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.]


  1. John,
    If you can make it, please come to any of the Kent readings, where your voice would be welcome.
    Happy New Year!

  2. Wonderful and productive year. My condolences on the deaths of your great aunt and great nephew.