Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Lyrical Rhythms is officially Cool

The twice-monthly "Lyrical Rhythms" poetry open mike gets a shout-out at Cool Cleveland.  First and third Tuesdays at the Grog Shop, 8pm.

Not a reading I usually make-- anybody want to do a review?

Friday, December 26, 2014


Looking for your Cleveland poem fix?

 The second annual Best Cleveland Poem Competition was held on Sunday, June 1, 2014 at the Willoughby Brewing Company.  #ThisIsCLE features contest highlights including poems by Geoffrey Landis, Theresa Göttl Brightman, Jeffrey Bowen, Mary Turzillo, JP Armstrong, Anita Herczog, Danya Eichhorn, Michael Murray, Steven B. Smith, Frannie Lograsso, S. Renay Sanders, two-time Best Cleveland Poem winner Dianne Borsenik and competition emcee Ray McNiece.

The book is 40 pages, perfect bound, 6x9" and a steal at only $10 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3344 W. 105th Street #4, Cleveland, Ohio 44111.

  • The book will have a release party at the Monday at Mahall's reading, Monday January 5th, 7:30 pm. Mahall's 20 Lanes, 13200 Madison Avenue, Lakewood

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Another Winter in The City

Photo- Winter One, by Smith
Winter One, by Smith
In time for Christmas, here's the 2014-2015 Winter issue of Kathy Smith's 'zine of poetry and art, The City Poetry, with poetry, art, and haiku from some of your favorite local (and not so local) poets and artists, including Smith, PM Pope, Mary Weems, Mary Turzillo, Joanne Meincke, Bonnie Thompson, Holly Jensen, Renay Sanders, Geoffrey Landis, Lady, Bree, Heather Ann Schmidt, KE, John Swain, Daniel Bellinger, Wendy Shaffer, Agram Bigsby, Jim Deuchars, Cyrus Taylor, Jayce Renner and Dianne Borsenik.
A festival of light.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bring on the Dark

photo by Neil Herbert
The winter solstice issue of the New York Times had an essay about darkness by Clark Strand.  The whole essay is lyrical, but I seem to be seeing poems everywhere these days, so I pulled this sonnet out of it:

Bring on the Dark

There is, of course, no need to fear the dark,
much less prevail over it: not that we could.
Look up into the sky on a starry night,
if you still can, and you will see that there is
a lot of darkness in the universe.

There is so much, it simply has to be
the foundation of all that is.
The stars are only an anomaly
 the planets an accident.

Is it evil or indifferent?
I don’t think so.
Our lives begin in the womb
and end in the tomb.
It’s dark on either side.

--(after Clark Strand)

I hope you all have a happy solstice, and wish you all the best in your celebration of the festival of lights, and darkness.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Shopping Away from the Malls

Coventry Christmas - Passport to Peru.  Photo by Geoffrey A. Landis

It's coming up fast toward Christmas!  When it comes time to look for holiday gifts, instead of hitting the big-box stores and being mauled at the malls, take a thought to check out some of the local independent stores in your neighborhood.

Our town is full of quirky little shops.  I can't even name all of my favorites--

Coventry-- the whole thing, from the library up to Mayfield.  Start out at Mac's Backs, take a lunch at Tommy's, then check out the toys at Big Fun, which has all that stuff you saw advertised in the back of comic books but your parents woudn't let you buy.  Did you know they were named by Playboy as one of the “coolest stores” in all of America? Then browse the street-- Passport to Peru (OK, I admit it: that's where I did my shopping this year.  Don't tell my family, it's a surprise), and around to City Buddha*, for cool stuff.

Over to the west, in Berea try the Shoppe for gifts, and then wander over to Kidforce Collectables to shop for the younger set, and check out their games and comics. Then, if you're over 21, stop for a craft beer at Cornerstone Brewing on the Triangle. Hey, a growler of Seven is always the right thing to bring to a Christmas pot-luck!

Over to the east, check out the arts, antiques and consignment shops in the Larchmere area, starting with Loganberry Books.

Gordon Square: stop for a movie at the Capitol, and right next door you're find Guide to Kulchur.

And don't forget street fairs and festivals. This week, Coventry Holiday Festival is December 13.

And that's barely more than the surface-- there are thousands more. Look, this year, when black Friday comes, make a resolution: don't shop in the big boxes. They don't need your business. Go for the independents. Support your neighborhoods!

What's your favorite?

For a different view, see:

*What makes City Buddha unique? Interview.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Page A Day Poetry

Writing Knights just released their anthology of 365 poems: a poem a day for 2015, including eight of mine. Check it out here: https://www.createspace.com/4927522

Monday, December 1, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Indies First Celebration at Bookstores Around Town This Weekend

Christmas at Mac's. Photo by Geoffrey A. Landis 2014.
November 29 is the "Indies First" celebration: a nationwide bookstore extravaganza.  Need to start your shopping for holiday gifts? Skip the black Friday malls-- you can get your gift-shopping done, and meet local authors at the same time. 

Joanna Connors writes about the Indies First Celebration, pointing out that bookstores all around Cleveland are participating:
Mac's Backs – Books on Coventry
1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-321-2665, macsbacks.com
Mac's Backs will have holiday refreshments and nine local (or native) authors on hand throughout the day on Saturday, Nov. 29.
Each author will hold court for an hour, signing books and suggesting titles, starting at 10 a.m. In order of appearance, they are: Deanna Adams, Anne Trubek, Ben Small, Jane Turzillo, Les Roberts, Shelley Costa, Tricia Springstubb, Joyce Brabner and John Paulett.
Loganberry Books
13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights, 216-795-9800, loganberrybooks.com
Loganberry will host authors on Friday, Nov. 28, and Saturday, Nov. 29, during the Larchmere Holiday Stroll. Starting each day at noon, authors will chat and sign books for an hour each. On Friday, look for (in order of appearance): Suzanne McGinness, Les Roberts, Jennie Jones and Derf Backderf. Saturday, look for (in order): Tricia Springstubb, Laura and Barney Taxel, Gail Ghetia Bellamy and Charlie Mintz.
The Learned Owl
204 N. Main St., Hudson, 330-653-2252, learnedowl.com
On Saturday, Nov. 29, The Learned Owl will offer refreshments and special deals on featured titles. Author Nancy Christie will sign books from 1 to 3 p.m. And you can enter a raffle to win a Christmas Story Leg Lamp, with proceeds going to the Hudson Food Pantry.
Appletree Books
12419 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-791-2665, appletree-books.com
Appletree will give away special Indies First tote bags, emblazoned with the motto "Shop Small," to purchasers.
Fireside Book Shop
29 N. Franklin St., Chagrin Falls, 440-247-4050, firesidebookshop.com
On Friday, Nov. 28, from 1 to 3 p.m., local author Sandy Philipson and illustrator Jenny Campbell will sign the new chapter book, Wings. On Saturday, Nov. 29, from 1 to 3 p.m., local editor Laura Gorretta will sign the revised version of Chagrin Falls: An Ohio Village History.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lake Erie Ink teen open Mic December 13

If you want to hear what younger poets are about, here's your chance.  Lake Erie Ink is sponsoring an open Mic for teen poetry on December 13 at 1854 Coventry Road [formerly Phoenix, next to Bodega], part of the Coventry Holiday Fest.

'Tis the season!
  • Lake Erie Ink (located right next to the Coventry library), is a "writing space for youth" with programs and creative expression opportunities for young people in the Greater Cleveland area.
  • Programs
  • Coventry Holiday Fest facebook page
"We believe in the transformative power of creative expression."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Cleveland's Belt magazine is getting some ink!
"Belt is a small independent publishing house that tells stories of the industrial (and post-industrial) Midwest, from Pittsburgh to St. Louis. It published its first book, Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology, in 2012, and it launched an online magazine last fall that grew out of the Cleveland Anthology and a successful kickstarter campaign."
"...The result is a selection of stories and essays that often offer fresh insight into regional issues and challenges and that stoke smart conversation. Discerning readers in Greater Cleveland are not the only ones to notice. The Paley Center for Media has chosen Belt Magazine to present at its "The Next Big Thing in Media and the Innovation Economy" conference..."
"'We see ourselves doing independent Rust Belt journalism, and we're the only ones doing it.' Apparently, tiny Belt is seen as big enough to disrupt."
"The Slumlords We Love," by Robert Langellier

Kurt Landefeld and JACK'S MEMOIRS: OFF THE ROAD, A NOVEL will be featured at the Beat Reading 7 pm Wed. Nov. 12th at Mac's Backs Books...Join the poets and readers who connect with the Beat Movement as it lives on.Bring a favorite Beat poem to share.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bree's first novel Pigskin In a Blanket

Green Panda Press announces its first work of full-length fiction. Pigskin in a Blanket is an existential-buddhist-romantic-comedy written by the formerly Cleveland poet Bree (now Kentuckian) in a period of six weeks that followed a string of curses. the novel is set in Cleveland, OH. it features Anya, who marries her twice-senior plastic surgeon and schemes to become the woman people take most seriously, and former Browns player Harry who might just be some kind of poet; he battles an obscure liver disease while slinging meats and cheeses for a local purveyor. 260 pgs TP.

the book plus shipping is $12 via paypal to greenpandapress@gmail.com and comes with a copy of Bree's latest paperback poetry Some Hiatus: Tucky Poems.

or order thru amazon or the link below. thanks! read and pass along.....

luv and hugs, Bree

Saturday, November 1, 2014

John Burroughs is coming to Sandusky for the Coffeehouse Reading Series
Sponsored by the Firelands Writing Center and Bottom Dog Press.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Hallowe'en!

For your spooky poetry pleasure, here's a cat ghost poem by John Philip Johnson:

And, once again, for those of you who do your ghosting with poets on Hallowe'en night, the annual Hallowe'en show of Ray McNiece and Tongue & Groove is at the Barking Spider, 8pm, at 11310 Juniper.
Tyrael.  Photo by Geoffrey A. Landis
photo by Geoffrey Landis

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Billy Collins Gives Ya Tips on How Ta Write Poetry!

Yeah, that's right-- Billy Collins!  And he's talkin' to you!
So you oughta listen.
Dozens of poets performed Friday at the Dodge Poetry Festival at Newark's New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Poet Yusef Komunyakaa and the Tomas Doncker Band were featured performers. (Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Russell Atkins: Celebrating the Living Legend

Diane Kendig reports from the East Cleveland Public Library event Russell Atkins: Celebrating the Living Legend.

R.A. with Honorary Doctorate

Note added May 2015: A long (and horrifying) story about Russell Atkin's involuntary move out of his house, and the loss of his manuscripts, letters, and papers, can be found on Diane Kendig's blog: RUSSELL ATKINS: A Cautionary Tale for Aging Poets and Others

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ready for Levyfest?

Friday is Ohio Poetry Day, and here in Cleveland, this year that means one thing: first day of Levyfest

Ready for Levyfest?
As an added bonus, if the weekend-long Levyfest isn't enough poetry for one city, on Saturday afternoon the East Cleveland Public Library is sponsoring a celebration of Cleveland legend Russell Atkins, with a reception following for poets to view some of the Atlanta University Center archival materials and share their own memories of Atkins and his work.

Friday, October 24th - 6-9 PM: An intimate reading and publishers' mixer at The Spotted Owl in Tremont - Join us for cocktails, poetry, and the release of the Renegade Flowers anthology! Stick around afterwards for cocktails and conversation!

Saturday, October 25th - 9:30AM - 5PM: Festival events at Cleveland State University's Michael Schwartz Library - Panels, readings, and discussions, including a curated tour of CSU's levy collections, documentary screening, and meet-and-greets!

Saturday, October 25th - 7:00PM - 10:30PM: The community reading series at Lava Lounge in Tremont, including readings hosted by The Writing Knights starting at 7:00pm (Knightmares Halloween show) and hosted by Deep Cleveland's Joshua Gage starting at 8 pm!

Saturday, October 25th - 7:00PM - Close: A knock-down, drag-out poetry experience at The Literary Cafe in Tremont hosted by the inimitable Steve Goldberg and Nick Traenkner, featuring several panelists and poets from the festival.

Sunday, October 26th - 10:00AM - 12:00PM: Levy memorial service at Edgewater park by the beach (Weather Permitting.)

On-Campus events at Cleveland State University's Michael Schwartz Library) for Saturday are listed here: http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/levyfest/2014/campus/
Off-Campus events are listed here: http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/levyfest/2014/community/

 Not all of the readings have been announced yet, but Joshua Gage has posted the line-up for the readings at Lava Lounge, 2061 West 10th Street, Tremont, on Saturday night.  Watch for:
  •  8:10 Mary A. Turzillo
  • 8:20 Jill Riga
  • 8:30 Geoffrey A. Landis
  • 8:40 Marissa Hyde
  • 8:50 John Burroughs
  • 9:00 Batya Weinbaum
  • 9:10 dan smith
  • 9:20 Elise Geither
  • 9:30 Ryan Sagert
  • 9:40 Marie Lillian Vibbert
  • 9:50 Vertigo Xi'an Xavier
  • 10:00-10:30 Open Mike
See you all there!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Laura Moe writes, Confessions of a Failed Poet.
"The title intrigues, the words themselves glitter the page, yet ultimately the poem is vapid; it is a mannequin in the store window wearing a great outfit you want to try on, and the first few lines seduce you, but in the end the zipper is stuck, or the pants are too short. Failed poems do not deliver on their promise... 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Renegade Flowers: LevyFest 2014


"For the first time since 2006, Cleveland will be host to levyfest, which honors the city’s own alternative publisher and poet d.a. levy, as well as his contemporaries in the Mimeograph Revolution.  This festival will celebrate the history of small press publication and poetry in Cleveland and from around the world. It will include guest panels, readings, community and publishing events, and other programming" [info swiped from the HydeOut Press blog].

Here's the listing of On-Campus events (at Cleveland State University's Michael Schwartz Library) for Saturday, October 25th:

Information on Off-Campus events can be found at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/levyfest/2014/community/

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cleveland Heights, Looking for a Laureate

Want to be poet laureate?  Know somebody who would?  Live in Cleveland Heights?
Now's your chance: Cleveland Heights is looking for nominations for the next poet laureate.
Nominations are due by the end of October.

2011 Poet Laureate Cavana_Faithwalker

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fall: Leaves Fall

photo by Geoffrey A. Landis
Fall: leaves fall.
Fall leaves fall.
Fall, leaves, fall.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Art Interactions Here and Now, feat. Clarissa Jakobsons 10/11 at CMA

Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44106
October 11th, 2014, from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

The Ohio Poetry Association's Ekphrasis 3-C series continues this fall on Ohio's north coast. Clarissa Jakobsons will present “Art Interactions Here and Now.”

Participants are invited to enter conversations with displayed artwork and bring them to life via words. We will begin with warm-up exercises, examples, and a variety of ekphrastic approaches. There will be a brief docent tour, as well as alone time to observe and allow specific artwork to inspire our words. To conclude, there will be a read-around to celebrate our new poems.

Clarissa Jakobsons instructs a variety of art and writing classes at Cuyahoga Community College and at the Sage program at Akron University. She weaves art and poetry into artist books, which are internationally exhibited. A series of Camille Claudel artist books have been shown at the Cleveland Museum of Art - Ingalls Library. In another life, she taught art in the schools and initiated integrative art and writing programs for children and adults. Sample publications include Hawaii Pacific Review, Glint Literary Journal, The Poetry Forum, Kattywompus, Ruminate, Qarrtsiluni, Tower Magazine, Van Gogh’s Ear, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, and others.

Upcoming free exhibits at the Cleveland Museum of Art:
  • “The Believable Lie: Heinecken, Hope, and Feldmann”
  • “Surrealist & Dada Photography”
  • “Epic Systems: Three Monumental Paintings” by Jennifer Bartlett
  • “Forbidden Games: Surrealist and Modern Photography”



This event is free and open to the public. Participants will meet in Classroom A.
Workshop is limited to the first 24 registrants. Register by September 30, 2014. Send an email with your name and contact info to Chuck Salmons at charles@ohiopoetryassn.org or call (614) 829-5040.

If using museum parking facilities, participants will have to pay for parking. Directions & Parking: http://www.clevelandart.org/visit/directions-and-parking.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Artist Talks and Ekphrastacy at Heights Arts on September 25th

Join us for an evening with Isabel Farnsworth, associate professor of sculpture at Kent State University, and Hui-Chu Ying, professor of printmaking at University of Akron, who will share insights about their works on view in the gallery, artistic process and vision.

Poets Dianne Borsenik, John Donoghue, Sarah Gridley, Susan Grimm, and Mary Quade will also read new works inspired by select sculptures and works on paper in the exhibition. FREE. 

Heights Arts 
2175 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118
(216) 371-3457

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Free Yo Mind at Guide to Kulchur September 20th

[From the event page on Facebook:]

Guide to Kulchur and Children's Defense Fund / New Abolitionist Association (Ohio) would like to invite you to Free Yo Mind Hip-Hop Cradle2Poetry Slam, the funky-fresh poetry slam contest hosted by Cleveland's youth. Food, drink, $25, $50, and $100 gifts and prizes, plus special guest entertainment.


Slam Rules for Competitors:
1. No Props or Musical Accompaniment (must be a-cappella if you sing).
2. You must perform your own original poetry.
3. All poems must be 3 minutes long or less. (Competitors who go over set time will lose points for every 10 seconds over 3 minutes.)
4. There are three knock out rounds so you must have three poems prepared to compete.

Slammers or poets interested in reading during the open mic intermissions contact Joe: 216-650-1961, Deisha: 216-239-4409, or Philip: 937-238-4843 via phone or text.

Winners receive $25 for 3rd, $50 for 2nd, and $100 for 1st place.

More details, audience participation and slammer rules will be announced day of slam.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Many Thanks Visible Voice Books

Guest post by Steve Thomas
Many of you already know Visible Voice Books is closing. I find it fitting that September is its last month. Today, while customers scramble for last minute deals (40% off). I sat admiring the wood interior of the store and appreciated the gated red bricked court yard. It made a statement beauty could be found anywhere. The store brightened up the street with an appealing grace and charm.
   What better way to spend a Friday or Saturday evening with a friend a glass of wine and live music in the background. Dave Ferrante presented a multi faceted entertainment venue. There was an eclectic book selection along with writing workshops (thank you Claire) combining for a wonderful atmosphere for art lovers of all shapes and sizes.  Dave supported a women’s speaker series titled She Speaks. Regina Brett spoke there as well, presenting 50 Lessons about life. There were poets from Erie to California that performed in the courtyard or in a room upstairs. And can we talk about the wine tastings? This wasn’t a book store but a gathering place for unique thoughtful people.
  It’s a cool quiet Tremont night with church bells counting time. There’s sign on the door closing Sept 27th. I can feel the door swinging shut now as Brownbird sings Americana in the back ground. In the courtyard The Lost State of Franklin is setting up for their performance. It’s a good night for books and music. After all the experiences I’ve had here I’m glad to say thanks Visible Voice for a great deal on memories. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Celebrating the Living Legend: Russell Atkins

Celebrating the Living Legend: Russell Atkins

Contact: Sheba Marcus-Bey
Phone (216) 541-4128
14101 Euclid Avenue
East Cleveland, OH 44112

East Cleveland, OH, October 25, 2014:  Four Friends of Russell Atkins, in collaboration with East Cleveland Public Library, is proud to present a program “Celebrating the Living Legend: Russell Atkins” on Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the Greg L. Reese Performing Arts Center, 14101 Euclid Avenue, East Cleveland, OH 44112.
The event seeks to pay tribute to Cleveland’s long-standing iconoclast, who has been known as an avant-garde poet, dramatist, musical composer, and editor throughout his lengthy and productive career. The program will feature music, tributes, and readings of Atkins’ poetry. The 88-year-old Atkins will be in attendance. Atkins is the subject of a new book, Russell Atkins: On the Life and Work of an American Master (Pleiades Press), edited by Kevin Prufer, a native Clevelander now at the University of Houston, who will speak at the event.
In 1950, Atkins cofounded Free Lance, which is one of the oldest black-owned literary magazine. Through this publication of avant-garde writing, Atkins contributed to the development of New American poetry. During his career, Atkins corresponded with famous twentieth-century poets Langston Hughes and Marianne Moore.
The event is planned by four writers who have been helping Atkins in his recent transition to a nursing home: Yaseen AsSami, Diane Kendig, Robert McDonough, and Shaheed Mutawaf. “It was a difficult time,” said Kendig, “Much of his life’s work was destroyed in the move.” Their friendships with Atkins go back to creative writing workshops in the 1960s and 70s, and they wanted to rally to his support. “We had a birthday party for him in February,” says Kendig, “and writers came out from all over Cleveland and from out of state in a Northeast Ohio blizzard to be there, with cards pouring in front all over the U.S. He is clearly loved and respected.”
When the group contacted the East Cleveland Public Library for the event, Executive Director Sheba Marcus-Bey quickly responded with the invitation for the library to host the event. “We are happy to offer a venue and resources to celebrate such an esteemed, creative force. We are honored to host this event,” says Marcus-Bey.
Following with the program, there will be a reception and sale of the book. The public is welcome to attend. Further information is available through the East Cleveland Public Library, (216) 541-4128 and Diane Kendig, (330) 479-7132 or Mutawaf Shaheed (216) 272-1509.

Russel Atkins, On the Life and Work of an American Master:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Green Panda Press Eros Nature Love Collection Hot Hot

Day 4 

Buy "Day 4" Here

Eros was worshiped by a fertility cult in Thespiae. In Athens, he shared a very popular cult with Aphrodite, and the fourth day of every month was sacred to him. In Day 4 four poets give their unique takes on erotic nature and love poetry. While each voice is different they complement each other. Alexis Fancher, Catfish McDaris, John Swain and Bree are widely published in the very small press. See how Green Panda Press gets them to...come together.

order online at the above link below or direct from Panda (for free shipping) via paypal to greenpandapress@gmail.com (Cover art by Bree) perff bound $10 dollers cheap!

Bree is a Cleveland poet, memoirist and artist. Her Green Panda Press has produced chaps & anthologies, broads & sundry of the small independent press since 2001.

Alexis Rhone Fancher’s poems are in  RATTLE, Carnival, Fjords Review, Deep Water, This Is Poetry: Women of the Small Presses and so forth. She has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net award. Her collection of erotica, “How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen & Other Heart Stab Poems,” has just been published by Sybaritic Press (2013).

Catfish McDaris is a New Mexican living near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has four walls, a ceiling, heat, food, a woman, a daughter, two cats, and a typing machine, which is plenty.

John Swain of Louisville, KY is the author of several collections including Ring the Sycamore Sky (Red Paint Hill 2014), Rain and Gravestones (Crisis Chronicles 2013) and White Vases (Crisis Chronicles 2013). He’s published widely in the small press.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Monday at Mahall's schedule for the last third of 2014

For the past few years, the Monday at Mahall's Poetry & Prose series has featured some of the best literary talent from northeast Ohio and across the nation - along with one of our area's best open mics.  The trend continues with these four fabulous upcoming events:

Monday September 1st 2014 at 7:30 p.m.:  Featured poets Ray McNiece and Mary Weems (two of Cleveland's finest) will read, followed by an open mic.  We'll still be celebrating the release of Oct Tongue -1, a collaborative book by Mary Weems, John Swain, Steven Smith, Lady, Shelley Chernin, John Burroughs and Steve Brightman.

Monday October 6th 2014 at 7:30 p.m.: The official book release for the third annual Lipsmack anthology, published by NightBallet Press, will feature contributors including Jennifer Hambrick (Columbus), Andy Roberts (Columbus), Jason Baldinger (Pittsburgh), Jason Irwin (Pittsburgh) and Dan Smith (Cleveland), followed by an open mic.

Monday November 3rd 2014 at 7:30 p.m.: We'll feature the group Writer’s Root (whose authors include Lauren Parsons, Margaret Hnat, Amy Bue, Regina Geither, Kay Cosgriff and Elise Geither - all of northeast Ohio), followed by an open mic.  Crisis Chronicles Press plans to release poet/playwright
Elise Geither's new chapbook at this event.

Monday December 1st 2014 at 7:30 p.m.: Featured poets will be Joey Nicoletti (Buffalo, NY), Juliet Cook (Medina, OH) and Baraka Noel (Wheaton, MD), followed by an open mic.

John Burroughs will be your emcee for these four events.  Stay tuned for more great lit performances - and more than a few fab surprises - in 2015.  Here's just one: Ray McNiece will be our special guest host in February, April, June and September.  Please join us the first Monday of every month at Mahall's 20 Lanes, 13200 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Oct Tongue -1 book release Wednesday August 27th at Mac's Backs

cover photo by Smith

Join Cleveland's Crisis Chronicles Press Wednesday 27 August 2014 (7 pm) at Mac's Backs for the official release of Oct Tongue -1, a collaborative book by Mary Weems, John Swain, Steven Smith, Lady [Kathy Smith], Shelley Chernin, John Burroughs and Steve BrightmanOct Tongue -1 is perfect bound, over 300 pages and like seven 31-poem chapbooks in one.  Six of its seven authors will be reading at this special event.

Mac's Backs - Books on Coventry
1820 Coventry Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118
(216) 321-2665

About the authors:

Dr. Mary Weems is a poet, playwright, imagination-intellect theorist, social/cultural foundations scholar and former Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights. Weems is the author and/or editor of twelve books and five chapbooks, most notably white (Wick Poetry Chapbook Series) and Tampon Class (Pavement Saw Press). Two of her books were full collections of poetry: An Unmistakable Shade of Red and the Obama Chronicles (Bottom Dog Press, 2008) and For(e)closure (Main Street Rag Press, 2012), both finalists for Ohioana Book awards.

John Swain of Louisville, Kentucky, is the author of several acclaimed books including Rain and Gravestones (2013, Crisis Chronicles), White Vases (2012, Crisis Chronicles) and Prominences (2011, Flutter Press). His latest, Ring the Sycamore Sky, is forthcoming in the summer of 2014 from Red Paint Hill Publishing.

Steven B. Smith was born, is living, will die. He's been a poet 50 years, artist 49 years, the publisher of ArtCrimes, editor of AgentOfChaos.com, he blogs on WalkingThinIce.com, and sings at ReverbNation.com/MutantSmith. Smith & Lady published his bio Stations of the Lost & Found, a True Tale of Armed Robbery, Stolen Cars, Outsider Art, Mutant Poetry, Underground Publishing, Robbing the Cradle, and Leaving the Country in 2012 via The City Poetry Press.

Lady, a.k.a. Kathy Ireland Smith, is a poet, publisher, artist and surreal photographer from northeast Ohio. She and her husband Smith spent 31 months of traveling in 10 countries on 3 continents from 2006-9, and you can follow their ongoing adventures at WalkingThinIce.com. Kathy is also founder and editor of The City Poetry (thecitypoetry.com), a cutting edge art and poetry zine based in Cleveland.

Shelley Chernin is a freelance researcher, writer and editor of legal reference books and a ukulele enthusiast. Her poems have appeared in places like Great Lakes Review, Scrivener Creative Review, Rhapsoidia, Durable Goods, Big Bridge, and the Heights Observer. She was awarded 2nd Place in the 2011 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest.  Her chapbook, The Vigil, was published in 2012 by Crisis Chronicles.

Steve Brightman lives in Kent, Ohio. He firmly believes in two seasons: winter and baseball. His most recent chapbooks include 13 Ways of Looking at Lou Reed (2013, Crisis Chronicles Press), In Brilliant Explosions Alone (2013, NightBallet Press); Like Michelangelo Sorta Said (2013, The Poet’s Haven), Absent The (2013, Writing Knights Press) and Sometimes, Illinois (2011, NightBallet).

John Burroughs is the founding editor of Crisis Chronicles Press and hosts the Monday at Mahall’s Poetry and Prose Series in Lakewood, Ohio.  He is the author of It Takes More Than Chance to Make Change (2013, The Poet’s Haven), The Eater of the Absurd (2012, NightBallet Press), Barry Merry Baloney (2012, Spare Change Press), Water Works (2012, recycled karma press), Electric Company (2011, Writing Knights) and more.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Poetry Pages Open Mic Series


The Poetry Pages Open Mic Series happens the second Thursday of each month at Swerve Grille, 20126 Chagrin Blvd. in Shaker Heights.  For updates, please join the Poetry Pages group on Facebook.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Deep Cleveland suspended in flight

Over on the Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour facebook page, Josh Gage announced that the reading series is suspended indefinitely.  It had been one of the longer-running monthly poetry readings in the area.  It had been slowly dwindling in attendance-- actually, in my opinion, it never was quite the same after Border's bookstore went out of business and the reading had to move, over to the Mugshotz coffee house, and it never really recovered its attendance. 
The event was founded by Mark Kuhar at the turn of the millennium, back in 2001, but for most of the last decade was hosted by Joshua Gage, who kept it running rain or shine, over good years and bad.
For years, this had been my "home" reading; the one reading that I attended almost every month, if I could, although sometimes other events got in my way.  Apparently there was a reading with an attendance of only one audience member (that was one I missed), and then the next time the coffeeshop was locked-- there wasn't enough business to keep the venue open late for the reading.
This is the end of an era, I guess.  Or maybe just a breathing space. 
The area is rich in poetry readings, though. John Burroughs just updated the poetry calendar (which you can find at the top of the page here) and I count 41 events coming up over the 30 days of August.  Not all of these are readings, of course.  Still, that's over one event a day.

Over on facebook, I posted this:
I wish I had a solution to the problem of attendance at poetry events, but I don't. On the one hand, the Cleveland & north Ohio area is amazingly fortunately with a huge selection of live poetry events, on the average one every day, sometimes more. On the other hand, that does have its down side as well as its good side-- can't attend them all; can't attend even a small percentage of them.
The people running local poetry events here are amazing people, putting in long hours and many miles with, for the most part, only the occasional "Thanks! Good show!" as recompense. I do want to see people at the events.
There have been some excellent readings at Deep Cleveland-- one time or another, all the great poets of the area have featured.  So, thanks for the good times.

Josh Gage as the MC of Deep Cleveland,
back at the Borders venue


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