Friday, December 25, 2015

The Bells of Christmas Day--

                  Christmas Bells

    I heard the bells on Christmas Day
    Their old, familiar carols play,
        And wild and sweet
        The words repeat
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And thought how, as the day had come,
    The belfries of all Christendom
       Had rolled along
       The unbroken song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Till ringing, singing on its way,
    The world revolved from night to day,
photo of cannon at Chancellorsville battlefield        A voice, a chime,
       A chant sublime
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Then from each black, accursed mouth
    The cannon thundered in the South,
        And with the sound
        The carols drowned
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    It was as if an earthquake rent
    The hearth-stones of a continent,
        And made forlorn
        The households born
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And in despair I bowed my head;
    "There is no peace on earth," I said;
        "For hate is strong,
        And mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
        The Wrong shall fail,
        The Right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good-will to men."

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1864

Longfellow wrote "Christmas Bells" in the winter of the third year of the Civil War, shortly after receiving news that his son Charles Appleton had been critically wounded during the the Mine Run Campaign.
I wish you all to have a peaceful Christmas, or whatever holiday you chose to celebrate.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Winter City

"Eyeball," by Smith
Latest issue of Lady Smith's 'zine of art and poetry, the City, is now out for solstice 2015:

And, join her for the 10th equinox/solstice open mic Winter 2015 Solstice poetry reading tomorrow Dec 19, 2015 from 11am – 12:30pm
Cleveland Metroparks Canal Way Center4524 E 49th St, Cleveland, Ohio 44125

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Poet Laureate for Ohio

The State of Ohio just named its first poet laureate: Amit Majmudar, of Dublin, Ohio
Majmudar, who is a poet and a physician, grew up in the Cleveland area. He earned a BS at the University of Akron and an MD at Northeast Ohio Medical University. His poems have appeared in many places, including the New Yorker, The Antioch Review, Poetry, The Norton Introduction to Literature, and The Best of the Best American Poetry.
He's the author of two collections of poetry, 0′, 0′ in 2009 and Heaven and Earth in 2011, and his new collection Dothead will appear from Alfred A. Knopf in March, 2016.
Congrats to Amit Majudar!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Places to Submit - December 2015

 Welcome to Literistic for December!    License: <b>Public</b> <b>Domain</b> 

Yaddo Residency (fees)poetry, fiction, non-fiction    united statesJanuary 1
Hambidge Residency (fees). Include an applicant Statement/Proposal, bio, resume, and up to 30 pages of a novel, play, short story or other written work. Poets submit 5 to 8 poems or appropriate excerpts from longer works. For writers who work in languages other than English, submit both original language examples and English translations. poetry, fiction, non-fiction    united statesJanuary 15
Jentel Artist Residency ($, fees). Writers over 25 residing in the United States and US citizens abroad are eligible. Maximum 20 pages for writing sample. Poets send 10 pages of poetry. poetry, fiction, non-fiction    united statesJanuary 15
Banff Centre Writing Studio (fees). The Writing Studio is structured to provide an extended period of uninterrupted writing time, one-on-one editorial assistance from experienced writers/editors, and an opportunity to engage with a community of working writers. poetry, fiction    canadaJanuary 20
Prism Short Fiction Contest ($, fees). Max. word count: 6,000.fiction    canadaJanuary 15
Prism Poetry Contest ($, fees). Send up to three poems per entry. poetry    canadaJanuary 15
Meridian Editors’ Prize in Fiction ($, fees). Fiction writers may submit one story of 10,000 words or fewer in each submission. fiction    united statesJanuary 15
Discovery/Boston Review 2016 Poetry Contest ($, fees). Open to poets who have not published a full-length poetry collection. Submissions must be no longer than ten pages, typed. At least two of the poems must be a page or shorter. Poems that have been or will be published in periodicals or anthologies may be submitted; however, at least two of the submitted poems must be unpublished as of April 2016. poetry    united statesJanuary 25
The Iowa Review Awards ($, fees). Opens Jan. 1. Submit up to 25 pages of prose (double-spaced) or 10 pages of poetry (one poem or several, but no more than one poem per page).poetry, fiction    united statesJanuary 31
The Lamar York Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction ($, fees). Send one short story or essay of up to 5,000 words, double-spaced. No theoretical, scholarly, or critical essays will be considered, but all other approaches and topics are welcome.fiction, non-fiction    united statesJanuary 31
A Room of Her Own Foundation's Orlando Prizes ($, fees). A submission consists of a single work (poem, flash fiction piece, short story, or essay). Poetry:  36 lines, Flash Fiction:  500 words, Short Fiction:  1500 words, Creative Nonfiction: 1500 words. Designed to support women writers in a variety of genres and stages of professional and creative development. poetry, fiction, non-fiction    united statesJanuary 31
The Disquiet Prize ($, fees). For poetry: No more than SIX poems per entry, up to 10 pages total. For fiction: ONE short story or novel excerpt, maximum 25 (double-spaced) pages per entry. For non fiction: ONE piece of non fiction, maximum 25 (double-spaced) pages per entry.poetry, fiction, non-fiction    united statesJanuary 31
Foliopoetry, fiction, non-fiction    united statesJanuary 4
Sand Journalpoetry, fiction, non-fiction    internationalJanuary 15
Proximity Magazine. Theme issue: "Play." We are interested in reading nonfiction stories about whimsy and a wandering body or mind, the blessedly unusual act of going "unplugged," and/or any activity that offers the reader a glimpse into the abandonment of stress and responsibility in search of joy, freedom, creativity and reprieve. non-fiction    canadaJanuary 15
Ploughshares ($, fees). Fiction and nonfiction: Less than 6,000 words. Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained. Poetry: Submit 1-5 pages at a time. poetry, fiction, non-fiction    united statesJanuary 15
Nashville Review ($). We welcome flash fiction, short stories, and novel excerpts of up to 8,000 words. Between two and five poems may be submitted at a time. We’re open to anything: memoir excerpts, essays, imaginative meditations. Send us up to 8,000 words. Submissions open Jan. 1 poetry, fiction, non-fiction    united statesJanuary 31
The Capilano Review ($). For poetry submissions, send up to 8 pages; for fiction, a maximum of 5,000 words.poetry, fiction    canadaJanuary 31
Magma Poetry. Theme issue: Revolution. poems that respond to the idea of revolution in the here and now. We’d be delighted to receive poems in which the revolutionary intervenes in daily life whether politically as in Heaney’s The Toome Road or even A Constable Calls; or personally as in Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death / He kindly stopped for me”, Frost’s The Road Not Taken, Bishop’s Invitation to Miss Marianne Moore or Angelou’s Personally Woman; or stylistically as in Paul Stephenson’s poem in Magma 58 where all 25 lines end perfectly logically with “beetroot”. poetry    britainJanuary 31
Fence. Submit no more than 5 poems at any one time, and up to 25 pages of fiction or other prose. poetry, fiction, non-fiction    united statesJanuary 31
0s&1s Reads. Looking for more instalments of our Writers on Mental Health series in the form of a) essays of any shape and size, or b) writers willing to be interviewed. Get in touch: editor [at] 0s-1s [dot] com.non-fiction    canada

Monday, November 23, 2015

"How I thought/think about poems..."

image by GL
Nice imagery in the post by Susan Grimm about writing poetry, in her blog "The White Space Inside the Poem"
"I was trying to write a poem that was solid, all of a piece, weighty as a stone that I could drop into the vast water of a reader's attention. There would be that satisfying plop noise and then the rings travelling out all the way to the invisible beyond...."

Friday, November 20, 2015

The New Pay-to-Play Literary Modality

image by Skeeze courtesy Pixabey
Joy Lanzendorfer, in The Atlantic, articulates some of the reasons I'm so disquieted by literary journals that charge reading fees to look at submissions-- "a practice that’s bad for the writing community at every level," as she says.

"While most journals are still free, every few months, a new journal seems to announce that it’s going to start charging writers to submit their work—a trend that’s slowly threatening the inclusivity of literature when it comes to new, diverse voices.

"...To make matters worse, being poor is already the norm for writers. A recent industry survey showed that more than half of writers earn less than the federal poverty level of $11,670 a year from their work. I know what this feels like. There was a time when I made two cents per word as a writer and worked part-time as a waiter to pay the bills. I lived in a bad part of town, slept on a blow-up bed, ate on a card table, and owned a 1978 TV with a broken channel changer that I had to turn with a pair of pliers. When that was my life, these fees would have added up so quickly that I couldn’t have afforded to write fiction at all."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Help! New Bloggers Wanted!

Clevelandpoetics: the blog is a community effort.  We want you to help!

Really: we want your contributions.  We need your contributions.  We value your contributions.

If you've ever wanted to contribute, and were just waiting for an invitation: here's your invitation.  The blog is open to the community, and you are invited to contribute. Join the team!

Every year there are new voices in the Cleveland poetry community, and we want to hear them.

Do you have anything to say about the poetry community?  We're looking for contributors!  Do you go to poetry readings, want to make comments on the local poetry scene, want to share your opinions on contemporary poetry?  Join us!

Johnny D asks for help wanted
We want you to tell us about writing, tell us about reading, tell us about the poetry scene, about your obsessions, who you like, who you hate, how poetry should be.  Tell us about writing in our sports-obsessed, poetry-infested, hot-blooded city, or about anything you think fits somehow in the Cleveland Poetics topic. It's as much work-- or as little-- as you like.  Write a post when you have something to say, or don't if you don't-- there's no minimum activity.  Know somebody else who you think would be a good blogger? Pass the invite along!

If you'd like to join the blogging team here at clevelandpoetics, we're open: leave a note in the comments.  Or drop me an email at and tell me you want to be a blogger.

Here's your chance to express yourself, and contribute to the community. Join the team!

Friday, November 6, 2015

November 14th Open Mic Poetry Reading Featuring Student Poets from Cleveland School of the Arts

Click here to see flyer bigger

Daniel Gray-Kontar, Department Chair of Literary Arts at Cleveland School of the Arts, will present four of his most prolific and talented student writers: Bri Watts, Alishia McCoy, Travon Davis, and the newly appointed Midwest National Student Poet, De'John Hardges. After the students' readings, there will be an open mic.

Presented by Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library.

Saturday, November 14 at 1:00 p.m.
Literature Department, 2nd Floor
Main Library, 325 Superior Ave.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Poetry Shops

The New Yorker has an article "the curious persistence of poetry shops": book stores that specialize in poetry, and how they are surviving, and even in a small way thriving, in an era in which many large bookstores have been failing.

"Retail may not get much more niche than poetry, which historically has never been a lucrative proposition. But it does have cachet in some circles, and a dedicated readership. The best poetry stores mix the scholarly with the whimsical, the linear with the arty. Berl’s is in a former gallery space, subleased from two artists, with exposed brick walls that have been painted white, barrel ceilings, a gray Lego sculpture of Walt Whitman, and an eighteen-chair area for readings. On one wall are seventy black-and-white portraits of anarchists and monarchs by the artist Miranda White, Jared’s sister, with whom he has collaborated on a book."

photo of ironwork outside of Mac's Backs in Coventry
Book Reader (photo by GL)
They somehow fail to mention Cleveland in the article, but we do have a few bookstores that are very friendly to poetry, particularly notably Guide to Kulchur and Mac's Backs.

So, horray to our very own poetry shops

-- and we've got art, too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Poet's Haven Halloween Jubilee

The Poet's Haven will be holding a Halloween Jubilee on Saturday, October 31st at Oak Knoll Park in Massillon! Doors will open at noon with poetry and music performances starting at 1:00. This will be an all-ages event featuring poetry and music performances from; Steve Brightman, Theresa Göttl Brightman, Nikann Charney, Joshua Gage, Marissa Hyde, Azriel Johnson, KnowEyePoetry Collective (CUPSI team from College of Wooster), Kristen Laine, Lennart Lundh, Nick Mayberry, Jen Pezzo, Vince Robinson, Dan Smith, J.E. Stanley, and The Stetson-Marlowe Project. J.E. Stanley's new book, The Persistence of Night, will be making its debut here. We will also be joined by our friends from Blood Pudding Press, Crisis Chronicles Press, and Writing Knights Press. Food and drinks will be available, with sales in support of the Lake Effect Poetry slam team!

More info on Facebook.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Poetry Matters

$$$ CASH PRIZE $$$
Sunday, October 25th, 2015
Sign-ups 5p-6p

Callaloo Cafe & Bar
15601 Waterloo Rd.
Cleveland, Ohio
More info:

Friday, October 23, 2015

Yet Another Screed about Political poetry

Even a year and more before the election, it's getting pretty hard to get away from politics.

I was reading Nin Andrews' blog post about political poetry, "Of Course Men Suffer From Vagina Envy--a few thoughts on political poetry"-- and, once again, thinking about political poetry.

I hate political poetry too*, but on the whole, I rather agree with Nin.

What it is that I really dislike is bad political poetry, by which I mean superficial political poetry, but "bad political poetry" is what far too much of it is.
  • If your poem says nothing but how outraged you are about things happening to people you've never actually met and don't know anything about except what you read in the same paper I read
  • if you are shouting at me opinions I could have read in the editorial page of the Plain Dealer--or for that matter the Wall Street Journal  
  • If your poem is nothing but a long scream of rage about unjust society
  • If you think your poem is funny because it lampoons cartoon stereotypes about people who disagree with you*
  • If you've never actually listened when people who disagree with you are talking, but are nevertheless burning to explain to me why opinions that you've never listened to are wrong...
--I don't want to hear it.

On the other hand, if your political poem has vividly-observed details about real living breathing people--people you actually know, or at least have seen in real life, and not cardboard imitations--  people with stories of their own-- people who don't fit any stereotypes and have quirky and even contradictory viewpoints... if you have insights that are more than soundbites that fit on an index card... if you see society as a complicated interactions among humans no two alike, all with differing goals, without easy solutions... in short, if you see the world in swirls of vivid color, not black and white certainties...  yeah, maybe that one's for me.  Bring it on!

*although sometimes I write it anyway.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Reviews wanted!

A quick look at the Cleveland Poetry Calendar shows that we've got a poetry events (readings, workshops, open mikes, book release parties, shows, and everything else you can think of) just about every single day of the week.  I can only get to a small fraction of these-- nobody can get to them all-- and so there are huge swatches of the poetry scene here in Cleveland that are events I've never seen.
So, here's where you come in.  Going to a poetry event?  Would you like to post a review on Clevelandpoetics? Maybe take a few snapshots?
We're looking for some volunteers!  Tell us what's out there-- tell us what you see.
Willing to review something? Write to me at

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New Haiku Master for Cleveland: Marc Zeale

graphic for the Haiku deathmatch

At the Haiku Deathmatch in the Heights last Saturday, a new champion took the title of Haiku master of Cleveland. In the final round, Marc Zeale edged out second-place contestant me--not to mention ten other contestants-- to win the Haiku title.
Haiku poet takes the spot

This year's competition featured a lot of senryu and humorous haiku, not to mention a good dose of political poetry--
It is much easier
to buy a gun than control
the ones who use them
--plus some classic haiku as well.

A big thanks to Heights Arts for sponsoring the event, and to Dobama Theatre for providing the venue.

Birds, in spring forests,
Audience voting 
flying past lower branches,
sometimes hit their heads.

Congrats to Marc!

Marc with the winner's trophy

Haiku by Marc Zeale
Photos by Geoffrey A. Landis

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ohio Poetry Day celebration at Mount Union

Ohio poetry day, set by the Ohio state legislature as the third Friday in October, falls on October 16 this year.  The OPD events will be the evening of Friday October 16, with a reading by Ohio Poet of the Year Jeff Gundy, along with writing prompts and overnight contests; and then continue on Saturday October 17 at Mount Union University in Alliance.

Location: Hoover-Price Campus Center (HPCC), University of Mount Union, 420 West Simpson Street, Alliance OH 44601

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Congrats to De’John Hardges!

Congrats to Cleveland's De’John Hardges!

 De’John Hardges, 16, was one of five teen poets selected by a White House committee to the 2015 class of the National Student Poets Program.
left: De’John Hardges; right: Michelle Obama.  First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a poetry reading in honor of the 2015 National Student Poets in the Blue Room of the White House, October 8, 2015. (Photo by Patrick G. Ryan for the National Student Poets Program.)

Check out the news:

Or watch him on YouTube

The National Student Poets Program selects five young writers who show great promise, and invests in the talent of these students through mentorships and workshops on writing and leadership. Each poet is tasked to serve as a literary ambassador with the mission to engage diverse audiences of all ages in the art of poetry by sharing their work, attending events, hosting workshops and leading service projects within their communities. The National Student Poets will next travel to New York City to attend the renowned Poets Forum, presented by the Academy of American Poets.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Haiku Deathmatch in the Heights!

graphic for the Haiku deathmatch

Heights Arts presents Fourth Not-So-Annual

Haiku Death Match

12 contenders vie for title of Haiku Master on October 10, 2015

Past haiku masters and new contenders will be competing for glory, fame, and a not-so-cheesy trophy in Heights Arts’ Haiku Death Match at Dobama Theatre.
Inaugurated in 2007, the Death Match is a live haiku poetry competition where audience votes determine the Haiku Master. Contenders, who come prepared with an arsenal of haiku, compete in pairs for a given number of rounds. The audience judges the poems by raising color paddles to indicate their vote, while volunteer counters tally the votes. The emcee announces the score and endeavors to keep the crowds calm (at this event, heckling is encouraged). The last poet standing is the 2015 Haiku Death Match Master.
On-the-spot poetic competition can be traced back to the 17th century Japanese poet Basho, who is also credited for making the 17-syllable haiku a revered form of poetry. This year’s contenders include past masters Geoffrey Landis and Kathleen Cerveny, recipient of the 2014 Cleveland Arts Prize; Jeff Coryell, Cleveland Heights city councilman; Lee Chilcote, managing editor of Freshwater Cleveland; defending Death Match champion Ray McNiece; plus Diane Borsenik, Dominick Duda, Bridget Kriner, Celeste McCarty, Mary Turzillo, and Marc Zielinski.
The community is invited to enjoy the poetic carnage, participate as the voting and heckling horde, and help support literary arts programming in the Heights areas. Audience tickets available online at, at the Heights Arts gallery, 2175 Lee Road or at the door. 
Cash bar and refreshments will be available to keep vocal chords lubricated.

$15 audience – General admission
$10 audience – Heights Arts members
Purchase Tickets

flyer for the haiku deathmatch


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