In National Poetry Month, Kent State Geauga’s The Listening Eye Launches Second 50 Years with Wick Poetry Center
After 50 years of print publication through Kent State University’s Geauga Campus, The Listening Eye, a creative writing and art journal, will begin digital publication on the Wick Poetry Center’s website with its 2022-23 issue.
“The Wick Poetry Center is thrilled to collaborate with The Listening Eye, which has been a longstanding literary gem and enriched our Northeast Ohio community. Through our collective efforts, we hope to raise awareness of the journal and to amplify its creative voices,” said David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center.
Hassler has a long-time connection with the magazine. He helped The Listening Eye mark its semicentennial anniversary with a delayed celebration in spring 2022 on the Geauga Campus following the pandemic shutdown. Hassler inaugurated the ceremony by reading his first published poem, “Prayer Wheel,” which appeared in The Listening Eye in the early 1990s.
Readers will soon be able to access The Listening Eye through a link on the Wick Poetry Center website and to read all future issues of the magazines there as well. A student writing intern built a landing page, kent.edu/listeningeye, during the spring 2023 semester. Writers and artists interested in contributing to the magazine can do so with a free account through the online portal, Submittable.com. A new section for publishing student work on the website is also planned, as are ongoing student internships through the English Department Writing Internship Program administered by Dr. Uma Krishnan.
Kent State Geauga Associate Professor of English Dr. Bonnie Shaker encourages students interested in publishing their visual art, poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction to submit their work to the journal. Dr. Shaker also serves as The Listening Eye’s assistant editor. “We begin our next 50 years as a learning laboratory that provides professional experience to Kent State students without asking them to leave their home campuses. While housed at Geauga, The Listening Eye’s online move allows students to work remotely with the journal’s editorial board. Internships are remote, as well,” Dr. Shaker says.
Magazine founder, acclaimed poet, and Geauga English Professor Emerita Grace Butcher brought the Cleveland hippie poetry scene to Kent State with The Listening Eye in 1970, which went by the name of The Kent State University Geauga Campus Literary Magazine & Pancake Breakfast and/or Spaghetti Dinner in its formative years.
“Yes, that was actually the original name of our magazine,” remarks Professor Butcher. She says the magazine was “cobbled together one day when a couple of faculty members and staff were standing around trying to come up with a title.” The title took up the whole cover. According to Butcher, a contest for students to choose a more optimal name was held, and in 1973, the official title of The Listening Eye was granted to the publication.
Over the years, the pulse of the hippie movement faded, and student submissions dwindled along with it. In the 90s, Professor Butcher was permitted to take The Listening Eye to the next level and convert it into a national literary magazine. Since then, the magazine’s contributor base has grown to include professional poets from all over the world, including one from Thailand. However, as it began, The Listening Eye wishes to renew its original focus on reaching young, creative people in the community.