Category Archives: Readings

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 by September 15).

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

At 4:30 we will meet behind St. John’s Episcopal Church to dedicate poetry excerpts stamped into sidewalk squares. The featured poets are David Lee Garrison of Dayton and Jeffrey Murphy of Youngstown. We have purchased a white oak to be planted near the poetry. Poetry stamps were designed and created by Michael Staaf of Steel Valley Signs.

From St. John’s we will walk downtown to Walnut St., outside the Commerce Building, to dedicate poetry-in-sidewalk-squares by Jeanne Bryner of Newton Falls and Laura Grace Weldon of Litchfield. The sidewalk poetry is part of Words Made Visible, a literary-visual art collaboration that received funding from the Ohio Arts Council.
67224313_1397599427045100_5850719895037149184_nFrom the Commerce Building we will walk to the Hilton DoubleTree in the historic Stambaugh Building where we will dine in the 12th floor ballroom. The elegant meal will include avocado Caesar salad,  cheesecake and coffee, and choice of brown sugar bbq salmon or cauliflower-kale pasta. There will be a cash bar in the ballroom. It is not required to register for the Fall Literary Festival to purchase dinner; however, please make reservations by September 15 ($25 per plate).

After dinner, we will meet in the 2nd floor lounge for a reading by the winners of the teen and open Short Short Fiction contests for adults and teens. This contest is a tip of the hat to our Big Read author Luis Alberto Urrea, who, a few years ago, judged the NPR 3-Minute Fiction contest, and read the story of local writer Nin Andrews on the air. This is one of murrea_northany Big Read events. Mr. Urrea will visit Youngstown October 15.

Our keynote reader is highly acclaimed and awarded poet and writer George Ella Lyon. You may have heard of her poetry project Where I’m From, which by now includes entries from all over the world. You can tell she is wonderful, because the picture she sent to us includes her fourth grade teacher. Her books will be for sale at the reading. Please join us in thanking Ohio Humanities for the funding to bring this important writer to the Valley.

george ella lyon

George Ella Lyon, Kentucky Poet Laureate (2015-2016), has published in many genres, including poetry, picture books, novels, short stories, and a memoir. Her poem “Where I’m From” has gone around the world as a writing model. Recent collections include She Let Herself Go (LSU, 2012) and Many-Storied House (University Press of Kentucky, 2013). Lyon makes her living as a freelance writer and teacher. She and her husband, musician and writer Steve Lyon, have two grown sons.

After Ms. Lyon’s reading, we will take a break, replenish our drinks, and begin the open mic. Readers are welcome to read one poem or prose excerpt, two pages maximum.

Please join us! This will be one of the most memorable Lit Youngstown events of the year.

 

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!

*Until August 31
Short Short Fiction Contest open, submit here

*Wed. Sept. 4 7:00 Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St.
Lit Youngstown First Wednesday Series Reading: Clint Elston & Brandon Noel, open mic emceed by Elizabeth Burnette

*Tues. Sept. 10 6:30-8:00 Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 34 N. Phelps St.
City Club of the Mahoning Valley, “Separation of Roots and State: Where are They Now?”

Mexican immigration occupies a complex position in U.S. public opinion. Immigration law has oscillated throughout the 20th century between welcoming Mexican immigrants and vehemently rejecting them. What happens to the country they left behind? What about the loved ones unable to make the dangerous trek to America?

Panelists

  • Violeta Aguirre (Vi)
    Coordinadora del Alcance Comunitario para Hispanos (Hispanic Outreach Coordinator), Catholic Charities
  • Erin Phemester
    Programming and Youth Services Director, Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County

Moderator

  • Nicole Pettitt, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor / K-12 TESOL Endorsement Coordinator; Chair, Refugee Concerns Interest Section – TESOL, International Department of English, Youngstown State University

*Tues. Sept. 17 First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown 1105 Elm St.
An Evening of Immigrant Narratives
5:30 Food for Thought Book discussion, Into the Beautiful North *(change of date & time!)
6:30 Ethnic foods potluck (please bring a dish or drink to share)
7:00 Traveling Stanzas, Wick Poetry Center
8:00 Youngstown Immigrant Narratives

urrea_north

*Sat. Sept. 21 3:30 YSU Ward Beecher Planetarium
The Sky We Share
Our constellations mainly come from the Greeks, so why do they have Latin names? And what’s up with those Arabic star names, anyway? In this live presentation of the night sky, we will journey through the stars and explore the different ways they take shape across cultures and the ages. Learn of the importance of the stars for navigation, time-keeping, and storytelling.

*Tues. Oct. 1 7:00 St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave.
Book discussion, Into the Beautiful North

*Wed. Oct. 2 7:00 Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St.
Lit Youngstown First Wednesday Series Reading: EF Schroeder & Michelle Smith, open mic emceed by Christopher Lesko

*Thurs. Oct. 3 6:00 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave.
NEA Big Read Film Series: Magnificent Seven, introduced by Dr. Laura Beadling

*Thurs. Oct. 3 7:00 Downtown Hilton DoubleTree, 44 E. Federal Plaza, 2nd floor lounge
Fall Literary Festival gathering in, registration and conversation

*Fri. Oct. 4 Fall Literary Festival
9:00-4:00 YSU Kilcawley Center registration/fee required
5:00-6:30 Dinner, St. John’s Episcopal Church registration/fee required
7:00-8:30 Reading: Steven Caumo, winner of Lou Yuhasz Memorial Scholarship
Erica Cardwell & Philip MetresLiterary Festival Logo Design

*Sat. Oct. 5 Fall Literary Festival
9:00-4:00 YSU Kilcawley Center registration/fee required
4:30 Dedication Words Made Visible sidewalk project
6:00-6:45 Dinner, Downtown Hilton DoubleTree Ballroom registration/fee required
7:00 Reading, winner, short short fiction contest
Keynote George Ella Lyon

*Mon. Oct. 7 6:30 Casa Ramirez, 1578 Mahoning Ave.
Hands-on demonstration: making sopes
Free with registration

*Wed. Oct. 9 6:00 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave.
NEA Big Read Film Series: Stand and Deliver
(Food for Thought book discussion cancelled)

*Thurs. Oct. 10 5:00-7:00 3rd Floor Maag Library, YSURoss Gay Flyer
Crossings: NEA Big Read YSU Student Art Show Opening
Exhibit Oct. 10-27

*Fri. Oct. 11 7:30 St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave.
Reading: Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts hosts Ross Gay & Jason Harris

*Tues. Oct. 15 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave.
NEA Big Read author Luis Alberto Urrea
Special Guests The Labra Brothers

5:00 -5:45 Book signing
6:00 Reading, Q&A with Dr. Timothy Francisco

*Thurs. Oct. 17 6:00 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave.
NEA Big Read Film Series: The Bronze Screen, introduced by Dr. Laura Beadling
(Third Thursday Writers Circle canceled)

 

 

 

Summer Festival of the Arts!


Summer Festival of the Arts is one of our favorite events of the year! We’ll be there with the “Where I’m From” poem template, in anticipation of Fall Literary Festival visiting writer George Ella Lyon and her international project.

We’ll also have paper sidewalk squares for visitors to decorate, in celebration of our poems stamped in sidewalk squares, part of the Words Made Visible project. We’ll dedicate them and introduce the poets at the Fall Literary Festival.

Stop by for information on the Fall Literary Festival and other programs, logo tumblers and tees (onesies!), and raffle tickets for that sweet bird bath. Find us in the nonprofit area, near Moser and Cushwa Halls.

This year we will also host readings in the adjacent author tent. What better place to showcase word artists than a maker fair! And what better gift to yourself or someone you care about than a signed book. We’re lucky to have so much talent in our community.

Saturday, July 13 
Marion Boyer   11:00-11:30
Rochelle Hurt   11:45-12:15
Bill Soldan   12:30-1:00
Nancy Christie   1:15-1:45
Rikki Santer   2:00-2:30
Karen Kotrba   2:45-3:15
Karen Schubert   3:30-4:00
Mari Alschuler   4:15-4:45

Sunday, July 14 
Allison Pitinii Davis  11:30-12:00
Dom Fonce  12:15-12:45
Kathy Palumbo   1:00-1:30
Carbombs to Cookie Tables: Sean Posey, Elaine Arvan Andrews & Vince Guerrieri   1:45-2:15
Jimmy Sutman   2:30-3:00
Barbara Sabol     3:15-3:45
Jamie Marich   4:00-4:30

 

First Wednesday Moved to Second Wednesday

Have a great 4th, and we’ll see you on the 10th! We send out a special invitation to NEOMFA alumni, students & faculty. The open mic will be emceed by Joelle Lambert, so bring your poems & stories. Also, we’ll be celebrating National Piña Colada Day & National Pick Blueberries Day: a double-header! Wednesday July 10, 7:00, The Soap Gallery.

AlexBW (3)Alex DiFrancesco is a writer of fiction, creative nonfiction, and journalism who has published work in Tin House, The Washington Post, Pacific Standard, Brevity, and more. Their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their second novel All City (Seven Stories Press) were published in 2019. Their storytelling has been featured at The Fringe Festival, Life of the Law, The Queens Book Festival, and The Heart podcast. DiFrancesco is currently an MFA candidate at Cleveland State University. They can be found @DiFantastico on Twitter.Noor

Noor Hindi (she/her) is a Palestinian-American poet who is currently pursuing her MFA in poetry through the NEOMFA program. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, Tinderbox Poetry, Glass Poetry, & Diode Poetry Journal. Hindi is the assistant poetry editor at The University of Akron Press and a reporter for The Devil Strip Magazine.

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.

urrea_north

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.

library logo

First Wednesday: Bonné de Blas, Monica Kaiser & Sheryl St. Germain

 Lit Youngstown presents a reading with Bonné de Blas, Monica Kaiser & Sheryl St. Germain, Wednesday May 1 @ 7:00 at The Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. No open mic this month. We will also be celebrating National Chocolate Parfait Day.  

BonneBonné de Blas is an MFA candidate in Poetry at the NEOMFA. She received an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee and a JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She is the author of chapbooks The Act of Dwelling (NightBallet Press) and The Rule of Contraction (Kattywompus Press) and her essay in Older Queer Voices: The Intimacy of Survival, Lambert and Einstein, eds. received a Best of the Net nomination.

kaiser


Monica Kaiser
is a graduate assistant at Kent State University and is pursuing a NEOMFA creative writing degree. She is the author of Still Sifting, and is passionate about the environment, ecopoetics, conflict management, and how these genres intersect. She lives with her husband, son, two rabbits, and her father.

 

©teake zuidema. sept 16, 2107.Sheryl St. Germain is a poet and essayist whose work has received numerous awards. Her most recent book, a poetry collection, The Small Door of Your Death, was published by Autumn House Press in 2018. Sheryl directs the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, and is co-founder of the Words Without Walls program. 50 Miles (forthcoming, Etruscan Press) is a memoir in linked essays that addresses addiction and alcoholism. The book traces the life of the author’s son, Gray, a talented but troubled young man, and his death from a drug overdose at thirty, as well as the author’s own recovery from substance abuse.

Seeking Proposal Submissions for Fall Literary Festival

CALL FOR PROPOSALS FALL LITERARY FESTIVAL 2019

Literary Festival Logo Design

Lit Youngstown seeks proposals for presentations, workshops, craft talks and creative readings for our 3rd annual Fall Literary Festival to be held October 4-5 at Youngstown State University. The two-day festival will feature an acclaimed faculty: Nin Andrews (poetry), Christopher Barzak (fiction), Erica Cardwell (essay, creative nonfiction), Jill Christman (creative nonfiction), Michael Croley (fiction),  George Ella Lyon (poetry, essay), Philip Memmer (poetry), Philip Metres (poetry, essay). To read more about our visiting writers, please visit the Fall Literary Festival page.

Submit proposals here.

General Information

This year’s conference will be centered around themes of cultural identity and representation in writing and publishing. Sessions will be 50 minutes. Proposals may include panel and roundtable discussions, creative readings, or workshops. Group and individual proposal submissions are welcome. Individual proposals and creative readings will be grouped into panels by conference organizers.

Individuals are limited to two proposal submissions, please. Accepted presenters will be required to register for the conference at the early bird registration fee of $40. There will be opportunities to apply for needs-based stipends. The proposal deadline is midnight, May 10.

Presentation Topics

We seek proposals from a diverse cross section of voices and experiences, and encourage submissions from African American and Black, Latinx and Chicanx, Asian American, disabled, LGBTQ and non-binary, immigrant, native, rural, older, and resource-poor writers. All genres are welcome and encouraged.

Submit proposals here.

Possible topics for proposals include:

Creative writing outreach in prisons, with immigrants, etc.
Responsibly engaging diverse voices and perspectives
Writing about identity and marginalized experiences
Lack of representation in publishing
Navigating the publishing industry as marginalized communities
Writers with disabilities
Creative reading
Creative writing workshop
Creative writing pedagogy
Community-based writing programs
Residencies, conferences and other opportunities
Developing best practices in your craft
Collaboration and mentoring
MFA programs
Literary topics in all genres
Writing for mass media: journalism, blogging, podcasts, radio, etc.
Children’s and YA writing and publishing
Storytelling
Speculative fiction
Screenwriting
Playwriting
Comics & graphic novels
Film & new media
Hybrid & short forms
Older writers publishing
Strategies for teaching and researching writing
Engaging and sustaining a writing life

First Wednesday: Joanne Lehman & Sarah Wells

Join us for a reading! Wednesday, April 3 at 7:00 at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. Open mic to follow emceed by Thomas Welsh. We will also be celebrating National Chocolate Mousse Day.

90Lehman_JoanneheadshotJoanne Lehman has published two poetry chapbooks, Morning Song, and Driving in the Fog, which received the 2004 Wick Poetry Prize. She is also the author of Kairos: A Novel and Traces of Treasure: Quest for God in the Commonplace, both published by Herald Press. Joanne and her husband, Ralph, live in Wooster, Ohio.

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional, The Vasarah-m-wells-smallerlley of Achor, Pruning Burning Bushes, and Acquiesce. Six of her essays have been listed as Notable Essays in The Best American Essays. She is a 2018 recipient of an Ohio Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council.

Claudia Rankine at Parma-Snow Library January 23

Citizen 1345

Many of you joined our Food for Thought discussion of Citizen: An American Lyric last year, part of our series on the American experience. Claudia Rankine will be in conversation with Ohio Poet Laureate Dave Lucas at the Parma-Snow branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library on Wednesday, January 23, at 7:00. The event is free with registration.