Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Award-winning poet Michael Steffen comes to Lakewood on 11/7

Award-winning poet Michael Steffen will be featured in a reading/book signing at The Bookshop in Lakewood, 15230 Madison Avenue, Lakewood, OH  44107 on Sunday, November 7th, 2021 from 2-5 pm.  Michael will read at 4 pm from his recently-published collection, Blood Narrative (Main Street Rag Press, 2021). 

Praise for Michael Steffen’s Poetry

These warm, generous, and lively poems speak to the narrative of body and spirit, of family, marriage, community and culture, as they come to terms with past and present losses. They do it best by living in the present, grateful for the whole of every moment—luscious, embarrassing, lonely, or loving, reveling in the sensual. Steffen’s capacity to surprise with sudden humor or beauty or truth infuses every poem, reminding us to live fully, because “somewhere offshore in the eye of apocalypse,/angels raise their trumpets—” as I raise mine, to this wonderful blood narrative.

-     April Ossmann (author of Event Boundaries)

Steffen scrupulously avoids flamboyance, the sort of surface dazzle we find in poems that, like the stereotypical Chinese meal, are immediately appealing but leave us hungry instants later. His plain style approach allows his insights, as it were, to sneak up on us...until we discover ourselves (how did it happen?) in a world so full of pathos that we catch our breaths.

-     Sydney Lea

 About the Author

Michael Steffen is the author of three previous poetry collections: No Good at Sea (Legible Press, 2002) won the Legible Press Poetry Prize.  Heart Murmur (Bordighera Press, 2009) won the Bordighera Poetry Prize, appearing as a bilingual edition in both Italian and English.  His third collection, Bad Behavior (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2012), won the Brick Road Poetry Prize.  While a resident of Pennsylvania, Michael was granted a 2002 Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  His poems have appeared in Poetry, Potomac Review, Chiron Review, Poet Lore and the American Journal of Poetry among other literary magazines.  He has read and lectured widely and been a mentor in the PEN Prison Writing Program.  Michael is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Vermont College and currently lives in Buffalo, New York.

Please go to www.mnsteffen.com for more.      

Friday, October 22, 2021



I should mention that collaborators Mary Turzillo and Marge Simon have a new book of dark poetry out, Victims, from Weasel Press. Seems like a lot of literature celebrates villains; it's a little more unusual to see the other side.

Both paper and e-versions are available, either from the publisher, or from Amazon.

This is one of the braver dark poetry collections I’ve seen in a while. Horror poets generally employ victims in their work, but the focus is generally on the Evil. Turning the camera the other way is unusual, unsettling, emotionally risky, and surprisingly effective. From their stark opening take on Pygmalion, to the ending poem about the wasted life of Stateira of Persia, this powerful collection teases apart an impressive number of the threads of victimhood. Some are the usual cases, but quite a few are surprises, or reversals, or cases with unexpected layers. There is nothing repetitive about this collection.

 —Timons Esaias

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The passing of Ohio poet Timothy Russell (1951-September 2021)

Tim grew up along the Ohio River and worked at Weirton Steel as a millwright until lupus forced him to retire. He and wife Jodi lived on in Toronto, Ohio with four children, always close to nature. Tim won awards for his poetry and was praised by Gary Snyder, “There is discipline, spirit, clarity, no easy optimism, sensibility, heart in these poems.” His chapbook “In Medias Res” was published in A Red Shadow of Steel Mills: Photos & Poems (Bottom Dog Press 1991). He was a fine poet and had a wonderful ability to combine people with nature and industry. Here are a few lines.

If what I have written
in my own hand
had been origami
it would have been considered
lovely and miraculous:
the blue/orange flames
roosting at night
instead of the moon
above the blast furnaces,
like birds with litmus plumage,
miraculous and lovely.


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