Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Back in the Bamboo Room.....

Just a reminder that everyone's invited to contribute to the
ClevelandPoetics collaborative sestina. It's grown into a torrid tale of boozy love and lust. Where will this romance end? Are "he" and "she" headed to the bedroom? To a little house in Garfield Heights with a white picket fence? It's up to you all. The more voices the merrier.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cleveland: a great town for poetry readings

Somebody had asked earlier where to go to find open mike poetry* in Cleveland.
*(or "open mic")

Cleveland is a great town for poetry readings. Almost any day of the week you can find a reading somewhere-- check out the clevelandpoetics calendar. Most of them have a featured poet, and usually have an open microphone after the featured reading for you to show off your stuff in front of an audience. If you're a member of that faction who believes that poetry is made to be read out loud, Cleveland's your town.

All of the Cleveland readings have their own character-- depending on whether you like a quiet reading in a coffeehouse, or a rollicking reading hosted by a M.C., somewhere in town we've got it for you.

A good starting point to look at to find out where the the readings around town are is the Cleveland Literary Center (aka, "the Lit")'s Calendar of Literary Events [note added: dead now, I'm afraid, but we now have the calendar right here on clevelandpoetics]. Also, if you're a member of the clevelandpoetics yahoo group, check the clevelandpoetics calendar as well.

Here is a list of the regularly scheduled readings, taken from the calendars I listed above. That isn't necessarily all of the readings in the area! I can't claim I've been to all of these (mostly a homebody, me). So if I've made an error, or listed an event that's no longer running or has changed date or place, let me know.

And I'm not even mentioning the various poetry workshops in the area. That's a whole 'nother post!

But if you want live poetry, to listen to, or to join in, here are your chances:
  • Saturday, 2pm: poetry reading at Mr. Smith's Coffee House, 140 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, sponsored by the Firelands BGSU writing center. (Used to be the first Saturday, but they seem to have moved the schedule around).
  • 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:00 pm: Nia Coffeehouse at the Coventry Village library @ corner of Euclid Hts. Blvd., moderated by Vince Robinson.
  • 1st Thursday, 7pm: Jim's Coffeehouse Elyria. If you'd like to perform, show up by 6:30 to register. 2 Lake Avenue, Elyria.
  • 1st Friday, 7 pm-10 pm: Poetic Flavor at the 2nd April Gallery, 209 6th St. Canton, OH
  • 2nd Wednesday, 7pm: Mac's Backs poetry, at Mac's Backs on Coventry. 1820 Coventry, Cleveland Heights.
  • 2nd Thursday, 7-8:30 pm: Brunswick Art Works sponsors poetry reading plus open mike at Dunkin' Donuts, 3868 Center Road in Brunswick
  • --the 2nd Thursday Literary Café Poetry Nights in Tremont are a thing of the past, sorry!
  • 2nd Friday, 8:30 pm: Deep Cleveland poetry hour at Border's Books and Music, 17200 Royalton Rd. in Strongsville (on hiatus).
  • 2nd Saturday, 3 pm: poetry at the Brandt Gallery, 1028 Kenilworth Ave. in Tremont.
  • 3rd Wednesday, 7 pm: Lix&Kix Poetry Extravaganza, at Bela Dubby Art Gallery and Beer Cafe at 13321 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio. (Used to be Tuesday, note the new day)

And at irregular Saturdays, you also get
  • Saturday Night With The Poet's Haven. This is in varying places: at the Angel Falls Coffee Company in Akron on odd months, various locations in/near Cleveland in even months), hosted by Vertigo X. Xavier.
There are also club events that happen every week, incorporating poetry and spoken-word performance with music, hip-hop, and other performance arts:

  • Every Tuesday, 9 pm - 1 am: Lyrical Rhythm Open Mic Poetry and Soul, hosted by Q-Nice, music by DJ Tom Noy, at the B-Side Liquor Lounge, 2785 Euclid Hts. Blvd, Cleveland Hts. Admission $4.00.
  • Every Wednesday, 8 pm - 1 am: NEO Soul, 2573 Noble Road, Cleveland Heights, $5 cover. "The latest in NEO soul and oldschool hip hop spun by DK A and DJ Goldie, with open mic hosted by Athena starting at 9pm".
  • (no longer ongoing) 8 pm - midnight: Mahogany Red, The Red Hot Experience, in The Living Room Coffee Lounge. "The night is open to all artists from poets to musicians to singers to dancers to emcees, with concierges G Styl and F.R.E.E. along with Audio Engineer Q-Nice." Admission $5:00.

So, that's what's happening around town. They're all different, so if you're a regular at one of these events, drop a note here and tell us what it's like!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Save Ohio's libraries!

I hope that many of you have already heard about this, but if not, I need to let you know:

Governor Strickland has proposed cutting Ohio's library funding by 50%.

Fifty percent!?


That can't happen. Especially when we're talking about Ohio's library system.

Yes, most of us have this tendency to be down on Ohio. We rank #1 in poverty. The schools are failing. Our industry is dying. We all know the rap sheet of our home state by now.

But Ohio has the best libraries in the nation.

Let me repeat that for you.

Ohio has the BEST libraries in the entire United States of America.

The Columbus and Cuyahoga County systems consistently rank at #1 and #2 in the nation. And Ohio library systems land somewhere in the top 10 in every population category, according to the Hennen's American Public Library Ratings.

Ohio actually has something to point to, be proud of, and shout, "We're #1!"

And now they're talking about demolishing it.

We've grown accustomed to the high quality of selection and service we receive at our libraries here in Ohio, and as such, I think many of us tend to take it for granted. But I've heard from friends who moved to places like Nashville, Washington DC, California, and New York, and they've all told me how much they miss the Ohio libraries. They've had to resort to used bookstores and subscriptions to movie services because the selection just isn't there. It's cliche, but true: You don't know what you've got until it's gone.

Let's not take that chance to find out.

So please, take a few minutes, and write to your Ohio Senators and Representatives. This is a drastic reduction in funding that will obliterate programs that people rely on most during these "tough economic times"--services like career counseling, financial planning classes, computer training courses, free internet access. Not to mention free access to books, periodicals, films, and music.

To culturally starve our population by cutting library funding is not the way that we're going to recover from anything.

To find your Ohio Senator:

To find your Ohio Representative:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Policeman's Beard (Auto poetry, part 2)

After writing about auto generators of poetry last week, my thinking drifted over to the book The Policeman's Beard is Half Constructed, first published a quarter of a century ago, back in that ancient era of 1984 (in computer terms, that is like the bronze age). This is a book, half text and half poetry, the first book to be "written" by a computer program, "Racter". It doesn't actually make sense-- of course, half of the fun is the fact that it doesn't really make sense-- but Racter sometimes comes up with text of strange, sometimes hallucinogenic intensity:

Racter writes:
A hot and torrid bloom which fans wise flames and begs to be redeemed by forces black and strong will now oppose my naked will and force me into regions of despair.

Often Racter writes with the simple diction of a Dick and Jane primer:
Bill sings to Sarah. Sarah sings to Bill. Perhaps they will do other dangerous things together. They may eat lamb or stroke each other. They may chant of their difficulties and their happiness. They have love but they also have typewriters. This is interesting.

I like that. "They have love but they also have typewriters." He should have stopped right there.

("He"? Why am I calling a computer program "he"???)

Various people discuss Racter's text. Tiff comments that it's questionable as to what extent Racter "wrote the entire book itself without the influence of a human helper, which is of course a good point-- if nothing else, the task of chosing what to put in the book makes a big difference. Lance Barton reminisces about it as a "a bizarre novelty". Which, of course, is what it is.

More amusingly, in Atari archives, Bill Chamberlain (who co-wrote the program) gets Racter to write about itself. Racter shows strange insight:
"...My own dreaming is daintily incited by the delight of these conflicts. A monograph or periodical on my fantasizing is understood by a physicist. A cosmologist can sing a conversation with a computing-device; I understand that. But a doctor or obstetrician? No! So I cleverly will cry to myself. Craftily, inevitably I am pondering about me. There are neutrons and quarks and protons in me. They assist me in fantasizing and dreaming."

I can say no more about myself-- there are quarks and neutrons and protons in me.

The book itself is available as a pdf.

Congrats to Nina!

Congratulations to Nina Freedlander-Gibans on being named a winner of the Cleveland Arts Prize. Here is the beginning of the article . . .

"History," says Nina Freedlander Gibans, "is disappearing every day."

It has always been part of Gibans' life goal to save, preserve and educate the people of this community about the art of Northeast Ohio and the world. For these efforts, she will receive the Martha Joseph Prize, a Cleveland Arts Prize special citation for distinguished service.

Read the rest of the story here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Blind Review Friday

The author is not actually very anonymous to people who read this blog! But the magic words ("workshop the hell out of this poem") were spoken, and, lo!

Those commenting are welcome to remain anonymous if they wish.

Incendiary comments will be removed.

If you would like your piece thrown to the wolves send it to http://www.blogger.com/salinger@ameritech.net with "Workshop the hell out of this poem" as the subject line.
This week's offering (a day late - sorry) is from a Cleveland poetics blog regular.

Gonzo Canon

He came on a fury of grin vapors
when time was wine, space cream,
and he chose shelter in an ancient
diction. I can be the god
you never knew, the how and why
in your darkness
. Elephant fiction

written in acid dreams at knife-point –
proper names changed in odd ways
to protect the sick and feeble. Eternal
listeners, I will make you ears
. Big plans,
little starts and halts. Bits of lobe itched
our head holes until The Thirteen Fears

erupted. I bleed at every pore. Stunned,
we shot him high into the blue river.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Auto poetry

Writing poetry is hard!
[1] Fortunately, in this ever-changing world in which we live in [2], computers can do it for you!

If you want to kickstart a poem and don't know what you want to write about, check out "the original poets online random line generator". Or try this line generator.

Prefer your poetry rhymed? Once you have that first line, Pangloss will write a quatrain for you with his Rhyme generator. Check out this baby-- I just wrote it:

testing the rhyme generator
the blue babboon eats lemons on a daily basis
Gleam the wisdom of our ancestors...
Reality is a staircase leading nowhere.

Well, maybe that one isn't quite ready to send to Poetry-- needs a bit of polish, but there's something there I can work with.

If rhyme doesn't do it for you, and you'd like something a little more freeform, Pangloss's site will put together a beatnik ramble for you. Or if you want a bit more edge, let it write based on Howl.

If that rambles too much, why not borrow some lines from earlier (public domain) poems? Angie McKlaig's poem generator will help you do that. Or poem of quotes

Of course, I'm not really suggesting that you start using the computer-soup as a method of writing serious poetry. While you sometimes do get something amusing, at best it's more in the line of poetry so bad it's good, not anything that comes within a country mile of what you'd think about calling good. It's more like Vogon poetry [3], really. But how about as a source of inspiration?

"Language-is-a-virus's" [4] site will generate a poem for you, too. And if you want to see the nuts and bolts of poem generation ("interjection, abstract noun!/ the concrete noun transitive verbs like an adjective concrete noun."), Thinkzone's poem generator shows you that it's little more than Mad-libs (You can even, if you like, change the pattern, and add or subtract from the list of words.)

Try it out-- let me know what you find!

And if you get something good, post it here.

I can only end by telling you "Beneath the surface of discord the poets speak."
Whatever that means.

[1] cf. Teen-talk Barbie, 1994
[2] Paul McCartney has claimed that the line he wrote was "in this ever-changing world in which we're living"... but it doesn't sound like it to me. He should learn to enunciate!
[3] "Vogon poetry is widely accepted as the third-worst poetry in the universe." -- Douglas Adams
[4] "Language is a virus from outer space." --William S. Burroughs

RED: Recurring Ekphrastic Discourse

ekphrasis: a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

The subject of ekphrastic poetry came up several times at the last Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour. Featured readers Mark Hersman and Bennett Rader both read ekphrastic pieces and Nancy Nixon talked about her ekphrastic chain letter project. While I’ve written several over the past few years, I’ve never researched ekphrastic poems. And, I’ve never really sought out works of art to write about. I’ll just occasionally see something that “demands” a poem. Ideally, I would think the poem should be something more, or other than, a literal description of the work of art. I think one should attempt to search through the layers of depth in the piece, extend the piece beyond its borders, move it forward or backward in time or view its scene from a different perspective.

I don’t think of ekphrastic poetry as a writing exercise but, rather, as something that can take your poetry someplace new and show you something you would not otherwise have seen.

I’d be interested in your thoughts on ekphrastic poetry.

Plus, here are links to a few works that demand poems. Although I’ve written poems inspired by other works of all of these artists, I haven’t written about these specific works (maybe out of laziness, maybe because I can’t do them justice, maybe because the work of art itself says all that needs to be said). Anyway, maybe one of these works will speak to one of you and you will do my work for me.

William Claxton, “Helima and Chet Baker”

Jacek Yerka, “Theory of the Strings”

Jackson Pollock, “Full Fathom Five”

Ansel Adams, “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico”

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blind Review Friday

Blind Review Friday.

The author shall remain anonymous (unless they chose to divulge themselves in the comments.)

Those commenting are also welcome to remain anonymous if they wish.

Incendiary comments will be removed.

If you would like your piece thrown to the wolves send it to salinger@ameritech.net with "Workshop the hell out of this poem" as the subject line.

This week's offering (a day late - sorry) is from an established poet and in honor of the dads out there.


The boys who fled my father's house in fear
Of what his wrath would cost them if he found
Them nibbling slowly at his daughter's ear,
Would vanish out the back without a sound,
And glide just like the shadow of a crow,
To wait beside the elm tree in the snow.
Something quite deadly rumbled in his voice.
He sniffed the air as if he knew the scent
Of teenage boys, and asked, "What was that noise?"
Then I'd pretend to not know what he meant,
Stand mutely by, my heart immense with dread,
As Father set the traps and went to bed.

Book Review: "Separate Destinations" by Kendall Evans and David C. Kopaska-Merkel

More than 250 poems
by Kendall Evans have appeared in numerous sf, fantasy and horror publications. He is the author of two chapbook-length poems, "In Deepspace Shadows" and "I Feel So Schizophrenic, The Starship's Aft-Brain Said." He is now at work on his own ring cycle of 4 connected chapbooks. In 2006 he and David C. Kopaska-Merkel shared a Rhysling Award for the best sf poem of the year (long poem category) for their collaborative poem, "The Tin Men".

David C. Kopaska-Merkel is the editor and publisher of Dreams and Nightmares magazine, and was for six years the editor of Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Fourteen previous chapbooks and hundreds of poems and short stories have been published in dozens of venues since the early 1980s. David lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with 2 artists, 3 cats, 1 dog, 2 bunnies, and thousands of books.

The two poets recently published a collaborative chapbook titled "Separate Destinations" on D+66 Books. It is a collection of surreal science fiction poems, most of which carry a dark undertone, if not clear horrific intentions.

What most readers look for in a collaborative book is one of two things. Either the poets enter into a back and forth conversation, where each voice is firmly establish as separate from the other, or that the two voices are inseparable, and the work stands as a complete whole. This later style is what Kopaska-Merkl and Evans aim for, and acheive. This sort of intense collaboration can produce a unique voice, distinct from the voice of either individual poet, and as no one voice stands out as stronger than the other in these poems, and this book could easily be read as the work of one poet instead of two, the collaboration is complete and successful.

The poems themselves vary in success. Where the images and lines are strong, they clearly work, despite the surreal combination of images piled against each other, such as:

"Mice jump,
and maybe they’ve jumped all the way
out of this moment, this picture,
into the gullets of feral cats,
into the pages of photocopied pamphlets,
into the all-devouring storm of yesterday"

from the poem "VARIATIONS ON THE SONGS OF SERAPHIM DOWNLOADED TO A HYBRID MEDIUM," or the more straight forward

"She rolls over and her lips find mine,
her arms my neck, just as if she were
someone real like myself,
but I could trace her name on an eroded tombstone
adrift in autumn leaves that don’t recall her name.
So little of her world remains in our time."


However, many of the poems and lines in the book slipped from these strong images, giving readers the abstract

"My heart asks when I can return to you,
but, alas, my head has no answer:
I am no closer to finding what I came here to
recover, and already
I think in this archaic tongue
(which lacks words for the proper thoughts)
more readily than our own."

also from "PARCHMENT FOUND IN AN ANTIQUE BOOK," or the heavily scientific

"There’s a constellation of computer chips
Surgically implanted at the base of the skull,
Augmenting intelligence and speed."

from the poem "WALKING THE DOG," which ends with the silliness of

"Bathed in the catalytic rays of the Dog Star –
This is one Sirius canine."

When these poems work, they work well, and the voices and narratives are intriguing, from "OF TIME AND THE TEETH OF THE BLACK DOG" in which the narrator assembles the bones of his sister into a door into the realm of "the Black Dog," a bell jar which stands as a metaphor for the readers sense of self-confinement, alienation, even antagonistic madness, to "REEFS," which explores the dreams of voyagers beneath alien stars, in which the sources of evolution is questioned and reexamined, to the title poem, "SEPARATE DESTINATIONS," which explores the lives of two clones, one lamenting and question the death of the other after they both have been exposed to the magnificent beauty and horror of the universe. However, many of the poems are a bit rough around the edges, with shaky lines, abstract or cliche images, and even some iffy line breaks, marking this as an interesting, but uneven, read.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Anyone Wanna Play?

This is a test.
This is only a test..............Unless you guys come through with a great poem, in which case I will take full credit for knowing that this would work.

So here’s the deal. We’re going to see if there are enough of us here to write a collaborative sestina. For those who don’t know sestinas, they consist of 6 6-line stanzas, plus a final 3-line stanza. The last words of the first 6 lines are repeated in a particular pattern in the following stanzas. This is the pattern of last words (with each number representing a word):

Stanza 1: 123456
Stanza 2: 615243
Stanza 3: 364125
Stanza 4: 532614
Stanza 5: 451362
Stanza 6: 246531

Final stanza: first line contains 1 and 2, second line contains 3 and 4, third line contains 5 and 6

Yes, there are variations, but let’s try this one. No worries about line length or meter.

Please contribute only one line per stanza. If there aren’t enough of us to finish the poem, then I guess the world will end.

If you add a line in the first stanza, please remember that the last word must be repeated in each of the following stanzas. Yes, I know you’ll be tempted to end a line with the word "sclerotomy," but don’t.

That said, it’s just fine to play with forms of words, homophones, hyphenated words, etc. at the ends of lines.

Please cut and paste the previous lines into the comment when you add a new line. That way, we can easily read the entire poem as it comes together.

I’ll get the sestina started with a first line:

They met at the Bamboo Room

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hello - Is there anybody in there?

Once again -

Billy Collins is peering inside the giant catfish searching, searching, and searching for a poem to fill this week's Blind Review Friday slot.

We're hoping for some new voices, and submissions from folks who have not submitted before will go to the front of the line.

Help the guy out – send your piece to


with the subject line workshop the hell out of this poem just like it says over there in the left sidebar.

All poems received will be put into the cue.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Good Poetry

Well, after two weeks of thinking about bad poetry, how about good poetry?

What is good poetry? -- or is there nothing more to it than just, good poetry is poetry that isn't bad poetry?

One can just go with Archibald MacLeish, I suppose, who told us that "a poem should not mean, but be."

But I find this rather useless advice: any bit of tripe can be said to "be" (whatever other lack of virtues a poem may have, "failure to be" is not often enough one of them). That worn-out excuse "it doesn't have to mean!" is justification for far too much bad writing. --although I gotta admit that the poem in which he said it is actually pretty good. (Archie, I disagree with what you say... but I love the way you said it.) Sometimes an empty doorway and a maple leaf is just an empty doorway and a maple leaf-- if you want me to feel grief here, you'd better do a little more than that.

Kim Addonizio's list of what makes good poetry (from Ordinary Genius) is:

  • Surprise
  • Music
  • Sufficient thought
  • Syntax
  • The parts contribute to the whole
  • Mystery

Is that is? Is she missing anything?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

ACE Poetry Workshop

I am a member of the ACE Poetry Workshop. This workshop is open to anyone. In the spirit of bringing together elements of the Cleveland poetry community, I would like to tell you all about this workshop. I look forward to learning from all of you about other poetry workshops and groups in the area.

The Association for Continuing Education (ACE) is a volunteer organization that provides continuing education programs in cooperation with Case Western Reserve University. Perhaps best known for its annual book sale in the Adelbert Gym (Lucky me, I found 2 Richard Brautigan books for $1 each at the sale last weekend!), ACE offers non-credit off-campus studies and senior scholar classes, as well as a creative writing program.

The ACE Poetry Workshop was started by Al Cahen in 1989. The first class had 4 people in it, including Al, who continues as a member of the group today, as does another of the original 4, Jean Crea Gordon. Al led the workshop until 1994, when Jenny Clark took over leadership of the group for a short time. Jenny also continues as a member. The group has been led for many years by Linda Tuthill.

The poetry workshop meets on Thursday afternoons for 2 hours. There are three 7-week sessions a year – fall and winter classes at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights and a spring/summer session at beautiful Squire Valleevue Farm in Hunting Valley. ACE charges a small fee for the workshop. Most sessions, there are 15-20 members. The numbers fluctuate some as people come and go from the group, which welcomes new members, including those who have never written before.

Depending upon the size of the group at any given session, we usually start with a writing exercise or a discussion of some aspect of poetry. Linda has been very creative with exercises, which have included writing about an object that she brings to class, picking words from a box and using them in a poem, and continuing a poem from a given first line. After the exercise, we share and discuss the poems that we each have brought to class, with enough copies for everyone.

I joined the ACE poetry group about 10 years ago. I hadn’t written much poetry since I was in school 20 years earlier, and I was looking for a supportive environment in which I could test my wings. I sure found it! I believe I’ve grown as a poet during my time in the group, which has nurtured me, sometimes pushed me, and often inspired me. As an added bonus, we have fun. We laugh a lot, sing on occasion, cry now and then, and share lives along with poems.

NEO Poet Field Guide

Full name: John Brian Burroughs, a.k.a. Jesus Crisis

Age: 42

Habitat: Born in Richwood, West Virginia, but migrated north before he was old enough to chirp and has nested most of his life in Elyria, Ohio.

Range: from Lix and Kix (currently at Visible Voice Books in Tremont every 3rd Tuesday) to Mac’s Backs, Bela Dubby, the Poet’s Haven, the Literary Café, the Crisis Chronicles Online Library, and anywhere good poetry can be found across northern Ohio.

Diet: Includes (but is by no means limited to) Dostoevsky, d.a. levy, Miles Davis, ArtCrimes, most Classics and Clevelanders, Beats, Romantics, poètes maudits, and all modern adepts at verbal masturbation, creative collaboration, and half-crazed literary craft.

Distinguishing Markings: Bloggerel (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2008), Identity Crises (Green Panda Press, 2009), and assorted speckles (and/or droppings) in Kaleidoscope, Images, The City Poetry, The Cartier Street Review, a handful of stones, Admit2, The November 3rd Club, The Hessler Street Fair Anthology, Cleveland Scene, Le Pink-Elephant Press’ bookmark series, Poet’s Haven podcasts, the Writer’s Digest Red Heart: Black Heart collection, and (coming soon) Polarity, A Generation Defining Itself: In Our Own Words Volume 8, the Angels with Broken Wings anthology, and a new Crisis Chronicles Press periodical called Fuck Poetry.

Predators: Citibank and the U.S. Department of Education, for starters. Can a brother get a bailout?

Prey: without ceasing.


Karma Souptra

Tin can karma
In a cemetery green sedan
Drives into the past
Through the future
Running round and round
And over and over
The illusory track of time

Like a bomb
That never goes off
Like a song that rings
In Campbell's soup cans
Round and round the rims
Not going out or in
Just sticking to the circuit
Like a one ring soup can
Gerbil wheel circus

Till the tin finally erodes
The illusion of time caves in
And full circle cemetery green
Karma darts to the next can
In the aisle of now.

Contact info: jc@crisischronicles.com

Friday, June 5, 2009

Blind Review Friday

Blind Review Friday.

The author shall remain anonymous (unless they chose to divulge themselves in the comments.)

Those commenting are also welcome to remain anonymous if they wish.

Incendiary comments will be removed.

If you would like your piece thrown to the wolves send it to salinger@ameritech.net with "Workshop the hell out of this poem" as the subject line.

Last week's piece, Herb Garden is by Timothy Steele.

This week's offering is from a Clevelandpoetics - the Blog reader:


We are strongest where broken then mended
a weld will resist tearing surviving even the metal
that has been repaired
a stitched sail
the patch of bicycle tire tube
new soles on favorite shoes
a fractured bone
once set will knit
more resilient than before the injury

Of course
some sort of scar
a cicatrix of new connecting tissue
a slight misalignment
a stitch or a gouge
will document the lesson

The remnants of an arrowhead
in the shoulder blade
of a 5,300 year old body
of a shepherd found frozen
in the Italian Alps
the tiny white cuticle half moon divot
beneath the right eye
of the woman with whom you are having lunch
The sealed exit of your grandfather’s appendix
a mother’s broken heart

All recounting the story
of pain outlasted.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fifth Annual Daniel Thompsonathon

What: Fifth Annual Daniel Thompsonathon

When: Tuesday, June 16th
Potluck at 5:30 p.m Poetry at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Horseshoe Lake Park Pavilion in Shaker Heights, on Park Drive
east of Lee Rd. between South Park and North Park Blvds.

Why: To celebrate the work of the late, great Cuyahoga County poet laureate Daniel Thompson

Featured poets:

Katie Daley, Chris Franke, Jim Lang, Peter Leon, Ray McNiece, Maj
Ragain, Brian Taylor, Barry Zucker, Kathy Ireland Smith, Steven B. Smith

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Is Slam Going Soft?

Slam poetry
was invited into the White House, and is the focus of the recent HBO documentary series “Brave New Voices.” But slam poetry-- at least acording to slam founder Marc Kelly Smith-- is supposed to be "a subversive, thumb-your-nose-at-authority movement."

The New York Times asks, Is Slam in Danger of Going Soft?


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