Friday, October 22, 2021



I should mention that collaborators Mary Turzillo and Marge Simon have a new book of dark poetry out, Victims, from Weasel Press. Seems like a lot of literature celebrates villains; it's a little more unusual to see the other side.

Both paper and e-versions are available, either from the publisher, or from Amazon.

This is one of the braver dark poetry collections I’ve seen in a while. Horror poets generally employ victims in their work, but the focus is generally on the Evil. Turning the camera the other way is unusual, unsettling, emotionally risky, and surprisingly effective. From their stark opening take on Pygmalion, to the ending poem about the wasted life of Stateira of Persia, this powerful collection teases apart an impressive number of the threads of victimhood. Some are the usual cases, but quite a few are surprises, or reversals, or cases with unexpected layers. There is nothing repetitive about this collection.

 —Timons Esaias

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The passing of Ohio poet Timothy Russell (1951-September 2021)

Tim grew up along the Ohio River and worked at Weirton Steel as a millwright until lupus forced him to retire. He and wife Jodi lived on in Toronto, Ohio with four children, always close to nature. Tim won awards for his poetry and was praised by Gary Snyder, “There is discipline, spirit, clarity, no easy optimism, sensibility, heart in these poems.” His chapbook “In Medias Res” was published in A Red Shadow of Steel Mills: Photos & Poems (Bottom Dog Press 1991). He was a fine poet and had a wonderful ability to combine people with nature and industry. Here are a few lines.

If what I have written
in my own hand
had been origami
it would have been considered
lovely and miraculous:
the blue/orange flames
roosting at night
instead of the moon
above the blast furnaces,
like birds with litmus plumage,
miraculous and lovely.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Tongue-in-Groove Poetry Jam Returns to the Fillmore September 19th

Cleveland, it's time to celebrate the return of Tongue-in-Groove! Hosted by Heights Poet Laureate Ray McNiece (Cleveland Arts Prize Lifetime Achievement Award Winner) with Al Moses on guitar, Nick Marino on bass, Michelle Clark on percussion and Tim Lachina on harmonica at the Millard Fillmore Presidential Library at 15617 Waterloo Road in the North Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland. The Poetry Jam happens at 6 p.m. starting on Sunday, September 19th. This month's featured poet is Renay Sanders. An open mic with the band will follow.

About the feature:

S. Renay Sanders learned to love the spoken word amidst a family of Appalachian storytellers and musicians. She secretly wrote poems for years, but came out of the poetry closet with a piece in the Hessler Street Poetry Anthology in 2010. Her poems have been included in anthologies published by the Writing Knights and Poet's Haven. Her work can also be found in ETERNAL SNOW (Nirala Publications, 2017), a worldwide anthology. Renay received a third place award for her poem, "Awakened to Bear Witness of Sweet Atrocities" in the 2012 Hessler Street Poetry Anthology. "Noteworthy Travelin" was the title poem of a broadside published by NightBallet. Her work was selected to be included in the 2016-2017 Women of Appalachia project "Women Speak." Most recently, Sanders is the author of DANCING IN PLACE: POEMS (Nirala Publications, 2020). A native Clevelander, her poems are inspired by the characters she encounters in life, her male-dominated family, husband, sons, grandsons and the beauty of the Cuyahoga Valley, where she now resides.

Monday, September 13, 2021

The Return of Brews + Prose!

Our friends at Brews + Prose are re-starting up their acclaimed reading series at Market Garden Brewery on Wednesday September 15th at 7 p.m.

The following is from their Facebook event page:

Brews + Prose is back! And for now, like so many other things, Brews + Prose, will look a little different. We will be gathering upstairs on the Market Garden Brewpub Patio in an effort to spread out in the fresh air.

On September 15, we will be hosting three incredible readers:

Claire Luchette has published work in the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and Granta. A 2020 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, Luchette graduated from the University of Oregon MFA program and has received grants and scholarships from MacDowell, Yaddo, the Millay Colony for the Arts, Lighthouse Works, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and the James Merrill House. Agatha of Little Neon is Luchette’s first novel.

Dotun Akintoye is a Nigerian American writer from Philadelphia. His work has appeared in outlets like The Los Angeles Review of Books and O, The Oprah Magazine. He is currently a staff writer at ESPN.

Natasha Oladokun is a poet and essayist. She holds fellowships from Cave Canem, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Jackson Center for Creative Writing, Twelve Literary Arts, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the inaugural First Wave Poetry fellow. Her work has appeared in the American Poetry Review, The Academy of American Poets, Harvard Review Online, Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere. You can read her regular column The PettyCoat Chronicles—on pop culture and period dramas—at Catapult. She is Associate Poetry Editor at storySouth, and currently lives in Madison, WI.

We are hoping to find a way to safely host more great writers in the coming months, and we hope you'll be there with us.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Quartez Harris named Ohio Poet of the Year by the Ohio Poetry Day Association

Congratulations to Cleveland's very own Quartez Harris, who has been named 2021 Ohio Poet of the Year for his acclaimed book We Made It to School Alive (2020, Twelve Arts).

Click here to read more about it on the Ohio Poetry Association blog.

To contact the author, visit

Buy We Made It to School Alive from Twelve Arts Press.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Haiku Hikes and Ekphrastacy Events in Cleveland Heights

 From our friends at Heights Arts. The first Haiku Hike is this Saturday, August 28th, at Cain Park.


This Saturday, join Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate Ray McNiece on a seasonal morning ginkgo (haiku walk), through Cain Park learning and creating poetry according to centuries-old traditions. These customs cultivate a seasonal awareness that improves one’s powers of poetic and natural observation. 

Hikes will begin with a formal introduction to haiku, continue with 4 stops along the way, then conclude with a final sharing. Sign up for one session or all four seasons in a series we're offering in celebration of Cleveland Heights' centennial anniversary.

Find out more about how to register for a single hike or the full series, HERE


Each exhibition at Heights arts showcases outstanding visual art which we then celebrate through poetry during the run of that show. Perhaps you've attended one of these readings and wondered how the poets all train to be such impressive performers. With Ray's guidance, selected applicants are provided a structured approach to choosing visual art that speaks to them, developing their poetic response, and then presenting their interpretations at one of our most beloved programs. If you're a literary enthusiast, we encourage you to check out our open call for poets, HERE


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Lit Youngstown 2021 Fall Literary Festival Registration Open

From our friends at Lit Youngstown:

Are you a reader, writer, editor, publisher, student or educator of the literary arts? We hope you will join us for the 5th annual Fall Literary Festival in Youngstown, Ohio, October 7-9.

This year’s conference theme is “Our Shared Story” and we are thrilled to host visiting writers Teri Ellen Cross Davis (poet), Jan Beatty (memoirist), Matt Forrest Esenwine (children’s author), Bonnie Proudfoot (novelist), & Mike Geither (playwright).

Over 70 presenters from throughout the U.S. will lead sessions on reading, understanding, writing, editing and publishing creative works. The conference is an affordable (early bird until Sept. 1) $45, with deep discounts for contingent faculty and graduate students, and need-based sponsorships available. Undergraduate and high school student registration is free.

Hope to see you there! This event is made possible with major funding from the Centofanti Foundation. 

Monday, August 2, 2021

William N. Skirball Writers Center Stage 2021-2022 Season Announced

The following is from our friends at the Cuyahoga County Public Library. For more information, visit


Writers Center Stage is returning to the beautiful Maltz Performing Arts Center at Case Western Reserve University for the 2021-2022 season. This season we have also added a live stream option. All events will be held at 7:30 p.m. EST.
Award-winning author Richard Powers is known for writing novels that explore modern science and technology. His best-selling novel The Overstory (2019) won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His latest novel, Bewilderment, will be released in September 2021.
When Amor Towles released Rules of Civility, it quickly became a New York Times best-seller and was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2011. His second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, was on the best-sellers list for more than 52 weeks. Towles' latest book, The Lincoln Highway, will be released in October 2021.
Award-winning author Min Jin Lee's debut novel, Free Food for Millionaires (2007) became a national best-seller and Netflix adapted it as a television series. Her second novel, Pachinko (2017), was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and named one of The New York Times' 10 best books of the year.
Carmen Maria Machado is known for blending surrealism, fantasy and horror in her writing. She is the author of the best-selling memoir In the Dream House and the award-winning short story collection Her Body and Other Parties.

Rumaan Alam's thriller, Leave the World Behind, was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award and is being adapted into a film with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington.
The New York Times called Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson's latest book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (2020) "an instant American classic," and TIME Magazine labeled it a must-read book. Wilkerson's first book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration (2010), won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for nonfiction, among other honors.
MONDAY, MAY 2, 2022
Anthony Doerr's novel All The Light We Cannot See won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. It spent more than three and a half years on The New York Times' best-seller list. His latest book, Cloud Cuckoo Land, will be released in September 2021.
The 2021-2022 William N. Skirball Writers Center Stage Series is presented by the Cuyahoga County Public Library Foundation and its academic partner Case Western Reserve University.
Funds raised by this series help support Cuyahoga County Public Library, the nation's top-rated library system for eleven consecutive years. 


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