Thursday, December 25, 2014

#ThisIsCLE: An Anthology of the 2014 Best Cleveland Poem Competition (CC#63)

cover photo by Steven B. Smith
Crisis Chronicles Press is thrilled to announce the publication of #ThisIsCLE: An Anthology of the 2014 Best Cleveland Poem Competition on 5 January 2015. 

The second annual Best Cleveland Poem Competition was held on Sunday, June 1, 2014 at the Willoughby Brewing Company.  #ThisIsCLE features contest highlights including poems by Geoffrey Landis, Theresa Göttl Brightman, Jeffrey Bowen, Mary Turzillo, JP Armstrong, Anita Herczog, Danya Eichhorn, Michael Murray, Steven B. Smith, Frannie Lograsso, S. Renay Sanders, two-time Best Cleveland Poem winner Dianne Borsenik and competition emcee Ray McNiece.

The book is 40 pages, perfect bound, 6x9" and a steal at only $10 from Crisis Chronicles Press,
3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.

Available now by mail and online — and soon from particular independent bookstores across the country!  Please join us for the official #ThisIsCLE release party on January 5th 2015 during Mondays at Mahall's Poetry and Prose series at Mahall's 20 Lanes, 13200 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio.  Meet and hear many of the contributors there. 

Project editor for #ThisIsCLE: Dianne Borsenik 

Executive editor: John Burroughs
1st printing: 125 copies.

For more information about the annual Best Cleveland Poetry Competition sponsored by attorney Tim Misny, please click here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I Don't - by Bree (CC#62)

We are thrilled to publish a new chapbook-length poem by the inimitable Bree!  It's a big bang, multiverse, oh-my-wow of a work that blew me away. I bet it will you, too. 

Get I Don't for $7 US from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.

Out 15 November 2014, 20+ pages, hand assembled, recycled paper, black end papers, saddle staple card stock bound, featuring cover art by Smith.

ISBN: 978-1-940996-12-7. 1st ed. 59 copies.

Bree vibes at the Lix & Kix Poetry Extravaganza
(photo by JC)
Bree's work has been published by Arthur Magazine, ArtCrimes, Big Bridge, Big Hammer, Bottle of Smoke, Bottom Dog, Cleveland State University, Deep Cleveland, Ecstatic Peace, Iniquity, Jawbone, Kirpan, Miser, Muse, Ronin Press, Split Whiskey, Temple, The City, The Literary Underground and countless precious mags. She is the author of Some Hiatus: Tucky Poems (2014); A Leg to Stand On (2013); The Rainbow Sweater & My Mother (2012); Let Cupid Know (Ronin Press 2012); Laying Pans (Ecstatic Peace 2009), Sleeping with the Sun In His Eyes with Akol Madut, the story of one Lost Boy of Sudan, and how he found his home in Cleveland, OH; (2009); was chicken trax amid sparrows tread (Temple 2009); Awol culinary poems (Ptrint /P2Begin, Cleveland 2009); and many titles thru her Green Panda Press, began in 2001, which puts out anthies, collections and ephemera, produces poetry fests and events assembling the small press community, getting poets who face each other on pages in the same room for a bit of company.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

HOLDING STORIES in YOUR HANDS: Narrative Poems and Poetic Narratives - by Elise Geither (CC#61)

cover photo by Steven B. Smith

Poet/playwright Elise Geither is one of my favorite Ohio writers, and has been for years. So I'm excited to announce the release of her new Crisis Chronicles Press chapbook, HOLDING STORIES in YOUR HANDS. This book is 26 pages, loving handbound with ivory cardstock cover and black endpapers.  Highlights include "The End of Once Upon," "How to Fold a Woman" and "Into the Woods We Go."

Get yours for $7 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.

ISBN 978-1-940996-11-0.  1st edition: 70 copies. 
Join us for the official release and meet Elise at 7:30 pm on 3 November 2014 during Monday at Mahall's featuring Writer's Root, 13200 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio.  

Click here to rate HOLDING STORIES in YOUR HANDS at Goodreads.

Elise Geither at the Lava Lounge - photo by JB

Dr. Elise Geither’s previous books include Monologues for Poets, Horse Latitudes, and (with Lisa Meeks) Helping Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Express Their Thoughts and Knowledge in Writing.  Her plays have been produced throughout the United States, and she lives in Ohio with her husband and three daughters.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

City of Tents: Poems About the Occupy Movement and Other Items Taken From the News - by Martin Willitts, Jr. (CC#57)

Cover photo by Steven B. Smith
Crisis Chronicles Press is thrilled to publish Martin Willitts, Jr.'s latest chapbook, City of Tents: Poems About the Occupy Movement and Other Items Taken From the News, in October 2014.  According to the author, "This is a collection of poems based on protest and social issue concerns. The poems start with the Occupy Movement, and include forced slavery, forced migrations, disenfranchised people, and other subjects. I question a lot in this book. As a Quaker, I find many things troubling in this world. I scold my own generation who had protested war, for women and minorities. Where are they? They should have joined Occupy, not the Tea Party."

City of Tents is a 38 page, handmade, 8.5 x 5.5", saddle-stapled chapbook featuring 22 poems including "Occupy This," "Hell for Plants," "If We Pull Down the Empty Sky," "The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti" and much more.  ISBN 978-1-940996-10-3.  Gray card stock cover, black endpapers.  1st edition: 60 copies.  Available for only $7 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.

"Willitts calls out the irrationality of the put-on soundbite, of cruelty and greed. He asks of us and society to do the uncomfortable work of self-examination.

"At times he's in anguish at the scale, ledgers a litany of injustice with the grief of an exhausted exhale. Some of Willitts's lines are like skipping ahead steps in a math problem: 'smoking cigarettes of last chances.' He recognizes the nebulous: 'the type of nothingness nobody understands.'

"After we're wrung wet, he offers sparing notes like plates of sunlight: 'joy as temperamental as a geyser' and 'a cautionary song of Amazing Grace.'"
Kathy Smith, co-author of Oct Tongue -1 and founding editor at The City Poetry 

"There are two pervading themes braided throughout City of Tents: 'He could have been any of us' and 'Words can…be an unlit match.' Willitts confronts oppression and imprisonment in its many varied guises, including poverty, bullying, ignorance, and war.  He also offers hope:  'I open envelopes of promises—heritage seeds…small changes begin.' City of Tents is a demand for political and socio-economic awareness.  Heed its call!"
Dianne Borsenik, author of Blue Graffiti and founding editor at NightBallet Press 

“'Like many things it had no beginning'—yet, even a trauma, a seeking, a quest with no beginning can be brought to some wholesome end. However, this Picardy-third-like sound alighting the grid, causing fractals to sing across Indra’s net, would only ever take place by way of the body. 'Where is the body going?' ('sinkholes of a woman’s sorrow,' into 'the disquieted spirit')—

"This is a grief book, a human emotions book, a book-length rhetorical question capable of leading the body into an activist martial stance in the street, among a gathering of tents. Willitts gives us a long hard look at 'the type of nothingness nobody understands.' As the 'floating world' sink[s] it is an excess of belief that keeps us afloat. Will we be able to tow its weight? Can we adjust these norms by taking the sinking weight of a world on our shoulders?

"What is being modeled for us—what it is that we inherit: 'to take things apart and not necessarily put them back together.' Yet, through these poems, these proposals, the pulse being pumped into a desire for peace and rightness, he (we) are willing to stand up for this! We are actually how the things get put back together."
j/j hastain, author of xyr and secret letters

Click here to read "Occupy This" from City of Tents in The New Verse News.
Click here to read "Hell for Plants" from City of Tents at Edgar Allan Poet.
Click here to rate City of Tents at Goodreads.

Martin Willitts, Jr. receiving the Dylan Thomas
International Poetry Award in Swansea, Wales

Martin Willitts, Jr. is a retired librarian living in Syracuse, New York. He currently evaluates Prior Learning for SUNY Empire State College. He is a Quaker. He is a visual artist of Victorian and Chinese paper cutouts. He was nominated for 5 Pushcart and 4 Best of the Net awards. He provided his hands-on workshop “How to Make Origami Haiku Jumping Frogs” at the 2012 Massachusetts Poetry Festival.

Martin has 5 full-length books and over 20 chapbooks including Art Is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees (Edgar and Lenore's Publishing House) and Swimming In the Ladle of Stars (Kattywompus Press).  He is the winner of the inaugural Wild Earth Poetry Contest for his full length collection Searching for What is Not There (Hiraeth Press).  He won the William K. Hathaway Award for Poem of the Year 2012 and he won the Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award in 2014.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Irises Made of Moth Wings (by Christian O'Keeffe) - CC#56 - OUT OF PRINT

cover foto by Steven B Smith

Free poetry you need to read!

Crisis Chronicles Press presents an inspired 26-page chapbook by the late Christian O'Keeffe (1991-2012).

The first time I met and heard Christian, at the Jawbone poetry festival, I found myself greatly moved and told him I’d love to publish a book of his work. He said he’d be honored and would work on sending me some poems. A year later, he gave me these cut and pasted, photocopied and (when he had revisions) pasted again galleys, a sort of handmade chapbook called Irises Made of Moth Wings, saying this is what he had in mind. I loved the poems. But before we made time to work together on the book, he was gone.  

I had mixed feelings about how to proceed. It was hard. I couldn’t consult Christian, so I set it aside. It took nearly 2 years before I knew what to do. I would photocopy his hand-created galleys, leaving them totally as is, come up with an appropriate cover to bind them, and disseminate his poems freely, as he did.

Irises Made of Moth Wings is offered at no charge in a saddle stapled edition, 8.5" x 5.5", with white cover stock, crimson endpapers and white photocopied pages.  1st edition of 99 copies published 14 September 2014.  ISBN 978-1-940996-09-7.  The book was free, but alas, we are out of copies out as of 30 November 2017.

Christian O’Keeffe lived in Kent, Ohio. His influences included the river, Jim Carroll, Maj Ragain, Jack Micheline, Bob Kaufman, moths, deer, blue heron, Kurt Cobain, Arthur Rimbaud, and that ecstatic act of walking.

Find more of his work online at

Christian O'Keeffe at Jawbone, 6 May 2011 - photo by JB

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Oct Tongue -1 (by Mary Weems, John Swain, Steven Smith, Lady K Smith, Shelley Chernin, John Burroughs and Steve Brightman) - CC#55

cover foto by Smith
Like seven 31-page chapbooks in one!

Published August 27th by Crisis Chronicles Press, Oct Tongue -1 is a collaborative book by Mary Weems, John Swain, Steven Smith, Lady [Kathy] Smith, Shelley Chernin, John Burroughs and Steve Brightman.  This book is our biggest yet, 300+ pages, featuring 217 poems (31 by each author), all written in response to the editor's October 2013 poem-a-day challenge.  [He borrowed the idea from a poem-a-day book called February 03 by Todd Colby, Alex Gildzen, Thurston Moore and Matthew Wascovich (published in 2003 by Slow Toe in Cleveland).]  Oct Tongue -1 is  a 6x9" paperback, ISBN 978-1-940996-08-0, available for $15 (now only $10) from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.  See October through the eyes of seven fine and quite different poets!

Please join us at these special launch events!

8/27/2014: Official Oct Tongue -1 Book Release at Mac's Backs in Cleveland Heights, Ohio
9/1/2014: Monday at Mahall's featuring Ray McNiece and Mary Weems in Lakewood, Ohio
...and perhaps more to be announced soon

About the authors:

Dr. Mary Weems is a poet, playwright, imagination-intellect theorist, social/cultural foundations scholar and former Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights. Weems is the author and/or editor of twelve books and five chapbooks, most notably white (Wick Poetry Chapbook Series) and Tampon Class (Pavement Saw Press). Two of her books were full collections of poetry: An Unmistakable Shade of Red and the Obama Chronicles (Bottom Dog Press, 2008) and For(e)closure (Main Street Rag Press, 2012), both finalists for Ohioana Book awards.

John Swain of Louisville, Kentucky, is the author of several acclaimed books including Rain and Gravestones (2013, Crisis Chronicles), White Vases (2012, Crisis Chronicles) and Prominences (2011, Flutter Press). His latest, Ring the Sycamore Sky, is forthcoming in the summer of 2014 from Red Paint Hill Publishing.

Steven B. Smith was born, is living, will die. He's been a poet 50 years, artist 49 years, the publisher of ArtCrimes, editor of, he blogs on, and sings at Smith & Lady published his bio Stations of the Lost & Found, a True Tale of Armed Robbery, Stolen Cars, Outsider Art, Mutant Poetry, Underground Publishing, Robbing the Cradle, and Leaving the Country in 2012 via The City Poetry Press.

Lady, a.k.a. Kathy Ireland Smith, is a poet, publisher, artist and surreal photographer from northeast Ohio. She and her husband Smith spent 31 months of traveling in 10 countries on 3 continents from 2006-9, and you can follow their ongoing adventures at Kathy is also founder and editor of The City Poetry (, a cutting edge art and poetry zine based in Cleveland.

Shelley Chernin is a freelance researcher, writer and editor of legal reference books and a ukulele enthusiast. Her poems have appeared in places like Great Lakes Review, Scrivener Creative Review, Rhapsoidia, Durable Goods, Big Bridge, and the Heights Observer. She was awarded 2nd Place in the 2011 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest.  Her chapbook, The Vigil, was published in 2012 by Crisis Chronicles.

Steve Brightman lives in Kent, Ohio. He firmly believes in two seasons: winter and baseball. His most recent chapbooks include 13 Ways of Looking at Lou Reed (2013, Crisis Chronicles Press), In Brilliant Explosions Alone (2013, NightBallet Press); Like Michelangelo Sorta Said (2013, The Poet’s Haven), Absent The (2013, Writing Knights Press) and Sometimes, Illinois (2011, NightBallet).

John Burroughs is the founding editor of Crisis Chronicles Press and hosts the Monday at Mahall’s Poetry and Prose Series in Lakewood, Ohio.  He is the author of It Takes More Than Chance to Make Change (2013, The Poet’s Haven), The Eater of the Absurd (2012, NightBallet Press), Barry Merry Baloney (2012, Spare Change Press), Water Works (2012, recycled karma press), Electric Company (2011, Writing Knights) and more.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Night Market - by D.R. Wagner (CC#60)

Art by ReBecca Gozion
Crisis Chronicles Press is thrilled to announce the imminent publication of the legendary D.R. Wagner's new book, The Night Market.  I love everything we've ever published, but if anything can be called the jewel in the Crisis Chronicles crown, this book is it.  Perfect bound, 140 pages, with D.R.'s poetry accompanied by ReBecca Gozion's cover and interior art. In my opinion this is the book of the year.

“I would guess I’ve been reading the poetry of D.R. Wagner for about 15 years now and one of the things that has always struck me is his seemingly effortless ability to blend both classical and modern literary styles and come out on the other side with something completely his own. The pieces in The Night Market offer a glimpse into the ever-changing landscape of his dreams, his heart placed bare on a snow covered rock at dusk, stealing its revolutions back from the sun, bathing in an ethereal river of emotion that will surely leave you breathless, I promise you.”  -John Dorsey, Author of Tombstone Factory.

D.R. Wagner's The Night Market is only $14.99 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.

We also made the first 26 copies of THE NIGHT MARKET available in a special lettered edition signed by D.R. Wagner and ReBecca Gozion. The special edition is sold out.

Photo of D.R. Wagner by Glenda Drew

ISBN: 978-1-940996-05-9

Click here to rate The Night Market at Goodreads.

For more details about the official release party for D.R. Wagner's The Night Market on August 16th 2014 at the Moon Cafe in Locke, California, please see the poster below.

Thank you for supporting the independent literary arts!

D.R. Wagner is the author of over twenty books and chapbooks of poetry and letters. He founded press : today : niagara in Niagara Falls, New York, in 1965 and later Runcible Spoon (press) in the late 1960’s and produced over fifty magazines and chapbooks. He co-wrote The Egyptian Stroboscope with d.a. levy in the late 1960’s. He read with Jim Morrison of the Doors in a legendary reading with Morrison and Michael McClure. and has read with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Al Winans, Viola Weinberg, d.a. levy, E.R. Baxter III, Ed Sanders, Anne Waldman and many, many other poets over the past 40 years. 

His work is much published and has appeared in numerous translations. He has exhibited visual poetry with the likes of William Burroughs, Byron Gysin, Ian Hamilton Finlay, bpNichol, bill bissett, J.F. Bory and John Furnival in venues ranging from The Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, at the Louvre to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. 

He is also a visual artist, producing miniature needle-made tapestries that have been exhibited internationally and are included in numerous publications and museum collections. He is, further, a professional musician, working as a singer-songwriter and playing guitar and keyboards. 

Teaching Design at the University of California at Davis since 1988, he also teaches in the Honors program at the University conducting classes in Poetry by Design. He continues to design interior carpeting and tapestry as well as write, perform and publish poetry regularly.
He currently lives in Locke, California.