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Heights Writes

Literary Programs

Ekphrastacy heights Writes literary program

EKPHRASTACY GALLERY TALKS

2017 hAIKU DEATH MATCH

EKPHRASTACY: Artists Talk + Poets Respond

The Ekphrastacy literary program is a series of artist talks + poetry readings held regularly in the Heights Arts gallery, in conjunction with our special exhibitions. Cleveland-area writers are invited by the current Poet Laureate to view the installed artworks and respond with a poem. Four weeks after the exhibition opens, the artists talk about their work and the poets read their poems, often resulting in a surprising dialogue. Participating poets receive an honorarium for their participation.

Ekphrastacy evenings—centered on recent exhibitions of photography, paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and mixed media—have been very popular, drawing large and enthusiastic audiences to the gallery.

 

HAIKU DEATH MATCH

A popular poetry event that is now an annual occurrence, Heights Arts marks each April, National Poetry Month, with the presentation of its lively Haiku Death Match.

This “fun”raiser for literary arts programming pits eight of the region’s best and bravest writers of the ancient, Japanese 17-syllable form against each other in a fierce competition for audience approval. Pairs of poets read their original Haiku aloud, and the audience votes for the poem they like best. Low-scoring contestants are eliminated, and the last poet standing is declared Haiku Death Match Master. All Northeast Ohio poets and writers are invited to participate. Online entry forms are available via the Heights Arts website in January of every year.

See EVENTS for a complete listing of upcoming literary events.

 

 

CITY OF CLEVELAND HEIGHTS POET LAUREATE

In 2005, Heights Arts and the City of Cleveland Heights named its first Poet Laureate to create programs that infuse poetry into community life. Collaborations have included the lively Haiku Death Match, Twitter poetry project (PoetTweet), community workshops, and our ongoing Ekphrastacy series. The eighth and current Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate serves for a 24 month period, beginning April, 2016, and concluding at the end of March, 2018.

APPLY FOR THE 2018-2020 OFFICE OF POET LAUREATE

Poets must be residents of Cleveland Heights, or have a significant relationship to the Cleveland Heights community, and commit to serve the full 24 month term of service if selected. Learn more here: PL Selection Process and Guidelines

  1. Any poet who meets the eligibility criteria and can commit to the term of service, may submit an application for consideration.  Applications may be submitted anytime between October 15 and the deadline of December 31.
  2. In the absence of sufficient quality applications, the Heights Writes Subcommittee of the Heights Arts board may reach out to local poets to solicit applications.
POET LAUREATE APPLICATION

 

2016-2018 Christine Howey

 

2015-2016 Meredith Holmes

 

2013-2015 Kathleen Cerveny

 

2011-2013 Cavana Faithwalker

 

2009-2011 Gail Bellamy

 

2008-2009 Mary E. Weems

 

2006-2007 Loren Weiss

 

2005-2006 Meredith Holmes

 

PUBLICATIONS IN THE GALLERY SHOP

Awake at the End: A Heights Arts Poet Laureate Anthology

Both a poet laureate primer and a collection of fine poems, Awake at the End collects the poetic output of the first three Cleveland Heights poet laureates, Meredith Holmes, Loren Weiss, and Mary E. Weems, poets who found themselves awakened by their tenures as poet laureate. A project of Heights Arts and Bottom Dog Press. By Meredith Holmes, Loren Weiss, Mary E. Weems, and John Panza. 2008

 

Familiar at First, Then Strange 

Launched at INKubator. By Meredith Holmes. 2015

 

 


Cavana Faithwalker

Cavana Faithwalker

Poet Laureate 2011-12

Faithwalker has lived in Cleveland Heights for eight years.   He grew up in Cleveland’s Lee-Miles area, moved to Woodmere, and graduated from Orange High School in Pepper Pike. Admitting to one-year sojourn in Shaker Heights, he says, “I felt like a citizen of Cleveland Heights the whole time I was there.”
Honored, but a little surprised to be named the city’s Poet Laureate, Faithwalker is energized about the possibilities of the post.   “First of all, I love Cleveland Heights,” he says, “and I want to add to the creative energy already here.”

Modest about his own accomplishments and abundant creative energy, Faithwalker says “My role as a poet has been to provide access.” Committed to encouraging others to tap into their creativity and to tell their own stories, he may be best known as the co-founder, 18 years ago, with Vince Robinson, of the NIA coffeehouse, an open-mic poetry venue where all are welcome.

Faithwalker is also owner of Left Thumbprint Solutions, a social media, organizational, and arts network consulting company. “We work with companies, cities, and school systems, but lean toward projects that involve the arts, culture and community.” he says.

Citing Muhammad Ali as an early influence and a creative catalyst, Faithwalker says, “His prose excited me and got me into writing. I used to recite my own prose in the locker room and during football practice!” An English teacher, Joanne Howard, showed the young poet that writing takes practice and discipline.   “I won a poetry contest in 1974 and have been writing ever since,” he says. Other favorite writers include Rita Dove, Jack Kerouac, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, and “even local cats like RA Washington, Michael Salinger.”

Faithalker’s poetry combines deep conviction, humor, and a conversational tone that gently pulls the reader in.   He often celebrates the heroic in the mundane, as in his poem “Trouble in Paradise.”

Cleveland Heights is suburban bliss.
The couple across the street? A concert pianist
and her husband.   Don’t know about him.
Only that he gets mad about the corporations stompin’
the little guy.   He drives off most mornings
Hunter gathering schedule to keep
I presume.   In the summer,
in the morning, in my sleep,
she serenades me.

Of his own work, Faithwalker says, “I hope also that the beauty, challenge, and even the ugliness of the human condition can be looked at through a poetic lens.   I really have an appreciation for conflicting voices dancing instead of clashing.”

Cavana Faithwalker: 2011-12 Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate

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Faithwalker has lived in Cleveland Heights for eight years. He grew up in Cleveland’s Lee-Miles area, moved to Woodmere, and graduated from Orange High School in Pepper Pike. Admitting to one-year sojourn in Shaker Heights, he says, “I felt like a citizen of Cleveland Heights the whole time I was there.”

Honored, but a little surprised to be named the city’s Poet Laureate, Faithwalker is energized about the possibilities of the post. “First of all, I love Cleveland Heights,” he says, “and I want to add to the creative energy already here.”

Modest about his own accomplishments and abundant creative energy, Faithwalker says “My role as a poet has been to provide access.” Committed to encouraging others to tap into their creativity and to tell their own stories, he may be best known as the co-founder, 18 years ago, with Vince Robinson, of the NIA coffeehouse, an open-mic poetry venue where all are welcome.

Faithwalker is also owner of Left Thumbprint Solutions, a social media, organizational, and arts network consulting company. “We work with companies, cities, and school systems, but lean toward projects that involve the arts, culture and community.” he says.

Citing Muhammad Ali as an early influence and a creative catalyst, Faithwalker says, “His prose excited me and got me into writing. I used to recite my own prose in the locker room and during football practice!” An English teacher, Joanne Howard, showed the young poet that writing takes practice and discipline. “I won a poetry contest in 1974 and have been writing ever since,” he says. Other favorite writers include Rita Dove, Jack Kerouac, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, and “even local cats like RA Washington, Michael Salinger.”

Faithalker’s poetry combines deep conviction, humor, and a conversational tone that gently pulls the reader in. He often celebrates the heroic in the mundane, as in his poem “Trouble in Paradise.”

Cleveland Heights is suburban bliss.
The couple across the street? A concert pianist
and her husband. Don’t know about him.
Only that he gets mad about the corporations stompin’
the little guy. He drives off most mornings
Hunter gathering schedule to keep
I presume. In the summer,
in the morning, in my sleep,
she serenades me.

Of his own work, Faithwalker says, “I hope also that the beauty, challenge, and even the ugliness of the human condition can be looked at through a poetic lens. I really have an appreciation for conflicting voices dancing instead of clashing.”

POP-UP POETRY

August 22, 2012                     Nature Center at Shaker Lakes with poet Kathleen Cerveny

Creating poems and origami, Kathleen Cerveny was a hit as our last Pop-Up Poet of the summer at the Nature Center at  Shaker Lakes.

Ladybug Haiku

July 18, 2012                     Noble Road Library with poet Shelley Chernin

Shelley Chernin used ukelele, words cut from magazines and her own collection of books of poetry to attract library patrons to the PUP booth.   She sang (yes, in a library!) “Come write a poem with me…” an original song she wrote to engage people of all ages to create poetry.   Some people wanted to hear her read, others wanted to sit and write. It was an afternoon of words at their best!
Shelley singing for people to “Come write a poem with me…”

Shelley writing with a young man.
Words and music attract everyone!

















July 14, 2012               Cain Park Arts Festival with poet Cindy Washabaugh

Poet Cindy Washabaugh was our PUP poet in front of the Alma Theater at the Cain Park Arts Festival on Saturday, July 14.   Cindy worked her poetic magic as people stopped to see what words they could create and form into poems using materials Cindy brought with her.   Cavana Faithwalker was also there to lend a lens and poetic hand. The poets are using the new “Poetree” portable booth,

constructed by Ted Ferringer, P.J. Doran and Jason Radcliffe. Many thanks to them for making our Pop-Up events more portable!

Cindy Washabaugh works with a young poet.
Three word prompt:   oboe, stone, jewel











June 23, 2012       Mac’s Back’s Books on Coventry with poet Dianne Borsenik
Dianne reading from her current chapbook

Dianne Borsenik regaled passers-by with her poems and invitations to read with her or just listen on Saturday night in front of Mac’s Back’s Books on Coventry Road. Current poet laureate, Cavana Faithwalker, was there to help distribute poems and give poetic support.   People paused, applauded and were sometimes persuaded to share their own poetry.   Thanks to Dianne for her generosity and creative, energetic spirit!

Dianne becomes a “beat” poet.

June 8, 2012     Pop-Up Poetry launch with poet Cavana Faithwalker

Cavana Faithwalker launches Pop-Up Poetry outside of the Heights Arts gallery on Lee Road. Cavana set up in the mini-park near the gallery which was having an opening of their show, Materiality. Many people stopped to sit awhile with Cav and co-write a personal poem which he finished and e-mailed to them afterward.

Cavana shares a word or two with a potential poet.
Word-smithing on the sidewalk.

POP-UP POETRY (PUP)

POP-UP-POETRY! Expect the Unexpected

The Poet is IN!  Heights Arts presented Pop-Up Poetry June-August 2012.  Pop-Up Poetry was a project designed by 2011-12 Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate Cavana Faithwalker to bring some of the region’s most interesting poets to the streets.  The centerpiece of Pop-Up Poetry was a portable booth created by architect Theodore Ferringer and furniture designer Patrick Doran.  A radical update of Lucy’s “Psychiatric Help 5 cents,” the booth sets up, unfolds like an umbrella, and the poet is in business!