Saturday, June 27, 2015

I Have Wasted My Life or You Must Be Suffering From Poetry

 “I have wasted my life.” Over at the Paris Review, Dan Piepenbring takes a look at James Wright‘s “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” and the many interpretations readers have brought to its famous last line. Among those readers is David Mitchell, who wrote about the same poem in an essay for The Atlantic‘s By Heart series earlier this year.

At The Toast, a linguist points out some of the ways in which we write out sarcasm on the Internet.

 Poets grow old like everyone else, and often their ideas about poetry grow old too...You Must Be Suffering from Poetry

Fight Club for Kids

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Distinguished Gentlemen of the Spoken Word: in France

The Distinguished Gentlemen of the Spoken Word are bringing Cleveland poetry to France!  And getting some serious kudos from doing it, too.
The Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word is a group of African-American males ages 8-18 who study the art of performance poetry. These gentlemen take classic poetry pieces, movement poetry (mime/breaking/ flexing) and combine it with the art of spoken word.
Poetry has become the living tool that they use to help keep them focused and on the right path in school, at home, and within the community.
--(from their website)
 They've had some setbacks on their way-- attacks, losing money to a tailor who takes the money but doesn't deliver, working against social and institutional barriers... not even to mention the work it takes to raise $10,000 to get to France. (But they did!)  Now they're lionized in Lyon.
The Cleveland-based performance troupe was founded more than 12 years ago by poet, teacher and youth-advocate Honey Bell-Bey.
Can poetry change the world?  I don't know. But here are some young poets who are going to try.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Congrats to Mary Weems

logo of Cleveland arts prize

Congratulations to Cleveland Heights poet Mary Weems for winning the $10,000 2015 Cleveland Arts Prize for Emerging Artist (literature).

The prize will be awarded at the 55th Annual Awards event on Thursday, at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 6:30 to 8pm, with a VIP party before, and an afterparty afterwards from 8-9.
Dr. Mary Weems was the first African American Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights, and has taught at Cleveland State, John Carroll University and Ohio University. Her play Purses was performed at Karamu House, and she’s currently on a national tour performing her one-woman show, Black Notes, in support of her latest book, Blackeyed: Plays and Monologues. She is writing a new play, Gunfight, responding to random gun violence.And she is one of the original members of clevelandpoetics.
cover of "Blackeyed"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ornette Coleman and the NY School of Poets

Ornette Coleman (1930-2015), Frank O’Hara, Amiri Baraka

This morning brought the sad news that the groundbreaking jazz musician Ornette Coleman has passed away at 85.  There will surely be many obituaries and testimonials to Coleman’s importance and legacy, but I wanted to just note some the important points of contact between Coleman and the New York School and the postwar avant-garde.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Coleman became a central figure in the downtown avant-garde scene, beginning with a legendary ten-week residency at the Five Spot jazz club in New York, which was a regular hangout for Amiri Baraka (then LeRoi Jones), Frank O’Hara, and other young New York poets. Coleman’s landmark 1961 album Free Jazz famously featured a painting by Jackson Pollock on the cover, underscoring the connections between experimental jazz and avant-garde painting.  
Coleman became friendly with the young Baraka and other writers in Baraka’s lively bohemian circle, which included O’Hara and other poets of the New York School.  O’Hara was taken with Coleman and his music, referring to him in his letters and including a reference to him in the experimental film he made with Alfred Leslie, The Last Clean Shirt (which includes the exclamation “Ornette!” at one point) (at 32:15 to be precise).
The most detailed treatment of these intersections can be found in Michael Magee’s excellent article “Tribes of New York: Frank O’Hara, Amiri Baraka, and the Poetics of the Five Spot” (which can also be found in Magee’s book Emancipating Pragmatism).  Here’s an excerpt in which Magee writes about Ornette Coleman, O’Hara, and Baraka:
O’Hara was very excited about Ornette Coleman. Part of the occasion for that excitement was the affair going on between Coleman and O’Hara’s friend Diana Powell. In a letter telling Don Allen about the affair, O’Hara underscores Coleman’s name as “ORNETTE COLEMAN!!!” and in a contemporaneous letter to Vincent Warren he notes seeing Coleman at the Five Spot, prompting Warren’s memory by describing the group as “the one with the little trumpet [Don Cherry’s pocket trumpet] and sax.” While the references are typically gossipy, and while O’Hara’s interest in Coleman included his usual lack of distinction between the artistic, the personal, and the sexual, they lead in the direction of a provocatively different version of O’Hara than the one commonly invoked.  As Baraka has recently explained,
Frank dug the music, went to the 5 Spot often. We were all hit with the heavy impact in G[reenwich] V[illage] of Ornette C[oleman]. He was a New Thing, in that era of new things … Jazz was New York! It was urban, new, hot, revelatory, &c, it was the anthemic back and foreground of the art denizens of the then and there. Like language and city sounds … Frank was always looking for inspiration. The music inspired him. (Letter)
Baraka goes on to suggest what it was about Coleman that would have inspired O’Hara: “Jazz is Democratic in form, it basically is collective improvisation. It is about singular and collective spontaneity, and composition, both formal and mise-en-scene.”
As Baraka suggests, Ornette Coleman was “a New Thing, in that era of new things,” and his bold and exciting music had an indescribable impact on Baraka himself, on O’Hara, and on the shape of jazz, and so much else, to come.
 Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Fatal Problem With Poetry

In ninth grade English Mrs X required us to memorise and recite a poem and so I asked the Topeka High librarian to direct me to the shortest poem she knew and she suggested Marianne Moore’s ‘Poetry’, which, in the 1967 version, reads in its entirety:

I, too, dislike it.
Reading it, however, with a perfect
   contempt for it, one discovers in
it, after all, a place for the genuine.

 Ben Lerner stares into the mire of futility and falsehood that is poetry: “What if we dislike or despise or hate poems because they are—every single one of them—failures? … The fatal problem with poetry: poems. This helps explain why poets themselves celebrate poets who renounce writing.”

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Post One Thousand!

Post One Thousand!

When Michael Salinger started clevelandpoetics: the blog back when the millennium was still young--July 2008, actually-- who would have thought we'd get up to 1000 posts?
Yet here we are: post number one thousand.
Or, as the Romans would put it: "M."
Yahoo!  1000 posts in just under 7 years.  Break out the champagne! News, views, info you can use, entertainment, infotainment, readings, rantings, ravings-- we've done it all.
Set your bookmarks here, and place your bets: Think we can do another M?

Clevelandpoetics: pageviews per month

Monday, June 15, 2015

Juan Felipe Herrera, From Farm Fields to Poet Laureate

Calling all orange & lemon carriers,
come down the ladder to this hole
Calling all chile pepper sack humpers,
you, yes, you the ones with a crucifix

This poems ends:

Calling all tomato pickers,
the old ones, wearing frayed radiator masks.

The Library of Congress is to announce on Wednesday that Juan Felipe Herrera, a son of migrant farmworkers whose writing fuses wide-ranging experimentalism with reflections on Mexican-American identity, will be the next poet laureate.

More poems here

Blood on the Wheel

By Juan Felipe Herrera
     Ezekiel saw the wheel,
     way up in the middle of the air.
Blood on the night soil man en route to the country prison
Blood on the sullen chair, the one that holds you with its pleasure

Blood inside the quartz, the beauty watch, the eye of the guard
Blood on the slope of names & the tattoos hidden

Blood on the Virgin, behind the veils,
Behind—in the moon angel's gold oracle hair

                    What blood is this, is it the blood of the worker rat?
                    Is it the blood of the clone governor, the city maid?
                    Why does it course in s's & z's?

Blood on the couch, made for viewing automobiles & face cream
Blood on the pin, this one going through you without any pain

Blood on the screen, the green torso queen of slavering hearts
Blood on the grandmother's wish, her tawdry stick of Texas

Blood on the daughter's breast who sews roses
Blood on the father, does anyone remember him, bluish?

                    Blood from a kitchen fresco, in thick amber strokes
                    Blood from the baby's right ear, from his ochre nose
                    What blood is this?

Blood on the fender, in the sender's shoe, in his liquor sack
Blood on the street, call it Milagro Boulevard, Mercy Lanes #9
Blood on the alien, in the alligator jacket teen boy Juan

                    There is blood, there, he says
                    Blood here too, down here, she says
                    Only blood, the Blood Mother sings

Blood driving miniature American queens stamped into rage
Blood driving rappers in Mercedes blackened & whitened in news
Blood driving the snare-eyed professor searching for her panties
Blood driving the championship husband bent in Extreme Unction

                   Blood of the orphan weasel in heat, the Calvinist farmer in wheat
                   Blood of the lettuce rebellion on the rise, the cannery worker's prize

Blood of the painted donkey forced into prostitute zebra,
Blood of the Tijuana tourist finally awake & forced into pimp sleep again

It is blood time, Sir Terminator says,
It is blood time, Sir Simpson winks,
It is blood time, Sir McVeigh weighs.

                   Her nuclear blood watch soaked, will it dry?
                   His whitish blood ring smoked, will it foam?
                   My groin blood leather roped, will it marry?
                   My wife's peasant blood spoked, will it ride again?

Blood in the tin, in the coffee bean, in the maquila oración
Blood in the language, in the wise text of the market sausage
Blood in the border web, the penal colony shed, in the bilingual yard

                    Crow blood blues perched on nothingness again
                    fly over my field, yellow-green & opal
                    Dog blood crawl & swish through my sheets

Who will eat this speckled corn?
Who shall be born on this Wednesday war bed?

Blood in the acid theater, again, in the box office smash hit
Blood in the Corvette tank, in the crack talk crank below

Blood boat Navy blood glove Army ventricle Marines
in the cookie sex jar, camouflaged rape whalers
Roam & rumble, investigate my Mexican hoodlum blood

                    Tiny blood behind my Cuban ear, wine colored & hushed
                    Tiny blood in the death row tool, in the middle-aged corset
                    Tiny blood sampler, tiny blood, you hush up again, so tiny

Blood in the Groove Shopping Center,
In blue Appalachia river, in Detroit harness spleen

Blood in the Groove Virus machine,
In low ocean tide, in Iowa soy bean

Blood in the Groove Lynch mob orchestra,
South of Herzegovina, south, I said

Blood marching for the Immigration Patrol, prized & arrogant
Blood spawning in the dawn break of African Blood Tribes, grimacing
& multiple—multiple, I said

Blood on the Macho Hat, the one used for proper genuflections
Blood on the faithful knee, the one readied for erotic negation
Blood on the willing nerve terminal, the one open for suicide

Blood at the age of seventeen
Blood at the age of one, dumped in a Greyhound bus

Blood mute & autistic & cauterized & smuggled Mayan
& burned in border smelter tar

                    Could this be yours? Could this item belong to you?
                    Could this ticket be what you ordered, could it?

          Blood on the wheel, blood on the reel
          Bronze dead gold & diamond deep. Blood be fast.
Juan Felipe Herrera, "Blood on the Wheel" from Border-crosser with a Lamborghini Dream. Copyright © 1999 by Juan Felipe Herrera.  Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

Source: Border-crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (University of Arizona Press, 1999)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

UPDATED! Cleveland INKubator: a free writing un-conference in August

Mark your calendars-- the Cleveland Inkubator Writers’ Conference --sorry, I mean "Literary UN-conference"--will take place Saturday, August 1, at the downtown branch of the Cleveland Public Library. This conference is free and open to the public, and will feature workshops, craft talks, and readings. A Resource Fair will also showcase information from area literary organizations, publishers, and bookstores.
This will be a great opportunity to network with other writers and create some energy around the Cleveland literary scene.
Visit the website to register for the workshops of your choice. Although the event is free, workshop sizes are limited so early registration is recommended!

A literary UNconference 

"The idea is the brainchild of Lee Chilcote, a freelance journalist, poet and teacher, and Amy Rosenbluth, Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Lake Erie Ink. There is a need for community-based programming for both teen and adult writers in Cleveland. Northeast Ohio has a wonderful literary scene and many talented writers live here, yet we need to foster more collaboration and connections between all of us. The goal of the Inkubator is to provide writing programs that celebrate our rich literary culture while nurturing the next generation of talent. Thanks to the generosity of the Cleveland Public Library, which has jumped on board and agreed to donate space and support the event, the Gund Foundation and other supporters, the Cleveland Inkubator is now a reality. "


Building community one draft at a time

Dear friends,

Since we launched registration for the Cleveland Inkubator, Cleveland's first-ever free UNconference for writers on Saturday, August 1st, over 50 people have signed up to attend.

That means a lot to those of us organizing it. The response we've gotten validates what we believe: Cleveland needs an accessible, community-based forum to celebrate writing, build community, and help writers advance their craft.

Today we're going to give you three more reasons to sign up for the Inkubator and share this event with your networks. Our goal is to get at least 100-200 people (youth 14-18 and adults!) at the event -- help us make that happen!

The reasons are, of course, the fabulous presenters and workshop leaders we have lined up, in addition to our keynote readers David Giffels and Thrity Umrigar:

1. Award-winning poet Susan Grimm

Susan Grimm is leading a workshop entitled "Thinginess: Attending to the World Through Poetry." The description reads, "Start with this object, this patch of grass, this sunny room--how speaking of it becomes speaking of us. In this workshop we will focus our attentions on the things of this world, festooning our poems with the gladness and sorrow of physical presence."

Susan's poems have appeared in Blackbird, Poetry East, The Journal, and other publications. Her book of poems, Lake Erie Blue, was published by BkMk Press. She also edited Ordering the Storm: How to Put Together a Book of Poems. She won the inaugural Copper Nickel Poetry Prize and the Hayden Carruth Poetry Prize. In 2014 she received her second Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council.

2. Freelance writer Christopher Johnston

Chris is giving a craft talk called "Live the Write Life: How You can Make a Living as a Freelancer." This one's going to be popular, we think! Here's how it's billed: "A freelance journalist since 1987, Christopher Johnston will help you explore different ways you can earn a living as a full-time freelance writer, whether you choose to specialize or be a generalist. You’ll learn how to pitch your ideas, pursue a book project, and build your platform. You’ll leave with ample ideas to launch your writing life!"

Chris has published 3,000+ articles in regional and national publications and had more than a dozen of his plays produced. Currently, he is adapting an Irish story for Talespinner Children’s Theater and writing a book about the 50 years of post-Vietnam War resiliency of the survivors of Bravo Company, First Battalion, Ninth Marines who served at Khe Sanh and suffered the highest loss rate in Marine history. 

3. Memoir writer Charlotte Morgan

Charlotte writes: "In this workshop, we will learn how to take memories, turn them into narratives and discover something about ourselves."

Charlotte Morgan knew she wanted to be a writer by age five and began filling composition notebooks with science fiction stories. Fascinated by nonfiction and literary journalism, she became a reporter and then a music journalist. Her writing has been published locally, regionally and nationally. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing (Non-Fiction). Presently, she teaches First Year Writing at Cleveland State University. She is completing Judgement in Goshen: A Taxonomy of Ordinary Murder, a crime memoir.

Want more information? Visit the Inkubator website for the full lineup.

We look forward to seeing you at the Cleveland Inkubator on Saturday, August 1st!

Yours Sincerely,

The INKubator team
Copyright © 2015 Lee Chilcote, Writer, All rights reserved.
Updates and announcements about the Cleveland Inkubator

Our mailing address is:
Lee Chilcote, Writer
7212 West Clinton Ave.
Cleveland, Oh 44105

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Vlad is coming to Sandusky...June 13th at 2:00 

The June edition of Literistic!

Welcome to the June edition of Literistic!
You might see a few more “open” deadlines this month and think, “Wow, they've really let themselves go.” The thing is, literary editors and their bookish volunteers need a break too. So while they're taking a much-needed rest, we thought we'd help you focus on making a little extra dough. There are some fantastic publications that haul ass year round—regular publishing schedules, contests, readings, launches—and you haven’t had a chance to see them on our list because they’re chill when it comes to deadlines. Being of the procrastinating persuasion, we appreciate this and want you to know about them, too. So along with the deadlines for July (yes, it’s June already) we’re presenting a handful of publications that not only read year-round, but pay their writers, to which we all repeat, "Praise be." 
Jessie Jones & Liam Sarsfield Fearless Editors
Sent by Literistic · 7-855 Vancouver Street, Victoria B.C. V8V3V5 Canada
Not a subscriber? You can sign up here.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Grants and Fellowships
Richard J. Margolis Award  (United States) Non-Fiction July 1
Geophilia- Geology for Artists  (Canada) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 3
Alice Maxine Bowie Fellowship  (United States) Non-Fiction July 10
John E. Nance Writer-in-Residence  (United States) Fiction, Non-Fiction July 10
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation New Jersey Individual Artist Fellowship  (United States)  For established residents of New Jersey only; must be 18 years or older and not currently enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses. Fiction, Non-Fiction July 15
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Maryland Individual Artist Fellowship  (United States)  For established residents of Maryland only; must be 18 years or older and not currently enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses. Fiction, Non-Fiction July 15
The American Prospect Writing Fellowship  (United States)  Offers journalists at the beginning of their career the opportunity to spend two full years at the magazine in Washington, D.C., developing their journalistic skills. Non-Fiction July 22
The Banff Centre Mountain and Wilderness Writing  (Canada) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 22
The Banff Centre Memoir Residency  (Canada) Non-Fiction July 22
Bellevue Literary Review Prizes  (United States)  The BLR Prizes award outstanding writing related to themes of health, healing, illness, the mind, and the body. Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 1
Ricepaper’s 1st Annual Secret Ingredient Flash Fiction Contest  (Canada)  The piece of work must include the mystery ingredient selected by Ricepaper’s editorial staff, which is “Ramen.” Fiction July 1
Lit Pop Awards  (Canada) Poetry, Fiction July 1
2016 Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest  (United States)  The Post has historically played a role in defining what it means to be an American. Your story should be between 1,500 and 5,000 words in length and should touch upon the publication’s mission: Celebrating America — past, present, and future. Fiction July 1
Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest  (United States) Fiction, Non-Fiction July 10
Gwendolyn MacEwan Poetry Competition  (Canada) Open only to Canadian writers.  Poetry July 13
Room Magazine Poetry & Fiction Contests  (Canada)  Original work by women, including trans* persons, gender-variant and two-spirit women, and women of non-binary sexual orientations. Poetry, Fiction July 15
Rattle Poetry Prize  (United States) Poetry July 15
The Master’s Review Short Story Award for New Writers  (United States) For writers who have not yet published a book. Fiction July 15
Ambit Summer Writing Competition  (Britain) Poetry, Fiction July 15
Fairy Tale Review Awards in Poetry and Prose  (United States)  Fairy Tale Review is an annual literary journal dedicated to publishing new fairy tales and to helping raise public awareness of fairy tales as a diverse, innovative art form. Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 15
The Paris-American Prize  (United States) Poetry July 15
Linda Flowers Literary Award  (United States) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 15
Vallum Award for Poetry  (Canada) Poetry July 15
Seventh Annual Narrative Poetry Contest  (United States) Poetry July 22
Wasafiri New Writing Prize  (Britain)  The competition is open to anyone worldwide who has not published a complete book in their chosen category. Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 24
Crazyhorse Short-Short Fiction Contest  (United States) Fiction July 31
The Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature  (United States)  Open to any writer of English who is a native of Kentucky, has lived in Kentucky for at least two years, or whose manuscript is set in or about Kentucky. In addition, writer must be willing and able to travel to or within Kentucky for readings and public events. Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 31
Boaat Chapbook Competition  (United States) Poetry July 31
Orlando Prizes  (United States)  AROHO’s Orlando Prizes celebrate Virginia Woolf’s title character’s liberation from conventional constraints.  AROHO’s multi-genre competition is an invitation and opportunity for women writers to bring their shorter works to publication Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 31
Twisted Road Anthology Contest - Short Fiction  (United States)  Stories that reveal the lives of marginalized groups and individuals by developing complex characters and realistic settings. “Southern Gothic” means examining the social order of the new south, though entries do not have to be set in the south. Fiction July 31
Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Award  (United States) Fiction July 31
Acentos Review  (Unpaid)  (United States) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 1
The Malahat Review  (Paid)  (Canada)  Themed issue: Elusive Boundaries: Mapping CNF in Canada. Where to draw the borders of CNF has always been open to question. The Malahat invites adventurous writers from across Canada (and expatriates outside its geo-political limits) to help chart these elusive borders—at least as they appear to fall today—through what they submit to this survey of a genre that has an increasingly more significant place on Canada’s literary map. Non-Fiction July 1
Briar Patch  (Paid)  (Canada)  Theme issue: Labour Non-Fiction July 10
Mslexia  (Paid)  (Britain) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 13
Sixth Finch  (Unpaid)  (United States) Poetry July 15
Lightspeed  (Paid)  (United States)  Original science fiction and fantasy stories. Fiction July 15
Long Hidden  (Paid)  (United States)  Speculative fiction 2000-8000 words in length that must be set before 1935 C.E. and take place primarily in our world or an alternate historical version of our world. Protagonists must be young people (under 18) who were marginalized in their time and place. Fiction July 15
Sand Journal  (International) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 15
Litro  (Unpaid)  (United States)  Themed issue: "Missed Connections"  Fiction, Non-Fiction July 25
Synaesthesia  (Unpaid)  (United States)  Themed issue: "Atlas" Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 30
Pleiades  (Unpaid)  (United States) Fiction, Non-Fiction July 30
Room Magazine  (Paid, Fees)  (Canada)  Theme Issue: Women of colour Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 31
Butcher’s Dog  (Unpaid)  (International)  Submissions from writers living in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Poetry July 31
The Virginia Quarterly Review  (Paid)  (United States) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 31
3Elements  (Unpaid)  (United States)  Each submission must include the following three elements (i.e. these specific words): Oval Portrait, Premature Burial, and Purloined Letter (Edgar Allan Poe theme). Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction July 31
Sugar House Review  (Unpaid)  (United States) Poetry July 31
Frigg Magazine  (Paid)  (Canada) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction Open
Prism International  (Paid)  (Canada) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction Open
Narrative  (Paid)  (United States) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction Open
The Rusty Toque  (Paid)  (Canada) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction Open
The Missouri Review  (Paid, Fees)  (United States) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction Open
32 Poems  (Paid, Fees)  (United States) Poetry Open
James Gunn’s Ad Astra  (Paid)  (Canada)  Speculative poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction Open
The New Quarterly  (Paid)  (Canada) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction Open
The Rialto  (Paid)  (Britain) Poetry Open
American Short Fiction  (Paid, Fees)  (United States) Fiction Open
Threepenny Review  (Paid, Fees)  (United States) Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction Open


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