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