If I don't hustle over to my blogs any other time of year, I manage to get there each year for National Poetry Month, which is April, but this year, I have just gone, as my father would say, whole hog. Here is what I have up for the coming month:

First, I helped the Cuyahoga County Public Library with a Northeast Ohio- focused website for the  month. After intense weeks of contacting poets, getting rights, getting photos, and researching local literary history, I created along with librarian Laurie Kincer, an online site that will feature a daily intro (with news and artful connections), a poem and its poet, a writing prompt, and a link to a poetry site. The official news on that project will go out on March 25th, and the first day will be Tuesday, April 1st-- no fooling! If you'd like to get a daily email reminder (and be registered to win two free tickets to a Robert Pinsky reading April 8th), use this link.

The CCPL site features three nationally-acclaimed poets who will be reading here in Northeast Ohio this spring: Robert Pinsky in Cleveland on Tuesday, April 8th; Ted Kooser in Kent on Thursday, April 10th, and Martin Espada in Kent on Thursday, April 22nd. And throughout the month, there will be Northeast Ohio's steady stream of readings on campuses and in cafes, listed in the terrifically useful calendar at Cleveland Poetics. One in particular that I would like to mention now-- is Joshua Gage's "Ohio Poetry" series, which will feature Lisa Szporluk on Thursday, April 10th. During NPM I'll be attending as many of those as I can and blogging about them, as I did the Merwin reading in Kent a few years back.

***** "The Big Poetry Giveaway"
I am signing on again this year to the project where people are encouraged to respond to poets' blogs, and at the end of the month, responders are eligible for drawings for free books. That begins this Thursday, March 27th, hosted by the West Coast poet who originated the give-away, Kelli Russell Agodon. As always, I try to give away some other surprise in addition to the two books, and I will again this year on April 22nd. Check back here on Thursday to see what!

*****POP (Past Ohio Poets)
One of my projects for the library was to research 8 deceased Ohio poets whose poetry presence lives on. At the last minute, this feature had to be cut, but as Sylvia Plath once said, "For the writer, it's all grist for the mill," and I will be turning that floss into gold here. Find out where you can find graves, homes, and poems of famous Ohio poets.

I am well aware that NPM has its detractors; one is Cleveland-born Richard Howard, who feels it "trivializes the art form of poetry." I don't know about that, but I will say, Laissez les poesie bons temps roulez!

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