Writers Circle & Ekphrastic Reading at YWCA

In conjunction with the 35th Annual Women Artists Show, Lit Youngstown will present a reading featuring ekphrasis, or poems and stories that respond to the visual art on exhibit. Join us at the YWCA of Youngstown, 25 W. Rayen at 6:00, to hear original work by Mari Alschuler, Kristine Harrington, Arya-Francesca Jenkins & Shanon Maple.  

From 5:00 to 6:00, the Writers Circle critique group will meet in the conference room at the YWCA. Bring 5 copies of one poem or story excerpt, maximum 3 pages. Any experience level welcome. (If you’d like to critique longer writing projects, let’s make a plan!)

 

Lit Youngstown at Summer Festival of the Arts July 8-9

YSU’s Summer Festival of the Arts is the one of the highlights of our year!

And if that weren’t enough happiness, wait until you see the posters we’re giving away, designed by graphic artist Laura Garvin, featuring Words Made Visible poems by Valentina Ranaldi-Adams, Allison Pitinii Davis, Elliot Nicely, Craig Paulenich, & Laura Grace Weldon. We imagine the posters in classrooms, dorm rooms, writing rooms, waiting rooms, hallways, offices, doors, and everywhere.

feral_posterAt 2:00 Saturday in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center, Words Made Visible finalists Dianne Borsenik and Elliot Nicely of Cleveland, Luke Martinucci of the Lewis School in Youngstown and Craig Paulenich of Salem will read their award-winning poems.

Allison Pitinii Davis is the author of Line Study of a Motel Clerk (Baobab Press, 2017), a full-length collection about small family businesses in the Youngstown area, and Poppy Seeds (Kent State University Press, 2013), winner of the Wick Poetry Chapbook Prize. She holds an MFA from Ohio State University and fellowships from Stanford University’s Wallace Stegner program, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Severinghaus Beck Fund for Study at Vilnius Yiddish Institute. Her work has recently appeared in Best American Poetry 2016, Crazyhorse, and The Missouri Review. She will begin a PhD at The University of Tennessee in Fall 2017.

Luke Martinucci is 13 years old and has just completed eighth grade at the Valley Christian School Lewis Center in downtown Youngstown.  He live in Poland, Ohio.

Elliot Nicely is a poet and teacher from Lyme Township, Ohio. In recent years, he relocated to Lakewood, Ohio and released his first chapbook Tangled Shadows: Senryu and Haiku (Rosenberry Books, 2013). Over the last decade, his poetry has appeared across four continents and in more than a dozen anthologies.

Craig Paulenich is Professor of English at Kent State University-Salem, where he has worked since 1989; he lives outside Guilford Lake.

Lit Youngstown will be at the festival all weekend, Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 11-5. Thank you to our volunteers who have offered an hour or two in the tent! Sunday afternoon we’ll choose the winning ticket for a stunning, full-sized, hand-crafted quilt.

Stop by to hear the reading, pick up a poster, and cheer us on.

Back to Suzie’s for July Reading

Join us for a reading by fiction writer Robert Pope of Akron and Thomas Welsh, an author of A History of Jewish Youngstown and the Steel Valley. Open mic to follow, emceed by Bill Soldan. Wed. July 5, 7:00 at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 34 N. Phelps St.

Bob PopeRobert Pope has published a novel, Jack’s Universe, and a collection of stories, Private Acts, as well as over seventy stories and personal essays in journals, including most recently, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Two Thirds North. His flash fictions have appeared in print and online journals, including Chicago Literati, and his dark fiction in collections including Dark Lane Anthology. He just retired from The University of Akron and is reading and writing as much as he possibly can. He lives in Akron with his wife Lisa Sarkis and their dog Harley.

Founded in the Mahoning Valley during 1837, a tiny 19047589_10208100122935481_836619731_nsettlement of secular German immigrants grew into one of the most influential centers of Jewish life in the Midwest. Home to nationally renowned rabbis and Zionist firebrands alike, the community produced an astonishing array of leaders in an impressive range of fields throughout the twentieth century. This notable legacy ranges from the entertainment juggernaut of Warner Brothers to the Arby’s fast food empire and the prominent Youngstown Sheet & Tube, among many others. Authors Thomas Welsh, Joshua Foster and Gordon F. Morgan trace the unique history of one of Ohio’s oldest Jewish communities from its humble beginnings into the challenging climate of the new millennium.

Thomas Welsh is a professional writer and editor who grew up in the industrial center of Youngstown, Ohio. He is the author of Closing Chapters: Urban Change, Religious Reform, and the Decline of Youngstown’s Catholic Elementary Schools (Lexington Books, 2011), which describes factors that led to the collapse of an urban parochial school system. Thomas went on to coauthor Strouss’: Youngstown’s Dependable Store (History Press, 2012), a historical overview of one of the city’s landmark businesses, and Classic Restaurants of Youngstown (History Press, 2014), which tracks changes in the community’s restaurant industry. Before completing a doctorate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Kent State University in 2009, he worked as a journalist in the United States, South Korea, and Cambodia. He serves as outreach coordinator of the Etruscan Press, a non-profit literary press that works in close collaboration with the YSU Poetry Center.

Joshua Foster is an independent scholar and professional writer who grew up in a family that has been part of Youngstown, Ohio’s Jewish community for more than a century. As a fine arts and religious studies major at Youngstown State University, he established the YSU Jewish Students Organization and served as its first president. Joshua completed his graduate studies in urban history at Youngstown State University and produced several academic papers, including a historical examination of the Romaniote Jewish community of Ioannina, Greece. He has served as a featured speaker on local and regional television and radio programs.

Gordon F. Morgan is a professional writer and editor who grew up in the industrial town of Campbell, Ohio, located just east of Youngstown. After completing a graduate degree in professional writing and editing at Youngstown State University, he served as program director and newsletter editor for the Mahoning Valley Civil War Round Table, a group of more than 150 people who attend monthly presentations by leading experts on the Civil War. Gordon’s articles have appeared in regional periodicals including The Metro Monthly and The Vindicator. He is the coauthor of Classic Restaurants of Youngstown (History Press, 2014), a historical overview of the community’s restaurant industry.

More Food for Thought!

Our monthly book club will take the summer off and start back up again in the fall with a new focus: the American experience, fiction, non-fiction and poetry with a range of voices and perspectives. We’ll look to the past, to various regions, and to voices that represent an array of experiences and expectations.

We also looked to our visiting writers for titles, and there are several. It is a unique pleasure to hear an author read, and then to read and discuss the author’s book with other readers.

We began our food-themed book club as a collaboration with Lake to River Cooperative, and even though we’re switching up the focus, we’ll continue to meet at Cultivate Co-op Cafe, 901 Elm St., on the 2nd Thursday of each month, 5:00-6:00. It suits us, we decided.

Here is the book list. Check with the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County for copies.

September 14, 2017 The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar
October 12, 2017 The Coldest Night by Robert Olmstead
November 9, 2017 The Round House by Louse Erdrich
December 14, 2017 Famous Drownings in Literary History by Kevin Haworth
January 11, 2018 March Trilogy by John Lewis
February 8, 2018 Citizen by Claudia Rankine
March 8, 2018 Phenomenal Women by Lit Youngstown
April 12, 2018 My Own Country by Abraham Verghese
May 10, 2018 Camp Olvido by Lawrence Coates
June 14, 2018 Blacksnake’s Path: The True Adventures of William Wells by William Heath

Winning Poems for Summer Festival Posters

We received many hundreds of wonderful poems and stories for our Words Made Visible projects! Thank you all! It was so challenging, but we have selected the winners and finalists for the first part of the project.

Winners:

“Feral” by Laura Grace Weldon
“Men of Beautiful Countenance” by Craig Paulenich
“The Neighborhood Girls Fall for the WKBN Meteorologist” by Allison Pitinii Davis
Haiku: “dandelion field,” “dentist office window” and “winter constellations” by Elliot Nicely
“irises” by Valentina Ranaldi-Adams

Finalists:

“Cindo de Mayo Moon” by Dianne Borsenik
“Cold Green” by Catherine Wing
“The Hawk in the Woods” by Luke Martinucci
“My Great-Great Grandmother” by Craig Paulenich
“Spring in the Hollow” by Kari Gunter-Seymour
“Tractor” by Lori Gravley
“Why the Window Washer Reads Poetry” by Laura Grace Weldon

The judging was blind, by Lit Youngstown staff and board of directors.
Winning poems will be made into posters and given away at the Summer Festival of the Arts. Winners and finalists are invited to a reading during the Festival.
Mark your calendar and come visit us during the festival! July 8-9 at YSU.

Food for Thought: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

We made a quick switch for our last book selection in our food-themed series, and decided to discuss the first section of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Pollan traces a single fast-food meal back to its source in a giant cornfield in Iowa, and forward until it is pulled steaming from the bag. Along the way, we learn about contemporary agricultural practices and consumer choices, and their implications for our landscape and health.

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Thursday June 8, 5:00-6:00 at Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St. We will talk about our next book series, which will begin in September.

Purple Cat Hosts June Reading

We are so excited about this reading, we can hardly keep our freckles on. It’s an amazing confluence, too: the accomplished Nin Andrews will be moving soon, and rising stars Allison Pitinii Davis & Rochelle Hurt are visiting home. This will be a poetry reading to remember. Open mic to follow, emceed by our own poet Anne Garwig.

Wed. June 7 @ 7:00 PM, Purple Cat Productions, 220 W. Boardman St. Parking in the lot across the street. We’ll be back at Suzie’s in July and for the rest of the year.

Nin Andrews’s poems and stories have appeared in many literary jourNin Photo with Sadienals and anthologies including Ploughshares, The Paris Review, Best American Poetry (1997, 2001, 2003, 2013), The Best American Erotic Poems from 1800, The Best American Prose Poems, No Boundaries, Sudden Stories: A Mammoth Anthology of Miniscule Fiction, The House of Your Dreams: An International Collection of Prose Poems, Seriously Funny, and Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence. The recipient of an individual artist grant from the Ohio Arts Council in 1997 and again in 2003, she is the author of six chapbooks and six full-length poetry collections. Her book, Why God Is a Woman, won the 2016 Ohioana award in poetry. Her next book, Miss August, will be published in the spring of 2017. The mother of two grown children, she lives in Poland, Ohio, with her husband, a physics professor and bass player, and their Boston terrier, Froda.

Allison Pitinii Davis photoAllison Pitinii Davis is the author of Line Study of a Motel Clerk (Baobab Press, 2017), a full-length collection about small family businesses in northeast Ohio, and Poppy Seeds (Kent State University Press, 2013), winner of the Wick Poetry Chapbook Prize. She holds an MFA from Ohio State University and fellowships from Stanford University’s Wallace Stegner program, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Severinghaus Beck Fund for Study at Vilnius Yiddish Institute. Her work has recently appeared in Best American Poetry 2016, The Missouri Review, and Crazyhorse.

Rochelle Hurt is the author of two poetry collections:Rochelle Hurt In Which I Play the Runaway (2016), which won the Barrow Street Book Prize, and The Rusted City (2014), which was selected for the Marie Alexander Series from White Pine Press. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from Crab Orchard Review, Arts & Letters, Hunger Mountain, Poetry International, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fund, the Vermont Studio Center, Jentel, and Yaddo. Originally from Youngstown, Rochelle now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.