Underground poet d.a. levy wrote about finding inspiration in the streets of Cleveland amid the turbulence of the 1960s: Most of my thirst/ was quenched by answers/ i brought myself/ still, i suppose/ i never could have found them/ without that spot of light/ on Euclid Ave. Fifty years later, the city remains a great place for writers to find their muse. In honor of National Poetry Month, we asked self-described “creature of her environment” Gail Bellamy and two otherpoets where they find their own spots of light. — Kayla Gatalica
Gail Bellamy (poet)
Cleveland Heights’ fourth Poet Laureate
Inspiration: Food editor by day, poet by night, Bellamy gets her creative juices going by visiting the Metroparks, Lake Erie and local libraries. Often, she follows her taste buds. “Food links us to our neighborhood, childhood, our ethnic heritage,” she says. “Food poems are something a lot of people can relate to.”
SEE HER: April 10, Mac’s Backs in Cleveland Heights, 2 p.m.
Philip Metres (poet)
John Carroll University associate professor
INSPIRATION: Metres looks at how people relate to one another and the places they live. He’s found a niche in Cleveland’s close-knit artist community. “There’s a whole bunch of pockets of poetry, little subcommunities,” he explains. “It’s like we’re this roving band of word slingers and enthusiasts.” Metres is also touched by the way cultural institutions bring the city together. “I have a whole bunch of poems inspired by works at [the Cleveland Museum of Art] and other exhibits around town,” he says.
SEE HIM: April 24, Visible Voice Books in Tremont, 7 p.m.
Sarah Gridley (poet)
Creative Workforce Fellowship recipient
INSPIRATION: Eco buff Sarah Gridley wanders Cleveland’s green spaces in search of inspiration. Her poetic obsession with nature started early. What is now Legacy Village used to be a wooded area, her childhood Eden, she recalls. “My brother likes to say that the Cheesecake Factory landed on our house. Actually, the house is still there, but it’s weird to see all that [development].”
SEE HER: April 19, Case Western Reserve University, 8 p.m.