Sunday, April 18, 2021

Vaccinated, Beat and 4/22 Focus on Ferlinghetti

Hi, friends! It's been an eventful past week. On Wednesday the 14th I drove to Hartville to receive my second Covid-19 vaccine shot. I experienced a little soreness in my arm and a slight malaise the next day, but it was not as bad as it was after my first shot last month (and that wasn't so bad either).

On the 17th, I had the honor of reading online with several Beat Poets Laureate for National Poetry Month (hosted by the National Beat Poetry Foundation). I led off the event and shared four poems: "Will (or a Way of Heming)," "Flagging," "Disciples" and "Random Rules." Then poets David K. Leff, William F. DeVault, Tammi Truax, Leo Jarret, Virginia Shreve and Ernel Grant followed, all with strong performances. Thank you to all who attended! If you missed it (or want to watch again), the NBPF plans to post video on their YouTube page in the next week or so.

I'm still doing a lot fewer events than usual, due to the pandemic. But I have one more coming up this month. On Thursday 22 April at 8 p.m. Eastern, I will participate in Focus on Ferlinghetti, a tribute to the late great Lawrence, hosted by Joliet Junior College and Bill Yarrow. Besides Bill and me, the other writers who will share include Mike Hainzinger, Pam Miller, John Raffetto, Joani Reese, and Bud Smith. This is a free event. Click here to register.

Friday, April 16, 2021

April 17th: My 1st Poetry Reading Since October

This is just a reminder that my first reading since October will occur via Zoom on Saturday April 17th at 1 p.m. Eastern. I will have the privilege of reading with several Beat Poets Laureate, hosted by the National Beat Poetry Foundation, Inc. Please join us on Zoom. [4/18 UPDATE: YouTube video of the event will be coming soon if you missed it.]

Readers (in order of appearance):

John B. Burroughs - Ohio Beat Poet Laureate (2019-2021)
David K. Leff - Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate, New England (2018-Present)
William F. DeVault - US National Beat Poet Laureate (2017-2018)
Ron Whitehead - Kentucky Beat Poet Laureate (2019-2021)
Tammi Truax - Maine Beat Poet Laureate (2018-2020)
Leo Jarret - Michigan Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Barry Graham - Michigan Beat Poet Laureate (2018-2020)
Rich Ferguson - California Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Virginia Shreve - Connecticut Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Ernel Grant - Connecticut Beat Poet Laureate (2017-2019)

Follow the National Beat Poetry Foundation:
Facebook / Twitter / YouTube 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Celebrate National Poetry Month with Beat Poets Laureate

The National Beat Poetry Foundation, Inc. will celebrate National Poetry Month with Zoom readings by various Beat Poets Laureate on each Saturday afternoon in April. I'm honored to be one of their featured readers on the 17th. Here is the schedule as it stands so far. More details are forthcoming.

Saturday 3 April 2021 at 1 p.m.
Watch on YouTube
Featured poets (in order of appearance):

George Wallace - 1st US National Beat Poet Laureate (2015-2016)
Carlos Dufflar - New York City Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Andy Clausen - New York State Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Carlo Parcelli - Maryland Beat Poet Laureate (2017-2019)
Thom Woodruff - Texas Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Chryssa Velissariou - Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate (Greece), 1st International Beat Poet Laureate -Greece (2017-2018)
Ngoma Hill - New York State Beat Poet Laureate (2017-2019)
James Paul Wagner - US Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2021), Long Island NY Beat Poet Laureate (2017-2019)


Saturday 10 April 2021 at 1 p.m.

Watch on YouTube
Featured poets:

Lori Desrosiers - US National Beat Poet Laureate (2016-2017), Massachusetts
Bengt O Björklund - Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate – Sweden (2018-Present)
Gabor G Gyukics - Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate – Hungary (2020-Present)
Amelia Matus - Wisconsin Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Daniel McTaggart -
West Virginia Beat Poet Laureate (2017-2019)
Larry Jaffe - Florida Beat Poet Laureate (2018-2020)
Michael D. Amitin -
International Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2021), France

Saturday 17 April 2021 at 1 p.m.:

Join on Zoom
Featured poets:

John B. Burroughs - Ohio Beat Poet Laureate (2019-2021)
David K. Leff - Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate, New England (2018-Present)
William F. DeVault - US National Beat Poet Laureate (2017-2018)
Ron Whitehead - Kentucky Beat Poet Laureate (2019-2021)
Tammi Truax - Maine Beat Poet Laureate (2018-2020)
Leo Jarret - Michigan Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Barry Graham - Michigan Beat Poet Laureate (2018-2020)
Rich Ferguson - California Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Virginia Shreve - Connecticut Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Ernel Grant - Connecticut Beat Poet Laureate (2017-2019)

Saturday 24 April 2021 at 1 p.m.:

Zoom Link Forthcoming
Featured poets:

Paul Richmond - US National Beat Poet Laureate (2019-2020), Massachusetts Beat Poet Laureate (2017-2019)
Richard Wayne Horton - Massachusetts Best Poet Laureate (2019-2021)
Lorraine Currelley - Bronx, NY Beat Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Annie Petrie Sauter - Colorado Beat Poet Laureate (2017-2019)
Nordette N. Adams - Louisiana Beat Poet Laureate (2019-2021)
Chris Vannoy - US National Beat Poet Laureate (2018-2019), California, San Diego Beat Poet Laureate (2017-2019)
Donna Allard - International Beat Poet Laureate Canada (2019-2020)
Darlene (Dee Trupoetry) Fernandez -
Connecticut Beat Poet Laureate (2018-2020)

Follow the National Beat Poetry Foundation:
Facebook / Twitter / YouTube

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Additions to My Library Since My Last Post

I'm very happy to have these titles recently join the family of books on my shelves:


The Veiled Suite: The Collected Poems by Agha Shahid Ali [2009, W.W. Norton].

The Flashboat: Poems Collected and Reclaimed by Jane Cooper [2000, W.W. Norton]

Appleseed by Matt Bell [2021, Custom House]

Blue Lamentations and other noisy scrawls by Sharon Gariepy Frye [2017, Cold River]

She-Oak by Linda Goin [2019, Musehick Publications]

Asylum by Elizabeth Marino [2020, Vagabond]

Rattle #71 [Spring 2021]

A Plumber's Guide to Light by Jesse Bertron [2021, Rattle]

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Kristi Yamaguchi, Michael Jordan and Me

I am extremely grateful to Heidi Blakeslee and GAS: Poetry, Art & Music for such a kind and generous review of my book Rattle and Numb: Selected and New Poems, 1992-2019. "The manic exuberance of pure genius"? Comparisons to two of the greatest athletes of my lifetime? I feel a bit speechless and undeserving, but nonetheless delighted.

You can read the whole review here:

Book published by Venetian Spider Press.

Cover art by Emma Anderson.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Latest Additions to My Library

I am thrilled to have received this motherlode of wow in roughly the past month or so:

Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry: A Bilingual Edition by Paul Celan [2014, Farrar, Straus & Giroux]

Memory Rose into Threshold Speech: The Collected Earlier Poetry: A Bilingual Edition by Paul Celan [2020, Farrar, Straus & Giroux]

Poems of André Breton: A Bilingual Anthology by André Breton (trans/ed. by Jean-Pierre Cauvin & Mary Ann Caws) [2006, Black Widow Press]

The Idea of Perfection: The Poetry and Prose of Paul Valéry: A Bilingual Edition by Paul Valéry (trans. by Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody) [2020, Farrar, Straus & Giroux]

The Secret Room
by Kazim Ali [2017, Kaya Press]

Quinn's Passage by Kazim Ali [2005, BlazeVOX]

The Weight of the Minolta in Her Hand by Marianna Hofer [2017, Finishing Line Press]

A Threadbare Universe by Jason Baldinger [2020, Kung Fu Treachery Press]

Poems: Volume 01
by Camilla Jean Welsch [2021, BookBaby]

Waxworks by Frieda Hughes [2002, HarperCollins]

Tornado by Ted Lardner [2008, The Kent State University Press]

We Practice for It by Ted Lardner [2014, Tupelo Press]

The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck and Guidebook
by Kim Krans [2018, HarperOne]

Whirl Away Girl by Tricia Johnson [2021, Atmosphere Press]

I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey by Langston Hughes [2011, Books on Tape]

The Lunch Bucket Brigade #3 by various [2021, The Lunch Bucket Brigade Press]

A Season of Significance by Jared Smith [2021, River Dog]

Still Marching by Alex Gildzen [2021, River Dog]


Monday, February 8, 2021

Stormy Whether

Four years ago today, my wife Geri Lynne unexpectedly passed away. Sometimes it still feels like yesterday. 

I took this photo of us after a severe storm destroyed part of the stage during the 2007 Warped Tour in Cleveland.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

My "Flagging" in the 2020 BEAT Generation Anthology

I'm pleased to announce that my poem "Flagging" appears in BEAT Generation, the 2020 National Beat Poetry Foundation anthology published by Local Gems Press in December. The volume is edited by the current U.S. National Beat Poet Laureate, James P. Wagner, and features contributions from about a hundred poets from around the world including Donna Allard, Michael Amitin, Bengt O Björklund, Patricia Carragon, Alan Catlin, Andy Clausen, Juliet Cook, Beth Copeland, Joshua Corwin, Lorraine Currelley, Sandra Feen, Gabor Gyukics, Debbie T. Kilday, Mindy Kronenberg, Kate Lamberg, Geoffrey A. Landis, Catfish McDaris, Prince A. McNally, Carlo Parcelli, Dan Provost, Paul Richmond, Dave Roskos, Rikki Santer, Virginia Shreve, Tammi Truax, Pamela Twining, Chryssa Velissariou, George Wallace, Jon Wesick, Ron Whitehead and too many more to name here.

You can procure a copy from Mac's Backs or your own favorite bookseller.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Ethics Provocateur of Poetry

Carolyn Srygley-Moore's latest poetry book, Ode to Horatio and Other Saviors, which I recently had the honor of publishing through Crisis Chronicles Press, continues to receive rave reviews. The latest is on Amazon from someone who goes by the name Shadow Wing:

"This is the ethics Provocateur of poetry without the dry experience often attributed to glib yet well-intended narratives. The insight is as eloquent as it is relevant to the cause. Images burst with anecdotal testimony and coupled with stunning photography; moments caught in art are often images etched in heart. This is a brilliant and riveting read...worth every cent (or more)."

U.S. or Elsewhere?

Available for $12 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.

And don't forget a percentage of all proceeds from the sale of this book go to support Rescue Dogs Rescue Soldiers, an organization that pairs shelter dogs with veterans and provides pet therapy programs.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Unfinished Novels: Yea or Nay? And Which Do You Recommend?

One of my favorite literary quotations is from the French poet Paul Valéry: "A poem is never finished, only abandoned." And I agree wholeheartedly, though there may be a vast difference between abandoning a poem as an infant and abandoning it as a young adult. (But that's a topic for a future blog post.)

Anyway, the quotation came to mind today after I read Matthew Redmond's new LitHub essay Why Should We Read Unfinished Novels?.

The only unfinished novel I remember reading is The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway, which was actually the first Hemingway book I ever read. I was 19 or 20 at the time and had just finished a marathon of reading nothing but John Steinbeck books. Somehow I'd gotten into my head the notion that Hemingway was the next great American novelist I should binge read. So I went to Bookseller in Elyria, Ohio, and bought The Garden of Eden (which I had no idea was unfinished, though I guess I should have because I knew it was posthumously published) because it was his newest release (this was probably 1986) and because the title made me think it might be a little more fun than, say, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Though I loved a lot of the writing, in the end I found the novel rather unsatisfying (I wonder if I would feel the same today) and, coincidentally, unfinished. Then I kicked myself for picking that one to read first.

Anyway, I don't believe I've read any other "unfinished" novel. But now I'm thinking it's strange that I can easily consider every poem to some degree "unfinished" but not most novels. Why is that?  (Saving this to the future blog post file too).

Also, it's interesting that Matthew Redmond's article focuses predominantly on the 19th Century and does not mention The Garden of Eden or Hemingway's other posthumously published unfinished novels (Islands in the Stream, True at First Light) - or, for that matter, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon (one of two Fitzgerald novels I've not yet read).

After my Garden experience, I've spent decades avoiding reading unfinished novels. But now I'm thinking maybe I should reconsider.

Which unfinished novels have you read? Are they any you'd recommend?

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Other New Books I've Picked Up in Early January 2021 (and a review)

Memorabilia by A.S. Coomer [2019, 11:11 Press]

Orange Alert: essays on poetry, art, and the architecture of silence by Kazim Ali [2010, University of Michigan Press]

The Invisible Waterhole by Joe Kidd [2020, JKSB Media]

The Prettiest Girl at the Dance by John Dorsey [2020, Blue Horse Press]

The Far Mosque by Kazim Ali [2005, Alice James Books]

Wooroloo by Frieda Hughes [1998, Harper Flamingo]

The first of these I've finished reading is John Dorsey's. I left this brief review of it on Goodreads:

Victor Clevenger, in his introduction to this wonderful new collection of poetic vignettes, calls it "quite possibly [John Dorsey's] greatest work to date." I have to agree. That's saying a lot when you consider we've read a stack of Dorsey books and loved his work for years. Boy or girl, I'm pretty sure you're gonna love taking a spin or two (or more) around the ballroom floor with The Prettiest Girl at the Dance.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

A James Baldwin Yearning

Last summer I decided to read more books by Black authors. One who I admire (mostly based on a biography, YouTube videos of him, and the 2016 film I Am Not Your Negro) is James Baldwin. But I have never read any of his books. I want to rectify that.

Then earlier this month I saw that poet Michelle R. Smith is leading a year-long class on Baldwin's work for Literary Cleveland. I wanted to sign up. But looking at my calendar I realized I already have commitments on several of the Saturday afternoons when it happens.

However, I still want to participate in my own way. So though I won't be part of the class I did recently procure three volumes of Baldwin's work (pictured) and, beginning today, will be reading along with their schedule. First up: Go Tell It on the Mountain.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Pamela Anderson's "Favorite Poetry Books of 2020" Includes My Rattle and Numb

Thank you, Pamela! What an honor for my book to be included in such fine company. Read her post about it here. And check out her book as well.

Pamela R. Anderson-Bartholet is the author of Just the Girls: A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies; A Drift of Honeybees (2020, The Poetry Box Press).

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Lunch Bucket Brigade

After a past twenty-four hours that has been disturbing on multiple levels, at least something good came in the mail: these recent publications from the Lunch Bucket Brigade, a DIY publisher based in Toledo, Ohio.

A Stocking Stuffer for Socialists by Dan Denton

Department Stores by Craig James Ackerman

The Lunch Bucket Brigade #1 (feat. work by Dan Provost, Tom Cline, Victor Clevenger, John Dorsey and Emmanuel Ojeikhodion)

The Lunch Bucket Brigade #2 (feat. work by Ed Werstein, Jason Ryberg, Akinwale Akindayo, Michael Grover, Cindy Bosley and John Dorsey)

Check out the LBB store at

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Eric Jerome Dickey, 1961-2021

I am sad to see that Eric Jerome Dickey has passed away. When I was a clerk in the library at Marion Correctional Institution (I'm guessing it was around 2001), we wrote to Mr. Dickey. He responded by sending us a personal letter and a box of free new copies of all of his books. We hardly expected a response, let alone one so kind and generous.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Social Media Hiatus? Book Buying Hiatus?

Many thanks to everyone who has recently subscribed to this blog (as well as to those friends and cetera who've been here off and on for quite a while now).

I never did write my traditional year-end summary blog post for 2020. Maybe I'll end up sharing it piecemeal. One thing I did share was my list of 47 books that I finished reading last year. That sounded like a lot until I tried to count the number of new (or new-to-me) books I acquired in 2020. For years I have posted pictures on Facebook whenever I've procured printed books. Based on these pictures, I acquired 102 in 2020. But there are likely some books I missed photographing. And that doesn't count the number of e-books I downloaded during the course of the year, which I would estimate exceeds another 100. (For example, I know I downloaded 75 chapbooks just from Ghost City Press' 2020 Summer Series alone.)

I'm going on a temporary book buying hiatus in 2021, though I just received the four pictured here in the past few days and I know there are a handful more still on their way to me. I'm sharing the photo here now instead of on Facebook because, like the headline suggests, I'm also going on a social media hiatus this month. I meant for it to begin on January 1st, but so far I have had to check into my social accounts a handful of times since then just to tie up loose ends (like gathering January event information for my role as moderator of the online NE Ohio Literary Calendar). I plan to reach the point where I can avoid social media completely (at least for a while) in the next twenty-four hours or so. I'm not sure how long the hiatus will last (the rest of January? the rest of winter? the rest of 2021?). But I think that the longer I stay off, the easier it will be to continue to stay off. Maybe I will get back on regularly after the pandemic is under control and I can begin doing live events again. But mainly I want to break the cycle of being available (and feeling I need to check in) on social media all the time no matter what else I'm doing. I've been stretched too thin for a while now and I want and need to focus more on other things.

One of those things is reading more books than I acquire. Another is spending more time on my own writing. Then there are myriad household chores that need tackled. And I could go on and on. But I'll save some of that for a future post.

* * * * *

Books pictured:

Stonepicker and The Book of Mirrors by Frieda Hughes
Forty-five: Poems by Frieda Hughes
Woman's Work by Marie Chewe-Elliott
What Kittens Like by Marie Chewe-Elliott (illustrated by Jennifer Stolzer)

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Free new e-chapbook by Sandra Feen


voice lux press has just published a new e-chapbook by Columbus poet Sandra Feen. It features some quite moving work. And it's available for free! (But there's a link to help support the artist if you feel so moved).

Download and read her Evidence of Starving at