Saturday, December 28, 2019

Chernin and Burroughs Return to Youngstown January 8th

On the second Wednesday of 2020, I will have the honor of returning to Youngstown to read with Shelley Chernin at The Soap Gallery as part of my Rattle and Numb poetry tour. Many thanks to Karen Schubert and Lit Youngstown for inviting us! Crisis Chronicles Press will reprint Shelley's 2012 chapbook, The Vigil, to honor the occasion. An open mic emceed by Rae McCann will follow our readings. And we'll be celebrating National Toffee Day! (Toffee is my favorite candy.)

John Burroughs & Shelley Chernin
Wednesday 8 January 2020 at 7 p.m.

The Soap Gallery
117 S. Champion Street
Youngstown, Ohio 44503

Hope to see you there! 

Though Youngstown is one of my favorite poetry cities, I've only read there two times before:
  • 4 May 2016 with Dianne Borsenik & Mathew Minicucci at Susie's Dogs & Drafts
  • 1 May 2011 with Dianne Borsenik, Shelley Chernin, Karen Schubert, Steve Thomas, Mindi Kirchner-Greenway and many more during the Ward Bakery Open Studio Reading.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Get Bowled Over by Sara Holbrook & John Burroughs at Mahall's, January 6th

My first reading of the new year will be alongside the fabulous Sara Holbrook at Mahall's 20 Lanes in Lakewood, Ohio, and I couldn't be more excited. A homecoming of sorts! Monday January 6th at 8 p.m.

The last time I played the role of featured poet for Monday at Mahall's was July 13th 2013 when Catherine Criswell still ran the series. JJ Haaz accompanied me on guitar. A lot has changed since then. I took over running the series in April 2014, when Catherine took a job in California, and enjoyed playing the curator for about a year and a half until my wife Geri got so sick I decided to hand off hosting duties to the wonderful Terry Provost in October 2015. Now Terry's still going strong as host and I'm thrilled to be returning as one of his first featured poets of 2020 in support of my latest book, Rattle and Numb: Selected and New Poems, 1992-2019 [Venetian Spider Press]. Did I mention it's with Sara Holbrook?!?

John Burroughs & JJ Haaz, 7/13/2013 at Mahall's
photo by Michael Spear

Bowled Over by Holbrook/Burroughs
Monday January 6th 2020 at 8 pm
Open mic will follow the features.

Mahall's 20 Lanes
13200 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Monday at Mahall's on Facebook:

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

My Last Reading of the Decade, 12/18 in Painesville, Ohio!

Join me December 18th during Words and Wine at the Steele Mansion, where I will share selections from my latest book, Rattle and Numb, Selected and New Poems, 1992-2019 [Venetian Spider Press]. The evening will also include an open mic. Many thanks to host Margie DeLong!

Steele Mansion Inn & Gathering Hub
348 Mentor Avenue
Painesville, Ohio 44077

Side note: I've read for this series three times before (September 2016, August 2015, August 2014), when it was at other venues. It's been three years since the last time.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Rattle and Numb nominated for a 2020 Ohioana Book Award

Cover panting by Emma Anderson
I am honored to learn that my new bookRattle and Numb: Selected and New Poems, 1992-2019—has been nominated for a 2020 Ohioana Book Award. I am super proud of this book. It features pretty much all of my strongest poetry—and publisher Venetian Spider Press and cover artist Emma Anderson made it look fantastic.

Given that there are so many amazing recently published books by Ohio poets, my chances of winning are likely quite slim. Still, it is a thrill to even have my work in the conversation.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Poetry+ to feature Ray McNiece & Michelle R. Smith, 12/17 in Lakewood

Poetry Plus at Art on Madison will triple your pleasure on Tuesday, December 17th with readings by two acclaimed featured poets - Ray McNiece and Michelle R. Smith - plus an open mic. Doors open at 7 pm, with the show beginning promptly at 7:30.

Ray McNiece is the author of 9 books of poetry and monologues, including New Haiku and Love Song for Cleveland, a collaboration with photographer Tim Lachina. He’s toured Italy twice with Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He toured Russia with Yevgeny Yevtushenko and performed at the Moscow Polytech, the Russian Poets’ Hall of Fame, where he was dubbed “the American Mayakovsky.” The Orlando Sentinel, reporting on his solo theater piece Us—Talking across America at the Fringe Festival, called him “a modern day descendant of Woody Guthrie.”

Michelle R. Smith is a black femme feminist, media activist, and admitted Netflix addict that between fighting the good fight and watching copious stand-up specials, dark comedies, and music documentaries manages to write poems, tell stories, teach college and high school kids, and be a loving mother and wife. She is the author of the poetry collection Ariel in Black, and she is currently working on a new collection tentatively titled The Real Jazz Wives of 20th Century America and looking to publish a third collection, called The Vagina Analogues.

Open mic to follow the features, emceed by Ohio Beat Poet Laureate John Burroughs.

Please note: Poetry+ happens on the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, please visit our website at

Other upcoming Poetry+ features:

1/21 - Chuck Salmons (Columbus) & Renay Sanders (Peninsula)
2/18 - Bill Yarrow (Chicago) & Laura Grace Weldon (Litchfield)
3/17 - Leah Mueller (Tacoma WA) & Rikki Santer (Columbus)

Art on Madison
14203 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Friday, November 22, 2019

Crisis Chronicles Press publishes So Marvelously Far by Nick Gardner

Crisis Chronicles Press is thrilled to announce the publication of So Marvelously Far, an essential new poetry collection by Ohio's own Nick Gardner.

So Marvelously Far is 64 pages, perfect bound, 5.5 x 8.5". ISBN: 978-1-64092-946-3. Front cover art by Tracy Graziani. Available now for only $10 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.

US or Elsewhere?
Join us November 23rd 2019, 2 pm, for the official book launch, Streetlight Imaginations, at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, 1876 South Green Rd., South Euclid, Ohio 44121.  

Or see him December 14th during Poetry Reading with Nick Gardner at Main Street Books in Mansfield, Ohio.

“This first book of poetry by Nick Gardner composed of 49 poems written in sonnet form brings the diurnal under the close and sustained scrutiny of a poetic sensibility that is at once broad and focused, a sensibility attuned to the brokenness of life while affirming the possibility of redemption. Gardner not only extracts meaning in such poems as ‘Dog Food’ which looks the blunted reality of opiate addiction clearly if not profoundly in the eye, or in ‘Grounding’ where the poetic sensibility seems to drift in an airy medium somewhere between longing and optimism while insisting on a vision that edges toward apocalypse, but also constructs meaning by drawing upon the desultory events, occurrences, and people of lived life, yoking them to insight and poignancy. Between the poles of angry sadness and hopeful anticipation, there are works like ‘Searching for Veins in Mr. Powell’s Cornfield’ which collapses several layers of meaning into one another. The images Gardner employs are oftentimes dark as they argue the harsh truth of the micro realities of drug addiction in small town America. Nonetheless, they also argue a guarded hope that poetically makes itself known as a shot across the bow of an oftentimes listing ship of life. The effect of So Marvelously Far is one of unsettling vision as well as one of poetic power. The work warns in ironic tones of the normalization of an increasingly dehumanized landscape, one redolent of the Avett Brothers in their song ‘Head Full of Doubt.’ More importantly, it is also a celebration of a remarkable and prescient poetic sensibility that will likely be around for some time.”
Steven Joyce, Associate Professor of German & Comparative Literature, The Ohio State University; author of Transformations and Texts, The Apostate Djin, The Winds of Ilion, and A Sea of Other.

Read a sample poem from So Marvelously Far at Oddball Magazine.

Nick Gardner has his bachelor's degree in English from The Ohio State University and is currently enrolled in the MFA fiction writing program at Bowling Green State University. His chapbook Decomposed (2017) is published through Cabin Floor Esoterica. In his seventh year of recovery from opioid addiction, his research involves the current drug epidemic as well as alternative recovery methods. He has won awards in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry from The Ohio State University in Mansfield and performed readings of his work at Overdose Awareness Day as well as other local events. He lives in Mansfield, Ohio and Bowling Green, Ohio.

NightBallet & Crisis Chronicles Presses present Streelight Imaginations 11/23

Crisis Chronicles and NightBallet Presses Present

Streetlight Imaginations Poets Read from Recent Books

South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch
Cuyahoga County Public Library

Meeting Room 162 (20)
1876 South Green Road
South Euclid, Ohio 44121

Saturday November 23rd at 2 p.m., join us for an afternoon of vital poetry. Hear from eight poets, all with recent books published by Crisis Chronicles Press and NightBallet Press.

Crisis Chronicles Press poets:
NightBallet Press poets:

Refreshments provided. Books will be available for purchase and signing, courtesy of the publishers.

Free event! Please register here:

Registration is not required, but is helpful to the library in setting up for the event.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Ohio Beat Poet Laureate Returns Home to Elyria, 11/21 at Roxy's Emporium

Self portrait with Rattle and Numb [cover art by Emma Anderson]
My family moved to Elyria in 1972, when I was five years old, although even before that when we lived in Lorain I went to kindergarten in Elyria. And Elyria remained my home until 2012 when my wife and I moved to Cleveland to be closer to her work. In many ways, it still feels like home. 

That's why I'm super thrilled to bring my Rattle and Numb poetry book tour home to Elyria this Thursday, 21 November, at Roxy's Emporium, right across from Elyria High School, where I went to 9th and 10th grades. This will be my first Elyria reading since 2011 when I hosted readings at Jim's Coffeehouse and Diner and at Scott Duncan's photography studio downtown.

At Roxy's I'll share selections from my latest book, Rattle & Numb: Selected and New Poems, 1992-2019 [Venetian Spider Press] and then emcee a mic-less open mic so attendees can share some of their work as well. The show begins at 6:30 pm. I'd love to see and hear you there.

Roxy's Emporium
604 Middle Avenue
Elyria, Ohio 44035

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Poetry Plus to Feature Steve Abbott & Leonard Kress on 11/19 in Lakewood

Acclaimed poets Steve Abbott and Leonard Kress

Poetry Plus at Art on Madison will triple your pleasure on November 19th with readings by two acclaimed featured poets - Steve Abbott (Columbus, OH) and Leonard Kress (Toledo, OH) - plus an open mic. Doors open at 7 pm, with poetry to begin promptly at 7:30.

Leonard Kress has published poetry and fiction in Missouri Review, Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, etc. His recent collections are The Orpheus Complex, and Walk Like Bo Diddley. Living in the Candy Store and Other Poems and his new verse translation of the Polish Romantic epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz were both published in 2018. His latest book, Craniotomy, will appear soon (if it hasn't already). He teaches philosophy and religion at Owens Community College in Ohio.

Columbus native Steve Abbott has been a community activist, alternative newspaper writer and editor, criminal defendant, delivery truck driver, courtroom bailiff, private investigator, PR flack, and college professor. He was a founding member in 1984 of The Poetry Forum, now Ohio’s longest-running poetry series, and continues to co-host the weekly event. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in English of Columbus State Community College. His poems have appeared in dozens of literary journals as well as in several anthologies. He received an Ohio Arts Council Excellence Award in Poetry in 1993 and an OAC residency the following year at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. 

He has six poetry collections: five chapbooks, A Short History of the Word (1996) and Greatest Hits (2004), both from Pudding House; The Incoherent Pull of Want (NightBallet Press) and Why Not Be Here Now? (11thour Press) in 2016; and Kicking Mileposts in the Video Age (Moria Poetry, 2017). He has also recorded a live reading on CD titled Stardust in Franklin Park. He edited the anthologies Cap City Poets (Pudding House, 2008), a collection of 74 central Ohio poets, and Everything Stops and Listens (OPA Press, 2013), containing work by members of Ohio Poetry Association. His full-length collection A Green Line Between Green Fields was published in 2018, and a collection of ekphrastic poems, A Language the Image Speaks, was released in September. He also edits Ohio Poetry Association's annual journal Common Threads, and in 2015 he represented the OPA on the Ohio Arts Council panel selecting Ohio’s first Poet Laureate.

Open mic to follow the features, emceed by Ohio Beat Poet Laureate John Burroughs.

Poetry+ happens on the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, please visit:

Upcoming Poetry+ features:

11/19 - Steve Abbott (Columbus) & Leonard Kress (Toledo)
12/17 - Ray McNiece (Cleveland) & Michelle R. Smith (Cleveland)
1/21 - Chuck Salmons (Columbus) & Renay Sanders (Peninsula)
2/18 - Bill Yarrow (Chicago) & Laura Grace Weldon (Litchfield)
3/17 - Leah Mueller (Tacoma WA) & Rikki Santer (Columbus)

Art on Madison
14203 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Eight Events Coming Up Quick

Lots of great poetry happenings in northeast Ohio in the next 10 days or so! Here's where I'll be:

11/14 - Broadsides & Ephemera feat. Dianne Borsenik at Loganberry Books in Cleveland.

11/16, 2pm - Borderlands Poetry Reading feat. Dianne Borsenik & me at Main Street Books in Mansfield.

11/16, 7pm - Concrete Wink Poetry Reading, Mac's Backs-Books on Coventry in Cleveland Heights.

11/17 - Tongue In Groove Poetry Music Jam featuring Steve Abbott in Cleveland.

11/19 - Poetry+ featuring Steve Abbott & Leonard Kress at Art on Madison in Lakewood.

11/21 - Ohio Beat Poet Laureate John Burroughs, plus Mic-Less Open Mic at Roxy's Emporium in Elyria.

11/23 - Streetlight Imaginations with Crisis Chronicles & NightBallet at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. Crisis Chronicles Press will officially debut Nick Gardner's So Marvelously Far at this event.

11/25 - Timothy J Richards and I will be Writers in the Window at Appletree Books in Cleveland Heights.

Then I'm off until mid-December. Well, not off exactly because I'll still be working on poetry, since Crisis Chronicles Press intends to publish another two books by the end of this year.

We couldn't do this without you! So thank you, and I hope to see you soon.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Borsenik and Burroughs this Saturday, 11/16, in Mansfield

Dianne Borsenik
I'm thrilled to be reading with the inimitable Dianne Borsenik this Saturday afternoon, 2 pm, at one of my favorite bookstores, Main Street Books in Mansfield, Ohio. My Crisis Chronicles Press had the honor of publishing five volumes of Dianne's poetry over the years. These include Blue Graffiti [2011], Age of Aquarius: Collected Poems 1981-2016 [2016], and the collaborative volume Oct Tongue 2 [2017].  But I suspect she'll be reading mostly newer work, including selections from her two latest books, Raga for What Comes Next [2019, Stubborn Mule Press] and Heaven We Haven't Yet Dreamed (with Jeanette Powers, Puma Perl & Juliet Cook) [2019, Stubborn Mule Press]. I'll be reading from my Rattle and Numb: Selected and New Poems, 1992-2019 [2019, Venetian Spider Press]. An open mic will follow our readings!

Borderlands: Poetry on the Edge
featuring Dianne Borsenik & John Burroughs

Main Street Books
104 N. Main Street
Mansfield, Ohio
(419) 522-BOOK

Friday, November 8, 2019

Featured at Read/Write/Local on November 9th in Avon Lake

On Saturday 11/9, I'll be one of the Avon Lake Public Library's featured authors at their annual Read/Write/Local - A celebration of readers and writers! The show runs from 10 am to 4 pm, with our poetry panel scheduled for noon. The day's other featured authors will include Christopher Johnston, Kelly Boyer Sagert, Lara Lillibridge, John Bruening, Monica Babcock and more. I'll have copies of my new book - Rattle & Numb: Selected & New Poems, 1992-2019 [Venetian Spider Press] on hand.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Shawn Pavey, Jason Baldinger and My Book Release Party 11/8 at Visible Voice

So looking forward to reading with two fine gentlemen and poets, Shawn Pavey and Jason Baldinger, this Friday, 11/8, at Visible Voice Books in Cleveland! It will be my first full reading in Ohio since the publication of my new book - Rattle & Numb: Selected & New Poems, 1992-2019 - by Venetian Spider Press.

The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Jason is coming all the way from Pittsburgh and Shawn is coming all the way from Kansas City. Even if you've had enough of me, you won't want to miss these two!

More info:

Visible Voice Books
2258 Professor Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44113

Thursday, October 31, 2019

We're in this week's Smoky Mountain News

Selfie 10/29/2019 outside
Tiny Cabin, Big Ideas in
Creston, North Carolina
“My early poetry began kind of as a form of therapy. I wasn’t really trained or anything, I just started writing from my heart,” said Burroughs. “Later on as I became an adult, my work was heavily influenced by music—hip hop, jazz and my love for the beat poets.” You can read the entire article here:

Thank you, Cory Vaillancourt, for the write up!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Heading to North Carolina for a Residency and Readings

Monday the 28th, I'll head down to the mountains of western North Carolina for a week-long writing residency. While there, I will be part of two events with award-winning poet Beth Copeland:

Friday November 1st - John Burroughs and Beth Copeland in Conversation w/ a reading at Foggy Pine Books in Boone, NC

Saturday November 2nd - John Burroughs & Beth Copeland Poetry Reading at City Lights (City Lights Bookstore) in Sylva, NC

My first ever readings in that state! All part of my ongoing Rattle and Numb Poetry Tour!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Three poems from Rattle & Numb nominated for the Pushcart Prize

self portrait b/w Rattle & Numb front cover (art by Emma Anderson)
Honored to learn that Venetian Spider Press has nominated THREE poems from my new book, Rattle and Numb, for The Pushcart Prize! They are "Hampuy (Come)," "Rough Cure," and "Birther." I am most grateful for everyone who has picked up a copy so far! 

Also available from
Barnes & Noble / Amazon

Sunday, October 20, 2019

CLE Photo Fest reading 10/25 at Mac's - and looking for more OH gigs

I am looking for more Ohio (and vicinity) gigs in support of my new book this fall/winter/spring, especially in cities where I've not read before (though I'm also happy to return to cool places I've already been). I only have 2 more out-of-state readings scheduled this year (Nov 1 & 2 in western North Carolina) and then I'm sticking close to home through March. All suggestions/offers welcome! Here's what I have scheduled so far:

10/25 in Cleveland Heights OH - Altered Landscapes: poets interpreting surrealist landscape photography (part of Cleveland Photo Fest) at Mac's Backs-Books On Coventry. (6 to 8 pm).

11/1 in Boone NC - John Burroughs and Beth Copeland in Conversation w/ a reading.

11/2 in Sylva NC - John Burroughs & Beth Copeland Poetry Reading at City Lights.

11/8 in Cleveland OH - Poetry Reading: Burroughs / Baldinger / Pavey at Visible Voice Books.

11/9 in Avon Lake OH - Read/Write/Local Authors Event at Avon Lake Public Library.

11/16 in Mansfield OH - Borderlands: Poetry on the Edge at Main Street Books.

11/21 in Elyria OH - Rattle & Numb with open mic at Roxy's Emporium. (6:30 pm).

11/25 in Cleveland Heights OH - Writer in the Window at Appletree Books. (10 am to 12 pm).

12/18 in Painesville OH - Words & Wine at the Steele Mansion Inn & Gathering Hub.

1/6/2020 in Lakewood OH - Monday at Mahall's Poetry and Prose Series.

1/8/2020 in Youngstown OH - At The Soap Gallery.

6/13/2020 in Amherst OH - Poetic Expressions from the Heart at Arabica Coffee Bistro.

9/4-6/2020 in New Hartford CT - National Beat Poetry Festival.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

What's Up with Crisis Chronicles Press?

People keep asking me what's up with Crisis Chronicles Press. Here's the short answer:

Our 2019 titles so far
1) EVENTS: A) We'll be in Kansas City this weekend (October 11-13) for Fountainverse: KC Small Press Poetry Fest. B) On November 23rd, we will team up with NightBallet Press to present readings by our Class of 2019 authors during Streetlight Imaginations with Crisis Chronicles & NightBallet at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. C) I am also hosting (at least through March 2020) the Poetry+ reading series on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at Art on Madison in Lakewood, Ohio.

2) BOOKS: It's hard to believe we published 5 wonderful books (by John Dorsey, Mindi Kirchner-Greenway, Elaine Schleiffer, Cat Russell and Nicole Hennessy) in the first four months of 2019 and we haven't published a new one since (I've been too busy with a million things). But over the summer several of our recent titles did go into second printings. We still have eight books in our committed-to-publishing queue. We intend to publish three of them (So Marvelously Far by Nick Gardner, Ode to Horatio and Other Saviors by Carolyn Srygley-Moore and Alex in Movieland by Alex Gildzen) by the end of 2019. We'll space the final five out over the course of 2020.

3) SUBMISSIONS: In the past week I've written to dozens of people declining their unsolicited submissions. Technically we haven't even been open for submissions in years, though I sometimes bent that policy for a project I just couldn't pass up. For a while (years?) I flirted with (and at times seriously considered) the idea of reopening submissions after I got caught up. But I never caught up. Now I'm becoming more and more inclined just to wrap up the press for good after I complete my current commitments.

It's been an incredible ride. I've had the honor and privilege of working with some fantastic writers and people. And it's not over yet. Eight phenomenal books are coming. I hope you love them as much as I do.

Meanwhile, there's still time to complete your collection at

Gratefully yours,