Tue 3/26 @ 6:30PM
Wed 3/27 @ 6:30PM
Daniel Thompson was one of those uniquely Cleveland characters, like Harvey Pekar, only he wrote poetry, not graphic novels.
But he wasn’t some well-bred academic with a professorship and a list of erudite influences. He was a sharp-edged activist, a poet of the streets whose work was published in the Homeless Grapevine, not university press publications. And he was a friend to the homeless, constantly giving what he could to them even though he didn’t have a lot himself. The big, white-bearded poet would just show up with offerings for people in need.
He also founded a very alternative artist/poetry event in the 80s called “Junkstock” which took place at Pearl Road Auto Wrecking. And he performed with local jazz/world music/spoken word ensemble Drumplay. When he died in 2004, there was considerable dispute about rights to his work — he left behind little but that and his friends’ fond memories.
Now there’s a documentary that looks at his life called Daniel Thompson: One Tough Poet, made by filmmaker Jim Wolpaw, a Shaker Heights native. It screens for the first time at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library’s Lee Road branch on Tue 3/26 and at the Lakewood Public Library on Wed 3/27. Both showings are free.