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|welcome to the fifth edition of the ronin press newsletter.
this month, and to kick off our publications in 2011, i am happy to present our Cleveland poetry special; featuring bree and rjs.
rjs's poetry has been extracted from archives dating from the 1960's-1980's, while bree brings modern poetry to the table.
with 2011 comes change. we are going to modify the look of the site slightly. you will see that the ronin viewer will become obsolete. in its place, we will be adding flash html in a flip book style.
we are going to make our eBooks available in other formats, too, such as .mobi for any Kindle users out there.
lastly, for any Londoners reading this edition, please note that PHASE 47 has been stocked in the London Review Bookshop (Holborn), and John Sandoe (Sloane Square).
without further ado, i will hand you over to bree who will give us insight to the Cleveland poetry scene.
stay tuned. pressing matters.
Lake Effect Poetry
Cleveland poetry: one might think straightaway of Langston Hughes or Hart Crane, yet the former was not born in Cleveland and the latter (smartly) escaped the city in which rebel poet d.a. levy was born, lived and died. Kenneth Patchen hailed from nearby Painesville, OH. in Kent lives and breathes Maj Ragain, a teacher, friend and role model for the Cleveland masses. forty years spent Daniel Thompson, the poet of bread and scripture, handing out poesy with leftovers he scarfed from parties, meetings, etc., to homeless men and women downtown. the levites and publishers rjs, Tom Kryss, Jake Marx, Matt Wascovich, Jim Lang, Adam Brodsky, Bree, R.A. Washington. but these are names unless you've lifted their dress.
Cleveland is a hard town on a lake whose inhabitants feel the grit and grin for it. the poets are working class, take on a poet's poverty or at the worst pull in a teacher's salary. they work together in a way i think is unusual. for instance, a small press indy poet might call on a couple academics to throw a poetry festival AS A CITY. street poets, collegians, avant garde and slam poets often share the stage. while there are salons and cliques and weeklies and monthlies, diversity at our readings is what gives spice and character. i have produced a hand of fests which bring out-of-towners in, who tell me OUR poets are special. the strangers become friends and return time and again, fit onto this bill or the other, free to stay on couches and beds.
there is a rich underground publishing history in Cleveland. i will list the ones i know of, hardly an inclusive list, still these are some of the heavy hitters; the dates i am drawing from early editions, not necessarily when founded:::::::::
1953-Free Lance Press (Russell Atkins, Adelaide Simon)
the majority of works listed are handmade books, meaning the editor(s) knelt or bent or stood to collate, fold and staple. some marvellously held so-called 'collating parties.' many worked alone. and yet they were part of the community, with readership, expected to be seen at readings with books for sale or for free. as one editor retires he/she passes the baton, or so it seems. i inherited roomfuls of paper leftover from Ground Zero and Burning Press and enjoyed Jim Lang, Tom Kryss, Steve Ferguson and rjs as true mentors, both as an editor and emotional being. we see the like and like enduce others to liking. when i happened upon Jeff Mazer's bookstore in San Francisco (he has perhaps one of the largest and best collections of underground poetry and literature for sale) there was an entire shelf labelled 'Cleveland' i spent hours thumbing thru, seeing my friends' work and finding new treasures of legend or unsung, plus works id not heard of by poets i had. all i can say is we *rife, baby.*
and yeah, you can probably catch a read somewhere in the Greater Cleveland Area any night of the calendar year...the only shame of it is you are likely to hear,* ughhhhh,* poetry ABOUT Cleveland!
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