Saturday, December 29, 2018

Video: Judge Marks in Mansfield, 10/20/2018

Sandra Feen, Dianne Borsenik & me
10/20/2018 at Main Street Books
Many thanks to Voices from the Borderlands for this video of me reading my poem "Judge Marks" on 20 October 2018 during the Borderlands open mic following Concrete Wink's feature at Main Street Books in Mansfield, Ohio!

The title "Judge Marks" is a play on the name Mark Judge, who once upon a time was [in]Justice Brett Kavanaugh's drinking buddy. I wrote the poem after learning of Kavanaugh's confirmation.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Crisis Chronicles Press publishes Awaiting Time by Helen Shepard

Crisis Chronicles Press is very pleased to celebrate the December holidays by publishing Awaiting Time, a duende-infused poetry collection by the inimitable Helen Shepard

Where are you?

Awaiting Time is 48 pages, perfect bound, 5.5x8.5" and features 37 of Shepard's most engaging works, some in Spanish but mostly in English, including "Listening to Flamenco," "Ilusiones," "Más Ilusiones," "Blood Stains," "Garden of Delights," "I Need to Take Apart My Thoughts," "Circular Reincarnation," "Living with Eternity" and "When Blue Was Green." ISBN: 978-1-64092-974-6. Cover art: Ya tienen asiento by Goya

Available for $10 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.

Helen Shepard of Oberlin, Ohio, taught for decades at Lorain County Community College and retired as an Associate Professor of Spanish. For many years after, she continued giving courses for their Center for Lifelong Learning. Helen has lived all over, from American Samoa to Spain, and traveled extensively. Her previous publications include "Camilo Castelo Branco and the Portuguese Inquisition" in New Horizons in Sephardic Studies. She has presented poetry at Snoetry: A Winter Wordfest, the Cleveland Museum of Art and countless other noteworthy locations. To find out more about Helen, please visit or contact her on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ohioana Award Nominations

I am pleased to announce that five recent Crisis Chronicles Press titles have been nominated for 2019 Ohioana book awards. They are:

Serving by Kari Gunter-Seymour
Where Never Was Already Is by Steven Smith
Citizen of Metropolis by Christine Howey
Dodge, Tuck, Roll by Rikki Santer
Malformed Confetti by Juliet Cook

Fingers crossed! Good luck, you beacons of brilliance!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Dianne and I Cousins and my Top Songs in 2018

Still ill. But awoke to some very interesting news. 1) Dianne Borsenik got her DNA tested (I had mine done 2013) and we have discovered that we are 3rd cousins. 2) I also learned that one of our mutual ancestors, Guy Keith (my great great great grandfather on my father's mom's side), was a Union soldier who died as a prisoner of war at the Belle Isle Confederate prison in Richmond. 3) Finally, but less surprising, Spotify sent me my 2018 stats. The artist I listed to most was Prince (37 hours!). But the songs I listened to most (at least on Spotify) over the course of the year were:

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Home, Sick, PoetryBay, Pizzazz

11/29 during Neuronautic Institute Presents at the
KGB Bar's Red Room in New York City
[photo by Matthew Hupert]
It's good to be home, except for coming down with a cold. Maybe it's from touching too many poles in subways.

I am even more behind than usual on messages and work. I planned to spend today catching up, but my head feels like it weighs 50 pounds, so I'm taking it easy. I apologize to anyone I haven't gotten back to expeditiously. As soon as I can....
Meanwhile, I am extremely grateful to Francine Witte and PoetryBay for this review of Thursday's New York reading with Matthew Hupert and Kat Georges:

Downtown Legends & ‘Mr. Cleveland Pizzazz’ Heat Up NYC Night At KGB.

11/29 during Neuronautic Institute Presents
[photo by Max Chernin]

Monday, November 26, 2018

Crisis Chronicles Press to publish Drinking From What I Once Wore: Selected and Recent Poems by Chris Stroffolino in December

Crisis Chronicles Press is ecstatic to announce the imminent publication of Chris Stroffolino's long-awaited new book, Drinking From What I Once Wore: Selected and Recent Poems.

Drinking From What I Once Wore is 6x9" perfect bound, over 100 pages, and features cover art by Rachel Thoele.  ISBN: 978-1-64092-970-8. This volume features 49 works including "Cusps," "The Dart of the Eel," "First World Problems," "Variations of 21st Century Pop Songs," "2 Dramatic $onnets for the Con$umer $ociety," "Commercial Interruptions," and the Pushcart Prize nominated "Questions for Google Home."

Available for $12 US from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA. Pre-order now and we'll send it to you in December.

Where are you?

Love for Chris Stroffolino and Drinking From What I Once Wore

"Maybe all life is preparing for 'The test/ We can only pass if we waste no time/ thinking we can study for it.' If so, Chris Stroffolino's carelessly brilliant poems would be as invaluable as cliff notes. In any case they come in handy."  
John Ashbery, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

"There is no line of thought in [Stroffolino’s] poetry that can’t or doesn’t kick out a set of veins pumping blood to and from the dramatic qualities of its existence or an inverted conversion of the optimal antidote to its own fiercely depicted frailties. Chris has fought in his writing for a poetry that is intimate, musical, invested equally in Shakespeare & Joe Strummer and intensely personal without giving up the demand of rhetoric to be a necessity of passion rather than a muted counterbalance. His new book varies the tempo and carries these things through.  
Anselm Berrigan, author of Something for Everybody

Chris Stroffolino
photo by Jaime Borschuk
"Edgy and hip."  
—Noelle Kocot, author of Phantom Pains of Madness

About Chris Stroffolino:

Chris Stroffolino is the author of 4 full-length books of poetry, as well as the memoir Death of a Selfish Altruist, two books of essays in poetry and culture criticism and, with Dave Rosenthal, a study guide to Shakespeare’s 12th Night. He currently lives in Oakland, California, where he has taught writing at Laney College since 2008.

This Year's Crisis Chronicles Press Pushcart Prize Nominations

Crisis Chronicles Press has had the honor of publishing many excellent books by very talented poets this year. Alas, the Pushcart people only allow us to make six nominations. I would have preferred to have chosen twenty, as there were so many worthy candidates. But after some lengthy and very difficult deliberations, I finally narrowed down the field and submitted the following Pushcart Prize nominations:

by Kari Gunter-Seymour — from Serving (March 2018)

"Eclipse Myths"
by Steven B. Smith — from Where Never Was Already Is (April 2018)

"William Randolph Hearst, Diving Alone, San Simeon"
by Christine Howey — from Citizen of Metropolis (August 2018)

by Rikki Santer — from Dodge, Tuck, Roll (September 2018)

"assembly line doll head roach motel"
by Juliet Cook — from Malformed Confetti (October 2018)

"Questions for Google Home"
by Chris Stroffolino — from Drinking From What I Once Wore: Selected and Recent Poems (December 2018)

Best of luck to all of you!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

My "Whend" nominated for a Pushcart Prize

This Thanksgiving Day, I'm honored and grateful to learn that my poem "Whend" has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by NightBallet Press, alongside poems by Alex Gildzen, Bill & Pat Hurley, Sandra Feen, Jeanette Powers and M.J. Arcangelini. Many thanks to editor Dianne Borsenik!

"Whend" was the first significant poem I wrote after my wife Geri's untimely death in 2016. It was published in my 2018 chapbook Loss and Foundering.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018

New LCCC Radio Interview Tuesday 11/13

I look forward to talking with Ryan Sagert about poetry Tuesday 11/13 at 10 a.m. on Lorain County Community College radio. You can listen in at

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

My 1st Reading in the Heart of NYC Will Be on 29 November

Finally home after a fine three-day mini trip (Pittsburgh, PA; Richwood, WV; Pomeroy, OH). I have one more reading scheduled for this year and it's bucket list caliber - my first ever in the heart of New York City, at the KGB Bar's Red Room with Kat Georges and Matthew Hupert. So looking forward to this!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

"Dish Work" and more live in Oakland on 7/19/2017

Reading at the Octopus, 1/19/17, photo by PCR
Last year I drove cross country to the west coast for the first (and so far only) time and it was one of the highlights of my life. So many good memories made!  One of the best was having the opportunity to read with D.R. Wagner, M.J. Arcangelini and Matt Cook at the Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland, California, on July 19th. I am grateful to Paul Corman-Roberts for making it happenas well as emceeing, snapping pics and videoing random bits of the proceedings.
There are two clips of me that I meant to link to on this blog last year—but then I got behind and it hasn't happened until now. You can check them out here:

One clip features "Dish Work," a poem inspired by Columbia Hills Country Club, where I worked as a dishwasher from around September 1986 to January 1987. It's also where I first met Geri, who was a waitress there at the time. The second clip catches me reading the first part of my poem "From Genesis to Exodus," a tribute to Prince.

"Dish Work" appears in my chapbook Water Works, first published in 2012 by recycled karma press and reissued in early 2017 as part of the Poets Haven Archive Series. "From Genesis to Exodus" was first published in Delirious: A Poetic Celebration of Prince (2016, NightBallet Press) and now also appears in my chapbook Loss and Foundering (2018, NightBallet Press).

Thursday, November 1, 2018

See you in Pittsburgh Sunday 11/4

Pittsburgh is one of my favorite places to travel for poetry, and the last time I read there was August 2016. In other words, it has been far too long.

This Sunday from 2 to 4, I'll have the honor of reading with Alyssa Herron, Bob Walicki, Kara Knickerbocker, Nicole Onda Grynd, Joshua Tarquinio and Sarah Washburn Thornton for the Hell's Lid Reading Series hosted by Miss Macross at the Full Pint Wild Side Pub,
5310 Butler Street, 15201.

My penultimate reading of the year!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"John Cage" live at Backyard Social in Portland, Oregon - 7/15/2017

I'm finally trying to catch up on posting assorted video clips from recent years on my blog. This one is from one of the more memorable poetry festivals I've participated in, Kleft Jaw & TRUST Art Collective Present: Contronym (A Fugue in E Minor), hosted by Kleft Jaw Press last summer in Portland, Oregon.

In this clip, recorded the same day I saw the Pacific Ocean in person for my first time ever, I recite my signature poem, "John Cage Engaged and Uncaged." I forget who recorded it, but will update this when I find out.

Video permalink:

Monday, October 29, 2018

"No Other" live in Kansas City with River Cow Orchestra - 10/13/2018

Here I perform my poem "No Other" accompanied by the River Cow Orchestra during Fountainverse: KC Small Press Poetry Festival on 13 October 2018 at La Esquina in Kansas City, Missouri. Video recorded by Jason Preu (thank you!).

I wrote "No Other" on 30 March 2018 - inspired by Tony Ingrisano's "Far Enemy" - for an Ekphrastacy program at Heights Arts in Cleveland Heights. The poem first appeared in print in The Gasconade Review Presents: Missouri Is a Ghost Shaped Thing, edited by John Dorsey and Jason Ryberg for Spartan Press.

No Other
after Far Enemy by Tony Ingrisano

A wide web of geometry and pixelation
looms over my brick suburban bungalow.

The colors warm and entice me
with creeping florescent sophistication.

I feel them drawing me up and in
while equally I am drawing them inside.

It’s a network of jasmine attraction
bringing untoward craving and resentment,

hate and cruelty from America the beautiful,
Russian bots, unacknowledged racists,

television networks,, nihilism
proponents, penile enhancement specialists,

trolls, moles, sexist pols and ad-mongers,
while the colors of it all bleed into pools

of need and reaction, stupefaction,
failure to listen disguised as debate,

hasty action, dystopian dissatisfaction,
snark disguised as lark and warring factions.

This poem began as an expression of appreciation
for a wide web of precious colors and pixelation

before I met the so-called far enemies
in my bathroom mirror and hardly

recognized them as something other
than other.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Gratitude to Gramercy

Anna and I sign books
If you're in the Columbus area, you can pick up some books of mine - including Oct Tongue and Loss and Foundering - at Gramercy Books in Bexley, Ohio Thanks to Linda Kass for being the perfect host, and also for these photos from my reading with Anna Soter there on Friday evening.

I lean into my reading

I love a packed house

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Last readings I have scheduled (2018-2019)

I only have three more readings scheduled for this year and one is Friday night, 10/26, at Gramercy Books Bexley, near Columbus, Ohio, with the incomparable Anna Soter.

The others are 11/4 for the Hell's Lid Reading Series in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and 11/29 at the KGB Bar's Red Room in New York City. I'd love to see you at one of these!

So far I’m resisting planning many events in 2019, although I look forward to the handful I already have scheduled. I expect to have a new book out at some point during the course of the year, however, and will likely set up more events when I have a clearer idea of when that is happening.  

Saturday 23 February in Euclid, Ohio 
The Lake Erie Folk Fest at the Shore Cultural Centre, 291 E. 222nd Street, 44123. 

Sunday 10 March at 3 p.m. in South Euclid, Ohio 
Second Sunday Poets featuring John Burroughs, hosted by Doc Janning at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library, 1876 S. Green Road, 44121. 

Thursday 14 March in Clarion, Pennsylvania 
More details forthcoming. 

Sunday 17 March in Columbus, Ohio 
Peripatetic Poets, hosted by Doug Rutledge at the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and University Center, 30 W. Woodruff Avenue, 43210.

30 August through 1 September in New Hartford, Connecticut 
National Beat Poetry Festival. More details forthcoming.

Keep checking back here for updates.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Recalling Ataraxis, 4/22/2018

I've been meaning to post a link to this video for awhile, but other things kept coming up. This clip catches me on 22 April 2018 in the middle of reading my poem "Ataraxis" during the Tongue-in-Groove Poetry Jam hosted by Ray McNiece at the Millard Fillmore Presidential Library in Cleveland's Waterloo district.

View here:

It was recorded by Frankie Metro of Kleft Jaw Press. Musical accompaniment is by Ray McNiece's Tongue-in-Groove band. I wrote "Ataraxis" in early April 2018 for an Ekphrastacy program at Heights Arts in Cleveland Heights. It was inspired by a work of art by Dana Oldfather entitled Equanimity. The poem was finally published this summer in The Gasconade Review Presents: Missouri Is a Ghost-Shaped Thing by Spartan Press.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Short term memory, long term to-do lists

my folder of to-do lists
My folder full of to-do lists runneth over. I've been having some concerning short-term memory issues lately, hence my recent round of neuro testing. There's a good chance it could just be as simple as me not getting adequate rest (apnea is a likely candidate, but I'm awaiting final results) - although I do obsess about the remote possibility of Alzheimer's, especially since DNA testing reveals that I have a gene that makes me more susceptible to that as I age. No matter how hard I work each day to get things done, fulfill commitments and cross things off these many lists, it seems that every day I acquire even more things to do. Although much (most) of these are things I love to do, it can become a bit overwhelming at times. Especially concerning to me is that there are several cases recently where I say I'll do things that are important or interesting to me and if I don't write them down (maybe I'm driving - or I'm somewhere without my lists folder) I totally forget until something unrelated (or the person I never got back to) reminds me. For this reason, I'm going to have to start saying no to more things. I will still fulfill my current commitments (including several events coming up, poems I've committed to writing, two presses I've promised to put together manuscripts of my writing for, and 14 titles to publish in my Crisis Chronicles Press queue, as well as catching up on updating the online Cleveland literary calendar). But other than that, I'm going to try to say no to any new commitments at least through the winter, by which time I'll be more caught up and have much less to keep track of. If I was supposed to do something for you and it hasn't happened yet, there is a high likelihood that you're on one of these lists, in which case it will get done as soon as I can. There's also a possibility that, despite how important it was to me at the time, it somehow slipped through the cracks and I forgot to write it down or get back to you, in which case I hope you will be gentle and forgive me. I won't be offended if you send me a reminder. Maybe I'll feel self-conscious about this post (I kinda already do) and delete it soon. But since Facebook asked what's on my mind, that's some of it. Now, it's back to work for me!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Crisis Chronicles Press publishes Malformed Confetti by Juliet Cook

Crisis Chronicles Press is delighted to announce the publication of glitter witch Juliet Cook's new darkly delicious full-length poetry collection, Malformed Confetti, on 16 October 2018.

Where are you?

All hail the Queen of Grotesque, Juliet Cook! Her imagery is monstrous, distorted and unnatural — an unmistakably unstable mixture of estranged dollcanos and blood. These poems plunge into “your neckline, your mouth, your eyes”— into the absurdities of existence, and Cook can barely contain all that is coming apart, even “a stuck tongue keeps breaking.” Malformed Confetti is alive! And absolutely “plotting an insurrection.”
—Susan Yount, editor of Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal

Juliet Cook’s full-length collection, Malformed Confetti, is a visceral examination of the body: bones, blood, teeth, breasts, ovaries, eyes, throat and thighs. Cook’s poetry is elemental grindhouse feminism; confronting what is most difficult with the unblinking eyes of a coroner. Lush and guttural, Cook leads us on a journey through a harrowing cycle of creation and destruction.
Kelly Boyker, author of Zoonosis and Poetry Editor at Menacing Hedge

In her second full-length collection of poetry, Juliet Cook offers up a menagerie of beaten, bloodied, insect infested, ink ingested, broken girl bits.  Her words cut into the eyes with nettles and burs, leaving nothing but an empty socket, a hole to be filled with desire “rooted in sick compulsion.” Cook stares unflinchingly at the sugar and spice and everything nice to reveal the dark nature of such malformed conceptions of beauty and womanhood.  Each graphic image is threaded with the red yarn of things that are forbidden to say, so Cook cracks the skull open as easily as the shell of an egg.  She stares the darkest horrors of the mind straight in the eye to say “Doesn’t mean I still can’t maneuver up. / Maybe I just don’t want to / with you." Her poems in this collection leave the reader dazzled by blue blood and dead birds made out of the vocabulary of what it means to be a capital P Poet.
—Tracie Morell, author of Matilda's Battle Waltz

Poetry that devours you. That isn’t afraid to put its best twisted doll foot forward. I like to read Juliet’s poetry in the buff because her words keep me modest as I rail against the perversity of playing with shit and all the anorexic nightmares that go along with it. Her pound cake poetry fits perfectly in your misshapen pie hole. Swallow her words like a handful of blue-tinged tacks because there’s no standing on ceremony in this land of ravenous parasites and machinated halos. Her well-chosen and ill-fated albino words aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty as the maggots begin singing an emaciated melody and there’s nothing left but her Tilt-O-Whirl porno star mannerisms. This collection of Malformed Confetti  will leave you in traction as it’s rolled fresh from the oven and acts as a tranquilizer or dark red cloud burst depending on your dissolution or poisoned discord and how prepared you are to walk into the silently screaming fires.
—Charles Cicirella, co-author of Ether Bisque

In Malformed Confetti, Juliet Cook conveys both a rare elegance and grotesque violence simultaneously. This book is unafraid; it is not ashamed. It takes unabashed risks, and turns language into something that is breathing, and alive with vigor. In this landscape of “secret luminarias” the body is devoured like food, and her “tongue unroots from its dank cave”; “bones are tapered syllables” and “hollow flutes.” There is a vulnerability embedded in the anger and gore, and though some may say we are “forbidden to talk about hunger,” Cook speaks of it fearless of her rivals.  
—Lisa M. Cole, author of Dreams of the Living and Heart Full of Tinders

Malformed Confetti by Juliet Cook is 113 pages, perfect bound, 5.5x8.5" and features cover art by Simona Candini. ISBN: 978-1-64092-973-9. Available for $12 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.

Meet the author:

Tuesday 16 October 2018 at 7 p.m. during Poetry Plus featuring Juliet Cook at Art on Madison, 14203 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio.

Sunday 11 November at 6 p.m. during Uncloistered Poetry at Calvino's Restaurant & Wine Bar, 3143 W Central Avenue in Toledo, Ohio.

Malformed Confetti book trailer by Susan Yount

Juliet Cook [photo by Darryl Shupe, processed by Cook]

Juliet Cook has been writing poetry for more than 25 years. Her poetry has appeared in a small multitude of magazines, both online and in print. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks, recently including a collaboration with j/j hastain called "Dive Back Down" (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), an individual collection called "From One Ruined Human to Another" (Cringe-Worthy Poets Collective, 2018), and with another individual collection, "Another Set of Ripped Out Bloody Pig Tails" forthcoming from The Poet's Haven.

Cook's first full-length individual poetry book, Horrific Confection, was published by BlazeVOX in late 2008, ten years ago now. Her more recent full-length poetry book, A Red Witch, Every Which Way, is a collaboration with j/j hastain published by Hysterical Books in 2016. Her MOST recent individual full-length poetry book is this one, Malformed Confetti.

The poems within Malformed Confetti range from 2008 to 2015. In early 2010, Cook suffered from an unexpected Carotid Artery Dissection, which lead to an Aneurysm which lead to a Stroke. Later in 2010, while on the brink of divorce and temporarily living with her parents, Cook began to assemble and submit an earlier version of this manuscript. As time went on, she revised it, added more recent poems, and rearranged it, forming it into a dissected but interconnected discombobulation of pre-stroke and post-stroke work.

Cook's poetic style has undergone changes over the years, but her passion for poetry lives on.

Cook also sometimes creates semi-abstract painting collage art hybrid creatures.

Cook also runs her own tiny independent press, Blood Pudding Press, which sometimes publishes hand-designed poetry chapbooks and sometimes sells art.