Nov 30, 2007 Toledo Free Press story :
Konop said :
Shouldn't it be: "Show Lucas County to be a progressive county that promotes the arts ..."
Or is this a county initiative meant to only promote Toledo?
More from the TFP story :
The county hopes to announce its choice for the position by the end of December, and is proposing a large-scale celebration/exhibit of the laureate's works by April in honor of national poetry month.A number of possible candidates have been talked about for the position, including university professors and seasoned published writers, though no definite choice has been made about who will be the first to be appointed to the post. While a number of nationally known poets have been discussed, Konop said he fully intends on picking a local writer as a means of promoting community pride.
This area has a good spoken-word scene. Poetry was on display again at this past September's Artomatic 419 event.
I used to run a Web site called ToledoArts.com. Here's a copy of that site's home page from June 2004 that I kept for some reason. One post on that page points to a Feb 22, 2004 Toledo Blade story titled Poetry in motion: The spoken word of creativity is still a vibrant art form locally. Some excerpts from a good article :
On at least three or four days a week in Toledo and the Bowling Green area, poets can be heard during invitationals or at open mike sets in a variety of venues ranging from coffeehouses, jazz clubs, Greek restaurants, wine shops, university classrooms, and in art museums and galleries.
"You don't have to be a poet to write poetry. The expression is out there and there are now venues that are making it thrive ... that creates a culture," said poet Michael Hayes, 25, who in 1999, with six other poets became The Renaissance, a group of young people who performed on Tuesday evenings at a downtown nightspot, Murphy's Place.
Dusseau, who often writes poetry about relationships, humor, and the poetic nature of the industrial scenery of her hometown Toledo, said the importance of poetry is great, especially for writers. She incorporates an "open mike" at the close of each of her classes for students to express themselves about any topic.
Poet R.E. Braziel, 37, said he is not surprised by what he calls the Toledo area's "poetic renaissance. "Now that there are venues like Mano's and Maxwell's [Brew], you have a bunch of people with something to say and there are a lot of good poets, whether you have a couple of lines written down or a rhyme scheme or not, it doesn't have to be technically perfect," said Braziel, an employee at Owens Community College.Braziel, known in poetry sets for his poems "Manifest Destiny" and "America's Nightmare," often conducts invitationals and youth poetry workshops under the title The Inner City Inkwell. He and poet Chareese Whitaker, 28, whose stage name is "Rhapsodi," perform together locally and across the region as the duo VerbaLibation. Whitaker, who describes herself as a "raging Christian," said she often infuses singing and issues surrounding her faith and love in her poetry. Even though her stage name is Rhapsodi, other poets often refer to her as "The Love Poet."
In that February 2004 ToledoArts.com posting, I listed some local venues that held open-mic/poetry readings :
Brewed Awakenings, every other Monday night, 8:00 p.m.
Mano's Greek Restaurant, every Thursday, 8:00 p.m.
The Original Sub Shop and Deli, readers and an open mic on the 3rd Saturday of the month.It's All Good Jahva House on Adams street used to have open mic on Friday nights, but the coffeehouse closed this winter.
I think the coffee shops still hold spoken-word nights, but an updated list for the area needs to be created.
Here was a recent Metroparks event called Open MIC Youth Sessions :
Hylife Media Group puts together events of all kinds including jazz, hip hop, spoken word, funk, soul and reggae. You looking for art? You have come to the right people! Their first event: The Tipping Point was a success; bringing together slam poetry and hip hop into one night to celebrate the who's who's of wordsmith in Toledo, OHio.The group hosts an open mic POETRY venue every TUESDAY at The Club Prestige in Downtown Toledo right next to the Amtrack station from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. You can come out and here the dopest poets of Ohio and surrounding areas, and you can express yourself and share your own art with people who appreciate it. Get there on time, the list will fill up quickly.
Madd Poets Society
About the Madd Poets Society :
The goal of Madd Poets Society's Youth Program is to expose at-risk teens to a positive and well-rounded environment. Through the gift of self-expression and the appreciation of the cultural arts, participants are encouraged to embrace the possibilities of one's self-worth and challenged to succeed. Knowing that today's youth have long been immersed in hip-hop culture, the elements of poetry, rap and song are utilized as learning tools. With the benefits of long-term mentoring and working in small groups, students are introduced to a vast support system designed to enhance social development and creativity.
TV for local writers
On that old ToledoArts.com home page from 2004 was a posting about an initiative by local author Warren Woodberry who I've enjoyed meeting in the past. From the May 2004 Toledo City Paper article :
They all have latched onto the hopes that Warren Woodberry, author of "For We Are Strangers," will bring to life his idea for a local TV book-review talk show. His letters to area newspapers spawned dozens of responses from local writers in need of a medium for promotion and discussion in this city, a place Woodberry says is often stalled in its goal to become a "cultural icon."
"The city wants to promote arts and culture, but there seems to be a disconnect here," Woodberry said. "Here are people that are talented enough to write a book and they’re from the city. If the city needs to become a cultural icon, it needs to recognize its talented people."
He had seen enough national authors philosophizing about their writing on shows like “Oprah” or C-Span’s "Booknotes," ending up with soaring book sales. He decided locals needed some TV time and, after formulating a plan for a six-week pilot, walked into Thackeray’s Books at 3301 W. Central Ave., with the hope Chris Champion, the store’s public relations director, would agree — and he did.
"I thought it would absolutely work right away," Champion said. "I have probably 150 authors that I carry on consignment — local, self-published authors. These are authors that don’t get another opportunity, don’t get another venue to merchandise their material."
With plans for a union between local talent and television under way, Woodberry has begun to present his plan for a one-hour forum for authors, playwrights, poets, journalists and English professors who have all shown a "willingness to be on this show" to possible pilot sponsors.
If the letters are any indication, the literary talent around town seems to have latched on to the concept. With Woodberry’s talk-show-host candor, Toledo’s pending "elegant city" status could be found on the airwaves of public television. "It’s not just about putting people on television to talk about their work," Woodberry explains, "but also encouraging the talent and increasing pride (and job prospects) in the city."
"There is talent here in this city from all colors, all creeds, all age groups," Woodberry said. He is most enthusiastic about the city’s "potential." He emphasizes this when he leans forward in his chair, sits up to say it and attach it to the future "holy Toledo renaissance."With consultants coming and going through Toledo to tell people that these capabilities of the arts exist, Woodberry is craving the flavor and knowledge only locals can provide. " Sometimes," he begins, leaning forward again to let me in on another truth, "what you need is right at your doorstep."
Holy Toledo Creative Class
HTCC was started back in 2004 by Warren Woodberry and Steve Athanas, the former Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Toledo City Paper.
From a September 2004 Toledo Talk posting :
I attended several of these gatherings and listened to local poets read their published work. One of the local poets I met was A. S. Dodge who read from his book A Place to Call Home.
Does a directory exist that lists all the local, published writers?