Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2015 Ohio Poetry Day contests

first page of flyer for Ohio poetry day contests
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 contests, ranging from the annual "I hate you- let's have a drink!" contest, to the Crème de la Crème contest, open only to previous winners, and the Evan Lodge Workshop award, for poetry to be critiqued in workshop on Ohio Poetry Day.

Closing Date: May 31, 2015 (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. (For thirty contests, that's the cheapest entry fee you will find anywhere.) 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Entries must be original, unpublished in any form and must never have won a state or national contest prize of over $10, or be submitted for publication elsewhere.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, the contest for the cover of the annual book.
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 "Welcome Aboard" and the "Evan Lodge Workshop Award" ), 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 prize-winning poems and art will be published in a copyrighted Best of 2015 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 16 & 17, at the University of Mount Union.
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.

--Oh, and mark you calendars for the Ohio Poetry Day itself!  This year the celebration is the evening of October 16 (social and workshops) and during the day on 17 (readings and celebrations) at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio.

30 Poems & 30 Poets from Northeast Ohio

Cuyahoga Public library's 30 Days of Poetry has published 30 Poems & 30 Poets from Northeast Ohio!

Here are the poems:

Mary Turzillo, Road Kill

Larry Smith, Where I Am Going/Where I Have Been

Sarah Gridley, Poetry Makes Nothing Happen

Mwatabu S. Okantah, driving while black

Gail Bellamy, Spice Rub

Gina Tabasso, Speaking Honestly

Mark Kuhar, citytalk

P.K. Saha, The Power of Instinct

Kevin Prufer, What I Gave the 20th Century

Theresa Göttl Brightman, In Doubt

Nancy Boutilier, The Idea of a Body

Terry Provost, Cleveland, to what shall I lichen thee?

Dianne Borsenik, Pools of —

Mary Quade, Air Show: F-16s above Cleveland

Jack McGuane, Particles

Ted Lardner, Paintbrush Left Overnight on the Ground Asana

John Burroughs, Disciples

Jeanne Bryner, Blue Collar

Caryl Pagel, Vision #5

Catherine Criswell, Spring Tease

Nina Freedlander Gibans, From The Bridges That Hart Crane Left

Chris Franke, Logo- machy

RA Washington, Invalide

Joshua Gage, Three Haiku from “Spring”

Tim Joyce, Stone Mad

Meridith Holmes, Staying Behind

Rita Grabowski, My Mother and I, Together

Ben Gulyas, It is a poem's own dirty breath

Sara Holbrook, Canvassing for the School Levy

Diane Gilliam L’Inglese

If you want to hear some poetry, April's 30 days of Poetry will end with a reading.  They're celebrating with Poetry Open Mic @ the Library tomorrow.
This open mic is for everyone who writes poetry - and especially those who have been writing this April in response to the Library's daily Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry. Come read your poem! Sign up to read starts at 6:30 p.m. Please make sure your poem is under five minutes in length and appropriate for a public audience of all ages.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dr. Seuss is not a Poet

photo of RoseI've been mulling over Susan Grimm's essay, posted last month, arguing that "roses are red" is not a poem; and neither are the works of Shel Silverstein nor Dr. Seuss.
I'm pretty sure I disagree. (Uncle Shel?  Not poetry? How can it be?)- but it's worth looking at and arguing. What is a poem, anyway?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The National Beat Poetry Festival Is Coming to Cleveland!

Exciting news!  The National Beat Poetry Festival is coming to Cleveland! 

The official mission statement of The National Beat Poetry Festival is:
 "The National Beat Poetry Festival, as a non-profit organization, is dedicated to hosting, collaborating, and fostering joint partnerships for Beat themed poetry readings, workshops, plays, radio shows and much more locally and across America...the Beat Generation's significant writings and history of its original prime movers lives on from its inception in the early 1940's, and its legacy continues today by way of new writers, poets and artists of disparate influences and means of expression. The NBFP is committed to not only supporting venues in existence, but also in developing new venues where cultural preservation and the works of new artists can show yesterday meeting the living voices of today. NBFP's activities promote literacy and open exchange dialogue which incorporates the Beat history and art at its base, to break boundaries and bridge cultures with new thought, ideas, and free expression."

Events will be happening throughout the month of September in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Indiana, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Long Island, New York City, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Berkeley, Fredonia, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Denver, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Baltimore, New Orleans, San Luis Obispo, Chicago, Augusta Georgia, Charlotte NC, Newport News Virginia, Clearwater Florida, Venice California, Posznan Poland, Nigeria, Greece, Liverpool England, Bangalore India, Stockholm Sweden,  and Grabserberg Switzerland.  New events are added daily!
On Saturday September 19, 2015, Cleveland, OH will celebrate The National Beat Poetry Festival with the event BeatStreet Cleveland at the Barking Spider Tavern, 11310 Juniper Rd, from 3pm to 7pm, featuring poets and live music, with free admission.

YOU are invited to join us for this historic Happening!

Confirmed guests so far include:

Chansonette Buck  (Oregon) -- reading from her memoir Unnecessary Turns: Growing Up Beat

Chansonette Buck spent her childhood "on the road" as stepdaughter of a Black Mountain poet.  She holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and has won awards for her visual art, poetry, and teaching. In her poem "back then" from her chapbook blood oranges, she writes about riding in the back seat of the car with her brother and Peter Orlovsky, with Allen Ginsberg and her parents in the front. 

Alex Gildzen (New Mexico) -- published by d.a. levy in the Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle

Alex Gildzen is a poet and artist who uses film as the basis of his work.  He entered Kent State University in 1961, and while still an undergraduate had poems published in American Weave and Snowy Egret.  He met d.a. levy in 1965; Hugh Fox included him in his 1973 anthology The Living Underground.  His book Ohio Triangle has just been published by Crisis Chronicles Press to celebrate his 72nd birthday.  Find Gildzen at Arroyo Chamisa.

John Burroughs (Cleveland) -- poems include "Cannot Believe William S. Burroughs Is Dead" and "Allen Ginsberg Wants You"

John Burroughs is the author of The Eater of the Absurd and numerous poetry chapbooks, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Since 2008 he has been editor/publisher for Crisis Chronicles Press; he co-founded the annual Snoetry Winter Wordfest.  He performs his dynamic poetry throughout OH, MI, WV, and PA.  His new book Beat Attitude (from NightBallet Press) will debut at BeatStreet Cleveland.

Mad Anthony (Cincinnati)

Mad Anthony delivers "wicked dueling guitars and thunderous drums," "passion, unhinged energy and volume," "reckless abandon and relentless dedication," and "highly energetic songs with fun, quirky songwriting."  Their newest cd is Sank for Days.  Ringo Jones, Adam Flaig, and Marc Sherlock thrilled Cleveland in 2010 and 2011 with their sets at Lix & Kix, and are sure to blow the roof off any place they play.

Check out BeatStreet Cleveland the blog for more details and updated information! Go HERE
Stay tuned for exciting news as more poets are confirmed, and mark your calendars for this Very Special Event.  Cleveland's heart will BEAT brightly with BeatStreet at the Barking Spider in September!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tomas Tranströmer, 1931–2015

Below Freezing
Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Robert Bly
We are at a party that doesn’t love us. Finally the party lets the mask fall and shows what it is: a shunting station for freight cars. In the fog cold giants stand on their tracks. A scribble of chalk on the car doors.
One can’t say it aloud, but there is a lot of repressed violence here. That is why the furnishings seem so heavy. And why it is so difficult to see the other thing present: a spot of sun that moves over the house walls and slips over the unaware forest of flickering faces, a biblical saying never set down: “Come unto me, for I am as full of contradictions as you.”
I work the next morning in a different town. I drive there in a hum through the dawning hour that resembles a dark blue cylinder. Orion hangs over the frost. Children stand in a silent clump, waiting for the school bus, the children no one prays for. The light grows gradually as our hair.
Tomas Tranströmer, 1931–2015
He had been nominated for the Nobel Prize every year since 1993, and finally won in 2011. The Swedish Academy said in its citation that Transtromer had received the Nobel prize “because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”.
Transtromer was left partly paralysed after suffering a stroke in 1990, which made it difficult for him to speak, though he continued to write.
Transtromer debuted at 23 with the collection Seventeen Poems, and later divided his time between poetry and his work as a psychologist.
In famous collections such as the 1966 Windows And Stones, Transtromer used imaginative metaphors to describe the mysteries of the human mind, while his other work addressed nature, history and death.
He is survived by his wife Monika and their two daughters Emma and Paula.
Today, we are re-reading such poems as “The Indoors Is Endless”;
Other poems:
Ten poems by Tomas Tranströmer
translations by Robert Bly
A Programme of Texts by Tomas Tranströmer
Nobel Lecture December 7, 2011
Tomas Tranströmer
One evening in February I came near to dying here.
The car skidded sideways on the ice, out
on the wrong side of the road. The approaching cars –
their lights – closed in.

My name, my girls, my job
broke free and were left silently behind
further and further away. I was anonymous
like a boy in a playground surrounded by enemies.

The approaching traffic had huge lights.
They shone on me while I pulled at the wheel
in a transparent terror that floated like egg white.
The seconds grew – there was space in them –
they grew as big as hospital buildings.

You could almost pause
and breathe out for a while
before being crushed.

Then something caught: a helping grain of sand
or a wonderful gust of wind. The car broke free
and scuttled smartly right over the road.
A post shot up and cracked – a sharp clang – it
flew away in the darkness.

Then – stillness. I sat back in my seat-belt
and saw someone coming through the whirling snow
to see what had become of me.
I have been walking for a long time
on the frozen Östergötland fields.
I have not seen a single person.

In other parts of the world
there are people who are born, live and die
in a perpetual crowd.

To be always visible – to live
in a swarm of eyes –
a special expression must develop.
Face coated with clay.

The murmuring rises and falls
while they divide up among themselves
the sky, the shadows, the sand grains.

I must be alone
ten minutes in the morning
and ten minutes in the evening.
– Without a programme.

Everyone is queuing at everyone's door.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Come to Sandusky's Mr. Smith's Coffeehouse for a fine reading event.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

National Poetry Month

(Guest post, from The Cauldron)

National Poetry Month

Timothy Cox

April is National Poetry Month, and for many poets — and a good number of poetry lovers and appreciators — it is a time to reflect on words and their beauty.
There are a number of ways to participate in the celebration.
The students of the poetry workshops offered by the Cleveland State University English Department come together for weekly classes to hone their craft and grow a greater love for the poetic word.
Organizations such as Speak Up!, a monthly poetry slam held at the university hosted by the Black Studies Department, bring together poets of the spoken word to do just that — speak up.
The many diverse voices you may encounter in the hallways of CSU or in the Black Studies Department are the backdrop for the amplification of the university's poets. As poets, we harmonize, and in the celebration of ceremony, turn verse to life and life to verse.
For National Poetry Month, find a poetry reading on campus, and open yourself to a reality you may not otherwise encounter — for the word is life, and all young people seek life in some form or another.
Try a poetry challenge — write a poem for each of the 30 days of April in celebration of the occasion, a feat of no meager means.
Young poets have taken to social media to challenge their fellows to dedicate themselves in celebration of National Poetry Month.
The challenge is to be vigilantly creative and steadfast to honor those poets who have done so throughout their careers — in the virtues of passion and discipline and little else. A daunting task turns into routine when one loves what one does.
Some may be turned away by words. Some may be turned away by language. Some may be turned away by art.
But what is more important is love — for poems and for those who write them. There is warmth in verses of poetry that is not found elsewhere in the realm of the arts.
Be as it may, the task of the poet has been to introduce, inculcate and conclude one's journey through the arts. It is a lifelong journey for some — for others, it may simply be an interesting semester.
This month, read Countee Cullen or Dylan Thomas, Saul Williams or Jack Kerouac. Read But you would be remiss not to read a poem this month.
Find what you enjoy and indulge, for there is much on the other side of the cover of a book of poetry.
And before you make it to the rear side of the book you will have breathed and blinked and grown and understood that there is much more to the written word than meets the eye. Celebrate a poem. Celebrate a poet. Celebrate National Poetry Month.

Timothy Cox

Timothy Cox is a senior English major at CSU.
Originally appeared in The Cauldron, Tuesday, April 14, 2015 
Reprinted with permission of the editors.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Stark poetry

Are you having a great national poetry month?  Are you following the Cuyahoga Public library's 30 Days of Poetry series, featuring 30 poems by 30 Northeast Ohio poets (today's poet: Jack McGuane), and challenging you to write your own 30 days of poetry?

Meanwhile, the Stark county library is also celebrating Ohio poets:
To celebrate National Library Week, we asked seven Stark County authors to loan the library a passage of a previously published work that touched somehow on the theme of libraries, librarians, books, and/or reading. We also asked each of them to tell us what libraries have meant to them. Each day this week we are featuring the response of one of those writers among whom are a historian, a journalist, three poets, and two fiction writers. You can come here daily to read their offerings.

Keep watching all week, and don't miss some of the writers featured:
photo of Bonnie Jacobson
Bonnie Jacobson

Thursday, April 2, 2015

So, Do You Want a Challenge?

Image of armored knight, from Wikipedia
I challenge you!
It's National Poetry Month, and poetic challenges are coming thick and fast.

If you want to write a poem a day, you shouldn't complain that nobody's challenging you!

Are you up for it?

Over on Cuyahoga County Public Library's 30 Days of Poetry site, the first challenge is up:

April 1: Think abou​t opposites:

  • If we could make April Fool’s Day into April Sage's Day, how would it be celebrated? Write a poem of decrees for such a day.

Meanwhile, the Writing Knights have set up their own challenge-a-day for the month of April. Their challenges will all dealing with "vestigal words".  The goal is to use the word in that day's poem:

Writing Knights April 1 challenge:

  • Today's word is: Agelast: a person who never laughs. Use the word in today's poem.
--e-mail your poem to Writing Knights, or post your challenge poem to their facebook page.

And, over at "Poetic Asides," Robert Lee Brewer kicks off another month of April poetry challenges:

PAD Challenge, day 1:

  • For today’s prompt, write a resistance poem. There are many forms of resistance, including militant resistance, resistance to new ideas, the resistance in exercise, and maybe even a little resistance to starting a new project. I hope you don’t resist the urge to write a poem today.
(Brewer' also gives a list of Poetic challenge tips-- worth reading even if you aren't doing the challenges,)
--Post your challenge poem to the comments of Poem A Day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

30 days of Poetry!

Icon for Cuyahoga County Public Library 30 Days of Poetry
Today the Cuyahoga County Public Library starts their celebration of National Poetry Month with "30 days of Poetry"!
They'll feature a poem from a different Northeast Ohio poet every day this month:
along with poetry writing prompts.
Or, sign up for to get their daily e-mail: to date, 1249 people have signed up to get the daily page! (That's even more than last year, when prizes were given away for signing up).
And, last year they didn't have a place for readers to post. This year you can comment on the day’s post, as well as tweet #readwritepoetry

image of an old National Poetry Month poster
Many thanks to 
for organizing it all!


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