton" (by South Euclid poet Patrick Culliton), along with the first of thirty poem-writing prompts.  It's not too late to sign up for their 30 Days of Poetry mailing list, and get a link to a poem and a prompt every day in April.

And the Writing Knights has their own poetry challenge (and poetry prompts) for April: not a poem a day, but ten poems in thirty days. Azriel invites you to join their roundtable on Facebook to write and discuss.
national poetry month logo

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Cleveland Heights Poets Laureate: Past, Present, and Future

Cleveland Heights is about to have a new Poet Laureate. Christine Howey writes:
Come and hear Cleveland Heights Poets Laureate—past, present and future—read some of their favorite poems! It’s a celebration of words and those who love them. And a big thank you to Cleveland Heights and Heights Arts for even having a Poet Laureate!Hope to see you there! And please pass this along to anyone who might be interested.
The event will be this Thursday, March 29, at 7pm in the Coventry Village Branch library

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

National Poetry Month Coming Up at Cuyahoga County LIbrary

The William N. Skirball Writers' Center at the Cuyahoga County Public Library will also, once again, be celebrating National Poetry Month in April with their Read +Write: 30 Days of Poetry feature. Each day in April will have a poem and info on a different North Eastern Ohio poet, plus a poem-writing prompt every day of the month.
If you have not yet signed up to receive Read+Write Poetry daily in your email during April... why not?  Just click here!

...and don't miss Poetry Month events at the branch libraries:

Monday, April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Parma Branch
7-8:30 p.m.

Friday, April 13
South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch
7-8:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 15
South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch
2-4 p.m.

Sunday, April 22
South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch
2-3:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 19
(and the third Thursday of every month)
South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch
6:30-8:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 26
(and the third Thursday of every month)
Parma Branch
6:30-8:30 p.m.

--know of any other National Poetry Month events?  Tell us!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Lunar and Planetary Haiku

photo of the moon by Geoffrey Landis
photo by GL

The Economist has an article about science haiku at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference:
including some examples:

Thermal Moonquakes: Implications for Surface Properties
Sunrise and sunset
Cracking, creaking, and rumbling
The Moon never rests.
                          --Renee Weber

I do have to admit I've probably written more than my share of haiku and pseudo-haiku, including more than a few science haiku.  If you like science haiku, though, you owe it to yourself to check out Mary Soon Lee's "Elemental Haiku," in the journal Science: one haiku for each element. And the sciku project page, the latest scientific and mathematical discoveries, thoughts and ideas... in the form of haiku.

Image for hydrogen haiku

Friday, March 23, 2018

National Poetry Month coming up at the Lakewood Public Library

national poetry month logo
Lakewood Public Library will present the following 2018 National Poetry Month programs at their Main Library, located at 15425 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood Ohio, 44107.

Poetry Workshops
Tuesdays: April 3, April 10, April 17, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the Main Library Multipurpose Room
Writing poetry is about the journey, not the destination. Part of that journey is seeing what you’ll discover, surprising yourself and enjoying the bumps in the road. Leanne Hoppe will be your poet tour guide on this adventure—all abilities and experience levels are welcome. Hoppe, who teaches at Lorain County Community College, received her master’s degree in creative writing from Boston University, and her work appears or is forthcoming in Bayou Magazine, Gravel and Driftwood Press. Her translations of the Italian poet Michela Zanarella were published in 2017 by Bordighera Press. More details.

Coast Line: April Reading
Wednesday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium 
Coast Line: Poetry Reading Series is Lakewood Public Library's showcase of our community's poetic talent. Readings by Robert Miltner, D.L. Ware and Catherine Wing. More details.

Documentary: Louder than a Bomb
Tuesday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium
Every year, students across Chicago compete in the largest youth poetry slam in the world. From junior high to college age, this event showcases voices from all walks of life in their most honest form. The tournament features an individual poem from each team member and then a group piece performed by four students. Follow the teams and individuals as they prepare and perform original pieces, and tell their stories drawn from experience and hardship. Their poems reveal perspectives to the audience and each other that might otherwise never be heard. This annual event allows young people from all over Chicago to share themselves through spoken art. More details.

Meet the Author: Clouds Pile Up in the North: New & Selected Poems by Major 'Maj' Ragain 
Thursday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium
Maj Ragain is the author of seven chapbooks of poetry and five book-length collections, all of which contribute to Clouds Pile Up in the North: New & Selected Poems. Lisa Coffman, author of Less Obvious Gods says, “These poems hold so lightly what can’t be held—old queen asleep in her milkweed chamber, the full Hunter’s moon, Secondhand Rose and February dusk, the dragon’s egg nestled against the breastbone, the lost silver earring among the flowers. You will find in this book thirst and burning air, songs in the key of High Lonesome, truths maybe we were afraid to want, and a top-down fast-ride in the convertible of Delight. Friend, Fellow Traveler, if you wished to know whether there was a place set for you at the banquet, let me point you toward Maj Ragain’s poems. They are sustenance. They are sweet mortal joy.” Ragain has served for more than thirty years as host to open poetry readings, currently at Last Exit Books. Books will be available for sale and signing at this event.

WordStage: d.a. levy
Sunday, April 15 at 2:00 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium
In 1960s Cleveland, poets haunted coffee shops, printed zines with mimeographs and frequently ran into trouble with the law. There were many talented yet troubled writers in Cleveland, but none more infamous than d.a. levy. Though charged with distributing obscene writing in 1966, levy was a strong believer in Buddhism and a champion of justice. levy continued to document Cleveland’s gritty charm and rough interior through his poetry, founding Cleveland’s first underground newspaper, the Buddhist Third-Class Junkmail Oracle. Through that medium, he published scores of powerful poetic voices of the decade. He was a force to be reckoned with in the creative community of the time, and continues to inspire artists from Northeast Ohio and beyond. WordStage is a chamber music reader’s theater, dedicated to the presentation of works with special literary, historical and musical merit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

National Poetry Month coming up at the Cleveland Public Library

Once again, the Cleveland Public Library & Ohio Center for the Book is setting up their events for National Poetry Month, with workshops and a Monday open mike.
Check out their National Poetry Month events listing

--know of any other National Poetry Month events?  Tell us!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Women, Poetry, and the Cult of Youth

This post from Jacqueline Saphra, "The Slow Game: Women, Poetry and the Cult of Youth", suggests that "people talk about the demographic of the poetry workshop and the high percentage of middle-aged or older women". Is this true? And, if it is, why should this be bad?

26 women poets. (Image from womenyoushouldknow.net)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

How to write love poems--

"I once responded to a girlfriend’s love poem by critiquing its imagery. That relationship didn’t last long...."

photograph of a flower (image by Geoffrey A. Landis)
photo by GL
With Valentine's day coming up, the Poetry Foundation asks Adrian Blevins, Rebecca Hoogs, Cyrus Cassells, and Craig Arnold how to write love poems

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Cleveland Public Poetry continues (plus, Q&A with Ohio poet Khaty Xiong)

Photo by GL
With the start of a new year, Cleveland Public Library has begun another season of Cleveland Public Poetry, the open mic poetry reading series.  Since 2012, Cleveland Public Poetry (CPP) has presented some of Ohio’s most honored, established and emerging poets. A featured poet reader is presented quarterly, while every month, CPP offers an open mic to aspiring poets–and to anyone wanting to read their favorite poem aloud.  It’s a wonderfully creative outlet for those wanting to celebrate written and spoken word poetry. 
logo of Ohio Center for the BookPlease join us for our next open mic event: Cleveland Public Poetry, Poetry of Love, Wednesday, February 14, at 12:00 p.m. Come share an original or classic poem that celebrates the romantic tradition of Valentine’s Day. 
Cleveland Public Poetry is sponsored by the Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library.
Read more (and check out the question & answer with Ohio poet Khaty Xiong) here:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Calling All Haikuists!

Haiku Master Ray McNiece (red) faces off against contestant Geoffrey Landis (behind) at the2 017 Haiku Death Match  

Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate Christine Howey writes:
Attention all Haiku Master Wannabes!  Heights Arts' 2018 Haiku Death Match will take place April 21 at Ensemble theater.  Application for the Death Match is now open. You  can find more information as well as the application and all the rules and regs here:

Only 10 poets will compete - first come, first served - so get on it!
Winner gets a cheesy trophy and the title of Haiku Master, plus no-commission sale of their books/chapbooks in the Heights Arts Gallery for a year. And, of course, the adulation of the public. Will YOU be the next Haiku Master?


Tickets for the 6th Annual Haiku Death Match will go on sale to the public in March, 2018.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Paying to Play

Image from Jody A. Virgan, from twitter

I hate reading fees, and refuse to submit to any journals that require you to pay for them to consider your work.  John Burroughs pointed out this article from The Millions to me, where Rachel Mennies explains some of the reasons that this is not a good thing.

image courtesy pexels

I refuse to submit to markets or contests which require a reading fee as a matter of principle, since I believe it is damaging to the field, squeezing the people who can't afford to pay out of their entry into the field.  
However, these days in the literary field, so many 'zines do it that it is getting to be unexceptional.  I sympathize with them; they are running on shoestring budgets and unpaid labor already, I can see how a small reading fee can be so very tempting.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

New from Wick

...and the latest news from the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State:

Happy Holidays from the Wick Poetry Center,

On behalf of the Wick Poetry Center staff and students, I want to wish you all a joyful holiday season with peace, love, and poetry. We are filled with gratitude for you, our remarkable community, for all of the support you have given us this year. Poetry, like community, does not exist in isolation—it is the means by which we connect with others, with the larger world, and with a deeper sense of ourselves.

With your unwavering support and advocacy for our programs and outreach, we are thrilled to announce the opening of the Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders exhibit, which will be be launched on a three-year national tour at Summit ArtSpace in Akron, Ohio, January 19-February 17 (Gallery Hours: Thursdays & Fridays, 12-7pm, Saturdays, 12-5pm). The exhibit and community workshops were made possible by a $250,000 matching grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, one of the largest grants for poetry in the country.

The interactive exhibit is free and open to all, and we hope that you will visit and witness the work that we have done in the North Hill community with participants at the International Institute of Akron, Project Learn and Urban Vision, many of whom are refugee and immigrant newcomers to Akron.
Again, we wish you all the very happiest of holidays, from our Wick family to yours.
   In peace and poetry,
   David Hassler
   Wick Poetry Center

Friday, December 8, 2017

New from CSU

The Cleveland State University Poetry Center sends along their most recent update on their activities this year:


We’ve had a wonderful year at the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, and as the days get shorter and the air gets chillier, we’d like to bring you some of our most exciting news and updates. If you’re inspired by what you see below and would like to donate to our cause of publishing 3-5 collections of contemporary poetry, prose, and translation a year in addition to running The Lighthouse Reading Series and providing pedagogical and outreach opportunities for CSU students please know that your support is what allows us to continue publishing and programming throughout the year.
James Allen Hall’s collection of essays, I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well, appeared on SPD’s bestsellers listQNotes’ “Ideas for the LGBTQ book lovers on your holiday gift list;” and Anomalous Press’ “Books to Watch Out For.” Hall was interviewed by Alex DiFrancesco at the CSU Poetry Center blog and appeared on Woodstock Book Talk in October. Colorado Review says Hall handles fraught topics “deftly, with a sly sense of humor;” Newpages writes that “a collection of essays has never been so utterly tragic and full of truth;” and Queen Mob’s Tea House says I Liked You Better “takes the cool, intellectual quality of conceptual writing and poetics and turns it in on the self, allowing for experimentation while maintaining intimacy.” More can be found at American MicroreviewsReviews by Amos LassenHunger Mountain, and The Rumpus.

In Entropy, Carrie Lorig writes of Jane Lewty’s second book, In One Form to Find Another, that “Lewty feels through the body’s ferocious, complex response to trauma while refusing to create a linearity and narrative arc which names or details the transgressive / traumatic event.” Lewty’s collection was named “Book of the Week” at the Volta and excerpts can be found at La Vague and Verse Daily.

Sheila McMullin’s first book of poetry, daughterrarium has been beautifully reviewed at Forward ReviewsSouthern Indiana ReviewHeavy Feather ReviewGalatea Resurrects, and So To Speak, where Kristen Brida writes that, “McMullin focuses and reveals the many ways the feminine body is exploited, is overpowered in the patriarchal schema of the world.”

You can also find new books, poems, reviews, or interviews by Leora FridmanAllison TitusLo Kwa Mei-enPhil MetresDora MalechRebecca Gayle HowellZach SavichSandra SimondsElyse FentonLee Upton, and Lily Hoang. Shane McCrae, author of Mule (CSU Poetry Center, 2010) ) was recently the winner of a Lannan Literary Award and a National Book Award finalist for his newest collection, In the Language of My Captor, published this year by Wesleyan. Congrats, Shane!

The CSU Poetry Center offers graduate assistantships in small press editing and publishing for CSU-based students in the NEOMFA (Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing). If you or anyone you know is researching MFA programs in creative writing you might consider Cleveland State where we’re lucky to host the Lighthouse Reading Series, Playwrights Festival, and Whiskey Island Magazine, among other exciting writing programing. The NEOMFA is the nation's only consortial MFA program in the nation and boasts four schools’ worth of creative writing faculty and a great visiting writers series (this year includes CAConrad, Kelly Link, Emily Mitchell, Rob Handel, and Adam Gopnick). Application deadline: January 15th. 
The CSU Poetry Center invites queries regarding book-length volumes of poetry in translation for a new occasional series. Please send 1) A cover letter describing the project and confirming any necessary permissions; and 2) a sample translation of at least 20 pages. Full manuscripts are welcome. Email materials to associate director Hilary Plum at h.plum [at] csuohio [dot] edu. Submissions will be open until December 31, 2017.
This year’s Lighthouse Reading Series has hosted Abraham SmithHayan ChararaSheila McMullin, and Eric Fair, all of whom absolutely blew our audiences (and us!) away. Spring readers include Yona Harvey and James Allen Hall (2/9/18), and Dave Lucas and Renee Gladman (3/30/18). If you live in Northeast Ohio, we hope to see you in the spring!
Copyright © 2017 Cleveland State University Poetry Center, All rights reserved.
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Our mailing address is:
Cleveland State University Poetry Center
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ClevelandOH  44115 


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