Tag Archives: Books

On the Road with Phenomenal Women

It was a great privilege to take our oral history project, Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories, to Arkansas in early November.

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At the inaugural C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference at the University of Central Arkansas, we were included on a panel of presenters from Indiana, Nebraska and Ohio. The focus of our talk was the ways that literary arts might be used give a voice to women and girls, to create bridges of understanding, healing, and empowerment. Audience members asked several questions about our project.

2. Reaching Out: Organizations and Institutions Using Literary Arts as Outreach with Women and Girls
(Karen Schubert, Janine Harrison, Laura Madeline Wiseman, and Colleen Wells)
Location: Art Lecture Hall, McCastlain Hall
The literary arts are a means for giving voice to women and girls. This panel will discuss several outreach writing projects dealing with such themes as writing resistance to violence; therapy and trauma; empowerment and connection; and bridging gulfs in sociohistorical experience. From readings to roundtables to workshops to oral histories, presenters will expand on the power of the literary arts to create a space for women and girls.

The conference was named for C.D. Wright, a celebrated poet from Arkansas.

ft smith From there, we presented at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, under the invitation of Professor Christian Anton Gerard. Three Fort Smith students performed the Phenomenal Women staged reading.

staged reading ft smith

 

 

Even though the details of the stories in Phenomenal Women are specific to Youngstown, they are well received wherever we take them. The themes of love, loss, work, family, struggle, change and hope are universal, and the poignant, tender and funny storytelling is powerful.

 

 

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October Reading at Soap Gallery

October’s First Wednesday Series Reading features local writer Nancy Christie and J. Everett Prewitt of Cleveland. We’ll meet at the Soap Gallery this time, 117 S. Champion St., at 7:15. An open mic will follow, emceed by Venise Abell.

nancy_christieNancy Christie is the author of the fiction collection, Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories (a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Competition), the inspirational book, The Gifts Of Change and numerous short stories including one that was shortlisted for Pulp Literature’s 2016 The Raven Short Story Contest. She is also the founder of “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day and host of the monthly Monday Night Writers group in Canfield, OH. Her “Rut-Busting” Workshop for Writers helps participants identify their objectives, overcome self-imposed barriers and get out of their writing rut. For more information, visit her website at www.nancychristie.com.

J. Everett Prewitt is a Vietnam veteran and a former Army officer. He holds a B.A. from everett_prewittLincoln University and an M.S. in Urban Studies from Cleveland State. His novel Snake Walkers won the Bronze Award for General Fiction in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year contest, and was honored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. A Long Way Back received numerous awards, including first place in the Independent Publishers of New England. A novella titled Something About Ann, and a series of short stories related to A Long Way Back including the award winning The Last Time I Saw Willie, will be available in 2017. Prewitt lives in Shaker Heights. http://eprewitt.com/

Food for Thought: The Weight of Heaven

Our new series examines the rich diversity of the American experience. The first title is The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar, a novelist who emigrated from India static1.squarespaceat age 21 and now teaches at Case Western Reserve.

The Weight of Heaven is about an American couple who move to India for the husband’s job, after they have lost their only child.

We will discuss the book at Cultivate Co-op Cafe, 901 Elm St., 5:00-6:00, Thursday, September 14.

The rest of the titles in this series are listed here.

Poetry Reading September 6

Join us Wednesday September 6 at 7:00 at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts in downtown Youngstown, as we welcome Meg Johnson of Iowa and Caryl Pagel of Cleveland. Open mic to follow, emceed by Ron Book. Lit Youngstown’s First Wednesday Readers Series is funded in part by the Nathalie and James Andrews Foundation.

meg_johnsonMeg Johnson is the author of the full length poetry collection Inappropriate Sleepover (The National Poetry Review Press, 2014). Her second book, The Crimes of Clara Turlington, won the 2015 Vignette Collection Award and was recently published by Vine Leaves Press. Meg’s poems have appeared in Hobart, Nashville Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Puritan, Sugar House Review, Verse Daily, and others. Her nonfiction has appeared in BUST, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project, and Bustle. She received her MFA in creative writing from the NEOMFA Program and is the editor of Dressing Room Poetry Journal. Visit her at: www.megjohnson.org

Caryl Pagel is the author of two collections of poetry, TWICE TOLD (H_NG M_N Books, caryl_pagel2014) and EXPERIMENTS I SHOULD LIKE TRIED AT MY OWN DEATH (Factory Hollow Press, 2012) as well as two chapbooks, MAUSOLEUM (WinterRedpress, 2013) and VISIONS, CRISIS APPARITIONS, AND OTHER EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCES (Factory Hollow Press, 2008). Her poems and essays have appeared in AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Essay Press, The Iowa Review, Jacket2, The Mississippi Review, and Devil’s Lake, among other journals, and she is currently at work on a collection of essays entitled THE REALITY OF THE UNSEEN. Caryl is the co-founder and editor of Rescue Press, a poetry editor at jubilat, and the Director of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. She teaches undergraduate classes in creative writing at Cleveland State as well graduate poetry and nonfiction classes in the NEOMFA Program in Eastern Ohio.

Fall Literary Festival Registration Open

Literary Festival Logo Design

 

Fall Literary Festival

Lit Youngstown’s Fall Literary Festival features readings, craft talks, writing workshops and a publishing panel, by acclaimed and accomplished faculty from Ohio and around the country.

Please register soon. We will take walk-ins, but pre-registration will allow us to plan more efficiently. Register electronically here or print and mail registration here: fall fest registration. 

We look forward to seeing you there! In September, we will email more information about parking and other details. Questions? Email us at LitYoungstown@gmail.com.

Lit Youngstown Fall Literary Festival

Saturday, September 30, 2017
St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave.
Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, 305 Wick Ave.
McDonough Museum of Art, 525 Wick Ave.

Itinerary

8:00-9:00 St. John’s Episcopal Church Great Hall
Coffee, Pastries, Registration

8:30-9:45 St. John’s Episcopal Church Great Hall
Poetry Through an Editor’s Eyes, Slapering Hol Press editors Susana H. Case & Margo Taft Stever (bring two poems in progress)
Prose Workshop, Christopher Barzak
Memoir Workshop, Kelly Bancroft

10:00-10:50 Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County
“Laying the Foundation: Concrete Imagery in Poetry,” Denise Duhamel
“Writing Historical Fiction: The Ever Unfolding Drama,” Robert Olmstead
“Not the Whole Truth: Writing Memoir,” Kelly Bancroft

11:00-11:45 Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County
Fiction Reading, Robert Olmstead

12:00 St. John’s Episcopal Church Great Hall
Lunch by Cultivate Co-op Cafe

1:00-1:45, St. John’s Episcopal Church Sanctuary
Poetry Reading, Susana Case & Margo Taft Stever

2:00-3:00 McDonough Museum of Art
On Publishing: Discussion and Q&A with Nin Andrews, Kelly Bancroft, Christopher Barzak,  Susana Case, Denise Duhamel, Robert Olmstead, Margo Taft Stever

3:00-3:30 McDonough Museum of Art
Screening of Kelly Bancroft’s short film Arriving at Bessie
Cake by Selah Restaurant

3:45-4:45 St. John’s Episcopal Church Sanctuary
Poetry Reading: Nin Andrews & Denise Duhamel

Faculty

Nin Andrews’s poems and stories have appeared in Ploughshares, The Paris Review, Best American Poetry, Best American Prose Poems, Sudden Stories: A Mammoth Anthology of Miniscule Fiction, The House of Your Dreams: An International Collection of Prose Poems, Seriously Funny, and Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence. The recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards, she is the author of six chapbooks and six full-length poetry collections. Why God Is a Woman won the 2016 Ohioana award in poetry; her most recent is Miss August (CavanKerry Press, 2017).

Kelly Bancroft won an Ohio Arts Council individual artist award and Ragdale writer residencies. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Puerto del Sol, Mudfish, XConnect, Jezebel and TIME, among others. A short documentary based on her family research was selected for this year’s Cleveland International Film Festival. She is currently working on a full-length play and short essays in memoir.

Christopher Barzak is author of the Crawford Fantasy Award novel, One for Sorrow, made into Jamie Marks is Dead, a Sundance feature film. The Love We Share Without Knowing was a finalist for the Nebula Award and the James Tiptree Jr. Award. Wonders of the Invisible World, (Knopf, 2015) received the Stonewall Honor Award from the American Library Association. He is author of two collections: Birds and Birthdays, surrealist fantasy stories, and Before and Afterlives, supernatural fantasies, which won Best Collection in the 2013 Shirley Jackson Awards. He teaches fiction writing in the NEOMFA program at YSU.

Susana H. Case is the author of five books of poetry, most recently, Drugstore Blue (Five Oaks Press, 2017)and 4 Rms w Vu from Mayapple Press, as well as four chapbooks. One of her collections, The Scottish Café, from Slapering Hol Press, was re-released in a dual-language English-Polish version, Kawiarnia Szkocka by Opole University Press in Poland. Her poems appear widely in magazines and anthologies. Case is a Professor and Program Coordinator at the New York Institute of Technology in New York City.

Denise Duhamel’s most recent book of poetry is Scald (Pittsburgh, 2017). Blowout (Pittsburgh, 2013) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other titles include Ka-Ching! (Pittsburgh, 2009); Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005); Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001); The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999); and Kinky (Orhisis, 1997).  She and Maureen Seaton co-authored CAPRICE (Collaborations: Collected, Uncollected, and New) (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). Duhamel is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenhiem Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.  The guest editor is for The Best American Poetry 2013, she is a professor at Florida International University in Miami.

Robert Olmstead is the author of seven novels, the memoir Stay Here With Me, and River Dogs, a collection of short stories.  His three most recent novels, known as the Childs Trilogy: Coal Black Horse, Far Bright Star, and The Coldest Night, have been optioned by Casey Affleck.  Far Bright Star, declared one of the top ten westerns of the decade by Booklist will be directed by Affleck and star Joaquin Phoenix. Olmstead’s many awards include two Ohioana Book Awards, Amazon Top 100, Kirkus Top 25, Publisher’s Weekly Top 100, a Spur Award for Best Novel from the Western Writers of America, Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction, a #1 Pick Booksense, Senior Arts Fellowships from Ohio and Pennsylvania, Idaho Press Club Award and Black Warrior Review Fiction Award, as well as Fellowships from the NEA and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Margo Taft Stever’s four poetry collections are The Lunatic Ball, Kattywompus Press, 2015; The Hudson Line, Main Street Rag, 2012; Frozen Spring, Mid-List Press First Series Award for Poetry, 2002; and Reading the Night Sky, Riverstone Poetry Chapbook Competition, 1996. In 2019, CRACKED PIANO, will be published by CavanKerry Press. Her poems have appeared widely in literary magazines and anthologies including Blackbird, Salamander, Prairie Schooner, Poem-A-Day, New England Review, Cincinnati Review, Rattapallax, Webster Review, Dire Elegies, Chance of a Ghost, and No More Masks. She is the founder of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center and the founding and current co-editor of Slapering Hol Press. For more information, please see: www.margostever.com.

Profound thanks to our community partners, The Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, St. John’s Episcopal Church, the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts, the McDonough Museum of Art, the Youngstown State University Department of English and Dr. Barbara Brothers.

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Lit Youngstown is proud to list The Fall Literary Festival in 100 Thousand Poets for Change, dedicated to using poetry as a means for creative voice, and as an expression of peace, justice and sustainability.

 

 

More Food for Thought!

Our monthly book club will take the summer off and start back up again in the fall with a new focus: the American experience, fiction, non-fiction and poetry with a range of voices and perspectives. We’ll look to the past, to various regions, and to voices that represent an array of experiences and expectations.

We also looked to our visiting writers for titles, and there are several. It is a unique pleasure to hear an author read, and then to read and discuss the author’s book with other readers.

Beginning in October, our book discussion will move to the 2nd Wed. of each month from 6:00 to 7:00, still at Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St.

Here is the book list. Check with the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County for copies.

September 14, 2017 The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar
October 11, 2017 The Coldest Night by Robert Olmstead
November 8, 2017 The Round House by Louse Erdrich
December 13, 2017 Famous Drownings in Literary History by Kevin Haworth
January 10, 2018 March Trilogy by John Lewis
February 14, 2018 Citizen by Claudia Rankine
March 14, 2018 Phenomenal Women by Lit Youngstown
April 11, 2018 My Own Country by Abraham Verghese
May 9, 2018 Camp Olvido by Lawrence Coates
June 13, 2018 Blacksnake’s Path: The True Adventures of William Wells by William Heath

Food for Thought: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

We made a quick switch for our last book selection in our food-themed series, and decided to discuss the first section of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Pollan traces a single fast-food meal back to its source in a giant cornfield in Iowa, and forward until it is pulled steaming from the bag. Along the way, we learn about contemporary agricultural practices and consumer choices, and their implications for our landscape and health.

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Thursday June 8, 5:00-6:00 at Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St. We will talk about our next book series, which will begin in September.