My poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, out this April!

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This week I’m posting a few days early to announce that Soul Picked Clean, my first published book of poetry, will be out in two months. Needless to say (but I’m going to anyway), I’m incredibly excited! On April 13th, I’ll be reading and selling my first book at the Massillon Library’s Local Author Fair: a venue I’ve attended before as a blogger sans book. Not  only that, but Crisis Chronicles Press, my publisher, will be selling my poetry collection on the same day at the Cuyahoga Library’s Publishing Con & Bookfair–along with other great titles!

UPCOMING NE Ohio Literary Events for February through April 2019

Since I haven’t been able to figure out how to add an events calendar to this blog yet, the following list includes events I plan to attend and/or read at that may be of interest to Ohio writers and other assorted bibliophiles!

February:

Wed 20th: 7pm Latitudes Poetry Night @Compass Coffee

Sat 23th: 2pm – 4pm Literary Cleveland Poetry Workshop re Claudia Rankine’s Citizen @Cle Main Library Carnegie West branch

Thur 28th: 6pm The Write Stuff @North Canton Public Library

March:

Sat 2nd: 2pm – 4pm Literary Cleveland Poetry Workshop re Claudia Rankine’s Citizen @Cle Main Library Carnegie West branch

Wed 20th: 7pm Latitudes Poetry Night @Compass Coffee

Thur 28th: 6pm The Write Stuff @North Canton Public Library

 
April: (NATIONAL POETRY MONTH)

Fri 12th: Writing Knights Take the Knight Off Inspiration Showcase (details forthcoming)

Sat 13th: Massillon Library Local Author Fair

My poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, will be available this day; come hear me read and maybe buy a copy for yourself!

Sat 27th: Western Reserve Writers’ Con

 

For other events and updates, you may check the blog calendar for Cleveland Poetics.

I hope to see you at one of these events! Until my next post, have a lovely life!

 

*image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.Net via Creative Commons License

**The Massillon Library’s calendar has not yet been updated with this event, although it is a scheduled event.

 

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CURRENT EVENTS: Books Read in 2018

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Greetings! Welcome to my first blogpost of 2019. Pretty exciting so far, right?

Anyway, fellow bibliophiles, I thought I’d share a post of the books I’ve consumed in the past year. While I won’t list books I didn’t finish, I will link to the ones I reviewed.

I don’t read a lot of periodicals, but I do read Rattle Poetry, an amazing quarterly magazine, as well as dip into a lot of other books. I’m currently reading A Journey to the Interior of the Earth (ebook) by Jules Verne, Dodge Tuck Roll (paperback, poetry collection) by Rikki Santer, and listening to an audiobook of Dragon Champion by E.E. Knight. My To-Be-Read books beside my bed are threatening to fall over and kill me in my sleep, but I keep adding to it because I have no control and I need help.

As an avid supporter of my local libraries, I’d be remiss not to mention checking out your library’s online selections as well as physical copies of books. Many libraries allow you to request books through their websites, check out digital content such as ebooks and downloadable audiobooks, as well as offer other free services like Hoopla Digital. So, if you haven’t already, get thee to the library.

Many of the books on this list were obtained through services that allow you to download ebooks or audiobooks for free, such as manybooks.net (ebooks in multiple formats), librivox, and Project Gutenburg. Others were obtained from awesome local Ohio indie presses, such as Crisis Chronicles Press and Night Ballet Press; I also plan to check out some titles from Writing Knights Press in the near future.

Now, on to the list!

1 The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide by Lauren Wilson.

Just what it says on the tin! It’s a cookbook with survival tips for the coming zombocalypse. Be prepared, so you don’t end up as a walker’s entree!

2 Mothmaw (beta read ebook) by Faryl

3  The Walking Dead: Here’s Negan by various (graphic novel via Hoopla)

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4 Skyscraper City Heroes and Villains, vol 1, by Larry Kollar (beta read ebook)

5 The Walking Dead Vol. 29: Lines We Cross by various

6 Kisha Nicole Foster: Poems 1999 – 2014, by Kisha Nicole Foster

7 It Takes More Than Chance to Make Change (poetry collection) by John Burroughs

8 Water Works (poetry collection) by John Burroughs

9 A Wizard of EarthSea: Book One of the EarthSea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin

10 I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells (NOOK Book)

11 Blood Music by Greg Bear  (ebook via Humble Bundle)

12 City of Truth by James Morrow  (ebook via Humble Bundle)

13 Age of Aquarius: Collected Poems 1981 – 2016, by Dianne Borsenik

14 Loss and Foundering (poetry collection) by John Burroughs

15 Michael Ridding: A DenCom Thriller (Audible audiobook) by S.T. Hoover

16 Prison Terms: Poems by Diane Kendig

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17 Guerrilla Kindness and Other Acts of Creative Resistance: Making a Better World through Craftivism, by Sayraphim Lothian

18 Really Cross Stitch (for when you just want to stab something a lot) (ebook via Overdrive) by Rayna Fahey

19 CHAPTER ELEVEN (poetry collection) by E.F. Schraeder

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20 Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (ebook) by Cory Doctorow

21 Mr. Monster (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

22 Craft Activism: People, Ideas, and Projects from the New Community of Handmade AND HOW YOU CAN JOIN IN (ebook via Hoopla) by Joan Tapper

23 Crafting the Resistance: 35 Projects for Craftivists, Protesters, and Women Who Resist by Heather Marano and Lara Neel

24 Blood Work (poetry collection) by Kisha Nicole Foster

25 The Fireman by Joe Hill

26 I Don’t Want to Kill You (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

27 The Tao of Pooh (audiobook via Overdrive) by Benjamin Hoff

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I’ve read this book many times, and it’s one of the most beautiful, funny, and brilliant books ever. Basically, it’s Taoist philosophy illustrated using Winnie-the-Pooh as an example of the uncarved block. Everyone should read this.

28 Horns by Joe Hill (ebook via Overdrive)

29 We Have Always Lived in the Castle (ebook via Overdrive) by Shirley Jackson

30 SOFT: Poems (paperback bought at Latitudes Poetry Night when the poet read) by Damien McClendon

31 MacBeth (ebook via manybooks.net) by William Shakespeare

32 On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing NonfictionandHow to Write a Memoir (audiobooks via Overdrive)

Written and Read by William Zinsser

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33 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (ebook via Overdrive) by J.K. Rowling

34 In America (poetry chapbook) by Diana Goetsch

35 The Art of Love (poetry)(ebook via Overdrive) by Ovid

36 Next of Kin: A John Cleaver Novella (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

37 The Devil’s Only Friend (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

38 Over Your Dead Body (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

39 Nothing Left to Lose (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

40 Cleopatra: a Biography (audiobook via Overdrive) by Stacy Schiff

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41 Hard to Swallow (Paperback bought at Literary Cleveland Inkubator) by Pat and Bill Hurley

42 Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem From the Inside Out (ebook via Overdrive) by Ralph Fletcher

43 milk and honey (paperback bought at Bookloft bookstore in Columbus, Ohio) by rupi kaur

44 Demons Will Be Demons:The Realm (NOOK Ebook via Barnes & Noble) by A.E. Jones

45 The Walking Dead vol. 29: Lines We Cross (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

46 The Walking Dead vol. 30: New World Order (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

47 Jessica Jones: Uncaged! (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

48 Jessica Jones: The Secrets of Maria Hill (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

49 Recipes for a New Life: Surviving Celiac Disease (paperback bought at Cuyahoga Library’s Indie Author Conference) by Erin Marie Raines

50 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (ebook via Overdrive) by Mark Manson

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A hilariously irreverent and insightful philosophy book. There’s obviously profanity, but holy crap, it’s freaking genius.

51 Jessica Jones: Pulse (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

52 The Vision: Little Worse Than a Man (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by King and Walt

53 The Vision: Here Lies a Vision (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

54 The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale (ebook via Overdrive) by Tim Hanley

55 The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus (ebook via manybooks.net) by William Shakespeare

56 Miranda and Caliban (ebook via Overdrive) by Jaqueline Carey

57 Little Epiphanies (paperback via Night Ballet Press) by Allison Joseph

58 down & out in the magic kingdom (ebook via craphound.com) by Corey Doctorow

A fantastic scifi book about a man trying to solve his own murder at Disney World.

59 BBC Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time Lords (ebook via Overdrive) by Steve Tribe

60 Siddhartha (ebook via manybook.net) by Herman Hesse

61 The Just City (ebook via Overdrive) by Jo Walton

62 Citizen of Metropolis (poetry collection, paperback via Crisis Chronicles Press) by Christine Howey

63 Symposium (ebook via manybooks.net) by Plato

Socrates attends a dinner party and debates the nature of love.

 

Until next time, be happy, and have a lovely time!

 

*image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.Net via Creative Commons License

 

BOOK REVIEW: Little Epiphanies by Allison Joseph

Allison Joseph’s poetry collection, Little Epiphanies, is a lovely book.

Her tightly structured and orderly poems eloquently comment on everything from everyday clutter (“Little Epiphanies”) to our fellow mammals (“Ode to the Naked Mole Rat”). Yet she also skillfully uses iambic pentameter to poke fun at strict poetry format in “Sonnet for a Good Mood:”

“How funky can I be in fourteen lines;
how thick a groove can I lay down right here?
How bad can my ass be in these confines–
ten syllables each time seems so severe.”

On the next page, in “A Prayer for Women’s Bodies,” she smoothly transitions to more serious matters, honoring the imperfections that society would have us camouflage or hide:

“…love handles no longer

maligned, each waist its own territory,
own beloved landscape of bruise
or bone, wrinkle or fat. Let us honor
bone, whether porous or pointy,

shattered or submerged, hardworking
scaffolding holding us up when gravity
and graves could sink us down,…”

In fact, what amazes me most about this collection is that the subject matter is so varied while still fitting together well. She makes observations about racism in “Sundown Ghazal”, about Afro hairstyles as statements of black empowerment in “Thirty Lines about the Fro,” and her wandering pen touches on more mundane subjects like public transportation with equal parts observation and insight.

I recommend Little Epiphanies for poetry lovers everywhere.

 

BOOK REVIEW: Hard to Swallow by Pat & Bill Hurley

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Hard to Swallow by Pat & Bill Hurley is a beautiful collection of poetry.

The couple were married just weeks before Bill was diagnosed with cancer. The poems are arranged as a conversation between the husband and wife, with his poems in italics while hers are not. As he did not want to read any poems with angst, some of her poems were never seen by her husband; instead, they appear here as complimentary thoughts on their marriage and the experiences they shared in their short time together. She expresses her worry about his health, her admiration for his courage, and her despair of living without him. Some of her admissions are startling as well as moving.

From “Jealous”

OK, I’ll admit it.

I’m jealous of the cancer.

Ever since she moved in,

She’s had you breathless

He writes of his changing body and how he centers himself through meditation and the contemplation of labyrinths. He also writes of his love for her.

From “March 24, 2016”

…Perhaps angels are the nearest things to our souls, and

as such, are our closest companions to that which is divine.

Although it’s heartbreaking they only had a short time together, this book is a beautiful testament to living life to the fullest and appreciating every moment.

Announcement: My Poetry Collection, Soul Picked Clean

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I am incredibly honored to announce that my first book of poetry, Soul Picked Clean, will be published by Crisis Chronicles Press in early 2019!

Crisis Chronicles Press was founded by John Burroughs in 2008. They’ve published writers from all over the world, in every continent except Antarctica, and from time to time give special emphasis to great Ohio poets. Crisis Chronicles recently published their 100th title.

I will also be appearing at the Massillon Library Local Author Fair on Saturday, November 10th from 1030am – 1pm. I will post updates about the book and future readings as information becomes available. Thank you!

Book Review: Blood Work by Kisha Nicole Foster

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Blood Work by Kisha Nicole Foster is a thoughtful, moving collection of verse from one of Cleveland’s many great poets. Since her first collection was published, her style has evolved to become more visual, more elegant–relying less heavily on sound and more on the written form. Metaphors rather than multiple rhymes.

These are poems about family: specifically her father and son. However, the loss and regret felt over interactions with family are universal and relatable. The visceral connections of blood are used, as the title implies, as well as other metaphors. For example, she speaks about wooden roller coasters in both “Wooden Siamese Cats” and “I Smiled Back.”

[from “Wooden Siamese Cats”]

A wooden roller coaster

you and I

looping through air.

An unauthorized aerial act

of understanding.

She also references testimony in “Forcing Smiles” and (again) “I Smiled Back”, two complimentary poems placed next to each other in the collection.

[from “Forcing Smiles”]

you said whether you lived or died

you would be testimony

and

[from “I Smiled Back”]

When we talked on the phone,

he told me that this thing was life or death.

That if he lived he was going to be a testimony

and if he died he was going to be a testimony.

I wanted to overlook the death part.

I didn’t really need those words in my ears.

The shared use of key words and images makes the entire collection stronger. All the poems are so connected, each one feels like part of a larger narrative. Her streamlined approach uses straight forward language to eloquently convey deeply felt emotions. I know I felt emotional reading her words, especially the ones about her father, since it connected me to my own father’s loss a couple years ago. It’s beautiful.

So if you are a fellow poetry lover, I suggest you get this book immediately. If you are lucky enough to live in the Cleveland area, you can purchase it from Kisha Nicole Foster directly at a poetry event; otherwise, you can contact her through her FaceBook page. I’m sure you will enjoy these verses as much as I did.

Book Review: CHAPTER ELEVEN by E.F. Schraeder

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E.F. Schraeder‘s Chapter Eleven poetry collection links both the financial and political aspects of health care and other industries with the real people that are effected. Poems like “Stopwatch Medicine” illustrate how healthcare feels like a churning machine to the doctor forced to ration time treating each patient. “For These Reasons” continues the thought of people being treated as cogs in a machine, with brilliant lines like:

Every aisle a staggering surprise of

consumer options that tie my hands

with dish rags (10 for $1!)

to women 12,000 miles away.

The poems within this deceptively thin book detail personal loss, health scares, education, the decline and deaths of loved ones–as well as biting social commentary. She even uses the ready-made metaphor of Humpty Dumpty for her purposes on more than one occasion. For example, in “Almost OK — for Humpty” she turns the nursery rhyme’s disturbing imagery into insights on living as a damaged person:

A certain light still reveals

the shadows of the cracks.

My only regret about this poetry collection is that I can’t give you a direct link to buy it from any of the big bookstore sites.. You can, however, order it directly from Partisan Press, or if you are lucky enough to live near Cleveland, pick up a copy at Mac’s Backs  or Visible Voice  bookstores! Trust me. It’s worth the trip.