The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Poetry In Springtime

Posted over 3 years ago by April S

Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels and Poetry | Tagged with authors , open mic night, Poems, poetry, Toledo School for the Arts and TSA

What comes to mind when you think of springtime in Ohio? For some it may conjure up images of birds singing, flowers blooming and sunny skies. For others, spring may inspire an awakening of the creative spirit. If you’re a poet, you may have a renewed desire to get out and share your work and connect with others. No matter what spring brings to mind for you – we hope you’ll take advantage of our events slated for March, April and May 2016.

The Spring 2016 Poetry Speaks series incorporates an eclectic mix of programs designed to engage and entertain the community at large. We have 7 programs slated for the series including readings from local and regional poets, Lucas County Poet Laureates (past and present), poetry with music, and Open Mic Nights. Authors! Authors! will feature Luis J. Rodriguez, Los Angeles Poet Laureate, on April 14th. And if that’s not enough to satisfy your passion for poetry, there’s Ode to the Zip Code, a community-wide poetry contest and event.

Poetry Speaks featuring Lorraine Cipriano and Kayla Marie Williams

Thursday, March 24, 2016 | 7-8 p.m.
Main Library, Huntington Meeting Room
325 Michigan Street
Toledo, OH 43604

Lorraine Cipriano and Kayla Marie Williams are the founding members of the popular literary series Women Unbound, which features women writers from or now living in Northwest Ohio/Southwest Michigan. Women Unbound meets regularly at the Sanger Branch Library in Toledo, Ohio. Toledo City Paper named both Lorraine and Kayla Best Literary Artists for 2013. To learn more about Women Unbound, check them out on Facebook.
Lorraine Cipriano Award-winning poet Lorraine Cipriano (photo by Alexandria Mitchell) is currently the editor of the Ohio section of The Poets Without Limits Magazine. Her work appears in the following publications by Writing Knights Press: Unbound; The Squire: Grand Tournament III Anthology; Page-A-Day Poetry Anthology 2015; 1,000 Paper Cranes; Writing Knights Press 2014 Anthology and The Squire: Grand Tournament IV Anthology. Her work also appears in the Toledo Poetry Project: Volume 1 Issue 3 by Mara Dauterman. In November 2015, she released her second chapbook titled Out on the Streets by Writing Knights Press. Lorraine is a huge fan of Haikus and was published in the 50 Haikus, Volume 1 Issue 8 anthology by Prolific Press and has a mini-chapbook, Haikus Gone Wild, that is printed and distributed for free by Poems for All. Check out Lorraine on
Kayla Marie Williams
Kayla Marie Williams was born in Austin, Texas. She has a B.A. from Oberlin College and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. Kayla hosts a freeform music show called Radio Alchemy on 88.3 FM WXUT every Friday night from 10pm-Midnight EST. Radio Alchemy won a Best Music Show Award from Radioflag in both Fall 2013 and Spring 2015. The Toledo City Paper listed Kayla as runner-up for Best Literary Artist in 2014 and 2015 in its annual Best of Toledo edition. Kayla is currently working on her first novel. Check out Kayla on

Poetry Speaks : Open Mic Nights

Select Thursdays* | 7-8 p.m. 
Main Library, Huntington Room
325 Michigan Street
Toledo, OH  43604
Open Mic Open Mic Nights provide an encouraging space for novices and veterans alike to explore the world of poetry. Join us in Main Library’s Huntington Room on the last Thursday of the month during March and May 2016. Sign-up for a 5 minute time slot between 6:15 pm and 6:45 pm. To be fair to all, late arrivals (after 7 pm) will not be permitted to read and time limits will be strictly enforced. Lewd lyrics, profanity or strong sexual content are not allowed during poetry performances. The Poetry Speaks series is FREE, open to all ages and no registration is required. For more information, please call 419.259.5218 or email

*Spring 2016 Open Mic Nights: March 31 and May 26

Poetry Speaks featuring Regional Poets with the Bowling Green band Indian Opinion

Thursday, April 7, 2016 | 7-8 p.m. 
Main Library, McMaster Center
325 Michigan Street
Toledo, OH  43604

Join us for an eclectic evening as the Bowling Green rock band Indian Opinion, Abigail Cloudand a selection of Northwestern Ohio poets creatively weave together music and poetry.
Abigail Cloud Abigail Cloud, a native of Bath, Michigan, holds a BA in English from Michigan State University and an MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from Bowling Green State University. Her first collection, Sylph, won the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize and was published by Pleiades Press in early 2014. Her poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, Gettysburg Review, Cincinnati Review, Copper Nickel,and other literary journals. With a background in dance, Abigail is interested in combining choreography with poetry, and the effect that forms of the body have on the written word. A longtime faculty advisor for the Graduate Writers Club, she now also advises Prairie Margins, the undergraduate literary journal published by this student organization. She is Editor-in-Chief of Mid-American Review.

Indian Opinion Indian Opinion is comprised of guitarist/singer Mark Dylan, bassist/poet Benji Katz, trumpeter Connor Mancini and drummer JP Stebal IV. Their music is a blend of Rock n’ Roll, Jazz, Funk and Hip-Hop. Since the fall of 2014 they have performed at a variety of venues including 20th Century Theatre (Cincinnati, Ohio), Howard’s Club H (Bowling Green, Ohio), the Ottawa Tavern (downtown Toledo, Ohio), Churchill’s Food & Spirits (Flint, Michigan) and house shows in upstate New York.

Poetry Speaks featuring Joel Lipman and Jim Ferris

Monday, April 11, 2016 | 6-8 p.m. 
 Main Library, McMaster Center
325 Michigan Street
Toledo, OH  43604

Join us as past and present Lucas County Poet Laureates share their poetry and experiences with us followed by a Q&A session.
Joel Lipman Born in Washington, DC and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Joel Lipman studied at the universities of Wisconsin and SUNY-Buffalo under master poets Gwendolyn Brooks, James Wright, John Logan and Robert Creeley.

Inaugural Poet Laureate of Lucas County [2008-2013] and Emeritus Professor of English, for 41 years Joel taught aspiring writers at the University of Toledo and Columbia College-Chicago, as well as periodically at the Toledo Museum of Art School of Art & Design. In 2013, Mr. Lipman founded the ABRACADABRA Studio of Poetics with the objective of teaching individual poets and small groups outside the academy curriculum.

Five-time recipient of Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist fellowships in Poetry and founding co-director of the Toledo Poets Center, Joel’s poetry honors include the Ohio Governor’s Award as an Individual Artist, and Fulbright, Harry Ransom Humanities Center and Lilly Library fellowships. In 2011, he received the Ohioana State Library Pegasus Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry.

Lipman’s slammed at Chicago’s Green Mill and read at universities and community literary venues nationwide. His books are limited editions and rare – small press, fine print broadsides and chapbooks, including Mercury Vapor Lamp {Ocooch Mountain Press]; Chicago, You Got a Wide Stance [Piirto Press]; “My Love Is” & Provocateur [Bloody Twin Press]; Machete Chemistry/Panades Physics, co-authored with Yasser Musa [Cubola New Art Foundation]; Glass Will: an anthology of Toledo Poetseditor and contributor [Toledo Poets Center Press]; The Real Ideal [Luna Bisante Prods] and Ransom Notes [Obscure Publications]. Active for decades as a mail artist and visual poet, his scholarly and visual literary work appears online at the Light & Dust Anthology of Poetry and Poetry Foundation websites. “A legendary visual poet,” as noted by the Poetry Foundation, Joel’s unique visual poems are distinguished by publication in 2008 and 2011 in Poetry Magazine.

Joel and his wife, Cynthia Landrum Lipman, reside in Toledo, Ohio, and Northport, Maine. He remains active in the artistic community, judging poetry contests and working closely with the Toledo Arts Commission to bring poetry front and center. Perhaps you’ve seen poetry on sidewalks or buses – you better bet Joel played a part in bringing those projects to fruition.

Want to learn more about Joel Lipman?

Jim Ferris was born in Cook County, Illinois. He holds a doctorate in performance studies from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Ferris is the current Poet Laureate of Lucas County [2015-2017] as well as a professor and Endowed Chair of Disability Studies at the University of Toledo.

Jim has had a wide-variety of life experiences that have no doubt served as inspiration for his poetry including working as a gas station jockey, musician, guitar instructor, comedian, newspaper reporter and television producer. An award-winning poet and performance artist, he is the author of Slouching Toward GuantanamoFacts of Life, and The Hospital Poems, which won the Main Street Rag Award in 2004. Ferris has won awards for creative nonfiction, mathematics and teaching. He is respected worldwide for his work in disability studies and often cited in articles and essays on the subject. In 2011, he contributed to Beauty is a Verb: the new poetry of disability.

Ferris has performed at the Kennedy Center and across the United States, Canada and Great Britain; recent performance work includes the solo performance piece “Scars: A Love Story.” His writing has appeared in numerous publications, ranging from the Georgia Review to Text & Performance Quarterly, from the Michigan Quarterly Review to weekly newspapers.

Want to learn more about Jim Ferris?

Authors! Featuring Luis Rodriguez

Thursday, April 14, 2016 | 7-8:30 p.m. 
Main Library, McMaster Center
325 Michigan Street
Toledo, OH 43604
Join us for Authors! featuring Luis Rodriguez, an award-winning poet, best-selling author and current Poet Laureate of Los Angeles (appointed in 2014). Authors! is a program run by the Toledo Lucas County Public Library in coordination with the Toledo Blade to bring relevant speakers to the Toledo area inspiring culture. Tickets are $10 ($8 for students) and can be purchased online or at any of the Toledo Library locations while supplies last. For more information on this event, call 419.259.5200 or visit us online.
Luis J. Rodriguez Rodriguez is convinced that a writer can change the world. He is known for helping to start a number of prominent organizations — such as Chicago’s Guild Complex, one of the largest literary arts organizations in the Midwest; Rock a Mole (rhymes with guacamole) Productions which produces music and art festivals, CDs and film; and Youth Struggling for Survival, a Chicago-based non-profit community group working with gang and non-gang youth. He is one of the founders of the small poetry publishing house Tia Chucha Press, as well as Tia Chucha’s Café & Centro Cultural—a bookstore, coffee shop, art gallery, performance space, and workshop center in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles. Luis also conducts workshops, readings, and talks in prisons, juvenile detention facilities, universities, migrant camps, Native American reservations,  conferences, public and private schools, and homeless shelters. He addresses the complex but vital issues of race, class, gender, and personal rage through dialogue, story, poetry, and art.

Luis J. Rodriguez’s honors include Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, Lannan Fellowship for Poetry, Poetry Center Book Award, PEN/Josephine Miles Literary Award, Patterson Young Adult Boook Award, Parent’s Choice Book Award, Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature, California Arts Council fellowship and several Illinois Arts Council fellowships. He is the co-editor of Rushing Waters, Rising Dreams: How the Arts Are Transforming a Community with Denise M. Sandoval, which was named a Bronze Winner by the Independent Publishers of America, and won the 2013 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. He was also one of 50 leaders worldwide selected as “Unsung Heroes of Compassion,” presented by the Dalai Lama.

Books by Luis J. Rodriguez

Always running : la vida loca, gang days in L.A. / Luis J. Rodriguez
It calls you back : an odyssey through love, addictions, revolution, and healing / Luis Rodriguez
My nature is hunger : new & selected poems, 1989-2004 / by Luis J. Rodríguez
Trochemoche : poems / by Luis J. Rodriguez

419 Day – Ode to the Zip Code

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 | 6-8 p.m. 
Main Library, McMaster Center
Toledo, OH  43604
Visit The Arts Commission online to enter your zip ode, but hurry … the deadline is April 1, 2016.

Poetry Speaks: Poetry JAM

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 6:30-8 pm
Kent Branch Library
3101 Collingwood Blvd.
Toledo, OH 43610

Join us for what’s sure to be a fun evening as students from the Toledo School for the Arts meld together Jazz and poetry in celebration of National Poetry Month and JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month). Presented in partnership with The Library Legacy Foundation, The Tatum Center and the Toledo Lucas County Public Library.

Toledo School for the Arts has been rated Excellent by the Ohio Department of Education and has received national attention as a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School, a Bronze level recognition by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s top high schools and Charter School of the Year by the Center for Education Reform. The Ohio Superintendent of Education, Susan Zelman, named TSA a School of Promise.

Logos for Toledo Lucas County Public Library, The Library Legacy Foundation, Tatum Center, Toledo School for the Arts

Poetry Speaks featuring Robin Coste Lewis

Thursday, April 28, 2016 | 6:30-8 p.m. 
Main Library, McMaster Center
325 Michigan St.
Toledo, OH  43604

Join us for a very special Poetry Speaks, sponsored by The Library Legacy Foundation, featuring Robin Coste Lewis. Her book, Voyage of the Sable Venus, won the National Book Award in 2015. Local poets Jonie McIntire, Kerry Trautman, Benji Katz and Jim Ferris (Lucas County Poet Laureate 2015-2017) will open the program.
Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable VenusRobin Coste Lewis is a Provost’s Fellow in Poetry and Visual Studies at the University of Southern California. She is also a Cave Canem fellow and a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. She received her MFA in poetry from NYU, and an MTS in Sanskrit and comparative religious literature from the Divinity School at Harvard University. A finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award, she has published her work in various journals and anthologies, including The Massachusetts Review, Callaloo, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Transition: Women in Literary Arts, VIDA, Phantom Limb, and Lambda Literary Review, among others. She has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, Hampshire College, and the NYU Low-Residency MFA in Paris. Lewis was born in Compton, California; her family is from New Orleans.

Robin Coste Lewis's Voyage of the Sable Venus is a meditation on the cultural depiction of the black female figure.  Juxtaposing autobiography with art-historical constructs of racial identity, she defines and creates self. In poems that consider the boundaries of beauty and terror, Coste Lewis intimately involves us with all that has formed her. The aesthetic and psychological complexity of this work is underscored by its clarity.  This voice is essential to our present moment.

The Poetry Speaks series began in 2010 in large part due to the vision of Dr. Joel Lipman, Emeritus Poet Laureate of Lucas County [2008-2013] and retired English professor from the University of Toledo. The readings were designed to showcase the talent of performing poets in the region. Undoubtedly, the series can expect continued excellence and growth thanks to nurturing relationships with The Arts Commission, The University of Toledo, and many other local organizations and individuals committed to growing the arts in Toledo.

The Poetry Speaks series is FREE, open to all ages and no registration is required. There is a charge for Authors Authors ($10 general admission/$8 for students). For more information on any of our spring poetry events, please call 419.259.5218 or email

Featured Image Credit: Colorful Spring Garden - Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons license.

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