Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Love Song for Cleveland

I'm certain that all the clevelandpoetics regulars know about it already, but if you haven't taken a look at Love Song for Cleveland, the new book of poems by Ray McNiece (with Cleveland photos by Tim Lachina): you should. Or pick up a copy at any of the local independent bookstores, like Mac's Backs or Loganberry Books or Appletree Books.

Love Song for Cleveland, from Red Giant Books
Ray McNiece performs "Love Song for Cleveland" at the Barking Spider, backed up by Hillbilly Idol.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Lake Effect Poetry in the Slam semifinals

Cleveland's Lake Effect Poetry team has made their winding way to the National Poetry Slam, and have now won their second bout, making their way to the semifinals. They're competing at 8 pm tonight against San Diego, Slam New Orleans, Bowery, and Dallas.
Go, Cleveland, go! Slam those puppies, and show them how it's done!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Subject: Call for Trumped Stories
Dark House Books has opened submissions today for a quick turn around anthology titled "We've Been Trumped".  They're looking for stories of 2500 to 5000 words that are "light-hearted, satirical stories envisioning life under President Trump".  Stories can be in any genre put they prefer that they aren't about Trump or that he doesn't make a major appearance in the story.  The deadline is September 15, 2016 and payment is a royalty split.  You can find the details here.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Honky Tonk in Cleveland Ohio

You may know Carl Sandberg (1878-1967) for his Chicago poem.  But here's his Cleveland poem:

Honky Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio

photo of Winking Lizard pub in Coventry
photo by GL
It’s a jazz affair, drum crashes and cornet razzes.
The trombone pony neighs and the tuba jackass snorts.
The banjo tickles and titters too awful.
The chippies talk about the funnies in the papers.
     The cartoonists weep in their beer.
     Ship riveters talk with their feet
     To the feet of floozies under the tables.
A quartet of white hopes mourn with interspersed snickers:
        “I got the blues.
        I got the blues.
        I got the blues.”
And . . . as we said earlier:
     The cartoonists weep in their beer.

Friday, July 15, 2016

What is a Chapbook?

...and, having answered your question "what is a literary magazine," poet and editor E. Kristin Anderson goes on to ask the question ‘What Is a Chapbook?

a photo of one of our shelves of books

What is a chapbook, anyway?  From looking at chapbooks, you'd think it's just a shorthand for a "cheap book"-- and they are, usually; at least, usually a lot lower in cost (and production values) than more highly polished perfect-bound books (although some chapbooks can be quite impressive handmade works of art).  That's not what the word actually means, though: chapbooks were originally the books sold by a chapman, the itinerant pedlers that used to take carts from town to town in the middle ages, and would sell-- after the printing press was invented-- broadsides and cheaply-printed books alongside pots and pans and razors and nostrums.  So, poetry chapbooks have a long history.
Today poets are their own chapmen, sell their own chapbooks, the itinerant peddlers of the middle ages, going from  reading to reading, town to town, with their wagons filled with goods.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Creating Order

image of blocks spelling "order" and "chaos"

In The White Space Inside the Poem, Susan Grimm addresses the question of order: specifically, in what order should a poet arrange their poems?
Of course, she is coming back to a subject she has addressed before: Ordering the Storm: How to put together a book of poems. And others have looked at the subject as well: the helicopter view, the mix-tape strategy.

You can order by theme, by date, by alternating long and short, or alternating serious and frivolous poems. You can put similar-themed poems next to each other, or you can sprinkle them out, or bookend a collection with poems on the same theme.

At a reading, I like to try to alternate the serious with the silly; the rhymed with the free.  But sometimes it's good to just find a theme and develop it.

In all, it's a question of whether a book of poetry is a selection of individual gems, or a single unified thing.  One thing, or many?  In the mix-tape view, is this a rock opera, or a collection of singles?

Anyone else have thoughts to add?

Monday, June 20, 2016

365 Days of Writing at Writing Knights

logo for Writing Knights
Azriel Johnson, at Writing Knights, has started a year-long series of exercises for how to write poetry (but also somewhat applicable to other types of creative writing), with a post every day, starting the beginning of May. (The series is also reposted at NEOpoets.org).  So far, the series has gotten to week eight.
If you want to learn poetry-- or if you're already a poet, but might like some exercises as a tune-up-- or if you just like to read about poetry-- check it out.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Words from Jane Hirschfield

“How do we live in the great meanwhile, in which all our lives take place?”


Interviewed By: Kaveh Akbar

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

On The Hatred of Poetry

On The Hatred of Poetry
"The thesis of The Hatred of Poetry is as clear as it is counter-intuitive: people hate poetry because they hold it in such high esteem—and poems fail to fulfill their lofty promise."

Saturday, June 4, 2016

RIP to Ali

Rest in peace to poet Muhammad Ali.  Possibly better known as a boxer, it is a little-known trivia that Muhammed Ali was a member of the old Poet's League of Greater Cleveland.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

An Erie poet visits Cleveland's Barking Spider Tavern for the first time to attend the 2016 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest and writes a poem about the experience

by Chuck Joy

not my last
the same parking ramp

I made my way to the shrine
no madonna, not even a grotto
a tavern, a drinking place
named after a species of jungle arthropod
limited food options

it’s midafternoon
the joint soon to overfill
maybe only one guy without his poem included in the anthology
selling like hotcakes, a woman at the griddle

I sat at a table in the back
three of us: me, a guy like me
white tee-shirt, him with no jacket
and a poet from Erie

my turn came around halfway
I gave an honest reading
maybe that crowd would have preferred their poet
wearing a visor and hunched over the microphone
delivering his message in an antique drone
yellow glow pouring from a lamp with a metal shade
they liked me okay

the host, experienced, kept us to our agenda
the judges completed their work
winners were chosen
I might have toasted them with more porter
if I weren’t a designated driver

Chuck Joy [photo by Chandra Alderman]

Chuck Joy is the author of Said the Growling Dog (Nirala Publications). From Erie, where he frequents Poets' Hall, Chuck has brought his poetry to Mac's Backs, Mahall's 20 Lanes, and has appeared at every Snoetry. His poem "The Call of The Water" was included in the 2016 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology published by Crisis Chronicles Press.

The Barking Spider Tavern is located at 11310 Juniper Road in Cleveland.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ekphrastacy: Join us Thursday, May 19 at 7pm

Heights Arts logo
Kita Vista (detail), Lori Kella
Dwelling (detail), Stephanie Craig

Ekphrastacy: Artists Talk + Poets Respond about Things That Fly

Join us Thursday, May 19 at 7 p.m.

IED (detail), Christopher Owen Smith
"We live in a world of gravity, gravity our constant companion from the instant we wake to the moment we fall asleep..." 

Share an evening with us and Things That Fly exhibition artists Stephanie Craig, Maggie Denk-Leigh, Lori Kella, Peter Larson, Lynne Norwood Lofton, Lynn O’Brien and Christopher Owen Smith, who will speak about their work and its evolution.
Falling 10 (Andy) detail, Peter Larson

Cleveland Heights poet laureate Christine Howey has invited local poets Geoffrey Landis, Erin Gay, Azriel Johnson, Skylark Bruce, and Terry Provost to respond to the works on view with original verse, which is always a thought-provoking and entertaining experience. Come a bit early to get a seat and enjoy refreshments!

Kita Vista (detail), Lori Kella; Dwelling (detail), Stephanie Craig; IED (detail), Christopher Owen Smith; Falling 10 (Andy) detail, Peter Larson. Gravity (opening line) Geoffrey Landis.

Copyright © 2016 HEIGHTS ARTS, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Heights Arts
2175 Lee Road
Cleveland HeightsOH  44118

Add us to your address book


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Congrats to the Hessler Street Fair Poetry Winners!

Image of Hessler Street Fair anthology
Congratulations to Rosemarie Wilson ("One Single Rose") for her poem "Motown Blues," winning first place in the annual 2016 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest, and to Tanya Grossner Pilumeli and Mindi Kirchner-Greenway for their second and third place finishes.

The winners of this year's Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest are:
The poets will read the winning poems at the 2016 Hessler Street Fair on Sunday 22 May at 2 pm, with the reading simulcast on WRUW-FM 91.1.
Read the poems in the 2016 Hessler Street Fair anthology, available from Mac's Backs-Books On Coventry and at the Fair itself.  Read more about it here.

Hessler Street fair information block


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