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.


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