Join us for a First Wednesday Series reading January 8 (Happy New Year!) by Cleveland poets John Burroughs & Shelley Chernin. Open mic to follow emceed by Rae McCann. We will also be celebrating National English Toffee Day.
John Burroughs of Cleveland was recently honored as the 2019-2021 Beat Poet Laureate for the State of Ohio. He serves as the founding editor for Crisis Chronicles Press and is the author of a dozen books including, most recently, Rattle and Numb: Selected Poems, 1992-2019, published by Venetian Spider Press.
Shelley Chernin is a freelance writer of legal reference books, an environmental activist and a ukulele enthusiast. She is the author of The Vigil, published by Crisis Chronicles Press in 2012. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Great Lakes Review, Scrivener Creative Review, Guide to Kulchur Creative Journal, Rhapsoidia, Durable Goods, Big Bridge, and Oct Tongue-1. She was awarded 2nd Place in the 2011 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest and received Honorable Mentions twice in the Akron Art Museum’s New Words Poetry Contest.
2020 First Wednesday Readers Series:
February 5 Holly Christensen (creative nonfiction) and Chris Gibowicz (poetry)
March 4 Cliff Richeal (poetry) Kayla Jeswald (nonfiction)
April 1 Thomas Beck (storytelling) Humor Open Mic
May 6 Angie Orlando (memoir) Christine Howey (poetry)
June 3 Nikki Robinson (poetry), Terry Provost (poetry)
July 1 Diane Kendig (poetry), Hannah Rodabaugh (poetry)
August 5 Kathleen Strafford (poetry), Ted Lardner (poetry)
September 2 Susan Petrone (fiction), William Heath (poetry)
October 7 Kelly Bancroft (play), Jessica Jewell (poetry)
November 4 Craig Paulenich (poetry) & James Winter (fiction) NEOMFA reunion reading
Yo, Yo-Towners! Join us for a reading by Pamela Anderson & Steve Thomas. Open mic to follow, emceed by Beth Franklin. We will also be celebrating National Nachos Day. Wednesday, November 6 at 7:00, Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St.
Pam Anderson has an MFA from the NEOMFA, which also awarded her a Bisbee Fellowship. Much of her writing focuses on the Holocaust, with one of her Holocaust poems receiving an AWP Intro Journals award. Her work has appeared in JennyMag.org, Atticus Review, Mason’s Road, The Listening Eye, Whurk, and elsewhere.
Steve Thomas is the author of The Strength of Flowers (Crisis Chronicles Press 2018), and his poems have been published in The Mill and the Hessler Street Fair Anthology. His goal is to achieve the harmony through writing poetry that he displayed as a professional bowler.
Summer Festival of the Arts is one of our favorite events of the year! We’ll be there with the “Where I’m From” poem template, in anticipation of Fall Literary Festival visiting writer George Ella Lyon and her international project.
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.
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.
The second Lou Yuhasz Memorial Scholarship is open for submissions.
Each year, we will award one $100 scholarship, and invite the recipient to read their work at the Fall Literary Festival, Oct. 4-5. The winner and runner-up will receive free registration to the Festival. The 2018 scholarship recipient was D.T. McCrea, selected by Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Professor Robert Miltner and alumna Amy Sparks. This year’s judges are to be determined.
If you will be a NEOMFA student in fall of 2019 and would like to compete for the prize, please send a cover letter and 10-page writing portfolio (name on cover letter only) to LitYoungstown@gmail.com. The deadline is June 15. Continue reading →
Lit Youngstown presents a reading with Bonné de Blas, Monica Kaiser & Sheryl St. Germain, Wednesday May 1 @ 7:00 at The Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. No open mic this month. We will also be celebrating National Chocolate Parfait Day.
Bonné de Blas is an MFA candidate in Poetry at the NEOMFA. She received an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee and a JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She is the author of chapbooks The Act of Dwelling (NightBallet Press) and The Rule of Contraction (Kattywompus Press) and her essay in Older Queer Voices: The Intimacy of Survival, Lambert and Einstein, eds. received a Best of the Net nomination.
Monica Kaiser is a graduate assistant at Kent State University and is pursuing a NEOMFA creative writing degree. She is the author of Still Sifting, and is passionate about the environment, ecopoetics, conflict management, and how these genres intersect. She lives with her husband, son, two rabbits, and her father.
Sheryl St. Germain is a poet and essayist whose work has received numerous awards. Her most recent book, a poetry collection, The Small Door of Your Death, was published by Autumn House Press in 2018. Sheryl directs the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, and is co-founder of the Words Without Walls program. 50 Miles (forthcoming, Etruscan Press) is a memoir in linked essays that addresses addiction and alcoholism. The book traces the life of the author’s son, Gray, a talented but troubled young man, and his death from a drug overdose at thirty, as well as the author’s own recovery from substance abuse.
Lit Youngstown seeks proposals for presentations, workshops, craft talks and creative readings for our 3rd annual Fall Literary Festival to be held October 4-5 at Youngstown State University. The two-day festival will feature an acclaimed faculty: Nin Andrews (poetry), Christopher Barzak (fiction), Erica Cardwell (essay, creative nonfiction), Jill Christman (creative nonfiction), Michael Croley (fiction), George Ella Lyon (poetry, essay), Philip Memmer (poetry), Philip Metres (poetry, essay). To read more about our visiting writers, please visit the Fall Literary Festival page.