With the announcement of our Ohio Arts Council grant, seems like a good time for an update on the Words Made Visible project.
But first, woop woop! and so much thank you. With public funding on the chopping block, we are grateful to Governor Kasich and the Ohio Legislature for defending the value of the arts in our communities.
The panel discussion on our project was uplifting: Panelists noted that they liked the multidisciplinary nature of this proposal, that the activities truly work towards the goal of engaging as many writers as possible, that they are glad to see Lit Youngstown is encouraging new work, and considered Words Made Visible a fascinating idea to transform literary arts into visual arts, among other comments.
The first chunk of Words Made Visible is now finished: from many hundreds of submissions of poetry and short prose, the Lit Youngstown board selected ten finalists, then three winning poems and a set of haiku; of these winners, YSU student graphic designer Laura Garvin created a series of posters.
The featured poems are
“Men of Beautiful Countenance” by Craig Paulenich
“Feral” by Laura Grace Weldon
“The Neighborhood Girls Fall for the WKBN Meteorologist” by Allison Pitinii Davis
Haiku by Elliot Nicely & Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
With support from the YSU Summer Festival of the Arts, we gave out posters to hundreds of visitors to our tent, and hosted a reading by our project finalists, Dianne Borsenik, Luke Martinucci, Elliot Nicely & Craig Paulenich.
Next, in October, we will select four poems or short prose pieces to be letterpressed into broadsides by the Cranky Pressman.
Meanwhile, we will send the poems and stories to faculty in the Art Department at YSU, who will use the project in their classrooms, asking students to create visual work that responds to the literary work. Ceramics professor Missy McCormick’s summer class created such work, and here one pairing:
by Laura Grace Weldon
Moonlight leaks through the curtains.
I lie awake, listen to coyote songs
circle and connect, stitching together
the night’s raw edges.
Each time I hear their howls
my bone marrow sings.
What’s muzzled in me lifts.
I seem silent and
yet my pulse races through the trees.
These poems and their ekphrastic pieces in ceramics, printmaking, drawing and painting, will be exhibited at the Soap Gallery the month of February, 2018. There will be a reception and reading/response for the writers and artists Saturday, February 3.
We will also select four short works to be stamped into sidewalk squares by Michael Staaf at Metro Sign.
We hope you will join us along the way, celebrating the literary and visual arts, and their intriguing relationship.