Category Archives: First Wednesday

The CROW Returns!

crowYoungstown 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.

First Wednesday Reading & All That Jazz

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 Boyer

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 FireArya.Sept.2018 3 (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.

Food for Thought: Line Study of a Motel Clerk

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.

Line-Study-Award
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

First Wednesday Features Mike Geither

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.

Mike GeitherHeirloom 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.

First Wednesday *New Time*

*** 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_Holding Her Artist Book

 

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

 

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.

Kathleen McGookey & Rikki Santer Poetry Reading October 3

Join us for a poetry reading Wednesday October 3 at 7:30 at the Soap Gallery, 119 S. Champion St. Open mic emceed by Chris Gibowicz. Street parking.

mcgookey santer

Kathleen McGookey has published three books of poems, most recently Heart in a Jar. Her work has appeared in journals including Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and Quarterly West. She has received grants from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sustainable Arts Foundation.

Rikki Santer is an award-winning poet living in Columbus, Ohio. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Margie, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, Slipstream and The Main Street Rag. Her fifth collection, Make Me That Happy, was recently published by NightBallet Press.

World Poetry Night Sept. 5

Throughout the world and throughout history, poetry connects us. Join us for a special 26993397_1008074299330950_5435675941876329087_nreading of contemporary international poetry by translators and native speakers. Dragana Crnjak & Karen Schubert (Bosnia), Mahmoud Kambris (Lebanon), Steven Reese (Cuba), Kathleen Strafford (England) & Sony Q. Ton-Aime (Haiti).

Wednesday, September 5 at 7:30 at the Soap Gallery. Doors open at 7:15. International refreshments will be served. The open mic will be emceed by Stephanie Stearns. Open mic readers are encouraged to bring a contemporary international poem.

August Reading: Change of Place!

This month’s First Wednesday Reading is on, well, the 1st, which is like a blue moon for us. It will be a delightful reading by three women poets, and this time we’ll be in the small and charming chapel at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Enter the door on the right beneath the stone archway.

Wednesday August 1|7:30|Doors Open 7:15|St. John’s Episcopal Church|323 Wick Ave.

Lit Youngstown’s office is right down the hall, and we’ll open the office for refreshments and lending library browsers.

gunter_seymour_portrait

 

An Appalachian, Kari Gunter-Seymour blames her method of writing on the rich Ohio soil, her wildly eclectic family and neighbors and her upbringing. Her poems can be found in many fine journals and publications including Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and The LA Times. She is an Instructor in the School of Journalism at Ohio University and is the Poet Laureate for Athens, Ohio.

 

Sherri Saines has been reading, writing, and memorizing poetry since her grandmother gave her A Golden Book of Poetry for her 6th sherri saines coastbirthday. She has been published in Pig Iron, Mothering Magazine, Muse, Clover, Penguin Review, The Ides of March, Everything Stops and Listens, and other small presses.

 

Kathleenkathleen Strafford holds an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University. Originally from Ohio, Kathleen moved to Leeds in 1998 and now is chief editor of Runcible Spoon Webzine. She has been widely published in anthologies and webzines. She is working on her second collection called Women Changed Everything. Her debut poetry collection was published in 2018 called Her Own Language.

A Night of Stories July 11

micJoin us for a night of community storytelling & desserts, Wednesday July 11, 7:30, Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. Doors open at 7:15. No open mic this month.

The first Wednesday of July falls on a holiday, so go make some noise and join us a week later for a truly wonderful evening.

Stories by Tom Beck, Arthur Byrd, BeckyAnn Harker, Skye Hildebrand-Grapentine, Sue Hukari & Andrea Wells.

Tom Beck lives on a working grain farm in Green Township. Tom is retired from The University of Akron where he served as an administrator and faculty member for 35 years. Tom also had an extensive career in radio and television broadcasting. Tom has three adult sons and eight grandchildren. As a teacher, broadcaster, and community activist, communicating through storytelling has been an important part of Tom’s professional training.

Arthur Byrd earned a BA in Telecommunications and Associate Degree in Business Management from YSU, and worked as a photojournalist at WFMJ-TV, where he and a reporter won first place from the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters for Best Investigative Reporting. Arthur’s short films have shown at film festivals in Cleveland and Los Angeles, and his Ballet Audition has been viewed over two million times on YouTube. Arthur is a member of Toastmasters, and in 2016, he received the Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) award. Arthur produces two podcasts, Cool and Interesting People, and The Movie Soul Brothers, co-hosted by Mark Williams, a discussion of Black Cinema from 60’s and beyond. Both podcasts can be heard on Soundcloud.

BeckyAnn Harker is a Speech-Language Pathologist by day, treating children in schools with speech or language disorders. By night and weekend, she is the Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown. One of her favorite parts of that job is telling a story that appeals to all ages during the weekly service. She is also a member of Warren Toastmasters, where she is practicing and improving her storytelling skills. She is the mother of one, stepmother of three, all in their teens and early twenties. Stay tuned- when the trauma of raising teenagers subsides, there will be plenty more stories to tell!

Skye Hildebrand-Grapentine is currently a full-time caregiver for her 90 year old mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. They often vacation together at wit’s end. Skye took her first writing workshop four years ago, for the sole purpose of someday hoping to breathe words into her own story of how the overbearing people in her life affected all of her decision-making capabilities. With her cumulative history eventually leaving her breathless, Facebook friends working with Lit Youngstown came along to resuscitate her.

First Wednesday: Melissa Barger & William Heath

Join us for a reading of poetry and historical fiction at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St., 7:30. Doors open at 7:15. Open mic emceed by Amanda Miller.

MelissaMelissa Barger has been writing for half her life. She is employed with the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and is revising a Young Adult Historical Fiction novel set in Youngstown during the summer of 1863.

William Heath was born in Youngstown and grew up in Poland. He heathis the national-award-winning author of novels: The Children Bob Moses Led, Blacksnake’s Path, Devil Dancer; poetry: The Walking Man; history: William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest; and interviews: Conversations with Robert Stone. He will be reading some recent poems set in the Steel Valley.