Monthly Archives: September 2015

“Tornado” by Frank Polite Featured on Letterpress Broadside

One of the thank you gifts for our Indiegogo campaign is a poem by the iconic Youngstown poet Frank Polite printed on a letterpress broadside. (A broadside was originally a poster or flyer; in this case, a poem printed on one side of the page).

I never met Frank, but if Frank were a planet, I would be a kind of asteroid, periodically crossing his orbit. At my residency at Headlands Center for the Arts in California, I was  pleased to see his name on the residency history. Here in Youngstown, we have many friends in common, Frank and I, and I love it when his son Khepri comes down to the First Wednesday readings at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts to read his dad’s work.

So it seemed a good tribute to be offering Frank’s tender poem “Tornado” as a thank you, and for this we are grateful to his wife Dorothea. The Cranky Pressman in Salem will do the design and printing on fine paper. It will be a beautiful, framable piece of art, and maybe you know someone who would really appreciate it.    –Karen

Here is the poem in its entirety:


When the news report warned
of tornados, you
put on a flower-print dress
and I, the best excuse
for a suit
I could find in the closet.
That night we slept
so deep into the mattress
my suit kept its creases
and your dress its
hyacinths and roses, pressed
as a page in the book
of our life together.
One should always look one’s best
when gods arrive,
to be taken up with trees, barn,
the whole farm, and you
all at once in my arms,
a bouquet of fresh cut flowers.

If you would like to read more of Frank Polite’s work, here is a link to purchase his collection The Darkening Wood.


Slice of Life: Sweets & Love

What a wonderful night! at the gorgeous historic YWCA, in a room full of people and that pleasant murmur of conversation.


Our five storytellers, Davita Fitzgerald, Becky Ann Harker, Kris Harrington, Liz Hill, and Terry L. Shears, told us stories, sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, always engaging.


We ate desserts and purchased books to donate to the children’s library at the YWCA. Huge thank you to Flutterby Books of Hubbard for supporting these book purchases!


Tricia Perry (center) of WYSU was our lovely emcee.


The Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens donated mums that we gave to five winning attendees.

Although this one is keeping mum, we know his Mum won a mum!


We thank everyone for coming out and making our evening so much fun for us.

By request, here are a few of the recipes of the desserts we served (with notes from Karen).

Rose-Scented Plum Crumble Tart


1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. coarse salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
1 T. cold water


2 lbs. small plums, halved and pitted (I bought fresh, local plums from Marcie Applegate)
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
2 T. cornstarch
pinch of coarse salt
1 tsp. rose water (from Jerusalem Market on Belmont)


1/4 c. packed brown sugar
4 T. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. coarse salt

Crust: Blend flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add yolks and cold water; blend with a fork until dough comes together. Pat into a disk, wrap in plastic, refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

Let dough stand at room temperature until pliable. Roll out on lightly floured surface to about 13″ round, about 1/4″ thick. Fit into 11″ tart pan. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Filling: Toss to combine plums, sugars, cornstarch, salt and rose water. Spread in tart shell in a single layer.

Crumble: Combine brown sugar, butter, flour and salt. Mix with fingertips until clumps form. Crumble evenly over filling.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in lower third. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until juices are bubbling and topping is browned, about 50 minutes. Tart is best served the day it’s made.

Marbled Cheesecake


1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted

(I had cookies left from our Eat Your Words! cookie decorating project, so I made crumbs with them and added 1/4 c. melted butter to make the crust.)


4 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese at room temperature (I prefer Organic Valley)
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
1/3 c. flour
1 T. vanilla
3 (1-oz.) squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted (I prefer Dagoba organic chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350. Press crust lightly onto the bottom of a 9″ springform pan.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, then eggs, flour and vanilla.

Measure 1 1/2 c. batter into medium bowl. Add chocolate, mix well. Spoon half the vanilla batter into the prepared pan then half the chocolate batter. Repeat. With knife, gently swirl batter to marble.

Bake 50 to 60 min. or until center is barely set. Cool, then chill. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

Applesauce Loaf (recipe from Karen’s Aunt Kit)

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/4 c. applesauce (I like to make my own and leave it chunky)
1/2 c. raisins (I like organic Thompson’s or golden raisins)
1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugar, add egg. Stir together the dry ingredients, gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in applesauce, raisins and walnuts. Bake one hour in a greased and floured loaf pan. Cool in pan 10 min., cool on wire rack. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

October First Wednesday Series Reading: Pig Iron Poets & Rust Belt Poets

October 7, 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.

We welcome poeIMG_6875ts of the Pig Iron Poets of Youngstown and the Rust Belt Poets of Warren  to the stage. An open mic will follow, moderated by Youngstown poet Terry Murcko.

The Pig Iron Poets will include Jim Villani, Doug Fowler, Pete Kautsky & Nancy Barnes.

Mahoning Avenue Better Block Schedule

Here is the all-day schedule for activities at the Mahoning Avenue Better Block, between Steel Street and McKinley Avenue. Lit Youngstown will be at the Steel Street side of the event, serving coffee from Friends Specialty Café and cookies you can decorate yourself, and then EAT YOUR WORDS!

We are especially looking forward to the demonstration on the historic pipe organ at St. John’s Church, as well as tours of the church and of Paisley House. The idea of a Better Block is to showcase a neighborhood’s assets, and one of the strengths of the Garden District is the gorgeous original architecture that remains.

This is sure to be a fun event. Lit Youngstown gives a standing ovation to everyone on the planning team, especially Tom Hetrick and Jack Daugherty of YNDC. We also give a big thanks to Friends Specialty for donating their delicious coffee to our event.



Morning Activities

CHALK sidewalk art
World Café – crêpes and coffee (10am-2pm)
Pop-up library (10am-2:30pm)
Live accordion music (10am-1pm)
Lit Youngstown “EAT YOUR WORDS” cookie table (all day)
Art gallery at St. John’s (10am-5pm)
Art gallery at Casa Ramirez (all day)
Sculpture gallery at 1612 Mahoning (all day)
Outdoor market (all day)


Pipe organ history and demonstration at St. John’s
Silk-screening (demonstrations throughout the day)
Health fair (11am-2pm)
Bicycle helmet give-away (12pm and 1pm)
Life-size chess (11am-2pm)
Plant sale and kids garden display (11am-3pm)
Trolley rides (11am-3pm)
Trash can painting

Afternoon Activities

Chaney H.S. music performance – Steel & Mahoning
Chaney H.S. beat poetry – Steel & Mahoning
Tours, hot dogs, & music at the Paisley House (12pm-2pm)
T’ai Chi class – Whitney & Mahoning


Jazz duo – Steel & Mahoning
T’ai Chi class – Whitney & Mahoning


String quartet (2pm-5pm) – Milton & Mahoning
Farmer’s market (2pm-5pm) – Milton & Mahoning


Art class (3pm-5pm) – 1612 Mahoning


Lower West Side band – Steel & Mahoning


Bonfire – Glacier & Mahoning
Acoustic guitar – Glacier & Mahoning

Indiegogo: Zoom zoom!

Help us go!

We have gotten far in a short amount of time, and we’re so grateful for the reception we’ve been given. Now we’re ready to launch new projects, and for that we’ll need some funding. We also need money for boring things like business cards (which will be beautiful, thanks to our logo by Youngstown Design Works).

Please support Lit Youngstown by visiting and sharing our Indiegogo campaign. Take a moment to watch the video. (You might be in it!)

Thank you for your encouragement. Lit Youngstown is all of us!

Enjoy Slice of Life: Stories and Dessert on September 29


Cake illustration by Anthony Picco see for more of his work.

Lit Youngstown and the YWCA of Youngstown will co-host Slice of Life: Stories and Dessert, an evening of storytelling featuring true tales from five local writers and storytellers, and delicious desserts from fine bakers, on Tuesday September 29 at 7 p.m., at YWCA of Youngstown, 25 W. Rayen Avenue, Youngstown. The event is a benefit for Lit Youngstown and the YWCA of Youngstown, and includes an opportunity to purchase books for the children’s library at the YWCA.

Tickets for the event at $5 in advance, $8 at the door. For tickets, contact Melissa Papini at the YWCA – 330-746-6361, x118 or Lit Youngstown – 330-333-1619 or

At the Slice of Life event, instead of a reading similar to what we host on First Wednesday, five local writers and storytellers –Davita Fitzgerald, Kris Harrington, Becky Ann Harker, Liz Hill, and Terry L. Shears — will each tell a true story from their own life. The program, modeled on The Moth Radio Hour’s Story Slams and the Told Cleveland project, is the first storytelling event of its kind here in Youngstown.

Building on the slice of life theme, the event will offer home-baked goodies created by book-loving bakers in the area.

The partnership between the YWCA and Lit Youngstown seems like a natural fit to both groups. “The YWCA strives to empower children, and literacy at an early age is an important step in that direction. Reading is a skill that can open many doors in terms of education and recreation. It can enhance children’s social skills and enrich their lives. This event provides an opportunity for people who believe in the power of literature to purchase specific books for Y’s Discovery Place child-care center, which serves children ages 6 weeks to 12 years.” – Jennie Andrews of the YWCA of Youngstown

At the event, sample books will be available to give attendees a sense of what their donations will buy. The facility needs multi-cultural books that reflect “real people doing real things,” especially reflecting people in non-traditional gender careers, people with different abilities, and books showing a diversity of family styles.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the YWCA of Youngstown, and to help their children’s library grow,” says Karen Schubert, Lit Youngtown founder. “The books we remember from childhood, and the stories told by people who captivated us, were the jump-start of our imaginations. I love the idea that we’re fostering new readers and storytellers.”