Category Archives: Projects

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.

2. Reaching Out: Organizations and Institutions Using Literary Arts as Outreach with Women and Girls
(Karen Schubert, Janine Harrison, Laura Madeline Wiseman, and Colleen Wells)
Location: Art Lecture Hall, McCastlain Hall
The literary arts are a means for giving voice to women and girls. This panel will discuss several outreach writing projects dealing with such themes as writing resistance to violence; therapy and trauma; empowerment and connection; and bridging gulfs in sociohistorical experience. From readings to roundtables to workshops to oral histories, presenters will expand on the power of the literary arts to create a space for women and girls.

The conference was named for C.D. Wright, a celebrated poet from Arkansas.

ft smith From there, we presented at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, under the invitation of Professor Christian Anton Gerard. Three Fort Smith students performed the Phenomenal Women staged reading.

staged reading ft smith

 

 

Even though the details of the stories in Phenomenal Women are specific to Youngstown, they are well received wherever we take them. The themes of love, loss, work, family, struggle, change and hope are universal, and the poignant, tender and funny storytelling is powerful.

 

 

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Words Made Visible/Silence is Golden

More congratulations! These Words Made Visible poems were selected by YSU digital silence is goldenmedia students for Silence is Golden.

“Crows” by Neil Carpathios
“Mal du Si├Ęcle” by Riley Gable
“My Great Great Grandmother” by Craig Paulenich
“Sky Opens” by Robert Smith
“Ten O’ Clock, The Day Already Threatening” by Kari Gunter-Seymour
“Why the Window Washer Reads Poetry” by Laura Grace Weldon
“Wanting Snow in August” by Michael Levan
“Winter Aubade” by Riley Gable

November 1 at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, we enjoyed Silence is Golden, a multimedia performance by YSU art department students, responding to poems and stories from the Words Made Visible visual literary-visual arts collaboration. Local musicians improvised a soundtrack to the digital projects.

Thank You, Ohio Arts Council

With the announcement of our Ohio Arts Council grant, seems like a good time for an update on the Words Made Visible project.OAC_full-color-cmyk-logo

But first, woop woop! and so much thank you. With public funding on the chopping block, we are grateful to Governor Kasich and the Ohio Legislature for defending the value of the arts in our communities.

The panel discussion on our project was uplifting: Panelists noted that they liked the multidisciplinary nature of this proposal, that the activities truly work towards the goal of engaging as many writers as possible, that they are glad to see Lit Youngstown is encouraging new work, and considered Words Made Visible a fascinating idea to transform literary arts into visual arts, among other comments.

The first chunk of Words Made Visible is now finished: from many hundreds of submissions of poetry and short prose, the Lit Youngstown board selected ten finalists, then three winning poems and a set of haiku; of these winners, YSU student graphic designer Laura Garvin created a series of posters.

 

The featured poems are
“Men of Beautiful Countenance” by Craig Paulenich
“Feral” by Laura Grace Weldon
“The Neighborhood Girls Fall for the WKBN Meteorologist” by Allison Pitinii Davis
Haiku by Elliot Nicely & Valentina Ranaldi-Adams

With support from the YSU Summer Festival of the Arts, we gave out posters to hundreds of visitors to our tent, and hosted a reading by our project finalists, Dianne Borsenik, Luke Martinucci, Elliot Nicely & Craig Paulenich.

 

 

 

Next, in October, we will select four poems or short prose pieces to be letterpressed into broadsides by the Cranky Pressman.

Meanwhile, we will send the poems and stories to faculty in the Art Department at YSU, who will use the project in their classrooms, asking students to create visual work that responds to the literary work. Ceramics professor Missy McCormick’s summer class created such work, and here one pairing:

Feral
by Laura Grace Weldonceramic_feral

Moonlight leaks through the curtains.
I lie awake, listen to coyote songs
circle and connect, stitching together
the night’s raw edges.

Each time I hear their howls
my bone marrow sings.
What’s muzzled in me lifts.
I seem silent and
yet my pulse races through the trees.

 

These poems and their ekphrastic pieces in ceramics, printmaking, drawing and painting, will be exhibited at the Soap Gallery the month of February, 2018. There will be a reception and reading/response for the writers and artists Saturday, February 3.

We will also select four short works to be stamped into sidewalk squares by Michael Staaf at Metro Sign.

We hope you will join us along the way, celebrating the literary and visual arts, and their intriguing relationship.