Monthly Archives: October 2016

November *Monday* Reading

Two fine young graduates of the NEOMFA come down from the North Coast. Monday Nov. 7 at 7:00, Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts downtown.

NEOMFA Alumni Reading! Come for the comraderie! Bring your work if you’re inspired to read at the open mic emceed by Lit Youngstown intern and YSU student Samantha Ensminger.

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James De Monte is an English professor at Lakeland Community College near Cleveland. His first book, Brotherhood, was longlisted for Shakespeare and Company’s Paris Literary Prize before being published by Blue Cubicle Press last year. His short fiction has appeared in Fjords Review and Chagrin River Review, among others. He lives a short walk from the Cuyahoga River with his wife and son and is at work on a second book.

Tobin F. Terry is an Associate Professor of English and department co-chair at Lakeland Community College. As a graduate of the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program, Tobin received the Alpha Omega Dukes Memorial Promising Fiction Writer Award. Before coming to Lakeland, Tobin taught English at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio and the University of Akron, and served as copy editor at the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama. Tobin was a fiction editor for the second issue of Barn Owl Review, is Communications Director Emeritus for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, and is an editor for Chagrin River Review. His most recent work appeared in Emerge Literary Journal.

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Thank You!

We are feeling the love, here! Thank you to our fall fundraiser contributors.

“Good luck with the fundraiser!” Anonymous
Nancy Bukaty
Lynn Cardwell
The College Club of Buffalo
Thanks for all you do! Super excited for the Phenomenal Women book!” Allison Davis
James DeMonte
Kathleen Dragoman
“Good luck on your fundraiser.” Adam Earnheardt
Keep up the good work!” Barbra Estrada
Barbara Hart
Robyn Armeni Isaac
Alex Jennings
“Congratulations on all the amazing work you are doing!” Jessica Jewell
Elizabeth Kauffman
Miriam Klein
Christine & Elliot Legow
Jeanne Mahon
“In honor of Beth’s birthday.” Donald Martin
Angela Messenger
Neno Perrotta
Barbara Sabol
“In honor of my grandmothers & mother who surrounded me with books.” Karen Schubert
Tracy Segreti
Tobin Terry
“I can hardly believe all you have accomplished in two years.” Karen Willyoung
Lou Yuhasz

Patrons ($500 or more)

The Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation
Liz Hill
Raymond J. Wean Foundation

Dear Friends,

One chilly noon in January of 2015, a small group met at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts to discuss the idea of starting a literary arts organization. From that hopeful beginning, we have grown into a thriving non-profit organization with ongoing programming and numerous activities and collaborations.The hundreds of people working with us—visiting writers, teaching artists, workshop participants, board members, YSU interns, audience members, funders and volunteers—have created a Lit Youngstown community, and are proof to us that a literary arts organization has a place in Youngstown.

In order to remain a sustainable organization with a strong presence in the community, we are asking for your support.For every donation (and for each additional gift of $25) to our Fall Fundraiser, you will receive an entry into our fall drawing to win one of three prizes:

  • Painted silk scarf by Tracy Segreti and complementary bronze earrings handcrafted by Robyn Maas.

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    Painted Scarf and Earrings

  • Hand-turned curly ash bowl by Davey Jones (pictured below), finished with food-grade mineral oil and beeswax. Signed and numbered.

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    Bowl by Davey Jones

  • Bag of books written by local authors featured in our First Wed. reading series.

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    Bag of Books

Please donate before December 1 to be in the drawing, which will be held at our December 7 reading.

We are also seeking ten patrons willing to donate at the $500 level. At any level, your gift is tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law, and it is very much appreciated.

Our energy and motivation come from a deep belief that writing, reading, and storytelling, and being in the company of others engaged in these pursuits, strengthens our community and enriches our quality of life.

Looking Back 

Our 2016 First Wednesday reading series featured faculty from YSU, Akron, and Bowling Green, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Mercyhurst, and Hiram; students from Youngstown State, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts and Canfield High School; readers from the fields of history, nursing and psychology; and essays written by incarcerated students. At our open mic after the readings, community members from age 12 to 70 shared their own writing. We also hosted readings at several art venues.

Our outreach work included reading food poems with adults with disabilities from the Purple Cat at Gallagher’s Lunchbucket, and book giveaways and community writing projects at several street fairs and festivals.

We collaborated with Selah Dessert Theater on the Strand Project, soliciting original monologues and staging their performance with local actors. Board member Kris Harrington spearheaded this project which played to a sold-out house and received rave reviews.

We have offered numerous writing workshops, with modest enrollment fees that have invited wide participation while allowing us to pay a stipend to teaching artists. We’ve also offered some free classes thanks to support from the Andrews Foundation.

Our newest project is Food for Thought, a food-themed book club and potluck, a collaboration with the Lake to River Food Co-op.

Looking Forward

In mid-December, we will host a reception releasing our book Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories, at the beautiful, historic YWCA. The stories came from our interviews with twelve African American women between the ages of 64 and 101, with deep roots in Youngstown. Support from the Wean Foundation has allowed us to hire a professional photographer, layout editor and cover editor, and to have the book printed locally at City Printing. Co-director Liz Hill spearheaded this project, and we can’t wait to share these insightful stories with the community.

In February, we will take Lit Youngstown on the road, leading a panel with other literary organizations from the Great Lakes area at the prestigious Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Washington, D.C.

Our established programs will continue. The 2017 reading series will feature novelists, non-fiction and short story writers and poets from as far away as Iowa and Maryland, and many talented writers from home. Our workshop series will run in spring, summer, and fall, featuring a variety of topics taught by experienced teaching artists. The second Strand Project’s call for dramatic monologue submissions has gone out, and our book-potluck club will continue to meet each month until summer.

How You Can Help 

As our programming increases, so do our expenses, as well as the time it takes to run the organization. Our wonderful Board of Directors and dedicated Co-Directors  have donated many hours to establish our programming and organization. We are grateful for support and encouragement from The Wean Foundation and the Andrews Foundation.

But we need your help to remain sustainable and continue to provide great programming. Your gift will help to support:

  • Marketing and outreach programs, to bring our offerings to a wider audience
  • Travel stipends to bring inspirational visiting writers from the region and beyond
  • Workshop scholarships to allow broader and more diverse participation
  • Development opportunities so our volunteers and staff can learn from other exemplary organizations and continue to offer top-notch programs.

We are grateful for support at any level. In addition, we are seeking Patrons willing to support us with a donation of $500. Giving at this level will help to ensure sustainability in some of our longer term goals.

  • Salary for a part-time director.  A paid director will increase our opportunity for advocacy, research and development, including grant writing and connecting with literary arts centers around the country.
  • Rented space to allow us to hold classes or other events in one location with better parking and accessibility.

We thank you for being a supporter. We have gotten so far because of you.

With sincere thanks,
Karen Schubert & Liz Hill, Co-Directors

Literary Halloweeeeeennn!

Come down to the Soap Gallery to hear some readings that might keep you awake at night. We’ll have cookies & punch, and if you are inspired, wear your literary-themed costume, zombie to Zelda.

Christopher Lesko & Jay Newman read at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St., at 8:00 p.m.

christopher lesko

Christopher Lesko is the author of The Grlz Like Vodka, Long Live Crazy, That’s My Ghoul, The Electric Lunatic, and a handful of deranged short stories. Other creative outlets of his include fine art photography, video production, graphic design, and abstract painting. He lives in Canfield.

Jay Throne

 

Jay Newman is the notorious “Rust Belt Prince of Effing Darkness,” the poet who dabbles in all things dark, gloomy, morbid, and curious. He is a recent graduate of the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program where he earned his MFA in poetry. Recently, he has published poems in Dark Gothic Resurrected, Crab Fat, and Midwestern Gothic. He will be releasing his first book Dear Goth sometime in the near future. Jay is also a musician in the project Black Kangaroo and an amateur filmmaker. He currently resides in Youngstown, Ohio, where he teaches English at Eastern Gateway Community College.

Garden District Fall Fest

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Lit Youngstown board of directors member Molly Toth (left) and friend of Lit Youngstown Sarah Lowry (photo credit: Phil Kidd)

What a great follow-up event to the Mahoning Avenue Better Block, and opportunity to notice many new businesses and spruced up storefronts in just a year’s time. Molly brought a poem tree and invited visitors to write a poem on a leaf. We gave out some literary journals and told quite a few people what we’re about. We appreciate Sarah Lowry and Lou Yuhasz for helping us staff the table.

More thanks to Michael Staaf at Steel Valley Signs for our new banner. It’s perfect!

Thank you, WYSU

wysu

Lit Youngstown is volunteering to answer phones for the WYSU pledge drive this Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 7:00 a.m. to noon. To make a pledge, call 330.941.1481 or visit WYSU.org.

From Lit Youngstown co-director Karen Schubert:

NPR is an organizing principle in my life.

It’s true—I set my alarm to go off during Morning Edition. When I’m feeling resistant to getting up, I give myself a two stories delay. I save cooking projects for the hours when my favorite shows are on the kitchen radio: The Splendid Table, The TED Radio Hour, Fresh Air, All Things Considered. Early Saturdays now start with my number one best show, On the Media.

I’m an avid reader and returned to college as a nontraditional student, staying for three degrees. Even so, I’ve learned more about the world from NPR than from any other source. Politics, to be sure, but also science, economics, history, the arts, culture, travel, music (classical, jazz, folk, pop, blues)… everything from ants to zambonis.

But politics—public radio is the best source, bar none. That’s why some NPR listeners identify themselves as conservatives, and some liberals. This election, we’ve learned about policy proposals, the horse race, the biographies, and so much more. I believe that I have to know things I’m not really interested in, to be an informed citizen, and NPR makes it un-painful to learn.

I found public radio when I was a young stay-at-home mom, starving for intellectual stimulation. We listened continuously as my kids grew up. One morning in Wisconsin, the guest on a talk show was Frances Hamerstrom, author of Walk When the Moon is Full. My daughter called in to tell Ms. Hamerstrom how much her book meant to us.

Even now, so many of the conversations I’m in begin with “I heard on NPR…” I have my radio dial set to WYSU, and when I drive to visit my now-grown daughter in Cuyahoga Falls, I switch to WKSU right after the Meander Reservoir. Today I arrived a bit tearful after a story about the uptick in organ donation resulting from the opioid epidemic.

As the co-director of Lit Youngstown, I am exceedingly grateful to WYSU for including our events on the Community Calendar, and for all of the literary arts programming, including first-rate interviews by National Humanities Medalist Terry Gross. Who can forget Terry’s interview with Maurice Sendak? How much more poignant, now that he’s gone.

No matter how broke I am, I always give something to my local public radio station. The service is valuable beyond measure, and  along with my modest donation I send my undying gratitude.

Lit Youngstown on the Wild Side

Food for Thought, our book & potluck club is taking up Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson. eating-on-the-wild-side

We are learning about the wild origins of the fruits and vegetables we love, the most healthful varieties available today, and how to store and cook them to get the greatest cancer-fighting, health promoting benefits. The book is packed with information, told in an easy style, with terrific charts and summaries.

Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Come join us. 6:00-7:00, Thurs. October 13 at Cultivate Co-op Cafe, 901  Elm St.

The potluck is informal: bring something you made or a prepared food or drink. The evening will coincide with Lake to River Co-op’s Online Market pick-up night.

The monthly gatherings are free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. Childcare is available for $5 per child with an advance reservation. To make a reservation for childcare, please call 330-540-1480.

Here is the book list for the rest of the year.

Nov. 10: The Garden of the World by Lawrence Coates
Dec. 8: Yes, Chef! A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson
Jan. 12: Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
Cancelled Feb. 9: The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
March 9: Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
April 13: Closing the Food Gap by Mark Winne
May 11: Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese by Eric LeMay
June 8: Salt: A World History by Mark Kulansky