Elyria, Ohio — 8 Comments

  1. Here are some basics. 100 Thousand Poets for Change, the brainchild of poet Michael Rothenberg, is happening in hundreds of cities around the world on September 24th 2011. To find out more or locate an event near you, visit The following information applies to our Elyria edition of the project.

    Time: Saturday September 24th from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The park closes at dusk, or I’d be happy to go later. One reason we’re starting so early is so we’ll have time for everyone to share.

    Location: Black River Reservation, Bur Oak Picnic Area, 1350 Ford Rd. in Elyria, Ohio. Because there is still a bridge out south of the park, you’ll have to enter Ford Rd. on its northern end (near Interstate 90) instead of its southern end (near the mall). Take I-90 to Elyria. To get there from the east, get off at the Rt. 254 exit. Go a couple of miles west on 254 until you reach Gulf Rd. Turn left on Gulf (you’ll see a “bridge out ahead” sign, but don’t let it deter you) and then immediately veer right onto Ford Rd. In about a mile or so (right before the dead end) you’ll see the park on the right, and we’ll be set up at the very first picnic shelter as you enter — impossible to miss.

    Hotel: Red Roof Inn in Elyria is offering significant discounts to poets attending this event. Call 440-324-4444 and mention poetry to take advantage.

    No Electricity: There will be no electricity or wi-fi at the park. Never fear — the world will keep turning. Homer, Milton, Shakespeare and Whitman did it without microphones and so can we. I’m looking forward to not being as tied to my webcam the whole time as I had to be at some past events — and remember that we had to do the first several hours of our Snoetry 2 marathon in February sans power thanks to a blown transformer downtown. This time we’ll be outside and have natural lighting.

    Schedule: The list of poets and acoustic musicians who will be sharing their work at this event keeps expanding, contracting and otherwise evolving. And flexibility served us very well (indeed it was essential) at Snoetry. So…. While we dispense with the microphone, we will also dispense with any strict schedule. In the spirit of the annual Jawbone poetry festival in Kent and the popular annual “Fuck the format, Get-in-where-you-fit-in” free for all editions of the Lix and Kix Poetry Extravaganza (which we held in Oct. 2009 and Oct. 2010), we won’t have defined reading slots. Come when you like, stay as long as you like, and get up and read/perform when there’s a space and you feel inspired to do so. Read several poems at once or pop in with a poem here and a poem there as you see fit. Break in with your music when the time seems right. This is gonna be totally free and organic — all about community. The poetry and music will go non-stop on the lawn (if it’s dry) or on one end of the pavilion if it’s damp out.

    Food, Drink, Seating: Bring your own everything — it’s pot luck. There are a couple barbeque grills available. I was gonna try to at least bring free drinks for everyone, but my wife’s been off work all summer and I still have no “real” job. Hell, I can’t even afford to renew the license plates for my car (which expired on my birthday four days ago). There are about 24 picnic tables under the pavilion (thanks to Dianne Borsenik for donating the cash to rent it!). There’s also plenty of lawn for blankets and any chairs you might bring. Be advised, so far I hear there’s a 40% chance of rain forecast for this weekend. And as much as I hate to disappoint anybody, alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the park (but we’ll be out by 7 pm).

    Small Presses (or individual artists/authors): Feel free to bring a table or co-opt one under the pavilion to display, sell, trade and/or give away your books, CDs, etc. Here’s your chance to buy good art at a low cost and show love to a poet who might’ve come a long way to attend. And if you’re in the right place at the right time, I can almost guarantee freebies of some sort will fall your way. No one who wants it will walk away without poetry in their hands as well as their ears.

    TRITA Reentry: TRITA’s mission is “to assist and empower those who have been incarcerated and to assimilate them back into the folds of society, where they can become educated and functional family members, coworkers, and productive members of our great society” — a cause I believe in strongly. TRITA will be joining us at the event to hold their big 50/50 raffle drawing at 3 pm. Raffle tickets are $10 apiece and all proceeds will go to helping TRITA perform its important work in our community. If you’re interested in supporting their cause, or just looking for more information, please visit them on Facebook.

    Okay, I’m sure I’ve forgetten something. If you have any questions, please ask in the comments below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

    Facebook page for the Elyria edition of 100 Thousand Poets for Change:

    Peace, love and poetry,
    John Burroughs

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