Sunday, December 1, 2019

12/17 Poetry+ at Art on Madison: Ray McNiece & Michelle R. Smith

Poetry Plus at Art on Madison will triple your pleasure on Tuesday, December 17th with readings by two acclaimed featured poets - Ray McNiece and Michelle R. Smith - plus an open mic. Doors open at 7 pm, with the show beginning promptly at 7:30.

Ray McNiece is the author of 9 books of poetry and monologues, including New Haiku and Love Song for Cleveland, a collaboration with photographer Tim Lachina. He’s toured Italy twice with Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He toured Russia with Yevgeny Yevtushenko and performed at the Moscow Polytech, the Russian Poets’ Hall of Fame, where he was dubbed “the American Mayakovsky.” The Orlando Sentinel, reporting on his solo theater piece Us—Talking across America at the Fringe Festival, called him “a modern day descendant of Woody Guthrie.”

Michelle R. Smith is a black femme feminist, media activist, and admitted Netflix addict that between fighting the good fight and watching copious stand-up specials, dark comedies, and music documentaries manages to write poems, tell stories, teach college and high school kids, and be a loving mother and wife. She is the author of the poetry collection Ariel in Black, and she is currently working on a new collection tentatively titled The Real Jazz Wives of 20th Century America and looking to publish a third collection, called The Vagina Analogues.

Open mic to follow the features, emceed by Ohio Beat Poet Laureate John Burroughs.

Please note: Poetry+ happens on the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, please visit our website at

Other upcoming Poetry+ features:

1/21 - Chuck Salmons (Columbus) & Renay Sanders (Peninsula)
2/18 - Bill Yarrow (Chicago) & Laura Grace Weldon (Litchfield)
3/17 - Leah Mueller (Tacoma WA) & Rikki Santer (Columbus)

Art on Madison
14203 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Next Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate? Ekphrastacy?

Heights Arts is now accepting applications for the 2020 - 2022 Poet Laureateship!

Endorsed by the City of Cleveland Heights, the Poet Laureate works with local poets and Heights Arts to showcase and celebrate the wonderful diversity of talent in the local community. Visit their website for application requirements and instructions:

They are also accepting applications for poets to present at their Ekphrastacy poetry series. The deadline for application submission is December 31, 2019. Application link here:

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What's New in Cleveland's Poetry Publishing Scene

Crisis Chronicles and NightBallet Presses Present

Streetlight Imaginations Poets Read from Recent Books

South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch
Cuyahoga County Public Library

Meeting Room 162 (20)
1876 South Green Road
South Euclid, Ohio 44121

Saturday November 23rd at 2 p.m., join us for an afternoon of vital poetry. Hear from eight poets, all with recent books published by Crisis Chronicles Press and NightBallet Press.

Crisis Chronicles Press poets:
NightBallet Press poets:

Refreshments provided. Books will be available for purchase and signing, courtesy of the publishers.

Free event! Please register here:

Registration is not required, but is helpful to the library in setting up for the event.

Friday, November 15, 2019

How to publish a Book of Poems about Despair

illustration from "The Triumph of Death"
Half the poets I know are depressed.  Jason Morphew writes this for you:
How to publish a Book of Poems about Despair.

The secret seems to be in two things:
1. Even if you're in despair, you can't ignore narrative. Story is everything.
2. Forget Shakespeare: Petrarch rules.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Be a Writer in the Window at Appletree Books

Appletree Books in Cleveland Heights still has slots available if you want to be one of their writers in the window for the month of November. To join the fun, apply here

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

Monday, October 21, 2019

Altered Landscapes: Poets Interpreting Surrealist Landscape Photography at Mac's Backs opening 10/25

Cleveland Photo Fest presents Altered Landscapes: Poets Interpreting Surrealist Landscape Photography, opening November 25th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mac's Backs-Books On Coventry in Cleveland Heights.

Photographers: Kat Cade, Mary Ford, Samantha Bias, Janet Century, Tim Lachina, Anthony Demarco, Todd Hoak and Catherine McManus.

Poets: Krystal Sierra, Jim Szudy, Nicole Hennessy, Jimi Remick, Miguel Moor, John Burroughs, Siaara Freeman, and Doc Janning. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

Everything Obliterated/For Good, 10/15 at Poetry+ in Lakewood

Acclaimed poet Matt Hart will bring his 2019 tour to Poetry+ at Art on Madison in Lakewood, Ohio, on October 15th, and he will be joined by Cleveland favorite Nicole Hennessy.

Matt Hart is the author of nine books of poems, including most recently Everything Breaking/For Good (YesYes Books, 2019) and The Obliterations (Pickpocket Books, 2019). Additionally, his poems, reviews, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous print and online journals, including The Academy of American Poets online, Big Bell, Cincinnati Review, Coldfront, Columbia Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Jam Tarts Magazine, jubilat, Kenyon Review online, Lungfull!, POETRY, and Waxwing, among others. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, a 2013 individual artist grant from The Shifting Foundation, and fellowships from both the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati where he teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and plays in the band NEVERNEW:

Nicole Hennessy is a poet and journalist from Cleveland, Ohio. Gypsy Queen (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2019) is her debut poetry collection, though she has been chasing poetry for more than twenty years. Her previous publications include Black Rabbit, a nonfiction profile of poet and artist Tom Kryss. Nicole also co-founded the underground art and literary bimonthly, Miser Magazine; and she will eventually launch her art and outreach effort, Universal Eccentrics, with some incredible, like-minded weirdoes. Her work has appeared in local and regional publications, and she was recently recognized as a Wild Wmn by the LA-based women’s artistic and wellness collective of the same name. Nicole is also mom to a spirited four-year-old boy. She’s probably cuddled up at home watching cartoons. You can stalk her on Instagram @nicohenness.

An open mic emceed by Ohio Beat Poet Laureate John Burroughs will follow the features.

Poetry+ usually happens on the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit our website at

Upcoming Poetry+ features:

10/15 - Matt Hart (Cincinnati) & Nicole Hennessy (Cleveland)
11/19 - Steve Abbott (Columbus) & Leonard Kress (Toledo)
12/17 - Ray McNiece (Cleveland) & Michelle R. Smith (Cleveland)
1/21 - Chuck Salmons (Columbus) & Renay Sanders (Peninsula)
2/18 - Bill Yarrow (Chicago) & Laura Grace Weldon (Litchfield)
3/17 - Leah Mueller (Tacoma WA) & Rikki Santer (Columbus)

Art on Madison
14203 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Livestream of Vertigo reading

Screen capture: Skylark Bruce as MC
Skylark as master of ceremonies

For anybody interested, the livestream of the memorial reading for Vertigo X. Xavier is now up on the Polymer City Records page.

Screen capture from the livefeed of the reading
Reading at Polymer City Records

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Memories of Vertigo

Vertigo Xi'an Xavier (Chris Draime): photo by Jen Pezzo
A number of local poets have been writing goodbyes to Vertigo Xi'an Xavier and sharing memories.  I'm reblogging some of them here:

 Theresa Göttl Brightman:
This is a true story.
Once upon a time, when I was still a baby-bird poet, I followed a flyer at Muggswigz in Canton to a poetry open mic. I was one of two poets who read that night for something called "Saturday Night with the Poet's Haven". The emcee with the funny stage name who also introduced himself as "Chris" spent a ton of time after the show telling me all about his online press and how this was the first of what he hoped would be a series of podcasted live events. Mere months later, he was hosting standing-room-only shows all over northeast Ohio.
This is a true story.
When I pitched the idea of a Thanksgiving food drive poetry reading, Vertigo said, "Let's make a book to benefit the food bank!" and the Vending Machine: Poetry for Change anthologies were born.
This is a true story.
When Canton First Friday hosted a Chalk Walk night in the middle of summer, Vertigo organized a group of poets to scribble poems across downtown Canton. That night, while we wrote chalk poems on concrete, I had the first real conversation I ever had with Steve.
This is a true story.
Vertigo decided to take a slam team to nationals, and put together a team of four talented goofballs who had never slammed outside of Ohio. Five rookies (four teammates, one slamministrator--Vertigo loathed the "slammaster" moniker) spent a week in Charlotte with two goals: have fun, and don't come in last. We won on both counts.
This is a true story.
In a world where everyone is trying to find their angle, get a leg up on someone else, work the hustle, Vertigo was the guy who was hustling for everyone else. He did so much work to put so much art out into the world. He had so many creative ideas about what he would do when he bought his own venue, how he wanted to host a unique regional slam, how he'd support other poets and projects.
This is a true story.
A few years ago, I pitched him a book idea that I knew was perfect for him. He accepted on the spot. He was just as excited about the idea as I was.
I never finished that damn manuscript.
This is a true story.
Sometimes people drift apart because life happens. I miss those times spent editing anthologies, the occasional post-poetry reading debriefings at Denny's, the long conversations about big ideas.
This is a true story.
We hear that cliche about how you shouldn't die with your music still inside. Vertigo did everything possible to put as much music out into the world in the time he had. Losing him leaves a tangible hole in the fabric of poetry. So many good poetry things that have happened in my life happened because of Vertigo.
You are already missed. Peace to you, friend.

 Jen Pezzo:
For those of you who did not know Vertigo Xi'an Xavier thank you for your patience as I dealt through my shock and grief. For those of you who did know him, you know my pain like no one else could. 
Rewind to the year 1997 or 1998. Not everyone had internet yet. Darren and I had recently moved in with a friend in North Canton. I was completely new to the area. All my friends were his friends from college. Not a bad thing, as I loved them, but I hadn't yet made my own friends. I was awkward, self conscious, tortured by my past, and working lots of hours at the Borders, Books, and Music on the strip. 
Vertigo (photo by Jen Pezzo)
It was a pretty quiet evening when I hear this smokey voice behind me, I smiled because it reminded me a bit of Christian Slater. I turned around to this face I had no idea would become such a stable presence in my life. His face was a bit red, he was him-hawing around a bit and then he decided he wasn't embarrassed at all to ask me if we had the Satanic Bible. I couldn't help but bust out a laugh and began to tease him mercilessly. He said, "I SWEAR this is for a paper I'm writing for a class!" After I locked up the case and handed him the book, I might have said something smart ass like, "Good luck with killing that virgin or whatever you Satanists do." More likely I just smiled at him like... oh yeah - I know you...LOL He was so embarrassed. 
I can't remember if it was the same night or the day after or maybe even a month to six months later, I found a little flyer pinned to the cork board near the restrooms for The Poets Haven. I had recently had my first poem published on an e-zine called Tamaphyr Mountain. I decided I would submit some poems to this Vertigo person, and I would use my pen name Kerowyn Rose. He immediately accepted them even though they were HORRIBLE! Well I thought they were... he did NOT. We got to talking via email when he suddenly realized who I was. He said wait a minute... we MET! I said, no, how? And he said remember that guy who asked you about the Satanic Bible? I was like... no.... you know how many people ask me that? LOL But then I DID remember and we laughed and laughed! 
I had been writing poetry since I was nine years old. It was my own personal therapy for a rough childhood, however no one I knew most of my life was a poet, or even understood poetry. I felt kind of like a freak. LOL "That's not a poem, it doesn't rhyme." "I don't understand that, what does it even mean." Vertigo opened up a whole new world to me, he got me around people who understood poetry and therefore understood me! I was amazed I even found one person who got me at that point.
He asked me for help on many projects and encouraged me, he brought me out of my shell. He DJ'd my wedding reception. He introduced me to poetry readings. He encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone to read in public the first time, to compete in and judge poetry slams. He mentored me and helped me learn to MC my own open mic, Akron Night Murmurs. He was part of every thing poetry I did from the moment I met him. He is the reason for many kindred relationships I cherish. He was opinionated, protective, funny, nurturing, sarcastic, creative, unique, artistic, hardworking, passionate, adorably weird, self-destructive, and he had an instinct for connecting with real, honest to God, poetry genius before it was apparent to anyone else a person had the gift. He gave every poet at heart a chance to be heard, a chance to find their voice, to connect with each other. 
I already know what poetry will be like for me moving forward. It will be like any reading I've been to where he was late or couldn't make it. It just won't feel right to me for a long time. I will always remember the feeling of familiar relief whenever he would show up late to something... like I can release this anxiety, the sage is here. 
I am so honored to have watched Poet's Haven evolve from almost the very beginning. There were many times I went back and forth between pride and also selfishness about the new poets he was working with. Many times I thought, no that's my friend... who the eff are you? LOL Many times I thought, wow, look how awesome he is and he is MY friend! I will miss his ironic Christian Slater voice, his laugh, his smile, his annoyance, his angst, his passion, his love of poets and all things poetry and of course our mutual love of cats. I will miss his Vertigoisms like "I'm a meatatarian." and "Poetry is a much better drug." How he and Darren would laugh and joke around. I hope he knew just how much I loved him and how he changed my life. 
I'm going to do my best to keep writing for you, V, to honor our friendship, to honor all the hard work you put into the poetry community of North East Ohio and the whole of the internet. I hope to be able to do Night Murmurs again in your honor. You have always been a great gift to me, and I don't know how I got to be part of your great mission, but I will forever be grateful for that special spot in your heart. 

I had to get this out of my chest... if you read all the way through I'm impressed! LOL If not - there's only love here anyway.
Vertigo (photo by Jen Pezzo)
I just realized that every poetry reading that I've been welcome to in the past two years was because of Vertigo. I'm going to miss his partisanship. He didn't care who you were aligned with, what clique you were part of, who wanted you there or who didn't. If you wrote poetry, you were welcome at his table. He did more than anyone else in the world to promote my poetry, in spite of all the adversity, and for that I will be forever grateful.

 Dianne Borsenik:

Vertigo at the North East Ohio Press
Panel & Book Fair
(photo by Dianne Borsenik)
VX, as I always called him, was a treasured friend and colleague. He gave me my first featured reading about twelve years ago, and published a book for me five years ago. We appeared together at numerous publishing/small press panels over the years. He was at my house in December, and we ate dinner together with a group of poet friends in April. We shared the joke that I was the only person who ever blew out his speakers with my reading voice...from then on, if he was in attendance, he always warned venues to turn down their speakers when I read. He was an excellent businessman, and his display of books for sale was impressive and outstanding. He was kind, funny, supportive, trustworthy, and smart. 

This is one of the last photos I took of him, at the Cuyahoga County Public Library-South Euclid Branch, on April 13, 2019. It was at the North East Ohio Press Panel and Book Fair--he was a participant in both the Press Panel and the Book Fair. In the photo, he's reading from a Poet's Haven book that he published for Herb Kauderer, and of course, in them, he's wearing his Poet's Haven cat shirt. 
The poetry scene and community won't be the same without him. My life won't be the same without his presence in it. I'm going to miss him very much.
Vertigo reading (photo by Jen Pezzo)
 Andi Grace Kackley:
There were a few peaceful moments this morning when I woke up before I remembered. Then it hit me all over again. The NE Ohio poetry community lost a great man on Tuesday. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would say that I wouldn't be half the poet I am today without Vertigo Xi'an Xavier. I went to my first poetry show with him. It was Snowetry -- trying to break the world's record for the longest poetry show. We drank and laughed and read poetry and barely slept. It was intoxicating and I wanted more. Vertigo was the first person to really see my talent and believe in me. He encouraged me, pestered me, even, to write. When I submitted my first manuscript, he said he wanted to publish it right then and there. He published my first book because he saw something in me that needed to be shared with the world. Some weeks we went to 3 or four poetry shows a week. He fed me when I couldn't afford to feed myself and never asked for a single cent of gas money even though we drove all over NE Ohio. It was Vertigo who encouraged me to try out for the Cleveland Slam team. I didn't think I would make it on the team, but he did. I made the team and we went the to National Poetry Slam in Boston, which is still on of the highlights of my life.
That was the kind of person Vertigo was. He was kind and humble and passionate and he believed in other writers and the power of poetry. I have so many memories swimming around in my head and they all make my chest ache. I was thinking about him early this week but I didn't reach out and now it's too late.
After I got clean and stable, it became a lot harder to write. I didn't know how to write from a place of happiness. I don't remember when the last poetry show I went to was and I've barely written over the last couple years. I know he would want me to write again, so I'm going to try, for Vertigo. He spent countless hours with me pushing me to be a great poet. I owe to him, and to myself, to not let that time and passion go to waste.
Vertigo at the Poets Haven booth at the Cleveland Ingenuity Festival (photo by Jen Pezzo)
  Kelly J McMullen:
Chris (Vertigo) had the most sincere soul and the wittiest frame of mind. He could always either make you think twice about pretty much everything or make you laugh, often both simultaneously. He was so dedicated to everything he loved and so extremely intelligent. He made normal things so much more fun. I will forever be indebted and grateful for him introducing me to the music of the great Richard Cheese, for letting me share a few poems with the Poets Haven when he was first getting it started, and my most favorite, for playing the Manamana song a hundred times in a row so I could think of nothing else. You will forever be a gem to me and you will definitely be so missed, my friend.  <3

Vertigo reading (photo by Jen Pezzo)
Vertigo and me

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Sad Loss for Ohio...

A sad loss for Ohio: I just got the news that Vertigo X Xavier, proprietor of The Poet's Haven, just passed away.
His bio on Goodreads said
Founder/publisher/editor of The Poet's Haven, slamministrator of the Lake Effect Poetry Team, founder of Envelit (a subscription-box program featuring poetry chapbooks), 2016 Presidential candidate (on the Nemesis Party ticket), and would-be world-conqueror.
Vertigo Xi'an Xavier
--but Vertigo was more than that. He was the center of a whirlwind.  Carla Thompson once called him "the hardest working man in poetry", and, for a while, he sure seemed to be-- he was everywhere; organizing the poetry community in Canton and Akron with readings and shows and slams, driving all across northern Ohio to set up the man with the sound system at readings organized by others, publishing a series of poetry anthologies and chapbooks, promoting (and attending) other peoples' readings, selling books at the Cleveland Ingenuity festival and elsewhere, administrating the Lake Effect Poetry slam team, and above all, keeping his website The Poet's Haven going for decade after decade.*
Surprisingly, in a community filled with poets of enormous ego and even larger self-promotions, Vertigo all about promoting other peoples' poetry--he was tireless in setting up readings, but very modest about his own poetry-- on rare occasion you might persuade him to read one of his own poems (and some of them were quite good), but much more commonly he was out front promoting everybody else.
He loved poetry, and devoted his life to promoting it in every way he could.
He will be remembered.
He will be missed.

Some appreciations:

*(I once heard somebody claim that The Poet's Haven was the second-longest-running poetry site on the web; but Vertigo corrected me on that: fourth-longest. I wonder what the longest running one is?)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

2019 Cleveland Inkubator Week

It's time for the 2019 Inkubator, organized by Literary Cleveland. The Cleveland Inkubator is Northeast Ohio's largest free annual festival for writers and readers! This year the conference will be held in coordination with the Cleveland Public Library's 150th anniversary celebration. Join us for writing workshops, craft talks, panels, readings, and a resource fair featuring all the greatest local bookstores, presses, lit journals, writing groups, and literary organizations.

See the full schedule and register for FREE today at

Saturday, June 22, 2019

100 Ways Poetry Is In Your Life

Seth Abramson tells us, 100 Ways Poetry Is In Your Life

... I grabbed myself by my collar and shook myself from my complacency -- and considered how poetry suffuses my life in a way nothing else but sleep and dreaming has ever done in such quantity and with such persistence. And suddenly, as I drove my car down Gorham Street in Madison, I realized that there is rarely a moment in my life that is not profoundly touched by poetry, or in which I'm not seeking to infuse my life with poetry, whether or not I've recently written a poem with which I'm satisfied. So I thought I'd come home and enumerate some of the ways poetry is in my life...

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Hessler Street Fair Winners!

The winners of the 2019 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest have been announced!  Congratulations to Valentina Ventura, first place, for her poem "The Sound of Emptiness."
Valentina Ventura reads "The
Sound of Emptiness" at the
Hessler Street Fair poetry
contest reading
 (photo by John Burroughs)

As well as:
  • First place, Valentina Ventura, for "The Sound of Emptiness."
  • 2nd place, Georgia Reash, for "Me and Mother Nature"
  • 3rd  place (tie), Kevin Frederick Smith, for "Among the Roots"
  • 3rd  place (tie), Tam Polzer, for "Rust in Peace"
  • Honorable mention, Hannah Gates, for "Hiatus"

The winning poets received cash prizes, and will read their poems from the Hessler Street Fair stage on Sunday, June 2nd at 12:45 p.m. All stage events, poetry and music will be broadcast live on WRUW-FM.

This 2019 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest reading felt extra special since the entire fair will be on hiatus after this year. It took place at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Cleveland Heights. Over half of the 60 poets published in the book read and participated in the event. 

The Hessler Street Fair Poetry book has just been published by Writing Knights Press, and is available now and will be on sale at the 50th Annual Hessler Street Fair on June 1st and June 2nd (at the Hessler t-shirt booth) or at Mac's Backs Books on Coventry. All proceeds go to the Hessler Neighborhood Association, which has been sponsoring and funding the book and subsequent contest for about 20 years.

See you at the fair!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Juliet Cook answers questions

Juliet Cook of Blood Pudding Press has been doing a series of "poetry mini interviews"-- 5 short answers to 5 short questions, answering one question a week, conducted by Thomas Whyte.
*and if your problem with interviews is that you like them think they go on too long, you're in luck! These answers are indeed very short!

Check it out:
      All five parts

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Vision of the Gypsy Queen

Flier art by Lauren Dulay
Join Cleveland writer and journalist Nicole Hennessy as she celebrates the release of her new book, Gypsy Queen, via Crisis Chronicles Press.

The opening is on Saturday, May 4th from 6pm-10pm, with book signing and poetry reading at 8pm. Sarah Cuturic will also be joining us for the opening to perform original songs from her band, Napsack.

To accompany Nicole's book release there will be a three week long poetry/art event, curated by Nicole with several poems written by women that have been illustrated by women in a variety of media. A section of the show will also include Rocky River High School girls from a writing club called Driftwood. The art show will run for 3 weeks, through May 25th. Hours: Wed. through Sat. 1-6 p.m. Also open by appointment.

More details at

The Good Goat Gallery
17012 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Queer Community Read - April 17th at St. John's in Ohio City

The largest gathering of queer readers northeast Ohio has seen in years, Queer Community Read promises you an evening of our top queer poets, storytellers, and spoken word performers.

Eris Eady
Elaine Schleiffer
John Burroughs
Lou Barrett
EF Schraeder
LS Quinn
Bonné de Blas
Ezhno Martín
Rowan Pappenhagen
Emily Lane
Sarah McIntosh
Hannah Zipple
Natasha Smith

Time: 7 to 9 p.m.
Wed. 17 April 2019

Read more about this special event in the new issue of PRIZM:

Sponsored by:
the Cleveland Bisexual Network
Crisis Chronicles Press
Reading Room CLE
the LGBT Center
the She Collective
Dreamhouse Marketing

St. John's Episcopal Church
2600 Church Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44113

This event is free to the public. It will be in St. John's Parish Hall, the building next to the stone chapel.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Call For Haikuists: the Haiku Death Match

Heights Arts Logo

Kathleen Cerveny writes:

Attention all Haiku Master Wannabes! 

Heights Arts' 2019 Haiku Death Match will take place August 3rd at Cain Park's Alma Theatre.  The Application to be a Death Match contestant is now open through May 15th. You can find the application and all the rules and regs at:

Haiku Death Match logo
8 poets and 2 alternates will be chosen by lottery to compete.

Winner receives: a cheesy trophy, title of 2019 Haiku Master, a $200.00 commission from Heights Arts for 10 Haiku to use in future programming like the poetry squares that are being installed at Cleveland Heights Libraries, and, of course, the adulation of the public. 
Final Four Receive: beautiful hand-crafted gift from a local artist.
Alternates: while not competing, alternates will present Haiku between rounds for the audience. 
All Participants Receive: A $100.00 participation stipend, publicity and promotion through Crowd Funding, website, ENews, and Social media prior to the event - as well as the program insert on the day of the event. Heights Arts will also sell poets' chapbooks or other publications in our store throughout the year.

Either way, mark your calendar, and pass this along to your friends so they can cheer you and the other contestants on!

Will YOU be the next Haiku Master?

2017 Haiku Death Match winner Ray McNiece (image courtesy Heights Arts)

Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest announced

Deadline is coming right up on Monday, so I thought I'd repost this to remind everybody to send their poems in!
Note the change from the originally planned date-- the reading is now set for May 11.

Hessler street fair 2019 poster

Writing Knights has announced the 2019 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest.

The Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest is one of the longest-running poetry events in Cleveland, it features cash prizes, and it's free to enter.
The best of the poems submitted are selected and printed in the Hessler Street Fair anthology, and the poets are invited to read their poems at a reading in May to select the winners.  The top poets will earn a slot to read on the main stage at the fair (simulcast on the radio), June 1 and 2, 2019.
Contest submissions close on April 15, so get your poems in now!
The reading for the contest top places will be held at Unitarian Universalist Society on May 11, 2019 at 7pm. About 20 minutes after all participating poets have read, the winners will be announced and prizes handed out. If you have won 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Place in the Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest in the last three years, you are welcome to submit to the book and read your poem, but you will not be eligible to win a prize. 

Publishing Poetry in Northeast Ohio: Roundtable, Readings, Book Fair

Join in a lively discussion with regionally and nationally known poetry publishers on Saturday April 13th at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

12:30-2:00 Roundtable
Representatives from Bottom Dog Press, Cleveland State University Press, Crisis Chronicles Press, NightBallet Press, Poet’s Haven, and University of Akron Press will share their thoughts and insights about publishing poetry and answer questions from the audience. Moderated by Bonné de Blas, an MFA Candidate in the Northeastern Ohio Master of Fine Arts program at Kent State University.

2:00-2:15 Break
Enjoy free refreshments while you browse the book fair, talk with local publishers, and check out their publications.

2:15-3:45 Readings
Several authors published by presses in today’s roundtable will read from their work. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Readers will include Phil Metres, Ray McNiece, Rikki Santer, Holli Rainwater, Robin Mullet, Larry Smith and more.

3:45-4:30 Book Fair
Browse the book fair, talk with local publishers, and check out their publications.

Cuyahoga County Public Library
South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch
1876 South Green Road
South Euclid, Ohio  44121
Phone 216-382-4880

This event is FREE and open to the public. Please RSVP at

Friday, April 5, 2019

Traveling Stanzas / Lakewood Public Library Poetry Contest

Poetry Contest
Submissions accepted between Monday, March 4, 2019 and Monday, April 22, 2019 at 9:00 p.m. To submit a poem, visit the Traveling Stanzas exhibit and use the theme, Immigrant Voices, to compose your work. Poems will be judged by local poets. Winners and two runners up will be selected from the following age groups: K-8 grade, 9-12 grade and over 18. The contest will culminate with a poetry reading by the winners. Submissions accepted at any Library service desk or can be emailed to Please include your name, contact information and age group.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Ohio Poetry Day Contest

Once again, the Ohio Poetry Day Association has sent out the flyer announcing twenty-six contests for 2019.
I don't usually like contests with entry fees, but the entry fee on this one, $10.00, is so absurdly low for twenty-six contests (of course, you don't have to enter them all) that it's pretty clear nobody's making money on this. It's a bargain.

No URL-- OPD is purely old school; paper submissions only.  Postmark by the May 15 deadline.
And, if you want a little mini-vacation to Troy in the autumn, mark your calendars for the Ohio Poetry Day celebration October 18 and 18.

Pages of Ohio Poetry Day flyer, with the list of poetry contests

Pages from Ohio Poetry Day contest, announcing the contest and with the entry form

Page from Ohio Poetry Day flyer, with format for poem submissions

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Words On Fire: A Remembrance of the Cuyahoga River Fire now online

Freighter on Cuyahoga. Photo by GL.
The Cleveland Lit sponsored a staged reading, Words On Fire: A Remembrance of the Cuyahoga River Fire, as part of the Cleveland Humanities Festival, with poems celebrating the Cuyahoga or Cleveland or commemorating the 50th anniversary of the great Cuyahoga River fire, with contributors from Alberto Montero, Amy Phipps, David J. Adams, David Lee Garrison, DT McCrea, Gail Bellamy, Geoffrey Landis, Jeremy Mark Ritch, Jill Sell, Josh Davis, Lee Chilcote, Maria Wolfe, Marsha McGregor, Mary Turzillo, Melissa Warren, Meredith Holmes, Theresa Gottl Brightman, Toni K. Thayer, and Vince Robinson.

logo of Literary Cleveland

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Poetry Month!

National Poetry Month logo
Once again, the calendar has rolled around to April, and tomorrow will be the start of National Poetry Month. And that means that the Cuyahoga Public Library is celebrating with their month-long Read+Write: Thirty Days of Poetry. For every day of the National Poetry month, you can expect a new poem by a Northeastern Ohio poet, along with a poetry prompt, and a daily challenge. Sign up now!  

logo for Cuyahoga Library Read+Write event

National Poetry Month poster

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Jim Lang Book Club at Cleveland Clinic

Lerner Research Institute  
Jim Lang Book Club
Local Author Series

Please join us to hear Dr. Bilgere read Jim Lang's poems in celebration of the inaugural Jim Lang Book Club, a series that will feature local authors. Dr. Bilgere has published seven poetry collections, and his poems have also appeared in many distinguished journals and several anthologies. His collections and individual poems are award-winning, garnering the Devins Award for Poetry, the May Swenson Poetry Award, the Midland Authors Award, and a Pushcart Prize, among others. In 1991 he was a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, and he was later named a Witter Bynner Fellow, a prestigious honor bestowed in conjunction with the Library of Congress. Dr. Bilgere was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature in 2003 and received a Creative Workforce Fellowship from Cleveland's Community Partnership for Arts and Culture in 2014. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council have also recognized and supported Dr. Bilgere. In addition to teaching at John Carroll University and writing, he hosts a popular weekly WJCU radio program, Wordplay, that explores the craft of poetry and celebrates the spoken word.

Jim Lang passed away in 2017, but his presence is still felt by those who knew him during his more than 25 years as the LRI Photographic Services Core Director. Jim was much more than our resident photographer – he was a friend, poet, artist, philosopher, potter, scholar, and above all, a true humanitarian. He had the unique ability to light up any space with his love of life and literature. He willingly shared his knowledge on a wide variety of topics and his expertise in many areas, and he instilled in us a deep appreciation for all that enriches our lives beyond our chosen professions and everyday responsibilities. Jim organized poetry slams in his early days and book clubs most recently, so we will continue the book club in his honor.

Hosted by Vince Tuohy, PhD and Justin Johnson, Dept. of Inflammation and Immunity
Monday, April 1   3:00 pm    LRI Commons
Light refreshments will be provided.

Cleveland Clinic - Lerner Research Institute
9620 Carnegie Avenue (N building)
Cleveland, Ohio 44106


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