Category Archives: Readings

First Wednesday: Cris Harris & Kellie Kirksey

The First Wednesday Readers Series presents memoirist Cris Harris & poet and wellness practitioner Kellie Kirksey. Co-hosted by Johanna Slivinske. Open mic to follow. Wednesday, May 5 at 7:00 PM EST. Watch on Facebook Live, or register for the Zoom room.

Cris Harris is the author of I Have Not Loved You With My Whole Heart, a memoir about growing up in a household wrestling with faith, addiction, violence and the AIDS epidemic. He teaches writing and experiential education at an independent school outside of Cleveland. Recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for nonfiction, Cris’s essays have appeared at Post Road, Proximity Magazine, The New Engagement, Nowhere Magazine and the Indiana Review.

Kellie Kirksey is a global traveler, speaker, poet, tree hugger, yoga teacher, holistic psychotherapist, family lover, drummer, dancer, spa promoter, heart centered hypnotherapist, live happily life consultant, essential oil enthusiast, wellness promoter and has presented workshops and wellness circles both nationally and internationally.

Fall Lit Fest 2021 Registration Opens

Are you a reader, writer, editor, publisher, or educator of the literary arts? We hope you will join us for the 5th annual Fall Literary Festival in Youngstown, Ohio, October 7-9.

This year’s conference theme is “Our Shared Story” and we are thrilled to host visiting writers Ross Gay (poet & essayist, Indiana University), Jan Beatty (poet & memoirist, Chatham University), Matt Forrest Esenwine (children’s author, New Hampshire), Bonnie Proudfoot (novelist & poet, Hocking College), & Mike Geither (playwright, Cleveland State University).

Seventy-three presenters from throughout the U.S. will present on many aspects of reading, understanding, writing, editing and publishing creative works. Please visit the Fall Literary Festival page to register and learn more, as we continue to add details and information. Hope to see you there!

This event is made possible with major funding from The Centofanti Foundation.

Lit by the Imagination

Happy National Poetry Month to those who celebrate! We love seeing poems springing up everywhere, like flowers and puddles and a good pair of wellies. To celebrate, we are sponsoring a new series, Lit by the Imagination, poems and prompts curated by Nin Andrews. We’ve created a Facebook page so you can find them all in one place.

Here are the month’s features. So many thanks to them for their wonderful poems and poetry ideas, and we hope you have fun writing. Many of these poets were included in the New Book News series, and we have tagged their readings here.

April 1: Jessica Jacobs, Nickole Brown, Denise Duhamel
April 2: Leona Sevick
April 3: Stephanie Strickland
April 4: Jeff Friedman
April 5: Kelli Russell Agodon

Continue reading

New Book News: Quintin Collins, Meg Kearney & Chloe Martinez (YouTube Live)

New Book News! We celebrate these poets and the publication of their new books Sunday, April 25 at 7 PM EST. Join us on Lit Youngstown’s YouTube channel for a live reading and conversation.

Quintin Collins (he/him) is a writer, editor, and Solstice MFA Program assistant director. His work appears in various publications, and his second collection, Claim Tickets for Stolen People, winner of the Wheeler Prize, is forthcoming in 2022.
The Dandelion Speaks of Survival (Cherry Castle Publishing)

Meg Kearney is author of An Unkindness of Ravens and Home By Now, winner of the PEN New England L.L. Winship Award; The Ice Storm (chapbook, 2020); three verse novels for teens, and an award-winning picture book, Trouper.
All Morning the Crows, winner of the Washington Prize (The Word Works)

Chloe Martinez is a poet and scholar of South Asian religions. She is the author of Ten Thousand Selves (The Word Works, forthcoming 2021). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Waxwing, Shenandoah, The Common and elsewhere. She teaches at Claremont McKenna College.
Corner Shrine, winner of the Backbone Press Chapbook Competition (Backbone Press)

New Book News: Teri Ellen Cross Davis, Shara McCallum & Nicole Santalucia (YouTube Live)

New Book News! We celebrate these poets and the publication of their new books Sunday, April 11 at 7 PM EST. Join us on Lit Youngstown’s YouTube channel for a live reading and conversation.

Teri Ellen Cross Davis is the author of Haint, winner of the 2017 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. She’s a Cave Canem fellow, member of the Black Ladies Brunch Collective. She lives in Maryland.
A More Perfect Union, winner of The Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize, Mad Creek Books/Ohio State University Press

From Jamaica, Shara McCallum is the author of six books, published in the US and UK, including Madwoman, winner of the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Poetry. McCallum is a professor at Penn State University and faculty member in the Pacific University Low-Residency MFA Program.
No Ruined Stone (Alice James Books)

Nicole Santalucia is the author of Because I Did Not Die (Bordighera Press). Her work has appeared in publications such as The Best American Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, The Rumpus, as well as others. She teaches at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.
The Book of Dirt (NYQ Books)

First Wednesday: Grace Curtis & Laura Grace Weldon (Zoom & FB Live)

The April First Wednesday Series reading features poets Grace Curtis of Dayton and Laura Grace Weldon of Litchfield. Co-hosted by Barbara Sabol. Open mic to follow. Wednesday, April 7 at 7:00 PM EST. Watch on Facebook Live or register here for the Zoom room.

Grace Curtis is the author of three collections of poetry, Everything Gets Old, (Dos Madres, 2019) The Shape of a Box, (Dos Madres, 2014), and The Surly Bonds of Earth (Lettre Savage, 2010). Her prose and poetry can be found in numerous journals.

Laura Grace Weldon has two poetry collections, Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019) and Tending (Aldrich Press, 2013). An excerpt of her poem “Why the Window Washer Reads Poetry” is stamped in the sidewalk on Walnut St. in downtown Youngstown.

March First Wednesday Features Adam Hughes (Virginia) & Renay Sanders (Cleveland) (Zoom & FB Live)

Join us for a reading of poetry, followed by an open mic. Co-hosted by Jonie McIntire. Watch on Facebook Live or register for the Zoom room here. Wednesday, March 3, at 7:00 PM EST.

Adam Hughes is the author of four full-length poetry collections, most recently Allow the Stars to Catch Me When I Rise (Salmon Poetry, 2017) and Deep Cries Out to Deep (Aldrich Press, 2017). Born and raised in Central Ohio, he now resides in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains where he is pursuing an MFA at Randolph College. He can be found on twitter @adamhughespoet1.

Renay Sanders has published poems in the Hessler Street, Writing Knights and Poet’s Haven anthologies, the chapbook Dancing in Place and the story “Cemetery Run” in the Women of Appalachia Project 2019. A native Clevelander, her poems are inspired by the characters she encounters in life and the beauty of the Cuyahoga Valley where she now resides.

Fall Lit Fest 2021 Call for Proposals

5th Annual Fall Literary Festival
October 7-9, 2021
Youngstown, Ohio
Conference Theme: “Our Shared Story”
Visiting Writers: Ross Gay (poet & essayist), Jan Beatty (poet & memoirist), Matt Forrest Esenwine (children’s author), Bonnie Proudfoot (novelist & poet), & Mike Geither (playwright)

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Lit Youngstown seeks proposals for Our Shared Story, 5th annual Fall Literary Festival, October 7-9 in Northeast Ohio. This year’s conference will be centered around the theme “Our Shared Story,” a conversation about writing, publishing, community outreach, and literary inclusion. The conference aims to  sustain and enhance community by allowing its members to share a stake in its narrative: its story—past, present, and future. 

For more information, please visit our Fall Literary Festival page.

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.