Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2015 in the rear view mirror - and a hint of a 2016 preview

I don't have the time or patience to write something really good about a difficult year, so I'm just  gonna share some random stuff from my personal world.

Geri and I completed our 3rd year living in Cleveland.

As stated in my last blog entry, I read 124 books in 2015, most of them short poetry books from Ohio small presses.  In number of titles (but not number of pages), this is the most I've ever read in a year.

I published 15 books via Crisis Chronicles Press in 2015.  You can get the whole bunch (a $100+ value) for $75 . They are:

I co-hosted the almost annual Snoetry: Winter Wordfest in January at the Avalon Hotel in Erie, Pennsylvania.  I served as the primary host of the monthly Monday at Mahall's Poetry & Prose Series in Lakewood, Ohio through August of 2015 before permanently handing off hosting duties to Terry Provost and making up my mind not to host any more events for the near future.  This was far fewer events than I've hosted in any given year since 2008.  And I have no plans to host any in 2016.  But Snoetry will return in 2017.

I gave 15 featured poetry readings in 2015, also fewer than I had in any previous year since 2008. They were:

  • January 24 - Snoetry 5 at the Avalon Hotel (Erie. PA)
  • April 18 - Artomatic 419 festival (Toledo, OH)
  • April 18 - SOUL Collective of Collaborative Arts (Farmington, MI)
  • June 6 - Lake Effect Poetry fundraiser at the Barberton Gallery of Fine Arts (Barberton, OH)
  • June 27 - West Toledo Branch Library (Toledo, OH)
  • August 1 - Expedition: SPACES!!! A Journey of Words, Sights & Sounds (Cleveland)
  • August 4 - Words & Wine at Your Vine or Mine (Painesville, OH)
  • August 8 - SOUL Community House (Farmington, MI)
  • September 2 - M.J. Arcangelini and friends at the Happy Dog east (Cleveland)
  • September 19 - accompanied by trumpeter Étienne Massicotte during BeatStreet Cleveland at the Barking Spider (Cleveland)
  • October 1 - Literary Cafe (Cleveland)
  • October 15 - Third Thursday poetry at the Root Cafe (Cuyahoga  Falls, OH)
  • October 23 - accompanied by trumpeter Étienne Massicotte at Severance Hall (Cleveland)
  • November 7 - Ultimate Artist Extravaganza at SOUL (Farmington, MI)
  • November 21 - Soul Speak at the Lorain Arts Council (Lorain, OH)

And I represented Crisis Chronicles Press at four other events in 2015:

  • March 7 - Indie Author Conference & Showcase at the Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma-Snow Branch (Parma, OH)
  • May 13 - Hessler Street Fair Poetry Competition at Ensemble Theatre (Cleveland Heights, OH)
  • October 31 - Poet's Haven Halloween Jubilee (Massillon, OH)
  • November 7 - Meet the Presses at Sanger Branch Library (Toledo, OH)

I competed in one poetry slam this year and ended up winning a slot on Lake Effect Poetry's 2015 Rustbelt Regional slam team (and a trip to Rockford, Illinois to compete).  However....

Sadly, due to serious family health issues, I had to cancel plans to participate in an unprecedented 5 events in 2015.  They were:

AWP in Minneapolis, MN
Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam in Rockford, IL
April 28 reading at Sips Coffee House in Mount Vernon, OH
June 12 book release at PACA in Erie, PA
July 28 Mad Sing You 3 poetry/music fest in Cleveland

So I've still never been west of Indiana.  But maybe I'll make it in 2016, when I have only 12 events scheduled (one of them is in Kansas City).  My 2016 events (so far) will be:

  • February 27 - John Burroughs, Dianne Borsenik, Jason Ryberg, Shawn Pavey and Jameson Bayles at Mac's Backs in Cleveland Heights, OH
  • February 28 - John Burroughs, Dianne Borsenik, Jason Ryberg, Shawn Pavey and Jameson Bayles at Guide to Kulchur in Cleveland, OH
  • March 21 - John Burroughs & Mindi Kirchner-Greenway at Cultured Coffee & Waffles in Canton, OH
  • April 8 - Burroughs, Christine Howey, Dan Smith & Leonard Kress for the Kozo Reading Series at the Morgan Conservatory  in Cleveland, OH
  • April 15-17 - Poets from across the country at Prospero's Books in Kansas City, MO
  • April 21 - Burroughs, Theresa Gottl Brightman, Mary Turzillo and musical guest Zaqi for Stark Knights at Buzzbin Art & Music in Canton, OH
  • April 27 - Poetry at the Lorain Arts Council in Lorain, OH
  • May 4 - Burroughs, Borsenik  and Matthew Minicucci at Suzie's Dogs & Drafts in Youngstown, OH
  • May 7 - Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology/Contest reading at the Barking Spider in Cleveland, OH
  • September 6 - Words and Wine featuring John Burroughs at Your Vine or Mine in Painesville, OH 
  • October 14-15 - Indie Lit Fest at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, MD
  • December 17 - George Wallace, Russ Green, Dianne Borsenik and John Burroughs at Classic Lines in Pittsburgh, PA

The aforementioned family health problems led to a lot of time spent in hospitals and doctor's offices, which helps explain why I was able to read 124 books and still fell behind on my Crisis Chronicles Press publishing commitments.

My wife retired from working this year, so I picked up more odd jobs ranging from freelance book editing to landscaping and deck painting.  My great Aunt Macel died at age 91 and great nephew Lucas Meinke died at age 2 and a half months.  And my car went a whole calendar year without being hit or getting into an accident.

I've started out each of the past several  years with a wish and intention to get caught up on Crisis Chronicles publishing commitments, only to find by the end of each year that my plan was more ambitious than the unanticipated twists and turns of life would allow.  In 2012 I planned to publish 24 titles and only published 18.  In 2013, I planned on 24 and only published 14.  In 2014 I planned on 24 and only got out 11.  And this year (2015) I came up with what I thought was a better-than-ever plan to publish 24 books, but still ended up publishing only 15.  So I've fallen further and further behind. 

You'd think I'd learn my lesson after this.  But I'm also slowly and steadily catching up, and I still have 24 books in the queue that I'm committed to (and excited about) publishing.  So here I am again planning to release two dozen books in 2016.  They include the long-awaited Oct Tongue 2, the 2016 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology, and books by Alinda Wasner, Meg Harris, Heather Ann Schmidt, Austin Roye, Helen Shepard, Christopher Franke, Juliet Cook, Richard O'Donnell, Azriel Johnson, William Merricle, Christopher Willard, Carolyn Srygley-Moore, John Greiner, Lisa Cihlar, Jennifer MacBain-Stephens, Luba Gawur, Elliot Nicely, Michael Estabrook, Lana Bella, Christopher Mulrooney, Dion Farquhar, Steven B. Smith, and Chansonette Buck.  The fact that I'm hosting no events and giving far fewer featured readings this year than usual should help.  I plan to post a tentative Crisis Chronicles Press publication schedule soon.

But what about my own poetry?  Well, I haven't written a whole lot this year, and I submitted even less, but I did get a few things published.

My latest chapbook, Beat Attitude, was released on my 49th birthday (September 17) by NightBallet Press.  The editor nominated my poem "In Due Season" from it for a Pushcart Prize.

My writing has also appeared in the following 2015 publications:

Still, 2015 was about a whole lot more than all that for me.  And 2016 will be about a lot more too.  But I've gone on long enough for one year.  Time to turn a few pages....

[Please note: my list of 2016 events was updated on 5 March 2016 to reflect additional gigs I've scheduled.]

Monday, December 28, 2015

Breakdown of books I read in 2015

In 2014, I read 75 books, which at the time tied 1994 for the year I read the most books.  This year, I planned to exceed that by reading 100, which I knew was attainable because I planned to read smaller books.  Well, by the end of 2015 I will have finished reading 124.  Of course I've read more than that. But the 124 does not include books that I abandoned in midstream or am still somewhere in the middle of reading.  

In the past, I read a lot more in different genres.  But recently, and especially in 2015, I have focused more on poetry, especially by small presses, and much of it local.  I find myself curious as to how it breaks down, so here are a few statistics on this year's finished books.

110 were print books
14 were e-books

115 were poetry books
9 were other genres

114 were published by small presses
10 were by big presses

73 were published in Ohio:
30 by NightBallet Press
14 by Crisis Chronicles Press
5 by Writing Knights Press
4 by Blood Pudding Press
4 by The Poet's Haven
1 or 2 each (16 in all) by other Ohio presses

56 were written either a) by Ohioans (loosely defined) or b) by multiple authors including Ohioans prominently

50 were published in 2015
18 were published in 2014
56 were published in earlier years

69 were written by men
43 were written by women
12 were collaborative works by both men and women

The last statistics surprised me, because I was fairly certain I read at least as many books by women as by men.

I'm sleepy, and tired or counting, so I guess that's enough for now.  You can check out the full list of books I finished in 2015 at Goodreads, if you wish.

Meanwhile,  I still have stacks and stacks of books I want to read and haven't yet.  So let's keep reading!  And I'll be back soon.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Showing My Behind

Good morning!  So what's up with me since my last blog entry?  Well, it seems I'm finally 99% over the bout of bronchitis that had me down for over a month. This week I got to see a lot of family members I hadn't seen in over a year and I returned to the church that was a big part of my youth for the first time in over twenty years.  Alas, both were during the visitation and funeral for my niece's two-and-a-half-month old baby boy, Lucas

I finally got my troublesome printer working properly, while my old Toshiba laptop finally died. I've had that computer since January 2009.  My phone died, too, but came back to life after I blew canned air into it.  Now I'm trying to catch up on a million things.  Actually, I feel like I've been in a constant state of catching up since about 2009.  And a large part of that has had to do with my Crisis Chronicles Press.

I've made progress toward catching up in 2015, publishing 15 titles so far (plus one more coming by the end of December), but not the 24 titles I had hoped when the year began and before life intervened in numerous ways (as it does every year).  That leaves me with another 27 titles I'm committed to publishing. So I will aim to put out two or three a month in 2016 and be caught up by the end of the year.

You probably wonder why I committed to so many books.  Well, I did so quite some time ago when I had seemingly endless time and energy and good health and resources, before my wife got ill and retired early and needed more help and before I needed to do more money-making work and less art-making work.  But I love these books so much I could not pass them up, and I look forward to getting them out in the coming year. 

Thank you for your friendship and support through it all!

Peace, love and poetry,

Saturday, December 12, 2015

No Snoetry in 2016

Because of other priorities that must take precedence this winter, Dianne Borsenik and I have decided that Snoetry: A Winter Wordfest will not happen in 2016. (You may recall we also skipped 2012). It was a hard decision to make. But we look forward to resuming in early 2017. Hopefully we'll have an exciting announcement to make on that front in two or three months.

Snoetry is a Lix and Kix Poetry Extravaganza production, sometimes in conjunction with other partners.

Snoetry Wordfests past:

2010: Last Wordsmith Book Shop in North East, PA

2011: Jim's Coffeehouse & Diner in Elyria, OH
2013: Poets' Hall in Erie, PA
2014: Guide To Kulchur: Text, Art, and News in Cleveland, OH
2015: The Avalon Hotel & Conference Center in Erie, PA
2017: to be announced

Friday, December 4, 2015

Cold, Cold, Art

15 titles Crisis Chronicles has published so far in 2015
I first started feeling like I was getting sick on November 5th.  The next day, though Geri and I had tickets to see Sun Ra Arkestra, I was coughing so badly we decided to stay home.  On the morning of the 7th, feeling slightly better, thinking it was just a quickie cold, and not wanting to cancel on another poetry event this year, I medicated myself, loaded my pockets with cough drops, and somehow made it through Meet the Presses in Toledo and the Ultimate Artist Extravaganza in Detroit.  I got home at 3 a.m. after that and within 24 hours was feeling much worse.

Two weeks later, my cough was still going, more intense, and Geri was concerned I had pneumonia, so I let myself get talked into going to the doctor on the 18th.  The doc said it didn't sound like pneumonia and was most likely bronchitis.  She started me on a 10-day course of antibiotics and some codeine-infused cough syrup to help me sleep without coughing.  Between those and Mucinex I began to cough up so much stuff that I couldn't believe there was that much down there.  I felt like it was working, and I was assured that by this point I probably wasn't contagious anymore, so I medicated myself and went ahead and performed during Soul Speak at the Lorain Arts Council.  But I only shared three poems because I was sure if I read another I'd go off on another hard-to-stop coughing jag.

By the end of November I had completed my antibiotics and thought the worst was behind me though I was still coughing constantly.  I'd wake up every morning and feel improved.  But by each afternoon, I'd be coughing away again.  Then I developed an excruciating pain in my side.  It felt like kidney stones, but wasn't in the same place my last case of stones was.  After a few days it didn't get better, and I could hardly concentrate on work because of the pain, and we still weren't sure I didn't have pneumonia, so I went back to the doctor on December 2nd.  She wasn't sure what the cause was.  Pneumonia was a possibility.  Or maybe I cracked a rib or pulled something coughing, or it was my liver.  She sent me for a chest x-ray and abdominal ultrasound.

Good news: the x-ray and ultrasound are normal, so the doctor believes it's just a muscular issue caused by the coughing.  When I quit coughing it should soon go away.  Meanwhile, I'm still coughing, but not as intensely and uncontrollably as I was.  My nose is still plugged up and I can only sit in my office chair for so long before the pain in my side becomes unbearable again (it eases up a bit when I stand or lie down).  Meanwhile, December 5th will mark exactly one month since this started.

However, though I'm working in slow motion I did get two Crisis Chronicles Press chapbooks published in November.  It wasn't the four I intended.  But I expect to get at least two more published in December. Wish me luck. 

P.S.  From now until Christmas you can get a sweet deal on all 15 books pictured above. $75 for the lot.  They are:

CC058 - Poems for Explosion by John G Hall
CC059 - Ohio Triangle by Alex Gildzen
CC063 - #ThisIsCLE: An Anthology of the 2014 Best Cleveland Poem Competition
CC064 - Be Closer for My Burn by Robin Wyatt Dunn
CC065 - Cutting the Möbius by Jonathan Thorn
CC066 - Thunderclap Amen by Dianne Borsenik
CC067 - Bookmobile: From the Library of Jesus Crisis by David S Pointer
CC068 - Balefire by Susan Sheppard
CC069 - 2015 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology
CC070 - Matilda's Battle Waltz by Tracie Morell
CC071 - Readings / The Road: Two Poems from Euclid Creek Book Three by Michael Ceraolo
CC072 - Ghost on the Inside by John Dorsey
CC073 - Contents Under Pressure by Kevin Ridgeway
CC074 - Drink Drank Drunk by Bradford Middleton
CC075 - This Frankenstein Union by Esteban Colon

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Crisis Chronicles Press publishes This Frankenstein Union by Esteban Colon

Crisis Chronicles Press is thrilled to announce the publication of Esteban Colon's latest poetry chapbook, This Frankenstein Union,  on 30 November 2015. It is the latest release in our Ninesense series of 9-poem chapbooks by writers you ought to know.

Colon's work is dark, funny, sexy, heavy in all the right places and unflinchingly truthful. This cycle of poems pulls love and passion through seductive fire. Come close, get hot, combust, and then remember it warmly.

Where do you want it?

This Frankenstein Union is 16 pages, hand assembled and saddle stapled, 8.5 x 5.5", laser printed on white pages with kelly green card stock endpapers wrapped in white cover stock. Front artwork by Kevin Eberhardt. ISBN 978-1-940996-27-1. Limited edition of 99 copies, each available for a mere $4.99.

Esteban Colon is a Pushcart nominated writer and experiential educator from Kenosha. His work has found print in a variety of journals and anthologies. He is also the author of chapbooks Edgar Avenue (Naked Mannequin Press) and Between Blue Lines (Exact Change Press), along with his full length collection Things I Learned the Hard Way (Plain View Press).

Friday, November 27, 2015

Alex Gildzen's Ohio Triangle nominated for a 2016 Ohioana Book Award

I just nominated Alex Gildzen's Ohio Triangle for a 2016 Ohioana Book Award.  Though ten recent Crisis Chronicles Press titles are eligible for nomination, and strong cases can be made for several of them, I believe this book is the most deserving, the most quintessentially Ohio.

If you haven't read Ohio Triangle yet, you really should.  I don't believe there's been a more engaging and endearing poetry book published this year.

Choose US or International

Here's a clip of Gildzen reading from Ohio Triangle during BeatStreet Cleveland 2015.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cooking up some Malformed Confetti

Check out this recent interview with Juliet Cook about grotesque writing, collaborative writing, and her forthcoming (in early 2016) Crisis Chronicles Press book, Malformed Confetti:

Writing That Disturbs The Bodies Of The Mind.

And after you read that, watch this, the creepy cool book trailer Susan Yount created for
Juliet Cook's Malformed Confetti:

Friday, November 20, 2015

My "In Due Season" Nominated for Pushcart

NightBallet Press has just nominated my poem "In Due Season" (from the chapbook Beat Attitude) for a Pushcart Prize. What a thrill, especially to be included in such fine company (they also nominated great poems by Margie Shaheed, Kathleen Cerveny, Geoffrey A. Landis, Connie Everett and Lyn Lifshin). "In Due Season" was written for an Ekphrastacy program at Heights Arts and inspired by a Melissa Jay Craig sculpture. Thank you!

Click here to read the NightBallet press release.
Click here to buy a copy of my Beat Attitude.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Divine Warning from God on the Streets of Cleveland

Found this "Divine Warning from God" (who is a Seventh Day Adventist?) on my car today. The end may be nigh, as they say, but I can only presume we have at LEAST until November since Dr. Ben Carson is still pursuing the presidency.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Crisis Chronicles Press publishes Bradford Middleton's Drink Drank Drunk

Cover photo by Chandra Alderman
We are thrilled to announce the publication of intoxicating new work by UK poet Bradford Middleton on 14 November 2015. Drink Drank Drunk is a pamphlet of poems on the joys or otherwise of drinking, the latest release in Crisis Chronicles' NineSense series of 9 poem chapbooks by writers you ought to know.  Available for a mere $4.99 in the USA (a few dollars more for overseas orders).

Choose Your Location

Drink Drank Drunk is hand assembled and saddle stapled, 8.5 x 5.5 inches, laser printed on white pages with black card stock endpapers wrapped in white cover stock emblazoned with Honeydew bourbon art. ISBN 978-1940996264.

Click here to rate/review at Goodreads.

Bradford Middleton was born in southeast London in 1971. He spent the next 30 years desperate to either get to the middle or get out, he could never decide, and eventually landed above a pseudo-legendary punk record shop in Croydon. After six years it became too much and he moved back deeper into south London and somehow landed a job. He went back to university and then aged 34 he finally got the chance to go away to university to study at postgraduate level in something interesting but not exactly vocational. Within a year he landed in Brighton and began writing crazy stories and poems of outrage and insanity. At the age of 38 he finally decided to show someone his work, and a series of editors received strange tales and bizarre poetry as he eschewed the influence of his friends. Just before his 40th birthday the Mad Swirl, those glorious souls from Dallas, USA, published his first poem, a joyous ode to losing your mind. That is not included here, so you’ll have to go find it online. He has, as of 2015, accumulated over 100 unique publications in various places including Empty Mirror; Zygote in My Coffee; Ppigpenn; Word Riot; Rolling Thunder Quarterly; The Camel Saloon; Fuck Art, Let’s Dance; Dead Snakes; The Weekenders; and Electric Windmill Press, as well as some others. His debut novel, DIVE, is now available from New Pulp Press. Follow him @beatnikbraduk on Twitter.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Flashback to Meet the Presses

photo of Juliet Cook, me (holding Matilda's Battle Waltz)
and Dianne Borsenik by Alexandria Mitchell

Saturday I had the privilege of representing Crisis Chronicles Press at Meet the Presses in Toledo.  Thanks to Lorraine Cipriano for inviting me, and to my co-presenters Dianne Borsenik (NightBallet Press), Azriel Johnson (Writing Knights Press), Vertigo Xi'an Xavier (The Poet's Haven) and Juliet Cook (Blood Pudding Press) for contributing to a fantastic event.

Each of us gave a presentation of 20-or-so minutes. A question and answer period followed.  I read poems from four recent CC Press books, Matilda's Battle Waltz by Tracie Morell, The Night Market by D.R. Wagner, Balefire by Susan Sheppard and Ghost on the Inside by John Dorsey.

Many thanks to Women Unbound for this video of the proceedings:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Poetry returns to the Lorain Arts Council 21 November

I thought Saturday's Toledo/Detroit trip was gonna be my last event for a while, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to be part of this great event November 21st as poetry returns to the The Lorain Arts Council. I look forward to sharing selections from my new chapbook, Beat Attitude [NightBallet Press], from the same stage as poets Tamara R. Crumble, Jeanette Nettles, Dianne Borsenik and Ryan Sagert.  This event will also feature an open mic, refreshments and music by Undisputed Truth.

Lorain Arts Council
737 Broadway
Lorain, Ohio

Friday, November 6, 2015

Saturday: Toledo, Detroit - my last two scheduled events until February

Saturday afternoon at 2, Crisis Chronicles Press and I will join Dianne Borsenik (NightBallet Press), Azriel Johnson (Writing Knights), Juliet Cook (Blood Pudding Press) and Vertigo Xi'an Xavier (The Poet's Haven) for Meet the Presses at the Sigmond Sanger Branch Library, 3030 W. Central Avenue in Toledo, Ohio.

Then that evening at 7:30, Dianne Borsenik and I will share poetry during the Ultimate Artist Extravaganza at the SOUL Community House, 32905 Grand River Avenue in Farmington, Michigan (just outside of Detroit), as The Soul Collective of Collaborative Arts celebrates its one year anniversary. Also performing:  Natasha BeautifulThought Anée, One Single Rose, Nina Robb, Ania Ela, and Carla Dodd.  Special music by Kristopher Lamont, an exhibition of Tanya Britt's photography and an open mic!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tracie Morell: Best Erie Poet 2015

Congratulations to Tracie Morell on being selected Best Poet in the Erie Reader's Best of Erie 2015.  Crisis Chronicles Press had the honor of publishing her book Matilda's Battle Waltz this summer.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Crisis Chronicles will be at the Poet's Haven Halloween Jubilee

Crisis Chronicles Press is thrilled to be involved in this spooktacular event hosted by The Poet's Haven on Halloween. We'll have hauntingly good new releases by Susan Sheppard and Kevin Ridgeway (and more) on hand. Plus past CCP authors J.E. Stanley and Steve Brightman will be among the featured poets. Not to be missed! Costumes encouraged!

Monday, October 26, 2015

My Late 2015 Events

Crisis Chronicles Press and I are only officially involved in three more events this year. Hope to see you at one of these:

10/31 - The Poet's Haven Halloween Jubilee in Massillon, OH.
11/7 (2 pm) - Meet the Presses in Toledo, OH.
11/7 (8 pm) - SCCA Presents: Ultimate Artist Extravaganza in Farmington, MI.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Burroughs and Massicotte at Severance Hall

What a thrill it was to perform two of my poems ("Way Erred Scenes inside a Jazz Mine" and "Bloodshot") with trumpeter Étienne Massicotte in this building on Friday night (23 October 2015)! 

Thanks to The Circle - Cleveland Orchestra's Young Professionals for the opportunity.

Photos/video of our performance may be coming soon.

Latest goods at Guide to Kulchur

You can get the best books at Guide To Kulchur: Text, Art, and News. I just got these on Saturday, for example.

Appalachian Frankenstein by John Dorsey, Citi by RA Washington & GTK#5

AND they have in stock the latest Crisis Chronicles Press titles, my new Beat Attitude chapbook (from NightBallet Press) and the new A Case for Ascension collaborative reader (from Asinimali Publications LLC) which features poems by me, Dianne Borsenik, Jameson Bayles, Michelle Roberts and Joan Koromante.

So get there and get some while supplies last.

Guide to Kulchur
5900 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44102

Friday, October 23, 2015

Uh 10

Happy 10th Anniversary to my wife Geri Lynne! Here we are back in 2005 at a church in Westerville, Ohio.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Crisis Chronicles publishes Kevin Ridgeway's new chapbook Contents Under Pressure

Kevin Ridgeway's new poetry chapbook, Contents Under Pressure, took me on a Kerouacian trip through broken appliances, drunken charades, fallen angels, kissing couples, hip-high grasses, mind fucks and sinister grooves with a keen eye and ear. When it was done, all I could say was "Amen!"— and "Again!" So I had to publish it.

Please choose US or International

Available 22 October 2015, Contents Under Pressure features 16 poems on 28 pages, is hand assembled and saddle stitch bound with textured ivory card stock cover, kelly green card stock end papers and white pages. 5.5 x 8.5". Cover image by Steven B. Smith

Only $7 (plus p+h) from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3344 W. 105th Street #4, Cleveland, Ohio 44111 USA. ISBN: 978-1-940996-25-7.

Kevin Ridgeway lives and writes in Long Beach, California. His work has been published widely in the small press, with recent poems that can be found or are forthcoming in Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Lummox, San Pedro River Review, Misfit Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, Bicycle Review, American Mustard and The Mas Tequila Review, among others. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Contents Under Pressure is his sixth chapbook of poetry.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cook and Hayes review Matilda's Battle Waltz by Tracie Morell

Many thanks to Juliet Cook and Ron Hayes for their reviews of Tracie Morell's new Crisis Chronicles Press book, Matilda's Battle Waltz:

Cook (in the new issue of Menacing Hedge)
Hayes (over at Five Writers)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Getting Rooted October 15th!

The Third Thursday poetry series long hosted by Barbara Sabol at the Root Cafe in Cuyahoga Falls will hold (what is likely) its final installment this month, and Dianne Borsenik and I are honored to be the featured poets.  There will be an open mic too.  Please come while you still can.  I'll be reading from my new chapbook, Beat Attitude (from NightBallet Press) and the new collaborative reader A Case for Ascension (from Asinimali Publications).  Dianne will also have her new chapbook, Thunderclap Amen (from Crisis Chronicles Press).  We'd love to see you!

Root Cafe
852 W. Bath Road
Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Monday, October 5, 2015

Crisis Chronicles Press publishes Susan Sheppard's hauntingly good Balefire

Crisis Chronicles Press is thrilled to announce the publication of Susan Sheppard's long-awaited Balefire, a winner of our most recent poetry chapbook competition.  I absolutely love these poems!

“From the first poem’s first line, Evening is the monster we swim in, a compulsion gripped me to read straight through to the last line of the last poem. It’s as if Sheppard is a dark angel who clasped my hand and floated me through haunting poems of ‘chrome moon’ and ‘autumn’s sorcery.’ Balefire will chill you, thrill you, and fill holes you didn’t know were there.”
          —Dianne Borsenik, publisher at NightBallet Press

Balefire is 32 pages, hand crafted and saddle stabled with textured ivory card stock cover, black endpapers, and cottonwood fiber pages.  Laser printed, 5.5 x 8.5", with cover art by Susan Sheppard. ISBN 978-1-940996-24-0.  Only $7 (plus p+h) from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3344 W. 105th Street #4, Cleveland, Ohio 44111 USA.

Please choose US or International

Susan Sheppard of Parkersburg, West Virginia, has poetry published in over 100 magazines and has been writing poetry for more than 30 years. She is descended from the Blackfoot-Saponi and Lenape-Shawnee tribes of her region. In 1998, she was awarded a Poetry Fellowship from West Virginia Arts & Humanities. Sheppard is the author of a number of books, including four non-fiction and one novel. She teaches poetry every Thursday at Sacred Way Arts in downtown Parkersburg. Her seasonal ghost tour, the Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours, is rated the #8 most popular ghost tour in the nation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Case for Ascension!

I'm happy to announce that my work appears in A Case for Ascension: A collaborative sample reader, published this month by Asinimali Publications in Kansas City, Missouri.  The chapbook also features fine work by Jameson Bayles (Kansas City), Dianne Borsenik (Cleveland, OH), Joan Koromante (Topeka, KS) and Michelle Roberts (Lincoln, NE).  It was launched in preparation for the 2016 Kansas City Poetry Throwdown, and in conjunction with 2015 National Beat Poetry Festival events in Kansas City and Fredonia, NY.  Cover art by Jameson Bayles.  Those who attended our recent BeatStreet Cleveland event may recall that trumpeter Étienne Massicotte and I opened our set with one of my A Case for Ascension poems, "Way Erred Scenes inside a Jazz Mine."

I have a limited number of copies. You can buy one for $5 (plus $2 for postage) by clicking this button.

You may also score a copy by contacting the publisher, Asinimali Publications, directly, or from local book shops like Prospero's Books in Kansas City, Guide to Kulchur in Cleveland and (soon) Mac's Backs in Cleveland Heights and Main Street Books in Mansfield, Ohio.

If by chance you've already read
A Case for Ascension (and especially if you like it), please consider rating or reviewing it at Goodreads.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Poetry at the Lit featuring Caryl Pagel & John Burroughs October 1st

Looking forward to reading with Caryl Pagel at the legendary Literary Cafe in Cleveland this Thursday!  From the Facebook event page:

photo by JB - taken 9/11/2008 at the Literary Cafe
neon sculpture by Jeff Chiplis
Readings by Caryl Pagel and John Burroughs, plus open mic. Hosted by James De Monte.

Caryl Pagel is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, TWICE TOLD (H_NG M_N Books, 2014) and EXPERIMENTS I SHOULD LIKE TRIED AT MY OWN DEATH (Factory Hollow Press, 2012) as well as two chapbooks, MAUSOLEUM (WinterRedpress, 2013) and VISIONS, CRISIS APPARITIONS, AND OTHER EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCES (Factory Hollow Press, 2008). Her poems and essays have appeared in AGNI, Denver Quarterly, The Iowa Review, Jacket2, The Mississippi Review, and Thermos, among other journals, and she is currently at work on a collection of essays. Caryl is the co-founder and editor of Rescue Press, a poetry editor at jubilat, and the Director of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center as well as faculty for the NEOMFA Program in Eastern Ohio. More:

John Burroughs is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks including, most recently, BEAT ATTITUDE (NightBallet Press, 2015), IT TAKES MORE THAN CHANCE TO MAKE CHANGE (The Poet's Haven, 2013), THE EATER OF THE ABSURD (NightBallet, 2012), BARRY MERRY BALONEY (Spare Change Press, 2012), WATER WORKS (recycled karma press, 2012) and the collaborative book OCT TONGUE -1 (with Weems, Swain, Smith, Lady, Chernin and Brightman). He has edited Fuck Poetry, The 2015 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology and Cheap and Easy Magazine. He also co-founded the annual Snoetry: A Winter Wordfest. Since 2008, he has served as founding editor of Crisis Chronicles Press, publishing superb indie writers from around the world. More:

Literary Cafe
1031 Literary Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44113

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My Beat Attitude Chapbook Released by NightBallet

My new book, Beat Attitude, was released on September 17th, my 49th birthday, by NightBallet Press, and made its public debut Saturday the 19th during BeatStreet Cleveland. I'm thrilled with how artfully editor Dianne Borsenik put it together. Beat Attitude is 32 pages and features 23 poems, bound with a pale ivory cover emblazoned with Kevin Eberhardt art and a burnt orange card stock insert. And it's only 5 dollars!

In response to it, Tom Kryss says, "Burroughs takes up the sledgehammer lying at the base of the wall, and like a tray of glassware hurtling down an elevator shaft, centrifugally levitated, romances blown sunflowers forever drawn to the guard rails."

I began a few of these poems as early as 1997, the year William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg passed away. Most were written much more recently. All were either inspired by the Beats and their contemporaries or have a related heartbeat.

I hope you'll order a copy online or see me and pick one up at one of these upcoming events:

10/1/2015 - Caryl Pagel & John Burroughs read at the Literary Cafe in Cleveland.
10/15/2015 - Dianne Borsenik & John Burroughs read at the Root Cafe in Cuyahoga Falls.
10/31/2015 - Poet's Haven Halloween Jubilee at Oak Knoll Park in Massillon.
11/7/2015 - Meet the Presses at the Sigmond Sanger Branch Library in Toledo.

Poems included in Beat Attitude are:

Divided, We Fall Together
Allen Ginsberg Wants You
Magnetic Repulsion
Inner Expedition
Holy Sheet
Call of Poetry
A Cross Tic
To a Fruit
In Due Season
Aye, Pod
From BS to BA
More, Man
Mastering Ascension
Cannot Believe William S. Burroughs Is Dead


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Video: Burroughs & Massicotte perform "Way Erred Scenes inside a Jazz Mine" at BeatStreet Cleveland, 19 September 2015, Barking Spider Tavern

Thank you, Dianne Borsenik, for putting last night's great event together and recording this clip of us performing! What a pleasure it was to collaborate with Étienne Massicotte and to share a stage and room with so many of my favorite poets, publishers and people.

Video permalink:

Way Erred Scenes inside a Jazz Mine

Aswirl in creative flux
feel a faux need to squeeze
to get any err out
on screen or page
feeling sage in this smoke
of jasmine incense
hearing a catalyzing muse
sick I can't name and
I can't blame
you or blame me
not sure why we need to lay
it on anyone
as it is what it is
and just is
and what's wrong with that
why do we
always have to find something
wrong with everything
I can sing
without notes or tune
and so
I suspect
can you
whether or not some see it
as cruel or kind
aren't we blind to believe
every song needs sound waves
every lyric needs words
every world needs saved
every who needs heard
every herd needs a who
ain't it just what it is
whatever it is
and I know Dylan
said he not busy being born
is busy dying
but he failed to say
he busy being born is busy dying too
and why can't we say that
it is what it is
and so what
the best jasmine incense burns out
eventually and the worst often lives
in memory just as long and wise
any writer wrong
what's worst or best
scents won't last forever
I think nonsense
won't either
but in some sense might
like night
if one day everything
we think is wrong
passes on
and everything right is left
could anything be right again
without us rewriting it
and when
you or I wonder
why I do or don't talk
may be hear's what you're missing
I'm always listening
and never shut up
sure it's easy to think
at least one of us is
in this walled room
in this sided house
in this incorporated city in this state
of apparent confusion
but Daishonin said
ichinen sanzen
each moment possesses three
thousand realms
and I'm never outside a moment
even when I'm conscious
and your movement pervades
the realms I monitor
even when you don't feel
odd when you don't hear
sometimes we use the wrong ears
wrong might be the wrong word
because in certain uncertain worlds
sound waves are inefficient
often ineffectual
and even oddly misleading
despite their repeated best intent
shuns to be otherwise
so I use them or don't
you too
as inclination dictates or allows
but it's all
evident to me
that we're all ultimately
aswirl in creative flux
out of sight
either way
with or without
foe need
two squeeze
smoke key
jazz mine

[This poem appears in my 2013 chapbook It Takes More Than Chance to Make Change, published by The Poet’s Haven.  It first appeared in print in What I Knew Before I Knew: Poems from the Pudding House Salon-Cleveland and online in The City. I've edited it slightly since then.  It also appears in the newly released collaborative chapbook A Case for Ascension published by Asinimali Publications.]