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Russell Vidrick Shares His Love at the Lit Cafe

05/10/10 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, Literary Cafe

One of the reasons Nick, Andy, and I discontinued the regular poetry readings at the Lit Café, was because we were anchored to the second Thursday every month. Sure the consistency made sure everybody knew when and where, but sometimes some of the best poets could not make it that night, at that time. One of those fine poets was Russell Vidrick, who’s second shift job prevented him from featuring, but often made it to round out the open mic.

Therefore, the Literary Café Panderers, Prognosticators, and Poem Prelates are proud to present Russell Vidrick and the introduction of his latest book, “Love Poems of the New World Order” on Saturday May 15 at 9:00pm. We are so honored that a poet as great as Russell would want to launch the collection of his love yawps for his wife, Charlotte, at the place where we love them both as well as his poetry.
Most of you, including the readers from the out flung reaches of American, should already know of Russell Vidrick. He has been a mainstay in the Cleveland poetry scene for decades. The well regarded poet has been in every major underground anthology that sprouted out of Cleveland and has hosted readings at the Café Noir, Red Star, and now at the Brandt Gallery here in Tremont. Besides “Love Poems for the New World Order”, his last chapbook was “Dueling Poets” with Jim Lang, a frequent collaborator of his. The best way to know Russ is through his poems, I will review “Love Poems”

“Love Poems for a New World Order,” put out by The Language Foundry, is a tactile delight. It was printed on quality paper that has a natural texture pleasing to the fingers and with various watermarks to subtly break up the monotony of black print on light beige. The layout and type keep the reader comfortable without lulling. The photographs by Charlotte Mann on front and back covers, give a film noire sensibility that contrasts with the “New World Order” title and promises contents that moves and provokes thought.

And inside we find that Russ’s style reminds the reader of 8th century Japanese poetry with characteristically simple descriptions. Short lines are reminiscent of Hemingway or Bukowski, yet are not staccato, but have warmth that invite the reader to continue similar to Leonard Cohen. It is so obvious throughout this book that he is very much in love with Charlotte and that the change in his life has been profound. Homebody Russ mentions Mexico, Turkey, Amsterdam, Greece, Egypt, all places Charlotte has visited and a few that Russ finally has seen firsthand. He describes the new joy in eating white rice, laying his head on her chest when sick, and sleeping with a wife when the world’s troubles continue. His tone is such that he is as amazed as the rest of us of his good fortune. This is an easy read and an inspiring one where the reader joins in the happiness in Russell new life and is envious of it.

So come down the Literary Café Saturday May 15 at 9pm and listen to a happy man that has to tell someone how happy he is or he’ll burst. There will be an open mic afterwards so that you can get a chance to tell us how happy you are. Copies of “Love Poems for a New World Order” will be available as well. The Literary café is located at 1031 Literary Road in the happy-go-lucky Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland.


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