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