Publisher’s Blog

157 posts

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.  😀

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.  😛

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.

The Poet’s Haven’s nominees for the Pushcart Prize

The Poet’s Haven has submitted these six poems as nominees for the 2013 Pushcart Prize:

Deciding which pieces to nominate was a challenge.  While my first instinct was to nominate one poem from each of the six chapbooks The Poet’s Haven published this year, I had to consider the need for the poems to stand on their own, without the context of the surrounding book.  The two books I published this year that I did not choose to nominate a piece from both ran into this; the poems in those books work best as part of the whole.

I expect picking next year’s selections to be an even more difficult process.  The Poet’s Haven will be doing away with the set publishing schedule we’ve used the past two years and will instead be working from a publication queue, allowing for far more than six titles to be released.  We will also have some Poet’s Haven Digest anthologies hitting shelves.  This means I’ll have to choose from a much larger selection of publications.

VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change

The Poet’s Haven will hold the third annual “VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change” event on November 17th at Canton’s Karma Cafe with music by Kate Westfall and featured poets Robert Miltner and Lori Ann Kusterbeck.

“VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change” is a special poetry anthology published annually by The Poet’s Haven themed around Gandhi’s quote “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  The book is edited by T.M. Göttl and Vertigo Xavier, and features poetry from authors not only in north-east Ohio but from all around the globe.  The book is not available for sale, but is instead offered in exchange for non-perishable food donations to the Poetic Provisions Food-Drive at a special open-mic show held the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  This year’s show will be at Karma Cafe (4339 Dressler Road NW, Canton, OH) on November 17th at 7:00 PM.

Kate Westfall performs as a solo vocalist, layering digital loops to create styles steering from primitive to tribal to pop to lounge. Sometimes aggressive, sometimes soulful, it can be heard that her range of musical travels has begun with confident footing. The music for Westfall’s debut album, “VoKate”, was created by layering a series of looping vocal melodies and sound effects, all of which were created organically by her. Rhythms were made through body-actions of the feet, hands, arms, mouth, collarbone, and bracelets. Westfall’s live performances include live vocal looping and digital rhythms with occasional hand drums and spoken word. The appearance of digeridoo, washboards, or marimba is not to be unexpected.  (

Robert Miltner is the author of “Hotel Utopia,” winner of the New Rivers Press book award, and a finalist for the Ohioana award in poetry. His work has been published in “Diagram,” “Sentence,” “Pleiades,” “LIT,” “New York Quarterly,” and “Bellingham Review.” He co-edits “Quickly,” “Buried Letter Press,” and “The Raymond Carver Review.” “Two Trains Too Many,” a collaborative recording of Miltner’s poems and original guitar compositions by Erin Vaughn, was recently released by Blue Caboose Music. (

Lori Ann Kusterbeck studied philosophy at Baldwin-Wallace College, completing her bachelor’s degree in 2006, and at Cleveland State University, receiving a Master of Arts in 2008.  She now teaches philosophy and humanities classes at Cuyahoga Community College.  Her first poem was published at age 12, and during her teens she had over a dozen poems featured in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Since that time, her work has appeared in “The Mill” (Baldwin-Wallace) and “The Sign in the Window” (Y-City Writer’s Forum). (

The Poet’s Haven is a small press and online lit journal established in 1997 and based out of Massillon, Ohio. In addition to publishing chapbooks and poetry anthologies, they also organize several open-mic events around north-east Ohio, including Stardust Poetry at Karma Cafe and the Canton First Friday Poetry Spectacular, the poetry slam held each month during the Canton First Friday art festival.

The Poetic Provisions Food-Drive originates with several poetry shows throughout north-east Ohio that took part in 2010’s Music for Meals food-drive.  In 2011, the poetry shows decided to band together once again to help feed the hungry by collecting donations for Foodbank.  Donations to this year’s food-drive will be divided between the Canton Sunday Picnic and the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.  The Canton Sunday Picnic is a grassroots meal, organized by volunteers, that feeds the homeless and those in need each Sunday at Market Square Park.  The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank provides food and other essential items to member agencies in Carroll, Holmes, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, and Wayne counties.

This is an ALL-AGES/UNMODERATED event, meaning kids are welcome to attend and participate, but parents should be aware that some performances may include explicit language.

The Poet’s Haven is also still seeking submissions for this year’s “VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change” anthology.  Submissions must be received by October 13th!


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 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 Canton Sunday Picnic and the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, we are unable to provide contributor copies.

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 2013.

Submissions should be e-mailed to:

Poet’s Haven at Coffee Phix – October 20th

Come celebrate The Poet’s Haven’s 15th anniversary at this event on October 20th at the Coffee Phix Café in South Euclid (formerly called and still serving Phoenix Coffee)! The show will feature poets L.S. Royal and Jen Pezzo! We will also be releasing Jen Pezzo’s long-awaited first book, “Imaginary Conversations!”

L.S. Royal has been described by his peers as being the reigning “free style king” and “beat master.” His poetry and hip-hop lyrics encourage his audience to accept and strive for spiritual growth at all times. He is a DJ, emcee, producer, and writer extraordinaire, bringing the crowd to their feet while opening for artists such as Notorious BIG, Tupac, Scarface, Too Short, and Master Ace. He also organizes the weekly “OutSpokeN” poetry open-mic show at the Xecutive Lounge.

Jen Pezzo lives with her husband and two cats near Akron, Ohio. She started writing when she was nine years old. Besides spending time with her family and friends, she also loves photography, art, music, hiking, and traveling. You will often find her supporting the creative endeavors of her friends when she is out and about, attending a poetry reading, concert, art exhibit, play, or sporting event. She also writes under the pen name Kerowyn Rose.

The show includes an open-mic. Poets and musicians wishing to perform at the open-mic can sign-up at 6:30. The show begins at 7:00. THAT IS 7:00 PM REAL-TIME, NOT “POETRY STANDARD TIME.” In other words, GET HERE BEFORE 7:00!!!

This is an ALL-AGES/UNMODERATED event, meaning kids are welcome to attend and participate, but parents should be aware that there are no restrictions on language. Some performances may include coarse language.


New shipping charges, schedule changes, website updates…

Shipping costs go up every so often.  I don’t suppose it is any secret that the shipping charges I set up in The Poet’s Haven Boutique were less than what it actually costs to package and ship the books.  I based the rates on postal costs of two years ago, figuring it would help more books move.  Me then deciding to mark down books that we have larger quantities of on top of the too-low shipping charges… well, it wasn’t my brightest idea.  So, unfortunately, I’ve now had to adjust the shipping costs in the online store.  HOWEVER, I’ve also implemented something to actually reduce your shipping charge on larger orders.  Read on…

For orders in the USA, the first item’s shipping will be $2.00.  Each additional item will add another $1.00.  This will max out at $10.00.  I repeat, the MAXIMUM SHIPPING CHARGE will be $10.

For orders from Canada, the first item’s shipping will be $2.50.  Each additional item will add another $1.25.  This will max out at $13.00.  Again, the MAXIMUM (CANADIAN) SHIPPING CHARGE is $13.00.  (That’s US dollars, by the way.)

Larger orders may be shipped via UPS instead of via the post office.

That said, I am making an attempt to produce more titles in the “pocket size” format (such as the Lake Effect Poetry 2012 Team Anthology and Michael Bernstein’s “8s”).  The advantage of publishing a book this size is that it can be mailed with a normal postage stamp.  This means I will be able to make FREE SHIPPING offers on these books.  All upcoming Poet’s Haven Digest anthologies will be published in this format.  Several upcoming Author Series chapbooks are also being produced pocket-sized.  (This might not apply to October’s release of Jen Pezzo’s “Imaginary Conversations,” as the book will be 72 pages and may weigh more than a first-class stamp can cover.  I’ll find out as soon as I have a completed proof copy in my hands.)

I have also reached a decision about next year’s publishing schedule.  Actually, I’m largely scrapping HAVING a schedule all together.  I have decided to copy something my friend John Burroughs does at Crisis Chronicles Press.  Instead of having a release schedule, I am just going to keep a queue of upcoming titles.  This will allow me flexibility in releasing books, sometimes releasing several books in rapid succession, sometimes having a break between releases when a project requires more time to complete or I need to devote time to another Poet’s Haven project (cough, podcasts, cough cough).  Release dates will be announced when a title is ready to be printed, announcements will be kept vague until that point.  I am hoping that this flexibility will allow me to release no less than 18 books next year.  (Poet’s Haven will have released 8 titles this year, 6 Author Series chapbooks, the Lake Effect anthology, and the upcoming Vending Machine release.  A Digest release may also be added to this year’s total.)

Earlier tonight, I caught up with the online submission queue, adding two new short stories and 25 new poems to the galleries.  🙂

I’m hoping you’ll be seeing some changes to the gallery’s programming in the very near future.  There’s a number of issues I’ve been trying to get my brain around for a few years now that have proven to be beyond my meager programming skills, so I finally broke down and reached out for some professional programming help. Hopefully, this’ll lead to getting version 3.0 done once and for all.  The changes will be rolled out over time, though, with each new or improved function being rolled out when it is ready.  Also, hopefully, this will mean that the site never has to experience any down-time during the roll outs.  Stay tuned…

Behind the times in posting blogs…

With so many thing happening and going on here at all times, I find I always forget to post things here on the blog.  Sure, I’ll post a quick announcement on Facebook, but I never remember to actually write up a full release and post it here.  So, this one will have to cover quite a bit of news. 🙂

We are now accepting submissions for this year’s “VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change” anthology.  The Vending Machine release/food-drive event will be held on November 17th at Karma Cafe in Canton.

November 17th also marks the 5th anniversary of the first Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven event.  Since that first show was held to mark the website’s 10th anniversary, you know what that means…

This coming Halloween will mark the 15th anniversary of The Poet’s Haven!!!

What better way to mark Poet’s Haven’s anniversary than with the long-awaited publication of Jen Pezzo’s first chapbook, “Imaginary Conversations.”  This will be the eleventh title in The Poet’s Haven Author Series, and beautiful art from Tim Buck will grace the front cover.  Jen has been a regular contributor to The Poet’s Haven since the early days and even helped edit our 2000 “Poet’s Haven Digest” magazine, so it pleases me to no end that her book will be released just in time for the anniversary.  🙂

I also had the honor of publishing Carla Thompson’s “Anywhere Else But Here” last month.  I’m still hearing rave reviews for Carla’s awesome performance of “Bullet Proof” in Lake Effect Poetry’s first National Poetry Slam bout, and that is just one of the brilliant pieces inside this book.

Our next Stardust Poetry show at Karma Cafe (September 25th) will feature Kara Johnston.  Kara is a Kent State graduate who recently had her second chapbook published by NightBallet Press.

The next Canton’s First Friday Poetry Spectacular (October 5) will feature J.G. The Jugganaut from Columbus.  November 2nd’s First Friday Poetry will feature Mary Turzillo, whose “Lovers & Killers” was recently published by Dark Regions Press.

This coming Sunday, September 23rd, The Poet’s Haven will be sharing a table with Writing Knights Press at the Avant-Garde Art and Craft Show in Solon.  This show will be at the Terry Macklin Entertainment & Event Centre, from 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM.  We are hoping to get tables at more of the Avant-Garde shows, as well as other art shows, as they provide us the opportunity to showcase our publications to a new customer base.

That’s all I can remember to post at the moment.  Hopefully, I’ll remember to get the other upcoming show announcements posted here once all the features are confirmed. 🙂  Catch you later!  –VX


I’ll be blunt.  No highlighting the positive, downplaying the negative here.  In three weeks, I will no longer have a day-job.  My evil day-job is being shipped somewhere else, and as of right now, I do not have anything lined up to replace it.  The long-story-short of this is that means I won’t have any personal funds available to pick up the slack when book sales aren’t covering everything The Poet’s Haven produces.

A gracious anonymous* donation has supplied us with enough paper to print the interiors of the rest of this year’s scheduled books. (*I know who it was, but I’m not allowed to tell you.)  We still need to make sure we have the ink, toner, and cover-stock to complete the next three Author Series titles’ print-runs (as well as one or two Digest anthologies).  So, in order to make sure Poet’s Haven has the funds to keep the upcoming book releases on schedule, we need to move some inventory, fast, and that means it is time for a BIG CHAPBOOK CLEARANCE SALE!

Head over to The Poet’s Haven Boutique and you’ll find books for 20, 30, 40, 50, and even 60% off the cover price!  But that’s not all, for a limited time (as in while the supply lasts), purchase any two or more items from the Boutique and you can get a copy of C.M. Brooks’ “A Thousand Voices” for FREE!!!  Read this linked page for the specific details.

Even if you aren’t able to take advantage of these huge mark-down savings, PLEASE help spread the word to all your poetry reading friends.



CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Poet’s Haven Digest anthologies

The Poet’s Haven has issued four OPEN CALLS for submissions to upcoming Poet’s Haven Digest anthologies. Please review the themes and instructions below and consider submitting work to one or more of these books.

Poet’s Haven Digest anthologies are not published on any set schedule. When enough material has been accepted to complete one of the anthologies, that submission call will be closed and the book will be published when Vertigo has time to get the work done. The hope is that at least one, preferably two of these books can be ready for publication by October 2012, which marks The Poet’s Haven’s 15th anniversary.

If you notice a trend in the themes towards the fantastic, it is because these are themes that the publisher enjoys reading.

Publication in this series pays one copy. Authors with work in an anthology can also purchase up to ten additional copies at a 50% discount.

“We Only Come Out at Night”
The Poet’s Haven is seeking poetry about vampires and werewolves for an upcoming Poet’s Haven Digest publication titled “We Only Come Out at Night.” We are NOT looking for sparkly teen angst melodrama “vampires.” Vampires and were-creatures should be bad-ass. We don’t want Louis, we want Lestat. NOTE: Writings set in White Wolf’s “Vampire: The Masquerade” role-play game universe MAY be acceptable, so long as they do not reference anything that would fall under the game publisher’s copyrights and trademarks. “Dracula” is in public domain, so work utilizing characters from Bram Stoker’s novel are acceptable.
Submissions should be sent to: PHDvamps[AT]

“On Velvet Feet”
The Poet’s Haven is seeking poetry about cats for an upcoming Poet’s Haven Digest publication titled “On Velvet Feet.” Poems written from a cat’s perspective or viewpoint are highly encouraged.
Submissions should be sent to: PHDcats[AT]

Title TBD
The Poet’s Haven is seeking poetry dealing with extraterrestrials for an upcoming Poet’s Haven Digest publication. We are not looking for alien-conspiracy, “X-Files” type aliens, but rather work more akin to “Alien Nation,” where extraterrestrials are already among us, and how our world and culture looks to their alien perspectives.
Submissions should be sent to: PHDaliens[AT]

Title TBD
The Poet’s Haven is seeking poetry dealing with villains and super-villains for an upcoming Poet’s Haven Digest publication. An item to remember is that the villains usually believe themselves to be the heroes. Suggested inspiration; “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” “Pinky and the Brain,” and “A Clockwork Orange.”
Submissions should be sent to: PHDvillains[AT]

To see when new calls are posted or when these calls get closed, bookmark:

Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven: June 16

June 16th’s Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven event at Phoenix Coffee in South Euclid will feature Julia Jones and a team performance by Robert Miltner and Bob Kunzinger!

JULIA JONES-CLOUDEN is in the middle and best part of her love affair with poetry. To her relief, when her husband found out he was okay with it. A mother of two girls, she find it hard to see her lover but always finds time. She will be going to Brave New Voices this July as part of Cleveland’s SlamU youth poetry slam team.

ROBERT MILTNER is the author of “Hotel Utopia,” winner of the New Rivers Press book award, and a finalist for the Ohioana award in poetry. His work has been published in “Diagram,” “Sentence,” “Pleiades,” “LIT,” “New York Quarterly,” and “Bellingham Review.” He co-edits “Quickly,” “Buried Letter Press,” and “The Raymond Carver Review.”

BOB KUNZINGER has written five collections of creative nonfiction, including the forthcoming “Borderline Crazy.” He has been published in many regional and national journals including “Southern Humanities Review,” “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” and has been noted by “Best American Essays.” He edits All Nations Press in Virginia.

After the features, there is an open-mic. Poets and musicians wishing to perform at the open-mic can sign-up at 6:30. The features will begin at 7:00. ALL TIMES LISTED ARE REAL-TIME, NOT “POETRY STANDARD TIME.” In other words, GET HERE BEFORE 7:00!!!

This is an ALL-AGES/UNMODERATED event, meaning kids are welcome to attend and participate, but parents should be aware that there are no restrictions on language. Some performances may include coarse language.

Phoenix Coffee is located at 4441 Mayfield Road, South Euclid, OH 44121. There is a parking lot in front of the cafe, but if it is full there is additional parking available one block to either side, in front of Giant Eagle or behind Marcs. For RTA riders, the #9 bus stops directly in front of the cafe.


Someone saw my last post (about the super-special offer on chapbooks) and asked me how a dental expense could be poetry-related.  So, an explanation…

The day before March’s First Friday Poetry Spectacular, I learned that the show had been moved to the Ed Center instead of Cable Hall.  This led to me clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth while figuring out how to get the word out about the different location and what changes in setup and equipment I would need for the new location.  Clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth caused one of my molars to break in half, and led to the need for a root canal and a dental crown (which my insurance barely covered half of.)  See?  Poetry-related dental expense.

SUPER SPECIAL on Poet’s Haven Chapbooks!

So, if you’re one of the many folks who read The Poet’s Haven’s online galleries but haven’t yet purchased any of our Author Series chapbooks, do I have an offer for you!  Right now, and only for a limited time, you can get all 8 books published by The Poet’s Haven for just $32 with FREE SHIPPING.  That’s 20% off the cover price, plus FREE SHIPPING.  Plus, the next FOUR people to take advantage of this awesome offer will get a FREE BONUS ITEM!  Don’t miss out!

Why are we doing this?  We need to raise some cash, fast, to cover some upcoming publishing projects and prepare for more big poetry events, working to expand modern poetry’s audience.  Plus, Vertigo’s got a bunch of (poetry related) car and dental bills that need paid ASAP, so his own finances are tied up at the moment.  🙂

One of my missions these days is to get modern poetry out there in front of new audiences, to show people who have not experienced poetry since the two weeks they spent covering Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson in high-school just what they’ve been missing.

I cannot do this alone.  This is a mission that should unite all the poetry presses of north-east Ohio.

Coming up May 19th and 20th is the Hessler Street Fair in Cleveland.  Crisis Chronicles, NightBallet, and Writing Knights presses will be teaming up with Poet’s Haven to present the North-East Ohio Poetry booth, which will be in the courtyard behind the Mandel Center, on Hessler Court.  All four of our presses will have our publications for sale, and we will have poets performing at the booth through most of the festival.  (Our performing poets will be paused while the Hessler Poetry Anthology winners are reading on the main stage.)

As I worked on getting this lined up, one thing became clear:  We need one place on the internet where we all share a presence, where folks can find all of our presses on one site, so when we team up and share space at art festivals or work together to organize other public showings we can be listed under one name.  So, I dug up that old site I tried to launch as an event calender site some years back (y’know, right before the need for such a site went away in favor of Facebook’s events and Google Calendar) and converted it to a blog that’ll automatically import all our presses’ news, giving you, our readers, one place where you can find out what’s coming up from all four of us.  Check it out at:

If you operate a press based in north-east Ohio and you are interested in joining us in this mission, in taking part in group poetry presentations at area art festivals and organizing some large-scale poetry events of our own (I have a few in the works), contact me.  The more of us that get involved in these projects, the more we all can benefit.

We’ll see you at the Hessler Street Fair!  🙂



The deadline to submit manuscripts for The Poet’s Haven Author Series has been extended by 48 hours. While we’ve received a number of amazing submissions, we still want more! (MORE! MORE!) (Yes, I’ve been listening to music from The Rocky Horror Show.) You now have until midnight Monday night / Tuesday morning to e-mail your submissions. That’s Eastern US time for those of you not in my local vicinity. The window closes at that time and won’t reopen for another year or year-and-a-half. STOP PROCRASTINATING!!!

The submission call and guidelines can be found here:

Primary Voting in Ohio…

I’ve never before taken issue with the electronic voting machines Ohio has adopted. Sure, there’s the potential for hacking and voter fraud, but the Board of Elections takes steps to prevent that. They’ve created a mess in some neighboring counties when fraud was discovered, but the fact was that the fraud WAS discovered. I’ve never had a problem with electronic voting. Until today.

So it turns out that these electronic, touch-screen voting machines do not allow you to cast a write-in vote for a presidential candidate not on your state’s ballot. The ability to cast a write-in vote is kinda important in this country. Past presidents have used write-in campaigns to win primaries. See the Wikipedia page for a list of notable write-in campaigns and victories.

I’ve not exactly been quiet about how disappointed I’ve been with President Obama. Rather than taking office and kicking ass, making the changes we elected him to make and leading this country far, far back to the left (which would actually put us back in the center, after everything shifted so far past conservative during the Bush Jr. years), he’s been all about compromise. The big highlight his people keep pointing to is, “Oh, we passed health-care reform!” No, you didn’t. You passed a bill that could’ve been written by Karl Rove, it was so tailored to the desires of the major insurance companies. You passed a health-care bill that failed to create the single-payer option that over 70% of the people in this country want. Every issue, Obama has said, “We’ll meet you half-way.” When the Rethuglicans reply “no,” he then says, “Okay, how about we come half-way again?” “No.” And so it goes until what finally passes is so skewed to the right that it doesn’t do anything that it was intended to do. (And then the Rethuglicans continue to bitch and moan about how awful the “liberal” bill is.) But I digress.

Obama isn’t going to lose the Democratic primary in any state. That’s a given. But it would send a loud and clear message that we’re not happy with what he’s done thus-far if, say, 8 to 10% of the Democratic primary ballots voted for another candidate. Personally, I’ve become a fan of a guy named Vermin Supreme. Vermin Supreme is campaigning on a call for mandatory teeth-brushing laws, free ponies for everyone to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and plans to utilize zombies and turbines to produce electricity. He admits his campaign is not “reality based” and is aggressively trying to win second place. Right now, that’s who I want to vote for.

After sliding my card into the Diebold voting machine, I discover that Obama is the only name listed on the ballot for president. Then I find that there is no method of casting a write-in vote. I ask the poll workers how one goes about casting a write-in vote. They do not know. They quickly get on the phone with someone at the county Board of Elections who tells them to have me cast a provisional ballot. Okay. The provisional ballot form is set up to be read by a computer and also does not provide any space to cast a write-in ballot. This is a problem.

In the end, I wrote Vermin Supreme’s name in the space beside Obama’s and did not color in the oval bubble. Whether this get counted, I do not know. Honestly, I doubt it will get counted. Of everything else on the ballot, only one position had more than one person running. If my votes do not get counted, it won’t affect any results. But that is not the point. Every vote should be counted, and the machines need to be equipped with a method of writing in a candidate who is not on the ballot. I think this is going to be one of my hot-button topics for the next four years.

CD Review: “A Light in the Distance” by Meganne Stepka

Meganne Stepka is a muse. There’s no other word for it. She stands in a gallery with the likes of Tori Amos and Shirley Manson, singers that I can turn on and find the inspiration I need to pursue my own creative ventures.

The work found on “A Light in the Distance” is astonishing. That some of these tracks were composed live, “freestyle,” is mind-blowing. Nothing sounds unprepared.

My one criticism of Glass Audrey’s “Little Waves” was that too much electronic filtering had been added to Meganne’s voice. When asking me to review this new album, Meganne told me she was curious what I’d think, since this was a completely low-tech recording, just her and a video camera. As a “sound-guy,” someone who handles audio equipment for live events and has handled the sound board for bands and demo recording, I may be a bit too picky about where the happy-medium is for sound quality. Meganne’s camera has captured the purity of her voice and performance, but also allows too much background noise into the mix. During the first track, “Unlearn,” I find myself imagining how I’d set up for the recording, where I would’ve adjusted the sound board levels before running the audio to the camera’s mic input. But that’s what sound-guys do. By the time “A Magical Place” is playing, I’ve finished adjusting my stereo’s EQ and simply immerse myself in the music.

Recommended listening method: Either on a stereo with a good EQ mixer or on an iPod with the EQ set to “Rock,” sitting in a comfortable recliner in a dark room with no distractions.