Glass City Muse: For the recordWritten by John Dorsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Everywhere we turn, history is being made. Our cultural landscape is ever changing and modern poetry is helping lead the way. This month marks the return of the celebrated winter word fest known as Snoetry. Now its second year, the event is hoping to go on the record, or at least the record books with 150 hours of continuous poetry. Presented in conjunction with Lakewood’s popular Lix & Kix reading series, the festival was founded by hosts John Burroughs and Dianne Borsenik. Snoetry, which got its start at the now defunct Last Wordsmith Book Shoppe in Northeast, Pennsylvania, now makes its home in Jim’s Coffeehouse and Diner in Elyria. I myself recently braved the snow covered highways to experience this prime example of poetry in motion.
While this high octane caffeine fueled odyssey may sound a bit odd, it is nothing new. Just last year I hopped in the car and headed to Kansas City, where a similar event was taking place at the famed Prospero’s Bookstore. That reading, which lasted somewhere around 120 hours, was certified by the fine folks at Guinness and to my knowledge, stands as the current record holder. While I was happy to represent for Toledo, this time out I wasn’t alone. This year’s Snoetry also featured the talents of Craig Firsdon and Covert Press founder Michael D. Grover. Last year’s features also included local poet Gary Bond.
Snoetry almost didn’t happen this year. True to its name, the festival was nearly a casualty of the season, with numerous cancellations and power outages. The founders were forced to fill a number of open slots at the last second and even read by candlelight just to keep things moving.
Does it really matter if the folks at Snoetry make into the halls of literary history? Well, that depends on your perspective, though from where I’m typing, much larger goals have already been accomplished. Poets and publishers from all over the country are pouring into Ohio, not only to share their thoughts, but to network on a professional level that is sure to lead to an artistic collaboration or two. That said, I’m pulling for them. A few visiting publishers at this year’s festival included Brian Fugett from the webzine www.zygoteinmycoffee.com and Lynn Alexander from Full of Crow Press. The festival offers all poets the opportunity to share their work, no matter what their background or creative experience.
The feedback from festival attendees, at least while I was there, was overwhelmingly positive, with readers speaking on a number of different issues including love, global politics, and mental health awareness. One of the things that were stressed over and over again was that Ohio is quickly becoming one of the centers of literary renaissance in this country. As someone who has done more than his fair share of traveling in the name of art, I couldn’t agree more and for those people that wonder about the economic value of the arts, this festival is a testament to creativity blending together with commerce to boost local business.
The dates for this year’s Snoetry were February 2-8. For those who weren’t able to attend, there’s always next year or you can always attend the next Lix and Kix extravaganza or better yet, why not start your own festival and become part our region’s expanding literary tradition.
Jim’s Coffeehouse and Diner is located in Elyria at 2 Kerstetter Way. Jim’s is also the home of the weekly PoetryElyria reading series. Lix and Kix readings are held every third Wednesday from 7-10pm at the Bela Dubby Art Gallery and Beer Café in Lakewood. All events are free and open to the public. Hope to see you there.
Until next time…keep your pencil sharp.
John Dorsey resides in Toledo’s Old West End. His work is widely published and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.