Thursday, May 14, 2009

Congratulations to the 2009 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest Winners!

footage and editing by Ken Kitt, courtesy of PoetryVidz

Wednesday, May 13th, I had the pleasure of reading (and seeing my work included in the Hessler Street Fair 2009 Poetry Anthology) with some mighty fine poets from across northern Ohio (and even from Michigan) at Mac's Backs Books on Coventry. Thanks to Suzanne DeGaetano of Mac's for hosting, to Joshua Gage for editing the anthology and emceeing, to the judges (Suzanne, Josh and Gail Bellamy), to the Hessler Street Fair organization, and especially to all the fine poets who participated. Congratulations to you all!

Winners include:
1st Place - "Grace" by Dan Smith
2nd Place - "Five pounds of sunlight" by Geoffrey A. Landis
3rd Place (tie) - "Autonomic" by J.E. Stanley and "The Sleeping Town" by Jill Riga

I'd also like to let folks know about Ken Kitt's PoetryVidz You Tube channel. Ken films a lot of readings/performances across northeast Ohio and graciously shares the best of his footage online. He's a tireless promoter of our local poetry scene(s) and provides an immeasurably valuable historical record of what makes Cleveland poetry so special. Ken recorded last night's event at Mac's and has already posted several clips, including videos of the four winners reading their poems, at

Thanks, Ken! You're a winner, too.


Geoffrey A. Landis said...

It was a great evening of poetry-- 22 poets in 60 minutes, quite a treat. Many thanks to the judges-- I'm sure that the judges had a hard time selecting from the bounty (although I appreciate the results). And congrats to Dan Smith!

The top poets will be reading live on stage at the Hessler fair on Saturday afternoon, and simulcast on WRUW, 91.1, by the way. Tune in if you can't make the show in person! (The announcement yesterday was that the reading will be at 3pm on Saturday-- earlier information had a different time and date, so update your calendar).

John B. Burroughs said...

Thanks, Geoff - especially for the clarification. I didn't mention the reading time because I'd heard two different ones and I couldn't remember which was definitive. And congratulations!

I should also mention that Ray McNiece is hosting the Annual Hessler Street Fair poetry open mic at the Barking Spider Tavern from one to three on Saturday. I encourage folks to attend the open mic, dart out a little bit before the end before the end to catch the contest winners reading on the fair's main stage, and then return to the Spider where Ray and his band Tongue-in-Groove will perform. I saw them last year at my first poetry open mic ever, and was so inspired I dove head first into the Cleveland poetry scene. It's gonna be one heck of a day for poetry!

Geoffrey A. Landis said...

Yeah, I wish I could make Ray's open mike, but, unfortunately, this Saturday during the afternoon I'll be at the Rocky River Library Book Festival-- in fact, I'll really have to race away to make it to the Hessler reading. (check out for more info on the Rocky River Book festival, if anybody's interested.)

CHARLAX said...

eye love Cleveland Poetry
eye voted for Chris
but eye read she was happy
for everyone
even though she did not win
she has won a lot by learning this
its not the way the game is played but the total points ( no im teasing ewe ) its all about the PLAY the play must go on

Theresa Göttl Brightman said...

Last night was a great reading! And I was happy to see the winners chosen. Well deserved victories by all!

MilesB said...

What a lousy time to get the flu. Sorry I missed it, but congrats to all the winners.

John B. Burroughs said...

I took a lot of still photos last night - far too many to post in a blog. I'll post them in an album on my Facebook page as soon as I have a chance. I'm also uploading photos from Tres Versing the Panda and other readings there.

John B. Burroughs said...

We missed you, Miles! Hope you feel much better soon....

dan smith said...


i tried to post on friday and i was just about to be kicked off the computer & it didn't go thru.
The jist of it was congratulating everyone in the anthology & those that were able to attend for making it an exciting evening of poetry. Also thanking Suzanne DeGaetano & Josh Gage for their tireless efforts in support of poetry.

I also explained I was in shock and
not being used to winning much of anything let alone poetry contests;I apologized for not getting around to congratulate Geoff and Jill & talk to others about their poems. Hopefully we will all be able to discuss poetry with one another in the future.

Best regards to one & all,
dan smith

Mary Turzillo said...

An amazing anthology -- and the four winners were just beyond superlative. I was so honored to be in the Hessler antho with work of such depth and imagination.

Runechris said...

Love the Anthology... lots of good work in it.
Great idea posting the video JC.. Thanks to Ken for that.

Nice write up.

Geoffrey A. Landis said...

The Mac's reading was followed by a Saturday reading at the main stage at the Hessler fair itself. Despite the rain, it was fun. I posted a few pictures:

*The four winners (Jill Riga, J.E. Stanley, Geoffrey A. Landis, and dan smith)
*First-place poet dan smith reading on-stage in the rain.
*The whole album of pix

dan smith said...

THANKS for posting the photos,Geoff.

I hope we brought more than a few pounds of sunshine and brightened someones day for a few minutes.

Best regards,
dan smith

justin said...

Poet coming back to Cleveland is looking for some open mic nights. Any help?

Geoffrey A. Landis said...

Sure, there are lots of open mikes in the area! Actually, it's probably worth doing a post here sometime just listing them all-- but as a quick summary, a good place to start is the Lit center calendar,, and the clevelandpoetics yahoo groups calendar, (may need registration to see that one)


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