March 24, 2012

The Poet's Haven presents "Words and Wildflowers" by T.M. Göttl and Zach

"The Poet's Haven presents..." podcast series debuts on April 1st with the premiere of "Words and Wildflowers" by T.M. Göttl and Zach!

The show will be available to download at

T.M. Göttl is the current Vice-President of the Ohio Poetry Association and a member of the Buffalo ZEF Creative Community. She has received a Wayne College Regional Writing Award, a Franklin-Christoph Award, and several Ohio Poetry Day awards. She won first place the first time she competed in a poetry slam, and she is currently competing for a place on the Lake Effect Poetry Slam Team. She has also been heard on 91.3 WAPS and 89.7 WOSU radio. Her work has appeared online and in print, in publications such as Pudding Magazine, Verse Wisconsin, Common Threads, The Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology, Opium Press, The Poet's Haven, Deep Cleveland, The Mill, Waynessence, and others. Her first full-length collection, "Stretching the Window," was published in 2008. Her most recent chapbook is "A Hurricane of Moths," published by NightBallet Press. She lives somewhere between Akron and Cleveland, Ohio, where she writes, performs, eats vegan food, and fosters an affinity for fluffy rodents and birds. (

Zach started on the path of music after a near-death bout of appendicitis when he was 16. Since then, the Cleveland, Ohio native has toured the US (averaging over 200 shows a year), released 12 CDs, and shared the stage with Dave Matthews, Neil Young, the Gin Blossoms, Rusted Root, Blessid Union of Souls, and many more. Armed with a powerful backing band, his inspirational message and exciting stage shows always get the audience moved and uplifted. Zach co-founded the Akron Peace Project and heads the Love Initiative movement. (

"The Poet's Haven presents..." will release a new show every Sunday and Wednesday through the month of April, then will begin a bimonthly schedule in May.

March 17, 2012


The deadline to submit manuscripts for The Poet's Haven Author Series has been extended by 48 hours. While we've received a number of amazing submissions, we still want more! (MORE! MORE!) (Yes, I've been listening to music from The Rocky Horror Show.) You now have until midnight Monday night / Tuesday morning to e-mail your submissions. That's Eastern US time for those of you not in my local vicinity. The window closes at that time and won't reopen for another year or year-and-a-half. STOP PROCRASTINATING!!!

The submission call and guidelines can be found here:

March 6, 2012

Primary Voting in Ohio...

I've never before taken issue with the electronic voting machines Ohio has adopted. Sure, there's the potential for hacking and voter fraud, but the Board of Elections takes steps to prevent that. They've created a mess in some neighboring counties when fraud was discovered, but the fact was that the fraud WAS discovered. I've never had a problem with electronic voting. Until today.

So it turns out that these electronic, touch-screen voting machines do not allow you to cast a write-in vote for a presidential candidate not on your state's ballot. The ability to cast a write-in vote is kinda important in this country. Past presidents have used write-in campaigns to win primaries. See the Wikipedia page for a list of notable write-in campaigns and victories.

I've not exactly been quiet about how disappointed I've been with President Obama. Rather than taking office and kicking ass, making the changes we elected him to make and leading this country far, far back to the left (which would actually put us back in the center, after everything shifted so far past conservative during the Bush Jr. years), he's been all about compromise. The big highlight his people keep pointing to is, "Oh, we passed health-care reform!" No, you didn't. You passed a bill that could've been written by Karl Rove, it was so tailored to the desires of the major insurance companies. You passed a health-care bill that failed to create the single-payer option that over 70% of the people in this country want. Every issue, Obama has said, "We'll meet you half-way." When the Rethuglicans reply "no," he then says, "Okay, how about we come half-way again?" "No." And so it goes until what finally passes is so skewed to the right that it doesn't do anything that it was intended to do. (And then the Rethuglicans continue to bitch and moan about how awful the "liberal" bill is.) But I digress.

Obama isn't going to lose the Democratic primary in any state. That's a given. But it would send a loud and clear message that we're not happy with what he's done thus-far if, say, 8 to 10% of the Democratic primary ballots voted for another candidate. Personally, I've become a fan of a guy named Vermin Supreme. Vermin Supreme is campaigning on a call for mandatory teeth-brushing laws, free ponies for everyone to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and plans to utilize zombies and turbines to produce electricity. He admits his campaign is not "reality based" and is aggressively trying to win second place. Right now, that's who I want to vote for.

After sliding my card into the Diebold voting machine, I discover that Obama is the only name listed on the ballot for president. Then I find that there is no method of casting a write-in vote. I ask the poll workers how one goes about casting a write-in vote. They do not know. They quickly get on the phone with someone at the county Board of Elections who tells them to have me cast a provisional ballot. Okay. The provisional ballot form is set up to be read by a computer and also does not provide any space to cast a write-in ballot. This is a problem.

In the end, I wrote Vermin Supreme's name in the space beside Obama's and did not color in the oval bubble. Whether this get counted, I do not know. Honestly, I doubt it will get counted. Of everything else on the ballot, only one position had more than one person running. If my votes do not get counted, it won't affect any results. But that is not the point. Every vote should be counted, and the machines need to be equipped with a method of writing in a candidate who is not on the ballot. I think this is going to be one of my hot-button topics for the next four years.

March 4, 2012

CD Review: "A Light in the Distance" by Meganne Stepka

Meganne Stepka is a muse. There's no other word for it. She stands in a gallery with the likes of Tori Amos and Shirley Manson, singers that I can turn on and find the inspiration I need to pursue my own creative ventures.

The work found on "A Light in the Distance" is astonishing. That some of these tracks were composed live, "freestyle," is mind-blowing. Nothing sounds unprepared.

My one criticism of Glass Audrey's "Little Waves" was that too much electronic filtering had been added to Meganne's voice. When asking me to review this new album, Meganne told me she was curious what I'd think, since this was a completely low-tech recording, just her and a video camera. As a "sound-guy," someone who handles audio equipment for live events and has handled the sound board for bands and demo recording, I may be a bit too picky about where the happy-medium is for sound quality. Meganne's camera has captured the purity of her voice and performance, but also allows too much background noise into the mix. During the first track, "Unlearn," I find myself imagining how I'd set up for the recording, where I would've adjusted the sound board levels before running the audio to the camera's mic input. But that's what sound-guys do. By the time "A Magical Place" is playing, I've finished adjusting my stereo's EQ and simply immerse myself in the music.

Recommended listening method: Either on a stereo with a good EQ mixer or on an iPod with the EQ set to "Rock," sitting in a comfortable recliner in a dark room with no distractions.