Tag Archives: Words Made Visible

Poems Set in Stone

The final two poems of a special project have been embossed and installed next to a well-traveled walkway at St. John’s Episcopal Church. The walkway connects Walnut St., YSU buildings, the MVR, the Noble Creature Cask House and St. John’s to the rest of the YSU campus and Wick Ave.

The timing wasn’t quite right to find a downtown sidewalk installation site. However, the stamps are reusable; we are still pursuing opportunities in the city, and are open to other possibilities.

These poems are by Youngstown native son Jeff Murphy and Dayton poet David Lee Garrison. As fine debris settles into the letters over time, they will become more visible.

 

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Michael Staaf of Steel Valley Signs created and installed these frames at the end of September; just today the grass has been seeded. This lovely garden-like area is part of a new, open landscape project by St. John’s, where Lit Youngstown’s office is located. Tony Armeni will donate a sculpture, giving the poems more visibility.

Earlier this summer, we embossed poems by Jeanne Bryner of Newton Falls and Laura Grace Weldon of Litchfield in new sidewalks at the Commerce Building on Walnut St. in downtown Youngstown. Our appreciation to Rich Mills, owner of this historic building.

 

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All four poets and judge Mary Quade of Hiram will come for a dedication and reading at the Fall Literary Festival, Oct. 4-5, 2019. Many thanks to signmaker Michael Staaf for taking on this complicated project, and to the Ohio Arts Council for funding. This completes Words Made Visible, a year-long collaboration between visual and literary arts.

 

Words Made Visible

So much congratulations to four poets whose poems were selected to be letterpressed into broadsides by The Cranky Pressman.

“Working the Long Shift” by Craig Paulenich
“Train, Loud, Lonesome, Leaving Without Me” by Dianne Borsenik
“Spooning” by Caitlyn Ryan
“Nylon” by Kerry Trautman

The broadsides will be exhibited at the Words Made Visible monthlong gallery show at The Soap Gallery in downtown Youngstown for the month of February. The opening will be Saturday, February 3.

These poems were selected in a blind judging by Nicole Robinson, Steve Reese and Jennifer Cline. Thank you to our judges, to the Ohio writers who sent hundreds of poems and short prose for our project, and to the Ohio Arts Council for the encouragement and funding.

Thank You, Ohio Arts Council

With the announcement of our Ohio Arts Council grant, seems like a good time for an update on the Words Made Visible project.OAC_full-color-cmyk-logo

But first, woop woop! and so much thank you. With public funding on the chopping block, we are grateful to Governor Kasich and the Ohio Legislature for defending the value of the arts in our communities.

The panel discussion on our project was uplifting: Panelists noted that they liked the multidisciplinary nature of this proposal, that the activities truly work towards the goal of engaging as many writers as possible, that they are glad to see Lit Youngstown is encouraging new work, and considered Words Made Visible a fascinating idea to transform literary arts into visual arts, among other comments.

The first chunk of Words Made Visible is now finished: from many hundreds of submissions of poetry and short prose, the Lit Youngstown board selected ten finalists, then three winning poems and a set of haiku; of these winners, YSU student graphic designer Laura Garvin created a series of posters.

 

The featured poems are
“Men of Beautiful Countenance” by Craig Paulenich
“Feral” by Laura Grace Weldon
“The Neighborhood Girls Fall for the WKBN Meteorologist” by Allison Pitinii Davis
Haiku by Elliot Nicely & Valentina Ranaldi-Adams

With support from the YSU Summer Festival of the Arts, we gave out posters to hundreds of visitors to our tent, and hosted a reading by our project finalists, Dianne Borsenik, Luke Martinucci, Elliot Nicely & Craig Paulenich.

 

 

 

Next, in October, we will select four poems or short prose pieces to be letterpressed into broadsides by the Cranky Pressman.

Meanwhile, we will send the poems and stories to faculty in the Art Department at YSU, who will use the project in their classrooms, asking students to create visual work that responds to the literary work. Ceramics professor Missy McCormick’s summer class created such work, and here one pairing:

Feral
by Laura Grace Weldonceramic_feral

Moonlight leaks through the curtains.
I lie awake, listen to coyote songs
circle and connect, stitching together
the night’s raw edges.

Each time I hear their howls
my bone marrow sings.
What’s muzzled in me lifts.
I seem silent and
yet my pulse races through the trees.

 

These poems and their ekphrastic pieces in ceramics, printmaking, drawing and painting, will be exhibited at the Soap Gallery the month of February, 2018. There will be a reception and reading/response for the writers and artists Saturday, February 3.

We will also select four short works to be stamped into sidewalk squares by Michael Staaf at Metro Sign.

We hope you will join us along the way, celebrating the literary and visual arts, and their intriguing relationship.

Winning Poems for Summer Festival Posters

We received many hundreds of wonderful poems and stories for our Words Made Visible projects! Thank you all! It was so challenging, but we have selected the winners and finalists for the first part of the project.

Winners:

“Feral” by Laura Grace Weldon
“Men of Beautiful Countenance” by Craig Paulenich
“The Neighborhood Girls Fall for the WKBN Meteorologist” by Allison Pitinii Davis
Haiku: “dandelion field,” “dentist office window” and “winter constellations” by Elliot Nicely
“irises” by Valentina Ranaldi-Adams

Finalists:

“Cindo de Mayo Moon” by Dianne Borsenik
“Cold Green” by Catherine Wing
“The Hawk in the Woods” by Luke Martinucci
“My Great-Great Grandmother” by Craig Paulenich
“Spring in the Hollow” by Kari Gunter-Seymour
“Tractor” by Lori Gravley
“Why the Window Washer Reads Poetry” by Laura Grace Weldon

The judging was blind, by Lit Youngstown staff and board of directors.
Winning poems will be made into posters and given away at the Summer Festival of the Arts. Winners and finalists are invited to a reading during the Festival.
Mark your calendar and come visit us during the festival! July 8-9 at YSU.