Friday, December 27, 2013

Poetry of Ohio brings more poets to Ohio

The Poetry of Ohio series continues:

from Joshua Ware...
After a successful inaugural year for the Poets of Ohio course and reading series--which brought Mary Biddinger, Frank Giampietro, Sarah Gridley, Cathy Wagner, and Dana Ward to CWRU's campus--we have another wonderful line-up scheduled for the upcoming semester. I would encourage you to attend as many events as possible and spread the word to anyone in the northeast Ohio area that might have an interest in poetry, literature, or cultural events.
All readings--which are followed by lively Q-an-A sessions--will run from 6:00pm to 7:15pm on Thursday evenings (with the exception of the Lucas reading).
Please note that events will take place in one of two different locations this year: the readings on 06 Feb, 18 Mar, and 27 Mar will take place in the Guilford Hall Parlor; while the readings on 30 Jan, 13 Feb, and 10 Apr will be held in Room 206 of Clarke Hall:
  • Thursday, January 30: Catherine Wing 
  • Thursday, February 06: Matt Hart 
  • Thursday, February 13: Heather Christle
  • Tuesday, March 18: Dave Lucas 
  • Thursday, March 27: Tyrone Williams 
  • Thursday April 10: Larissa Szporluk 
A dedicated link to the reading schedule and poet bios can be found at the reading series/course website:

Poet Catherine Wing was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and attended Brown University before earning her MFA from the University of Washington. Her collections of poetry include Enter Invisible (2005), nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Gin & Bleach (2012). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Poetry, the Nation, and the Chicago Review and has been featured in a number of anthologies, including Best American Poetry (2010). Wing has received fellowships and residencies from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and teaches poetry at Kent State.
Matt Hart is the author of five books of poems, Who's Who Vivid (Slope Editions, 2006), Wolf Face (H_NGM_N Books, 2010), Light-Headed (BlazeVOX, 2011), Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless (Typecast Publishing, 2012), and Debacle Debacle (H_NGM_N Books, 2013), as well as several chapbooks. Additionally, his poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including Big Bell, Cincinnati Review, Coldfront, Columbia Poetry Review, H_NGM_N, Harvard Review, jubilat, Lungfull!, and Post Road, among others. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, a 2013 individual artist grant from The Shifting Foundation, and fellowships from both the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati where he teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and plays in the band TRAVEL.
Heather Christle is the author of What Is Amazing (Wesleyan University Press, 2012), The Difficult Farm (Octopus Books, 2009), and The Trees The Trees (Octopus Books, 2011), which won the 2012 Believer Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in publications including Boston Review, Gulf Coast, The New Yorker, and The Best American Poetry. She has taught poetry at Antioch College, Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Emory University, where she was the 2009-2011 Poetry Writing Fellow. She is the Web Editor for jubilat and frequently a writer in residence at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute. A native of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, she lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Dave Lucas is the author of Weather (Georgia, 2011), which received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry, and is a co-founder and co-curator of the Brews + Prose literary series at Market Garden Brewery. Recently Rita Dove selected him to be featured on as a “young poet to watch.” A PhD candidate in English at the University of Michigan, he lives in Cleveland, where he was born and raised.
Tyrone Williams teaches literature and theory at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the author of five books of poetry, c.c. (Krupskaya Books, 2002), On Spec (Omnidawn Publishing, 2008), The Hero Project of the Century (The Backwaters Press, 2009), Adventures of Pi (Dos Madres Press, 2011) and Howell (Atelos Books, 2011). He is also the author of several chapbooks, including a prose eulogy, Pink Tie (Hooke Press, 2011). His website is at
Larissa Szporluk was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan and earned degrees at the University of Michigan, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns fellow. Her books of poetry include Dark Sky Question (1998), which won the Barnard Poetry Prize; Isolato (2000), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; The Wind, Master Cherry, the Wind (2003); Embryos and Idiots (2007); and Traffic with Macbeth (2011). She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and currently teaches at Bowling Green State University.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bilgere interviewed

Cleveland Height's George Bilgere is profiled and interviewed in the January Cleveland Magazine

George Bilgere and Garrison Keillor
Issue Date: January 2014 Issue  
Free Verse
Cleveland Heights poet George Bilgere tackles aging and America in his latest collection.
Barry Goodrich 

George Bilgere describes himself as "a middle-aged, middle-class guy living in middle America."

Q. What can be conveyed through poetry that can't be communicated through prose?
A. It's about compression and concision. A 16-line poem can be an entire universe, an entire history. In James Wright's "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio," you can experience an entire town in a few lines. Making a little collection of words as powerful as you can is the magic of poetry.

  • Read the full article here.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A little help...

Hey, folks. Am I the only one who thinks this site could use a massive redesign? I've had a contributor account here for years now and it's come down to only the google calendar being relevant on any given listless night or day.

I'd like to see what other subscribers, contributors and viewers think of this. The blog does little in outreach outside of Cleveland, honestly, and hasn't for a long time.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cinquain: Three things invisible

Check out Postcard Poems and Prose-- a site that matches up poetry with images.  If you've got a color printer, you can send out poetry postcards!

We want you to find prose, poems, and art all in a 4×6 postcard format. We want you to be able to stand and look at that revolving wire rack that’s in every tourist trap on earth. We want you see it from your laptop or handheld device. Just like the postcards of yesteryear, we want you to be able to share that experience with friends. We want it to be quirky and personal. And we want it to be great.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hart Crane and Cleveland

At the poetry foundation blog, Harriett Staff writes:

Cleveland, Ohio, and Hart Crane
by Harriett Staff

Hart Crane, one of America’s most mythologized poets, had a lifelong love/hate relationship with Cleveland, where he was raised. The Los Angeles Review of Books’s Anne Trubek calls him “not a New York poet but a Cleveland poet: a mess of a thing, a striving wreck of promise and all too human failings:”
At seventeen he wanted out of Cleveland, and he left for New York. He would soon return. And he would repeat that pattern for another decade, coming back to Cleveland when he was broke and needed a job, or at the behest of his needy mother, or because he wanted to. He worked at a munitions plant on the waterfront, working seventeen-hour days six days a week tightening bolts. (C.A. always gave him lowly jobs to test his mettle, a test Crane always failed.) That job didn’t last long — nor did his job as a camp counselor, or as a riveter for another war-related plant. The first world war ended right when it looked like he would be drafted. He wrote a poem about the armistice that was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who then hired him as a cub reporter. He lasted seven weeks. He went back to New York, and then came back home again.
…In Cleveland, he supervised bulk storage. He had affairs. He went out on “mad carouses” that began with “pigs’ feet and sauerkraut” and ended in his tower, where he played classical music for his arty friends. At one point someone in town found out about his penchant for sailors and truck drivers. Crane paid $10 week, out of his $25 weekly wage, to buy the man’s silence.
Read more about Crane and his hometown here.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cheap and Easy

Back in the 80s, I remember when 'zines were put out by photocopy; a stack of sheets stapled together, cheap and easy.
Well, John Burroughs' Crisis Chronicles, a poetry press dedicated to knocking you out of your comfortable groove, brings you Cheap and Easy, a 'zine that's, well, cheap and easy, but I will say that the poetry in it is anything but cheap and easy.

--while I'm here, let me also give a shout out to NightBallet's newest, books by Cleveland's dan smith (The Liquid of Her Skin, the Suns of Her Eyes) and by Seattle's James Valvis (What Exactly Is a Valvis?)

Friday, November 22, 2013

David Sedaris' Pleasure in Puzzlement

For David Sedaris fans (and who isn't?), the poetry foundation presents a podcast:
David Sedaris on Poetry: The essayist talks to Susan Wheeler about the poetry: pleasures of puzzlement.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Advice to poetical students...

Over on Facebook, our own Jen Pezzo asked:

Poetry Friends - I've been asked to share some poetry and speak about being a poet to a friend's creative writing class. What would you share with a class full of high school seniors about being poet? 
 An interesting question!  A few of the local poets responded, and quite a conversation ensued (and is continuing):

Shaindel Beers: At that point, they REALLY need to be told to read heavily to understand what contemporary poetry is. Most of them have been reading work that is 100+ years old. Explain the contemporary milieu, show them modern poems, and get them thinking.

Brian Feltner: HS students still have a chance to develop other useful skills with continuing educations. Some of the best work I've come across is a treat for the eyes and ears as much as the mind. I'd encourage them to develop other skills and allow poetry to permeate them, thinking of new ways to recreate the medium as their own. It also doesn't hurt to have a "back up" skill to help pay the bills if its something that interests them.

Kathleen D Gallagher: Perhaps your teacher friend can assign them to bring in their favorite song lyrics. Then she can pass them on to you and you can discuss how words move us by selecting a few that you like and comparing song lyrics to poetry? Or you can have the students write a poem---see Wishes, Lies, and Dreams by Kenneth Koch for some AWESOME ideas that kids love to do---even the non-poets. I have more ideas. I have taught poetry writing to many different school ages.

Kathleen D Gallagher: It is more suited to younger kids, but....some of the exercises can be used with older children. Let them write a poem while you are there. And then you will have won them over.
Wishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry
The classic, inspiring account of a poet's experience teaching school children to write poetry
Poems for Teens- - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More
You write about the life that's vividest. And if that is your own, that is your subject.

Marcus Bales: Don't do it. It's too hard. You're young and beautiful (you're too young to know how beautiful you are) and opportunities to make love and be happy expand in front of you. Writing poems is a difficult, demanding, and unrewarding gig. Everyone you tell you do it, except other poets, will think you're crazy and wasting your time. The poets will think you're crazy and wasting their and their readers' time with your crap. Don't do it. Make love instead.

Redd's Page: Great ideas... Maybe also explaining how being a poet or performing poetry as a hobby can be helpful in life in general as well as career.. For example expanding vocabulary, reading or performing in front of a crowd helping in later years, being able to paint a picture with words and body language etc... I dont think most people understand how your skills as a poet can help you in the "real" world

Kathleen D Gallagher: Group poem activity on the board is fun, too. But might take more time. How old are these students? Seniors versus freshman will require different strategies.

Terry Provost: I'd make the point that poetry is more about breaking rules than obeying them, but they need to know them in order to break them intelligently. And then they need to know a lot about the history of breaking rules in order not to cliche the breaking.
Also, take time to be decent before being too concerned about being great.
Poetry should be fun and alive.
And of course, never listen to advice.

Jen Pezzo:  I remember that age... I don't want to bore them away from poetry. I want to get them excited about it...

Kathleen D Gallagher: Terry has some awesome advice, but if you are only visiting with them for a short time, it's best to know what your goals are---to tell them your story? To read some poems and discuss? To have them write a poem? To analyze a poem? To compare a poem to a song? Trust me on this: There will be very little time for a lecture on the rudiments. ha....ha...

Shelley Chernin:  Your friend is the creative writing teacher? Then I wouldn't attempt to teach or even to advise. Simply talk to them about what you do, what poetry means to you and how you integrate it into your life. You may be the only poet they've ever met.

Rachel Roth:  I think perhaps you could discuss the writing process, maybe sources of inspiration. It would be great to share some of your favorite poets and poems, and ask about theirs. You could also discuss publishing options, self-publishing, promotion, and the local scene. I am so excited for you!! You'll do wonderfully and inspire lots of creative souls!

Kathleen D Gallagher: Good advice, Shelley. See what your friend WANTS you to do. But if you want to excite them about poetry....talking too much about yourself will not do it (as wonderful and talented as you are!). Even if they have never met a poet, they might not care if they ever do---until you show them WHY and HOW poetry can be rewarding. Rachel's ideas are cool too---but if they aren't prepared ahead of time to discuss the poems they like, they will mostly just stare at you. lol.

Kathleen D Gallagher: Do you have any video footage of your work? Incorporate some of your pictures....of you and other poets. Show them the world of poetry. Share a poem. Be you. But trust me on this: IF you have them write something...however brief---you will capture them forever.
A teacher can teach ABOUT writing. A poet can instill the love of it in them. Some do both. Most do not.

Mike Finley:  I don't think of "being a poet" at all. This is about wonderful consciousness, not about a role or a hat you wear. Even if you're good you are only good every now and then. It's a humiliating business unless you shrug and accept the weird gift.

Kathleen D Gallagher: But show them your world, too. Pictures. Video. Sound. Maybe a handout of some cool poems to read. And one of yours in there, too.
The Teenage (R)evolution of Poetry, The Poetic (R)evolution Of Teenagers – James Kass talks about reading, writing, hearing and performing poetry with teenagers in Youth Speaks (the project he founded with the tagline 'the next generation can speak for itself')
 have taught many poetry workshops and classes to teenagers and even elementary students AND poetry writing at the college level. is the most important thing: BE PREPARED to throw out EVERYTHING you plan into the garbage if a teaching/living moment happens. And you reach them naturally. And the second biggest tip: Go prepared anyhow in case that doesn't happen.
One last thing: You can bring in a series of questions that they might not think to ask and let them pick the questions to ask you (and that way you can prepare yourself ahead of time! ha....ha....).
Poetry is alive and well. Show them what you do. Bring your book and other writer friends' books. Show them pictures. Video. Here is a cool idea: Print up a poem for every student and put them in a hat or box. Let them pull a poem out of the box. That will be THEIR poem that you will give them. It might be amazing how it fits their lives.

Jen Pezzo:  This is all wonderful advice. I'm tagging people in case they would like to chime in. I'd like to print these answers out to leave with the students and Geoffrey would like to include them on the Cleveland Poetics website.

Kathleen D Gallagher: IF you have time, go to the site and find poems suitable to teens. Copy and paste them into a document. Then print them out and make little scrolls to give them---tied with a ribbon. Teens love gifts. ha...ha....

Glenn Rose:  Keats had it right - 'poetry should be kept up'. Continuity of poetry as extension/xploration of linguistic expression. My own instinctive touch-stone preferences [for wot that's worth] still largely 'past' poets - Donne, Hopkins, Eliot, Auden, Ginsberg, Snyder, Patten. That's not xhaustive, xcusive canon. Not sure whethr u talking w voluntary aftr-school or as visitr during school day.
But questions for high school -
- how much poetry have you read/do you know already [and do you LIKE it, or not - and whichevr, WHY (not)]?
- what role do you reckon it plays/will play in yr life?
'Poetry freaks' [and if u lucky, there'll be some] will want/need connexion w a community - and that'll be living poets [preferably local - sounds like a numbr where u r].
Th 'intrested' wld need some connexion made between th Orthodox Canon they've read in class [ah - being English, forgotten eg Whitman, Frost, Pound?] and current.
Th unintrested - well that's problem: depends on proportion yr audience ... but cld look @ eg 'literate' popular music [I thought/think Eminem rathr good - but he's passe now?]
Actually, don't envy you tho' xciting prospect!
[Apologies, far too long- just set me thinking ...]

Kathleen D Gallagher: I would finally say: Over prepare. Then figure it out when you get there. lol.

MIchael Salinger: That the skills learned from reading and writing poetry - precise and concise communication - are transferable to any occupation and all interactions with other humans. The deeper thinking that goes into communicating your ideas as well as listening and reading deeply the words of others is actual exercise for you brain.

Chuck Joy: Try this: poetry is the way to share the creation and appreciation of a beautiful line, line after line . . .

Monday, November 18, 2013

Poetry in the Woods

Tuesday November 19, 2013
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Bertram Woods Branch
20600 Fayette Road | Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122 | 216.991.2421

Kathleen Cerveny, poet and visual artist is the current Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights. Since 1991 Kathleen has been the Director of Arts Initiatives for the Cleveland Foundation, the country’s oldest and first community foundation. She is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art and has exhibited her ceramics locally and nationally. From 1987-90 she was Cleveland Public Radio’s producer and broadcast journalist for the arts, winning more than 15 top awards and producing many features for National Public Radio. Her poems have appeared in the Southern New Hampshire University Journal: Amoskeag, the e-journal: Shaking Like a Mountain, and in journals published by Pudding House Press, among others. She is Cleveland’s former Haiku champion (2009-10) and is in the process of completing her MFA in Poetry from the University of Southern Maine: Stonecoast Creative Writing Program (July 2014). Most recently, a poem of Kathleen’s was selected for inclusion in an anthology published by Future Cycle Press: Poems for Malala Yousafzai.

Catherine Criswell is a poet who resides in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including the Great Lakes Review, Muse Magazine, and the Hessler Street Fair anthologies. She is a member of the Cleveland Puddinghouse Salon, a writer`s workshop group, and two of her poems will appear in its 2013 anthology produced by Kattywompus Press. In 2013, she began hosting the Monday at Mahall`s Poetry & Prose Series at Mahall`s 20 Lanes in Lakewood, Ohio, one Monday per month. She also annually hosts the Cleveland edition of the 100,000 Poets for Change global movement at Visible Voice Books. In addition, she serves as a guest contributor to She also performs her poetry at Mac`s Backs and The Barking Spider. Photo by Michael Spear Photography.

Brad Ricca was born in Cleveland and is a SAGES Fellow at Case Western Reserve University. His first book of poems, American Mastodon (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), won the St. Lawrence Book Award and was featured on A Writer`s Almanac by Garrison Keillor. It was also named a "Best of Cleveland" in 2012. He has also written a book about the creators of Superman titled Super Boys (St. Martin`s Press, 2013).


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