August 5: Ted Lardner & Kathleen Strafford

Join us for a First Wednesday Series reading by poets Ted Lardner & Kathleen Strafford on Zoom and Facebook Live, Wednesday, August 5 from 7:00-9:00. Open mic to follow (readers: please register for Zoom).

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Here is the link to register for Zoom. The Zoom room opens at 6:30. Is this your first Zoom call? Click here to watch a brief tutorial. To watch on Facebook Live, tune in to our Facebook page and it will begin automatically.

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Writing Workshop: Personal Narrative as Resistance

Putting the “I’s’ in Activism: Personal Narrative as a Form of Transformative Resistance

Sharing stories is one of the most fundamental means of communication. In 2020, our reliance on connecting through personal narratives is as strong as ever as we continue to use various social media platforms to share our stories with the world. Speaking out about social injustice is proving to be a powerful way to expose oppressive power dynamics and motivate change. Channeling our experiences into compelling narratives that inspire dialogue helps to heighten our awareness of the complex social issues that plague our communities. In this workshop we will focus on crafting strong, personal narratives about injustice as a form of transformative resistance, with the suggestion that sharing these narratives with your community can be a powerful tool in combating social justice issues. Continue reading

Making the Best of Things

Thanks so much to all who came out to Diane Kendig’s and Hannah Rodabaugh’s reading July 1! We loved the images the poets shared with their ekphrastic poems, and it was a kick to hear open mic readers from all over the map. Many thanks, too, to Allison Pitinii Davis & Danny Gage for hosting the evening with grace.

Here is a link to the recording.

We still miss seeing everyone, for real, but these Zoom readings have their own charm.

 

 

New Book News!

Please join us in congratulating many of our 2015-2019 First Wednesday and Fall Fest writers whose new books are coming out without the usual book launches and other gatherings to mark this important event. If you would like to support these authors by purchasing a book, please follow the links below.

Dead Shark on the N Train, poems by Susana H. Case

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In this sassy, gorgeous book, Susana H. Case takes us on one helluva ride with a dead shark as fellow passenger, brought in from the beach and left on the floor of the N Train, its jaw decorated with a Metro Card, a cigarette and a can of Red Bull. The shark is just one of the stars of Case’s seventh volume of poems. Consider, as well, “Radiance,” a scorcher of a poem about a breast: “Lie with me, lie to me,/ until your tongue burns.”  If you haven’t met up with Case’s work, it’s time you did.—David Tucker, author of Late for Work

 

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Registration is open for the Fall Literary Festival

The 4th annual Fall Literary Festival Sept. 24-26… all online. What will we miss? Hugs. kristinavogelSpontaneous conversations. Jazz. Cake. But we’ll do our best to create a welcoming, interesting and enjoyable conference. This year’s visiting writers and presenters are outstanding, with a range of topics, genres and styles.
Take a look at the conference lineup here. We’ve included audio clips of some of our presenters.

Who will enjoy the conference? Readers and writers of any experience level who are comfortable with adult themes. We have a special price for graduate students and part-time faculty, and this year we’re making it easy for faculty to bring their whole college or high school class.

Lit Youngstown Receives Relief Grants!

Please join us in thanking Ohio Humanities and Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley for the award of grants to help offset programming cancellations due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Arts & Culture Crisis Relief Challenge Grant from the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley will match up to $2500 of contributions raised in a special fundraiser by July 20.

We will also receive $3800 from the Ohio Humanities, part of the federal CARES Act of 2020 administered by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

 

Food for Thought: Black Authors

Last round, we enjoyed a series of books surrounding the theme of humankind in the natural world. As usual, we take the summer off and start up in September with a new series, this time books by Black authors. Hope you’ll join us.

September through December we’ll meet 2nd Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00. We met at Cultivate Cafe until we switched to Zoom. We miss meeting in person and will do so as soon as it’s safe. In January we’ll move to 2nd Thursdays.

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Alex Clark for The Guardian: “With the publication of The Autograph Man, Zadie Smith fulfills her early promise and shows another side… The Autograph Man tells us how she (Zadie Smith) feels and what she thinks about a lot of other things, too, among them Jewishness and goyishness, Zen Buddhism, the relationship between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, being upgraded to business class, living on your own with a cat, the manic internationalism of hotel breakfasts, male bonding and female bravery, Ginger Rogers and Lauren Bacall.”

The Autograph Man is available at the Trumbull County Library, and the YSU Barnes and Noble.

September 9 (fiction) The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith
October 14 (fiction) The Water Dancer by Ta Nehisi Coates
November 11 (poetry) Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay
December 9 Any children’s book by a Black author
January 14 (short stories) The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
February 11 (fiction) The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
March 11 (fiction) We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
April 8 (speculative fiction) Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
May 13 (fiction) An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

“I felt like an outsider, which is probably why I am a writer,” a Conversation with Cynthia Atkins

Lit Youngstown’s summer intern Danny Gage asked poet Cynthia Atkins a few questions about her work and writing life. Cynthia will be a featured writer at the online 2020 Fall Literary Festival September 24-26.

DG: In what ways has your home, Southern Appalachia influenced your writing and your views on existence?

cynthia atkinsCA: I’m a native Chicagoan, by way of New York City, Brooklyn, and I wound up living in Rockbridge County, VA by way of love. I met my partner and hubby, Phillip at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. We fell head over heels, and so I moved to these parts 25 years ago. I guess this is my forever home now. I raised my son here and I feel I now have roots in these parts. But at first, I felt like a Yankee, very much a fish out of water—A proud feminist and a Jew, living in a college mountain town where Confederate flags still hang and so much Civil War history.  Bathroom wallpaper had Civil War generals.  As a Midwesterner, this was all foreign to me. So while this has been a peaceful and very loving community, I have often felt ‘an outsider’—Perfect strangers thought they had every right to ask me ‘what church I belonged to’—when I’d respond, “I’m a Jew”—a few mouths dropped open. As a writer, I’ve found I’ve never felt comfortable belonging to any one group or grouping. I felt like an outsider, which is probably why I am a writer. Continue reading

Playwriting Workshop: The Power of Ten

The Power of Ten

82234858_1564294787042229_6689842761056649216_oGoogle the question “What can you do in 10 minutes” and you’ll get suggestions from vacuuming a single room to matching socks to cleaning out a junk drawer. In this class, students will read, discuss and write a ten-minute play. It will take students more than ten minutes to write it (4 weeks to be exact) but the performance of the piece will land right in that ten-minute sweet spot. Students will be invited to read or perform their final works.

The Power of Ten: a Playwriting Workshop. Wednesdays, July 8-29, 5:30-6:45 p.m., on Zoom. Is this your first Zoom call? Click here to watch a brief tutorial.
Two registrations: Zoom here and Lit Youngstown here by July 6. Course fee is $25 (or pay as you are able). Please click here to pay via Paypal or credit card or mail a check payable to Lit Youngstown/323 Wick Ave. #9/Youngstown 44503. Thank you!

Meet the Teaching Artist: Kelly Bancroft’s plays have been produced in Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Cleveland. She earned an MFA from the NEOMFA program at YSU. She is also a poet and prose writer. A short documentary she co-produced based on one of her plays was a selection of the Cleveland International Film Festival.