I went to a super cool and artsy event in Pittsburgh Saturday night, and I wanted to share a bit of it with you. I’m not going into all details of this eclectic art space and its residency. There are incredible articles which have already been written, and I encourage you to read all about this venue here. In the meantime, enjoy the photos and find out more about each of these wonderful writers.
From brick oven pizza, to pumpkin beer and Hungarian wine, my belly was as satisfied as my head and heart listening to the beautiful words of Sarah Leavens, Salvatore Pane and Sean Thomas Dougherty.
Sarah Leavens is the first ever Out of the Forge resident at Unsmoke Systems in Braddock, Pennsylvania. I’ve been fortunate to hear Sarah’s work before, as she was obtaining her Master’s Degree in Poetry and Nonfiction from Chatham University. In addition to her residency at Unsmoke Systems, Sarah also teaches part-time and is using her residency time to work on her first full-length collection.
Sean Thomas Dougherty is the 2013 Into the Furnace Resident at Unsmoke Systems. A prolific writer, he has thirteen books in multiple genres, including the forthcoming All I Ask for Is Longing: Poems 1994- 2014. He currently teaches part-time at Cleveland State University.
A high-ball salute to Wood-Fired Words came from U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works (aka Edgar Thompson Plant) across from the Unsmoke Systems Art Gallery where the event was held.
Wood-Fired Words’ Sherrie Flick co-hosts the evening. Author and professor at Chatham University, she is one of the key individuals responsible for artist residencies at Unsmoke Systems.
Out of the Forge resident Sarah Leavens
Wood-Fired Words reader Salvatore Pane
Into the Furnace Resident Sean Thomas Dougherty
It was standing room only on Saturday, October 6th as attendees eagerly listened to the readings of Wood-Fired Words’ Sarah Leavens, Sal Pane and Sean Thomas Dougherty.
Posing with my friend and inspiration, Sarah Leavens
Earth Ink founder Jessica Server volunteers frequently for Wood-Fired Words. Her only break, from the beginning of the night to the end, was to go indoors to hear the reading of best friend Sarah Leavens.
Indefatigable volunteer Lindsey is almost always behind-the-scenes at events such as this one.
A delicious creation by volunteers Marina and Caroline.
The only break Caroline Tanski took from working in the cold night air was to go inside and listen to the reading of her friend Sarah Leavens.
U. S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works reminds Wood-Fired Words-goers of Pittsburgh’s continuous blend of industry, creativity, history and art.
Enjoying the event with a little pumpkin beer are Pittsburgh author (and one of my favorite professors and mentors) Lori Jakiela, Traveling Marla and local artist Brandon Sink
The other half. As modest as Sherrie in his avoidance of credit, Marc Nieson (also an author and professor at Chatham) co-hosts Wood-Fired Words and is responsible for artists’ residencies at Unsmoke Systems.
Out of the Forge resident Sarah Leavens
Salvatore Pane. Wood-Fired Words
Sean Thomas Dougherty, Into the Furnace Resident
More of the audience at Wood-Fired Words
Traveling Marla congratulates Sal Pane on his new book
Wood-Fired Words volunteer Hal, from Chatham University’s Food Studies Program
Hot oven at Wood-Fired Words
Caroline Tanski (Managing Editor of Autumn House Press) and Marina Rabinovich (Pittsburgh filmmaker) joyfully volunteer making delicious pizzas for attendees.
One of my favorite Wood-Fired Words volunteers wished to remain anonymous but agreed to let me use his photo. Thank you, adorable bearded dude.
Another pizza into the oven at Wood-Fired Words!
New Orleans’ transplants enjoying the collision of Pittsburgh’s past and present at Unsmoke Systems’ Wood-Fired Words. The gal on the right is Jessica Kinnison, my wonderful roommate from my Viet Nam travel writing tour.
Visiting with my former professor and patient mentor, Marc Nieson at Wood-Fired Words, Unsmoke Systems in Braddock, Pennsylvania. Photo by Sherrie Flick