Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Twelve Literary Arts Plays Instrumental Role in Development of E. 66th St. Project

Daniel Gray-Kontar
"...Twelve Literary Arts serves as a nurturing ecosystem for young writers of color, helping develop their creative writing skills from age 14 until mid-career. Open mic poetry events, writing workshops, poetry slams and internships are among the offerings...."

Read the whole story in The Land:

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Lake Erie Ink founder looks back on 10 years of fostering youth creativity

"Ten years ago, English teachers Amy Rosenbluth and Cynthia Larsen saw a need to emphasize the importance of writing skills and creativity to area youth. The two met, realized they had similar visions and Lake Erie Ink was born in 2010...."

Read the rest in FreshWater Cleveland.
Twitter: @LakeErieInk
Facebook: Lake Erie Ink

Monday, December 7, 2020

Baldwin House Urban Writing Residency 2021 - Submissions Open

The 2021 submission period for Twelve Literary Arts' Baldwin House Urban Writing Residency for NE Ohio writers is now open. For more information about Baldwin House or to apply visit their Submittable page.
Facebook: Twelve Arts
Instagram: @twelvelitarts

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Be Part of Lit Cleveland's 2020 Celebration of Northeast Ohio Writers

From our friends at Literary Cleveland:

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2020 has been a long year and boy do we need good news now more than ever. That is why we are kicking off our second annual Celebration of Northeast Ohio Writers!

We want to hear it all! What you've published this year, whether it was a full book or just an individual poem, story, or essay. Did you win any writing contests? Any other good news? Let us know!

All you have to do is give us the information about your writing achievements in the past year via this form: Then we will publish our Celebration the last week of December, through our newsletter and on social media. This is one more way we are creating a vibrant literary community, by letting everyone know how active, involved and amazing our Northeast Ohio writers are.

So please let us know about your accomplishments in the past 12 months using this form: Also, let others know about our Celebration so they can participate!

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Learn more about Literary Cleveland at

Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

America 2020, In Vision and Verse

"It’s been a year unlike any other in living memory. We selected five poems by contemporary American poets and asked five photographers to let the poems inspire them...." Read more in The New York Times:

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Cat Russell and the End of Days: An Interview

Cat Russell is a northeast Ohio writer whose first book I had the honor of publishing last year through Crisis Chronicles Press. Recently, she has also provided invaluable assistance keeping our Cleveland Poetics literary event calendar [see above] up to date. Now Cat has a brand new book out through Venetian Spider Press, and I wanted to talk with her about it.
JB: Thank you so much for agreeing to a brief interview for the Cleveland Poetics blog. Tell me a little about your new book, An Optimist's Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories. Was the title inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic?

Cat Russell: No, it wasn't, although present circumstances certainly make it seem that way! My book is actually a collection of my favorite short stories, mostly flash fiction, that I've written over the past thirteen years.

The title is taken from the first story in the book, which was inspired by the fact that I actually do keep a "Favorite Things" journal. The idea behind the practice is to help you focus on things you appreciate each day, and
as you can imaginewhen things aren't going so well, it's harder to find good things to fill those pages. So I started wondering what I would write in the event of an apocalyptic event.

JB: Well, it certainly feels a bit prescient. One of the many things I find interesting about your book is that it is printed in a font that makes it appear as though it was all written on a typewriter. To me, this makes it all feel more intimate, like I'm getting to read a private manuscript of yours that no one else gets to read. Whose idea was this, yours or your publisher's?

Cat Russell: I always use Courier New font when I'm turning in a manuscript, because of the monospacing. I also have a second reason that's more personal: I use a typewriter-style keyboard, so the aesthetics appeals to me. But my publisher decided to keep the font in the finished book, which I think works really well with the mottled journal-style cover; it gives the impression that each story inside is a journal entry typed on an old fashioned typewriter. In fact, Venetian Spider Press, especially William F. DeVault, deserves full credit for how beautifully the finished product came out!

JB: 2020 has been a tough year for small presses and for authors with new books coming out. Most events have had to be either cancelled, moved to 2021 or conducted online. I know when your previous book, Soul Picked Clean, was released last year you did an impressive array of readings, signings and book fairs around northeast Ohio. How are you adapting with your new book? What are your plans when it comes to An Optimist's Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories?

Cat Russell: I have looked into readings at different libraries and other venues for when restrictions ease and people feel safer gathering for events, but in the meantime I'm mostly doing online events. Last month I read some stories for SpoFest Poetry & Prose, and I also shared my unboxing video online when I received my author copies. I made my readings from other events available on my YouTube channel and promoted on Patreon and social media.

My biggest event that I have planned for 2020 though is Halloween-themed. On Friday, Oct 30th I'm doing a joint reading with three other authors called the "Spooky BOOKtacular." James Bryant, the host of SpoFest, will kick the event off at 7pm EST, and then I will pick up the baton at 7:30, followed by horror writers Faryl (8:30) and S.T. Hoover (9:30). It's set up like a blog tour, but for FaceBook Live, so people can join by clicking the individual event link for each author, with 15 minute breaks between readings. Since so many authors I know can't do a traditional book launch this year, this seemed like a fun way for us to mutually promote and support each other.

I also have some tentative things lined up for later in the year, but I'm honestly not sure how things will work out for any in-person events. I would like to do some online holiday sales though. Since the book has a lot of stories in different genres, I think it would make a nice gift for other bibliophiles of pretty much any taste.

JB: I look forward to the Spooky BOOKtacular! Thank you again, Cat, for agreeing to this interview. It's always a pleasure to chat with you. Is there anything else that you'd like to add before we sign off?

Cat Russell: Thank you so much for this opportunity! I really appreciate it, and I hope everyone is getting through these difficult times as best they can.

I know it can feel lonely with all the social distancing and event cancellations, especially for those of us who get our energy and inspiration from being around others, so it's nice to know we can reach out to each other online or even with just the phone. This is such a supportive community, I'm very thankful to be a part of it. And it's a pleasure talking to you too!

# # # # #

Don't forget to tune into the
Spooky BOOKtacular on October 30th 2020.

Buy a signed copy of An Optimist's Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories direct from the author: ($29.95 and please be sure to include your mailing address).

And for more Cat Russell, check out these links:

Amazon Author Page:
Cat's Patreon:
Writing Blog:
Personal Twitter:
Author Twitter:
Author Facebook:

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Jill Bialosky

Jill Bialosky

On Monday, October 26, editor, poet, and novelist Jill Bialosky will be interviewed by Diane Kendig for the Cuyahoga County Public Library's "Beyond the Book Jacket" feature. This event will be broadcast on CCPL Facebook Live: Now living in New York, Bialosky was born and raised in Cleveland.  Her most recent poetry collection is  Asylum: A Personal, Historical, Natural Inquiry in 103 Lyric Sections.
Jill Bialosky (image by Ron Hogan)

(CCPL's Facebook live page has a number of events coming up; many of them also featuring local writers. Check out the list at )

Sunday, October 11, 2020

These Young Black Poets Have a Message

Check out "Listen Up: These Young Black Poets Have a Message" (ten teenage writers show the future of poetry), an interactive feature in The New York Times.

Introduction by Maya Phillips
, interviews by Pierre-Antoine Louis. Poets featured: William Lohier, Nyarae Francis, Inari Williams, Alora Young, Madison Petaway, Jacoby Collins, Ava Emhoff, Leila Mottley, Akilah Toney, and Samuel Getachew.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Passing along the pen--

I've been the moderator (or maybe I should say, herder-of-cats) for Clevelandpoetics: the blog for the last ten years...  I've somewhat drifted away from the Cleveland poetry scene lately, though. While I still publish the occasional poem here and there, and even semi-regularly show up at workshops, other conflicts have meant that I haven't been a regular at any of the local reading series for a while (even before most of them went on hiatus, or virtual, due to the pandemic).  And, more to the point, I'd been letting the blog languish while my time was spent on other things.

So I've decided I should pass the keys along and let somebody else drive.  John Burroughs shouldn't be a new name for any of you; other than me, he's been one of the most prolific names keeping the blog alive, and of course he's also been a regular feature in the poetry scene in the area. He has already been the one keeping the calendar, (and doing an exceptional job of it), so passing the moderation along to him won't be too much of a surprise for you all.

So: welcome John as the new keeper of the blog.  Good luck, and keep the heart of the Cleveland poetry scene beating.

...I might add that Clevelandpoetics is not a one-person show!  We welcome new voices, and we're open to posts, reviews, and thoughts about poetry or about Cleveland.  We have a guest post account, or we can give you access-- let us know!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Lit Youngstown's 4th Annual Fall Literary Festival Is This Month

Via Videoconference
September 24-26, 2020, EST

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
–Walt Whitman

This year’s theme is In Many Tongues: Constituents of the Barbaric Yawp.

This year’s conference will be centered around the theme In Many Tongues, a conversation bringing together writing and publishing, literary inclusion, translating and translation, dialect and dialog, atypical modes of speech, and the generational, political, ecological, and experimental elements that add to the wider literary conversation.

The conference will include creative readings, craft talks, workshops and panel discussions on writing, reading, teaching, performing, editing and publishing creative works. Highly acclaimed visiting faculty will share their experience and insights, and presenters from Ohio and beyond will speak on a variety of topics.

More information on registration is available here:

Registration costs $45; for graduate students and part-time faculty $10; undergraduate student registration is free. Streamlined registration process for a whole class of undergraduate or high school students. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

A poem by Philip Metres in The New York Times

Congratulations to Northeast Ohio's own Philip Metres, whose poem "Ode to the Oranges of Jaffa" was selected by Naomi Shihab Nye to be featured in this week's New York Times Magazine

Read it at

If you like that,  I recommend you check out his most recent book (in which the poem also appears): Shrapnel Maps (Copper Canyon Press, 2020).

Friday, July 31, 2020

Kari Gunter-Seymour is named Ohio Poet of the Year 2020

The Ohio Poetry Day Association has selected Kari Gunter-Seymour as its Ohio Poet of the Year for 2020. Gunter-Seymour was selected for her latest book of poems, A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2020).

Residing near Athens, Ohio, Gunter-Seymour is a ninth generation Appalachian and seeks to honor that heritage in her poetry. She often writes in the voices of those she encounters and uses a regional accent when she performs.

“As an Appalachian poet, I take great pride in my heritage,” Gunter-Seymour says. “For generations my ancestors have loved and worked the land, read their Bibles and migrated as the weather or wanderlust prescribed, handing down their knowledge and experiences through story and song.”

Chosen from among eight books nominated for Ohio Poet of the Year, A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen is Gunter-Seymour’s second poetry collection.  [The first is Serving.]

“This [Ohio Poet of the Year] award feels like a victory for all who came before me,” she said, “as well as all yet to come and for the untold number of Appalachian poets, writers and singer/songwriters who have touched my life and my writing in so many ways.”

Kathy Fagan, one of four judges and the 2017 Ohio Poet of the Year for her book Sycamore, calls Gunter-Seymour “a poet for whom family and region provide a well-source of words.”

Gunter-Seymour’s winning the award comes on the heels of her recently being selected as Ohio’s third State Poet Laureate by Governor Mike DeWine. She also previously was Poet Laureate of Athens, Ohio.

Gunter-Seymour is also the founder and Executive Director of the Women of Appalachia Project. This organization offers opportunities for women artists of Appalachian descent and diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences to participate in artistic programs as a way, according to its website, “to embrace the stereotype, to show the whole woman.” The Women of Appalachia Project sponsors spoken word events, poetry readings, fine art exhibitions and other artistic programs and publications.

The Ohio Poetry Day Association was founded in 1937 by authorization of the Ohio Legislature. Since 1976, it has selected annually an Ohio Poet of the Year, basing its choice on a book published in the previous one to two years. The award is based on the one book and not on an aggregation of work published over time. Four judges are selected to review the nominees, one of which is always a previous poet of the year winner.

“I was honored to read books by all the outstanding nominees for Ohio Poet of the Year,” said Fagan. “Gunter-Seymour joins an impressive list of previous winners, re-inscribing for each of us just how rich and deep Ohio’s poetic heritage has been.”

Another judge, Robin Mullet (co-author with Holli Rainwater of The Curve of Her Arm) said that being a judge was one of the most challenging tasks she has ever had because each of the nominees was deserving of the award.

“Although I have long known that Ohio was a treasure chest of poetry, I was still blown away by the depth, diversity and richness of the language of these skilled poets,” she said.

For more about the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year, please visit

Friday, April 24, 2020

Ray McNiece, new poet laureate of Cleveland Heights

from Rachel Bernstein of Heights Arts writes:
"I’m thrilled to announce that our Heights Writes Community Team has chosen Ray McNiece as the next Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights!” The two-year appointment begins this month. The Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate was, for many years, the only poet laureateship in the state of Ohio, and is one of Heights Arts core programs. McNiece will be the 10th poet serving the community in this capacity."

See their announcement here.
Ray McNiece, new poet laureate of Cleveland Heights

Ray writes:
"Many thanks to Rachel Bernstein Kathleen CervenyChristine Howey and the Heights Writes Committee. I take over from a long line of great poets of community including this past two years' poet Damien McClendon!
"My big proposal is intergenerational poetry circles with elders and youth which will obviously be on hold until we can find a way to do workshops safely. Likewise the community poetry workshop which will probably be done through Zoom, (I'm currently leading one for the Lit). I'll also be soliciting local poets for the very successful Ekphrastacy Series, poets responding to Art for Height's Arts Gallery Shows. I'll be leading Seasonal Ginko (Haiku Hikes) at Cain Park and initiate a revival of the Best Cleveland Poem contest, named for Daniel Thompson, Cleveland's legendary Community Poet and long time Cleveland Heights resident, with Student, Adult and Senior Categories. Eventually we hope to have quarterly Lit Jams, performances of poems, stories, songs, monologues and stand up comedy backed by the Tongue in Groove Band at a Cleveland Heights Music venue, imagine Literary "Happenings"! I am also going to start a blog dubbed, An Analog Man in a Digital World, where I'll post news updates on all of the above, poems, prompts and contest information. Thanks again, Yesterday I posted a tribute to my mother and it really was her encouragement to follow my dreams to be a poet (my immigrant Grandparents were drilling "Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer" in my head all through my childhood) that has brought me here. That, and the love of poetry instilled by my father's mother Zelma McNiece Cline, who always told me if you learn a poem by heart it lives with you your whole life!"

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Ohio Poetry Day has announced their contests

reposted from the Ohio Poetry Association blog: the Ohio Poetry Day contests ar coming up next month.

Ohio Poetry day rulesOhio Poetry Day Contest Updates: 2020 Contests Flyer, 2019 Winners List

OPD 2020 Contests Information
The 2020 Ohio Poetry Day Association annual contests have been announced. May 15 is the deadline (postmark) for more than two dozen contests, including a “Welcome Aboard” category for first-time submitters. Below is a copy of the submission form, which provides full contest information. 

Ohio Poetry Day 2020 will take place October 2–3 at the University of Mt. Union in Alliance, Ohio. To get on the OPD mailing list, contact:
Amy Jo Zook
3520 State Route 56
Mechanicsburg, OH 43044 

Checks made payable to: Ohio Poetry Day..

-- also, the Ohio Poetry Association is looking for submissions for the Ohio Poet of the Year, an award open to Ohio poets who have published a collection of poetry in 2018 or 2019.

  • Information on how to nominate here
  • Information on the award here

Ohio Poetry Day list of contests

Ohio Poetry Day entry formOhio Poetry Day A Word About Format

OPD 2019 Contest Winners

The list of winners of the OPD 2019 poetry contests has been released. We're excited to see so many OPA members among the winners and honorable mentions. Congratulations to all!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Congrats to Guggenheim Fellow Phil Metres

photo of Philip Metres

Congrats to Cleveland Poet Philip Metres for being named a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow!

Guggenheim Fellowships represent "exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts."

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Not too late to catch up on A POEM A DAY!

It's April, and you know what that means... yes: 30 day of Poetry from the Cuyahoga County Public Library, featuring a new poem every day from a Northeastern Ohio poet, and a poetry prompt for you to write your own.
You're a week behind, but it's not too late to catch up: sign up for the daily e-mail.

We are one week into our #readwritepoetry 30 Days of Poetry Month. Click the link below to get caught up on our featured poetry blog posts and our daily "Write a Poem" exercises.
Thank you for joining our Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry mailing list.
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The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau