Lit Youngstown, in conjunction with Power of the Arts and Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, seeks original poetry from poets affiliated with Mahoning and Trumbull Counties for a public art project.
The poems will be part of artistically designed murals, painted by YSU art students under the guidance of Professor Dragana Crnjak. Funding for the project will be raised through an IOBY campaign.
The winning poems will be succinct/brief and appropriate for readers of all ages. Each poet is limited to one single poem submission. Please send your submission, along with a cover letter explaining your affiliation to Trumbull or Mahoning County, to LitYoSubmissions@gmail.com. Deadline November 30.
Words Made Visible is Lit Youngstown’s literary-visual art collaboration. In blind judgings, poems and prose by Ohio-affiliated writers were selected to be printed on posters, broadsides and stamped into sidewalks. Students in YSU art classes chose poems and stories and responded to them through visual art.
The opening for the month-long exhibit will be Saturday, February 3, 2:00 to 5:00 at The Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St., downtown Youngstown. Refreshments will be served. At 3:00, contributing writers will read their work included in the show:
Mari Alschuler, Dianne Borsenik, Steve Brightman, Jeanne Bryner, Juliet Cook, David Lee Garrison, Kari Gunter-Seymour, Jennifer Hambrick, Kayla Jeswald, Paula J. Lambert, Robert Miltner, Jeffrey Murphy, Craig Paulenich, Caitlyn Ryan, Ari Sheik, Robert Smith, Kerry Trautman, Laura Grace Weldon
Please join us in congratulating the represented writers and artists, and thanking the YSU Art Department, the Soap Gallery, the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council.
Lit Youngstown seeks poetry and prose for a series of public art projects called Words Made Visible, including posters, poems stamped into sidewalk squares, and a month-long gallery installation at the Soap Gallery in downtown Youngstown.
Lit Youngstown staff will select visually strong writing to be made into posters and distributed at the Summer Festival of the Arts on Youngstown State’s campus in July, 2017. Authors of accepted work will be invited to read during the Festival.
Other installations incorporating contributor work will be planned and implemented on a two-year timeline. Lit Youngstown will seek permission from writers to use selected poems and prose.
Send submission in the body of an email or as an attachment to
Include a cover letter with your address/connection to Ohio. Submissions may also be mailed to Lit Youngstown/P.O. Box 804/Youngstown, OH/44501.
Please limit submissions to five pages. Previously published work is eligible; include publication acknowledgements in cover letter.
For the posters and sidewalk embossing, we seek poems of under 25 lines and prose of 100 words or less, that are suitable for public viewing. For the gallery exhibition, longer and more complex works will be considered.
We’re so busy getting ready for the Summer Festival of the Arts on the YSU campus this Sat. July 11th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sun. July 12th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Stop by our booth anytime to pick up a free tote bag graced with the poem “Disco” written by Cleveland poet Dianne Borsenik. In a blind judging, YSU poet Phil Brady (thank you, Phil!) selected Dianne’s poem from entries in our ekphrasis contest.
“Disco” was inspired by a print in “Prayer Series” by University of Akron faculty artist Hui-Chu Ying (the top image here). Dianne wrote her poem at Ekphrastacy!, a night of writing from art at the Cleveland Heights Art Gallery. We love the phenomenal tote bag design by YSU graphic arts students.
Big thanks to Green Youngstown and the Mahoning County Green Team for sponsoring the project. We are hoping to see our bag all over the Mahoning Valley, promoting the arts and reducing the need for single-use plastic bags.
Stop by anytime to get your tote and participate in some short and fun writing activities. We will have affirmations to finish, like “I wish I had the courage to…” We will also have the ekphrastic poetry submissions on display.
On Sat. from 3:30-5:00, Lit Youngstown will host a reading in the Chestnut Room in Kilcawley Center. Our featured readers are
Mari Alschuler received an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University; her poetry and short fiction have been published in national journals since the mid 1970s. Her chapbook, The Nightmare of Falling Teeth, was published by Pudding House Press in 1998. A Registered Poetry Therapist, she leads an online poetic devices course for poetry therapy trainees. Mari is an LISW-S in private practice for poetry therapy, adult psychotherapy, and supervision in northeastern Ohio. Mari is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at YSU and coordinates the MSW program.
Cherise Benton says she is one of those awful young people with smartphones you keep reading about. The current discourses on gender, race, and income equality make her want to take a bullet to the brain. She is, however, here for kombucha, heirloom tomatoes, and Peter Lorre.
Dianne Borsenik is active in the northeastern Ohio poetry scene and regional reading circuit. Her work has been widely published in journals and anthologies, including Rosebud, Slipstream, and Lilliput Review; upcoming work will appear in Great Lakes Review, bottle rockets and the chapbook anthology A Case for Ascension (RumRazor Press). She won first place two years in a row in the Best Cleveland Poem Competition. In 2011 she founded NightBallet Press, and has since published over 70 titles for poets across the United States. She lives in Elyria with husband James and dogkids Bodhi, Angelo, and Dory Kiss Me Quick. Find her at http://www.dianneborsenik.com.
Allison Pitinii Davis is the author of Poppy Seeds (KSU Press, 2013), winner of the Wick Poetry Chapbook Award. Her poems have appeared in The New Republic, CutBank, Black Warrior Review, Connotation Press, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Ohio State University and fellowships from Stanford University’s Wallace Stegner program and the Severinghaus Beck Fund for Study at Vilnius Yiddish Institute. Starting this fall, she will be a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She was born and raised near Youngstown, Ohio.
James Hain is a graduate of the Northeast Ohio MFA (NEOMFA) program, and has had fiction published in Jenny, The Stolen Island Review, The Rubbertop Review, and Pennsylvania English. He teaches creative writing and composition at Youngstown State University.
Liz Hill is the author of four mysteries for young adults and co-author of Singing Meditation, a book about using song and chant as a spiritual practice. Her stories and poems have appeared in several anthologies, and her play By the Book was produced in Youngstown Playhouse’s Voices of the Valley Festival last year. She is a writer and spiritual director, and has led workshops in creative process, discovering authentic voice, and un-journaling. She taught What’s Your Story for Lit Youngstown this past spring and looks forward to doing more with this great group.
Karen Kotrba is the author of She Who is Like a Mare (Bottom Dog Press), poems of Mary Breckenridge and the Frontier Nursing Service. She has taught writing for 25 years at Baldwin-Wallace College, Kent State East Liverpool, Kent State Trumbull, and Youngstown State University.
Lit Youngstown’s Kris Harrington will talk about The Strand Project, an exciting new collaboration.
At 1:00 on Sun., Lit Youngstown will guide a Freewriting Art Walk, where we’ll visit booths around the festival to stimulate the imagination. We will read examples of ekphrastic poetry, or poems inspired by art, which has a long tradition. See where your ideas lead you!
The Lit Youngstown Poetry Critique Group will meet at the booth at 3:00 Sun. This new group of poetry writers meets on the second Sun. of each month. If you’d like to join us, bring 10 copies of a new poem. We will open our session with a short discussion of the poetry book The Porcupine of Mind by Bulgarian poet Katerina Stoykova-Klemer. You can find out more about her here: http://www.katerinaklemer.com/index.html
At the end of the festival day Sun., we will select a winning raffle ticket for Tony Armeni’s original metal sculpture bird bath. We will split the proceeds with Tony in this, our first fundraiser, and use our portion to develop programming. Tickets cost $3.00 each or 2 for $5.00. Tony is well known for his arcs and rings and public sculptures all around the city. He sells his birdbaths for $500, and we appreciate his willingness to offer us this opportunity. If you’d like to buy a ticket but can’t get to the festival, let us know.