Here they are, the big, beautiful lineup of visiting and local writers who will make up our year’s series. We thank them most sincerely, as well as the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, the Soap Gallery, the open mic emcees and readers.
All readings take place at The Soap Gallery, 117. S. Champion St. Free street parking/in the lot at Champion & Front Streets. Doors open at 7:15, after the lights come on (please don’t disturb the yoga class); reading begins at 7:30. Open mic readers are invited to read for 5 minutes.
January 3 : Sarah Minor & Krysia Orlowski
Open mic emcee Sarah Lowry
Sarah Minor is the author of The Persistence of The Bonyleg: Annotated from Essay Press (2015). She’s an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the video editor at TriQuarterly Review. Her recent work appears in Diagram, Creative Nonfiction, and The Atlantic.
Krysia Orlowski lives and writes in Cleveland, Ohio. Her poems have appeared in Barn Owl Review, Dressing Room Journal, Helen, jubilat, and RealPoetik. Krysia is the author of the play Jan and the Trickster (Talespinner Children’s Theater, 2018.) She teaches at Cleveland State University and is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award.
February 7: Stacey Graber & CROW
No open mic this evening.
CROW (Compose: A Review of Writing) is a yearly publication of student essays, edited by Angela Messenger, Director of the YSU Writing Center and NEOMFA candidate and Writing Center graduate assistant Amanda Miller. Congratulations to featured essayists Emily Null, Madison Metheny, Lauren Laws, Tricia Miller, Lindsay Hicks & Beverly Nelson.
Stacy Graber is an assistant professor of English at Youngstown State University. Her research interests include popular culture, pedagogy, critical theory, and semiotics. Her work has appeared in The ALAN Review, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, Gravel Literary Magazine, Hamilton Stone Review, Storm Cellar, Modern Times Magazine, and YA Wednesday.
March 7: Adam Hughes & Stephanie Sesic
Open mic emcee Liz Skeels
Adam Hughes is the author of four full-length collections, most recently Allow the Stars to Catch Me When I Rise (Salmon Poetry, 2017) and Deep Cries Out to Deep (Aldrich Press, 2017). He resides in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Stephanie Sesic teaches writing and literature at Kent State University and Cuyahoga Community College. Her work has appeared most recently online in Rascal. Her chapbook, The Intimate Verge, was published by Pudding House Publications in 2008. Her work reveals an obsession with the sky and tends to stick to the classic themes of sex and death.
April 4: Jennifer Jackson Berry, Heather Dobbins & Christian Anton Gerard
Open mic emcee Tyler Rothbauer
Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of The Feeder (YesYes Books, 2016), as well as the chapbook When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications). She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Heather Dobbins is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from Bennington College. Her poems and poetry reviews have been published in Beloit Poetry Journal, Pacific Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology (Tennessee), The Rumpus, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and TriQuarterly Review, among others. She has been an instructor for nearly twenty years in Oakland, California; Memphis, Tennessee; and now in Fort Smith, Arkansas, yet another river town.
Christian Anton Gerard’s the author of Holdfast (C&R Press, 2017) and Wilmot Here, Collect For Stella (WordTech, 2014). He’s received Pushcart Prize nominations, a Best of the Net nomination, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarships among other awards. He teaches at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.
May 2: Lori Bodkin & Stacey Schneider
Open mic emcee Jennifer Kuczek
Lori Bodkin is a freelance writer and the Continuous Improvement Coordinator for Fyda Freightliner’s Pittsburgh and Youngtown locations. She is an accountant by degree, but her creativity eventually won out and Lori started her own customer service consulting business and has also facilitated several leadership workshops. She published a women’s non-fiction book, had a featured column in a North Carolina parenting magazine and writes for her own blog.
Stacey Schneider is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a professor at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, Ohio. She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree and practiced as a pharmacist for many years but teaching and writing emerged as her true life calling. She has published a book in women’s non-fiction, edited a book on communication skills for women and contributed to several books for the medical professional.
June 6: Melissa Barger & William Heath
Open mic emceed by Amanda Miller
Melissa Barger has been writing for half her life. She is employed with the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and is revising a Young Adult Historical Fiction novel set in Youngstown during the summer of 1863.
William Heath was born in Youngstown and grew up in Poland. He is the national-award-winning author of novels: The Children Bob Moses Led, Blacksnake’s Path, Devil Dancer; poetry: The Walking Man; history: William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest; and interviews: Conversations with Robert Stone. He will be reading some recent poems set in the Steel Valley.
July 11: Storytelling Night
No open mic this month.
Join us for a night of community storytellers and desserts. Stories by Tom Beck, Arthur Byrd, Becky Ann Rosen Harker, Skye Hildebrand-Grapentine, Sue Hukari, Andrea Wells.
No open mic this month.
August 1: Kari Gunter-Seymour, Sherri Saines & Kathleen Strafford
Open mic emcee Jeanne Bryner
An Appalachian, Kari Gunter-Seymour blames her method of writing on the rich Ohio soil, her wildly eclectic family and neighbors and her upbringing. Her poems can be found in many fine journals and publications including Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and The LA Times. She is an Instructor in the School of Journalism at Ohio University and is the Poet Laureate for Athens, Ohio.
Sherri Saines is a librarian, mother, eighteenth-century reenactor, dancer and poet. She has been reading, writing, memorizing, and performing poetry since her grandmother gave her A Golden Book of Poetry for her 6th birthday. She has been published in Pig Iron, Allegheny Magazine, Mothering Magazine, Muse, Clover, Penguin Review and other small press publications. Her poems have been anthologized in The Ides of March (2012) and Everything Stops and Listens. Her husband, Steve, is her best critic and greatest support.
Kathleen Strafford holds an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University. Originally from Ohio, Kathleen
moved to Leeds in 1998 and now is chief editor of Runcible Spoon Webzine. She has been widely published in anthologies and webzines, and is working on her second collection called Women Changed Everything. Her debut poetry collection was published in 2018 called Her Own Language.
September 5: World Poetry Night
Open mic participants are welcome to bring poetry in translation.
Dragana Crnjak & Karen Schubert will moderate a reading of international poetry.
October 3: Kathleen McGookey & Rikki Santer
Open mic Chris Gibowicz
Kathleen McGookey has published three books of poems, most recently Heart in a Jar. Her work has appeared in journals including Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and Quarterly West. She has received grants from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sustainable Arts Foundation.
Rikki Santer is an award-winning poet living in Columbus, Ohio. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Margie, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, Slipstream and The Main Street Rag. Her fifth collection, Make Me That Happy, was recently published by NightBallet Press.
November 7: Clarissa Jakobsons & Barbara Sabol
Open mic emcee Lidia Cornelio
Clarissa Jakobsons instructs at Cuyahoga Community College, often weaving one-of-a-kind artist books exhibited internationally. Sometimes she combines artist books with her poems and paintings. She writes, “Don’t be surprised to see my inner artist kicking sandcastles, climbing Mount Diablo, painting Provincetown dunes, or writing under an Ohio crescent moon.”
Barbara Sabol’s debut book, Solitary Spin, was published in 2017. She won the Mary Jean Irion Poetry Prize in 2014. Barbara reviews poetry books in the blog, Poetry Matters. She lives and works in Akron, Ohio.
December 5: Mike Geither
NEOMFA Reunion Reading
Join us for a staged reading of Heirloom by Mike Geither. Open mic to follow. Special invitation to NEOMFA alumni, students and faculty.
Heirloom considers the effects of incest and violence across four generations of a Cleveland family. It considers the commonalities between family dysfunction and the genocide of Native Americans carried out by the US government in a search to bring dignity and awareness to their victims.
Mike Geither is a playwright and solo performer whose works have been staged in San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, New York and London. He is a four-time Ohio Arts Council fellow and is currently a Professor of English at Cleveland State University where he teaches in the Northeast Ohio MFA in creative writing.