Category Archives: Outreach

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) Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Summer in America

Sarah Davis took a break during her summer internship for Lit Youngstown to be a counselor in the Summer in America program at Youngstown State. We asked her to tell us about her experiences.

Summer in America, a program hosted by Youngstown State University’s International Programs Office, was held from July 12th to August 2nd, 2019 and invited students from other countries to live on campus and experience life in the United States. This year, the program saw an increase in participants from 14 to 68 students and faculty members from China and Taiwan. My time with Summer in America is one that I will truly never forget I got to meet a lot of students who I really connected and became friends with that I will miss dearly. Continue reading

Thoughts on Pursuing an MFA

Sometimes in a workshop or other setting, a writer will bring up the question of the MFA, Master of Fine Arts, in creative writing. It’s a big commitment of time, and often, money, so we asked our intern Sarah Davis to share some thoughts with us about her experience in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts (NEOMFA).

One of the questions I’ve received the most while working towards my MFA is “what are you going to do when you finish school.” But for me, it’s not as much about what I’m going to do after as it is with what I’m doing now. I have found great value in pursuing my MFA in creative writing as it has allowed me to expand my craft and knowledge of the creative writing world. 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

Where Sidewalks End

Healthy Community Partnerships:
Where Sidewalks End

Lit Youngstown is proud to be a partner in this Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley initiative that will bring awareness of the intersection of public infrastructure and community health. The project will include photography and community narratives. Visit Where Sidewalks End for more information, including upcoming calls for submissions.

On the Road with Phenomenal Women

It was a great privilege to take our oral history project, Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories, to Arkansas in early November.

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At the inaugural C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference at the University of Central Arkansas, we were included on a panel of presenters from Indiana, Nebraska and Ohio. The focus of our talk was the ways that literary arts might be used give a voice to women and girls, to create bridges of understanding, healing, and empowerment. Audience members asked several questions about our project.

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Words Made Visible Sidewalk Project

Congratulations to the writers of these excerpted works, which will be stamped into Youngstown sidewalks:

“The Field’s Red Wheat” by Jeanne Bryner
“Chant of Change” by David Lee Garrison
“Stars of the Front Yard” by Jeffrey Murphy
“Why the Window Washer Reads Poetry” by Laura Grace Weldon

Our gratitude to poet and judge Mary Quade, artist and signmaker Michael Staaf, the City of Youngstown, and the Ohio Arts Council.

We will add details of the whens and wheres of the project and dedication soon!

Youngstown Stories Project Video

As part of our oral history project Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories, we created a 10 minute video about the process. It includes shots from our celebratory reception in December, and comments from some of the people involved in the project.

View the video on YouTube.

The video was created by Jim Stickel and funded by the Raymond John Wean Foundation‘s Neighborhood Success Program. It was premiered at the Association of Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference in February.

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