In the spring of 2018, Etruscan Press authors Lynn Lurie and Myrna Stone conducted workshops with high school classes and community centers in the Mahoning Valley of Northeast Ohio. These workshops were sponsored by the YSU Poetry Center and Etruscan Press as part of continued outreach programs to promote literacy. Both authors also visited students at the Northeast Pre-Release Center, Trumbull Correctional Institute and Trumbull Correctional camp via virtual interface.
This summer, Lurie and Stone will pilot the Incarcerated Writers Mentorship Program, a new Etruscan Press outreach initiative that aims to reconnect incarcerated writers with the writing community by bringing together Etruscan authors and selected incarcerated writers who have demonstrated the desire and the potential to develop their abilities to write original poetry and prose.
This mentorship program will pair selected incarcerated writers with Etruscan author mentors for a 15-week writing partnership. Under the guidance of the mentor, the incarcerated writer will work toward a stated goal, submitting drafts and questions by mail correspondence to the mentor, who will then respond by mail. Determined jointly by mentor and mentee, goals and methods will be clearly outlined at the outset of the partnership. The interactions will result in a completed manuscript draft. The program does not offer course credit and is based solely on the participants’ ambition to develop their writing abilities and to connect with the literary world. Student volunteers who have completed previous required coursework will be selected by YSU faculty, metro college coordinators, and Etruscan mentors for this new outreach program.
“What I have learned as a participant in the Etruscan Outreach Program, and what I suspect Phil Brady has known for a long time, is by failing as a society to educate young students we are filling prisons with, in many cases, bright, talented, eager citizens who have never been encouraged to excel,” Etruscan author Lynn Lurie says. “It is a privilege to be part of Etruscan’s most recent endeavor. I have no doubt the program will produce extraordinary work, while introducing the world to writers whose voices have yet to be heard.”
“I’m excited and honored to be a part of the inaugural Incarcerated Writers Mentorship Program,” says Etruscan author Myrna Stone. “It seems to me not just a worthy idea, but a genius one, in that it not only recognizes the common humanity and creative spirit of mentor and mentee, but that it also is designed to stimulate both equally well.”
Books written by both of these authors have been used as course texts in Etruscan outreach workshops.
Lynn Lurie’s novel, Museum of Stones, is forthcoming from Etruscan in 2019. She is the author of Corner of the Dead, winner of the 2007 Juniper Prize for Fiction (University of Massachusetts Press, 2008), and Quick Kills (Etruscan Press, 2014). Myrna Stone’s latest poetry collection is Luz Bones (Etruscan, 2016). She is the author of four other books of poetry: In the Present Tense: Portraits of My Father (White Violet Press, a division of Kelsay Books, 2013); The Casanova Chronicles (Etruscan Press, 2010); How Else to Love The World (Browser Books Publishing, 2007); and The Art of Loss (Michigan State University Press, 2001).
For more information about the Etruscan Press/Youngstown State University Poetry Center outreach program, please visit our outreach page.