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!"

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