What I'm Up to For National Poetry Month and Beyond

 April and May in My Poetry-landia


All month: 
Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry:

All year, I collect names of Northeast Ohio poets to curate into a weblog for the Cuyahoga County Public Library's month-long celebration, consisting of a poem a day by a local poet, a prompt by me and some extra fun stuff like book suggestions, responses by readers. This is our eleventh year, without repeating any poets  (with a few exceptions due to lost files). I don't think there are many areas of the country where a site could find over 300 excellent poets to feature, but Northeast Ohio definitely has them. The 30 poets this year are:

Tom Barlow, Elizabeth Beck, Stephen Bellamy, Elijah Perseus Blumov,  Dana Burtin, Chuck Carlisle, Neil Carpathios, Danielle Nicholle Dixon, Jacquie People Dukes, Charlene Fix, Dom Fonce, Siarra Freeman, Kelly Hambly, Samantha Imperi, Angel James, Cora McCann Liderback, Rose Marry, Tommy Mihalopoulos, Corey Miller, Scott Minar, Lynda Montgomery, Kourtney Morrow, Terry Murcko, Maxwell Nobis, Elana Pitts, Mallory Rader, Andrew Rihn, Stephanie Sesic, Toni K Thayer, and Vance Voyles.

Saturday, April 6 at 1:00 p.m. in the Cleveland Public Library, Main 

My poem, "Total Solar Eclipse" will be a part of a staged reading titled The Gift of Darkness, directed by Christine Howey. Other contributing writers are: Cathy Barber, Kate Barlow, Liz Breazeale, Aja Dandridge, Sarah Halko, Ann O'Mara Heyward, Meredith Holmes, Kat Karney, Lara Lillibridge, Ray McNiece, Philip Metres, Mimi Plevin-Foust, Geoffrey Polk, Story Rhinehart, Vincent L. Robinson, Deborah Taddeo, Laura Maylene Walter, Rebecca Waud, and Timothy Wutrich. 

Thursday, April 11 at 9:30 on Zoom 
I am meeting with my writer's group, the 811's (which I affectionately and I think hilariously call the "Ate Elevens.") This isn't public, but this is my chance to thank Laurie Kincer, Laura Weldon, Richard Ferris, and Geoff Polk for being well-read, careful, and demanding readers, and terrific writers and people and great snackers. Their capacity for meeting outside in cold wet weather around a fire pit is a tad higher than mine, but I have weathered it all and loved every minute. 

Saturday, April 27, 1:00-3:00 p.m. at Spring Hill Historic Farm 
The Underground Railroad Whistle Stop Tour

I will be one of four poets reading our own social justice poems as well as the works of African-American poets from the period when Spring Hill Farm was a site of the Underground Railroad. I am thrilled to be invited to this event as the farm is a few miles from my grade school, from where our teachers took us to tour the house and learn the lessons of slavery. I will never forget the hidden staircase. Following the reading, you can take that same tour. The address is 1401 Springhill Lane NE, Massillon, OH 44646. Locals will know it as the white house on the hill on Wales Road where it is intersected by Lake Road.


Thursday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. "Muse at the Museum" ekphrastic poetry at the Allen Art Museum in Oberlin

I'll be reading my poem, "Goya Diptych," on two Goya etchings in the Allen exhibit. This reading is special to me in two ways. First, I lived and taught in Oberlin my difficult years after college, two doors down from the museum, where my 85-year old landlord worked as a docent while he did needlepoint. And Goya is an artist whose most difficult heart-breaking works have been in my heart since I studied "Saturn Devouring His Son" at the Prado in 1971. Then too, Lynn Powell, Oberlin poet extraordinaire curated this show. 

Saturday, May 11 at 4:00 p.m. at Uncloistered Poetry in Toledo, OH

I will be reading with two of my most long-standing, beloved, talented friends, Tom Barlow and Don Cellini. If you are anywhere near Toledo, come hear us. Here is a bit about them:

Tom Barlow, born in Canton, Ohio, is the author of poetry, short stories and novels. His father and both grandfathers were steelworkers back during the years when Canton was a boom town.  These people and that blue collar world still find their way into many of his poems. His work has appeared in journals including Trampoline, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, The North Dakota Quarterly, The New York Quarterly, The Modern Poetry Quarterly, and many more. See more at tombarlowauthor.com.

Don Cellini  is a poet, translator, and photographer. He is the author of six collections of his poetry, most bilingual, including Approximations/ Aproximaciones and Candidates for Sainthood and Other Sinners / Aprendices del santo. In addition, he has published books of translations by three Mexican poets. A recipient of fellowships from the King Juan Carlos foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, he is professor emeritus at Adrian College. He divides his time between Toledo, Ohio and Savannah, Georgia. More at https://www.doncellini.com/

Friday, May 17, at 4:00 p.m. in the Kent State School of Architecture and Environmental Design in Kent, OH

My poem, "The Jackson Bog" will be featured in my reading and in the book that's assembled each year of poems by Ohio poets on the environmental theme, which this year is, "Embracing Wetlands."

Saturday, May 18, Noon to 4:00 p.m. at Memorial Park, Stuka Day 
(next to The National Museum of the US Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH)

This is an event to recognize Stuka, a Scottie who flew in the B-17 called "The Memphis Belle" duirng WWII. I will be speaking about my dad, Russ Kendig, who flew 17 missions in a B-17 called "The Top Hat" out of Thorpe Abbotts, the base which is still there, a museum, in England. Dad did not have a Scottie there, but he always had dogs, and when he returned home, Grandma Kendig, a big fan of FDR and her eight sons (four of them in the war) got him a Scottie to replace his dog at home that died while he was in the service. That was Lassie, my first dog as a child. I have had six since then, including the two who will be with me that day.

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