Category Archives: Food for Thought

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!

 

 

Food for Thought: The Overstory

This round of titles, we’ll be immersed in a theme of humankind and the natural world. The Overstory 67646395_1412675748870801_5716195961638748160_nearned Richard Powers a Pulitzer Prize in fiction, the committee describing the novel as “an ingeniously structured narrative that branches and canopies like the trees at the core of the story whose wonder and connectivity echo those of the humans living amongst them.”

Food for Thought book discussion will be hosted by our community partner Cultivate Co-op Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, November 13, 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. All books are available through the YSU Maag or public library systems, and at the YSU Barnes & Noble. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us.

December 11 (Poetry) Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
January 8 (Fiction, Short Stories) For a Little While by Rick Bass
February 12 (Nonfiction) The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells
March 11 (Fiction, Novel) Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
April 8 (Nonfiction) The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health by David R. Montgomery & Anne Biklé
May 13 (Nonfiction) Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy

NEA Big Read Book Talk, Potluck & Stories Sept. 17

urrea_northWe are so excited to invite you to the official kick-off of our NEA Big Read! Many thanks to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown for being wonderful hosts. Please bring a food or drink to share, and join us at this free event. If you haven’t yet read the book, don’t worry. If you have, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

We are thrilled to welcome the Wick Poetry Center to talk about some of their incredible work in the community, using poetry to create bridges of understanding. And profound thank you to our international friends for sharing their stories. Continue reading

October 5: A Night to Remember

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).

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 Continue reading

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

NEA Big Read Grant

The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County (PLYMC) with Lit Youngstown received a grant of $15,000 to host the NEA Big Read in Mahoning County. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.

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Our selected book is Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea, also the September book in our Food for Thought book discussion series. Mr. Urrea will visit the Valley this fall, and there will be many activities relating to the book and its themes in a month-long calendar of events.  Numerous electronic and hard copies will be available at the public library and branches, and at the two Barnes & Noble bookstores. The Youngstown Rotary will stock each of their Little Free Libraries with a copy, as well.

NEA Big ReadWe are so grateful to the professional, hardworking staff at the public library for their partnership, to the NEA and Arts Midwest for selecting our proposal (one of only two in Ohio and 78 nationwide), and to the many community partners who agreed to host an event during our Big Read. We’ll share the calendar as soon as the ink dries.

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Food for Thought: Humankind in the Natural World

After a summer hiatus, Food for Thought book discussion will start up in September with a series on being in the natural world. Each series’s books represents a cross-section of genres and contemporary voices, and this round we will read novels, nonfiction, and collections of poetry and short stories.

Food for Thought will meet the 2nd Wednesday from 6:00-7:00 at Cultivate Café, 901 Elm St., by Wick Park. Cultivate closes at 6:00, so if you’d like a bite to eat, please arrive early.

The books will be available from the YSU Barnes & Noble and we’ll find out which are at the public library, and which are available from the press.

September 17 (Fiction, Novel) Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
*This discussion will be part of a special evening at the First Unitarian Church of Youngstown, 1105 Elm St., part of the Big Read calendar of activities:
5:30 Food for Thought Book discussion, Into the Beautiful North
6:30 Ethnic potluck
7:00 Traveling Stanzas, Wick Poetry Center
8:00 Youngstown Immigrant Narratives
October (Cancelled for Big Read event)
November 13 (Fiction, Novel) The Overstory by Richard Powers
December 11 (Poetry) Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
January 8 (Fiction, Short Stories) For a Little While by Rick Bass
February 12 (Nonfiction) The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells
March 11 (Fiction, Novel) Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
April 8 (Nonfiction) The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health by David R. Montgomery, Anne Biklé
May 13 (Nonfiction) Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy

When we read a book, we want to talk about it! If you feel that way, too, hope you’ll join us.

Food for Thought: Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

Cokie Roberts spoke to a packed house at Stambaugh Auditorium last year, and we have cokie_mothersselected her book to conclude our series of titles by recent author visitors to the Valley. About Founding Mothers, the Washington Post writes, “Just because the founding mothers were unappreciated in their own time doesn’t mean we have to continue the trend.”

You can find copies of the book at the Mahoning and Trumbull County libraries, YSU Maag Library via OhioLink, and at the YSU Barnes & Noble.

Food for Thought book discussion will be hosted by our community partner Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, May 8, 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.

We will take the summer off and resume this fall with a series on humankind and the natural world.

Food for Thought: Unforgettable

Scott Simon was a recent speaker at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and we have selected his scottsimonbook2book as part of our series of titles by recent author visitors to the Valley. About Unforgettable, the New York Times writes, “Scott Simon, host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday,” proves to be an able guide to the art of saying goodbye in his deeply affecting new memoir, Unforgettable: A Son, a Mother, and the Lessons of a Lifetime.”

You can find copies of the book at the Mahoning and Trumbull County libraries, YSU Maag Library via OhioLink, and at the YSU Barnes & Noble.

Food for Thought book discussion will be hosted by our community partner Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, April 10, 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 this series’ upcoming selections by writers who have recently visited the Valley.

May 15 (Nonfiction) Cokie Roberts | Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

Food for Thought: Get in Trouble

Kelly Link was a recent visiting writer at YSU, and we have selected her book as part of indexour series of titles by recent author visitors to the Valley. About Get in Trouble, the New York Times writes, “It has taken Link 10 years to produce her new story collection, Get in Trouble, and it is just as brilliant as her last, Magic for Beginners.”

You can find copies of the book at the Mahoning and Trumbull County libraries, YSU Maag Library via OhioLink, from the publisher, and at the YSU Barnes & Noble.

Food for Thought book discussion will be hosted by our community partner Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, March 13, 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 this series’ upcoming selections by writers who have recently visited the Valley:

April 10 (Memoir) Scott Simon | Unforgettable
May 15 (Nonfiction) Cokie Roberts | Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation