Sunday 20 July, I had the opportunity to experience poetry and music in another beautiful setting: the Huron Boat Basin.  The day was sunny (I got a bit of a tan), the stone and lawn amphitheater was classic cool, and behind the stage was a beautiful stretch of our great Lake Erie.  But the best part was the poetry.

View from the top corner of the Huron Boat Basin amphitheater

I was surprised there weren’t more people in attendance.  A damn shame, considering the idyllic, inspiring setting and the caliber of poets involved….  If you haven’t been to one of these events yet, please try to do so.  You’ll be glad you did.

Our hosts were poets Rob and Larry Smith.  Rob Smith is a religion and philosophy professor who won the 2006 Robert Frost Poetry Award for his “Catbird.”  Larry Smith is Poet Laureate of Huron, editor-in-chief of Bottom Dog Press and director of the Firelands Writing Center.

Larry with the open mic sign-up sheet

The afternoon’s featured reader was Mary Weems, who co-edited the recently published Cleveland Poetry Scenes (along with Larry Smith and Nina Freedlander-Gibans).  Mary is Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights and teaches in the English and Education departments at John Carroll University.

Mary Weems on stage


It’s really hard for me to pick my favorite among her poems.  They went from humor to pathos to some very serious matters and back to humor – always keeping it real.  Her poems I remember most vividly include “Miner at Rest,” “God Is Jobless,”  “China Love Notes,” “Yes,” “Man Smoking,” “Drunk Ugly,” “Interrupted Phone Calls,” and “What Do I Have to Be So Happy About?”  Good stuff….

Friends and fellow poets T.M. Göttl and Dianne Borsenik were also there.

T.M. and Dianne

At the open mic, T.M. wowed the crowd with her signature “Out of the Desert” (you can hear it here) and Dianne did the same with her new poem “Mr. Pensive.”  Other participants, all of whom shared very good work, included retired radiologist Jack Vanek, Huron’s own Jack Center, a poet named Geri (or was it Gerry? and I didn’t catch her last name), and Edward Morin.

Musician Dan Murphy was also on hand to play and sing songs by Harry Chapin, Bob Dylan, John Prine and Leonard Cohen – some of my favorite singer-songwriters.

Dan Murphy 

Oh… and I performed my poems Lobal Warman and Rapists.  I was happy when Mary and Larry both said kind things about my work.  Mary even traded me a copy of her Pavement Saw Press chapbook Tampon Class for my much thinner Bloggerel!

Here are some of the other photos I took that day:

Edward Morin, Jack Vanek and two poetry fans

Mary Weems

Edward Morin and T.M. Göttl

Larry Smith

Dianne Borsenik

Edward and T.M.

Me on stage [photo by Dianne]

Mary and T.M.

Rob introduces Jack Center

Jack Vanek, Larry and Mary

Geri on stage

Larry performs his rousing “Bo Diddley” poem with Dan Murphy accompanying

Mary signs Dianne’s copy of Tampon Class

Self portrait

* * *

Visit the Huron Boat Basin on August 17th from 1 to 3 p.m. to see a featured performance by singer-songwriter Sarah Goslee Reed.  Larry and Rob Smith will be there again, along with Dan Murphy.  And there will be an open mic.  You never know who else will show up.  It’s a perfect venue for summer poetry and song, and you’re invited!

Books by some of the authors above are available through


And to order T.M. Göttl‘s Stretching the Window, please click here.

Peace, love and poetry,