Sunday, July 22, 2018

The City returns!

Say, I see there's a new issue of The City Poetry, Lady K's 'zine of art and words: Summer 2018.
Check it out!
Photo from The City, August 2018
Misha Cat photo by Lady K

Saturday, July 21, 2018

John Burroughs in Audio and Video--

Photo of John Burroughs (from Crisis Chronicles)
John Burroughs
Our own John Burroughs got some exposure on the internet recently-- check him out on the "Talk With Me" podcast out of Lawrence Kansas, hosted by Marcia Epstein, where he talks about starting out in poetry, how he became a publisher, about his newest book, Loss and Foundering, and even reading a few poems:
And if you can't get enough of John, he's featured in a 40-minute video on "The CookBook" ("food/art/conversations"),  a video series brought out from the Sundress Academy for the Arts hosted by Darren C. Demaree and Christopher Bowen:

Cover of Loss and Foundering (from NightBallet Press)
Loss and Foundering (NightBallet Press)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ten Years Old!

Clevelandpoetics: the blog just turned ten years old, with the first post by Michael Salinger announcing the blog on July 17, 2008.

photo of candles on a birthday cake

Happy birthday to us! There's been 1,181 posts since then-- oops, that's 1,182 now-- and it's hard to believe we're still going. Year 11, here we come!

Now, with that said, if we're going to survive another year, I have to say we need your help-- we've always needed your help, and we need it now more than ever.  The blog isn't a one-man show: this blog belongs to the Cleveland poetry community: this blog is your blog.  

So, we want you to contribute. Join the team!  We want you!  Write up what happened at a poetry reading you attended, or a slam, or an author reading! Tell us about your philosophy of poetry, or why poetry is dead (or isn't dead)! Tell us why Cleveland is unique! Tell us about a poet we don't know, or about a part of the Cleveland poetry community that we haven't been covering-- Cleveland poetry is a big, big tent, and we each sometimes only see our only little corner of it: show us where poetry lives in your community.

Please-- we need you! We don't want your money-- Clevelandpoetics: the blog has been free (and ad-free!) since the beginning.  What we want is your posts.

Want to join team? Want to just write a guest post?  We want you.  Write us at clevelandpoetics@gmail.com and volunteer to join the team now!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Inkubator is coming

Literary Cleveland is once again holding their free Inkubator literary arts week, with events every evening from July 31 through August 3, and then the all-day Inkubator conference & book fair on Saturday August 4.

The event starts Tuesday, July 31st, with the Lit Cleveland Book Swap and NEOMFA reading at 6:30-9 pm at the Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City, 1947 W. 25th Street.

Check it out! You can register online.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Smith and Burroughs July 7th at Visible Voice Books in Tremont

Steven B. Smith is the author of Where Never Was Already Is [2018, Crisis Chronicles Press]. John Burroughs is the author of Loss and Foundering [2018, NightBallet Press]. They will read from their new books and more. An open mic will follow, for anyone else who wishes to share. For more info, visit www.visiblevoicebooks.com.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Lots of upcoming events!

Cat Russell has posted a listing of some of the literary events coming up in Cleveland, Akron, and Canton on her blog. Looks like it will be a poetic summer!

(and if that's not enough for you, don't forget that John Burroughs keeps a longer list of upcoming poetic events right here on the clevelandpoetics blog... just scroll up to the top!  Or access it on google calendar.)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Volume of Our  Incongruity 
by Diane Vogel Ferri

Poetry Chapbook  $14.99



Diane Vogel Ferri taught children with special needs for over thirty years. Her poems can be found in many journals including Plainsongs, Rockford Review, Poet Lore and Rubbertop Review. Diane has essays published by Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, and by Cleveland State University among others. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Liquid Rubies and a novel, The Desire Path. She is a founding member of Literary Cleveland and a tutor at Seeds of Literacy.

Please mail all orders to the Finishing Line Press or order online at:

or go to www.finishinglinepress.com and type in the name or author.


Reviews for The Volume of Our Incongruity:
A certain irresistible sincerity marks these poems. They invite us into sacred space, where grace and unapologetic longing reside and rule, where the singular voice we hear is so quiet and prayerful we must lean in to listen. The Volume of Our Incongruity, however, is more than a collection of poems. It’s a narrative, the story of a granddaughter, now recollected as one of eight “graphite markings on [a] basement two-by-four;” a wife, whose “love is a tundra, vast and white;” a mother, a “thirsty woman drinking every last drop of the sea.”   In language that is clear and deceptively simple, Diane Ferri reaches into a life lived deeply and pulls out truth.
–Lou Suarez, author of Ask and Traveler

In The Volume of Our IncongruityDiane Ferri chronicles life-shaping moments by alternately slowing down the kind of speeding landscapes seen from a station wagon window, and zooming in to examine life’s discrepancies up close and in person. These are poems for our times, stirring a compelling swirl where the past intersects with the present, where hope for the future can spring from a single sonogram.
 –Gail Bellamy, author, poet and Cleveland Heights poet laureate, 2009 and 2010

These intimate, powerful poems about family, love, and memory settle on your skin and won’t wash off. Diane Ferri’s voice is every woman’s, grappling with being a wife, mother and individual. In this vividly rendered collection, the specific details of a life become something wondrous.

–Lee Chilcote, author of The Shape of Home

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Hessler Street Fair winners!

image of the cover of the Hessler Street Fair anthology from Writing Knights
Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology 2018, from Writing Knights
The Hessler Street Fair poet read on Wednesday night at the Happy Dog, hosted by Master of Ceremonies Azriel Johnson-- an evening of poetry & hot dogs.

The 2018 Hessler Street Fail Poetry Contest winners:
  • First Place: Sy Castells, "Gender Confirmation"
  • Second Place: Ross Martyn Hayes, "The Homonym Garnok"
  • Third Place: Mary A. Turzillo, "Don't Mention You're From Cleveland"
Hessler poems will be performed on the main stage at the Hessler Street Fair on Sunday June 3rd, and broadcast live on WRUW-FM, 91.1 MHz (as well as live over the Internet).
The 2018 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology is available at the Mac's Backs booth at the fair on June 2nd & 3rd, or buy it directly from Mac's Backs.

photo of poet Tam e. Polzer reading
Tam e. Polzer reads her poem "Gotu Kola", as MC Azriel Johnson follows along 
  • If you didn't catch the Hessler reading at Happy Dog, you can see it on video on Youtube at the Writing Knights site.

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)


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