Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"We Need Writers Now More Than Ever..."

"Authoritative lying debases the truth. The resulting confusion of fantasy and reality is the definition of psychosis, a perilously vulnerable mental state.

     "...By writing and reading, we remind ourselves of the value of empathy, subtlety and contradiction. Literature is an antidote to the blunt distortions—good vs. evil, us vs. them—that are so easily exploited by those who would manipulate us."

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Another Season of The City

With the turn of the weather toward coolness, and the approach of the holiday season like a freight train loaded with turkey and tinsel, it's another season of The City poetry, Kathy Smith's electronic zine of poetry and art:
"Bloom", by JJ Stick

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Mark Kuhar celebrates d.a. levy

Collage by d.a levy. "Agent from Vega H.S." , collage by d.a. levy 1967, Cleveland, Ohio" handwiitten by levy verso. The collage was used in levy's underground newspaper The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle.
On the 50th anniversary of d.a. levy's death, Mark Kuhar celebrates the man and his legend:

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Dave Lucas: Poetry for People who hate Poetry

The new Poet Laureate of Ohio, Dave Lucas, has been appearing one week every month in Scene Magazine, with "Poetry for People Who Hate Poetry."
You can find it here:
Or, read it at the Ohio Arts Council site: 1 2 3.

--He'll be reading in Arkon on November 21 at Latitudes Poetry Night (which happens the third Wednesday of each month, Compass Coffee, 647 East Market Street, Akron).

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Come Write in Appletree Books’ Windows! (Plus Contests!)

Have you ever thought about writing in the windows of an independent bookstore?
For a third year, Appletree Books  invites Cleveland-area writers of all ages, formats, and genres to come write in our store windows this November in celebration of National Novel Writing Month!

You do not need be a novelist.  Whatever you write, whether you write for love or money or a grade or the glory of winning NaNoWriMo, we want you to come write with us!  Bring the tools of your trade; we’ll provide you a small table, a chair, and an electrical outlet in our store windows. Pick up your pen (actual or metaphorical), take a seat in our independent bookstore, a fixture in the Cedar-Fairmount district since 1975, and let your view of our vibrant neighborhood inspire you.  Sign up at https://tinyurl.com/yawkke8n.  For questions or more information, contact Jane Rothstein at jane@appletree-books.com.

Appletree Books Writing Contests

For the first time, Appletree is sponsoring two writing contests in conjunction with our month-long Writer in the Window program this November.  1) Student writers in elementary, middle, or high school are invited to submit a short work, no more than one page, in whatever format they wish.  2) In conjunction with Heights Arts’ Heights Writes Committee, we invite adults writing poetry to submit 1-3 poems that speak to the part that books and reading play in our lives.  Contestants in both contests must be signed up to be Writers in the Window at Appletree, and they are encouraged to write at least part of their entries in our windows. Entries are due no later than midnight, Saturday, December 1, 2018. Winners will be announced on December 10 and will be invited to read their work at a celebratory reception at Appletree Books on Friday, December 14. Multiple prizes, including Appletree gift certificates, will be awarded in each contest.  Sign up to be a Writer in the Window at https://tinyurl.com/yawkke8n.  For questions or more information, contact Jane Rothstein at jane@appletree-books.com.

Appletree Books
12419 Cedar Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
(216) 791-2665

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Wick announces their poetry season

The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University has announced their slate of events, readings, exhibits, and a creativity festival, starting this Thursday (!) with a poetry reading at the Akron Art Museum.

Wick Poetry Center Reading Series
We are excited to share this years' reading series with you below. Join us for a full slate of readings and events starting this week at the Akron Art Museum. From the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize Reading honoring Michael McKee Green's new book with contest judge Khaled Mattawa to Celebrating Our Own and our 17th Annual Giving Voice, we hope you'll join us this year.

To open, we are inviting you to attend the first event of the Series: Poetry Reading at the Akron Art Museum this Thursday, September 13, at 6 pm. 


Date: 6:00 pm | Thursday, September 13, 2018
Location: Akron Art Museum 1 South High Street Akron, OH 44308
Poetry Reading with Wick Poetry Center and Urban Vision below the Nasser Al-Salem Arabi/Gharbi neon installation in the lobby of the Akron Art Museum. Stay and tour the exhibition FRONT: An American City after the reading.
Register for free here.


Date: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm | Saturday, September 29, 2018
Location: Lester A. Lefton Esplanade outside of the May Prentice House,  Poetry Park
The Kent community invites you to join us for the annual Kent Creativity Festival! This will be an opportunity for people of all ages and skill levels to come together to create, share, and explore the creation of all kinds of art. 


Date: 7:30 pm | Thursday, October 4, 2018
Location: Room 120, CAED
(College of Architecture and Environmental Design, 132 S Lincoln St, Kent, OH 44240)
A recipient of awards and grants from the Academy of American Poets and the Cabin Literary Center, Michael McKee Green is a 2018 artist in residence at the Boise Public Library at Bown Crossing. Poems of his appear in journals such as Michigan Quarterly Review, Tagvverk and Fog Machine, and his poem "In Remit" won the Burnam Poetry Scholarship (Judge, Ed Skoog). Currently, he is an MFA candidate at Boise State University, where he sits on Ahsahta Press’ editorial board and teaches creative writing.
Khaled Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya, in 1964 and immigrated to the United States in his teens. His collections of poetry include Tocqueville (New Issues, 2010), Amorisco (Ausable, 2008), Zodiac of Echoes (Ausable, 2003), and Ismailia Eclipse (Sheep Meadow Press, 1995). He is also the author of Mahmoud Darwish: The Poet’s Art and His Nation (Syracuse University Press, 2014). Mattawa has also translated many volumes of contemporary Arabic poetry and coedited two anthologies of Arab American literature. Mattawa is the 2010 recipient of the Academy of American Poets Fellowship. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the PEN American Center Poetry Translation Prize, three Pushcart Prizes, and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2014, Mattawa was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Currently, Mattawa teaches in the graduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Date: 6:00 - 8:30 pm | Friday, October 19, 2018
Location: Group Ten Gallery (201 E Erie St, Kent, OH 44240)
A collaboration of words and art between the artists of the Group Ten Gallery and the Wick Poetry Center.


Date: 7:30 pm | Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Location: Room 306 ABC, Kent Student Center
Come to celebrate poetry with us by sharing your poems and discovering the new voices around you.


Date: 7:30 pm | Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Location: Room 120, CAED (College of Architecture and Environmental Design, 132 S Lincoln St, Kent, OH 44240)
Kent State international students, staff and faculty members from different countries will share poems they love from their own cultures facilitating a global conversation through the intimate and inclusive voice of poetry.


Date: January 24-February 24, 2019
Location: Taylor Hall
The 2018-2019 school year marks the 10th anniversary of our Traveling Stanzas project. What began as a collaboration between Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center and Professor Valora Renicker’s Visual Communication Design students has evolved into a leading international poetry exhibit pioneering state-of-the-art digital tools. With Traveling Stanzas, the Wick Poetry Center is at the forefront of a national movement to pair technology with art as a means to increase access to creative expression, encouraging new voices in poetry and facilitating meaningful conversations in communities around the world. This year we are excited to feature the following Traveling Stanzas projects 


Date: 7:30 pm | Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Location: Room 306 ABC, Kent Student Center
George Bilgere's seventh collection of poetry, Blood Pages, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2018. He has given readings for the Library of Congress, the 92nd Street Y in New York, A Prairie Home Companion, and at schools and literary venues all over the country. He has received a Pushcart Prize, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council, the Midland Authors Prize, the May Swenson Poetry Prize, and the Fulbright Foundation. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins has called Bilgere's work "a welcome breath of fresh air in the house of American poetry." He teaches at John Carroll University in Cleveland.


Date: 7:30 pm | Thursday, April 18, 2019
Location: Room 310, Kent Student Center
Kate Daniels was born in Richmond, Virginia. The first in her family to graduate from college, Daniels earned a BA and an MA from the University of Virginia and an MFA from Columbia University. She converted to Catholicism as an adult, and her often lengthy, narrative poems engage engages themes of working-class experience, family, trauma, racism, and Southern culture. Daniels has won the Hanes Award for Poetry from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a Pushcart Prize, the Louisiana Literature Prize for Poetry, the James Dickey Prize, the Crazyhorse Prize for Poetry, and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and Harvard University's Bunting Institute. Her work has been widely anthologized, including in Best American Poetry. She has taught at Bennington College, Louisiana State University, the University of Virginia, and Wake Forest University. Currently, she is a professor of English and Creative Writing at Vanderbilt University.


Date: 6:30 pm | Thursday, May 2, 2019
Location: Ballroom, Kent Student Center
The 17th annual performance of Giving Voice features local students (grades 3-12), Kent State University undergraduate students and international scholars performing original poetry. All material is created in Wick outreach programs, including workshops led by Kent State University undergraduates enrolled in the service-learning course “Teaching Poetry in the Schools.”

All events are free and open to the public.
We hope to see you at the readings!
   In peace and poetry,
   David Hassler
   Wick Poetry Center

Friday, September 7, 2018

Spoken Word Every Last Friday in Akron

Michael DeBenedictis has been hosting a poetry series the last Friday of every month at Nervous Dog Coffee Bar, 1530 W. Market Street in Akron, Ohio. The show often features music in addition to spoken word.

This month's installment (September 28th from 6 to 9 p.m.) features several Cleveland poets including Ray McNiece, Kisha Nicole Foster and John Burroughs.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Waiting for the Wind to Rise August 30th at Mac's Backs

poster by Christopher Franke

M.J. Arcangelini's new chapbook, Waiting for the Wind to Rise, was released today by Greater Cleveland's own NightBallet Press. Originally from Ohio, Arcangelini now lives in California but will be returning to Cleveland for a special book release event and reading on August 30th at Mac's Backs Books on Coventry.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Four Ohio Poets

A handful of books published by Ohio poets recently happened to cross my path, so I decided to read them to see what's new in Ohio. All of them had something to admire; I tend to judge books mostly on the strongest poems in them, not on the weaker ones, although none of the books had poems that I though were actually bad.

Invisible Fish, Susan F. Glassmeyer, Dos Madres Press 2018 (www.dosmadres.com)
cover of Invisible FishInvisible Fish featured nature poems, interspersed with several poems that dealt with the narrator’s childhood in the land of “polished cotton pinafores, church bonnets, shiny shoes with bows, Friday night bingo”— laid out most explicitly in “From the Land of Stuffed Mangoes.” “Invisible Fish”, the title poem, was amusing and insightful, a nostalgic defense of naïveté and imagination against a world that laughs with those who fool you. Threaded through the book are poems about a darker side of the same upbringing, a tale of escaping from a cycle of family abuse and small-town oppression. Near the end, the prose-poem “Miss Carlton” is a poignant view of the other side, a brief slice of life of an inconsequential encounter in a grocery checkout line. One comment, though is that in my opinion, one dead animal poem would have been enough.

How the Universe Says Yes to Me, M. J. Werthman White, Main Street Rag Publishing 2017 (www.mainstreetrag.com)
How the Universe Says Yes to Me is a short book with a lighter take on the subject. A handful of the poems are simple list poems (most amusingly “Lies I’ve Told”), inviting the reader to draw the lines between the items.  It has a few very amusing poems where the universe itself is personified, including the title poem, and “The Universe Speaks,” in which the ways of the universe are hard to understand: I found these whimsical, somewhat surrealistic, and quite charming. Some of the poems are historical— “Tycho Brahe’s moose,” for example, is about a real moose that the astronomer Tycho Brahe really brought to parties; “For Alex, the African Grey Parrot” is an elegy for the death of the celebrated parrot of animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg, feaured (among other places) in Scientific American.

A Green Line Between Green Fields, Steve Abbott, Kattywompus Press 2018 (www.kattywompuspress.com)
A Green Line Between Green Fields is the only book of the four books here daring to venture into rhymed verse (although most of the work is unrhymed), with the rhyme (often slant) of “The Fool’s Boy” and “Trained.” I have to admit to an unabashed admiration for form— a twelve-stanza terza rima using only two rhymes (as in “The Fool's Boy") is not easy! “ The Torturer’s Daughter” ventures (obliquely) into political commentary; and “Pulling Yourself Up by Your—“ somewhat less obliquely. The title poem is a tribute to the late Maj Ragain, an anecdote showing his humor and wordplay, and a bit of his buddha-nature.

500 Cleveland Haiku, Michael Ceraolo, Writing Knights Press 2018 (https://writingknightspress.blogspot.com)
I have to admit to some degree of envy that Michael Ceraolo published this one first, since back in 2011, I published on the web my own haiku series, "52 Cleveland Haiku," with one Cleveland haiku for each week through the year (find it here, here, and here.).  So, Michael goes there and a few hundred more. His haiku (not to mention senryu, zappai, and various other 'ku forms) span the range from observations of the cityscape, to cynical observations about people and politics, very often focussing on observation of the many ways in which Cleveland is a very different city for the rich than for poor. He winds his way through the seasons of the city, watching with alternating compassion, passion, and scorn, celebrating the cracked concrete and the ice-covered lake equally.

poet Mary Jo White is from Xenia, OH
Michael Ceraolo is from Cleveland, OH
poet Steve Abbott is a native of Columbus, OH
Susan F. Glassmeyer is from Cincinnati, OH

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The City returns!

Say, I see there's a new issue of The City Poetry, Lady K's 'zine of art and words: Summer 2018.
Check it out!
Photo from The City, August 2018
Misha Cat photo by Lady K

Saturday, July 21, 2018

John Burroughs in Audio and Video--

Photo of John Burroughs (from Crisis Chronicles)
John Burroughs
Our own John Burroughs got some exposure on the internet recently-- check him out on the "Talk With Me" podcast out of Lawrence Kansas, hosted by Marcia Epstein, where he talks about starting out in poetry, how he became a publisher, about his newest book, Loss and Foundering, and even reading a few poems:
And if you can't get enough of John, he's featured in a 40-minute video on "The CookBook" ("food/art/conversations"),  a video series brought out from the Sundress Academy for the Arts hosted by Darren C. Demaree and Christopher Bowen:

Cover of Loss and Foundering (from NightBallet Press)
Loss and Foundering (NightBallet Press)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ten Years Old!

Clevelandpoetics: the blog just turned ten years old, with the first post by Michael Salinger announcing the blog on July 17, 2008.

photo of candles on a birthday cake

Happy birthday to us! There's been 1,181 posts since then-- oops, that's 1,182 now-- and it's hard to believe we're still going. Year 11, here we come!

Now, with that said, if we're going to survive another year, I have to say we need your help-- we've always needed your help, and we need it now more than ever.  The blog isn't a one-man show: this blog belongs to the Cleveland poetry community: this blog is your blog.  

So, we want you to contribute. Join the team!  We want you!  Write up what happened at a poetry reading you attended, or a slam, or an author reading! Tell us about your philosophy of poetry, or why poetry is dead (or isn't dead)! Tell us why Cleveland is unique! Tell us about a poet we don't know, or about a part of the Cleveland poetry community that we haven't been covering-- Cleveland poetry is a big, big tent, and we each sometimes only see our only little corner of it: show us where poetry lives in your community.

Please-- we need you! We don't want your money-- Clevelandpoetics: the blog has been free (and ad-free!) since the beginning.  What we want is your posts.

Want to join team? Want to just write a guest post?  We want you.  Write us at clevelandpoetics@gmail.com and volunteer to join the team now!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Inkubator is coming

Literary Cleveland is once again holding their free Inkubator literary arts week, with events every evening from July 31 through August 3, and then the all-day Inkubator conference & book fair on Saturday August 4.

The event starts Tuesday, July 31st, with the Lit Cleveland Book Swap and NEOMFA reading at 6:30-9 pm at the Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City, 1947 W. 25th Street.

Check it out! You can register online.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Lots of upcoming events!

Cat Russell has posted a listing of some of the literary events coming up in Cleveland, Akron, and Canton on her blog. Looks like it will be a poetic summer!

(and if that's not enough for you, don't forget that John Burroughs keeps a longer list of upcoming poetic events right here on the clevelandpoetics blog... just scroll up to the top!  Or access it on google calendar.)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Volume of Our  Incongruity 
by Diane Vogel Ferri

Poetry Chapbook  $14.99



Diane Vogel Ferri taught children with special needs for over thirty years. Her poems can be found in many journals including Plainsongs, Rockford Review, Poet Lore and Rubbertop Review. Diane has essays published by Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, and by Cleveland State University among others. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Liquid Rubies and a novel, The Desire Path. She is a founding member of Literary Cleveland and a tutor at Seeds of Literacy.

Please mail all orders to the Finishing Line Press or order online at:

or go to www.finishinglinepress.com and type in the name or author.


Reviews for The Volume of Our Incongruity:
A certain irresistible sincerity marks these poems. They invite us into sacred space, where grace and unapologetic longing reside and rule, where the singular voice we hear is so quiet and prayerful we must lean in to listen. The Volume of Our Incongruity, however, is more than a collection of poems. It’s a narrative, the story of a granddaughter, now recollected as one of eight “graphite markings on [a] basement two-by-four;” a wife, whose “love is a tundra, vast and white;” a mother, a “thirsty woman drinking every last drop of the sea.”   In language that is clear and deceptively simple, Diane Ferri reaches into a life lived deeply and pulls out truth.
–Lou Suarez, author of Ask and Traveler

In The Volume of Our IncongruityDiane Ferri chronicles life-shaping moments by alternately slowing down the kind of speeding landscapes seen from a station wagon window, and zooming in to examine life’s discrepancies up close and in person. These are poems for our times, stirring a compelling swirl where the past intersects with the present, where hope for the future can spring from a single sonogram.
 –Gail Bellamy, author, poet and Cleveland Heights poet laureate, 2009 and 2010

These intimate, powerful poems about family, love, and memory settle on your skin and won’t wash off. Diane Ferri’s voice is every woman’s, grappling with being a wife, mother and individual. In this vividly rendered collection, the specific details of a life become something wondrous.

–Lee Chilcote, author of The Shape of Home

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Hessler Street Fair winners!

image of the cover of the Hessler Street Fair anthology from Writing Knights
Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology 2018, from Writing Knights
The Hessler Street Fair poet read on Wednesday night at the Happy Dog, hosted by Master of Ceremonies Azriel Johnson-- an evening of poetry & hot dogs.

The 2018 Hessler Street Fail Poetry Contest winners:
  • First Place: Sy Castells, "Gender Confirmation"
  • Second Place: Ross Martyn Hayes, "The Homonym Garnok"
  • Third Place: Mary A. Turzillo, "Don't Mention You're From Cleveland"
Hessler poems will be performed on the main stage at the Hessler Street Fair on Sunday June 3rd, and broadcast live on WRUW-FM, 91.1 MHz (as well as live over the Internet).
The 2018 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology is available at the Mac's Backs booth at the fair on June 2nd & 3rd, or buy it directly from Mac's Backs.

photo of poet Tam e. Polzer reading
Tam e. Polzer reads her poem "Gotu Kola", as MC Azriel Johnson follows along 
  • If you didn't catch the Hessler reading at Happy Dog, you can see it on video on Youtube at the Writing Knights site.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Celebrating Maj

Maj Ragain, one of Northeastern Ohio's most well-respected, and well loved, poets, died on April 19.

Michael Heaton says of Maj:
Ragain first came to Kent in the summer of 1969. He taught at Kent State University over the past six decades. He worked with a veterans' group through the Wick Poetry Center and Warriors' Journey Home, a healing circle for veterans. 

The Wick Poetry Center at Kent will be celebrating Maj's life and work on the weekend of June 1 to 3.  David Hassler writes:
A Celebration of the Life of Maj Ragain
Join us June 1 to June 3 to celebrate the life and work of the late poet, mentor, teacher, and friend, Maj Ragain. 
Friday, June 1
Art Exhibit Opening
Paintings by Jessica Damen & Poems by Maj Ragain
Downtown Gallery, 4-9 pm (Program begins at 7pm)
141 East Main St., Kent, OH

Saturday, June 2
Kent United Church of Christ
1400 E Main St., Kent, OH

Sunday, June 3
Venice Cafe, 4pm
Bring a poem by Maj to share
Music by The Numbers Band
163 W Erie St., Kent, OH
Please visit the project website www.hometosargassosea.com:
Home to Sargasso Sea
   In peace and poetry,

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Kleft Crisis 2018 and Steven Smith Book Launch

Where Never Was Already Is by Smith
(2018, Crisis Chronicles Press)
This weekend, Crisis Chronicles Press (out of Cleveland) and Kleft Jaw Press (out of Denver) celebrate National Poetry Month by presenting a Friday/Saturday litfest you won't want to miss featuring authors from across the United States at three of the best bookstores in Ohio. Then Ray McNiece will follow it up on Sunday with a Tongue-in-Groove Poetry Jam featuring Cleveland art/poetry legend Steven Smith, whose new book, Where Never Was Already Is, was just published this month by Crisis Chronicles.

Friday 4/20, 7pm till ? at Guide to Kulchur Books
5222 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, OH 44102
featuring readings by
Iris Appelquist (Kansas City, MO)
Steve Brightman (Akron, OH)
John Burroughs (Cleveland, OH)
Ryder Collins (Milwaukee, WI)
Azriel Johnson (Canton, OH)
Mark S Kuhar (Medina, OH)
Frankie Metro (Denver, CO)
Jeanette Powers (Kansas City, MO)
Austin Price (New York, NY)
Gabriel Ricard (East Northport, NY)
Margie Shaheed (Memphis, TN)
Nathanael Stolte (Buffalo, NY)
RA Washington (Cleveland, OH)

Saturday 4/21, 2pm to 4pm at Main Street Books

104 N. Main St,, Mansfield, OH 44902
emcee: Mark Sebastian Jordan
featuring readings by
Iris Appelquist (Kansas City, MO)
Frankie Metro (Denver, CO)
Jeanette Powers (Kansas City, MO)
Gabriel Ricard (East Northport, NY)
plus open mic

Saturday 4/21, 7pm to 10pm at Mac's Backs
1820 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
featuring readings by
Dianne Borsenik (Elyria, OH)
Theresa Brightman (Akron, OH)
Christina Brooks (Detroit, MI)
Shelley Chernin (Novelty, OH)
Ryder Collins (Milwaukee, WI)
Juliet Cook (Medina, OH)
Steve Goldberg (Cleveland, OH)
Clarissa Jakobsons (Aurora, OH)
Alynn Mahle (Mentor, OH)
Austin Price (New York, NY)
Heather Ann Schmidt (Oberlin, OH)
Margie Shaheed (Memphis, TN)
Kathy Smith (Cleveland, OH)
Steven Smith (Cleveland, OH)
Nathanael Stolte (Buffalo, NY)

Sunday 4/22, 6pm at the Millard Fillmore Presidential Library
15617 Waterloo Rd., Cleveland, Ohio 44110
Tongue-in-Groove Poetry Jam
emceed by Ray McNiece
featuring a performance by Steven Smith
plus open mic (your chance to perform with the band)

Please come celebrate with us!


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