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Issue Date: November 2005 Issue

Word Up

It's time to listen up, Cleveland.

Thomas Mulready

Words, whether written, sung or spoken, have a special place in Cleveland’s cultural mythology. We have a soft spot for our poets, even those who went on to literary fame elsewhere.

Hart Crane was born and served as a reporter in Cleveland, but his masterwork “The Bridge” was about his life in New York City. Poet d.a. levy published dozens of books, magazines and pamphlets in Cleveland in the ’60s with his own “letterhead hand press.” Langston Hughes was “class poet” at Cleveland’s Central High School before he became a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Daniel

Thompson Way, a street just off Cleveland’s Public Square, was named for the poet laureate of Cuyahoga County, who died last year, ensuring that he remains forever “Famous In The Neighborhood.”

Cleveland’s embrace of rock ’n’ roll includes an appreciation for the musical poets who strum a guitar while enlightening us with their words. Northeast Ohio Rock Hall inductees Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders and Joe Walsh of The Eagles are both guitar-slinging poets who’ve made their mark. And while the scene has cooled off a bit, Cleveland regularly sends competitive slam teams to the national championships. Cleveland’s Performance Art Festival of the ’80s and ’90s consistently presented performance poets and textbased performance art from 24 countries and around the region.

This month, we recommend a diverse sampling of words from unusual and inspired sources. The Kent State Folk Festival is one of the oldest continuously produced events of its kind, while the Word Crafter’s Festival, sponsored by the Poets’ and Writers’ League of Greater Cleveland, is a collaborative effort among 40 sponsoring organizations. Finally, Laurie Anderson’s text-based pieces mix technology with her violin.

Kent State Folk Festival

The event kicks off Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. and runs through Nov. 19. Folk icon Donovan, master singer-songwriters John Gorka and David Francey, The Horse Flies and Ohio’s own Over the Rhine will light up the Kent Stage. Blues Night includes a performance by the Holmes Brothers. Grammy winners Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer will give a special family concert. Check out the complete list at The Kent Stage, 175 E. Main St., Kent

Word Crafter’s Festival: A Celebration of the Written Word

Tour our region’s rich literary community Nov. 12 through 20. Download your Literary Passport online or pick it up at one of the 30 participating venues and get it stamped as you visit each event. See the authors who will be appearing at the Local Author Book Fair at Loganberry Books on Nov. 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. Call (216) 421-0403 or visit for more information. Loganberry Books, 13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights,

Laurie Anderson

This eclectic performance artist appears Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Her solo piece, “The End of the Moon,” examines relationships between war, aesthetics, spirituality and consumerism. For more information, call (216) 741-5555 or visit Playhouse Square Center, Palace Theatre, 1615

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