Monday, July 8, 2024

July 13th: Jeremy Jusek, Dianne Borsenik & Alissa Sammarco in South Euclid

See poets Dianne Borsenik, Jeremy Jusek and Alissa Sammarco on Saturday the 13th, 2 p.m. at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Register at

About the authors:

Dianne Borsenik is active in the northern and mid-Ohio poetry communities. Recent work has appeared in I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices, Songs of Wild Ohio , and Poem for Cleveland. Raga for What Comes Next, a full-length collection of Borsenik’s poems, was studied as part of the Modern & Contemporary American Poetry course at Muskingum University. Flight of Honey, another full-length collection, was published in May, 2023. Actor Jonathan Frid used three of her poems in his one-man tour Genesis of Evil, Speak of the Devil (Lorain, Ohio) named a cocktail after her, and Lit Youngstown printed her poem “Disco” on their t-shirts, all of which makes her feel like a rock star. Borsenik lives in Elyria, Ohio. Find her on Facebook and at

Once when I was little and very frightened, I was handed a jar of honey and a spoon. I closed my eyes and tasted beams of sun. Dianne Borsenik’s Flight of Honey reveals the bitter sweetness we discover in dark moments and closes its eyes to taste the moments of love we return to comfort in. There’s a new discovery in each taste from this collection. From the stark “Up the Mountain” through the inquisitive romp of the title poem to the introspection of “Knotted Together,” Borsenik sets us on a beeline path through her gracious mind with all of the wry humor and thoughtfulness we expect from this poetic trailblazer. In life, “blood doesn’t always call to blood” but this collection, like honey, beads warm amber and asks you simply to slow and savor.
—Jonie McIntire, Lucas County Poet Laureate, author of Semidomesticated (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2022), winner of Red Flag Poetry’s 2020 Chapbook Contest


Jeremy Jusek is the poet laureate of Parma, Ohio. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Arcadia University and chemistry/theatre degrees from Marietta College. He has authored more than a half-dozen plays and three poetry collections: We Grow Tomatoes in Tiny Towns, The Less-Traveled Street, and The Details Will Be Gone Soon. He hosts the Ohio Poetry Association's podcast Poetry Spotlight, runs the West Side Poetry Workshop, teaches through Literary Cleveland, and founded the Flamingo Writers’ Guild. To learn more, please visit

The Details Will Be Gone Soon is a close investigation of the primordial underpinnings behind Alzheimer’s disease and the emotional wreckage left in its wake. This poetry collection follows the speaker and his grandmother, Nana, and the various memories shared between the two. At times, the collection seeks to illustrate the loose word associations, frustrations, and existential cloud cover that darkens dementia’s horizons. Other poems steer toward youth and hope, extolling love, lessons learned, and shared experiences. This dichotomy allows the collection to successfully walk that critical line that families of Alzheimer’s patients often experience: one that straddles between the unfairly diminished, barely-present caricature versus the vibrant, vigor-filled past-selves that close friends and family spent a lifetime loving.


Alissa Sammarco uses cinematic imagery to freeze those moments in time and evoke the feeling of revisiting them.  She examines the common in life and relationships to find the extraordinary. Her work has appeared in Sheila-Na-Gig, Black Moon Magazine, Change Seven, Quiet Diamonds, The Main Street Rag, Stone Canoe, VIA: Voices in Italian Americana, Rat’s Ass Review, the 2021 and 2022 Lexington Poetry Month Anthologies, and elsewhere. She is the author of two chapbooks, Beyond the Dawn and I See Them Now.  Alissa lives and practices law in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Moon Landing Day navigates the trajectories of relationships blasted off course by miscalculations, unmet expectations, abuse, and addiction.  In cinematic imagery, these poems reveal the difficult truths of a young woman, the harm that is passed from generation to generation, and the painful journey of acceptance to forgiveness.  From the total loss of control to the emergent spark of self-awareness, this young woman grapples to break the pattern.  She unravels her life and knits it back together in these poems.  They will hold you in their grip and bring you in for a safe landing.

Saturday, July 6, 2024

July 18th: Open Air Poets in Cleveland Heights

From our friends at Mac's Backs and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library:

Join us in the PEACE Park as Coventry Branch and Mac’s Backs Bookstore present an outdoor summer poetry series. Thursday July 18th, 2024, at 7 p.m.

July's reading features poets: Miles Budimir, Steve Goldberg, Jason Harris and Kevin Latimer.
Coventry Village Library
1925 Coventry Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Saturday, June 29, 2024

There's Always This Year: Grace Harper interviews Hanif Abdurraqib

Grace Harper of Mac's Backs Books on Coventry has a wonderful monthly book blog called Grace Notes, and I was especially excited to see that for July's edition she has interviewed acclaimed Ohio author Hanif Abdurraqib, whose latest book is There's Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension [Penguin Random House].

Read this enlightening interview at

Thursday, June 27, 2024

June 29th: M.J. Arcangelini & Friends and Ground & Sky Poetry

Saturday, June 29, 2024 from 5:00pm to 7:30pm at Mac's Backs Books on Coventry

Mac's will host a gathering of poets with readings by MJ Arcangelini and Joel Lesses on Saturday, June 29th at 5 p.m. The event is also a book release celebration for Journeys of Sacred Community: A Collection Anthology of Ground and Sky Poetry

MJ Arcangelini, born in Pennsylvania in 1952, has resided in northern California since 1979. He has published in many magazines, online journals & over a dozen anthologies.  He is the author of six published collections, including  Pawning My Sins publlished in 2022 by Luchador Press.

Ground and Sky Poetry is a reading series in Buffalo and Rochester, NY and was inspired by the late poet Maj Ragain from Kent. 

Joel David Lesses is a counselor and the founder of Education Training Center in Buffalo, dedicated to reframing mental health distress as a potential spiritual marker and existential opportunity. He also does the Unraveling Religion podcast which focuses on spirituality, world religion, meditation and poetry.

Other poets scheduled to read include Dianne Borsenik, Chris Franke, Russ Vidrick, Steven Smith, Kathy “Lady” Smith, John Burroughs, Shelley Chernin, Ben Gulyas, Adam Brodsky, Steve Goldberg, Steve Thomas, Scott Silsbe and  Chandra "Peggy Honeydew" Alderman.

Mac's Backs
1820 Coventry Rd.
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Sunday, June 23, 2024

July 12: Poet Laureate Ada Limón comes to Cuyahoga Valley National Park

On July 12 at 6 pm, Cuyahoga Valley National Park will host the 24th U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón for a special event. Please join us for the unveiling of the "You Are Here" poetry project at the Ledges Shelter.

Seven national parks, including Cuyahoga Valley, were selected by Limón to be part of her signature project “You are Here: Poetry in Parks.” In each park, a picnic table transformed into a work of public art will be unveiled. At the Ledges Shelter, Limón will unveil a picnic table inscribed with Jean Valentine’s poem, “The Valley”.

  • The event starts at 6 pm; doors open at 5 pm.
  • Please bring a lawn chair or blanket if you’re able.
  • Additional parking is available at Kendall Lake (1000 Truxell Road in Peninsula) with a shuttle provided to the event.
  • Limón's anthology will be available for purchase at the event.

Poetry in Parks is a partnership between the National Park Service, Library of Congress, U.S. National Poet Laureate, and Poetry Society of America. The initiative is one half of Ada Limón’s signature project titled, “You Are Here.” The project also includes an anthology of original poems by 50 contemporary American poets. Learn more about Poetry in Parks.

Make reservation of register at

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Last Exit Poetry in Kent - Late 2024

From host RC Wilson:

Here is the Last Exit Open Poetry schedule through December. Please note that all readings are on the 3rd Friday EXCEPT July.

For the latest, follow

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

5/10: Philip Metres, John James, Zach Savich, Bridget Lowe, & Dave Lucas at Visible Voice

From our friends at Visible Voice Books:


Friday, May 10 @ 7:00 P.M.

An evening of readings from five excellent poets, hosted by Virginia Konchan.

Philip Metres has written twelve books, including Fugitive/Refuge (2024) and Shrapnel Maps (2020). Winner of three Arab American Book Awards, a Guggenheim, and two NEA fellowships, he is professor of English and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at John Carroll University.

John James is the author of The Milk Hours (Milkweed, 2019), selected by Henri Cole for the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize. His poems appear in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, Best American Poetry, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia and is completing a PhD in English at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Zach Savich‘s latest book is the poetry collection Momently (Black Ocean, 2024). He teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Dave Lucas’s first book of poems, Weather (VQR / Georgia, 2011), received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. He has also received a “Discovery/The Nation Prize and a Cleveland Arts Prize. In 2018, he was appointed the second Poet Laureate of the State of Ohio. A co-founder of Cleveland Book Week and Brews + Prose at Market Garden Brewery, he also teaches at the John Carroll Young Writers Workshop, the Oklahoma Arts Institute, and in the Medical Humanities program at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.

Bridget Lowe is the author of the poetry collections My Second Work (2020) and At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky (2013), both from Carnegie Mellon University Press.  Her poems have appeared widely in publications including The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, The New Republic, Parnassus, Boston Review, A Public Space, Plume, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. Her honors include the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America, a “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize, a fellowship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Rona Jaffe Foundation fellowship to the MacDowell Colony. She lives in Kansas City, where she was born.

Visible Voice Books
2258 Professor Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

5/8: John Burroughs, Jeremy Jusek and Barbara Marie Minney at Mac's Backs

I look forward to reading with Jeremy Jusek and Barbara Marie Minney on May 8th, 7 p.m. at Mac's Backs-Books On Coventry in Cleveland Heights.


Barbara Marie Minney is a transgender woman, award winning poet, writer, speaker, teaching artist, and quiet activist. Her poetry and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Politico, The Buckeye Flame, The Gasconade Review, Gargoyle Magazine, The Pine Cone Review, Women Speak: Women of Appalachia Project, Woman Scream: The International Poetry Anthology of Female Voices, and I Thought I Heard A Cardinal Sing, Ohio’s Appalachian Voices. Barbara’s poetry has also been translated into Spanish. She is the author of If There’s No Heaven, the winner of the 2020 Poetry Is Life Book Award and an Akron Beacon Journal Best Northeast Ohio Book in 2020; the "Poetic Memoir Chapbook Challenge;" "Dance Naked With God;" and "A Woman in Progress." Barbara is a retired attorney and a seventh generation Appalachian and lives in Tallmadge, Ohio, with her wife of over 42 years and a menagerie of stuffed animals. You can follow Barbara at

Jeremy is the poet laureate of Parma, Ohio. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Arcadia University and chemistry/theatre degrees from Marietta College. He has authored more than a half-dozen plays and three poetry collections: We Grow Tomatoes in Tiny Towns (Unsolicited Press, 2019), The Less-Traveled Street (Maverick Duck Press, 2022), and The Details Will Be Gone Soon (ELJ Editions, 2023). He hosts the Ohio Poetry Association's podcast Poetry Spotlight, runs the West Side Poetry Workshop, teaches through Literary Cleveland, and founded the Flamingo Writers’ Guild. To learn more, please visit

Mac's Backs
1820 Coventry Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Sunday, April 21, 2024

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

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. 



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