Have a great 4th, and we’ll see you on the 10th! We send out a special invitation to NEOMFA alumni, students & faculty. The open mic will be emceed by Joelle Lambert, so bring your poems & stories. Also, we’ll be celebrating National Piña Colada Day & National Pick Blueberries Day: a double-header! Wednesday July 10, 7:00, The Soap Gallery.
Alex DiFrancesco is a writer of fiction, creative nonfiction, and journalism who has published work in Tin House, The Washington Post, Pacific Standard, Brevity, and more. Their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their second novel All City (Seven Stories Press) were published in 2019. Their storytelling has been featured at The Fringe Festival, Life of the Law, The Queens Book Festival, and The Heart podcast. DiFrancesco is currently an MFA candidate at Cleveland State University. They can be found @DiFantastico on Twitter.
Noor Hindi (she/her) is a Palestinian-American poet who is currently pursuing her MFA in poetry through the NEOMFA program. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, Tinderbox Poetry, Glass Poetry, & Diode Poetry Journal. Hindi is the assistant poetry editor at The University of Akron Press and a reporter for The Devil Strip Magazine.
Join us Wednesday June 5 at 7:00 at the Soap Gallery for a poetry & prose reading by two sisters and amazing writers of Cleveland. Open mic emceed by Steve Force. National Ketchup Day. Let’s stogie up the grill.
Mary Grimm has had two books published, Left to Themselves (novel) and Stealing Time (story collection) – both by Random House. Currently, she is working on a dystopian novel about oldsters. She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University.
Susan Grimm is the author of Almost Home (1997), Lake Erie Blue (2004), and Roughed Up by the Sun’s Mothering Tongue (2011). Her poetry has appeared in Blackbird, The Journal, South Dakota Review, Poetry East, and Tar River Poetry.
Many thanks to the sponsors of the First Wednesday series: the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation and the Kennedy Family Foundation via the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.
Lit Youngstown presents a reading with Bonné de Blas, Monica Kaiser & Sheryl St. Germain, Wednesday May 1 @ 7:00 at The Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. No open mic this month. We will also be celebrating National Chocolate Parfait Day.
Bonné de Blas is an MFA candidate in Poetry at the NEOMFA. She received an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee and a JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She is the author of chapbooks The Act of Dwelling (NightBallet Press) and The Rule of Contraction (Kattywompus Press) and her essay in Older Queer Voices: The Intimacy of Survival, Lambert and Einstein, eds. received a Best of the Net nomination.
Monica Kaiser is a graduate assistant at Kent State University and is pursuing a NEOMFA creative writing degree. She is the author of Still Sifting, and is passionate about the environment, ecopoetics, conflict management, and how these genres intersect. She lives with her husband, son, two rabbits, and her father.
Sheryl St. Germain is a poet and essayist whose work has received numerous awards. Her most recent book, a poetry collection, The Small Door of Your Death, was published by Autumn House Press in 2018. Sheryl directs the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, and is co-founder of the Words Without Walls program. 50 Miles (forthcoming, Etruscan Press) is a memoir in linked essays that addresses addiction and alcoholism. The book traces the life of the author’s son, Gray, a talented but troubled young man, and his death from a drug overdose at thirty, as well as the author’s own recovery from substance abuse.
Join us for a reading! Wednesday, April 3 at 7:00 at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. Open mic to follow emceed by Thomas Welsh. We will also be celebrating National Chocolate Mousse Day.
Joanne Lehman has published two poetry chapbooks, Morning Song, and Driving in the Fog, which received the 2004 Wick Poetry Prize. She is also the author of Kairos: A Novel and Traces of Treasure: Quest for God in the Commonplace, both published by Herald Press. Joanne and her husband, Ralph, live in Wooster, Ohio.
Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional, The Valley of Achor, Pruning Burning Bushes, and Acquiesce. Six of her essays have been listed as Notable Essays in The Best American Essays. She is a 2018 recipient of an Ohio Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council.
Join us for a reading Wed. March 6 at 7:00 at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St., as we welcome Margie DeLong & Tanya Pilumeli from the North Coast. Open mic to follow. We will also be celebrating National Oreo Day.
Margie DeLong, a retired nurse practitioner, has published in poetry journals and authored a nonfiction book: Grand Observations, A Year of Weekly Visits to the Grand River at the Blair Road Bridge. A grandmother of five, she and her husband reside on a bluff overlooking the river in Painesville, Ohio.
Tanya Pilumeli teaches at Lakeland Community College and owns an Italian restaurant, Alessandro’s, with her husband, and loves traveling. Her poetry has appeared in and received awards in Tipton Review, Wild Violet, The Blue Collar Review, Blaze Vox and other places. Her novel The DragonFly Keeper was published in 2008.
Youngstown State University Writing Center Director Angela Messenger hosts February’s First Wednesday reading, featuring YSU students published in CROW: College Review of Writing. No open mic this month.
Wednesday, February 6 @ 7:00 at The Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. Street parking.
We will also be celebrating National Chopsticks Day! Word on the street is somebody’s making pot stickers. Hope you can make it.
Join us for a prose and poetry reading, followed by live jazz by Matt Jackson & Dan Mihelarakis! Also, we’ll be celebrating National Cream Puff Day. No open mic this month. Wednesday January 2 at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. 7:00. Street parking or in the lot at the corner of Front & Champion Streets.
Marion Starling Boyer has three published poetry collections and her fourth book, The Sea Was Never Far, is forthcoming this spring from Main Street Rag. Boyer’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart, the Lenore Marshall Award, and the “Best of the Net.” She’s recently moved to Twinsburg from Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Arya F. Jenkins’s short stories received three separate nominations for the Pushcart in 2018. Her poetry chapbooks are Jewel Fire (AllBook Books, 2011) and Silence Has A Name (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Her short story collection, Blue Songs in an Open Key, was published by Fomite Press in 2018.
Join us for a conversation about Line Study of a Motel Clerk by First Wednesday visiting writer and native daughter Allison Pitinii Davis. Read more about/purchase this poetry collection here.
Food for Thought book discussion will meet at Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, December 12, from 6:00-7:00 pm. If you would like to order a bite to eat, please arrive well before the counter closes at 6:00.
Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us. Here are the remaining titles in this year’s selections by writers who have recently visited the Valley:
January 9 (Historical Novel) Robert Olmstead Savage Country
February 13 (Nonfiction) Austin Channing Brown I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made For Whiteness
March 13 (Novel, Speculative Fiction) Kelly Link Get in Trouble
April 10 (Memoir) Scott Simon Unforgettable
May 15 (Nonfiction) Cokie Roberts Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation
Join us for a staged reading of Heirloom by Mike Geither Wednesday December 5 at 7:00 at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. Open mic to follow (5 minutes per reader). NEOMFA Reunion Reading! Special welcome to Northeast Ohio MFA alumni, students and faculty. Also, we’ll be celebrating Comfort Food Day with cookies and cocoa.
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.
*** New Time*** 7:00*** New Time***
Join us at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St., Wed. Nov. 7, for a poetry reading and open mic emceed by Lidia Cornelio. And the new earlier time will stick.
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.