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VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change Event Set for 11/15 in Canton

UPublish story by Vertigo Xi'an Xavier

The Poet's Haven will hold the fourth annual "VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change" event on November 15th at Canton's Karma Cafe. The show will feature music by Zach and poetry by Kazim Ali and Vernell Bristow.

"VENDING MACHINE: Poetry for Change" is a special poetry anthology published annually by The Poet's Haven themed around Gandhi's quote "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." The book is edited by T.M. Göttl and Vertigo Xavier, and features poetry from authors not only in north-east Ohio but from all around the globe. The book is not available for sale, but is instead offered in exchange for donations to the Poetic Provisions Food-Drive at a special open-mic event. This year's show will be at Karma Cafe (4339 Dressler Road NW, Canton, OH) on November 15th at 6:30 PM.

Kazim Ali is a poet, essayist, fiction writer, and translator. His books include several volumes of poetry, including "Sky Ward" (Wesleyan University Press, 2013), "The Far Mosque" (winner of Alice James Books' New England/New York Award), "The Fortieth Day" (BOA Editions, 2008), and the cross-genre text "Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities" (Wesleyan University Press, 2009). He has also published a translation of "Water's Footfall" by Sohrab Sepehri (Omnidawn Press, 2011) and (with Libby Murphy) "L'amour" by Marguerite Duras (Open Letter Books, 2013). His novels include "Quinn's Passage" (BlazeVox Books, named one of "The Best Books of 2005? by Chronogram Magazine) and "The Disappearance of Seth" (Etruscan Press, 2009), and his books of essays include "Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence" (University of Michigan Press, 2010) and "Fasting for Ramadan" (Tupelo Press, 2011). In addition to co-editing "Jean Valentine: This-World Company" (University of Michigan Press, 2012), he is a contributing editor for the "AWP Writers Chronicle" and associate editor of the literary magazine "FIELD" and founding editor of the small press "Nightboat Books." He is an associate professor of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Oberlin College.

Vernell Bristow was born in Hamilton, Ohio and began writing poetry while a student at Denison University. She moved to Columbus in 1994 to attend graduate school at OSU. She is a co-founder of Writers' Block Poetry, which presents open-mics and slams in Columbus. She has competed at six National Poetry Slams, three Women of the World Poetry Slams, and two Individual World Poetry Slams. She is co-host of "Speaking of Poetry," an online radio show broadcasting on She also performs with Tiffani Smith and Izetta Nicole as The Secrets of Oshun.

Zach has spent the last few years in the midst of a spiritual and personal quest that has lead him to the works of Gandhi, Tolstoy, and Martin Luther King. A new door opened inside him as he read about the work for nonviolence within and without. With a friend, he created the Akron Peace Project to spread nonviolence in the self, the home, and the community. It has made leaps and bounds in its short existence. Coupled with his Love Initiative movement, his naturally hopeful and optimistic music has been able to lend its voice to the power we all have to change ourselves and the world.

The Poet's Haven is a small press and online lit journal established in 1997 and based out of Massillon, Ohio. In addition to publishing chapbooks and poetry anthologies, they also organize open-mic events around north-east Ohio including Stardust Poetry at Karma Cafe, and sponsor Lake Effect Poetry, north-east Ohio's National Poetry Slam team.

The Poetic Provisions Food-Drive originated with several poetry shows throughout north-east Ohio that took part in 2010's Music for Meals food-drive. In 2011, the poetry shows decided to band together once again to help feed the hungry by collecting donations for Foodbank. Donations to this year's food-drive will go to the Canton Sunday Picnic and the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. The Canton Sunday Picnic is a grassroots meal, organized by volunteers, that feeds the homeless and those in need each Sunday at Market Square Park. The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank provides food and other essential items to member agencies in Carroll, Holmes, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, and Wayne counties.

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