Author Archives: lityoungstown

A Night to Remember

Join us for a truly wonderful evening of sidewalk poetry dedication, elegant dining, great conversation, an incredible reading by George Ella Lyon, our Fall Literary Festival keynote reader, and an open mic. Come for any part and stay as long as you like; all are free and open to the public with the exception of dinner (reservations required by September 15).

4:30-5:30 Behind St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. & the corner of Walnut & E. Federal St., downtown Youngstown
Dedication: Words Made Visible Sidewalk Project
6-6:45 Dinner, Hilton DoubleTree Ballroom
7:00 Hilton DoubleTree 2nd Floor Lounge
Reading of NEA Big Read Teen & Open Contest Short Short Fiction Winners
Fall Literary Festival Keynote Reading George Ella Lyon
8:30 Open Mic

At 4:30 we will meet behind St. John’s Episcopal Church to dedicate poetry excerpts stamped into sidewalk squares. The featured poets are David Lee Garrison of Dayton and Jeffrey Murphy of Youngstown. We have purchased a white oak to be planted near the poetry. Poetry stamps were designed and created by Michael Staaf of Steel Valley Signs.

From St. John’s we will walk downtown to Walnut St., outside the Commerce Building, to dedicate poetry-in-sidewalk-squares by Jeanne Bryner of Newton Falls and Laura Grace Weldon of Litchfield. The sidewalk poetry is part of Words Made Visible, a literary-visual art collaboration that received funding from the Ohio Arts Council.
67224313_1397599427045100_5850719895037149184_nFrom the Commerce Building we will walk to the Hilton DoubleTree in the historic Stambaugh Building where we will dine in the 12th floor ballroom. The elegant meal will include avocado Caesar salad,  cheesecake and coffee, and choice of brown sugar bbq salmon or cauliflower-kale pasta. There will be a cash bar in the ballroom. It is not required to register for the Fall Literary Festival to purchase dinner; however, please make reservations by September 15 ($25 per plate).

After dinner, we will meet in the 2nd floor lounge for a reading by the winners of the teen and open Short Short Fiction contests for adults and teens. This contest is a tip of the hat to our Big Read author Luis Alberto Urrea, who, a few years ago, judged the NPR 3-Minute Fiction contest, and read the story of local writer Nin Andrews on the air. This is one of murrea_northany Big Read events. Mr. Urrea will visit Youngstown October 15.

Our keynote reader is highly acclaimed and awarded poet and writer George Ella Lyon. You may have heard of her poetry project Where I’m From, which by now includes entries from all over the world. You can tell she is wonderful, because the picture she sent to us includes her fourth grade teacher. Her books will be for sale at the reading. Please join us in thanking Ohio Humanities for the funding to bring this important writer to the Valley.

george ella lyon

George Ella Lyon, Kentucky Poet Laureate (2015-2016), has published in many genres, including poetry, picture books, novels, short stories, and a memoir. Her poem “Where I’m From” has gone around the world as a writing model. Recent collections include She Let Herself Go (LSU, 2012) and Many-Storied House (University Press of Kentucky, 2013). Lyon makes her living as a freelance writer and teacher. She and her husband, musician and writer Steve Lyon, have two grown sons.

After Ms. Lyon’s reading, we will take a break, replenish our drinks, and begin the open mic. Readers are welcome to read one poem or prose excerpt, two pages maximum.

Please join us! This will be one of the most memorable Lit Youngstown events of the year.

 

O Autumn Fruitfulness!

September and October are filling up so richly, we’re going to dedicate a square to all that’s going on, between the NEA Big Read (centered around Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea), the Fall Literary Festival, a reading by poet and native Youngstowner Ross Gay, and our usual Lit Yo activities.NEA Big Read

We’ll add to this calendar as pieces come together. All events are free and open to the public with no reservation required, unless otherwise indicated.

This is a partial list of Big Read activities; please visit the calendar of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County for the whole beautiful thing!

*Until August 31
Short Short Fiction Contest open, submit here

*Wed. Sept. 4 7:00 Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St.
Lit Youngstown First Wednesday Series Reading: Clint Elston & Brandon Noel, open mic emceed by Elizabeth Burnette

*Tues. Sept. 10 6:30-8:00 Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 34 N. Phelps St.
City Club of the Mahoning Valley, “Separation of Roots and State: Where are They Now?”

Mexican immigration occupies a complex position in U.S. public opinion. Immigration law has oscillated throughout the 20th century between welcoming Mexican immigrants and vehemently rejecting them. What happens to the country they left behind? What about the loved ones unable to make the dangerous trek to America?

Panelists

  • Violeta Aguirre (Vi)
    Coordinadora del Alcance Comunitario para Hispanos (Hispanic Outreach Coordinator), Catholic Charities
  • Erin Phemester
    Programming and Youth Services Director, Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County

Moderator

  • Nicole Pettitt, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor / K-12 TESOL Endorsement Coordinator; Chair, Refugee Concerns Interest Section – TESOL, International Department of English, Youngstown State University

*Tues. Sept. 17 First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown 1105 Elm St.
An Evening of Immigrant Narratives
5:30 Food for Thought Book discussion, Into the Beautiful North *(change of date & time!)
6:30 Ethnic foods potluck (please bring a dish or drink to share)
7:00 Traveling Stanzas, Wick Poetry Center
8:00 Youngstown Immigrant Narratives

urrea_north

*Sat. Sept. 21 3:30 YSU Ward Beecher Planetarium
The Sky We Share
Our constellations mainly come from the Greeks, so why do they have Latin names? And what’s up with those Arabic star names, anyway? In this live presentation of the night sky, we will journey through the stars and explore the different ways they take shape across cultures and the ages. Learn of the importance of the stars for navigation, time-keeping, and storytelling.

*Tues. Oct. 1 7:00 St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave.
Book discussion, Into the Beautiful North

*Wed. Oct. 2 7:00 Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St.
Lit Youngstown First Wednesday Series Reading: EF Schroeder & Michelle Smith, open mic emceed by Christopher Lesko

*Thurs. Oct. 3 6:00 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave.
NEA Big Read Film Series: Magnificent Seven, introduced by Dr. Laura Beadling

*Thurs. Oct. 3 7:00 Downtown Hilton DoubleTree, 44 E. Federal Plaza, 2nd floor lounge
Fall Literary Festival gathering in, registration and conversation

*Fri. Oct. 4 Fall Literary Festival
9:00-4:00 YSU Kilcawley Center registration/fee required
5:00-6:30 Dinner, St. John’s Episcopal Church registration/fee required
7:00-8:30 Reading: Steven Caumo, winner of Lou Yuhasz Memorial Scholarship
Erica Cardwell & Philip MetresLiterary Festival Logo Design

*Sat. Oct. 5 Fall Literary Festival
9:00-4:00 YSU Kilcawley Center registration/fee required
4:30 Dedication Words Made Visible sidewalk project
6:00-6:45 Dinner, Downtown Hilton DoubleTree Ballroom registration/fee required
7:00 Reading, winner, short short fiction contest
Keynote George Ella Lyon

*Mon. Oct. 7 6:30 Casa Ramirez, 1578 Mahoning Ave.
Hands-on demonstration: making sopes
Free with registration

*Wed. Oct. 9 6:00 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave.
NEA Big Read Film Series: Stand and Deliver
(Food for Thought book discussion cancelled)

*Thurs. Oct. 10 5:00-7:00 3rd Floor Maag Library, YSURoss Gay Flyer
Crossings: NEA Big Read YSU Student Art Show Opening
Exhibit Oct. 10-27

*Fri. Oct. 11 7:30 St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave.
Reading: Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts hosts Ross Gay & Jason Harris

*Tues. Oct. 15 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave.
NEA Big Read author Luis Alberto Urrea
Special Guests The Labra Brothers

5:00 -5:45 Book signing
6:00 Reading, Q&A with Dr. Timothy Francisco

*Thurs. Oct. 17 6:00 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave.
NEA Big Read Film Series: The Bronze Screen, introduced by Dr. Laura Beadling
(Third Thursday Writers Circle canceled)

 

 

 

Early Bird Starts to Pack

Many of you have heard the call of the early bird, not for worms, but for the affordable registration rate of only 40 bucks at the Fall Literary Festival, for two days of fantastic readings, craft talks and panel discussions and book fair. But, alas, the early bird is packing up, her tiny calendar marked “fly” on July 31.

Literary Festival Logo Design

Many of you told us you’d expect to pay a lot more, but you know where our heart is: keeping it real for our folks in the Valley. Those of you who have a bit of extra have been generous in making gifts to support our work. Thank you.

If you’re a writer, be sure to get in on this. If you’re a reader, look it over. The quality of writers coming in, the eight featured writers and fifty presenters from the Valley, region, and throughout the Eastern U.S., is something we’re proud to crow about.

With sponsors like this, you know we’re in good company. Please join us in thanking them: the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Nancy Beeghly, Marion Boyer, Barbara Brothers, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, Liz Hill, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, Purple Cat, St. John’s Episcopal Church,  Sojourn to the Past, the Youngstown Foundation, Youngstown State University College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Youngstown State University English Department, Youngstown State University Women & Gender Studies

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Scene and Summary Writing Workshop

“Show, Don’t Tell” but also “Less is More”: Using Scene and Summary in Short Story Writing

Most narratives rely on plot to engage readers, and most plots rely on scenes in order to create a solid structure. Scenes can control the pace of a story and introduce character development. However, while scene is very powerful, there is another tool writers can use: summary. Summary can be used in place of scene to accomplish many of the same things, but summary can also be used to influence characters within the story, or the readers themselves.

In this workshop, we will examine several short stories to look for successful examples of using both scene and summary. Writers can bring in their own drafts with the goal of revising them, or will be able to generate drafts.  Writers in this workshop will find their own happy mediums between “show, don’t tell,” and “less is more.”

Meet the teaching artist: Specializing in fiction through the NEOMFA program, Bridgid Cassin has worked as writer and editor for Youngstown State University’s New Frontiers research publication while also serving on the staff of the Jenny literary magazine. She has led workshops for Lit Youngstown, Winter Wheat, and the Hoyt Center for the Arts in Newcastle, PA. Bridgid has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and attended the Juniper Summer Writing Institute in 2018. Bridgid previously earned Master’s in English from St. John’s University, and also completed a certificate in Children’s and YA Literature at YSU.

Using Scene and Summary in Short Story Writing. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Wednesday, August 14, 7-9:00 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church,  323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $15 (pay at workshop). Need-based scholarships are available. Register here: Deadline August 10.

Short Short Fiction Contest

A few years ago, NPR sponsored a 3-minute fiction contest for stories that could be read in 3 minutes or less (fewer than 600 words). Nin Andrews was teaching a workshop and assigned the contest as a writing prompt. She sent one in, herself, and we were thrilled when Luis Alberto Urrea mentioned her story on air.

In honor of Mr. Urrea’s visit, and in conjunction with the NEA Big Read, we thought it would be fun to have a contest of our own. Two winners and two runners-up will be invited to read at the Fall Literary Festival October 5 at 7:00 before Festival keynote reader George Ella Lyon.

The contest is open to teens and adults who are current residents of Mahoning, Trumbull, Mercer and Lawrence Counties. One entry per person, please. Stories will be judged anonymously, and must be entered by August 31. Winners will be announced in September.

Poets & Ice Cream

Join us Wednesday August 7, 7:00, The Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St., as we welcome acclaimed poets James Arthur, Cody Walker & Catherine Wing. Open mic to follow, emceed by Arya-Francesca Jenkins. We will also be celebrating National Raspberries and Cream Day with homemade ice cream.

James Arthur is the author of The Suicide’s Son and Charms Against Lightning. He has received the Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship, a Hodder Fellowship, a Stegner Fellowship, a Discovery/The Nation Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship to Northern Ireland, and a Visiting Fellowship at Oxford. Arthur teaches at Johns Hopkins University.

Cody Walker directs Creative Writing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Author of poetry collections The Self-Styled No-Child and Shuffle and Breakdown. His work appears in The New York Times Magazine, The Yale Review and The Best American Poetry. He’s the co-director of the Bear River Writers’ Conference. Walker’s chapbook, The Trumpiad, was published on the last of Trump’s first 100 Days. Proceeds are being donated to the ACLU.

Catherine Wing is the author of two collections of poetry, Enter Invisible and Gin & Bleach. Her poems have been published in such journals as Poetry, The Nation, and Tin House. She teaches at Kent State University and is currently serving as the Director of the NEOMFA, the nation’s only consortial program in Creative Writing.

Summer Festival of the Arts!


Summer Festival of the Arts is one of our favorite events of the year! We’ll be there with the “Where I’m From” poem template, in anticipation of Fall Literary Festival visiting writer George Ella Lyon and her international project.

We’ll also have paper sidewalk squares for visitors to decorate, in celebration of our poems stamped in sidewalk squares, part of the Words Made Visible project. We’ll dedicate them and introduce the poets at the Fall Literary Festival.

Stop by for information on the Fall Literary Festival and other programs, logo tumblers and tees (onesies!), and raffle tickets for that sweet bird bath. Find us in the nonprofit area, near Moser and Cushwa Halls.

This year we will also host readings in the adjacent author tent. What better place to showcase word artists than a maker fair! And what better gift to yourself or someone you care about than a signed book. We’re lucky to have so much talent in our community.

Saturday, July 13 
Marion Boyer   11:00-11:30
Rochelle Hurt   11:45-12:15
Bill Soldan   12:30-1:00
Nancy Christie   1:15-1:45
Rikki Santer   2:00-2:30
Karen Kotrba   2:45-3:15
Karen Schubert   3:30-4:00
Mari Alschuler   4:15-4:45

Sunday, July 14 
Allison Pitinii Davis  11:30-12:00
Dom Fonce  12:15-12:45
Kathy Palumbo   1:00-1:30
Carbombs to Cookie Tables: Sean Posey, Elaine Arvan Andrews & Vince Guerrieri   1:45-2:15
Jimmy Sutman   2:30-3:00
Barbara Sabol     3:15-3:45
Jamie Marich   4:00-4:30

 

Third Thursday Writers Circle

pexels-photo-745365Would you like some gentle feedback on new work you’ve written? Bring 10 copies (one poem or story excerpt, 5 pages max.) to the Third Thursday Writers Circle.

We will meet in our office at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. at 6:00, Thursday, June 20. Come to the door on the right, under the stone archway, and ring the buzzer.