First Friday *AND* POEM: “Who Are You?”

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Since I’m spending most of my time this month attending or participating in poetry events and promoting my new book, it seems only fair I blog more frequently to share them with you. So for the next month (or two) I have switched to posting every Friday instead of every other Friday. You’re thrilled, right?

Tonight is Canton’s First Friday celebration for April! It will be my first time attending a First Friday event, and I am honored to be participating in the “Locally Literate” theme by reading poetry alongside the wonderful Diane Kendig and John Burroughs! It’s going to be a fantastic night, and for every beer sold, Muskellunge Brewery will donate $1 to the Friends of the Library!

Also, in the spirit of sharing poetry during National Poetry Month, I’m posting my short (but sweet) poem, “Who Are You?”

 

Who Are You?

Answering by name alone,

the reflex a sound as familiar

as breathing, must needs be symbol

enough…words alone cannot define you.

 

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Current and Upcoming Events:

Friday, April 5th (7pm – 8pm)

Canton’s First Friday celebration for April follows the overarching theme of “Locally Literate” and is sponsored by Muskellunge Brewery and the Friends of the Library! There will be scheduled poetry readings, with poems following the themes of beer, bars, April, Friday,libraries, and Muskies (the fish). I am honored to be one of the scheduled readers.

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Thursday, April 11th (4pm – 7pm)

I will be appearing alongside some other authors at Dorrie’s Booktique.

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Friday, April 12th (7pm – 9pm)

sWord Fight Tournament in Canton, Ohio. I will be a “combatant” in my first live poetry competition: Cat Russell versus Greg Milo! Come by, and wish me luck! This competition will be at a different venue than usual.

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Saturday, April 13th (11am – 2pm)

Local Author Fair at Massillon Public Library, 208 Lincoln Way E, Massillon, Ohio 44646. I am scheduled to read briefly, and I will also have books to sell at my table. I will be donating 10% of any sales I make this day to Project Gutenberg!

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Wednesday, April 17th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night and Open Mic at Compass Coffee in Akron.

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Thursday, April 18th (6pm – 9pm)

Kave Coffee Bar in Barberton hosts an open mic every Thursday. I’m not scheduled as a guest, but I do plan to attend.

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Friday, April 19th (630pm – 730pm)

I will be reading from my newly published book of poetry, Soul Picked Clean, as my talented artist-friend, Jim Meador, paints his version of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. The eventbrite link is now live; all tickets must be reserved ahead of time. This is a paid event, but each ticket includes a free copy of Soul Picked Clean!
(*single’s and couple’s tickets available.)

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Monday, April 22nd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

Cat Russell Author Talk with music by Ed Amann at the Barberton Public Library, 602 West Park Avenue, Barberton, Ohio 44203. Ed Amann and I will alternate between his music and my poems.

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Tuesday, April 23rd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

What better way to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday than to attend a poetry reading? Massillon Public Library will announce the winners of its April Poetry contest at the Poetry Night and Open Mic! I’m not specifically scheduled, but I do plan to attend. I love libraries!

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Wednesday, April 24th (6pm – 10:30pm)

Spoken Word Showcase (paid event) hosted by The Outpost concert club and Writing Knights. Ed Mabrey will be the feature performer, supported by Kisha Nicole Foster, Black Reign, Keith Allison, Finn Thrace, SuperTeam, and Luna Annunaki.

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Thursday, April 25th (6pm – 9pm)

The Write Stuff Authors’ Group meets monthly at the North Canton Library to workshop WIPs before adjourning to TD’s Grill at about 7:30pm for general literary merry-making.

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Saturday, April 27th (9am – 4:30pm)

Western Reserve Writers’ Conference Any writers in the area should definitely attend this FREE writing conference at Cuyahoga Library’s South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. I will not be reading, but I will attend, and I’d love to see you there!

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Thank you for visiting my blog! I wish for you a month filled with poetry, and I hope to see you at one of these events soon!

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POEM: Patterns

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Patterns

Bare trees branch the sky

like branchioles in lungs

 

like nuerons in brains firing

the smell of scorched spark plugs

 

Like water falling from a mountain

both divided and united, a spreading cooling fan

 

Like skyviewed landmasses seem rock

lined waves weaving through water as thread through cloth

 

Find these patterns with searching eyes and fingertips:

these Fibonacci fractals, this mathematic beauty

 

Underlying sounds pinpoint the reasons

wind sings through the leaves and rain

patters like feet running over wet stones

 

Pictures painted by one poorly versed in higher math

inspired by nature’s geometric beauty

 

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Since I’ve been posting so much about my book, I wanted to post an actual poem. I hope you enjoyed it.*

I was thrilled with the response to the cover reveal of my poetry book, Soul Picked Clean! Now, online only, the book is available to order for the low, low price of only $12!

But wait! There’s more!*

Also, Soul Picked Clean is only $10 to buy in-person, and I will donate 10% of that purchase to Project Gutenberg!* So, a new book, a chat with me, and a donation to something awesome. What are you waiting for?

Current and Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, March 20th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night: This Akron poetry event meets monthly at Compass Coffee, and usually features a guest poet reading, followed by an Open Mic.

Thursday, March 28th (6pm)

The Write Stuff This writers’ group meets at @North Canton Public Library once a month. If you’d like to check them out, bring 6-10 copies of something you’re working on. Writers break into groups based on genre and give feedback. I’ve always found it very helpful, and afterwards everyone usually goes to a local restaurant to talk–shop or otherwise.:)

Saturday, March 30th (7pm)

Book Launch party at Mac’s Backs, 1820 Coventry Rd, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118. Cat Russell and Pittsburgh-area poets Jason Irwin and Jen Ashburn will read.

Friday, April 12th

Aztilude sWord Fight Tournament in Canton, Ohio. I will be a “combatant” in my first live poetry competition. Come by, and wish me luck! More details forthcoming.

Saturday, April 13th (11am – 2pm)

Local Author Fair at Massillon Public Library, 208 Lincoln Way E, Massillon, Ohio 44646. I am scheduled to read briefly, and I will also have books to sell at my table!

Monday, April 22nd (6:30pm)

Cat Russell author talk with music by Ed Amann at the Barberton Public Library, 602 West Park Avenue, Barberton, Ohio 44203.

Saturday, April 27th (9am – 4:30pm)

Western Reserve Writers’ Conference Any writers in the area should definitely attend this free writing conference at Cuyahoga Library’s South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. I will not be reading, but I will attend, and I’d love to see you there!

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Thank you for visiting, and I hope to see you in the coming weeks at one of these events!

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*The posted poem, “Patterns,” is new and does not appear in the book, although it is a sample of the type of poetry I write. The image is courtesy of BigFoto.com.

**I know, I know, I couldn’t resist. 🙂

***That’s 10% of in-person sales, buying directly from me. This offer does not extend to online purchases or directly from other bookstores, as I have no idea how to arrange that.

****I realize some of the listings are duplicates that appeared in my previous blogpost, but I thought it would be easier for people to follow all in one place. You can also check the Cleveland Poetics Calendar for current poetry events by clicking the link at the top of the page.

 

COVER REVEAL: Soul Picked Clean

Soul Picked Clean FRONT COVER

 

I realize it’s a little harder to get the effect of this white cover on my blog’s already white background, but isn’t it great?!* The photo used for the cover art for Soul Picked Clean was taken by Peggy Honeydew, and the book is available for pre-order by Crisis Chronicles Press as of today!

I’m also thrilled to announce my book launch will take place at Mac’s Backs Books on Coventry on Saturday, March 30th, 2019. I will be reading alongside two other poets, and I will release other details as soon as they become available. I really hope to see you there. In addition to the pleasure I’ll derive from meeting you, if you buy my book from me in person I will donate ten percent of each sale to Project Gutenberg.

In other news, in the past couple weeks I’ve revamped my blog(s) to make it easier for readers to connect with my work. You’ll notice a blogroll with links to my Amazon Author page,  Crisis Chronicles Press (my publisher), and other relevant links in the top right corner. My blog now also has a page displaying the Cleveland Poetics Calendar; simply click on the page link at the top if you’d like to attend some live poetry events in Northern Ohio! My FaceBook account received a facelift as well; I’ve set up a FaceBook Author page. If you have any other polite suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Until next time, have a lovely week!

 

*I still hotly advocate the necessity of interrobangs!

 

 

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.

 

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.