It just happens that our Dec. First Wed. reading falls on Pearl Harbor Day, so come down and get your history on with readings from some fine local history books.
Wed. Dec. 7, 7:00, at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 34 N. Phelps St. The reading features Cathy Seckman, author of East Liverpool; Sean Posey, author of Lost Youngstown, and Dr. Donna DeBlasio & Dr. Martha Pallante, authors of Italians Americans of the Greater Mahoning Valley.
No open mic this last reading of 2016. We’ll resume the open mic with our January reading, which will feature Robert Miltner & Molly Fuller. Purple Cat Productions will host in their Broadway St. theater in the historic Morley Building.
One chilly noon in January of 2015, a small group met at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts to discuss the idea of starting a literary arts organization. From that hopeful beginning, we have grown into a thriving non-profit organization with ongoing programming and numerous activities and collaborations.The hundreds of people working with us—visiting writers, teaching artists, workshop participants, board members, YSU interns, audience members, funders and volunteers—have created a Lit Youngstown community, and are proof to us that a literary arts organization has a place in Youngstown.
Painted silk scarf by Tracy Segreti and complementary bronze earrings handcrafted by Robyn Maas.
Painted Scarf and Earrings
Hand-turned curly ash bowl by Davey Jones (pictured below), finished with food-grade mineral oil and beeswax. Signed and numbered.
Bowl by Davey Jones
Bag of books written by local authors featured in our First Wed. reading series.
Bag of Books
Please donate before December 1 to be in the drawing, which will be held at our December 7 reading.
We are also seeking ten patrons willing to donate at the $500 level. At any level, your gift is tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law, and it is very much appreciated.
Our energy and motivation come from a deep belief that writing, reading, and storytelling, and being in the company of others engaged in these pursuits, strengthens our community and enriches our quality of life.
Our 2016 First Wednesday reading series featured faculty from YSU, Akron, and Bowling Green, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Mercyhurst, and Hiram; students from Youngstown State, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts and Canfield High School; readers from the fields of history, nursing and psychology; and essays written by incarcerated students. At our open mic after the readings, community members from age 12 to 70 shared their own writing. We also hosted readings at several art venues.
Our outreach work included reading food poems with adults with disabilities from the Purple Cat at Gallagher’s Lunchbucket, and book giveaways and community writing projects at several street fairs and festivals.
We collaborated with Selah Dessert Theater on the Strand Project, soliciting original monologues and staging their performance with local actors. Board member Kris Harrington spearheaded this project which played to a sold-out house and received rave reviews.
We have offered numerous writing workshops, with modest enrollment fees that have invited wide participation while allowing us to pay a stipend to teaching artists. We’ve also offered some free classes thanks to support from the Andrews Foundation.
Our newest project is Food for Thought, a food-themed book club and potluck, a collaboration with the Lake to River Food Co-op.
In mid-December, we will host a reception releasing our book Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories, at the beautiful, historic YWCA. The stories came from our interviews with twelve African American women between the ages of 64 and 101, with deep roots in Youngstown. Support from the Wean Foundation has allowed us to hire a professional photographer, layout editor and cover editor, and to have the book printed locally at City Printing. Co-director Liz Hill spearheaded this project, and we can’t wait to share these insightful stories with the community.
In February, we will take Lit Youngstown on the road, leading a panel with other literary organizations from the Great Lakes area at the prestigious Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Washington, D.C.
Our established programs will continue. The 2017 reading series will feature novelists, non-fiction and short story writers and poets from as far away as Iowa and Maryland, and many talented writers from home. Our workshop series will run in spring, summer, and fall, featuring a variety of topics taught by experienced teaching artists. The second Strand Project’s call for dramatic monologue submissions has gone out, and our book-potluck club will continue to meet each month until summer.
How You Can Help
As our programming increases, so do our expenses, as well as the time it takes to run the organization. Our wonderful Board of Directors and dedicated Co-Directors have donated many hours to establish our programming and organization. We are grateful for support and encouragement from The Wean Foundation and the Andrews Foundation.
But we need your help to remain sustainable and continue to provide great programming. Your gift will help to support:
Marketing and outreach programs, to bring our offerings to a wider audience
Travel stipends to bring inspirational visiting writers from the region and beyond
Workshop scholarships to allow broader and more diverse participation
Development opportunities so our volunteers and staff can learn from other exemplary organizations and continue to offer top-notch programs.
We are grateful for support at any level. In addition, we are seeking Patrons willing to support us with a donation of $500. Giving at this level will help to ensure sustainability in some of our longer term goals.
Salary for a part-time director. A paid director will increase our opportunity for advocacy, research and development, including grant writing and connecting with literary arts centers around the country.
Rented space to allow us to hold classes or other events in one location with better parking and accessibility.
We thank you for being a supporter. We have gotten so far because of you.
With sincere thanks,
Karen Schubert & Liz Hill, Co-Directors
Lit Youngstown board of directors member Molly Toth (left) and friend of Lit Youngstown Sarah Lowry (photo credit: Phil Kidd)
What a great follow-up event to the Mahoning Avenue Better Block, and opportunity to notice many new businesses and spruced up storefronts in just a year’s time. Molly brought a poem tree and invited visitors to write a poem on a leaf. We gave out some literary journals and told quite a few people what we’re about. We appreciate Sarah Lowry and Lou Yuhasz for helping us staff the table.
More thanks to Michael Staaf at Steel Valley Signs for our new banner. It’s perfect!
Food for Thought, our book & potluck club is taking up Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson.
We are learning about the wild origins of the fruits and vegetables we love, the most healthful varieties available today, and how to store and cook them to get the greatest cancer-fighting, health promoting benefits. The book is packed with information, told in an easy style, with terrific charts and summaries.
Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Come join us. 6:00-7:00, Thurs. October 13 at Cultivate Co-op Cafe, 901 Elm St.
The monthly gatherings are free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. Childcare is available for $5 per child with an advance reservation. To make a reservation for childcare, please call 330-540-1480.
Here is the book list for the rest of the year.
Nov. 10: The Garden of the World by Lawrence Coates
Dec. 8: Yes, Chef! A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson
Jan. 12: Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
Cancelled Feb. 9: The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
March 9: Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
April 13: Closing the Food Gap by Mark Winne
May 11: Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese by Eric LeMay
June 8: Salt: A World History by Mark Kulansky
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.
Despite our first blast of winter weather, Bill Lawson filled the house in early January when he gave an interesting talk on historic Youngstown “Puddler Poet” Michael McGovern. Lawson put McGovern’s poems in historical, economic, occupational and literary context when he talked about immigration patterns, the job of a “puddler,” and the style and popularity of McGovern’s poems, which take up the cause of the laborer.
We learned that McGovern lived to be 84 or 85 (sources conflict), much longer than most iron workers. It was “hard, heavy, dangerous work; the lifespan of puddlers and helpers after the Civil War was less than 40 years. The hours were long (12-13 per day, six days per week); wages low.” Certainly it was beneficial to McGovern’s health when he “left the iron and steel industry during a strike; worked as a State of Ohio Oil Inspector (obituary) and foreman in the Youngstown Street Department (1920 Census).”
Michael McGovern’s poetry was published in The Youngstown Vindicator and the Youngstown Telegram, cultural periodicals like Gaelic American, and The Amalgamated Journal. His collection Labor Lyrics and Other Poems was published by the Youngstown Vindicator Press in 1899.
Our February reading will be worth the cold car! We will kick off with two seasoned authors, and then welcome student writers published in CROW: Compose, a Review of Writing, from YSU’s composition program.
Wednesday February 3, 7:00, downtown at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 32 N. Phelps St.
Free parking in the lot behind the Voinovich Building, corner of Hazel and Commerce.
He has published three collections of poems, Fathom (WordTech Press, 2007), Weal (Ashland, 2000), and Forged Correspondences (New Myths, 1996), which was chosen for Ploughshares “Editor’s Shelf” by Maxine Kumin. He has also published a memoir, To Prove My Blood: A Tale of Emigrations & the Afterlife (Ashland, 2003). His poetry and fiction have appeared in over fifty journals in the United States and Ireland, including: The Literary Review, Hotel Amerika, The American Literary Review, The Graham House Review, The Belfast Literary Supplement, and Poetry Review.
Brady holds a Ph.D. from Binghamton University. He has taught at University College Cork in Ireland, as a Peace Corps Volunteer at the National University of Zaire, and in the Semester at Sea Program. Currently, he is a Distinguished Professor of English at Youngstown State University. He is also the co-founder and Executive Director for Etruscan Press, and he plays in the New-Celtic band, Brady’s Leap.
Lynn Lurie is an attorney with an MA in international affairs and an MFA in writing. She is a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador and currently volunteers as a translator and administrator on medical trips to South America that provide surgery free of charge to children. She is also a mentor at Girls Write Now in New York City. Quick Kills is her second novel.
Phil Brady & Lynn Lurie will be followed by student contributors of CROW, Compose: A Review of Writing, featuring essays from YSU’s English Composition program. Angela Messenger of the YSU Writing Center is the faculty adviser and publication editor.
We welcome these students to the stage, to read their essays.
Charin George “The Foodie”
Andrew Cruickshank “Probability of Resolving Nutrition Problems Among Youth in Schools”
Stephen Vidman “Stem Cell Research: The Policies and Potential”
September 2, 2015, 7:00, downtown at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 32 Phelps St. Free parking in the lot behind the Voinovich Building, corner of Hazel and Commerce.
Writers from the Veterans’ Writing Circle in Kent, Ohio, Major Ragain & Joe Caley read and talk about the writing group now in its eighth year. Open mic moderated by Nick Avila.
Maj Ragain was born on a Saturday morning in 1940 in a small farming community in Illinois. Father, a carpenter; mother, a homemaker. The poem, a thing made of language on hand, in and by hand. Wood, food, cloth, paper, that long tradition. Raised on Vernor Lake, fishing the skylights. Education, the paved road out of town. PhD, Kent State. Poetry, that dirt road winding back home, that slip knot, bridging solitude and community. Maj has taught at Kent State off and on since 1960. A Hungry Ghost Surrenders His Tackle Box is Maj’s fifth collection of poems.
Joe Caley is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran serving with the 1st Cavalry as a point man/scout/ dog handler 1968-1969. He was a conscripted soldier and served honorably. Upon separation from military service he returned to Northeast Ohio where he became a founding member of Warriors’ Journey Home Ministry. Joe participated in a Vietnam journey for healing and reconciliation in 2010 with Soldiers Heart Ministry where he met former Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army regulars. They shared stories of war, read poetry, and had meals together.