First Wednesday Features Lori Bodkin & Stacey Schneider

Join us for a nonfiction reading Wednesday, May 2, at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. Following the reading, an open mic will be emceed by Jennifer Kuczek. Doors open at 7:15. Park on the street or in the lot on the corner of S. Champion and Front Streets.

In our lives, we are surrounded by so many women who come from different
families, backgrounds and ethnicities; each of us with different hopes and dreams. This book shares stories from some of these inspiring women who have become the “superwomen” they were truly meant to be. The stories within these pages will make you laugh and maybe even cry.  Regardless of your age or gender, this book will give you a fresh, new outlook on appreciating who you are and how you relate
to the amazing women in your world.

Lori profile picLori Bodkin is a freelance writer and the Continuous Improvement Coordinator for Fyda Freightliner’s Pittsburgh and Youngtown locations. She is an accountant by degree, but her creativity eventually won out and Lori started her own customer service consulting business and has also facilitated several leadership workshops. She published a women’s non-fiction book, had a featured column in a North Carolina parenting magazine and writes for her own blog.

Stacey Schneider is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a professor at Northeast Stacey SchneiderOhio Medical University in Rootstown, Ohio. She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree and practiced as a pharmacist for many years but teaching and writing emerged as her true life calling. She has published a book in women’s non-fiction, edited a book on communication skills for women and contributed to several books for the medical professional.

Writers Circle Meets April 19

pexels-photo-414579Would you like gentle feedback on new work you’ve written?

The Lit Youngstown Writers Circle will meet in our office at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. at 5:30, Thursday, April 19. Come to the door on the right, under the arch, and ring the buzzer.

We welcome facilitator Ginny Taylor. Bring 5 copies of one poem or story excerpt, maximum 5 pages.

Food for Thought: My Own Country

abraham-verghese

Join us for a discussion of the highly awarded memoir My Own Country. The author, Abraham Verghese, a physician who grew up in Ethiopia, writes about his experiences as a doctor in rural Tennessee. Read a review of the book here.

We will meet at Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, April 11, from 6:00-7:00 pm. If you would like to order a bite to eat, please arrive well before the counter closes at 6:00.

We are in the midst of a series of books that explore the American experience. Peruse the rest of the titles here. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us.

Fall Literary Festival September 21-22

Save the dates! This year’s festivals will feature workshops, craft talks, a publishing panel, and readings by these accomplished visiting writers.

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Please join us in thanking our community partner St. John’s Episcopal Church for helping to make the festival possible.

 

Nin Andrews’s poems have appeared in many literary journals and

nin andrews

Nin Andrews

anthologies including Ploughshares, Agni, The Paris Review, and four editions of Best American Poetry.  The author of seven chapbooks and seven full-length poetry collections, she has won two Ohio individual artist grants, the Pearl Chapbook Contest, the Kent State University chapbook contest, the Gerald Cable Poetry Award, and the Ohioana 2016 Award for poetry. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux, called Someone Wants to Steal My Name.  Her book, Miss August, was published by CavanKerry Press in 2017.

 

Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up wherever her father was stationed for work, which was sometimes Nigeria. Her work has received grants and

lesley arimah

Lesley Nneka Arimah

awards from Commonwealth Writers, AWP, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and others. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Her short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls From The Sky was published by Riverhead in April 2017. She currently lives in Minneapolis.

 

A lifelong reader, Jeanne Dutton’s interests expanded

jeanne-dutton

Jeanne Dutton

after majoring in English in college to writing and publishing fiction. In 2009, she published her first novel for teens with HarperCollins. Freaked is the story of a teenaged boy obsessed with the Grateful Dead. She followed with a second novel in 2010 entitled Stranded, a mystery set in Iowa surrounding the discovery of an abandoned baby.

 

 

John Kerstetter, the author of Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier’s Story (Random House 2017), received his medical degree from the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, and his MFA degree from Ashland University in Ohio. He

Jon Kerstetter

Jon Kerstetter

served as a combat physician and flight surgeon for the U.S. Army and completed three combat tours in Iraq. His writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, River Teeth, and other literary journals.

 

 

Jacqui Lipton, LL.B., M.F.A., Ph.D. is a law professor and writer as well as the director of Authography LLC, a company dedicated to helping authors and artists meet their personal and professional goals. She writes regular columns on legal issues for authors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Bulletin, Savvy Authors, and Luna

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Jacqui Lipton

Station Quarterly. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a Ph.D. in law from Cambridge University. Her forthcoming book, LAW & AUTHORS: A LEGAL HANDBOOK FOR WRITERS will be published in 2019 by University of California Press.

 

 

Dave Lucas is the author of Weather (Georgia, 2011), which received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award in Poetry.  He is a co-founder of Brews + Prose at Market Garden Brewery and of Cleveland Book Week.  In 2018 he was appointed the second Poet Laureate of the State of Ohio.

Dave 2016

Dave Lucas

 

 

Craig Paulenich is the author of two  books of poetry, Drift of the Hunt (Nobobdaddies Press, 2006) and Blood Will Tell (BlazeVOX  [books], 2009) and editor (with Kent Johnson) of the anthology, Beneath A Single Moon:  Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry (Shambhala Press, 1991).  His poems have appeared in The Georgia Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Kansas Quarterly, the Minnesota Review, the South Carolina Review, Southern Poetry Review, Artful Dodge, and many others.  He has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes.  He earned an MFA in Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh, a Ph.D. in English at Bowling Green

Craig Paulenich

Craig Paulenich

State University, and is Professor of English at Kent State University-Salem.  He is a co-founder and faculty with the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, the nation’s only creative writing consortium. He’s currently working on a book of poems about John Brown.  He and his wife, Karla, live on a 27-acre farm outside Guilford Lake, Ohio.

Judith Vollmer is the author of five full-length books of poetry, including most recently The Apollonia Poems, awarded the University of Wisconsin Press Four Lakes Prize in 2016 and published last year.  She has received fellowships and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the American

Judith Vollmer

Judith Vollmer

Academy in Rome; and the Brittingham, the Cleveland State, and the Center for Book Arts publication awards.  Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in Poetry International, Poet Lore, The Cambridge Companion to Baudelaire, Prairie Schooner, The Women’s Review of Books, among many others. She teaches in the MFA Program in Poetry & Poetry in Translation at Drew University.

Arkansas Travelers

Two Arkansans and a Pittsburgher walk into a gallery… Join us in welcoming three fine poets who will read their work, followed by an open mic emceed by Tyler Rothbauer. Doors open at 7:15. Parking on the street and in the lot on the corner of Champion and Front Streets. The First Wednesday Readers Series receives funding from the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation.

jennifer jackson berry

 

Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of The Feeder (YesYes Books, 2016), as well as the chapbook When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications). She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

Heather Dobbins is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. She earned an MFA from the Graduate Writing Seminars at Bennington College in Vermont. Her poems and poetry reviews have been published in Beloit Poetry Journal, Pacific Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology (Tennessee), The Rumpus, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and TriQuarterly Review, among others. She has been an instructor for nearly twenty years in Oakland, California; Memphis, Tennessee; and now in Fort Smith, Arkansas, yet another river town.

Christian Anton Gerard’s the author of Holdfast (C&R Press, 2017) and Wilmot Here, Collect For Stella (WordTech, 2014). He’s received Pushcart Prize nominations, a Best of the Net nomination, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarships among other awards. He teaches at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.

First Wednesday Readers Series 2018

Here they are, the big, beautiful lineup of visiting and local writers who will make up our year’s series. We thank them most sincerely, as well as the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, the Soap Gallery, the open mic emcees and readers.

All readings take place at The Soap Gallery, 117. S. Champion St. Free street parking/in the lot at Champion & Front Streets. Doors open at 7:15, after the lights come on (please don’t disturb the yoga class); reading begins at 7:30. Open mic readers are invited to read for 5 minutes.

January 3 : Sarah Minor & Krysia Orlowski
Open mic emcee Sarah Lowry

Minor_Headshot (2)Sarah Minor is the author of The Persistence of The Bonyleg: Annotated from Essay Press (2015). She’s an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the video editor at TriQuarterly Review. Her recent work appears in Diagram, Creative Nonfiction, and The Atlantic.

Krysia Orlowski lives and writes in Cleveland, Ohio. Her poems IMG_3839 (2)have appeared in Barn Owl Review, Dressing Room Journal, Helen, jubilat, and RealPoetik. Krysia is the author of the play Jan and the Trickster (Talespinner Children’s Theater, 2018.) She teaches at Cleveland State University and is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award.

February 7: Stacey Graber & CROW
No open mic this evening.

Graber PhotoCROW (Compose: A Review of Writing) is a yearly publication of student essays, edited by Angela Messenger, Director of the YSU Writing Center and NEOMFA candidate and Writing Center graduate assistant Amanda Miller. Congratulations to featured essayists Emily Null, Madison Metheny, Lauren Laws, Tricia Miller, Lindsay Hicks & Beverly Nelson.

Stacy Graber is an assistant professor of English at Youngstown State University. Her research interests include popular culture, pedagogy, critical theory, and semiotics. Her work has appeared in The ALAN Review, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, Gravel Literary Magazine, Hamilton Stone Review, Storm Cellar, Modern Times Magazine, and YA Wednesday.

March 7: Adam Hughes & Stephanie Sesic
Open mic emcee Liz Skeels

adam hughesAdam Hughes is the author of four full-length collections, most recently Allow the Stars to Catch Me When I Rise (Salmon Poetry, 2017) and Deep Cries Out to Deep (Aldrich Press, 2017). He resides in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

Stephanie Sesic teaches writing and literature at Kent State stephanie sesicUniversity and Cuyahoga Community College. Her work has appeared most recently online in Rascal. Her chapbook, The Intimate Verge, was published by Pudding House Publications in 2008. Her work reveals an obsession with the sky and tends to stick to the classic themes of sex and death.

April 4: Jennifer Jackson Berry, Heather Dobbins & Christian Anton Gerard
Open mic emcee Tyler Rothbauer

jennifer jackson berryJennifer Jackson Berry is the author of The Feeder (YesYes Books, 2016), as well as the chapbook When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications). She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Heather Dobbins is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. She earned a HeatherMaster of Fine Arts from Bennington College. Her poems and poetry reviews have been published in Beloit Poetry Journal, Pacific Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology (Tennessee), The Rumpus, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and TriQuarterly Review, among others. She has been an instructor for nearly twenty years in Oakland, California; Memphis, Tennessee; and now in Fort Smith, Arkansas, yet another river town.

christianChristian Anton Gerard’s the author of Holdfast (C&R Press, 2017) and Wilmot Here, Collect For Stella (WordTech, 2014). He’s received Pushcart Prize nominations, a Best of the Net nomination, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarships among other awards. He teaches at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.

 

May 2: Lori Bodkin & Stacey Schneider
Open mic emcee Jennifer Kuczek

Lori profile picLori Bodkin is a freelance writer and the Continuous Improvement Coordinator for Fyda Freightliner’s Pittsburgh and Youngtown locations. She is an accountant by degree, but her creativity eventually won out and Lori started her own customer service consulting business and has also facilitated several leadership workshops. She published a women’s non-fiction book, had a featured column in a North Carolina parenting magazine and writes for her own blog.

Stacey Schneider is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a professor at Northeast OhioStacey Schneider Medical University in Rootstown, Ohio. She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree and practiced as a pharmacist for many years but teaching and writing emerged as her true life calling. She has published a book in women’s non-fiction, edited a book on communication skills for women and contributed to several books for the medical professional.

June 6: Melissa Barger & William Heath
Open mic emceed by Amanda Miller

MelissaMelissa Barger has been writing for half her life. She is employed with the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and is revising a Young Adult Historical Fiction novel set in Youngstown during the summer of 1863.

William Heath was born in Youngstown and grew up in Poland. Heheath is the national-award-winning author of novels: The Children Bob Moses Led, Blacksnake’s Path, Devil Dancer; poetry: The Walking Man; history: William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest; and interviews: Conversations with Robert Stone. He will be reading some recent poems set in the Steel Valley.

July 11: Storytelling Night
No open mic this month.

Join us for a night of community storytelling. Stories by Tom Beck, Becky Ann Rosen Harker & Skye Hildebrand.

August 1: Kari Gunter-Seymour, Sherri Saines & Kathleen Strafford 
Open mic emcee Jeanne Bryner

gunter_seymour_portraitAn Appalachian, Kari Gunter-Seymour blames her method of writing on the rich Ohio soil, her wildly eclectic family and neighbors and her upbringing. Her poems can be found in many fine journals and publications including Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and The LA Times. She is an Instructor in the School of Journalism at Ohio University and is the Poet Laureate for Athens, Ohio.

Sherri Saines is a librarian, mother, eighteenth-century reenactor, dancer and poet. She Sherri Reenacterhas been reading, writing, memorizing, and performing poetry since her grandmother gave her A Golden Book of Poetry for her 6th birthday. She has been published in Pig Iron, Allegheny Magazine, Mothering Magazine, Muse, Clover, Penguin Review and other small press publications. Her poems have been anthologized in The Ides of March (2012) and Everything Stops and Listens. Her husband, Steve, is her best critic and greatest support.

stafford resizedKathleen Strafford holds an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University.  Originally from Ohio, Kathleen moved to Leeds in 1998 continuing her career teaching English.  She has been widely published in anthologies and webzines. Her debut poetry collection Her Own Language has recently been published by Dempsey and Windle from London.

September 5: World Poetry Night
Open mic participants are welcome to bring poetry in translation.

Dragana Crnjak & Karen Schubert will moderate a reading of international poetry.

October 3: Kathleen McGookey & Rikki Santer
Open mic Chris Gibowicz

kathi mcgookeyKathleen McGookey has published three books of poems, most recently Heart in a Jar. Her work has appeared in journals including Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and Quarterly West. She has received grants from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sustainable Arts Foundation.

Rikki Santer is an award-winning poet living in Columbus, Ohio. HerRikki Santer photo work has appeared in numerous publications including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Margie, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, Slipstream and The Main Street Rag. Her fifth collection, Make Me That Happy, was recently published by NightBallet Press.

November 7: Clarissa Jakobsons & Barbara Sabol
Open mic emcee Lidia Cornelio

Clarissa Jakobsons_Holding Her Artist BookClarissa Jakobsons instructs at Cuyahoga Community College, often weaving one-of-a-kind artist books exhibited internationally. Sometimes she combines artist books with her poems and paintings. She writes, “Don’t be surprised to see my inner artist kicking sandcastles, climbing Mount Diablo, painting Provincetown dunes, or writing under an Ohio crescent moon.”

Barbara Sabol’s debut book, Solitary Spin, was published in 2017. She won the Mary Jean Barbara SabolIrion Poetry Prize in 2014. Barbara reviews poetry books in the blog, Poetry Matters. She lives and works in Akron, Ohio.

December 5: Mike Geither
NEOMFA Reunion Reading
Open mic

Join us for a staged reading of Heirloom by Mike Geither. Open mic to follow. Special invitation to NEOMFA alumni, students and faculty.

Heirloom 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 GeitherMike 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.

 

 

Winter Writing Camp: Happy Campers

What a fun-filled day! Our Winter Writing Camp attendees were wonderful, and gave us some great feedback so we can make next year’s Winter Writing Camp even better.

Many thanks to our underwriters: an anonymous donor; Churchill Commons Giant Eagle; Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell; Liz Hill; and The Supplyroom. We also thank our teaching artists, cookie bakers, volunteers, hosts–St. John’s and the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County–and all who attended.

We’ll do it again next year. Meanwhile, we’re busy planning for the Fall Literary Festival September 21-22. Hope to see you there.