Kelly Link was a recent visiting writer at YSU, and we have selected her book as part of our series of titles by recent author visitors to the Valley. About Get in Trouble, the New York Times writes, “It has taken Link 10 years to produce her new story collection, Get in Trouble, and it is just as brilliant as her last, Magic for Beginners.”
Food for Thought book discussion will be hosted by our community partnerCultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, March 13, 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. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us. Here are this series’ upcoming selections by writers who have recently visited the Valley:
April 10 (Memoir) Scott Simon | Unforgettable
May 15 (Nonfiction) Cokie Roberts | Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation
Save the dates! This year’s festivals will feature workshops, craft talks, a publishing panel, and readings by these accomplished visiting writers.
Please join us in thanking our community partners for helping to make the festival possible: the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, the Purple Cat, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts, Sojourn to the Past, St. John’s Episcopal Church, YSU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, YSU Department of Women & Gender Studies, YSU English Department.
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 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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
NEOMFA reunion reading Wednesday December 6! Join us for a reading of three Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts writers. Open mic to follow, emceed by Kayla Jeswald. The Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. Doors open at 7:15, reading begins at 7:30.
Christopher R. Alonso was born and raised in Miami, FL. He is a writer, editor, flamenco dancer, and pianist. He is currently in his final year at the Northeast Ohio MFA program.
William R. Soldan grew up in and around Youngstown, Ohio, with brief stints in Columbus, Milwaukee, and the hills of southern Oregon. He holds a BA in English Literature from Youngstown State University and an MFA from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. His work appears in publications such as New World Writing, Kentucky Review, Gordon Square Review, (b)OINK, Elm Leaves Journal, Anomaly Literary Journal, The Best American Mystery Stories 2017, Ohio’s Best Emerging Poets Anthology, and others. Currently he works as a trainer in a gym and teaches writing workshops in Youngstown, where he lives with his wife, community activist Rebecca Soldan, and their two children.
Sara Tracey is from Akron, Ohio. She is the author of Some Kind of Shelter (Misty Publications, 2013) and the chapbook Flood Year (dancing girl press, 2009). Sara graduated from the NEOMFA in 2007 and received her PhD in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2015.
Join us for a reading by fiction writer Robert Pope of Akron and Thomas Welsh, an author of A History of Jewish Youngstown and the Steel Valley. Open mic to follow, emceed by Bill Soldan. Wed. July 5, 7:00 at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 34 N. Phelps St.
Robert Pope has published a novel, Jack’s Universe, and a collection of stories, Private Acts, as well as over seventy stories and personal essays in journals, including most recently, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Two Thirds North. His flash fictions have appeared in print and online journals, including Chicago Literati, and his dark fiction in collections including Dark Lane Anthology. He just retired from The University of Akron and is reading and writing as much as he possibly can. He lives in Akron with his wife Lisa Sarkis and their dog Harley.
Founded in the Mahoning Valley during 1837, a tiny settlement of secular German immigrants grew into one of the most influential centers of Jewish life in the Midwest. Home to nationally renowned rabbis and Zionist firebrands alike, the community produced an astonishing array of leaders in an impressive range of fields throughout the twentieth century. This notable legacy ranges from the entertainment juggernaut of Warner Brothers to the Arby’s fast food empire and the prominent Youngstown Sheet & Tube, among many others. Authors Thomas Welsh, Joshua Foster and Gordon F. Morgan trace the unique history of one of Ohio’s oldest Jewish communities from its humble beginnings into the challenging climate of the new millennium.
Thomas Welsh is a professional writer and editor who grew up in the industrial center of Youngstown, Ohio. He is the author of Closing Chapters: Urban Change, Religious Reform, and the Decline of Youngstown’s Catholic Elementary Schools (Lexington Books, 2011), which describes factors that led to the collapse of an urban parochial school system. Thomas went on to coauthor Strouss’: Youngstown’s Dependable Store (History Press, 2012), a historical overview of one of the city’s landmark businesses, and Classic Restaurants of Youngstown (History Press, 2014), which tracks changes in the community’s restaurant industry. Before completing a doctorate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Kent State University in 2009, he worked as a journalist in the United States, South Korea, and Cambodia. He serves as outreach coordinator of the Etruscan Press, a non-profit literary press that works in close collaboration with the YSU Poetry Center.
Joshua Foster is an independent scholar and professional writer who grew up in a family that has been part of Youngstown, Ohio’s Jewish community for more than a century. As a fine arts and religious studies major at Youngstown State University, he established the YSU Jewish Students Organization and served as its first president. Joshua completed his graduate studies in urban history at Youngstown State University and produced several academic papers, including a historical examination of the Romaniote Jewish community of Ioannina, Greece. He has served as a featured speaker on local and regional television and radio programs.
Gordon F. Morgan is a professional writer and editor who grew up in the industrial town of Campbell, Ohio, located just east of Youngstown. After completing a graduate degree in professional writing and editing at Youngstown State University, he served as program director and newsletter editor for the Mahoning Valley Civil War Round Table, a group of more than 150 people who attend monthly presentations by leading experts on the Civil War. Gordon’s articles have appeared in regional periodicals including The Metro Monthly and The Vindicator. He is the coauthor of Classic Restaurants of Youngstown (History Press, 2014), a historical overview of the community’s restaurant industry.
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
This month we will read and discuss Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. According to the New York Times:
Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel is all about sex, and she doesn’t waste much time on foreplay. As the book opens, Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist on the far side of 40, is patrolling the woods on Zebulon Mountain, a wild patch of southern Appalachia where she works as a ranger. ”Here and now,” Kingsolver writes, ”spring heaved in its randy moment. Everywhere you looked, something was fighting for time, for light, the kiss of pollen, a connection of sperm and egg and another chance.”
Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Come join us. 5:00-6:00, Thurs. March 9 at Cultivate Co-op Cafe, 901 Elm St. Please note the earlier time. (No potluck: the cafe will be open and serving.)
April 13: Closing the Food Gap by Mark Winne (See Mark Winne read Wed. April 5 at 7:00 at St. John’s Episcopal Church)
May 11: Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese by Eric LeMay
June 8: Salt: A World History by Mark Kulansky
So many incredible poets, fiction and non-fiction writers said Yes, and now they’re coming to the Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts stage on the First Wednesday of each month in 2017. Big thanks to Suzie’s for adding a speaker for the spoken word, and to you for coming out. An open mic will follow each reading except in February and April. If you’re inspired, bring some work to share.
January 4: Robert Miltner/Molly Fuller
We folded Molly Fuller’s stories into Storygami! at the Summer Festival of the Arts
We kick off our series with two fine writers from Kent State who taught a successful workshop on flash forms for Lit Youngstown last summer. Purple Cat will host us at the Purple Cat Productions Theater on W. Boardman.
February 1: YSU CROW: Compose: A Review of Writing
Angela Messenger introduces CROW at Feb. 2016 reading
YSU advisor Angela Messenger will host this evening’s student readings from the newest issue of CROW.
March 1: Sean Thomas Dougherty/Terry Murcko
Terry Murcko reads at the Jewish Community Center
Two soulful poets: Sean Thomas Dougherty is an acclaimed Erie poet, and Terry Murcko is a Youngstown literary icon.
April 5: Mark Winne
Food justice activist Mark Winne will join us from New Mexico. His visit is co-sponsored by St. John’s, and his book, Closing the Food Gap, will be a Food for Thought book club selection.
May 3: Lori Jakiela/David Giffels
David Giffels reads with Chris Jennings’s Canfield High School students
Lori Jakiela, author of memoir The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious, and David Giffels, author essay collection The Hard Way on Purpose, grace our stage.
June 7: Nin Andrews/Rochelle Hurt/Allison Davis Pitinii
We’ll be back at Purple Cat Productions for this terrific reading. Nin Andrews, who brought down the house (on her birthday!) when she read from Why God is a Woman, reads from her new book Miss August. Youngstown natives Alison Davis Pitinii (Line Study of a Motel Clerk) and Rochelle Hurt (In Which I Play the Runaway) visit home with their new books. You may have seen Rochelle and Allison read last April at the Soap Gallery.
July 5: Mike Foldes/Robert Pope
Mike Foldes, a Binghamton, NY, native and editor of the online journal Ragazine,will read from Sandy: Chronicles of a Superstorm, a volume of poetry and images.
Robert Pope’s novel is Jack’s Universe. He teaches fiction writing in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts.
August 2: Jason Irwin/Jen Ashburn/Roger Craik
From Pittsburgh, Jason Irwin is a poet and playwright and Jen Ashburn’s first poetry collection is The Light on the Wall.
Roger Craik, a retired professor of English at Kent State-Ashtabula, is the author of the poetry collection Down Stranger Roads.
September 6: Meg Johnson/Caryl Pagel
Poets Meg Johnson of Iowa State University, author of Inappropriate Sleepover and Caryl Pagel of Cleveland State, author of Twice Told, read from their work.
October 4: Nancy Christie/ J. Everett Prewitt
Nancy Christie at the open mic at Suzie’s
Local writer Nancy Christie is the author of a short fiction collection, two short fiction e-books, and a motivational book. J. Everett Prewitt is the author of mystery novels Snake Walkers and A Long Way Back; he lives in Cleveland.
November 1: Kevin Haworth/Steven Reese
National Endowment of the Arts fellow Kevin Haworth of Carlow University will read from his creative non-fiction and Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Director Steven Reese will read from his poetry.
December 6: Chris Alonso, Bill Soldan, Sara Tracey
Chris Alonso emcees the open mic at Suzie’s
NEOMFA Reunion Reading features Chris Alonso and Bill Soldan of Youngstown and Sara Tracey of Akron.
Two fine young graduates of the NEOMFA come down from the North Coast. Monday Nov. 7 at 7:00, Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts downtown.
NEOMFA Alumni Reading! Come for the comraderie! Bring your work if you’re inspired to read at the open mic emceed by Lit Youngstown intern and YSU student Samantha Ensminger.
James De Monte is an English professor at Lakeland Community College near Cleveland. His first book, Brotherhood, was longlisted for Shakespeare and Company’s Paris Literary Prize before being published by Blue Cubicle Press last year. His short fiction has appeared in Fjords Review and Chagrin River Review, among others. He lives a short walk from the Cuyahoga River with his wife and son and is at work on a second book.
Tobin F. Terry is an Associate Professor of English and department co-chair at Lakeland Community College. As a graduate of the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program, Tobin received the Alpha Omega Dukes Memorial Promising Fiction Writer Award. Before coming to Lakeland, Tobin taught English at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio and the University of Akron, and served as copy editor at the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama. Tobin was a fiction editor for the second issue of Barn Owl Review, is Communications Director Emeritus for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, and is an editor for Chagrin River Review. His most recent work appeared in Emerge Literary Journal.
We welcome Christopher Barzak and Lawrence Coates to our October First Monday reading, Monday October 3 @ 7:00, Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 34 N. Phelps St. Free parking on the street and in the lot behind the Voinovich Building on the corner of Hazel & Commerce.
An open mic will follow, emceed by fiction writer Bill Soldan. Open mic readers are invited to the stage for 5 min.– to read their own work, or a writer’s they admire.
Come early to get a seat. We expect a packed house! From 6:00 to 9:30, a restaurant takeover will kick back 10% of food sales to the Student Literary Arts Association.
Christopher Barzak is the author of the Crawford Fantasy Award winning novel, One for Sorrow, which has been made into the Sundance feature film Jamie Marks is Dead. His second novel, The Love We Share Without Knowing, was a finalist for the Nebula Award and the James Tiptree Jr. Award. His most recent novel, Wonders of the Invisible World, was published by Knopf in 2015, and received the Stonewall Honor Award from the American Library Association. He is also the author of two collections: Birds and Birthdays, a collection of surrealist fantasy stories, and Before and Afterlives, a collection of supernatural fantasies, which won Best Collection in the 2013 Shirley Jackson Awards.
Christopher grew up in rural Ohio, has lived in a southern California beach town, the capital of Michigan, and has taught English outside of Tokyo, Japan, where he lived for two years. Currently he teaches fiction writing in the Northeast Ohio MFA program at Youngstown State University.
Lawrence Coates grew up in El Cerrito, California. He spent four years as a Quartermaster in the Coast Guard, and four more years in the Merchant Marine, working as an Able-bodied Seaman and Third Mate. During his time at sea, he sailed in the North Atlantic, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean, and he served aboard a fleet oiler in the Arabian Sea during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz and gained fluency in Spanish while studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain. He also worked for a brief period as a freelance journalist, placing a cover story about the U.S.-Mexican border in the Sunday supplement of The Chicago Tribune. After completing a master’s degree at Berkeley, he taught for a year in the Lycée Charlemagne in Paris and then went on to earn his doctorate at the University of Utah.
His first novel, The Blossom Festival, won the Western States Book Award for Fiction and was selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Series. His second novel, The Master of Monterey, was published in 2003, and his third novel, The Garden of the World, was published in 2012 and won the Nancy Dasher Award from the College English Association of Ohio. In 2015, he published The Goodbye House, a novel set amid the housing tracts of San José in the aftermath of the first dot com bust and the attacks of 9/11. Also in 2015, he published a novella, Camp Olvido, set in a labor camp in California’s Great Central Valley.
His work has been recognized with the Donald Barthelme Prize in Short Prose, the Miami University Press Novella Prize, an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. He is currently a professor of creative writing at Bowling Green State University.