I closing in on scheduling Lit Youngstown's 2021 First Wednesday Readers Series, and we're soon hosting the last reading of 2020. It's one of the many true pleasures of working with Lit Youngstown--bringing in wildly talented writers from the region and beyond.
I met Barbara in 2015 when she invited Nin Andrews to read for her series at the Root Cafe in Cuyahoga Falls. Nin included me and we loved the ambience, the enthusiastic and engaged crowd. Barbara's poetry is accomplished and compelling, and I'm grateful for her shaping of my own work. She has also contributed meaningfully to Lit Youngstown, serving on planning committees and leading workshops.
I met Heather in the fall of 2017, after presenting at the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference at the University of Central Arkansas. From there, I was just a hop away from my friend Christian Anton Gerard, and we arranged a reading and class visit with his students. As my great luck would have it, Christian and Heather are partners, and I spent a few wonderful days in their home where their young son made me sprinkle toast and we had a great time. I came home with Heather's books and love them.
Barbara's and Heather's books are deeply grounded in place, voice and meaning-making. One bright spot in this lock-down mess continues to be Zoom's ability to do this--to bring together poets from Akron, Ohio, and Fort Smith, Arkansas, with audience from everywhere. Last month an open mic reader popped in from the U.K., another from Hawaii.
I am so looking forward to this reading. Even if we have to look at one another in little boxes, it's good to see whole faces and hear creative work. Many thanks to poet Barbara Marie Minney for co-hosting.
Heather Dobbins is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. She is the author of two poetry collections, In the Low Houses (2014) and River Mouth (2017), both from Kelsay Press. Her poems and poetry reviews have been published in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Pinch, The Rumpus, TriQuarterly Review, and Women’s Studies Quarterly, among others.