Friday reading & celebration

megjohnsonThis Friday, February 5th, we’ll be celebrating the release of Meg Johnson’s newest poetry collection, The Crimes of Clara Turlington. Join us at The Hub Art Factory in Canton at 7:00 pm for a reading by Meg, as well as yours truly, and Eliese Goldbach, Robert Miltner, and Molly Fuller.

We’ve got Holly Brown’s fab new review of The Crimes of Clara Turlington here at Barn Owl Review.

I’m excited to read some poems from Small Enterprise on Friday, and perhaps something brand new, too.

February is off to an excellent start.

The Hub Art Factory is located at 336 6th St NW, Canton, Ohio. Event link here.

A poem from THE CZAR


My well-loved copy of Wuthering Heights.

One of the many works of literature that we riffed on in THE CZAR is Wuthering Heights. I’ve never been one for heavy allusions, but THE CZAR takes tonal cues from a variety of works, as well as making playful attempts at doubling some storylines. That said, the whole writing of THE CZAR was organic, so our allusions were intrinsic to the poems, just like the pop culture intrusions or snippets of technology that made their way into the book. Here’s a poem from the collection, which is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in August 2016.


is a little worried about how much he loves the novel Wuthering Heights. In private, he whispers, “I am ___________” then sends himself to un-heaven. Who is the naughtier child, Catherine or Heathcliff? And why doesn’t the weather in Czarland Heights vacillate like a northern place with moors and hillocks? He can’t say that heaven wouldn’t want him, as he invented the concept. Why did it have to involve heaps of coconut? Why was his movie in black and white, and replete with ringlets, the dogs dead for decades? In a less probable world, the Czar would have also been a Czar. Yes. In a less probable world, though, Edgar wouldn’t have died. And the peasants would have feasted nightly on more than limburger cheese and half-stale crackers. Before the Brontë sisters, he considered books an accelerant. Like his mistress’s faux bridal lace teddy. Or the Lady Czar’s culinary renderings of aimless heft. At night he stares out the castle windows. A low, accusatory moon in the Czar-like sky. Stray cats in an alley and a pail of warm milk. Low water level in the moat. He sips Glenfiddich by the gallon, tells his mistress he will stay up all night until he finds the right word. But he never does.

–Mary Biddinger & Jay Robinson 

Remembering poet John Wylam

IMG_0252I go to church, but I also go to this church, which is the woods.

I’ve been remembering my friend John Wylam, who passed away recently.

I met John in late August of 1996 when we were both students in the MFA program at Bowling Green State University. At first we seemed to be unlikely friends, but he was a true kindred spirit, a gentle soul who knew so much about poetry and struggle and the Rust Belt. I’m glad that our friendship lasted beyond our years at BGSU.

When I read John’s thoughts on poetry, music, motor sports, politics, and life in general, it brings his voice back. Maybe you’d like to listen, too?