Category Archives: Readings

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

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. Continue reading

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.

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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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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.

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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. Continue reading

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.

First Wednesday Features Mike Geither

Join us for a staged reading of Heirloom by Mike Geither Wednesday December 5 at 7:00 at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. Open mic to follow (5 minutes per reader). NEOMFA Reunion Reading! Special welcome to Northeast Ohio MFA alumni, students and faculty. Also, we’ll be celebrating Comfort Food Day with cookies and cocoa.

Mike GeitherHeirloom considers the effects of incest and violence across four generations of a Cleveland family. It considers the commonalities between family dysfunction and the genocide of Native Americans carried out by the US government in a search to bring dignity and awareness to their victims.

Mike Geither is a playwright and solo performer whose works have been staged in San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, New York and London. He is a four-time Ohio Arts Council fellow and is currently a Professor of English at Cleveland State University where he teaches in the Northeast Ohio MFA in creative writing.