Monthly Archives: July 2015

August First Wednesday Reading: Sean Posey


August 5, 2015, 7:00, downtown at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 32 Phelps St. Free parking in the lot behind the Voinovich Building, corner of Hazel and Commerce.

Youngstown photographer, historian and essayist Sean Posey will read, followed by an Open Mic moderated by Molly Toth.

Sean Posey holds a degree in photojournalism from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and a master’s degree in history from Youngstown State University.

His photography and writing are featured in Car Bombs to Cookie Tables: The Youngstown Anthology and The Pittsburgh Anthology, both by Belt Publishing. He is currently working on a book about Youngstown for the History Press, which will be released in early 2016.


Arts Festival Writing Prompts

At the YSU Summer Festival of the Arts July 11-12, we invited visitors to our booth to complete one or more of these writing prompts:

  • I remember the day when…
  • I wish I had the courage to…
  • I am most inspired to write when…

We provided colorful slips of paper, then used clothespins to display the writing in our booth. We didn’t anticipate how much the result would resemble Buddhist prayer flags but we loved the sense of reverence it gave to the responses. We were especially pleased with the writing from kids, which often included illustrations (see below).  We’re delighted to share some of this writing with you.

prayersI remember the day when:

– I read a book for the first time all on my own!
– I learned that food could taste like sunshine.
– I was born.
– I fed my cat.
– I helped my cat after he fell.
– My dog bit nibbled me.
– When I saw my grandpa’s hometown in Italy.
– The day I got my dog.prayers3
– I found my other half.
– The first vacation in North Carolina with my Mom and Dad.
– My dog stepped on a piece of glass and took six hours to stop bleeding.
– I met my Hannah (HanMan).
– I got the idea for my book!
– I learned how to play Skee Ball and had my first corn dog at Idora Park!
– My sister dropped her sandwich and said “My SAMMICH!”
– I went to Disney
– The day when my friend had a sleepover.
– We brought home Chumley… from the pound.

I wish I had the courage to:

– Be unabashedly myself, open, and generous; unashamed!
– Be the change in the world that I want to see.
– Start my own advertising agency.
–  Just do what I want without thinking about anyone else. I’d go to the Globe Theatre and try out for a Shakespeare play.
– Finish my novel.
– Love fearlessly.
– Be more outgoing.
– Fight a bear.
– Make promises in the rain.
– I HAVE the courage to make my own way,

I’m inspired to write the most when:

– I am surrounded by whiskey, poets, and gardeners.
– I am heartbroken.
– I talk to passionate people. It doesn’t matter what they’re passionate about, but if they feel strongly about a topic, I can’t help but be enthralled. I always walk away from those people feeling inspired and ready to make.
-My seat is in the chair and the page is blank.
– I read, and find an inspiring spark of creativity.
– I’m in the woods.

Lit Youngstown at Summer Festival of the Arts!

11049546_607590436048227_3870126089829420152_nWe’re so busy getting ready for the Summer Festival of the Arts on the YSU campus this Sat. July 11th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sun. July 12th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Stop by our booth anytime to pick up a free tote bag graced with the poem “Disco” written by Cleveland poet Dianne Borsenik. In a blind judging, YSU poet Phil Brady (thank you, Phil!) selected Dianne’s poem from entries in our ekphrasis contest.

“Disco” was inspired by a print in “Prayer Series” by University of Akron faculty artist Hui-Chu Ying (the top image here). Dianne wrote her poem at Ekphrastacy!, a night of writing from art at the Cleveland Heights Art Gallery. We love the phenomenal tote bag design by YSU graphic arts students.


Big thanks to Green Youngstown and the Mahoning County Green Team for sponsoring the project. We are hoping to see our bag all over the Mahoning Valley, promoting the arts and reducing the need for single-use plastic bags.

Stop by anytime to get your tote and participate in some short and fun writing activities. We will have affirmations to finish, like “I wish I had the courage to…” We will also have the ekphrastic poetry submissions on display.

On Sat. from 3:30-5:00, Lit Youngstown will host a reading in the Chestnut Room in Kilcawley Center. Our featured readers are

Mari Alschuler received an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University; her poetry and short fiction have been published in national journals since the mid 1970s. Her chapbook, The Nightmare of Falling Teeth, was published by Pudding House Press in 1998. A Registered Poetry Therapist, she leads an online poetic devices course for poetry therapy trainees. Mari is an LISW-S in private practice for poetry therapy, adult psychotherapy, and supervision in northeastern Ohio. Mari is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at YSU and coordinates the MSW program.

Cherise Benton says she is one of those awful young people with smartphones you keep reading about. The current discourses on gender, race, and income equality make her want to take a bullet to the brain. She is, however, here for kombucha, heirloom tomatoes, and Peter Lorre. 

Dianne Borsenik is active in the northeastern Ohio poetry scene and regional reading circuit.  Her work has been widely published in journals and anthologies, including Rosebud, Slipstream, and Lilliput Review; upcoming work will appear in Great Lakes Review, bottle rockets and the chapbook anthology A Case for Ascension (RumRazor Press). She won first place two years in a row in the Best Cleveland Poem Competition.  In 2011 she founded NightBallet Press, and has since published over 70 titles for poets across the United States.  She lives in Elyria with husband James and dogkids Bodhi, Angelo, and Dory Kiss Me Quick.  Find her at

Allison Pitinii Davis is the author of Poppy Seeds (KSU Press, 2013), winner of the Wick Poetry Chapbook Award. Her poems have appeared in The New Republic, CutBank, Black Warrior Review, Connotation Press, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Ohio State University and fellowships from Stanford University’s Wallace Stegner program and the Severinghaus Beck Fund for Study at Vilnius Yiddish Institute. Starting this fall, she will be a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She was born and raised near Youngstown, Ohio.

James Hain is a graduate of the Northeast Ohio MFA (NEOMFA) program, and has had fiction published in Jenny, The Stolen Island Review, The Rubbertop Review, and Pennsylvania English. He teaches creative writing and composition at Youngstown State University.

Liz Hill is the author of four mysteries for young adults and co-author of Singing Meditation, a book about using song and chant as a spiritual practice. Her stories and poems have appeared in several anthologies, and her play By the Book was produced in Youngstown Playhouse’s Voices of the Valley Festival last year. She is a writer and spiritual director, and has led workshops in creative process, discovering authentic voice, and un-journaling. She taught What’s Your Story for Lit Youngstown this past spring and looks forward to doing more with this great group.

Karen Kotrba is the author of She Who is Like a Mare (Bottom Dog Press), poems of Mary Breckenridge and the Frontier Nursing Service. She has taught writing for 25 years at Baldwin-Wallace College, Kent State East Liverpool, Kent State Trumbull, and Youngstown State University.

Lit Youngstown’s Kris Harrington will talk about The Strand Project, an exciting new collaboration.

At 1:00 on Sun., Lit Youngstown will guide a Freewriting Art Walk, where we’ll visit booths around the festival to stimulate the imagination. We will read examples of ekphrastic poetry, or poems inspired by art, which has a long tradition. See where your ideas lead you!

The Lit Youngstown Poetry Critique Group will meet at the booth at 3:00 Sun. This new group of poetry writers meets on the second Sun. of each month. If you’d like to join us, bring 10 copies of a new poem. We will open our session with a short discussion of the poetry book The Porcupine of Mind by Bulgarian poet Katerina Stoykova-Klemer. You can find out more about her here:

At the enDSC_0149d of the festival day Sun., we will select a winning raffle ticket for Tony Armeni’s original metal sculpture bird bath.  We will split the proceeds with Tony in this, our first fundraiser, and use our portion to develop programming. Tickets cost $3.00 each or 2 for $5.00. Tony is well known for his arcs and rings and public sculptures all around the city. He sells his birdbaths for $500, and we appreciate his willingness to offer us this opportunity. If you’d like to buy a ticket but can’t get to the festival, let us know.