Thursday, April 11, 2024

April 15th: Pádraig Ó Tuama comes to John Carroll University

Reposted from our friend Philip Metres:

NOT TO BE MISSED! On April 15th at 6pm, in JCU’s Donahue Auditorium (Dolan Science Center) at John Carroll University, join us for a talk and reading of poems by celebrated Irish poet, theologian, and podcaster Pádraig Ó Tuama.

Ó Tuama is a poet, theologian, conflict resolution mediator, and the author of Being Here: Prayers for Curiosity, Justice, and Love (2024), Poetry Unbound (2022), Feed the Beast (2022), Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community (2017), In the Shelter (2015), Sorry for Your Troubles (2013), and Readings from the Books of Exile (2012). About his most recent collection of poems, Feed the Beast, Jericho Brown says, “This book is unashamed about poetry’s relationship to the spirit. I would go as far as saying this book is one way we know poetry is prayer.” His memoir, In the Shelter, interweaves everyday stories with narrative theology, gospel reflections with mindfulness, and Celtic spirituality with poetry for a memoir that relates ideas of shelter and welcome to journeys of life.

For those who don’t know 
Pádraig, he is a man of many talents—a poet, theologian, mediator, podcaster (one of the best podcasts on poetry, and another on peacebuilding for Corrymeela). He’s wise, engaging, and deeply moving, and NOT TO BE MISSED!

All are welcome! Free and open to the public. Books for sale by Mac’s Backs.

John Carroll University
1 John Carroll Boulevard
University Heights, OH 44118

April 18th: Ekphrastacy at Heights Arts

Ekphrastacy: Artists Talk and Poets Respond

Thursday, April 18th at 7:00 p.m.

Join Heights Poet Laureate Siaara Freeman and guest poets Beks Freeman, Carrie George, and Philip Metres for a night of surrealism and the unconventional. For this Ekphrastacy, poets respond to the current exhibition on view in Heights Art's gallery, Irrational Objects: Backwards Into the Future. Their live poetry will undoubtedly respond to and interrogate surrealist themes of the unexpected and uncanny. Artists in the exhibition will also speak about their work. Reserve your spot today!

Heights Arts
2175 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Thursday, April 4, 2024

April 10: Cornelius Eady and Arlene Keizer at Kent State

Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize Reading
Featuring Cornelius Eady and Arlene Keizer

When: Wednesday, April 10, 7:00 pm
Where: African Community Theatre, Oscar Ritchie Hall (225 Terrace Drive), Kent, Ohio

Cornelius Eady is the author of several books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Hardheaded Weather, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets, The Gathering of My Name, which was nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize, and his most recent collection The War Against the Obvious. With poet Toi Derricote, Eady is cofounder of Cave Canem, a national organization for African American poetry and poets. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy, and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award. Eady has been a teacher for over twenty years, and is currently the Chair of Excellence in the English Department at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

Arlene Keizer, an Afro-Caribbean-American poet and scholar, writes about the literature, lived experience, theory, and visual art of the African Diaspora. The recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, she later earned an MA in English and Creative Writing (Poetry) at Stanford University and a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Black Subjects: Identity Formation in the Contemporary Narrative of Slavery, and her poems and articles have appeared in African American Review, American Literature, Kenyon Review, PMLA, Radical Teacher, TriQuarterly, and other journals and exhibit catalogues. New poems are forthcoming in Obsidian: Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora. Arlene completed Fraternal Light: On Painting While Black published by The Kent State University Press with the support of fellowships from the Beinecke Library at Yale and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where she has been reading Beauford Delaney's mail. Born to emigrants from Trinidad, she lives in Brooklyn, NY and teaches at Pratt Institute.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

A Gathering of Laurels II - April 6th in South Euclid

A Gathering of Laurels II

Ohio Poets Laureate read from their work for National Poetry Month on Saturday, April 06, 2024 from 2:00pm to 3:30pm EDT at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Join us as Poets Laureate from around Ohio share their work. Doc Janning, the Inaugural Poet Laureate of the City of South Euclid, will emcee the event. Books will be available for sale and signing, and we'll celebrate with light refreshments.

Featured poets:

John Burroughs, Beat Poet Laureate Emeritus of Ohio and the U.S.

Sandra Feen, Beat Poet Laureate of Ohio

Doc Janning, Inaugural Poet Laureate of South Euclid and Third Poet Laureate of Cuyahoga County

Jeremy Jusek, Poet Laureate of Parma

Jonie McIntire, Poet Laureate of Lucas County

Ray McNiece, Poet Laureate Emeritus of Cleveland Heights

Dr. Mary Weems, Poet Laureate Emeritus of Cleveland Heights

1876 S. Green Road
Writers Center Conference Room
South Euclid, Ohio 44121

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Poets John Dorsey & Ken Gierke to appear March 22nd at Mac's Backs

Friday, March 22, 2024 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Poets John Dorsey, author of Pocatello Wildflower and Ken Gierke, author of Glass Awash will read at Mac's on Friday, March 22nd at 7 pm.

John Dorsey is the former Poet Laureate of Belle, MO and the author of several collections of poetry, including Which Way to the River: Selected Poems 2016-2020 (OAC Books, 2020), Sundown at the Redneck Carnival, (Spartan Press, 2022, and Pocatello Wildflower, (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2023). 

Ken Gierke is a retired truck driver, transplanted to Missouri from Western New York. In spite of muddy water and a dearth of maples, after only ten years he is coming to think of Missouri as home. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming both in print and online in such places as Ekphrastic Review, Amethyst Review, Silver Birch Press, and The Gasconade Review. His first collection of poetry, Glass Awash, has been published by Spartan Press.

Mac's Backs Books on Coventry
1820 Coventry Road
Cleveland, Heights, Ohio


Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Monday, March 4, 2024

Celebrate National Poetry Month with Ohio Center for the Book

From our friends at Ohio Center for the Book:

Celebrate National Poetry Month With Us

This April, celebrate National Poetry Month with the Ohio Center for the Book as four acclaimed Ohio poets representing Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Dayton visit us at Cleveland Public Library for two weekend poetry readings. These events are free and open to the public.Sat., April 20: Lindsay Turner and Noah FalckSat., April 27: Stephanie Ginese and Taylor ByasFor location information, check out our host library's Calendar of Events.
Get Details on our National Poetry Month Events At Our Website

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

2024 Cleveland Poetry Festival: April 12-14

From our friends at Literary Cleveland:

Cleveland Poetry Festival: April 12-14

We’re thrilled to announce that Cleveland Poetry Festival is back Friday-Sunday April 12-14 at Cleveland Museum of Art Community Art Center on West 25th.

This year, we're exploring an exciting new theme: the intersection of POETRY + ART, commemorating visual poetry, the interplay between image and text, the use of type in art, and the ways poetry and virtual art influence each other.

🖊️ Draft new poems in workshops on poetry & photos, ekphrastic writing, and comics

🗨️ Participate in dynamic panel discussions on looking, image & text, and artists/poets

📚 Browse the book and art fair with booksellers, journals, presses, and artists

🎤 Attend readings and join the open mic to share your work

Local presenters include Northeast Ohio poets and artists Mansa L. Bey, Ali Black, Donald Black, Danny Caine, Siaara Freeman, Carrie George, Stephanie Ginese, J.P. Hernandez, Kevin Latimer, Michael Lorderstedt, Philip Metres, Wendy Partridge, Alyssa Perry, and Zach Savich.

Visiting authors include Lauren Haldeman (poet, graphic artist, and Iowa Arts Fellow), Joyelle McSweeney (Guggenheim fellow and co-founder of Action Books), Diana Khoi Nguyen (author of Ghost Of which was a finalist for the National Book Award), and Cindy Juyoung Ok (author of Ward Toward, which won the Yale Younger Poets Prize).

Space is limited so don't miss out! Register here

Friday, February 2, 2024

2/18: Rebel Readers / Quartez Harris / Poets Against Racism & Hate

From our friends at Poets Against Racism & Hate USA:

"We’re so pleased to help facilitate an appearance by PARH USA member (and talented poet) Quartez Harris and the Rebel Readers Book Club at Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights, OH. Co-founder Debbie Allen will join Quartez to discuss his compelling collection, We Made It To School Alive" (on February 18th at 3 pm).

Follow Poets Against Racism & Hate USA at

Monday, January 29, 2024

MLGBTQ Reader at Sandusky

Barbara Marie Minney: “My poetry is a challenge to stereotypical beliefs 
and to accept other people for who and what they are. . . .My poetry is 
also a challenge to unapologetically and proudly accept and love yourself 
for who you are.”
Open-Mic to Follow. Join Us. 


Thursday, January 25, 2024


Join us for a celebration of freedom and diversity
through our writing

Monday, December 4, 2023

Applications Being Accepted for an $8,000 Fellowship

From our friends at Literary Cleveland:
Apply for a paid $8,000 four-month Amplify Fellowship to create a literary project for your community.
Two fellows will work with Literary Cleveland staff from February-May 2024 and receive funding, resources, mentorship, and support to pilot a new community project. Fellows will gain experience in literary programming, event planning, communications, and community outreach.
This opportunity is intended for Northeast Ohio writers who are members of groups that have been historically underrepresented in the writing and publishing industry.

Friday, December 1, 2023

RC Wilson reviews Katie Daley's new book, Any Closer to Home

ANY CLOSER TO HOME by Katie Daley (2023, Finishing Line Press, Georgetown KY)
Review by RC Wilson:
Katie Daley is a performing poet who also writes for publication. A lot of writers work the other way around, writing for the page and reading aloud mostly when launching a new book. Katie has mesmerized audiences all over the country, but that does not make this book any less special. Just be aware that these poems were written to be spoken, almost sung. I suggest you find a good place to read them out loud, like incantations or spells. Take this book down in a tunnel, or out to the middle of a bridge, and speak her poems. Or better yet, borrowing an image from two of these poems, if you have access to an old grand piano, take a few blankets and make a nest for yourself under there and speak the poems, letting her words resonate with the taut wire harp above you. Just kidding. Read them anyway you want to but read them.
The book sort-of invites you to sing along. The first poem is titled “Artists’ Lullaby”, followed by quotes from Muddy Waters and Henry James. That unique pairing kind of announces the poet’s playful nature. It is a beautiful love poem with the poetic voice addressing the artist lover on “the last day on earth.” The images are synaesthetic, commingling vision and hearing into a single soothing sense. Daley is one of those ecstatic poets, who work the border between the ordinary and the miraculous. Her poems plead and extol for us to see the magic all around us hiding in plain sight. In her poem, “Homecoming,” she begins with:
"What do you call it, at dusk, after a long day’s drive,
when you hurry your suitcase through the rain
and are pulled up short by thousands of fireflies in the yard,
gliding like gondolas among the glimmering drops?"
The poem uses the second person narration to make this OUR experience, and yes, we are all pulled up short by such moments. She goes on to spell out our obligation to live large and lean into it, to taste the sacred rain. 
I love the individual poems, but also how well they are stitched together to make a coherent chapbook. We find ourselves dancing naked in the rain in one poem, and naked in a laundromat in another. A bottle of glue in the first poem is sought after in another poem. Living under a piano shows up as the beginning of one poem, and is echoed in another. Then there is the overall shape of the narrative, with defiant joy at the beginning and the end, all wrapped around a deep dive into grief and loss in the heart of the book. As I get older, poetry sometimes makes me cry. One of Katie’s poems set the record for me, and had me weeping two words into the first stanza, after a long title: “His Mother Still Speaks in the Present Tense When She Speaks of Him.” The first two words? “Tamir Rice…” This is a fine little book that expands greatly when you open it up.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Cuyahoga Arts and Culture Informational Session and Q&A

Cuyahoga Arts and Culture announces a Zoom event that they say will aim "to increase understanding about [their grantmaking] process and broaden transparency." To register to attend, please click here.

square box "Cuyahoga Arts & Culture Information Session and Q&A

Friday, October 27, 2023

10/28: Meet the authors of the Poem for Cleveland Anthology

Meet the authors of the Poem for Cleveland Anthology

Saturday, October 28

2:00pm - 4:00pm
South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch
Cuyahoga County Public Library
1876 South Green Road, South Euclid, Ohio 44121

Meeting Room A+B+C (120)

Join us to celebrate the publication of Poem for Cleveland, a new anthology written by over 100 youth and elder poets. Poets will be reading their poems from this second edition of the book.

The Poem for Cleveland project was a year-long series of workshops led by Ray McNiece, former Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate and Cleveland Arts Prize Lifetime Achievement Award winner. The project culminated in the publication of the anthology by local publisher, Red Giant Press. Poem for Cleveland was made possible by the Academy of American Poets with funds from the Mellon Foundation.

McNiece worked with youth poets to present writing workshops for elder poets at various community venues, including the William N. Skirball Writers’ Center at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. Each workshop included poetry prompts about Cleveland, including favorite places, people, family memories, and growing up a Clevelander.

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Lit Youngstown Fall Literary Festival This Weekend


From our friends at Lit Youngstown:

The 7th annual Fall Literary Festival will feature Ross Gay, Jill Christman, Alison Stine, and the Craig Paulenich Endowed Lecture on Literary Community by Lit Cleveland Executive Director Matt Weinkam. This will be an incredible conference, with thanks to our sponsors the Centofanti Foundation, the Youngstown State University Center for Working-Class Studies, WYSU-FM, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, Lake Erie Golf Cars, the Thomases Family Foundation, KO Consulting, the Grace Ruth Memorial Endowment, Ohio Humanities, the Wilkes University Master of Fine Arts, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts, Eastern Gateway Community College, the Ohio Arts Council and the Youngstown Foundation.

Registration for daytime events is now closed. Please join us for the free evening readings! For more information including a full schedule of events, please visit

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Let's Talk Art: October 22nd

Let's Talk Art

The Intersection of Visual Arts & Poetry

Sunday, October 22
1:00pm - 3:00pm

Warrensville Heights Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library

Join us for a panel discussion, reception and Q&A with accomplished local poets, and spoken word performances.

Building on the successful "Let's Talk Art" panel session on race, culture and art in March 2023, Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL), the Museum of Creative Human Art (MOCHA), and Assembly for the Arts invite you to join us for a celebration of spoken word. Learn from the experiences and perspectives of our panelists - Honey Bell-Bey, Jennifer Coleman, Siaara Freeman, Calil Gage, Wesley (Wallstreet Wes) Robinson - in an engaging dialogue moderated by Deidre McPherson, Chief Community Officer for the Assembly for the Arts. Brief reception and spoken word performance immediately following. 


Jennifer Coleman

Coleman is the Foundation’s program director for Creative Culture and Arts. Prior to joining the Foundation, Coleman, an architect, was president of her own design firm, Jennifer Coleman Creative. Earlier in her career, she practiced architecture at several local architecture firms. She also founded, a company that produced audio walking tours of Cleveland that highlight the distinctive history and architecture of Cleveland. Among her many civic endeavors, Jennifer has served as chair of the Cleveland Landmarks Commission, the Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee and the Group Plan Commission. She also has been a member of the board of trustees of many local arts and cultural organizations. Coleman received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University.

Honey Bell-Bey 

Honey Bell-Bey holds a BA in Broadcast Production Technology from Bethune-Cookman University. A motivational poet, writer, educator and community advocate, Bell-Bey is an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist and the founder and director for The International, Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word, a character based performance troupe for adolescent males who perform on topics of disparities and social injustices. She has performed, directed, and choreographed Spoken Word performances internationally and has received numerous awards and accommodations for her service and activism utilizing poetry as a tool to unite communities around issues in social justice and equity. She was appointed the poet laureate of Cuyahoga County in January 2020, the first poet in sixteen years to hold the position.

Siaara Freeman
Siaara is a 2023 Room in the House fellow with Karmau Theater and a 2022 Catapult fellow with Cleveland Public Theater. She is a 2021 Premier Playwright fellow recipient withCleveland Public theater. She is a 2020 WateringHole Manuscript fellow, 2018 Poetry Foundation incubator fellow and a four time nominee for the pushcart prize. Her work appears in The Journal, Josephine Quarterly, Cleveland Magazine and elsewhere. She has had multiple poems go viral and has toured both nationally and internationally. Her first full length manuscript Urbanshee is available with Button Poetry and is a 2023 finalist for the Audre Lorde Award as well as a 2023 Silver Award winner for the Benjamin Franklin IPBA award for Poetry.  

Calil Gage 
Calil “JUST C.O.S.” Cage is a poet, speaker, educator, and two-time author. He is the founder of and currently serves as the Executive Director of The Sparrow’s Fortune. Born in Chicago, and raised in Columbus, OH, Calil currently resides in Cleveland, OH. He gained his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies at Kent State University. Recently, he was awarded the Helping Hands Award by the Cuyahoga County ADAMHS Board, because of the communal nature of his work in the poetry world. His poetry and spoken word most often highlight the Black community, trauma resilience, hope, healing, spiritual principles, and more. “C.O.S.”, pronounced “cause”, stands for Collection of Seeds. He sees his words as “just a collection of seeds” planted into the hearts of those who listen. He hopes to continue honoring this moniker and planting seeds of impact in every community he visits.

Wesley (Wallstreet Wes) Robinson

Wesley Robinson was given the moniker, “Wallstreet” because of how he genuinely invests in the lives of others. At the age of 21 years old Wallstreet he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for two counts of aggravated robbery. A crime Wallstreet has taken full accountability for. 

During his tenure in prison, Wes was often mentored by men serving life or more years than a man can live, who encouraged him to embrace his prison experience as a life lesson. With this knowledge, at the age of 24 years old Wallstreet began to pour that same wisdom onto the other young males who were serving long stints like him. After awhile the administration of the prison threatened to place Wes in solitary confinement if he kept on impacting the population in a positive way. These threats only encouraged him and led him to informally form an organization called “Digging Diamonds from Dirt”, where he educated himself and others on black history and poetry so that they could express themselves to elders who only judged them as wild and young instead of youth in need of guidance.

In 2012, Wallstreet Wes was transferred to a minimum level security prison where he was able to truly find himself creatively. 

About the moderator 

Deidre McPherson, Chief Community Officer at the Assembly for the Arts, is a creative producer and entrepreneurial strategist dedicated to bridging the gap between artists, communities, and institutions. Her passion for recognizing the creative talent in her community and connecting artists to the public through cultural events and opportunities has been at the core of her work. Her advocacy for Black and Brown and LGBTQ+ creatives enables her to be a prominent force in the collective shift towards equity in Northeast Ohio.

Over the years, Deidre has held leadership roles at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa). At both institutions, she was responsible for curating and managing events designed to make the museum a vibrant, socially relevant, and welcoming destination. Similarly, as Director of Artistic and Community Initiatives for FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, she introduced community engagement practices that focused on amplifying Black and Brown creatives. Through her consulting practice, she has worked on projects for clients including the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF), Studio West 117, Karamu House, Dance Cleveland and the Saint Luke’s Foundation. Deidre earned a Bachelor's degree from Miami University (with minors in Violin Performance and Arts Administration) and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

Assembly for the Arts            MOCHA

Friday, October 6, 2023

Rikki Santer selected Ohio Poet of the Year for 2023

Image of cover of Resurrection Letter: Leonora, Her Tarot, and MeThe Ohio Poetry Day Association (OPDA) has selected Rikki Santer as its Ohio Poet of the Year for 2023. Santer was selected for her book of poems, Resurrection Letter: Leonora, Her Tarot, and Me (Materialist Press/Cereal Box Studio, 2023), a book-length sequence in tribute to the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington.


A resident of Columbus, Ohio, Santer has had published five full-length poetry collections and six chapbook sequences exploring such topics as the Hopewell earthworks of Newark, Ohio; the late Kahiki Supper Club of Columbus, Ohio; the world of ventriloquism, the art of fashion, and the classic television series Twilight Zone. She is a member of the teaching artist roster of the Ohio Arts Council, a vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association, and a member of the poetry troupe, Concrete Wink. Her poetry has been widely published and has received many honors including several Pushcart and Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more at

As an Ohio Poet of the Year, Santer joins the likes of Mary Oliver, David Baker, Kari Gunter-Seymour, and Maggie Smith. The complete list of previous Poet of the Year winners is below.


Santer will be featured at this year’s Ohio Poetry Day celebration, October 13–14. The event will feature a morning workshop, readings, and the keynote from Santer, who will read from her winning collection. See agenda details below.



Friday, October 13, 7–9 PM: Meet and greet with Santer and previous Poets of the Year, overnight poetry contest prompt.

Saturday, October 14, 10 AM–4 PM: Evan Lodge Workshop, reading by Rikki Santer, open mic featuring Ohio Poetry Day contest winners.

Where:   Troy Hayner Cultural Center
                301 W. Main St., Troy, Ohio 45373

List of Ohio Poets of the Year


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