Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Epic of d.a. levy

Vertigo commented, of the "underground" style of poets, that "They are inspired by the beat generation, Ginsberg, etc. Most of these poets here in Cleveland worship at the altar of d.a. levy."

Well, it's true-- despite all the poetry activity in Cleveland, the poet whose name is most closely associated with the city is still d.a. levy.  It's worth reposting a link to Cleveland Magazine's "The Epic of d.a. levy".

Levy: epic rabblerouser, or self-centered jerk?  You decide.

More?  Try:

 & everyone knows
sleeping with the muse
is only for young poets
after you've been kept impotent
by style & form & words like "art"
after being published by the RIGHT publishers
and having all the right answers
after youve earned the right to call yrself
a poet      yr dead
& lying on yr back
drinking ceremonial wine, while
the muse, who is always a young girl
with old eyes into the universe
suddenly remembers necrophilia
is an experience shes had before
& shes not interrested
in straddling corpses anymore

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The hardest working man in poetry?

Vertigo XX
Vertigo XX
photo by GL
I just ran across Carla Thompson's post in vatic muse, saying our friend Vertigo Xi'an Xavier is "the hardest working man in poetry."  Yeah, I can believe that-- the guy started the poet's haven website back when he was in high school (it's now the second-oldest poetry site on the web)-- and only took of from there.  Horray for Vertigo.

"Vertigo Xavier just finished publishing a chapbook, copy editing for a second chapbook, making a promotional poster, organizing a fundraiser, and updating his website. All while you were sleeping last night...."

Friday, May 17, 2013

Some Amazing reviews

cover of InhumanA couple of Cleveland poets who write poetry toward the speculative direction in the geography of poetry have recently gotten reviews from Diane Severson in Amazing Stories.

Cleveland's haiku master Joshua Gage's new chapbook, Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse (OR Inhuman: Zombie Haiku in Four Acts) (just out from The Poet’s Haven, as No. 18 in the Poet’s Haven Author Series) was reviewed in the most recent issue.  Diane writes:
"This is a volume to enjoy as a brief diversion on a stormy night and also to pull out each October in preparation for Hallowe’en."

At six dollars for a copy, it's a bargain for any poetry fans with an interest in haiku, or in horror.  And it's not too early to start thinking of gifts to give your friends and family for World Zombie day!

And Mary Turzillo's book Lovers and Killers (which has been mentioned here before) also rated a good review from Diane in the April Amazing
"I really like Mary Turzillo’s writing style. It’s less formal than many poets in her syntax and word choices, which makes it easy to read.  It’s a book that could be ripped through, it’s so easy to read, but its many-layered nature benefits from a bit more leisure."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Few Dollar Man

and now, here's the winning poem:
Best Cleveland Poem 2013

Dianne Borsenik reads
photo by Tim Misny

Few Dollar Man

my Cleveland, I don’t mind him
being a blue collar, few dollar man
don’t need him all prettified,
gentrified, riverwalked,
starched, pressed and lean
I like his urban sprawl
his sports bars,
sports cars,
Ford trucks,
Great Lakes brew
and bratwurst,
his rib fests and bare chests
he can put on a suit and tie
if the occasion calls for it
he cleans up real nice
he’s no “playhouse square”
he’s a comfortable fit

I like his long hair, level stare,
acting like he doesn’t care,
blue jeans and boots swagger,
his never-say-die attitude,
his rock and roll hammer
I dig the punk, pensive,
ponytailed poet in him

I like it when he shows his
ethnic roots
and I don’t mind his often gruff speech,
his questionable grammar
don’t mind his broken english,
city slang
or down-home twang,
his sometimes breach
of political tact
and cultural fact

we have an understanding

I don’t mind his tough sidewalks,
his callused highways,
the clumsy fumble of his
tumbledown neighborhoods
don’t mind the times his rough
streetlighting catches at my clothes
in the heavy dark
when he’s running his transit
through my hair

at least he’s reaching out for me,
wants to feel me close against him

I don’t mind the stubble
on his troubled street corners,
cold Lake Erie steaming his breath,
his bleary neon eyes,
his wasted wallpaper billboards
too many nights of revel
after long days spent
in steelwork,
car shops,
west side markets
and east side offices,
orange-barreled highway construction,
Clinic halls
and University malls
giving all he’s got,
just making a living

I trust him; I know he has my back,
I know he’s looking out for me

my Cleveland, I don’t mind him
being a blue collar, few dollar man.

Best Cleveland Poem

Ray McNiece opens the show, accompanied by Al Moses on guitar
(photo by Geoffrey A. Landis)
On Sunday night ten poets read at the Willoughby Brewing Company to compete for the Best Cleveland Poem Contest, with an evening of poetry (and a little music) MC'd by Cleveland's indefatigable Irish-Slovenian poet Ray McNiece.
The finalist poems for the Best Cleveland Poem were:
  • "A Clevelander in Paradise" by Katie Daley
  • "Arriving in Cleveland from the East Coast" by Jack McGuane
  • "Dreams and Iron Ore" by Geoffrey Landis
  • "Shimmer" by Mary A. Turzillo
  • "Spring Tease" by Catherine Criswell
  • "Hunger" by Theresa Gottl
  • "Few Dollar Man" by Dianne Borsenik
  • "Cicada Song" by Jeffrey Bowen
  • "Waiting For the Muse in Lakeview Cemetery" by John Donoghue
  • "Cleveland Poem" by Martin Snyder
And super congrats to poet (and publisher) Dianne Borsenik, who knocked the socks off from the celebrity judges and takes the title of "Best Cleveland Poet" reading her poem "Few Dollar Man."
Dianne Borsenik blew away the judges, and the audience
photo by Tim Misny
Runner-up honors went to Katie Daley for "A Clevelander in Paradise," with Martin Snyder right behind her with "Cleveland Poem" and Mary A. Turzillo in fourth place with "Shimmer."  Great job to all!

Ray McNiece writes: 
It was really wonderful evening, thanks to the judges,  Mike Polk, comedian; Mike McIntyre from the Plain Dealer; Elisa Amigo from Fox 8; and Russ Borski from CSU, and to Celina Colombo and Sarah Johnson LaBarbera for helping to organize, and of course to our sponsor Tim "I'll make them rhyme" Misney... special thanks to Al Moses for backing me up on Love Song for Cleveland.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Publisher Seeks Guest Judge Applications For Summer Contest

Burning River Press & Blog is currently seeking applications far and wide for 2 guest judges for it's annual summer open...

More information can be found at their site,

Sunday, May 5, 2013

So, what's poetry and why should readers read it? How to Read Poetry 101

Over at, fantasy poet Amal El-Mohtar gives a reader's guide: How to Read Poetry 101

  1. How to Read Poetry 101: Whys and Wherefores 
 "Over the next four weeks I want to transform you from a sheepish non-reader of poetry into a curious appreciator of it."

The interesting part, though, is that she invited readers to read a sample poem ("Moral" by Alicia Cole, from Goblin Fruit) and then leave their opinions.  An interesting discussion showing just how different people read different things from a poem I don't think I've seen this deep a discussion of a single poem for quite a while!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ohio Poetry Day Contests open for submissions!

Ohio Poetry Day logo
The third Friday of every October is Ohio Poetry Day, and every year the Ohio Poetry Day Association sponsors a series of Ohio Poetry Day Contests, with prizes from five dollars to sixty dollars.  This year there are thirty-two contests, ranging from "Deadly Sins," sponsored by Pig Iron Literary and Artworks of Youngstown,  to the Crème de la Crème contest, open only to previous winners, sponsored by OPD itself.

Closing Date: May 31, 2013 (postmark)
Eligibility for all contests consists of payment of a single $10.00 fee sent with the poems and entry blank, which is required of all entrants. All poems must be mailed with fee at one time in one envelope. If more than two poems, mail flat in a 9x12 envelope. All poems should be mailed to Bill Reyer, Contest Chairman, Department of English, Heidelberg University, 310 East Market St., Tiffin, OH 44883.
Entries must be original, unpublished in any form and must never have won a state or national contest prize of over $10, or be submitted for publication elsewhere. Poems must be in English, typed, photocopied or computer generated; single spaced (except between stanzas); on one side of 8 1/2 x 11 white paper. No artwork except for contest #2.
All poems must be titled, and title should not be the same as contest/theme title. Two clear copies of each poem must be sent, both containing number and name of contest in the upper left corner, and the second copy only containing in the upper right corner the name and address of the contestant. Ohio only contests should add "Ohio native" after out of state address if relevant. Address labels or rubber stamps may be used.
Poems should be separated into first (judges') and second (ID) copies and stacked in numerical order with judges' copies on top. Only one poem may be sent to any contest (except #s 26 and 29), and no poem may be entered in more than one contest. No poems or artwork will be returned, so keep copies of your work. Entrants retain all rights to their work, except that money winning poems and art will be published in a copyrighted Best of 2012 book which will appear at Poetry Day and be for sale at and after that date. Any entries in contravention of these rules will be disqualified and fee forfeited. Awards will be made at the Ohio Poetry Day weekend, October 18 & 19, at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio.
Winners lists will be made available in late summer if #10 SASE is sent with poems. No other prior notification will be made. Those not present at Poetry Day will have awards mailed to them. Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard if you wish verification of your entry packet. You may photocopy these rules.

The list of contests is here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sh!tty poetry month!

I'm almost embarassed to admit it, but Chizine, in honor of April being national poetry month, is holding "sh!tty poetry month" on their Chiaroscuro: Treatments of Light and Shade in Words page, and have invited all the poets they know to send them the poems that they're too embarrassed to publish.  They just posted the final week (at least, I hope it's the final week!), and OMG, some of these are pretty awful.  Makes you feel pretty good, to see how awful other peoples' poems can get.
Frame from "Penny Arcade" stripSo, you want to see awful poetry, check out:
I'm even more embarassed to admit I have a poem (it's in week 3)... but not as embarrassed as I'm going to be if I  discover somebody ever read it.


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