For a couple of days I’ve been wanting to write about the poetry reading my wife and I attended the evening of Friday 27 June at the relatively new Madison Rose Bookstore in Lakewood.   Now I’m a little tired from a busy weekend with four grandchildren aged 3, 4, 5 and 6 – as well as lots of house and yard work.  But I at least want to give you a quick rundown of that event.

Featured reader and local legend Jack McGuane defied his recent stroke to read some excellent work from his recently published book Sleeping with My Socks and other poems (click the title to read more about it).  I was bummed that a budgeting snafu this week meant that we couldn’t buy Jack’s book that night – but you can bet I’ll do so very soon.

The open mic session, emceed by Dan Smith, featured a broad and bold assortment of readers – some of the cream of the Cleveland scene.  Several were folks I’ve met (and whose work I’ve very much enjoyed) at previous readings (like Terry Provost, T.M. Göttl, Dianne Borsenik, and J.E. Stanley).  Several others were folks I’d only known from books, zines, and tales from other poets – folks whose work I very much respected despite never having met them before (they included Jim Lang, Christopher Franke, and Miles Budimir).  Very cool to meet them….  Then there were a couple of impressive newbies and some other apparent veterans whose names I did not catch.  Great work abounded.  And my favorite moment was probably Terry Provost‘s brilliant recitation of a humorous but dead serious poem about how by degrading others we degrade ourselves.  I don’t know the title, but… wow!

The venue was packed and I couldn’t see all of the readers from where I sat.  But we enjoyed ourselves immensely – and the location was closer to home than the previous four readings I’ve attended.  Can’t wait to go back with money!  Oh – and for poetry night there were free cookies and coffee.

The lady who appeared to be the bookstore’s owner said they’re going to hold these readings every month (the last Friday, I’m assuming), and I encourage you to check one out.  They’re also having a July 4th sale beginning Tuesday 1 July.  Call them at (216) 226-BOOK for more information.

Madison Rose Bookstore
13705 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44017

Jack McGuane’s fine new book Sleeping with My Socks and other poems is available though Deep Cleveland Books.

To read an article entitled “20 Questions with Jack McGuane, Lakewood’s Poet Laureate,” click this link:

Other recommendations, available through my Amazon bookstore, include:


Oh… and I read three poems during the open mic.  I tried out two new ones, Lobal Warman and At Mass, before reciting Allen Ginsberg Sucks!  I think they went pretty well… especially Ginsberg.