Happy National Poetry Month to those who celebrate! We love seeing poems springing up everywhere, like flowers and puddles and a good pair of wellies. To celebrate, we are sponsoring a new series, Lit by the Imagination, poems and prompts curated by Nin Andrews. We’ve created a Facebook page so you can find them all in one place.
Here are the month’s features. So many thanks to them for their wonderful poems and poetry ideas, and we hope you have fun writing. Many of these poets were included in the New Book News series, and we have tagged their readings here.
We are so grateful to announce a $15,000 grant from the Centofanti Foundation to support the Fall Literary Festival. We honor the work Centofanti is doing in our community, and are humble to be among the recipients of their support.
The Fall Literary Festival will take place October 7-9, 2021, featuring highly acclaimed visiting writers Ross Gay (poet & essayist), Jan Beatty (poet & memoirist), Matt Forrest Esenwine (children’s author), Bonnie Proudfoot (novelist & poet), & Mike Geither (playwright). Daytime programs will include dozens of presenters from throughout the Eastern U.S. reading their creative work and leading discussions on reading, writing, understanding, teaching, editing, and publishing creative literary work. The book fair will host presses, journals, organizations and programs.
We hope readers and writers from the Mahoning Valley, Northeast Ohio and beyond will join us, including high school and college students. More information on registration will be available soon.
How are we doing? What can we do better? What should we keep doing? What should we start doing? We would love to hear your ideas. Thank you so much for taking this 10-15 minute survey, giving us a chance to hear from you.
After you complete the survey, click into a new window to win a $50 gift card from Belt Publishing! We love the work they’re doing, and we think you will, too. We’ll announce two drawing winners April 30.
5th Annual Fall Literary Festival October 7-9, 2021 Youngstown, Ohio Conference Theme: “Our Shared Story” Visiting Writers: Ross Gay (poet & essayist), Jan Beatty (poet & memoirist), Matt Forrest Esenwine (children’s author), Bonnie Proudfoot (novelist & poet), & Mike Geither (playwright)
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Lit Youngstown seeks proposals for Our Shared Story, 5th annual Fall Literary Festival, October 7-9 in Northeast Ohio. This year’s conference will be centered around the theme “Our Shared Story,” a conversation about writing, publishing, community outreach, and literary inclusion. The conference aims to sustain and enhance community by allowing its members to share a stake in its narrative: its story—past, present, and future.
Kennedy Romeo was born and raised on the West side of Youngstown. She graduated from Ursuline High School in 2017 and will be graduating from YSU this Spring with plans of continuing onto grad school to further her love of non-profit work. In her free time, you can most often find her wrapped in a blanket with a book and a cup of coffee.
We’re trying out a new format for the Writers Circle. We sure do miss meeting with a few dozen of you around a cluster of tables to talk and share ideas. We’ve tried a few online formats, to limited success, so let’s try something completely different.
Sign in here with your google account (simple to open one). Post poems, short fiction, long fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, plays or screenplays. Give and receive gentle, constructive feedback. Open year-round. Many thanks to board member Josh Nauman for building the page. Questions? Check out the FAQ, or let us know.
Each year, Lit Youngstown’s Board of Directors selects a literary arts nonprofit to send a donation to. It is a meaningful way to support the incredible work being done around the country, ways the literary arts are enhancing lives and communities. This year we will contribute to Book ‘Em Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that supplies books to incarcerated readers.
We were impressed with their mission:
“Our mission is to improve the quality of life for people incarcerated in Pennsylvania by providing free access to educational materials, books and resources. Each month, Book’Em serves approximately 200 prisoners across 35 State and Federal prisons, mailing an average of 500 pieces of reading material.
Since 2000 we have served approximately 33,000 prisoners throughout the state of Pennsylvania. In 2015, we filled 1,934 individual requests from prisoners.”
Last year we selected Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville, TN, and in 2018, Lake Erie Ink in Cleveland. Check them out, too! and let us know the literary arts nonprofits that have a special place in your world.
We sure do miss hanging out with the Lit Youngstown community! To that end, we’re starting a monthly Happy Hour. We’ll Zoom until it’s safe to meet around the Valley–there are lots of venues to choose from, and it will be great to support them. Here’s the registration link for December 23, 5:00-6:00.
Cassandra Lawton is a student in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. She received her bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies and her master’s in Social Work from Michigan State University. Her career goal is to bring creative writing and its healing effects into therapeutic and community spaces, with a focus on expressive therapy and community outreach. Cassandra predominately writes fiction and is currently working on a high fantasy novel focusing on the bond between two sisters.
At a recent meeting, Lit Youngstown’s Board of Directors decided that each year we will invite a student from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts to serve on the Board. We think these new voices will strengthen our process and program, and our relationship with the NEOMFA. We are honored and grateful to be working with you, Tommy!