Monthly Archives: March 2016

Celebrating Big!

Lit Youngstown is going all out this April for National Poetry Month!

Each day, we will add a poetry-writing prompt. We’ve invited poets who read for us in 2015 to offer a prompt, and many of them did. We appreciate it!

We also have some wonderful events planned, on different days, in different places.

Wed. April 6 @ 7:00, Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 32 N. Phelps St.
Ohio poets Barbara Sabol of Cuyahoga Falls & Adam Hughes of Lancaster headline our First Wednesday Reading Series. Open mic to follow, moderated by Youngstown novelist Adam Stevens.


Adam Hughes

Adam Hughes is the author of Petrichor (NYQ Books, 2010) and Uttering the Holy (NYQ Books, 2012). His collection Allow the Stars to Catch Me When I Rise is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. He was born in 1982 in Lancaster. He still resides near there on a farm with his wife and daughter, two dogs, four cats, and five horses. Should you google him, he is not the Adam Hughes who draws near-pornographic depictions of female superheroes. He cannot draw.

Barbara Sabol

Barbara Sabol




Barbara Sabol is the author of two poetry chapbooks and her work has most recently appeared in The Examined Life, San Pedro River Review, Ekphrasis, Common Ground Review, Chrysanthemum, and Modern Haiku, as well as in a handful of anthologies. Barbara reviews poetry books for the blog Poetry Matters. She is a speech therapist who lives and works in Cuyahoga Falls, with her husband and two wonder dogs.




Mon. April 11 @ noon to 1:00, Gallagher’s Lunch Bucket, 345 Oak Hill Ave.
Poems & Lunch at Gallagher’s! Bring your food poems, your song lyrics, your limericks, your sonnet on Pizza, your elegy to Meatloaf.



Pizza: Metaphor for Life


Meatloaf! Be Inspired












Thurs. April 14 @ 7:00, The Thomases Family Gallery at the Jewish Comm

Gallo_Let's Go Headfirst

Let’s Go Headfirst by Carol Gallo

unity Center, 505 Gypsy Lane.


The Jewish Community Center and Lit Youngstown present a reading with Mari Alschuler, Kelly Bancroft & Arya-Francesca Jenkins. The reading coincides with Collective Resonance:  An Exhibition of Women Artists, featuring works by Carol Gallo, Joy White, Jody Nudell, Blanche Weiss & Tazim Jaffer.


Nin Andrews & Karen Schubert will lead an ekphrastic poetry writing workshop before the reading, at 6:00pm.




Sun. April 24 @2:00, The Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St.
Youngstown Poets Allison Davis & Rochelle Hurt visit home. Join us for poems in this beautiful new downtown gallery.

Allison Davis photo. Credit Ian Lanzillotti


Allison Davis is a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her work is forthcoming in Crazyhorse and The Best American Poetry 2016. 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. She is the author of Poppy Seeds (KSU Press, 2013), winner of the Wick Poetry Chapbook Prize. Her full-length collection, Line Study of a Motel Clerk, is forthcoming from Baobab Press in 2017.



Rochelle Hurt is the author of two poetry collections: In Which I Play the Runaway (forthcoming in fall 2016), selected by Richard BlanRochelle Hurtco as the winner of the Barrow Street Book Prize, and The Rusted City, a novel in poems published in White Pine Press’s Marie Alexander Series (2014). Her work has been included in Best New Poets 2013 and awarded literary prizes from Crab Orchard Review, Arts & Letters, Hunger Mountain, and Poetry International. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in journals like Crazyhorse, Black Warrior Review, and The Southeast Review. A native of Youngstown, she is a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati and Assistant Editor for the Cincinnati Review.




April 30, @noon to 5:00 p.m. Artists of the Mahoning Commons Spring Sale, Ward Bakery, 1024 Mahoning Ave.

Lit Youngstown hosts an afternoon of literary arts.

Visit the tables of Flutterby Books, Extending Grace Antiques & Vintage and The Cranky Pressman, where you’ll find new books, handcrafted journals, and letterpressed broadsides, and linger for poetry readings, book signings and music.

Poets & Musicians 

1:00 Craig Paulenich
1:30 Jon Locketti
2:00 Clarissa Jacobsons
2:30 Angie DeNicholas
3:00 Eric Anderson
3:30 Susan Wojnar
4:00 Arya Francesca Jenkins
4:30 Lynn Cardwell

At the Lit Youngstown table, we will have t-shirts and bookmarks for sale, as well as chances to win an original watercolor by Chris Leeper. We’ll have a poem-in-progress on the Mother of All Chalkboards, and we invite you to add a line.


Featured Reader: Charin George

The featured reader from our February 2016 First Wednesday series is Charin George. Charin is a native of Brooklyn, New York, and has lived in Warren, Ohio since 1989. She is the daughter of Sharon George, D.O., who is the first black female family physician in the Mahoning Valley. She is also the proud parent of her son, Dominic. Charin is currently the office manager at her mother’s family practice and is pursuing a BSAS in Dietetics at Youngstown State University.

Charin George

Here is the video of CROW editor Angela Messenger introducing Charin to read her essay about why she decided to study dietetics.

We asked Charin to answer a few questions for our readers.

Why did you decide to share your essay?
I decided to share my essay publicly  because my instructor encouraged me to. Once my essay was picked for publication, I decided to read at Suzie’s in order to completely embrace my accomplishment in spite of my distaste for public speaking. I thought it was great that people were interested in what I wrote and in what I had to say.
Do you have a favorite food or recipe?
I can’t say that I have one specific favorite, but I do have recipes that connect me to different people and different experiences in my life. My baked beans and baked macaroni and cheese recipes remind me of the many times I spent in my Godmother’s kitchen listening to wisdom and venting about life’s problems. My recipe for arroz con pollo, which is Spanish chicken and rice, reminds me of time spent with my grandmother and of the richness of my afro-latino heritage. My tuna salad recipe reminds me of the years I spent working as a nail technician. My coworkers and clients loved my tuna salad recipe and nicknamed it “tuna jambalaya.” Like most foodies, I have a love for all food and food cultures.
Do you have a food or recipe that reminded me of your friend Reese, who is a key person in your essay?
When times were hard for either one of us, we would make strawberry cupcakes with vanilla icing. We would put our children to sleep and enjoy the cupcakes all by ourselves, sip tea, and talk into the late hours of the night. There were also times that we would share our “pink cupcakes” with other women and young ladies that were close to us. It became a ritual, that whenever someone needed encouragement, support, or a shoulder to lean on, we would declare a pink cupcake night and be there for one another.
What do you plan to do after you complete your degree?
After graduation, I plan to start a program that offers dietetic services to patients with chronic and terminal illnesses. The program will go a step further than just offering dietary counseling or advice. I plan to provide a healthy cooking service in addition to dietary counseling. Patient meals will be prepared according to their dietary needs and also according to their personal tastes. I believe that patients will be more apt to follow the diet that is advised because healthy food is being prepared for them. Hopefully this will help patients who are too sick to cook for themselves or who lack the culinary skills to cook creatively.

Collective Resonance


The Jewish Community Center and Lit Youngstown present a reading with Mari Alschuler, Kelly Bancroft & Arya-Francesca Jenkins, Thursday, April 14 from 7-8pm. The reading coincides with Collective Resonance:  An Exhibition of Women Artists, featuring works by Carol Gallo, Joy White, Jody Nudell, Blanche Weiss & Tazim Jaffer.

Nin Andrews & Karen Schubert will lead an ekphrastic poetry writing workshop before the reading, at 6:00pm.


Lit Youngstown is seeking flash fiction for Storygami!

Five selected stories will be printed on square paper and folded into origami shapes by visitors to the Youngstown State University Summer Festival of the Arts. Contributors will be invited to a reading at the festival in Youngstown, Ohio, the weekend of July 9-10.


• Deadline: April 15.
• Stories should be appropriate for a wide audience.
• Word count should not exceed 500.
• Simultaneous submissions and previous publications are eligible.
• Cover letter should include contact information and publication credits, if applicable.
• Submissions may be emailed to or mailed to Lit Youngstown, P.O. Box 804, Youngstown, OH 44501.

Canfield HS Students Rock Suzie’s

We asked one of our YSU interns, Sam Amazing, to report on the reading at Suzie’s on Monday March 7. The evening was planned by Chris Jennings, journalism teacher at Canfield High, and his students. They invited author David Giffels to join them because they had been using his book The Hard Way on Purpose, in their studies. Here’s Sam’s reflection.
I’d gotten used to the energy of Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts.  Like its hotdogs, the energy is a mix of contrasts that somehow work despite themselves.  So when I came in, letting the energy wash over me, I was surprised when things felt different.

giffelsMy first thought was that it was the warm weather, which allowed Suzie’s to open its front windows.  But as I looked around for an empty seat, I realized there were many new faces in the restaurant.  They were teenagers.  Some were eating, most were talking, and some were practicing.

Our featured reader was Chris Jennings, a teacher at Canfield high school who has spoken at TEDX Youngstown, and the teenagers were from his journalism class.  It was their youthful energy-some of it nervous-that gave Suzie’s a different spin.  Even Karen Schubert and Liz Hill, usually giving off an air of having everything well in hand, were part of that new energy; it was filled with anticipation.

I’m not going to lie, half of me wondered if this might be a disaster, so I added my own nervous energy to the mix.  Still, half of me wondered what I was about to see.

Kris Harrington came to the stage to start off the proceedings, and a hush came over Suzie’s.  That’s unique in my experience with Lit Youngstown readings;  we always have plenty of people attending, but usually there’s a table or two of people who have no idea what’s going on, and continue their conversation. Monday night every face turned to the stage as Chris Jennings stepped behind the microphone.

chrisJChris introduced his students and explained how things were going to go.  Over the next two hours—oh yes, it was an epic event—what unfolded was inspirational.  Those present, friends and family, heard from a dozen students, Chris Jennings, and David Gifflels, who read from his book The Hard Way on Purpose.

We heard from students about the history, both personal and industrial, of Youngstown.  They knew more than I did, and part of me was angry at myself for not knowing more about where I’ve lived all my life.  We heard from students about the future of Youngstown, a place with a rich history that needs help to keep it, and the people unable to give up on it, going.

christudentsIt was clear by what Jennings shared with us at the reading that he cares dearly for Youngstown, its past and its future.  It’s also clear that he’s shared his passion for the city and its people with his students.  Their program communicated that passion through their writing.  For those two hours, we heard stories of grandmothers who worked in steel mills, a debate that provided facts about how Youngstown could survive and statistics to prove it wouldn’t, the misadventures of two girls as they came to love the rust belt more because of the trouble they had seeing it, someone sympathetically telling us why she decided to leave the area for college, the history of polka (oh yeah), and finally a call to arms to save the city. These students showed us Youngstown, soot covered imperfections and all, and asked us to love it anyway, as only a family could.

And in the end, that’s what we at Suzie’s felt like: family.