The next book discussion will take up Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories. This collection of oral histories, edited and published by Lit Youngstown, is in the stacks at the public library and branches, and is available for $16 at Three Sheep Gallery & Workshop, Tyler History Center and at upcoming Lit Youngstown events.
We will meet at Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, March 14, 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.
It was a great privilege to take our oral history project, Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories, to Arkansas in early November.
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.
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.
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.
As part of our oral history project Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories, we created a 10 minute video about the process. It includes shots from our celebratory reception in December, and comments from some of the people involved in the project.
The video was created by Jim Stickel and funded by the Raymond John Wean Foundation‘s Neighborhood Success Program. It was premiered at the Association of Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference in February.
Jim also videotaped the staged reading of excerpts from the book. The reading was created by Kris Harrington, and read by Sierra McCorvey, Davita Fitzgerald, and Kim Voeks at our December reception. We love hearing the audience reaction to local names and places and the heartwarming stories. They gave the piece a standing ovation at the end.
Please contact us if you’d like us to come to your group or class to discuss the project and the book, or share the video. We can also arrange a live staged reading, or share the script so your students or members can present it.