Event Coverage: The Big, Big Mess

It’s April. It’s National Poetry Month. And here in Akron, we’ve been celebrating through a variety of fabulous literary events. I had the chance to see poets Catherine Wing, Caryl Pagel, and Holly Brown this week at The Big, Big Mess, a monthly reading series. The reading was held at the Northwest Akron Branch Library. Huge thanks to the organizers of the event – it was so much fun, and the poems that were read were absolutely stunning. Check out the work of these poets by clicking on their names.

Next week, I’ll heading over to Cleveland for the Lighthouse Reading Series. Writers Lily Hoang and Kazim Ali will be reading, and I can’t wait to spotlight another great North East Ohio reading series!

Good luck to all the poets out there who are participating in NaPoWriMo!


Catherine Wing

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Holly Brown

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Caryl Pagel






Hi friends!

I hope everyone is rested after all of the AWP madness last week. What an exciting time! I had a blast meeting some of my favorite poets, like Sandra Simonds, Kaveh Akbar, Danez Smith, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Emilia Phillips. And despite making a fool of myself in front of all of them (I’m really good at this) seeing them made my month. This was my first AWP, so it was a special time and a great way to launch into the giant world of literary mayhem. I was so happy to be at AWP that I bought TWENTY FIVE poetry collections. TWENTY FIVE. So, needless to say, featuring awesome poetry collections on this blog for the next few months will not be a problem. Here’s a couple of the books that I bought that I’m looking forward to reading and writing about:

  • Because When God is Too Busy: Haiti, Me, & the World by Gina Athena Ulysse.
  • Further Problems with Pleasure by Sandra Simonds.
  • Field Guide to the End of the World by Jeannine Hall Gailey
  • I’m So Fine by Khadijah Queen
  • Ugly Time by Sarah Galvin
  • Mad Woman by Shara McCallum
  • For Filthy Women Who Worry About Disappointing God by Seema Yasmin
  • Portrait of the Alcoholic by Kaveh Akbar

I’m biased, but I do think I had the best AWP book haul! Aside from spending hours browsing the book fair, I also spent some time at a few really fabulous panels. The American Smooth: A Tribute to Rita Dove panel had me laughing and crying all over the place. Jericho Brown read (or rather cried through) the powerful Letter to the Editor by Rita Dove  which protests the lack of black poets in Garrison Keillor’s anthology Good Poems (2004). I encourage you to click on the link above and read it. Brown explained how much this letter meant and still means to him today. Another great panel I attended was the Writing the Dual Self: Opening Spaces for Hybrid Identities. Panelists discussed what having a hybrid identity means, and Thrity Umrigar said “I wear the hyphen like a rose.” These words struck me, and I keep them in mind when I’m writing now. Other helpful panels I attended include We all Have to Start Somewhere: How Bad Writing Gets Good and Page Meets Stage16708403_736749439815406_7767143907815017065_n.jpg

I have so much gratitude for all of the panelists, organizers, and press editors who helped me find the wonderful collections I bought and all of the swag I came home with. The panels I attended gave me so much to think about, and I found them to be very helpful. I was overwhelmed by all of the beautiful events and people I was surrounded with for those three days. Thanks so much to all, and I can’t wait to see you all again next year in Tampa, Florida.





AWP17 has been a blast! I’m still recovering from all the madness / amazingness. Check back next week for a full post about my first AWP and all of the adventures I had in D.C the last few days. I hope everyone reading this is getting some rest and having a safe trip back home.




Event Coverage: Nin Andrews & Karen Schubert

20161019_195955On Wednesday, October 19, The East Cleveland Public Library and Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern brought poets Nin Andrews and Karen Schubert. It was a great evening, and the Q&A session that followed was informative and inspiring. Andrews talked about her love of prose poems, as well as her inspiration for her book Why God is A Woman.

Huge thanks to the organizers of this event!


Event Coverage: Reading by Lo Kwa Mei-en and Martin Rocks

20161007_193638Two days ago, I got the chance to meet poets Lo Kwa Mei-en and Martin Rocks at the Galleries at Cleveland State University. Both poets did a wonderful reading, bringing voice to so many of readers’ favorite poems. I was also able to check out the Cleveland State University Poetry Center‘s fabulous lineup of collections and chapbooks.

The Galleries at Cleveland State University is currently featuring work from artist Archie Rand. Both Rocks and Mei-en read under Rand’s stunning new project which is titled Sixty Paintings from the Bible.

Check out photos from the event below, and see the author’s work by visiting their websites!