Saturday, February 28, 2015

Youth Slam Finals at Spaces on 28 March

at Spaces Gallery
2200 Superior Viaduct
Cleveland Ohio, 44113

For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Meet the Author- Jack's Memoirs

This should be a strong event focusing on one of America's finest writers through the writings of another fine writer Kurt Landefeld. It's a work of imagination and dedication to a vision.  Come and share your Kerouac.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Private Workshop with Stephen Haven

Stephen Haven [photo by Celia Olsen]
Stephen Haven, award-winning poet and director of a university poetry press and MFA Program, will offer a private poetry workshop from his Shaker Heights home on eight Sunday evenings, 7:00-9:00 p.m., May 10-June 28. Interested writers must be accepted into the workshop by submitting a 10-page poetry manuscript by April 15 to  The cost of the workshop is $600, paid by May 1. Enrollment is limited to 10 poets.  Email Stephen Haven for more details. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Philip Levine, 1928–2015

 The Paris Review on Phillip Levine

Philip Levine, 1928–2015

February 15, 2015 | by
We were saddened to learn that Philip Levine died yesterday at eighty-seven. The U.S. poet laureate from 2011 to 2012, he composed poems that were, as Margalit Fox writes in the New York Times, “vibrantly, angrily, and often painfully alive with the sound, smell, and sinew of heavy manual labor.”
Levine grew up in industrial Detroit during the Depression; the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, he worked factory jobs for Cadillac and for Chevrolet. “You could recite poems aloud in there,” he told The Paris Review in 1988 of his time on the assembly line. “The noise was so stupendous. Some people singing, some people talking to themselves, a lot of communication going on with nothing, no one to hear.”
His time in those jobs would later inform one of his most enduring poems, “They Feed They Lion,” from the late sixties—you can hear him read it above. Levine explained the title in a 1999 interview with The Atlantic:
I was working alongside a guy in Detroit—a black guy named Eugene—when I was probably about twenty-four. He was a somewhat older guy, and we were sorting universal joints, which are part of the drive shaft of a car. The guy who owned the place had bought used ones, and we were supposed to sort the ones that could be rebuilt and made into usable replacement parts from the ones that were too badly damaged. So we spread them out on the concrete floor, and we were looking at them carefully, because we were the guys who’d then do the job of rebuilding them. We had two sacks that we were putting them in—burlap sacks—and at one point Eugene held up a sack, and on it were the words “Detroit Municipal Zoo.” And he laughed, and said, “They feed they lion they meal in they sacks.” That’s exactly what he said! And I thought, This guy’s a genius with language. He laughed when he said it, because he knew that he was speaking an English that I didn’t speak, but that I would understand, of course. He was almost parodying it, even though he appreciated the loveliness of it. It stuck in my mind, and then one night just after the riots in Detroit—I’d gone back to the city to see what had happened—somehow I thought of that line. “There’s a poem there,” I said. “But I don’t know what it is. And I’m just going to walk around for a couple of days and see what accumulates.”

In Levine’s best work, the political, the personal, and the poetical seem less intertwined than indivisible: his great subject may have been, as he put it, “the small heroics of getting through the day when the day doesn’t give a shit.”

American poetry needs this kind of advocacy more than ever—with Levine’s death, it’s lost one of its most intense, elegantly strident voices.



Where to Submit: February + March

Where to Submit: February + March

We’re going bi-monthly! Here’s an update of presses and journals with open reading periods during the coming two months...


(listings by Entropy Magazine for Presses, Chapbooks, Magazines, etc...)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Poetry as Propaganda

A friend once told me, "It's very easy to die for a cause. It's very difficult to live for a cause." This is something that surely every poet understands.

That being said, apparently ISIS is now using poetry as propaganda to rally their troops into martyrdom. This is certainly nothing new, but is still disheartening.

In defiance, I wonder if readers could write their own propaganda. What changes would you like to see made in Cleveland, and what would the rewards of such changes be? What could we do to make Cleveland more friendly, beautiful, prosperous, artistic, healthy, successful? Where is that poetry? Identify a problem--little or big--and then promise the people who commit themselves to solving that problem the most glorious, celebratory, visions of delight. If terrorist martyrs get 72 virgins to die for their cause, what do the people get if they live for your cause?

I can't wait to see your poems.

Lake Erie Ink hosts Teen Open Mic February 20th

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ray McNiece: The Lives of a Poet

Thursday through Saturday,  February 19-21st in the James Levin Theater at 7pm.  Friday is FREE beer and wine night!
6415 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102




Through linked poems, songs and monologues, Ray McNiece presents a memoir on stage depicting the many facets of his life as a performer.  Live music and ancestral images help him tell the tales of a poet whose words have carried him from the rusty crucible of Cleveland across the wide world. Ray will also honor the many lives who have influenced his art, from his father -- an would be vaudeville hoofer -- to the legendary Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko among others.

Featuring Ray McNiece
Music: Al Moses
Graphic Art: Tim Herron

Ray McNiece is the author of seven poetry books – Dis, The Bone-Orchard Conga, The Road that Carried Me Here, Song that Fathoms Home, Wet Sand Raven Tracks –New Haiku, Us — Talking Across America; two solo theatre works – Dis – Voices From a Shelter, Us? Talking Across America; two music/poetry collaborations – Mouth Music, A Rust bowl Hootenanny; and one collaborative theatre work – Homegirl meets Whiteboy — with Shawn Jackson.  The Orlando Sentinel reporting on Ray’s solo show at the Fringe Festival called him “a modern day descendant of Woody Guthrie. He has a way with words and a wry sense of humor.”  In a review of his second theatre work, Us? Talking Across America, the Star-Phoenix said, “His thoughtful writing combines with perfectly timed delivery to create a powerful wordscape that owes as much to jazz as drama.”  He was the voice of Woody Guthrie in WCPN/NPR’s award winning radio documentary, Hard Travellin’. He also co-edited the anthology of contemporary American Buddhist Poetry, America Zen.

Ray McNiece has been presenting his shows, writing and performance workshops for students from kindergarten through college for over 25 years.  He works for both the Ohio Arts Council Arts in Education residency artist as well as doing presentations and workshops for Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio.  He started his own educational company Page to Stage Productions in 1994.  He has worked as a consultant for WordForward in Singapore.

Highlights of past tours include a keynote address shared with Robert Bly at the First Coast Writer’s Conference, a featured reading at the opening of City Light’s Italia in Florence with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and a performance with his band Tongue in Groove at the Starwood Festival, opening for legendary drummer Babatunde Oluntunje. In the summer of 2001 he toured Russia with Yevgeny Yevtushenko where he appeared on Good Morning, Russia and performed at the Moscow Polytech, the Russian Poets’ Hall of Fame where he was dubbed ‘the American Mayakovski.

He has received numerous awards for his writing and performance, most recently the 2001 Hart Crane Award from KSU, a residency in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and a residency at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, Florida. He was the captain of two National Poetry Slam Championship teams (’92 Boston, ’94 Cleveland) and won the Arkansas Grand Slam, the largest performance poetry prize ever awarded. In 2011 he received a $20,000 Creative Workforce Fellowship from the CAC and in 2012 he received an artist residency from CPAC/Arts Collinwood to complete an oral history of North Collinwood, his ancestral neighborhood and where he currently resides.

He is also an accomplished actor and has appeared in plays at Ensemble, Dobama, Cleveland Public and Cleveland Playhouse theatres. He was an original cast member of the improv comedy Flanigan’s Wake. Most recently he appeared as Cuchullain in Open Mind Firmament, an Evening of WB Yeats. He performs in schools as Johnny Appleseed and Thomas Jefferson.  For more information please go to his webpage

Jordan Davis has created time-based art for stage, screen and street for three decades. He designed the four-screen video installation for DancEvert’s “4 Elements” at the first IngenuityFest. He produced the live radio drama event “Calling All Ears” with David Ossman of the Firesign Theater on WCPN-FM. He directed a season of “CPTv,” Cleveland Public Theater’s cable television show. He’s appeared at the Cleveland International Performance Art Festival, and served as Master of Ceremonies at CPT’s “Vaudeville” variety shows for five years. As a studio artist he has produced CD releases by Ray McNiece, Ping Chong, Vernon Bellecourt, and Helga Sandburg, as well as his own audio art and spoken word productions. He’s been Resident Sound Designer at the Cleveland Play House, Hanna Theatre Cabaret and CPT. He represented Cleveland as a team member at the International Poetry Slam competition. He’s received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council and the Cleveland Press Club. You can’t see sound, that’s only part of the problem.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Introducing Literistic

 Introducing Literistic

Every month, we create a highly-curated list of deadlines for submissions to literary publications, contests and fellowships and send out an email. We're calling our service Literistic and we’re working on building it a proper website. In the mean time, .

Literistic was born of a frustration: as a writer, managing deadlines is a headache. Finding out about upcoming deadlines is a matter of spending hours trawling large, advertisement-supported databases. These databases are often convoluted, hard-to-navigate and full of irrelevant listings. They inspire aimlessness and procrastination, making the maxim of "submit widely and submit often" difficult to realize.

Every month, Literistic sends you a list of deadlines for the following month. It's elegant, simple and immaculately organized. Its listings are diverse but thoughtful, comprehensive but not overwhelming. We cover poetry, fiction and nonfiction. We cover publications, contests, awards and fellowships in Canada, the United States and Britain. While the list itself is compiled by our team of editors, we also ask each subscriber which deadlines are the most important to them, so that our list is representative. We're heavily curating the list, but we're also measuring click-through rates to determine what's relevant to our subscribers. Currently, this includes magazines like Ploughshares, Tin House and Granta, contests like The Paris Literary Prize, the SLS-Disquest Prize and The PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize and awards like The Wallace Stegner Fellowship, The National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowships and The Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships. You'll never have to cruise another crappy database again.
Journals can't pay to have themselves listed in Literistic and we aren't selling advertisements. This is just the straight goods: deadlines for the best literary publications, contests and fellowships, presented simply and beautifully each and every month.

If you're interested, we're just getting started. Sign up here.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

4 for Valentine's Day: Greenheart by Dianne Borsenik


painting of trees
"Birch Trees," David M. Landis, ca 1960
If it should rain
today, then walk
with me. We’ll shed
our clothes and slip
between the trees,
hand in hand and
skin to skin, lost
in a landscape
of pagan green,
where thunder beats
its bodhrán drum,
and silvered leaves
become a tambourine.

And if the sun
should shine today,
then dance with me.
We’ll bare our feet
and find the beat
within our hearts,
stand lip to lip
and speak in tongues,
two of a kind,
enraptured by
the blazing heat
that shapes our world,
our bodies intertwined.

And if the night
should start to fall
and stars appear,
then sleep with me.
We’ll wrap our arms
around the moon
and hug it close,
transcending time,
anointed by
the stuff of dreams,
the two of us
becoming one,
supernal where we lie.

--Dianne Borsenik

4 for Valentine's Day:

painting by David Landis, about 1960

4 for Valentine's Day: Crash and Burn by Geoffrey Landis

Crash and Burn

Love starts with kisses and ends with tears.
They know your secrets. And you know theirs.

I'm tired and sad of feeling tired and sad.
This song makes me miss you and what we had.

crash and burn,
live and learn.

And that's why you'll always be crying,
And I’m quite aware that we are dying.

It's late, and I want to talk to you so bad.
I'm so confused and frustrated, and a lot sad.

crash and burn,
live and learn.

And I am so depressed, again, I tried to call last night.
I’m blind in the darkness and can only see the light.

I'm tired and sad of feeling tired and sad.
This song makes me miss you and what we had.

crash and burn,
live and learn
crash and burn,
live and learn.

 --Geoffrey A. Landis & the internet

4 for Valentine's Day:

Poet's note: 
This poem was abstracted from lines out of “the longest poem in the world”, a collection of tweets taken out of context from the twitter feed and paired by computer with other tweets into rhyming couplets.  Created by Andrei Gheorghe.

4 for Valentine's Day: Firefly by Mary Turzillo

painting by Japanese artist Tsukioka Kogyo
"Fireflies at Night", Tsukioka Kogyo (1869-1927)

Flash of joy in our wild dark life
that look
a word
the time you wrote the firefly poem.

--Mary A. Turzillo 

4 for Valentine's Day:

4 for Valentine's Day: Valentine Blues by Marcus Bales

Valentine Blues

"Rose," Geoffrey A. Landis

I’ve read through every single card
In half a dozen stores;
They’ve got them by the cubic yard,
None good enough for yours.

They’ve got a big selection there
Of cards I refuse
Because I’ve got the Valentine blues.

There’s cards for spouses, cards for friends,
And cards for straights or gays,
There’s cards that want to make amends,
And cards that count the ways;

I hope you’ll understand the reason
I don’t enthuse
Because I’ve got the Valentine blues.

There’s cards for vegetarians --
Or anything you eat,
There’s cards for love’s centarians,
And those about to meet;

I hope that you’ll forgive me now
But I couldn’t choose
Because I’ve got the Valentine blues.

Then when Cupid darts you
And love or something starts you
To give the gift and card stores a cruise,
You’ll find the same clichés there
Not lovely words of praise there
For one you never want to leave or lose.

There’s cards with slots for cash or check
And cards that play a song
And edgy cards whose use of “heck”
Has shocked us for so long.

I know that I am rambling here
Like I’m full of booze,
But I have got the Valentine blues --
Those frilly-lacy, super-sap, emotion-heist Valentine blues;

St Valentine may authorize
The arrows to use,
But Cupid’s only brought me the blues --
Those crimson-hearted, chocolate-covered, over-priced Valentine blues.

--Marcus Bales 

4 for Valentine's Day:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

March 9th Monday at Mahall's presents Karen Schubert, Megan Erwin

March 9th 2015 at 7:30 p.m. the Monday at Mahall's Poetry and Prose Series will present readings by featured authors Karen Schubert & Megan Erwin.

Karen Schubert’s most recent chapbooks are Black Sand Beach (Kattywompus Press, 2015) and I Left My Wings on a Chair (Kent State Press, 2014), selected by Kathleen Flenniken for the Wick Poetry Center prize. Her work appears or is forthcoming in PoetsArtists, The Louisville Review, American Literary Review, Best American Poetry Blog, and diode poetry journal. Awards include a 2013 residency at Headlands Center for the Arts and 2014 Pushcart Prize nomination. She is a founding member of Lit Youngstown, a new literary arts organization in Youngstown, Ohio.

Megan M. Erwin is a graduate of the North East Ohio Master of Fine Arts program and the former editor of Whiskey Island. A former Bisbee fellow, she is a recipient the Leonard Trawick Creative Writing Award, an Academy of American Poet’s Prize, and a scholarship to the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at the University of Massachusetts. Her work can be found at Everyday Genius and the Valparaiso Fiction Review.

An open mic emceed by John Burroughs will follow. Beer, bowling and balderdash optional, as always.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cleveland, by Diane Vogel Ferri

a celebration of Cleveland from Diane Vogel Ferri:

photo by Diane Vogel Ferri


I see Cleveland as a time not yet come,
a book we haven’t read, the tenacious hope 
of next year tangled in its bridges and highways,
beaming off the silvery water of a Great Lake.

A place where Christmas memories and food memories
are built into our bones, where you can step into a diamond
and hear an orchestra, or on any given day view a Rembrandt,
a Van Gogh, or hear poetry in a courtyard.

I believe in the Native Americans who named 
our crooked river, the Traffic Guardians 
welcoming you across the great divide of east and west,
into multicultural streets and towns.

In the jowls and crags of tumultuous industry
I no longer see smoke and filth - its former fame.
I see a place where Grandpa delivered ice, and
dad played catch with a Cleveland Indian on the streets of the Heights.

God’s good creation surrounds and envelops us
in the glorious greenery of the Emerald Necklace
that we wear so well, with the fearless changing 
of the seasons flowing in our lifeblood.


graphic for Diane's blog COEXIST


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