Friday, October 27, 2023

10/28: Meet the authors of the Poem for Cleveland Anthology

Meet the authors of the Poem for Cleveland Anthology

Saturday, October 28

2:00pm - 4:00pm
South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch
Cuyahoga County Public Library
1876 South Green Road, South Euclid, Ohio 44121

Meeting Room A+B+C (120)

Join us to celebrate the publication of Poem for Cleveland, a new anthology written by over 100 youth and elder poets. Poets will be reading their poems from this second edition of the book.

The Poem for Cleveland project was a year-long series of workshops led by Ray McNiece, former Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate and Cleveland Arts Prize Lifetime Achievement Award winner. The project culminated in the publication of the anthology by local publisher, Red Giant Press. Poem for Cleveland was made possible by the Academy of American Poets with funds from the Mellon Foundation.

McNiece worked with youth poets to present writing workshops for elder poets at various community venues, including the William N. Skirball Writers’ Center at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. Each workshop included poetry prompts about Cleveland, including favorite places, people, family memories, and growing up a Clevelander.

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Lit Youngstown Fall Literary Festival This Weekend


From our friends at Lit Youngstown:

The 7th annual Fall Literary Festival will feature Ross Gay, Jill Christman, Alison Stine, and the Craig Paulenich Endowed Lecture on Literary Community by Lit Cleveland Executive Director Matt Weinkam. This will be an incredible conference, with thanks to our sponsors the Centofanti Foundation, the Youngstown State University Center for Working-Class Studies, WYSU-FM, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, Lake Erie Golf Cars, the Thomases Family Foundation, KO Consulting, the Grace Ruth Memorial Endowment, Ohio Humanities, the Wilkes University Master of Fine Arts, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts, Eastern Gateway Community College, the Ohio Arts Council and the Youngstown Foundation.

Registration for daytime events is now closed. Please join us for the free evening readings! For more information including a full schedule of events, please visit

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Let's Talk Art: October 22nd

Let's Talk Art

The Intersection of Visual Arts & Poetry

Sunday, October 22
1:00pm - 3:00pm

Warrensville Heights Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library

Join us for a panel discussion, reception and Q&A with accomplished local poets, and spoken word performances.

Building on the successful "Let's Talk Art" panel session on race, culture and art in March 2023, Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL), the Museum of Creative Human Art (MOCHA), and Assembly for the Arts invite you to join us for a celebration of spoken word. Learn from the experiences and perspectives of our panelists - Honey Bell-Bey, Jennifer Coleman, Siaara Freeman, Calil Gage, Wesley (Wallstreet Wes) Robinson - in an engaging dialogue moderated by Deidre McPherson, Chief Community Officer for the Assembly for the Arts. Brief reception and spoken word performance immediately following. 


Jennifer Coleman

Coleman is the Foundation’s program director for Creative Culture and Arts. Prior to joining the Foundation, Coleman, an architect, was president of her own design firm, Jennifer Coleman Creative. Earlier in her career, she practiced architecture at several local architecture firms. She also founded, a company that produced audio walking tours of Cleveland that highlight the distinctive history and architecture of Cleveland. Among her many civic endeavors, Jennifer has served as chair of the Cleveland Landmarks Commission, the Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee and the Group Plan Commission. She also has been a member of the board of trustees of many local arts and cultural organizations. Coleman received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University.

Honey Bell-Bey 

Honey Bell-Bey holds a BA in Broadcast Production Technology from Bethune-Cookman University. A motivational poet, writer, educator and community advocate, Bell-Bey is an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist and the founder and director for The International, Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word, a character based performance troupe for adolescent males who perform on topics of disparities and social injustices. She has performed, directed, and choreographed Spoken Word performances internationally and has received numerous awards and accommodations for her service and activism utilizing poetry as a tool to unite communities around issues in social justice and equity. She was appointed the poet laureate of Cuyahoga County in January 2020, the first poet in sixteen years to hold the position.

Siaara Freeman
Siaara is a 2023 Room in the House fellow with Karmau Theater and a 2022 Catapult fellow with Cleveland Public Theater. She is a 2021 Premier Playwright fellow recipient withCleveland Public theater. She is a 2020 WateringHole Manuscript fellow, 2018 Poetry Foundation incubator fellow and a four time nominee for the pushcart prize. Her work appears in The Journal, Josephine Quarterly, Cleveland Magazine and elsewhere. She has had multiple poems go viral and has toured both nationally and internationally. Her first full length manuscript Urbanshee is available with Button Poetry and is a 2023 finalist for the Audre Lorde Award as well as a 2023 Silver Award winner for the Benjamin Franklin IPBA award for Poetry.  

Calil Gage 
Calil “JUST C.O.S.” Cage is a poet, speaker, educator, and two-time author. He is the founder of and currently serves as the Executive Director of The Sparrow’s Fortune. Born in Chicago, and raised in Columbus, OH, Calil currently resides in Cleveland, OH. He gained his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies at Kent State University. Recently, he was awarded the Helping Hands Award by the Cuyahoga County ADAMHS Board, because of the communal nature of his work in the poetry world. His poetry and spoken word most often highlight the Black community, trauma resilience, hope, healing, spiritual principles, and more. “C.O.S.”, pronounced “cause”, stands for Collection of Seeds. He sees his words as “just a collection of seeds” planted into the hearts of those who listen. He hopes to continue honoring this moniker and planting seeds of impact in every community he visits.

Wesley (Wallstreet Wes) Robinson

Wesley Robinson was given the moniker, “Wallstreet” because of how he genuinely invests in the lives of others. At the age of 21 years old Wallstreet he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for two counts of aggravated robbery. A crime Wallstreet has taken full accountability for. 

During his tenure in prison, Wes was often mentored by men serving life or more years than a man can live, who encouraged him to embrace his prison experience as a life lesson. With this knowledge, at the age of 24 years old Wallstreet began to pour that same wisdom onto the other young males who were serving long stints like him. After awhile the administration of the prison threatened to place Wes in solitary confinement if he kept on impacting the population in a positive way. These threats only encouraged him and led him to informally form an organization called “Digging Diamonds from Dirt”, where he educated himself and others on black history and poetry so that they could express themselves to elders who only judged them as wild and young instead of youth in need of guidance.

In 2012, Wallstreet Wes was transferred to a minimum level security prison where he was able to truly find himself creatively. 

About the moderator 

Deidre McPherson, Chief Community Officer at the Assembly for the Arts, is a creative producer and entrepreneurial strategist dedicated to bridging the gap between artists, communities, and institutions. Her passion for recognizing the creative talent in her community and connecting artists to the public through cultural events and opportunities has been at the core of her work. Her advocacy for Black and Brown and LGBTQ+ creatives enables her to be a prominent force in the collective shift towards equity in Northeast Ohio.

Over the years, Deidre has held leadership roles at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa). At both institutions, she was responsible for curating and managing events designed to make the museum a vibrant, socially relevant, and welcoming destination. Similarly, as Director of Artistic and Community Initiatives for FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, she introduced community engagement practices that focused on amplifying Black and Brown creatives. Through her consulting practice, she has worked on projects for clients including the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF), Studio West 117, Karamu House, Dance Cleveland and the Saint Luke’s Foundation. Deidre earned a Bachelor's degree from Miami University (with minors in Violin Performance and Arts Administration) and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

Assembly for the Arts            MOCHA

Friday, October 6, 2023

Rikki Santer selected Ohio Poet of the Year for 2023

Image of cover of Resurrection Letter: Leonora, Her Tarot, and MeThe Ohio Poetry Day Association (OPDA) has selected Rikki Santer as its Ohio Poet of the Year for 2023. Santer was selected for her book of poems, Resurrection Letter: Leonora, Her Tarot, and Me (Materialist Press/Cereal Box Studio, 2023), a book-length sequence in tribute to the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington.


A resident of Columbus, Ohio, Santer has had published five full-length poetry collections and six chapbook sequences exploring such topics as the Hopewell earthworks of Newark, Ohio; the late Kahiki Supper Club of Columbus, Ohio; the world of ventriloquism, the art of fashion, and the classic television series Twilight Zone. She is a member of the teaching artist roster of the Ohio Arts Council, a vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association, and a member of the poetry troupe, Concrete Wink. Her poetry has been widely published and has received many honors including several Pushcart and Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more at

As an Ohio Poet of the Year, Santer joins the likes of Mary Oliver, David Baker, Kari Gunter-Seymour, and Maggie Smith. The complete list of previous Poet of the Year winners is below.


Santer will be featured at this year’s Ohio Poetry Day celebration, October 13–14. The event will feature a morning workshop, readings, and the keynote from Santer, who will read from her winning collection. See agenda details below.



Friday, October 13, 7–9 PM: Meet and greet with Santer and previous Poets of the Year, overnight poetry contest prompt.

Saturday, October 14, 10 AM–4 PM: Evan Lodge Workshop, reading by Rikki Santer, open mic featuring Ohio Poetry Day contest winners.

Where:   Troy Hayner Cultural Center
                301 W. Main St., Troy, Ohio 45373

List of Ohio Poets of the Year

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Coming Early October in the Land:

[Shared from the Literary Cleveland newsletter:]

Thrity Umrigar & Karan Mahajan

Wednesday, October 4 at 7pm at CCPL Parma-Snow

Spoken Word: Poetry Open Mic Nights

Thursday, October 5 at 7pm at Kaiser Gallery

Literary Citizenship Seminar

Saturday, October 7 at 4:30pm virtual with Ashland University

Con Tu Variety Show

Sunday, October 8 at 10pm at Dunlaps Corner Bar

Indigenous People's Celebration

Monday, October 9 at 8pm virtual with Ashland University

Poetry ~ Cathy Barber & EF Schraeder

Wednesday, October 11 at 7pm at Macs Backs-Books on Coventry

Broadsides & Ephemera featuring Judith Mansour

Thursday, October 12 at 7pm at Loganberry Books

Cris Harris & Mary Quade

Saturday, October 14 at 7pm at Macs Backs-Books on Coventry


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