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.
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 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.
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.
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.
We 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.
After a summer hiatus, Food for Thought book discussion will start up in September with a series on being in the natural world. Each series’s books represents a cross-section of genres and contemporary voices, and this round we will read novels, nonfiction, and collections of poetry and short stories.
Food for Thought will meet the 2nd Wednesday from 6:00-7:00 at Cultivate Café, 901 Elm St., by Wick Park. Cultivate closes at 6:00, so if you’d like a bite to eat, please arrive early.
The books will be available from the YSU Barnes & Noble and we’ll find out which are at the public library, and which are available from the press.
September 17 (Fiction, Novel) Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
*This discussion will be part of a special evening at the First Unitarian Church of Youngstown, 1105 Elm St., part of the Big Read calendar of activities:
5:30 Food for Thought Book discussion, Into the Beautiful North
6:30 Ethnic potluck
7:00 Traveling Stanzas, Wick Poetry Center
8:00 Youngstown Immigrant Narratives October (Cancelled for Big Read event) November 13 (Fiction, Novel) The Overstory by Richard Powers December 11 (Poetry) Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil January 8 (Fiction, Short Stories) For a Little While by Rick Bass February 12 (Nonfiction) The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells March 11 (Fiction, Novel) Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver April 8 (Nonfiction) The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health by David R. Montgomery, Anne Biklé May 13 (Nonfiction) Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy
When we read a book, we want to talk about it! If you feel that way, too, hope you’ll join us.
Sarah Davis is a Fiction student in the NEOMFA and will be graduating in Spring 2020 from Youngstown State University. She is the president of YSUrvivor, a student organization on campus based on the show Survivor. She is a lover of all things storytelling, superheroes, film, and television. She works as a teaching assistant for the English department at Youngstown State but also loves to craft and create anything and everything she can think of in her free time.
Join us Saturday, June 8, for LITerally A Picnic for all ages, at Bear’s Den Cabin in Mill Creek Park, from 5:30 – 8:30. We’re planning a BYOBBQ (Lit Youngstown will supply the condiments, garnishes, and grilling tools, guests bring their own [veggie] burgers and buns).
We’re putting together a poetry hike for those who are interested, also board games and nature collages. Should be a lot of fun. Please RSVP so we know how many to expect.
Join us Wednesday June 5 at 7:00 at the Soap Gallery for a poetry & prose reading by two sisters and amazing writers of Cleveland. Open mic emceed by Steve Force. National Ketchup Day. Let’s stogie up the grill.
Mary Grimm has had two books published, Left to Themselves (novel) and Stealing Time (story collection) – both by Random House. Currently, she is working on a dystopian novel about oldsters. She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University.
Susan Grimm is the author of Almost Home (1997), Lake Erie Blue (2004), and Roughed Up by the Sun’s Mothering Tongue (2011). Her poetry has appeared in Blackbird, The Journal, South Dakota Review, Poetry East, and Tar River Poetry.
Many thanks to the sponsors of the First Wednesday series: the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation and the Kennedy Family Foundation via the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.
Our heartfelt thanks goes to the Kennedy Family Fund, a component fund of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, for a $1500 contribution toward our summer and fall activities.
We sought support for advertising and promotion, rent for our office, printing and copying, insurance, accounting fees, author stipends and a director stipend. Many grants strictly fund programming, and we appreciate the CFMV’s recognition that programming isn’t sustainable without administrative support.
The Community Foundation is a critical component of nonprofit funding in the Valley, and we are grateful and honored to continue to be part of the CFMV family, having also received support for the Winter Writing Camp at the first Mahoning Valley Soup.
The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley is operated exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes which effectively assist and promote the well-being of residents of Mahoning and Trumbull Counties. Information about the Foundation can be found here.
Each summer, we raffle a large piece of art and split the purse with the artist. Thanks so very much to Youngstown sculptor Tony Armeni for collaborating with us. Word is, with an Armeni in your back yard, the birds show up in top hats.
Your donation helps us fund our programs, and we’re so grateful. Good luck! We will draw the winning ticket July 14 at the YSU Summer Festival of the Arts.
Don’t have a backyard? This would look amazing in your livingroom, or would make the best. gift. ever.