This Thursday at 5:30 I’ll be performing poetry for the residents of the Grafton Reintegration Center in Lorain County, then helping judge their poetry slam.  This is especially meaningful for me on a couple of levels.  (1) My Mom, who passed away a year ago, used to work at this same prison back when it was known as the North Coast Correctional Treatment Facility.  And (2) I was once a prisoner myself, from 1993 to 2004, though not at that facility.  I also returned to prison as a civilian volunteer mentor in 2006 and 2007 before finally deciding to put some distance between myself and the system for many years.  The time feels right to return.  But more on that in a future blog post….

Then Saturday April 26th (the day before Mom’s birthday) I’ll be performing in the basement of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland during the Underground Poetry segment (orchestrated by HobGob Press) of Station Hope, “a block party with a purpose” put on by Cleveland Public Theatre.  “Station Hope is a multi-arts event that celebrates the triumphs of the Underground Railroad, the history of St. John’s Church and the contemporary struggles for freedom and justice.”  Poets from several northern Ohio small presses will be joining us in the underground.

(BOTTOM DOG PRESS) 6:30-7:00 — Larry Smith / Ray McNiece / Vladimir Swirynsky

(WRITING KNIGHTS/GREEN PANDA) 7:30-8:00 — Azriel Johnson / Skylark Bruce / Russell Vidrick

(NIGHTBALLET/CRISIS CHRONICLES) 8:30-9:00 — Dianne Borsenik / John Burroughs / Jim Lang

(HOBGOB PRESS) Wandering Poet in Between Time Slots — Brandon Stroud