Saturday, April 30, 2011

52 Cleveland Haiku (15)

Playful spring wind
dressed up in leaves and rubbish
tries to wear my hat

--Geoffrey A. Landis

Friday, April 29, 2011

Zadie Smith's Rules for Writing

The Guardian has been running a series where various writers tell their rules for writing. Zadie Smith has some wise words, starting with
"1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else."
...OK, maybe it's a little late to start on that one. But, then there is rule 7:
"7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet."
Yep, got that one right!

Margaret Atwood's has some good advice, too:
"You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality."


Thursday, April 28, 2011

National Poetry Month

So, what are you doing to celebrate National Poetry Month??
  • National poetry month FAQ!
  • Scholastic brings in Karla Kuskin, Maya Angelou, J. Patrick Lewis
  • The Smithsonian gives us an "A" list of nine--ok, 10-- poets. (What? Ralph rated above Edgar? Above Walt????? No way.)
  • Connie Schultz weighs in at
What's your story?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

HUGO Nominee Geoffrey A. Landis

Cleveland Poetics' own Geoffrey Landis is a
2011 Hugo Award Nominee in the Novella category.

All nominations are here:

“The Sultan of the Clouds” by Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s, September 2010) - Read Online (PDF)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Deep Cleveland Poem o' the Week

I'd been wondering what ever happened to the Deep Cleveland "Poem o' the Week," since the PoTW archives over on the Deep Cleveland site hasn't had anything new for a while. (Nor the older archives, either.)

Well, I'm not wondering any more-- turns out the poems are still coming, but Deep Cleveland guru MarkK had simply moved the PoTW over to Facebook.

Mystery solved! So, if you want your Deep Cleveland fix, head on over to the Facebook for the "Poem o the Week" page.

--by the way, while you're over at Facebook, you want to hit the Kattywompus Press page for some poetry as well.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Island Writers Retreat in September. Plan for it Now.

Elise Bonza Geither, Lou Suarez, Larry Smith presenting writing workshops in theater, poetry, and fiction...September The Pines Retreat Center in Fremont, Ohio. Join us for good company, fun, and sharing. The Firelands Writing Center
Contact Larry Smith,director at

Saturday, April 23, 2011

52 Cleveland Haiku (14)

Cleveland in the haze:
sunset on the bridge of Hope,
concrete gods look down

--Geoffrey A. Landis

Night Town Gathering for Daniel Thompson

For those who missed the Night Town tribute to Daniel Thompson and his BIG BOOK OF DANIEL from Bottom Dog Press, here is a clip of Ray McNiece really cooking with Drumplay and Tongue-in-Groove on Daniel's "Train" poem.
Next big gig is April 30th at Lakewood Public Library...7 pm. Come and share your poem on Daniel or read one of his for the new book. Best, Larry Smith
Bottom Dog Press

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our Lady of I Can Do This Daily Poem Thang

Martha Silano gives her suggestions "for getting the daily poem knocked out." (And she also swings on the monkey bars, so watch out!)

And she asks, "if you have a secret for getting yourself writing each (or nearly each day), share it."

Any good ideas? I'll agree with her: we could all use a bit of advice and inspiration.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Lure of Painted Poetry

One of Eight Views of Xiao and Xiang Rivers (detail), 1788. Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1980.188.1

From now until August 28, the Cleveland Museum of Art is presenting a show "The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art". They say:
"This exhibition, the first in-depth comparison of the achievements of Korea and Japan from the late 14th century, consists of some 100 examples from the CMA’s permanent collection—many that have never been shown since the 1990s. The show features every art form, including painting, calligraphy, and craft, that transformed Chinese lyrical aesthetics in the Korean Joseon period and in the Japanese Muromachi, Momoyama, and Edo periods."

...but if that's not enough for you, how about a little sake, too? Friday from 5-8:30 is "Nihonshu Night: An Evening of Sake, Fusion Food & Art":
"The evening features a sake tasting with three different sakes selected by the experts at The Marchetti Company and a fusion food tasting of Japanese/Korean food samples created exclusively for the event by SasaMatsu restaurant in Shaker Square. The evening will also include music from Beat Matrix’s Darrell Stout. Not only does this evening offer an engaging, intimate look at this beautiful art, it is a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the sights, smells and tastes of a culture. And, tickets for the evening are only $18."

Sake, poetry, and paintings--

For those with a bit more of a taste for the academic, on Sunday, May 15 at 2:00 p.m., Ann Sherif of Oberlin College will present "Linking Poems and Images: Basho and Communal Arts in East Asia."

Takaki Seikaku (Japanese, b. 1923). A Poem of Spring from Manyoshu, late 1900s. Ink on decorative paper. The Cleveland Museum of Art. Gift of the Artist 2011.21]

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Everett, Nichols, Roberts, Suarez & Grimm: 4/20&21/2011

Fore more information on 4/20's Lix & Kix event, click here.

For more information on 4/21's Avon Lake reading, click here.

Hessler Street Fair Deadline approaches! Submit poems!

The deadline for the Hessler Street Fair poetry contest is coming up on this Saturday! don't forget to get your poems in! Submit up to five poems. No entry fee.

Entry must be delivered via U. S. mail and postmarked Saturday April 23, 2011. Poets whose work has been accepted for publication will be notified via e-mail by April 30. Book will be released in early May.
A qualifying round of readings will be held on the evening of Wednesday, May 11 starting at 7pm at
Mac's Backs on Coventry. About 20 minutes after all poets have read, the winners will be announced and prizes will be handed out. If you have won in the last three years you can submit to the book but will not be eligible to win a prize. To receive a prize you must read on May 22 at the Hessler Street Fair.
The Top Three Winners will be given the opportunity to read from the stage at the Hessler Street Fair, simulcast on WRUW 91.1 FM during the Fair. Poetry read on air must not include any words designated to be obscene language as stated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

U.S. Mail:
Poetry Contest
2011 Hessler Street Fair Committee
11326 Hessler Road, Cleveland OH 44106

Check the website for more details, or the event page on Facebook.

And don't forget to mark May 11 on your calendar, for the reading at Mac's-- it will be the poetry event of the season!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bernstein and Andrews

      Nope - Bernstein and Andrews is not some personal injury law firm. They were the features at  a reading I attended at Visible Voice books in Tremont.

Michael Bernstein growls through his set.
    Michael Berstein and Nin Andrews held court in the cozy upstairs reading room for ten or so listeners on a rainy Saturday night. Berstein took the "stage" first dragging a chair up, sitting down, then launching sans prelude into scores of short poems. He flipped through pages stapled in the corner as if he were counting money from a bank heist in some backroom rarely looking up from his page punctuating every word with the same strained intensity. When he did look up he didn't raise his head giving the impression of a center eyeing a nosegaurd right before the snap of the ball.

     Then as abruptly as he started, Bernstein flashed a peace sign growled over and out and he was done. I felt like he was enduring his set as much as delivering a reading. In my opinion Bernstein seemed much more comfortable introducing his fellow feature Nin Andrews than he did presenting his own work.

Nin Andrews at Visible Voice Books
In stark contrast to our first reader Nin began her set  conversationally giving a bit of background info on the subject matter of her first couple pieces. Folksy narratives about  superstition, her father and aunt followed, poignant and humorous read with a smidgen of Southern charm.  She wasn't quite as comfortable when she switched to pieces from a new collection she is working on centered around a fictional island state where the ultimate authority and political power rests in woman's hands.

To paraphrase Nin's introduction - there was certainly worse things one could be doing with their time on a rainy Saturday night and I did not regret my trek.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

52 Cleveland Haiku (13)

Stupid thoughtless sun

Why shine so brightly today

When taxes are due?

--Geoffrey A. Landis

Friday, April 15, 2011

Remembering Daniel

This NightTown on Cedar Road...2 pm...A musical tribute to Cuyahoga County Poet Daniel Thompson... Ray McNiece and Tongue-in-Groove, Joe Hunter, James Onysko of Drumplay, and others...Celebrate The Big Book of Daniel, now out from Bottom Dog Press. Join us.

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 with "Workshop the hell out of this poem" as the subject line.

This week's offering is from a Clevelandpoetics the Blog contributor.

Do you remember the angry poets
and how they rose to speak until
nothing could silence them
in the quest for justice
even for the homeless and vagrants
living under bridges
heat from driftwood
on fires burning in old rusting steel drums?
most gone now, as
power drained from their flesh.
still, some take the old words
over as if they had first voiced them,
now, just picking at the bones.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Metaphors of the Everyday

David Brooks, in the New York Times, points out that metaphors are not merely a device for poetry, but a part of our everyday speech. And hence, our metaphors shape the very way we view the world. He points out, for example, that
"When talking about argument, we use war metaphors. When talking about time, we often use money metaphors. But when talking about money, we rely on liquid metaphors. We dip into savings, sponge off friends or skim funds off the top."

A metaphor is like a pot; the metaphor gives shape to the concepts it encloses, the way a pot gives shape to water. A metaphor is like a tool; it can be used wisely or foolishly. A metaphor is like a brick; it lasts long after the wall it had been a part of has been torn down.

A metaphor is like a...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

52 Cleveland Haiku (12)

even his eyeballs armored.
Now, part of the shale.

--Geoffrey A. Landis

Catch Daniel's Train!

Here's a new youtube featuring Daniel Thompson's reading of his "Train!" poem with Ernie Krivda on sax...see his he book The Big Book of Daniel: Collected Poems, edited by Maj Ragain...Bottom Dog Press

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Role of Poet Laureates

Julia Baird opens up the role and responsibilities of Poet Laureates in this article from

She writes, "Surely poet laureates should be seen as public poets, should be paid more, should live in Washington, and be asked to write poems about our world, now. It might seem whimsical to suggest that poems matter when walls of water drown cities, when gut-wrenching tumult afflicts the Middle East, and when one in four American children depends on food stamps - but isn't the point of poetry to help us make sense of all this upheaval? To take emotions we fumble to describe, and bake them as cakes? To say what we can't or won't, and to force us to remember what matters?"

I'm wondering if this applies to local laureates, too, be they official (Cleveland Heights, Lakewood, etc.) or unofficial. What roles do we, as poets, play in this century? How can we say what others can't or won't that means something to Cleveland, and how can we force the city to remember what matters?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Taxonomy and Grace

Joseph P. Wood writes a long meditation about theory and categorizing of poetry, and about WS Merwin, and MFAs, and academia (and even Oprah).
"While creative writing in American literature has always had camps, movements (and the prerequisite back-biting and bickering), I believe our current poetic climate is so conflicted and contentious that we have done away with talking about poems on their own organic terms."
He talks about categorizing poetry, and the creeping disease of academia.
Yet, despite it all, he concludes:
"I still believe — however naively — that poems can speak to other human beings and can make collective society consider our own convictions, experiences, and beliefs."

Celebrate The Big Book of Daniel!

From Bottom Dog Press:

A series of readings for the book by Thompson’s friends and fellow poets is planned during April, National Poetry Month. 

They include:
April 5 at 7:30 pm, Room 214, Oscar Ritchie Hall, 225 Terrace Drive, Kent State University, sponsored by the Wick Poetry Center ; 
April 13 at 7 pm at Mac’s Backs, 1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights; 
Sunday April 17, 2-5 pm at Nighttown jazz club on Cedar Road, Cleveland with Ray McNiece and Tongue-n-Groove, and musicians Joe Hunter, James Onysko of Drumplay and others; 
April 21, 7 pm at The Algebra Tea House in Little Italy; 
April 30, 7:00 pm at Lakewood Public Library auditorium; 
May 17 Shaker Heights Library, Bertram Woods, 7:00 pm, 

Friends and fellow poets are invited to come share one or two poems from the book, as well as any poems written for Daniel. 

Publisher and fellow poet, Larry Smith, states, “We invite others to join us in celebrating Daniel Thompson’s life and the release of The Big Book of Daniel.”

See more at

Saturday, April 2, 2011

52 Cleveland Haiku (11)

The first sign of spring,
bright color against the snow:
orange barrels blossom.

--Geoffrey A. Landis


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