Standing Rock Cultural Arts with the support of Wild Goats Cafe


Standing Rock STUDENT POETRY Contest
--Poetry contest for students up to age 18 (or a Senior in high school) residing in Portage or Summit County
--Entry of 1-3 poems – FREE Entry
--Winner(s) will be chosen from each group (by grades: K-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-12)
--Chapbook featuring 1 poem for each entrant/student will be printed and winners will be featured in a special winner’s section (possibly all 1-3 poems published for featured winners)
--Optional reading will be held to showcase poets who want to share poems

WHEN: Submissions accepted: May 15-July 1, 2011; Reading: TBA

CLICK HERE for Entry Form

WHERE: poem entries to SRCA via drop-off or mail at 257 N Water St, Kent OH 44240 or email of electronic submissions to SRCAChapbook@gmail.com with subject line “Student Poetry Contest” and contact information in body of email (no attachments)

WHY: To promote literary and imaginative creative writing pursuits in area children and youth

COST TO ENTRANTS: FREE – student receives book of poems including 1 of their poems


Youth up to age 18 (or a high school senior) residing in Portage or Summit County) can enter 1-3 poems at no fee. Due to the nature of this contest, multiple submissions (i.e., two 3-poem entries totalling 6 poems) cannot be accepted from the same individual.

Poems should contain no foul or offensive language or themes and should be typed on 8.5 x 11 size paper or within a document of same size. Since we encourage the reduction of paper waste, multiple poems can appear on page for this youth contest but must be indicated as different poems. Columns are also acceptable as long as judges can tell where poems and line breaks properly begin and end. Student must include contact information (mailing address, phone number, parent or student email if available, grade, and age for notifications – only name/grade/age will be released in book). All entries will be recycled upon completion of the contest and publication.

Winners will be chosen in divided categories of K-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-12. All students will receive publication of at least one poem (as long as guidelines above are met).

All entrants will receive a chapbook of student poems including one of their selected pieces (see above) and winners will have a feature section in the chapbook. Names, grades, and ages will appear in the publication. No other contact information will be released to the public.

An optional afternoon reading will be held for all participants who wish to attend and/or read their poem, and chapbooks will be distributed at the reading. Those who cannot attend can receive the chapbook at another date/time at the gallery. No participant will be required to read.

Copyrights for all poems will revert to the individual authors upon publication but SRCA will retain the right to print and reprint chapbooks and to quote lines or poems on the SRCA website and in press releases/advertisements with credit given to the applicable individual author(s). Copies of the chapbook may be sold in the future at a small cost without additional compensation to entrants or parents/guardians of entrants.

Please indicate in your mailed, emailed, or dropped-off entry that the parent/guardian and any student 18 or over understands these guidelines.

All events at the NORTH WATER STREET GALLERY (257 N. Water Street, Kent, OH) unless indicated.

Standing Rock Cultural Arts presents: “26th Annual “Jawbone” Open Poetry Reading

Friday May 6, 8pm
-Saturday, May 7, 11am-2pm. Poetry and Pie.
-Saturday, May 7, 8pm.
-Sunday, May 8, 2pm. Potluck/Picnic and Open Poetry (In the Yard by the Gallery)

The North Water Street Gallery. 257 N. Water St.

CONTACT: 330-673-4970


Professor Maj Ragain has been a driving force behind this annual event since it’s inception. For more than twenty-five years, poets have gathered here in Kent, Ohio for a week-end long spring wordfest, a series of open poetry readings, volunteer, self sanctioned, welcoming travelers, local folk, expatriates to this common ground. No mike. No list. The Jawbone open. Well Come.

ABOUT MAJ RAGAIN: Poetry and Creative Writing Professor

Maj Ragain, one of the premiere poetic writers of our fair city of Kent and professor of English and writing at Kent State University, will host the many wondrous voices of people from all over the country this week-end at The 26th Annual Jawbone Poetry Reading.

He is a Creative Writing Professor at Kent State University and hosts monthly Poetry Readings during the school year at The North Water Street Gallery

Dr. Major D. Ragain, an instructor of English at Kent State since 1981, teaches courses such as Creative Writing (introductory and advanced poetry writing workshops), Survey of American Literature 1800 to Present and Survey of American Literature, and Introduction to Poetry, among others. He previously taught in Illinois at Frontier College, Olney Community College and Southern Illinois University and in North Carolina at Winston-Salem State College. He earned his Ph.D. at Kent State in 1990, his master’s at the University of Illinois in 1963 and his bachelor’s from Eastern Illinois University in 1962. Today, Ragain is a successful poet with both written and audio publications.

Ragain received much praise from his peers and students. One student wrote, “Maj is active in the local and regional poetry scene, and his genuine love of the use of language is unprecedented. The energy of genuine love and respect between poet, faculty and students was a once in a lifetime thrill I am honored to have witnessed.” Another student said, “Maj is a selfless professor, and KSU is indeed fortunate to have the dedicated Major Ragain on faculty. I have seen Maj’s positive impact upon students; their self-esteem rockets with astonishing work by semester’s end. He draws the very best out of each and every student. I have the deepest respect for this man.”

One of Ragain’s colleagues said, “A devotion to poetry and its unique power to heal, to unite people around a single purpose, and to create the fire of creative energy in groups of people is characteristic of all of Maj Ragain’s work as writer, teacher and reader. … His classroom is rigorous in its demand that students push the work beyond where they thought they could go with it. He makes innovative assignments, requires a lot of writing and reading of poems, and teaches, by precept and example, the ways in which a life can be grounded in the life of the imagination. …I learn from Maj Ragain every day, and I carry his gifts to my own students and into my own poems.”

In Ragain’s teaching statement he said, “Before I ever taught a class, I came across this sentence in Louis Sullivan’s Kindergarten Chats, a singular book about organic principles in architecture and the forms in which spirit resides. I can still see my hand writing it down in an old notebook, ‘To teach is to touch the heart and impel it to action.’ In 33 years of teaching, that has remained a guiding principle. …I believe that, as a teacher, I am also an apprentice, a learner and in the poet Gary Snyder’s wonderful phrase, ‘a fellow worker in the Buddha fields.’ I often write with my students. Of all the ‘strategies,’ that seems the most fruitful. It brings certitude to the classroom a sense that the teaching is being translated into action, that the work is shared. I am teaching myself to listen."

The Winner of the 1st Annual SRCA Chapbook
and Announcement of SRCA New Literary Series

-We extend congratulations to Jeff Fearnside of Prescott, AZ (formerly of Bowling Green, OH), whose chapbook manuscript “Lake and Other Poems of Love in a Foreign Land” was selected as the winning manuscript! (www.jeff-fearnside.com)

-Coincides with The Launch of SRCA’s “Rock in the River Literary Series.”

Call 330-673-4970
Or email info@standingrock.net

Or buy it using Paypal:

CLICK HERE for more infomation on Rock in the River Literary Series

Standing Rock Cultural Arts is a non profit art and educational organization located at 257 N. Water St. in downtown Kent, Ohio, whose mission is to build community through the arts. We always welcome donations to assist in the operation of our programs, and all donations are tax-deductible. Checks may be mailed to:

257 N Water St
Kent OH 44240
Chapbook inquiries to: SRCAChapbook@gmail.com

Thank you to our current sponsors: The City of Kent, The Kent Environmental Council, The Ohio Arts Council, The Christenson Foundation, The Home Savings Bank, The Hall-Green Insurance Agency, Woodsy's Music, Kent Parks and Recreation, City Bank Antiques, Wild Goat Cafe, Taco Tantos, Rays Place, EcoWatch Journal, Akron Life and Leisure Magazine and the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce.

Thank you for supporting the Arts! Good luck to our chapbook competitors!

Gathered Under the Full Wolf Moon

It has been a couple of years since I’ve heard from Wild Bill Towers,
who once wandered the streets of Kent, now in Mesilla, New Mexico. He
used to call me an old lion and reminded me that every heart is a jewel,
that always we must offer mercy before judgment and never wade in Bitter
Creek. Bill had just bought an teepee and LuAnn and I were welcome to
stay as long as we want. He called with a new poem he’d written, the
kind that never ever turns up in poetry writing workshops, a poem I
could live on for a week. I copied it down.

A young coal miner,
crawling on his belly
with a short, small pick,
had great big balls and a great big dick.
He could see in the dark.
He’d rather cut his wrists
than go underground.
He couldn’t cuss.
God wouldn’t let him
because he had a baby son around.

This is a poem for me. It is all heart, all love, no packaging, no
smirk in behind the knowing. This poem knows what is precious.
Tenderness before mercy.

The midpoint of winter. All downhill toward spring from here. I have
been spending too much money and time these gray, snowy afternoons
playing horses simulcast from around the country. The infernal
satellite dish, that concave blind eye, is bolted to the roof of our
house. It feeds the horse races right into my living room. From palm
tree lined Gulfstream in Miami, from sun kissed Santa Anita in Los
Angeles. I am right there as long as I don’t look out the window here
in Kent into the whiteout. I got a telephone betting account -- $58.41
to the good as of this moment. It is a hard way to make a living. A
strange, capricious god presides over this business. Accept loss
forever and get on with it.

Most days I feel as dumb as a bag of rusted hammers, as boneheaded as
Oedipus searching for himself. Yet I play on, putting my shoulder to
Eziekiel’s wheel, that shining celestial hubcap. My one winner last
night was at Delta Downs. I was in balmy Louisiana, at least during the
8th race. I doubled all my money, short odds. The horse’s name was All
Time, a front runner. Early speed holds up at Delta. It is the
action I love, contending with the faceless god Chance, the god with two
left hands, one open, the other closed. It is squarely between me and him.

And I have been trying to survive the winter by reading Anton Chekhov’s
short stories again. I bought a portable collection of Chekhov stories
at the Last Exit bookstore here in Kent -- for $2.50, used. What does
it mean that a book is ‘used’ and worth less than a new one? Are some
of the words lost or worn out? Lebron James signs a contract with Nike
for ninety million dollars -- and I can buy the sweet fruit of Chekhov’s
genius for $2.50. How do we assign such value to things? What brand of
shoes has that young coal miner got laced on? The dark doesn’t care.

The poet, my friend Mac Lojowsky phoned me from Moscow, his drunken
heart lifting off from California and dragging him across half the
world. I asked him to search for Anton Chekhov’s grave, to thank him
for me. He found it amidst the pomp of the military and politicians,
marble stallions reared, the dead mouths of cannon. Chekhov’s grave is
marked by a simple stone in a galaxy of monuments: Anton Pavlovich
Chekhov, January 17, 1860 - July 2, 1904. Mac spoke my name over his
grave and said he froze his ass off doing it. Today, I write Chekhov’s
words in my notebook:

My holy of holies is the human
body, health, intelligence, talent,
inspiration, love and absolute
freedom -- freedom from violence
and falsehood, no matter how
the last two manifest themselves.

And this, speaking of himself, and for all who wish to be free.

Write how this youth squeezes the
slave out of himself drop by drop,
and how, waking one fine morning,
he feels that in his veins flows
no longer the blood of a slave
but that of a real man.

My work this day: to squeeze the slave out of myself drop by drop and
word by word. Poem by poem. You can’t tell the difference by looking
at me. I squeezed hard today, for a few drops. The work is long.
There is not enough time. Drop by drop. In the cold. In the dark.

Maj Ragain

- An Old Man Lies Down with the Lion

In an old book
of Zen teachings,
I come now across a note,
written in my own hand,
twenty five years ago.

The lion must slay the dragon.
Each scale bears the words,
‘Thou shall.’ When the dragon
is slain, one is reborn as a child.

I was delivered into this world
with the dragon’s egg
nestled in my breast.
I cannot remember the day
it emerged from its shell,
first a peep, later a snarl.
I have felt its hunger
since boyhood.
One midnight it moved its lair
to the lower bitter regions of my soul.
It began to feed on
what I feared and prayed against.
Neither of us knows what it guards or why.

Nights, the dragon climbs my rib ladder
to lay its head against my heart, lulled to sleep
by the drumbeat.
It is prisoner to the heavy coat of mail
which no sword can pierce, prisoner
to the weight of idle years,
the taste of sulphur and ash, the bars of bone.
Its every dream beckons the lion,
the great jaws tearing open the soft underbelly,
releasing the dragon from its troth.

The dragon’s death marks my birthday.
I do not wish to be a child again.

Thou shall lie down with the lion.
Thou shall be reborn as an old man.

Maj Ragain