Category Archives: First Wednesday

First Wednesday Features Fine Poets (Zoom & FB Live)

Darlene Montonaro of Cleveland and David Swerdlow of New Wilmington, Pa. will read from their work for the First Wednesday Readers Series, Wednesday, February 3 at 7:00 PM EST, live on Lit Youngstown’s Facebook page. Register here to attend on Zoom and/or read in the open mic. Co-hosted by Iris Davis Hall.

Darlene Montonaro’s poetry has appeared in a number of literary magazines including Calyx, Slipstream, Earth’s Daughters, Blueline, and The Comstock Review. She served for twelve years as the Director of the Poets’ & Writers’ League, and in 2016 was awarded a Creative Workforce Fellowship from Community Partnership for Arts and Culture.

David Swerdlow’s poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, The Iowa Review, etc. He’s published two books of poetry: Bodies on Earth (2010) and Small Holes in the Universe (2003). His first novel, Television Man, came out in 2019. Swerdlow teaches at Westminster College.

Interview with James Winter


After the November First Wednesday Reading featuring James Winter, intern Cassandra Lawton interviewed him about his writing process and tips for writers.

Watch the reading here.

What is your writing process like?

I find with my fiction, which tends toward the historical, I read and research pretty thoroughly before I start a draft. For example, my story “Beyond Love” tells of the horrors a terrorist bomber suffers while detained in a Jordanian prison and eventually, Guantanamo Bay. As a basis of research, I studied Guantanamo: An American History by Johnathan Hansen, Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedu Ould Slahi, My Guantanamo Diary by Mahvish Khan, Inside the Wire by Erik Saar, and others, but most importantly, peer-reviewed, psychological analyses of Islamic terrorists that showed that many are educated, financially stable family men radicalized in the wake of personal, domestic failures. I found this fascinating when writing “Inheritance,” a story about IRA terrorists. Their characterization by historian Tim Pat Coogan as well as undercover interviews in SPIN magazine and scholarly journals like the UK’s Studies in Conflict & Terrorism depict most of “The Lads” as having barely graduated high school. They are part of a legacy, and instead of keeping activities secret from their spouses, many IRA wives know the organization in detail and provide emotional, and at times physical aid.

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First Wednesday Rescheduled (Zoom & Facebook Live)

Join us for a First Wednesday Series reading by Cleveland poet and journalist Lee Chilcote and Kent poet and creative nonfiction writer David Hassler. Wednesday, January 13 at 7:00 PM EST. Open mic to follow. Co-hosted by Christopher Minton. Register here for the Zoom room, or watch live on Lit Youngstown’s Facebook page.

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First Wednesday: Poets Heather Dobbins & Barbara Sabol (Zoom & FB Live)

Our December First Wednesday series reading features Heather Dobbins of Fort Smith, Arkansas & Barbara Sabol of Akron, Ohio. Co-hosted by Barbara Marie Minney. Zoom and Facebook Live, Wednesday, December 2 at 7:00 PM EST. Open mic to follow (to read in the open mic, please register on Zoom).

Heather Dobbins (L) Barbara Sabol (R)

Heather Dobbins is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. She is the author of two poetry collections, In the Low Houses (2014) and River Mouth (2017), both from Kelsay Press. Her poems and poetry reviews have been published in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Pinch, The Rumpus, TriQuarterly Review, and Women’s Studies Quarterly, among others.

Barbara Sabol’s second full-length book, Imagine a Town, was awarded the 2019 Sheila-Na-Gig Editions poetry manuscript prize. She is the author of Solitary Spin (Main Street Rag Press) and two chapbooks. Barbara’s poetry has appeared widely in Journals and anthologies. Her awards include an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council and the Mary Jean Irion Poetry Prize. She lives in Akron, OH with her husband and wonder dogs.

1st Wed. Features Craig Paulenich, James Winter, NEOMFA Reunion Reading (Zoom & Facebook Live)

Poet Craig Paulenich (L) Fiction writer James Winter (R)

Join us on Zoom and Facebook Live for a First Wednesday Series reading by Craig Paulenich & James Winter. Wednesday November 4 at 7:00 PM EST. Co-hosted by Cassandra Lawton. Special invitation to students, graduates & faculty of the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts. Open mic to follow. Register here to attend on Zoom.

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October First Wednesday: Kelly Bancroft & Jessica Jewell

We’re looking forward to this First Wednesday Series reading by Kelly Bancroft & Jessica Jewell! October 7 at 7:00 PM EST. The reading will be livestreamed on Facebook. Register here to attend on Zoom and/or read in the open mic.

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Kelly Bancroft (l) writes and teaches in Youngstown, Ohio. Her poems and prose have appeared in many journals and her plays have been presented in Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Milwaukee. She teaches at Hiram College and at the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center.

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First Wed. Features Youngstown Memories

Join us for a First Wednesday Series reading by Susan Petrone & William Heath, whose work draws on personal and family memories of life in Youngstown. Open mic to follow. Co-hosted by Cheryl Torsney & Karen Schubert. Register here for the Zoom room (opens at 6:30). This reading will also be livestreamed on Facebook.

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Making the Best of Things

Thanks so much to all who came out to Diane Kendig’s and Hannah Rodabaugh’s reading July 1! We loved the images the poets shared with their ekphrastic poems, and it was a kick to hear open mic readers from all over the map. Many thanks, too, to Allison Pitinii Davis & Danny Gage for hosting the evening with grace.

Here is a link to the recording.

We still miss seeing everyone, for real, but these Zoom readings have their own charm.

 

 

New Book News!

Please join us in congratulating many of our 2015-2019 First Wednesday and Fall Fest writers whose new books are coming out without the usual book launches and other gatherings to mark this important event. If you would like to support these authors by purchasing a book, please follow the links below.

Dead Shark on the N Train, poems by Susana H. Case

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In this sassy, gorgeous book, Susana H. Case takes us on one helluva ride with a dead shark as fellow passenger, brought in from the beach and left on the floor of the N Train, its jaw decorated with a Metro Card, a cigarette and a can of Red Bull. The shark is just one of the stars of Case’s seventh volume of poems. Consider, as well, “Radiance,” a scorcher of a poem about a breast: “Lie with me, lie to me,/ until your tongue burns.”  If you haven’t met up with Case’s work, it’s time you did.—David Tucker, author of Late for Work

 

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