Category Archives: First Wednesday

2019 Annual Report

We published our 2019 Annual Report! Thanks to all–you put the light in Lit Youngstown. There were so many to thank, our hearts are full. We hope we haven’t forgotten anyone, but if we did, please let us know.

First Wednesday Features Holly Christensen & Chris Gibowicz

Join us for a First Wednesday Series reading by Akron Beacon Journal columnist Holly Christensen and Youngstown poet Chris Gibowicz. Open mic to follow, emceed by Jimmy Sutman. We will also be celebrating National Nutella Day. Wednesday, February 5 at the Soap Gallery at 7:00.

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Holly Christensen is a 2010 graduate of the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. The mother of five children between the ages of 26 and seven, Holly has been the parenting/family/community columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal since 2016. She also teaches writing at the University of Akron.

 

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Chris Gibowicz is currently a district level administrator. She was formerly a teacher, and an inner-city school principal. She continues to deepen her yoga and mediation practice through retreats. She drew inspiration for her book, Lead, Love Live, from her self care practices, leadership, love and life.

 

2020 First Wednesday Readers Series:
March 4 Cliff Richeal (poetry) Kayla Jeswald (nonfiction)
April 1 Thomas Beck (storytelling) Humor Open Mic
May 6 Angie Orlando (memoir) Christine Howey (poetry)
June 3 Nikki Robinson (poetry), Terry Provost (poetry)
July 1 Diane Kendig (poetry), Hannah Rodabaugh (poetry)
August 5 Kathleen Strafford (poetry), Ted Lardner (poetry)
September 2 Susan Petrone (fiction), William Heath (poetry)
October 7 Kelly Bancroft (play), Jessica Jewell (poetry)
November 4 Craig Paulenich (poetry) & James Winter (fiction) NEOMFA reunion reading

Lit Youngstown in Your Kitchen

Many, so many! thanks to Ashley Dillon for her editing and graphic design on our new, gorgeous, gorgeous! 5-year commemorative calendar. These are the images for each month, and the calendar includes Lit Yo event dates.

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The calendar is a thank you gift for donors of $60 or more or $5.00 per month. Thank you! Please know your support is absolutely essential. Would you like to be a new contributor? Do you feel our work in the literary community brings $5.00 of value each month? More about our first 5 years here and donating here.

Additional calendars are available for $15.00 each.

Additional 2020 Commemorative Calendars

$15.00

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First Wednesday on Second Wednesday

john_shelleyJoin us for a First Wednesday Series reading January 8 (Happy New Year!) by Cleveland poets John Burroughs & Shelley Chernin. Open mic to follow emceed by Rae McCann. We will also be celebrating National English Toffee Day.

John Burroughs of Cleveland was recently honored as the 2019-2021 Beat Poet Laureate for the State of Ohio. He serves as the founding editor for Crisis Chronicles Press and is the author of a dozen books including, most recently, Rattle and Numb: Selected Poems, 1992-2019, published by Venetian Spider Press.

Shelley Chernin is a freelance writer of legal reference books, an environmental activist and a ukulele enthusiast. She is the author of The Vigil, published by Crisis Chronicles Press in 2012. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Great Lakes Review, Scrivener Creative Review, Guide to Kulchur Creative Journal, Rhapsoidia, Durable Goods, Big Bridge, and Oct Tongue-1. She was awarded 2nd Place in the 2011 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest and received Honorable Mentions twice in the Akron Art Museum’s New Words Poetry Contest.

2020 First Wednesday Readers Series:
February 5 Holly Christensen (creative nonfiction) and Chris Gibowicz (poetry)
March 4 Cliff Richeal (poetry) Kayla Jeswald (nonfiction)
April 1 Thomas Beck (storytelling) Humor Open Mic
May 6 Angie Orlando (memoir) Christine Howey (poetry)
June 3 Nikki Robinson (poetry), Terry Provost (poetry)
July 1 Diane Kendig (poetry), Hannah Rodabaugh (poetry)
August 5 Kathleen Strafford (poetry), Ted Lardner (poetry)
September 2 Susan Petrone (fiction), William Heath (poetry)
October 7 Kelly Bancroft (play), Jessica Jewell (poetry)
November 4 Craig Paulenich (poetry) & James Winter (fiction) NEOMFA reunion reading

Lit Youngstown Turns 5!!!!!

Five years! It’s gone by in a flash. Let’s take a moment to celebrate all we’ve done together. And then let’s have a party!

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Jeffrey Murphy, Laura Grace Weldon, Jeanne Bryner & David Lee Garrison at the dedication of the Words Made Visible poetry-in-sidewalk squares

Since January of 2015 we have hosted nearly 400 writers, celebrating local talent and  visiting writers who have won prestigious awards. Local writers from age 6 to their 80s have shared poems and stories at open mics. (Photos: Mary Biddinger & Mary Quade, Lena Carson, Yahia Tahat, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Jimmy Sutman, Marjorie Maddox)

 

Hundreds of participants have learned about aspects of writing and publishing at workshops and classes taught by local teaching artists, and sessions at Winter Writing Camp and Fall Literary Festival.

Lit Youngstown partnered with the Public Library of Mahoning & Trumbull County to write a successful National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grant, and hosted 33 distinct activities culminating in a visit by author Luis Alberto Urrea, pictured here with local musicians the Labra Brothers. Only two Big Reads took place in Ohio this year, including ours! Reader non-writers have a place with us, too, with book discussions and readings such as Urrea’s, to a packed house.

We are grateful so many community partners have worked with us on projects and events, including the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Summer Festival of the Arts, JCC, YWCA, YNDC, Hubbard & Kinsman Public Libraries, Park Vista, Soap Gallery, McDonough Museum, YSU, UUYO, Purple Cat, Lake to River, WYSU, the National Council of Negro Women and many others. Our partners help us extend our reach and give us a chance to support the incredible work they are doing.

In addition, we’ve helped make a modest boost in the local economy by supporting local businesses whenever possible, and by bringing in state and federal grant money and writers who purchase meals and lodging while attending events such as the Fall Literary Festival.  (Photo: Fall Literary Festival dinner at the Hilton DoubleTree, photo credit Jill Christman)

cropped-jillchristman.jpgWords Made Visible engaged hundreds of writers and artists, culminating in poetry excerpts stamped in sidewalk squares at St. John’s Episcopal Church and by the Commerce Building downtown. (Photo credit: Melanie Buonavolonta & Ashley Dillon)

Many YSU undergraduate and graduate student interns have helped us develop and implement programs and materials, giving the students insights into running an arts nonprofit.

In addition, we have used the literary arts to foster discussions on healthy food access with food policy activist Mark Winne, whose research in Youngstown is featured in his latest book. Our oral history project Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories tells the stories of twelve African-American women in our community. Food for Thought book discussion has taken up themes of food, the American experience, and humankind and the natural world. And we learned about Youngstown’s literary ancestor, Michael McGovern, the Puddler Poet, whose labor poetry had a national following at the turn of the 20th century.

Thank you to everyone who had a presence in our first five years. It has really felt like the building of a community, and we are so grateful.

Turn the Page with us!

Please consider celebrating Lit Youngstown at 5 with a contribution to help keep us going strong. For donors of $50+ (or $5.00+ monthly installments), we have a special commemorative calendar with some of our favorite images from the last five years. Major donors of $500 and higher are listed on our website.

Please click here for more information on how to contribute by check, Paypal, credit card, monthly installment or via the Youngstown Foundation.

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From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for contributing any level of support. Mark your calendar for a big thank you party January 25! 

 

Executive Director Karen Schubert
Board of Directors: Elaine Arvan Andrews, Tricia D’Avignon, Tim Francisco,  Anne Garwig, Liz Hill, Courtney Kensinger, Nicole DiPiero, Nicole Robinson, Elizabeth Skeels, Penny Wells

Support Lit Youngstown with a Gift Today

P.S. Many people have told us they would have paid more for a class or event. We keep our pricing low to be as inclusive as possible, and your donation will help keep us going in these hard times. Thank you!

 

 

Nacho Missable Reading

Yo, Yo-Towners! Join us for a reading by Pamela Anderson & Steve Thomas. Open mic to follow, emceed by Beth Franklin. We will also be celebrating National Nachos Day. Wednesday, November 6 at 7:00, Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St.

Pam 2017 Head ShotPam Anderson has an MFA from the NEOMFA, which also awarded her a Bisbee Fellowship. Much of her writing focuses on the Holocaust, with one of her Holocaust poems receiving an AWP Intro Journals award. Her work has appeared in JennyMag.org, Atticus Review, Mason’s Road, The Listening Eye, Whurk, and elsewhere.

 

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Steve Thomas is the author of The Strength of Flowers (Crisis Chronicles Press 2018), and his poems have been published in The Mill and the Hessler Street Fair Anthology. His goal is to achieve the harmony through writing poetry that he displayed as a professional bowler.

October First Wednesday Features Cleveland Writers

Hope to see you at our October reading, featuring E.F. Schraeder & Michelle R. Smith. Wednesday October 2 at 7:00 at the Soap Gallery, 117 S.Champion St. Open mic to follow, emceed by Christopher Lesko. In honor of World Farm Animals Day, we invite you to bring a vegan food to share if you feel so inspired.

 

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Ethicist, poet, and speculative fiction writer E. F. Schraeder holds an interdisciplinary doctorate emphasizing applied ethics and social justice issues. Dr. Schraeder has taught widely in gender studies, humanities, and philosophy, and has also worked in the nonprofit sector, fundraising for grassroots organizations. Schraeder serves as a sometimes-contributing editor at an animal advocacy webcomic and facilitates writing workshops.

Michelle R. Smith is a writer, educator, cultural facilitator, and niche writing entrepreneur. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals, anthologies and other venues.

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! Continue reading

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.