Heights Arts celebrates National Poetry Month

Poets John Burroughs and Molly Fuller reading ekphrastic poetry at Heights Arts.

Heights Arts has decided to extend the two-year term of current Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate Ray McNiece for an additional year.

Rachel Bernstein, Heights Arts executive director, said, “Ray’s original appointment unfortunately corresponded directly with the onset of the pandemic. He, and therefore the community members, were deprived of his being able to fully participate in the position. We are very pleased that he has accepted our offer to serve for an additional year, and very much look forward to his contributions in the coming year."

McNiece is eager to make the most of his last year as poet laureate, and said, “I’m looking forward for the opportunity to resume community programming in person that we were unable to fully implement during the pandemic. Spring is a great time of renewal. There is much good work left to be done.”

Heights Arts will offer two poetry events in celebration of poetry month: the popular program "Ekphrastacy–Artists Talk and Poets Respond," on Thursday, April 21; and the final of four Haiku Hikes in celebration of Cleveland Heights’ centennial, on Saturday, April 23.

The Ekphrastacy evening on April 21, at 7 p.m., is inspired by the current exhibition, Figurative/Abstract, along with the accompanying spotlight exhibition featuring photographs by Jane Alexander.

Figurative/Abstract explores the story told by the interplay between figurative and abstract artistic modes, while Alexander’s depictions of Lake Erie from her balcony evoke the psychological states experienced by one woman beholding the vast presence of nature during uncertain times.

The event invites poets Shelley Chernin, Amy Hughes, Michael Loderstedt, and McNiece to raise their literary voices in response to the work on display, in a public conversation.

Hughes stated, “I find it energizing and inspiring to hear from and work with other artists who are as passionate about their work as I am about mine, even though we may not share the same medium.”

How will poets from the same timeline perceive the iterations of a lake landscape that deeply moved Alexander, or interpret the work of the Figurative/Abstract artists? The audience and artists alike can find out on April 21 at Heights Arts.

For more information on Heights Arts programs and events, including the April 23 Haiku Hike, visit www.heightsarts.org.

Tom Masaveg

Tom Masaveg is a local public artist specializing in augmented reality installation and graphite works on paper. He's also the programs manager at Heights Arts. Contact him at programs@heightsarts.org.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:55 AM, 04.02.2022