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.
From 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 many 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, 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.