Now and Then

03/18/08 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: personal, humor, rant, About me

I bet nobody was as shocked as me when this picture was posted from the February poetry reading. The fact that I was standing half naked with a couple of half naked women should have been shock enough. manboobs
However, for me the shock was that my mind's eye image of myself was more like below. This was taken a short decade ago in Puerto Rico. A little different, huh?

Kiddies, all I can say is that aging sucks, but it doesn't have to be this bad. Don't let this happen to you.

Poetry Center of the Universe

03/16/08 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry

Yup, that's Tremont!

I'm going to start shifting the emphasis of WITB and start pimping the poetry events that I plan on attending or that I think are cool. It wasn't planned, but it seems that WITB has morphed into a poetry blog, so instead of fighting it, I'll go with the flow. I'll still put on whatever strikes me, but poetry in northeast Ohio will be the main theme.

To start, I'm going to Visible Voice Books Wednesday to hear an excellent line up of poets from our institutions of higher learning. Michael Dumanis of CSU, Roger Craik of KSU-Ashtabula, Phil Metres and George Bilgere of JCU are reading. This is not one to miss. The program starts at 7:30pm Wednesday March 19. VVB is, of course, in Tremont on Kenilworth Ave.

Deaf and Late

WARNING: This is a rant!

Today, on a rare time I read the PD, I saw two items in the business section that got me hot. It wasn't about the writing or editing or dependence on newswire this time. It was on the typical bonehead myopia, squelch filter, and hubris of the so-called Cleveland economic development leadership.

First, the PD reported that Ohio is one of the top medical device manufacturers in the country. Duuuh! I said that for the two and half years I lead NEOBio over four years ago. Don't believe me? Check my quotes in back issues of Inside Business. I said that northeast Ohio had a long and established base in medical devices and that is was one our strengths that should be leveraged. Back then I figured that we were already 4 to 5 years behind in investment on the business infrastructure for growing this sector of the "new hot" industry. Of course, the overpaid self involved moneybag string holders were pushing for biotechnology and whatever the Clinic or Case had on their selfserving agenda. Of course, NOW the muckymucks agree with the findings and even have the gall to take credit for it. Yup, take credit for something that has existed for years, that they ignored even when it was right under their noses, and that is now probably a decade late to the investment party. Wake up and see the history as its made, econ dev "loiter/leaders". If it's in the history books, it's too late.

The second item I saw was that Fund for Our Future wants Nortech to explain why they should exist. Of course, many of us wondered that for years and wondered how they kept getting large sums of money to put out papers that had the same conclusions as Newsweek, Forbes, and Fortune magazines. Oh yeah, they did publish a strategic plan a bunch of years ago that was vague, inconclusive, and had pretty graphics from windows clipart. Also, they seem to not have met many of the ambiguous goals in that document. They did take credit for pulling in money from the many grants that were rewarded to individual entrepreneurs and, you guessed it, the Clinic and Case, even though they never lifted a pen to write any of these proposals for the winners. So now the Tutti Fund of the funds wants Nortech to hire a consultant to tell them what they should do. Bet McKinsey gets the contract, not that Brad Whitehead, the Head of FFF and a former McKinsey-ite, might have some say.

I used to have a small speech about how the goal of NEOBio was that it would cease to exist. It either achieved it's mission and was not necessary anymore, or that the mission was not relevant anymore and so had no reason to exist. It seems that there was a third option and that was that the mission was important, but not enough people cared to do what was necessary.

I felt that the large number of nonprofits in our region was due to their immortality. They simple would not die. They acted, not to fulfill their mission,but like an organism with a prime directive of self preservation. In other words, they "found" missions if the original was not relevant, so they can continue to siphon off public and foundation money. I used NATO as an example. Now I can point to NorTech for a more local flavor.

End of Rant. You can go home now.

Gems in Cleveland's Gravel Pit

03/06/08 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, Literary Cafe

There are loads of new and young poets in the northeast Ohio region. We usually only hear about the established and old that have set up local DYI zines and/or got published in the many little chaps or pamphlets. Or maybe they just print out their own broadsides and hand them out a la Franke. It is one of the goals of the Literary Cafe Poetry Reading series to find and bring out the up and comings, the laureates in training, the ones that we can say we knew them when. This month on Thursday March 13 at 9:30pm, we showcase two of these shining examples of youthful talent.

Paul Skyrm, I met at a reading of the American Zen anthology put out by Bottom Dog Press some 3-4 years ago. The Aurora habitant doesn't come out to the poetry events I end up at, but fortunately we bumped at the Rabbits over Clevyland a couple years ago and he does come by Tremont for some fun once in a while so I grabbed him for this reading. Soulful and image rich, Paul has attended Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School for Disembodied Poetics and has been concentrating on novel writing as of late. He has written The Highwayman (which he sent me the pdf last year) and his new one, Corpse Meditation. He is currently working on Mahoning Falls. The poor sot now has a warehouse job and can't get the time to put a bio together, so he's stuck with this.

Beth Ann Sadowski lives in Kent and I have lost track of her since she made it to the Cleveland Slam team in 2004. I personally thought she was the best reader on the team and has been on the short list for being a feature reader at the Lit since we started. I was just waiting to get some contact info. Until she sends me something else, this is all I got about her, but I know she is a great poet and a fantastic reader.

You may not recognize the names, but trust me, this is a night you don't want to miss. Get an autograph so that when one of them becomes the US poet laureate, you can make a killing on ebay. The Literary Cafe is at 1031 Literary Road in the fresh and old Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland.

Beware the Ides of March.

The Big Banner

03/04/08 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Buddhism

You might have noticed the new big banner in the masthead of this here blog. I make no bones about being a Buddhist of the Tibetan kind. So guess where I'll be next month? [click on the banner for info]

For those that have a weak index finger here's the scoop on, what will be an extraordinary weekend with an extraordinary man.

DALAI LAMA TO GIVE SPECIAL TEACHING IN ANN ARBOR

Saturday and Sunday April 19-20, 2008

“Engaging Wisdom and Compassion” a two-day teaching program in three sequential sessions by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Saturday 19: 10-12/2-4; Sunday 20: 10-12

Crisler Arena on the University of Michigan Campus
333 E. Stadium Blvd. Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Tickets: Two Day Tickets from $20-$95
Saturday Only Tickets - from $10-$75
Sunday Morning Tickets - from $10-$45
Student rate - $10 per day (with ID through Michigan Union Ticket Office
(MUTO)Only 763-TKTS )

Patron Tickets - A limited number of Patron seats will be available for the two days @ 1,000.00. These tickets include the best seats possible with lunch on both days as well as the opportunity to help bring His Holiness to Ann Arbor.
Available through Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.com.

Further info: www.jewelheart.org; www.dalailamaannarbor.com

And I'm supposed to be a volunteer usher to escort dignitaries onto the stage. This means I might be with in incense smelling distance from His Holiness.

Come and see if I faint from the experience.

GAHH! More Poetry

02/17/08 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, Buddhism

Right on the heels of Literary Cafe Poetry Nite success, the going keeps going in Tremont. So ask yourself:

Have you noticed the lyrical nature of our prayers and sadhanas as we chant together or during our individual practice at home? Do you recognize the imagery and music in Dharma books? Have you been inspired to scribble little lines on scraps of paper from these?

Jewel Heart has always had a strong connection to poetry, from Allen Ginsburg’s translations of Tibetan and Sanskrit for our benefit to the annual readings at Summer Retreat in his honor. On Saturday, February 23 at 3:00pm, Jewel Heart Cleveland has the honor of having our own Nin Andrews to read and inspire us with her poetry.

Nin (Natalie) Andrews has a new book, Sleeping with Houdini, out from BOA Editions with another, Southern Comfort, soon to be published by CavanKerry Press. She was the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council grant in 1998 and again in 2004. Her work has been published in many literary reviews and anthologies, including Ploughshares, The Paris Review, and Best American Poetry 1997, 2001, 2003 and The Best of the Prose Poem (2006). She has authored several collections including Why They Grow Wings, Midlife Crisis with Dick and Jane and The Book of Orgasms and has won many chapbook contests and the Gerald Cable Award . Nin lives in Poland, Ohio, with her husband and two children.

We will have an open mic afterwards to share our own poems, so BRING them! If you don’t have anything now, we will have pads of paper and pens to put down whatever inspiration you get from Nin or anybody else that shares. This will be a fun time as we wiggle around with words and prance about with prose. So at 3:00pm Saturday February 23 come and hear your sangha sibs read and maybe find the Buddha bard in your heart.

Jewel Heart is an educational and cultural center whose doors are open to all. Its purpose is to transmit the essence of Tibetan Buddhism in an authentic and accessible form. The Cleveland center is located at 2670 W 14th Street in the tradition rich Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland.

UPDATE

From the buzz and conversations I've had, it looks to be a significant event. Just a hint on who said they were going to be there, it is someone MAJOR and there is more than one MAC than the bookstore in coventry. Some are coming MILES away. No response yet, but there may be a RAY of light.

Valentine's Day Poetry

02/06/08 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, Literary Cafe

It is the time for love at the Literary Café. Two beloved denizens with strong Tremont ties have faced difficult times in recent months and have come home to get a recharge of love and respect from the community that holds them so dear. Yes, this is what a neighborhood like Tremont is made of; we support and sow, spawn, nourish, and produce artists, writers, and souls of basic human goodness. We are the mills that produce culture, not steel. So this St. Valentine’s Day, February 14, Thursday at 9:30pm, show your love to Terry Provost and Joanie Deveney.

Terry Provost, back after a recent medical scare, is a much admired personality in Cleveland’s poetry scene. Known as the master of social commentary and revolutionary poetics, a scourge of corporate arrogance, champion of the defenseless & tongue-tied, Terry’s live reading is like a hurricane dressed in black leather and thick boots destroying the living room of your complacence with humor and sarcasm. Terry has been on the Cleveland National Slam Team three times and has published his book, Compassionate Imperialism (Deep Cleveland).

Joanie Deveney a.k.a. Joan of Art is a poet, artist and performer in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the co-owner of the True Art Gallery in Collinwood that recently made the news as the victim of a robbery. She was on the first Cleveland Slam Team and part of the reasonabilist school of art in Cleveland. She has a book of poems and pictures called My Past Lives in My Present.

So bring your sweetheart or maybe meet your sweetheart and show your love to these two wonderful poets. The Literary Café is at 1031 Literary Road in the Lovable Neighborhood of Tremont in Cleveland.

Small Publishing

01/25/08 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, Economic Development

I have been planning for over a year to publish a book of the spontaneous poetry generated by the Literary Cafe (the original Lit, Big Lit, Tremont Lit, NOT the inferior Lit)* and I'm going to do it under the What's In the Bag Press. Then I saw this from Rhymes With Orange.

I'll still do it, but the reality of poetry publishing is that it is a niche and not a very profitable niche at that. But to see some of our other small press publishers, The Lit (PWLGC Lit, Superior Lit, Little Lit, New Lit, the other Lit)* is having a bookfair Saturday 26th from 4-7pm at 2570 Superior Ave, Suite 203. Many of my favorite publishers will be there such as GreenPanda Press / Bottom Dog Press & Bird Dog Publishing / Deep Cleveland Books / Burned Book Press / the language foundry / Pudding House Publications / VanZeno Press / Jim Lang and Bag-o-Zine, etc. / and others. I don't just mean they are my favorites cuz they published my stuff either.

*Note: See Cleveland Poetics Listserv to enjoy the hilarious discussion about alleged name stealing.

On Communication and Censorship

Okay, this will be my last quote from the Illuminatus! Trilogy, but it is a doozy in that it again shows its prescience for todays issues 30 years ago.

A monopoly on the means of communication may define a ruling elite more precisely than the celebrated Marxian formula of "monopoly on the means of production." Since man extends his nervous system through channels of communication like the written word, the telephone, radio, etc., he who controls these media controls part of the nervous system of every member of society. The contents of these media become part of the contents of every individual’s brain.

Thus, in pre-literate societies taboos on the spoken word are more numerous and more Draconic than at any more complex level of social organization. With the invention of written speech---hieroglyphic, ideographic, or alphabetical ---the taboos are shifted to this medium; there is less concern with what people say and more concern with what they write. (Some of the first societies to achieve literacy, such as Egypt and the Mayan culture of ancient Mexico, evidently kept a knowledge of their hieroglyphs a religious secret which only the higher orders of the priestly and royal families were allowed to share.) The same process repeats endlessly: Each step forward in the technology of communication is more heavily tabooed than the earlier steps. Thus, in America today (post-Lenny Bruce), one seldom hears of convictions for spoken blasphemy or obscenity; prosecution of books still continues, but higher courts increasingly interpret the laws in a liberal fashion, and most writers feel fairly confident that they can publish virtually anything; movies are growing almost as desacralized as books, although the fight is still heated in this area; television, the newest medium; remains encased in Neolithic taboo. (When the TV pundits committed lèse majesté after an address by the then Dominant Male, a certain Richard Nixon, one of his lieutenants quickly informed them they had overstepped, and the whole tribe---except for the dissident minority---cheered for the reassertion of tradition.) When a more efficient medium arrives, the taboos on television will decrease.

p.796 Illuminatus! Trilogy

So taken the next step in our 21st century, the new efficient medium is the Internet and so we see the anti network neutrality and misnamed patriot acts in poor attempts to control our means of communication. My friend in LA, SA Griffin, has written in his Apes of Wrath poem---"The Revolution Will be Televised!" I say "The Revolution Will be On-Line" and the battles will be in cyberspace.

In a REAL Magazine (sorta)

01/21/08 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Announcements [A], Poetry, About me

In the vein of frightful self important self promotion, I want to announce that I have been published in Ptrint's infamous 3x5 anthology. Dr. Adam Brodsky, the publisher, has done a fabulous job in mixing great poems along with his flair for graphic art and concrete poetry. 3x5 is printed in a unique form of 3" by 5" cards, much like what the teachers in grade school made us put our old vocabulary and spelling words on for reference. (Am I aging myself?). The nice thing is that if you really like one of the pieces, you can pull it out and put on your refrigerator next to your child's (or your own) finger painting.

I say that it is a real book because it has an ISSN number. That is an International Standard Serial Number, which is an eight-digit number which identifies periodical publications as such, including electronic serials, not to be confused with the ISBN, which is for books.

Note who else is in this issue with me(Whitman, Blake, etc). I guess I'm running with the big dogs now and I am quite proud to be included in this issue. (Of course, Walt, Bill, et al are probably spinning in their graves right now.)

Ptrint has a unique way of selling its publications. They send it to anybody that donates to a charity. The instructions are here. As they say "We are non-profit & generally not two smart." So send them your favorite charity donation plus a little something for shipping costs, and Dr. Brodsky will pop over your little index cards of poetry.

Remember, if you don't happen to like one of the pieces (not mine of curse), you can pull it out of the pile to shred, tear, sneeze, or whatever to it without destroying the integrity of the magazine.

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