Welcoming Cleveland Wall: Our Newest Team Member at BAPL!
By Dominic Trabosci
The library is proud to welcome our newest hire Cleveland Wall to the team!
Officially referred to as our Satellite Technician, Cleveland will act as the jack-of-all-trades at the new Books on the Hill satellite branch in Fountain Hill. She’s excited to help readers find what they’re looking for, order materials from various branches, and issue/renew library cards among a whole host of other helpful work. Cleveland is currently planning a number of story time sessions and poetry/book workshops with the help of outreach coordinator Regina Kochmaruk.
In order to get to know Cleveland Wall a bit more, we asked her a few introductory questions in this fun Q&A:
What kind of work did you do before you came to BAPL?
For a long time I was working a rather dismal clerical job. (There’s a five-page poem about it in my book, Let X=X, telling the tale of woe.) Then, right before the pandemic hit, my first book got published and I left my awful job to be a teaching artist.
What drew you to working at the library?
I adore libraries in general and ours in particular—brilliant use of community resources. I dig all the innovative programs like Studio 11 and the tool library on the Southside and the bike-lending program—and now this groovy new branch housed in a disused bookmobile!
What do you do outside of work? What are your hobbies?
Poetry is my main thing, so I’m usually getting up to some poetry or poetry-adjacent or poetry-catty-corner shenanigans. I host readings now & then and I perform with The Starry Eyes—a poetry/music combo, with my husband, Michael, on classical guitar. We actually recorded an album here at Studio 11, The Garden of Terrors and Delights. And there is “The Conversation Project” coming up at the Ice House on November 13—a collaboration with musicians, poets, and aerial dancers.
At the same time, I have a freelance teaching artist practice. I have a really exciting project coming up with Norberto Dominguez over the course of this school year where we’ll be visiting Jennie Gilrain’s 4th grade class at Freemansburg Elementary and writing poems with the students about the official bird of Bethlehem, the Chimney Swift. Then we’ll be exchanging poems with students at the other end of the swifts’ migration in northern Chile. Shout-out to Southside Children’s Festival and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for their support. I’m also pretty fired up about embodied poetics, so I’ll be leading a couple of workshops on that at the Ice House this winter. So many shenanigans. See clevelandwall.com for details.
In my spare time I do collage, assemblage, and book arts, and ride around on my bike.
What are you most passionate about in life?
Language and grammar—as geeky as that sounds. Art, philosophy, justice. Not necessarily in that order. Going to new places and learning new things. And all kinds of puzzles.
What are your thoughts on the new venture “Books on the Hill”?
I think it’s a wonderfully elegant solution which both extends the life of the bookmobile and provides a satellite branch for Fountain Hill community with minimal fuss. Also, it is adorable. Have you seen it? The outside is all painted with Fuzzytown critters from Zack Ohora’s books. Inside it’s all cozy wooden shelves full of books & movies. It is really a valuable thing to have a library you can walk to—better still if it’s at the edge of a park, tucked under magnificent sycamores.
What is the last book you read?
At the moment I am reading My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris, which I really love. It’s a beautifully drawn graphic novel, the text lavish with keenly observed details.
If you could be any animal, which animal would you be and why?
Tardigrade. Impervious to heat and cold and can survive interstellar space by essentially turning into glass. Visible to the naked eye, but rarely seen on account of being transparent. I just think they’re neat.