Heights Writes

Heights Writes

Literary Programs

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 Heights Writes Community Team members to view the installed artworks and respond with a poem. Five 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.







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. This program is paused indefinitely as Heights Arts seeks the right space to hold it in the future.

See EVENTS for a complete listing of upcoming literary events.


CH Poet Laureates prior to 2023.

In 2023, Cleveland Heights and University Heights united to sponsor the new title of, 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.


2023-2025 Siaara Freeman


2020-2022 Ray McNiece


2018-2020 Damien McClendon


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



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