Category Archives : Publisher’s Blog

VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change 2013

This year’s VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change event will be taking place next week at Karma Café in Canton, Ohio!  I’m pleased to announce that this year’s VENDING MACHINE anthology features poetry by: Lynne Albert, Dianne Borsenik, Steve Brightman, Skylark Bruce, John Burroughs, Shelley Chernin, Mike Finley, Ken Gradomski, Chuck Joy, Lori Ann Kusterbeck, Geoffrey A. Landis, Miranda Macondios, Marc Mannheimer, William Merricle, Rebekah Moss, Jen Pezzo, Kenneth Pobo, REDD, S. Renay Sanders, Kathy Smith, Zach, and Beverly Zeimer, with cover art by Eileen Matias!


The book will be available on November 15th at the special VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change event at Karma Cafe in Canton, OH.  To get a copy of the book, please bring a donation for the Poetic Provisions Food-Drive to the show.



Update on Gallery Transfer

Okay, so the goal was to have the site all ready to relaunch on Halloween. Today marks The Poet’s Haven’s 16th anniversary (not counting the two-or-so years before that where we operated as “The Haven” on AOL). Unfortunately, more complications arose while transferring the database from the old site. As of right now, there’s about 16 short stories that won’t transfer and will have to be reposted manually. I’ll have to figure out which ones they are. There’s also several other stories that aren’t displaying correctly due to WordPress’ CSS based formatting handling certain HTML coding differently than a plain HTML display like the old site had. I’ll have to fix them manually as well. I’ve also encountered some issues with line spacing that will have to be fixed site-wide. Several of my old blog posts have been removed as they were essentially double posts of podcast pages, and it just plain looked bad when browsing the site without any category filter turned on. All-in-all, the remaining issues to fix here won’t take too long.  Oh, and while several new poems have been added to the site, there’s still about 90 more old submissions I need to decide on.  That’s what I would have been finishing today, if the database transfers had not proven to be so problematic…


What WILL be a bit longer in the finishing is the new submission system.  I’ve only been able to find one open-source based script for this purpose, and it will need quite a bit of rewriting and customization before it can be used here.  It also hasn’t seen any updates from its original author(s) in several years, which might lead to the same problems with it as what happened with the old Poet’s Haven galleries.  If you know of any open-source (or other no-money-needed licensing), PHP/SQL based submission management scripts, please let me know.  I would like something that works like the Submittable site, only installed locally (on this server) and without needing either an annual fee or for authors to pay to submit work.

Website Re-construction Updates

Work is progressing on rebuilding this website.  There’s still a few cosmetic glitches to be worked out (the footer not being centered, the “Recent Posts” widget layout, those little grey corners around the navigation menu…), but overall, the site is finally starting to look the way I want.  Now I must get to work transferring the pages from the old site.  I’m more than half-way through transferring the Art Gallery (due to the file uploads, Art Gallery pages must be created one at a time rather than through a mass SQL import).  The eBook Downloads section has also been completed (with the eBook release of “VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change volume 3″ leading the way).


After all the content has been transferred, the website will remain closed to submissions for a short time.  (That’s website submissions, not print submissions, for which there’s currently four open calls posted.)  I have not been able to find an automated submission process for WordPress that works the way I want.  I am currently seeking a separate submission manager system.  I would like something that works similar to the service offered by Submittable, only installed on this server and, y’know, free.  I have found a free script that may be able to do what I need, but only after some massive rewriting.  If anyone has any suggestions for other open-source submission manager scripts (PHP based), please let me know.


Please be aware that randomly e-mailed poems will NOT be considered for publication.  If you wish to submit a poem to one of the open calls, please send it to the proper e-mail address for that anthology.  Poems sent through the “Contact Publisher” form will be discarded.  The website’s new submission system will be up and running as soon as possible.  Unfortunately, real-world matters do get in the way.  Poet’s Haven is a labor of love, not a full-time income source.


Once the website relaunch is complete, I will being scheduling new Author Series chapbook releases.  I apologize for the delay in responding to those who submitted manuscripts during April’s open call.  You’ll be hearing from me soon.

Under Construction

Due to recent “upgrades” to the PHP programming language, the software that The Poet’s Haven galleries have run on for the past 13 years has been rendered inoperable. Since that software has not seen any new updates from its original author in the past decade, and rather than continue to struggle with depreciated PHP code every time the language is “updated,” the decision has been made to convert the site to WordPress. The publisher is working on this conversion as fast as his nowhere-near-professional programming skills allow. The Poet’s Haven Boutique bookstore is still fully operational. The page listing Open Submission Calls for upcoming print anthologies is also fully accessible.  Please check back in a few days and see how much progress has been made launching version 3.0.





Changes are in store…

Recent “upgrades” to PHP have resulted in the software that operates the online galleries no longer working.  Rather than continuing to rewrite the software, changing everything that got depreciated in the latest round of “updates,” (the MyScrapbook program that has been the backbone to the site for many years now has not had any new updates from the original author since 2003), the decision has been made to move to a new CMS.  While this won’t be another two-years-to-complete update like the site went through a decade ago (as I won’t have to manually create every page like I did back then, I can just reformat and import the database) (the site has more than tripled in size since then, by the way), I am having some trouble finding a new CMS that will function the way I need it to that has a large community of programmers behind it.  WordPress is a leading contender at the moment, though it lacks a submission method that does not require users to use the control panel.  (I have tried several plug-ins, none work the way I want.  Allowing public registrations but having all new users be added to a group that has posts moderated will work, but takes readers out of the site and into the admin control panel.)  I am currently exploring some other options.  My hope is that I can have this all completed by early October.  I do NOT want this to still be up in the air when Halloween rolls around.  The plan to release season 3 of The Poet’s Haven presents… podcast series in October has been put on hold while this is worked out.

Now seeking submissions for VENDING MACHINE vol.4!

VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change vol.4
The Poet’s Haven is seeking submissions inspired by the following quote:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi

This is for the next “VENDING MACHINE” anthology that will be released at a special Stardust Poetry show on November 15th in conjunction with the Poetic Provisions food-drive. Patrons, poets, and other guests who donate to the food-drive will receive a copy of the book.

  • POEM SUBMISSIONS MUST BE LESS THAN 60 LINES. Poems under 30 lines are recommended. Story and essay submissions must be under 500 words.
  • Submissions must be received by October 13th!
  • SUBMISSIONS MUST FIT THE THEME!!! If you can’t take the time to read the theme, we won’t waste time considering your work.
  • As this is a charity project to benefit the Poetic Provisions food-drive, we are unable to provide contributor copies. If sufficient copies remain after the release show, efforts will be made to get them into the hands of contributing authors who do not live in north-east Ohio that make a donation to their local foodbank.
  • Authors retain the right to have their submissions published elsewhere, as long as the other publishers do not require first-time or exclusive rights. Previously published material is acceptable though discouraged.

This anthology will also be published as a free e-book download in 2014.

Submissions should be e-mailed to:

“VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change” is an annual anthology published by The Poet’s Haven and edited by T.M. Göttl and Vertigo Xavier. The book is not available for sale, but is instead offered in exchange for donations to the Poetic Provisions food-drive. To obtain a copy, bring a non-perishable food donation to the release show or to any Poet’s Haven event in December (while supplies last). Donations go first to the Canton Sunday Picnic, with any items they are not able to use going to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

This year’s VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change event will be held at the Stardust Poetry show on November 15th at Karma Cafe in Canton, Ohio.

World Cat Day, 2013 Bundle Offer

So, apparently, somebody somewhere declared today World Cat Day.  Tabitha would’ve disagreed, she would’ve said every day was Cat Day, then she would have demanded cheese from the refrigerator.  None the less, you can celebrate World Cat Day by picking up a copy of “The Poet’s Haven Digest: On Velvet Feet.”  This anthology features poetry, stories, and other creations about cats, starring cats, and possibly written by cats!  It includes work from Kristina England, Joshua Gage, Janet Garber, Alex Gildzen, Clarissa Jakobsons, Paul Kahle, Thomas Koron, Lori Ann Kusterbeck, Geoffrey A. Landis, Marc Mannheimer, Michael Gillan Maxwell, Rachel M. Newlon, Angela Nichols, Jen Pezzo, Tina Puckett, Lady Kathy Smith, Kevin Frederick Smith, Steven B. Smith, J.E. Stanley, Hannah Stevenson, Melissa Studdard, Mary A. Turzillo, and Vertigo Xi’an Xavier.

Or, if you’re behind on picking up Poet’s Haven books this year, you can now pick up the first eight books published in 2013 for a special reduced price with FREE SHIPPING!  This gets you the “On Velvet Feet” anthology, “Letter to 20″ by Alexis-Rueal, “Like Michelangelo Sorta Said” by Steve Brightman, “Back\words & For/words” by Lori Ann Kusterbeck, “Inside the Walls of a Blackened Book” by A.J. Huffman, “Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse” by Joshua Gage, “Universe Gone Dancing: A Manic Cosmology” by Mark S. Kuhar (with art by Sven Geier), and “It Takes More Than Chance to Make Change” by John Burroughs for only $42.00!  That’s like getting one book for free!

Build Your Own Bundle Offer and Lake Effect Poetry 2013!

BUILD YOUR OWN BUNDLE!  Use the discount code “bundle” at checkout when ordering $25 or more in merchandise from The Poet’s Haven Boutique to get 20% OFF ALL POET’S HAVEN PUBLICATIONS and FREE SHIPPING on your entire order!
(Offer expires July 31, 2013.  Discount not valid on already discounted bundle offers.)

Also newly available, the Lake Effect Poetry 2013 Team Anthology:

This anthology features poetry from your 2013 Lake Effect Poetry slam team: AKeemjamal Rollins, Christine Howey, Caira Lee, and Arianna Cheree, plus poems from: team alternate REDD; 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam representative Eris Zion Venia; 2012 Lake Effect team members T.M. Göttl, Carla Thompson, and Skylark Bruce; and 2013 point finalists Joshua Gage and Azriel Johnson.  All proceeds from the sale of this anthology go towards getting the team to National Poetry Slam in Boston, MA!  FREE SHIPPING!    (Please note: this item is not eligible for the “Build Your Own Bundle” discount, as all money raised by the sale of this item goes to Lake Effect Poetry.)

Upcoming Schedule Changes…

Due to circumstances beyond control, Joshua Gage will not be able to feature at this coming Friday’s  Stardust Poetry show at Karma Café in Canton, OH. His feature appearance has been rescheduled for June 21st’s show.  Due to *other* circumstances not directly related to that, the release of Josh’s Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse has also been delayed.  The official launch will now be at June 21st’s show, but pre-ordered copies will ship before that date.  I expect the book to be printed before the end of May.

May 17th’s Stardust Poetry show will now feature storyteller and novelist Marcus V. Calvert and the poetry-and-music pairing of Ingrid Westberg and Emmanuel C. BeyMarcus V. Calvert is a native of Detroit with a nigh-uncontrollable imagination. He’s been writing science fiction since he was eight. Even when life often got in the way, he couldn’t give up writing. In 2011, he released Unheroic, his first collection of short stories. Two additional short story collections followed, and now he’s working on his fourth book, a novel, to be released in fall 2013. His goal is to make up for lost years and to put out as many books as possible before he leaves this Earth. For him, the name and the fame aren’t important. Only the stories matter.  Ingrid Westberg is an artist, poet, songwriter, and musician from Akron, Ohio, and Emmanuel C. Bey is the lead vocalist and songwriter of the the funk-rock band Full Effect.

June 7th’s First Friday Poetry Spectacular will feature Mark S. KuharMark S. Kuhar is a writer, poet, editor, publisher, artist, and songwriter.  He is the author of Acrobats in Catapult Twist (2003), Laughing in the Ruins of Chippewa Lake Park (2004), E40th & Pain: Poems from Deep Cleveland (2006) and Mercury in Retrograde (2012).  He was a featured poet in the book Cleveland Poetry Scenes.  He is the founder of the Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour (a live monthly spoken-word event) and is the proprietor of Deep Cleveland LLC, which includes Deep Cleveland Press and the Deep Cleveland Junkmail Oracle, a literary e-zine dedicated to the spirit of legendary outlaw poet, artist, and underground publisher d.a. levy.  This show will be the debut of Mark’s newest book, Universe Gone Dancing: A Manic Cosmology.

June 21st’s Stardust Poetry will feature John Burroughs and Joshua GageJoshua Gage is an ornery curmudgeon who graduated from the Low Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Naropa University.  He has a penchant for Pendleton shirts, rye whiskey, and any poem strong enough to yank the breath out of his lungs.  He stomps around Cleveland in a purple bathrobe and hosts the monthly Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour. This will be the official launch of Josh’s latest book, Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie ApocalypseJohn Burroughs is a north-east Ohio poet and publisher. He is the author of many chapbooks including Electric Company, Water Works, and The Eater of the Absurd.  For around a decade, John served as a full-time playwright and occasional music director in residence for the Ministry of Theatre at Marion Correctional Institution. In 2007 he had a top-ranked blog on MySpace, after which John won the first poetry slam he ever competed in, formed the Poets of Lorain County, has contributed to the Cleveland Poetics and Ohio Poetry Association blogs, and is perhaps most proud of his work as the founding editor of Crisis Chronicles Press. This will be the debut of John’s latest book, It Takes More Than Chance to Make Change.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: The Poet’s Haven Author Series (chapbooks)

The Poet’s Haven will be open to unsolicited chapbook manuscripts through the month of April, to be considered for publication in The Poet’s Haven Author Series.

Manuscripts should be sent via e-mail as a file attachment. Attachments should be either plain text (TXT), rich text (RTF), or Microsoft Word (DOC / DOCX) files.

Manuscripts should be between 28 and 36 pages in length NOT COUNTING title, copyright, dedication, or table of contents pages. Manuscripts containing full-color artwork may be shorter, 20 to 24 pages. One page can fit approximately 30 lines of poetry or 325 words of prose. If you have original artwork to be used as the cover, that can also be attached as either a JPG or PNG file. Please include your author bio either in the manuscript or in the body of the e-mail.

The Poet’s Haven publishes more than just poetry! We are very interested in seeing fiction and art manuscripts!

Authors receive 25% of all copies printed. The first print run is 80 copies, with additional print runs completed as needed for 12 months. Authors can purchase as many additional copies as they wish for 50% of the cover price. (The cover price is normally $6.00.)

Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please notify us if your manuscript is accepted by another press. Due to volume and real-world occurrences, it may take until December 31, 2013 for decisions to be reached regarding all submitted manuscripts.

Submissions should be sent to:

Columbus State Writers Conference

The Poet’s Haven will be participating in the book fair at the Columbus State Writers Conference this Saturday.  Wick Poetry Center director David Hassler will be the keynote speaker.  If going to AWP was out of your budget range or you were able to go but find yourself thirsting for more workshop experiences, this is the place for you to be.

The Poet’s Haven Digest: On Velvet Feet

THIRTEEN YEARS in the making, The Poet’s Haven Digest #1 is now is available!

On Velvet Feet features poetry and stories by Kristina England, Joshua Gage, Janet Garber, Alex Gildzen, Clarissa Jakobsons, Paul Kahle, Thomas Koron, Lori Ann Kusterbeck, Geoffrey A. Landis, Marc Mannheimer, Michael Gillan Maxwell, Rachel M. Newlon, Angela Nichols, Jen Pezzo, Tina Puckett, Lady Kathy Smith, Kevin Frederick Smith, Steven B. Smith, J.E. Stanley, Hannah Stevenson, Melissa Studdard, Mary A. Turzillo, and Vertigo Xi’an Xavier.


Click here to order!

Poetry tunes…

While I am working on a new season of “The Poet’s Haven presents…” podcasts, here’s something you might enjoy in the meanwhile. Neon Signs is the collaboration of music by Miearth and the poetry of Walter Beck. Beck’s had two most excellent chapbooks released by our friends at Writing Knights press (and rumor is there might be a third on the way). Did I mention this album is currently a free download? Get it!

Online Gallery Submissions

Admittedly, since the new year began, I’ve let myself fall a bit behind on reviewing new submissions to the online galleries. As of tonight, I have finished going through the queue. Of the 104 pieces I’ve looked at this evening, 47 poems and one short story have been added to the galleries. Okay, now back to work I go on books and podcasts. Stay tuned! :-)

"On Velvet Feet" UPDATE

The Poet’s Haven Digest anthology “On Velvet Feet” is almost finished, and will be available in early March! The cat-themed collection has a few small spaces left where one or two haiku, senryu, or a cinquain can fit. If you wish to submit some short poems (nothing longer than ten lines), please do so ASAP. This book’s call for cover art is now closed. Submissions should be sent to: PHDcats[AT]

A Poet’s Haven Love Connection? ;-)

So today I received an e-mail asking me to update the e-mail address attached to some poems in Gallery 1.  This was for an author who’s work was published back in 1998 and 1999.  She included this in the e-mail:

“Also, I’d like to thank you. Thank you for keeping the site up and running through all these years. In a weird way this site helped to bring myself and my soul-mate together. We did not know each other at the time we were both posting to the site, nor had we read each others work. However around 20 years later we ended up meeting each other and connecting almost instantly. In all the talking new couples do we discussed our past personal pages, places we chat, etc… only to discover we were both posting here at the same time with our submissions only separated by a few submissions. An odd coincidence, maybe, but we consider it evidence that our lives were circling each others and in its own way brought us closer together.”

Okay, other than that “20 years” thing making me feel *REALLY* old (not to mention that I’m fairly certain last October only marked the site’s 15th anniversary), this kind of thing is what has kept this site and press running all this time.  :-D

New Technology for Books!

A new technology has emerged that makes e-books obsolete.  This new format, called “paper,” not only makes screen glare a thing of the past, but it completely eliminates the need to recharge or replace batteries.  Paper books come in slim volumes that can easily be stored upon a shelf or table.  Books made from paper can be produced in different sizes or with different textures of material and have no limitation on the artistic design options.  Paper books can be black-and-white, full-color, or a mixture of the two, depending only on the needs of the material with no worries over whether the presentation will be compatible with the reader’s screen device.  Don’t get left behind, join the revolution and buy a paper book today!

Upcoming Book Releases

A few folks have started asking me about what books are in the queue, now that Poet’s Haven is working from a queue instead of a set schedule.  :-)  So here’s some confirmed titles:

“Letter to 20″ by Alexis-Rueal (February 1, 2013)
“Like Michelangelo Sorta Said” by Steve Brightman (March 15, 2013)
“Zombies: Haiku in Four Acts” by Joshua Gage (May 17, 2013)
“Back\words & For/words” by Lori Ann Kusterbeck
“It Takes More Than Chance to Make Change” by John Burroughs
“Inside the Walls of a Blackened Book” by A.J. Huffman
“Walking Down Euclid” by Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamer
“Fractured Blossoms Still Bloom” by Steve Thomas
“A Knight’s Quest” by Matthew Fitzgerald, illustrated by Arianna Cheree
“Vanity Pressing” by Vertigo Xi’an Xavier

One more book has been accepted but is pending author confirmation.  (That’s the problem with having the open submission call in March and not finishing reading all the manuscripts until December.)  Three additional manuscripts are being reviewed and considered at this time.

I should probably explain something… When I say we’re not working from a set schedule, I mean that the frequency books will be released is not on a schedule.  Books will still have scheduled release dates.  The three books you see with release dates marked above correspond with the authors being featured poets at First Friday or Stardust Poetry shows. :-)

At this time The Poet’s Haven is not openly accepting unsolicited chapbook manuscripts, however we are open to chapbook proposals. If you would like to submit a chapbook proposal, use the “Contact Publisher” link and send an e-mail through the form.  Tell me who you are, describe the chapbook, and send a sample of the material (about four or five pages worth, a few poems or the first chapter).  If it grabs my attention and I’m anxious to read more, I will send you a message soliciting the full manuscript for consideration.

UPDATED 1/5/2013:  One of the two books pending when this list was originally posted has now been confirmed.

Big Announcements, Re: Live Events in 2013

A number of important announcements were made at last night’s First Friday Poetry Spectacular:

  • While the Coffee Phix Cafe (and Phoenix Coffee before that) has been a wonderful place for our Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven shows, December 15th’s event will be the last.  I am consolidating The Poet’s Haven’s operations, and will be focusing on our Canton shows, which are closer to my home.  This isn’t the end of poetry at the Coffee Phix, however, as several other poetry promoters are looking at doing shows there and we do still plan to have one or two Lake Effect Poetry events there this year.
  • The First Friday Poetry Spectacular will be leaving the downtown Canton arts district.  Beginning January 4th, the show will take place at Karma Cafe (4339 Dressler Road NW Canton, OH).  While this unfortunately means the show will no longer be part of the Canton First Friday festival, it does give the show a home at the same location each month.
  • Last night’s First Friday Poetry Spectacular will be the final show with poetry slam prize money provided by Arts in Stark.  Thank you to Arts in Stark, Robb Hankins, Tricia Ostertag, and former AiS staffers Sarah Shumaker and Marci Saling for all their help and support keeping this series going for the three years that The Poet’s Haven has operated it, as well as the three years prior to that when the show was managed by Carla Thompson and Jacob King.
  • We are seeking sponsors for the poetry slam!  Any local business that would be interested in sponsoring the slam, please contact me.  Slam prize sponsorship can be something so simple as a $25 gift card for your business.
  • Lake Effect Poetry’s Women of the World Poetry Slam final will be held at January 4th’s First Friday Poetry Spectacular at Karma Cafe.  This show will also be Lake Effect’s first NPS team qualifier.  As we normally do, the open-mic will be held first.  Then we will have the open slam, which will be both LEP’s NPS qualifier AND the WOWPS last-chance-qualifier.  Points will be awarded to all participants in the slam for LEP’s NPS team rankings.  The top scoring female poet in the slam who is not already qualified will also win entry into Lake Effect’s WOWPS final.  The WOWPS final will take place at the end of the show.  It will be three rounds.  Women who will be competing in both slams should have at least four poems prepared, as a no-repeat rule will be in effect.  (Depending on the size of our non-competing audience, we may have some of the same judges for both slams.)
  • The Stardust Poetry show will be moving to the third Friday of the month, starting January 18th.  This places both of Canton’s big poetry events in the same venue and on the same night of the week, every other week (with a stray fifth-week thrown in every quarter or so).  (This schedule also leaves second Fridays free for the Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour and fourth Fridays free for the Root-N-Slam series.)
  •  As previously announced, The Poet’s Haven will be abandoning the strict bi-monthly publishing schedule we’ve worked under for the past two years, and will instead simply work from a publishing queue.  Book releases may take place at the First Friday Poetry Spectacular, at Stardust Poetry, or at any of the many other poetry shows that take place here in north-east Ohio.
  •  Podcast releases will resume whenever I have time to get another batch done.  Sorry, folks, I had every intention of releasing new shows every other week for the rest of the year, but there’s this annoying thing called “real life” that got in my way.  Consider the twelve Poet’s Haven presents… shows released earlier this year to be “Season One.”  “Season Two” is in the works.
  • With the Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven shows retiring, we will now be recording the features at Stardust Poetry for eventual podcasting.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something that needed to be announced.  :-P

Also, a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has supported this year’s Poetic Provisions food-drive!  While the collection weight isn’t in yet (we will still be collecting donations at December 14th’s Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour and December 15th’s Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven), we’ve far surpassed last year’s total.