Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter, March 2015

IN THIS ISSUE

Member Announcements:

  • Linda Freedland seeking Beta reader for her manuscript
  • Letter from my love by Miriam Newell Biskin now available

Area Announcements:

  • Berkshire Festival for Women Writers happening now
  • Celebration of the Activism of Barbara Smith March 3
  • Caffè Lena to present poet Marilyn McCabe March 4
  • “Out of the Mouths of Babes” at Berkshire Festival of Women Writers March 7
  • Second Sunday Open Mic for Poetry & Prose: March 8
  • Arthur’s Market Open Mic to feature Bob Sharkey March 11
  • March 17 deadline for Schoharie Crossing 2015 Writing Contest
  • Third Thursday to feature poet Andy Fogle March 19
  • Vermont author creates March 21 retreat to inspire creativity
  • Technical writer job openings in Albany/Rensselaer

MEMBER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Linda Freedland seeking Beta reader for her manuscript
New HVWG member Linda Freedland writes, “I am looking for a Beta reader for my adult erotic romance. I am currently revising the manuscript based on a review by a professional copy editor. I hope to finish this by early March. I am seeking a reader, preferably female, who enjoys contemporary romance and who will provide me with an unbiased review with comments/suggestions. If interested, please contact me by email at: lwf9408@aol.com.”

Letter from my love by Miriam Newell Biskin now available
Letter from my love by Miriam Newell Biskin is a compilation of letters written by her soldier fiancé during WW2. The self-published book is available online.

AREA ANNOUNCEMENTS

Berkshire Festival for Women Writers happening now
The annual Berkshire Festival of Women Writers is a collaborative, multi-date, multi-venue event dedicated to nourishing and showcasing the voices of women writers of all ages, from many walks of life. Only in the Berkshires is Women’s History Month celebrated with such an outpouring of creativity, with Festival events every day of the month of March.

In 2015 we’ll be celebrating the Fifth Anniversary Season of the Festival in our usual style, with more than 50 readings, lectures, workshops, performances and screenings held at more than 30 Berkshire County venues from Sheffield to North Adams.

Special events to look forward to include a keynote talk by memoirist Dani Shapiro on March 1; a special screening of Pamela Yates’ new film DISRUPTION with a talkback by the filmmaker, in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8; a behind-the-scenes interview with best-selling young adult author Mary Pope Osborne to open the Festival Book Expo event on March 29; a benefit performance directed by Jayne Atkinson-Gill on our closing weekend; and much, much more.

Join us and feel the marvelous momentum of this grand collaborative community celebration! And please support our efforts in any way you can–there are so many ways to get involved, from volunteering to becoming business sponsor or Friend of the Festival.  We can’t do it without you!

For complete Festival information: www.berkshirewomenwriters.org

Celebration of the Activism of Barbara Smith March 3
Rockefeller College, the New York State Writers Institute and SUNY Press invite you to a celebration of the life and work of pioneering activist Barbara Smith. We’ll begin the evening with a panel discussion moderated by Susan Arbetter of The Capitol Pressroom, featuring Barbara and Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks, editors of new book, Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith (2014). Immediately following the discussion, there will be a dessert reception and book signing with Barbara.

As an organizer, writer, publisher, independent scholar, professor, and elected official, Barbara Smith’s work has shaped scholarship, teaching, and progressive activism that challenges classism, sexism, racism and homophobia.  Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith brings to life the controversies, players, and strategies that expanded the definitions of freedom through multiple social movements. After meticulously selecting material from over two hundred articles and interviews, the book juxtaposes hard to find historical documents with new unpublished interviews with fellow activists and scholars. In a clear, conversational style, it engages readers in fundamental questions that can deepen their social justice work and heighten their integrity, accountability, and courage. Smith is a public service professor in the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany and a former member of Albany’s Common Council.

Please RSVP here; seating is limited.

Caffè Lena to present poet Marilyn McCabe March 4
On Wednesday, March 4, Caffè Lena will present a poetry reading by Marilyn McCabe. An open reading will follow. Doors open for sign-ups at 7 p.m., and the readings will start at 7:30. The host for the event will be Carol Graser and the cost is $5. Sponsored by Northshire Bookstore.

Marilyn McCabe’s poems can be found in literary journals on line and in print. Her book of poems, Perpetual Motion, is available through publisher The Word Works or at Small Press Distribution, www.spdbooks.org. Her videopoems can be seen on www.vimeo.com/marmccabe. She blogs about writing and reading at marilynonaroll.wordpress.com.

Caffè Lena is located at 47 Phila Street in Saratoga Springs: (518) 583-0022, www.caffelena.org

“Out of the Mouths of Babes” at Berkshire Festival of Women Writers March 7
In this fourth year of “Out of the Mouths of Babes,” at the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers on March 7, a variety of writers and performers will illume the iconic “village” of people who help raise families – however imperfect. Whether rural or urban, many mothers live in community but experience relative isolation. The quest of Out is to “take the maternal out of the kitchen and into the world” to inspire, maintain, and celebrate the community-supported creative life of women.

Suzi Banks Baum, the event organizer, has spent the past several years cultivating women’s voices through writing. Her drive came from her own “longing that had been masked by the chaos of motherhood.” Realizing women needed their own incubator to create, she formed The Powder Keg Sessions, a series of writing groups. She also edited An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice and is currently on a book tour, offering space for women around the country to express their voices through writing. This summer, she’ll take it to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where she grew up.

“My desire is to spread the roots of this community past Berkshire County,” says Banks Baum. “Women the world over are stymied by a silent desperation that keeps them quiet. Whatever their life conditions, the common thread is a societal underestimation of the value of motherhood and of women’s lives in general. My quest is for women to access and nurture their inner resolve, to take a stand for their stories that are news to the world. For this, they must hear from other women.”

A variety of writers and performers, including Banks Baum, will present their work:

  • Sarah Hains DiFazio is a second-grade teacher, community leader and blogger at MommaStrong.com.
  • Amy Dryansky’s newest poetry collection, Grass Whistle, received a Massachusetts Book Award. She blogs about the territory of mother/artist/poet at Pokey Mama.
  • Nichole Dupont writes about “the snarkier side of rural, single motherhood” and has been published in Newsday, Huffington Post and Berkshire Magazine.
  • Janet Reich Elsbach blogs about living on a small ludicrous farm and feeding a family of five at A Raisin & A Porpoise.
  • Lorrin Krouss used to work in publishing and was inspired to write by the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Her first essay has already been anthologized.
  • Serene Mastrianni is a registered pharmacist who also created and co-hosts the long-running weekly radio broadcast Radio2Women.
  • Lynnette (Lucy) Najimy and her film company, Beansprout Productions, use the power of story to bridge the gap between people across social divides.
  • Rachel Siegel trained at the Royal Academy of Drama and has performed widely in the United States and UK.
  • Leigh Strimbeck is co-founder of the WAM Theatre and Artist in Residence at Russell Sage College, teaching in the theater and WORLD programs.

In addition to the live portion, there will be art by Berkshire women and a short film on the theme of “If she can, I can!” Copies of An Anthology of Babes will also be available for purchase. Bedtime snacks and socializing will close the evening. “Out of the Mouths of Babes” will be at Dewey Memorial Hall, Sheffield, MA on Saturday, March 7. It will start at 7 p.m., and a $10 suggested donation at the door will help fund the production, as well as support the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Pajamas are perfect attire. To learn more, contact Suzi at (413) 429-1799 or suzi@laundrylinedivine.com.

Second Sunday Open Mic for Poetry & Prose: March 8
The next “Second Sunday Open Mic for Poetry and Prose” will be Sunday, March 8, at The Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River Street, Troy, NY. Bring two poems or five minutes of prose to read. After March, we have only three more dates left:  April 12, May 10 and June 14.  Co-hosted by Nancy Klepsch and Dan Wilcox.

Arthur’s Market Open Mic to feature Bob Sharkey March 11
Second Wednesday open mic and featured poet March 11 at Arthur’s Market & Café, 35 N. Ferry Street, Schenectady. Featured poet: Bob Sharkey. Bob’s publications include Main Street Rag, Plainsongs, Pudding and his initial collection, a chapbook entitled The Yellow Fairy.

Hosted by Catherine Norr. Come listen and share in a warm welcoming venue. Good food and beverages available.

March 17 deadline for Schoharie Crossing 2015 Writing Contest
There are three categories for the Schoharie Crossing 2015 Writing Contest: child (8-12 years old), young adult (13-17) and adult (17+).

Option #1:
This entry appears on Friday, September 10, in a diary kept by a resident of Fort Hunter in 1869: “It has Rained all day today and I helped…Eb. Howards…and the …Websters also[.]  I shall never forget while I live let it Be long or short what I herd this Day.” No further mention appears in the diary after this, and there is nothing in the days leading up to it that would give any good clues.  Using a creative approach and knowledge of the canal era in Fort Hunter, develop a story about what it is the diarist might have heard.

Option #2:
The Erie Canal operated from early spring to late fall. Occasionally however, barges didn’t make it through before the water froze for the winter.  That is what happened to the line boat, “Elizabeth” operated by the Brown family in 1858. Winnie is now twelve and along with her brothers Albert (14 yrs old) and Jason (8 yrs old), they help their parents haul freight and passengers along the canal between Albany & Buffalo.  Stuck on the frozen canal near Canal town with their four mules (Daisy, Buttercup, Midnight and Magic) until the spring thaw, the family will have to find a way to earn a living and survive. Write a story telling about how they and their mules spend their days until spring.

Option #3:
In recent years archaeological exploration has yielded new information regarding 18th Century Fort Hunter.  Here are three artifacts that were discovered on site: A ring, a silver nose bob, and a black bear tooth.  These  are available to be viewed in the exhibit at the Visitor Center—call if you would like to stop in to see them.  Using one, two or all three of these artifacts, create a compelling story.  Use your own writing voice and place the setting within the 18th century Mohawk Valley frontier.

Here are the rules/guidelines:

  • Submissions must be in by 5 p.m. on March 17.
  • Please, only one entry per person.
  • Please provide with your submission your name, age category, contact information including mailing address and telephone number. Submissions can be dropped off to the site, mailed or sent via email.
  • All submissions must be legible (typed double space preferred) and the pages numbered.
  • Submit to Janice M. Fontanella, Schoharie Crossing, P.O. Box 140, Fort Hunter, NY 12069; janice.fontanella@parks.ny.gov

PRIZE WINNERS will receive:

  • Child: $25 Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce Gift Checks
  • Young Adult: $50
  • Adult: $100

Feel free to illustrate your story, however they are not necessary. If there are any questions or comments, or you would like more historical context or information for your writing, please contact us at Schoharie Crossing via phone: (518) 829-7516.

Third Thursday to feature poet Andy Fogle March 19
Poet Andy Fogle will read from his work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, on Thursday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m. Andy Fogle grew up in Virginia Beach, lived for 13 years in the DC area and has now been upstate for 10 years, teaching at Bethlehem Central High School and chipping away at a PhD in Education. He has published five chapbooks of poetry and a variety of nonfiction.

A reading by a local or regional poet is held each Third Thursday at the Social Justice Center. The event includes an open mic for audience members to read. Sign-up starts at 7 p.m., with the reading beginning at 7:30.  The host of the readings is Albany poet and photographer Dan Wilcox.  The suggested donation is $3, which helps support this and other poetry programs of the Poetry Motel Foundation and the work of the Social Justice Center.  For more information about this event, contact Dan Wilcox, (518) 482-0262; dwlcx@earthlink.net.

Vermont author creates March 21 retreat to inspire creativity
Writers, freelancers, poets and others are encouraged to attend a day-long retreat designed to assist them in overcoming blocks or resistance in the writing process. “Nourish, A Retreat for Writers” is designed to help writers care for themselves, according to author J.P. Choquette, who designed the one-day event. The retreat will be held in a spacious mansion in the quaint village of Enosburgh, Vermont, on March 21.

“I planned this one-day retreat to help fellow writers by providing the time and space needed to nurture creativity,” she said. “In a world that’s often busy and loud, it can be a challenge to find time to just be quiet and discover or re-discover the joy that comes from writing.” Choquette explained that the goal of the retreat is not to schmooze with editors and agents or worry about one’s career, but to feed creativity: “I want to work with writers to create plans for growing their creativity and their writing. This is best done by guiding writers in defining what blocks them and then create strategies to work around the blocks. It’s about helping them to blossom and strengthen their writing skills and to have fun along the way.”

The morning session will focus on a guided journaling session and on-site yoga class taught by a professional instructor. A spa-like, nourishing lunch will follow. The afternoon offers time for free-writing, creating a collage “story” without words and mini-coaching sessions with participants. “I have discovered that movement and other forms of art, such a painting and collage, both enhance your mental creativity and help your writing,” she explained.

Choquette is a writer of fiction and nonfiction works. She is the author of the guide The 15- Minute Novelist, How to Write Your First Book in Just 15 Minutes a Day. She is also a coach who helps other creatives build a strategy for successfully hurdling over stumbling blocks. Her most recent novel, Subversion, was published in late 2014. Registration is $249. Due to the nurturing atmosphere, spaces are limited. Registration can be found online at http://www.jpchoquette.com/registration-for-nourish-retreat.html

Technical writer job openings in Albany/Rensselaer
Documentation Strategies, Inc., is a leading provider of Information, Technology and Training services to public and private organizations.  Since 1981, Documentation Strategies has served clients throughout the U.S. from its headquarters in Albany/Rensselaer, New York.  We are certified as a Woman-owned Business Enterprise by New York State, the Port Authority of NY-NJ and WBENC.  In 2013 and again in 2014 DocStrats was named an INC. 500/5000 Fastest Growing companies in the US.

Documentation Strategies is seeking to fill two openings; both require at least three years technical writing, editing and proofreading experience:

  • We are representing our client, a national systems integrator, who is in search of a Technical Writer for a New York State (NYS) project.  This is a 3-6 month contract, based in the Albany, NY area and will require 100% on-site presence.
  • We are representing our client, a materials analysis equipment firm in need of a soft- and hardware Technical Writer to join its engineering team.  This is a full-time, permanent opportunity, based in the Albany, NY area and requires 100% on-site presence.  Relocation and sponsorship are not a consideration at this time.

There are detailed job descriptions for each. Experienced technical writers, please contact Carolyn Santiago, IT Recruiter with Documentation Strategies, at santiago@docstrats.com, or call (518) 432-1233 x32.

Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter, February 1

IN THIS ISSUE

Guild Announcements: 

  • Community of Writers Reading in Albany March 1
  • HVWG 2014 year-end membership report

Member Announcements: 

  • Paul Castellani to discuss his new novel at local book club February 25

Area Announcements: 

  • NYS Writers Institute Visiting Writers Series announces Spring 2015 events
  • Josh McIntyre & Dave Jaicks to feature at Caffè Lena February 4
  • Third Thursday to feature Sarah Michelle Sherman February 19
  • New Work from the Powder Keg Sessions at No. Six Depot on February 22
  • Weekly poetry class with Susan Comninos starting March 3
  • Tickets available for film screenings and Gusty Gal Film Awards at the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers
  • NYS Summer Young Writers Institute application deadline April 1
  • Catskills-based writers needed for arts publication

GUILD ANNOUNCEMENTS

Community of Writers Reading in Albany March 1
The Hudson Valley Writers Guild will sponsor a reading by three local authors on Sunday, March 1, at the Albany Public Library Washington Avenue Branch, 161 Washington Ave., from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  The authors who will read from their recent work are Elizabeth Gordon, K.A. Laity and Keith Willis.  The reading is part of a continuing series titled “Community of Writers.”  The reading is free and open to the public.

Elizabeth Gordon’s book of poems, Love Cohoes, was published in 2014. It is a “tough love” homage to the city where she currently lives. She is a poet who performs in slam competitions nationally as “Elizag.” In 2007, she published the memoir Walk With Us: Triplet Boys, Their Teen Parents & Two White Women Who Tagged Along.  Both books were published by Crandall, Dostie & Douglass Books.

K. A. Laity is the award-winning author of White Rabbit, A Cut-Throat Business, Lush Situation, Owl Stretching, Unquiet Dreams, À la Mort Subite, The Claddagh Icon, Chastity Flame, Pelzmantel and Other Medieval Tales of Magic and Unikirja, as well as editor of Weird Noir, Noir Carnival and the forthcoming Drag Noir. Her bibliography is chock full of short stories, humor pieces, plays and essays, both scholarly and popular. Her website is www.kalaity.com.

Keith W. Willis graduated with a degree in English from Berry College and now lives near Saratoga Springs with his wife Patty. Keith is a member of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild, the Mythopoeic Society and the Latham/Albany/Schenectady/Troy Science Fiction Association. His debut fantasy novel Traitor Knight will be released in July 2015 by Champagne Book Group’s BURST SFF imprint. 

The Hudson Valley Writers Guild fosters an active community of writers and readers by encouraging the development of local authors and providing opportunities for them to share their talents with local audiences.  For more information about the Guild, visit www.hvwg.org. For more information about this reading and the Community of Writers series, contact Dan Wilcox,518-482-0262; email: dwlcx@earthlink.net.

HVWG 2014 year-end membership report
At the end of 2014, the Hudson Valley Writers Guild had 131 “active” members, i.e., people who paid their membership dues in the past year. Of those, 108 (82%) paid their 2014 dues and 23 (18%) did not. Therefore, we start 2015 with 108 “active” members. Of the 108 dues payers, there were 34 new members and 74 renewing members. Of the renewing members, 5 people made voluntary contributions (i.e., without being asked) and 3 people renewed for two years. Dues-paying members contributed a total of $3,245, an increase of $640 from 2013.

The Guild’s membership solicitation effort was carried out through 192 mailings, composed of 84 renewal requests, 74 thank you letters, and 34 new member welcome letters. Additionally, 23 year-end email reminders were sent to non-paying members. The direct costs of the 2014 membership effort were:

Postage $198.66
Reply Envelopes $170.66
Membership Forms $386.81

TOTAL $756.13

Therefore, when compared to the $3,245 income that resulted from the membership effort, we can say that the 2014 administrative expense for membership was 23%, typical (although a bit high) for non-profit organizations.

HVWG has an Honor Roll of four members who made extra contributions in 2014 in addition to their membership dues. The following people are called out for recognition of this effort:

Paul Castellani
Phyllis Hillinger
Kathleen O’Brien
David Wolcott

MEMBER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Paul Castellani to discuss his new novel at local book club February 25
Paul Castellani will participate in a discussion of his new novel, Sputnik Summer, at the Bethlehem Area Y Book Club on February 25 at 1 p.m. (Non-members, as well as members, are welcome.)

AREA ANNOUNCEMENTS

NYS Writers Institute Visiting Writers Series announces Spring 2015 events
The spring 2015 series includes major novelist Alice McDermott, celebrated New Yorker proofreader Mary Norris, rising literary stars Yelena Akhtiorskaya and Elisa Albert, two-time Booker Prize winner Peter Carey, major American poet Alicia Ostriker, prize-winning Caribbean author Caryl Phillips, Shakespeare authority and stage actress Tina Packer, a celebration of local civil rights crusader Barbara Smith, and many other events! For more on the Visiting Writers Series visit:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/vws.html#.VK1HZF8o7s0.

The Classic Film Series will feature young prize-winning director Tanya Hamilton (Night Catches Us), theater and film producer Ron Simons (winner of Tony Awards for for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; and the 2012 Porgy & Bess), prize-winning documentary filmmaker Jason Osder (Let the Fire Burn), and William Wellman, Jr., son and biographer of legendary Hollywood director William A. Wellman, whose career spanned four decades, from the Silent Era to the 1950s. For more on the Classic Film Series visit:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/cfs.html#.VK1Hfl8o7s0.

For more information, visit our website at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/vws.html#.VK1JEF8o7s1 and our blog at http://nyswiblog.blogspot.com/, or call (518) 442-5620.

Josh McIntyre & Dave Jaicks to feature at Caffè Lena February 4
On Wednesday, February 4, Caffè Lena will present poetry readings by Josh McIntyre and Dave Jaicks. An open reading will follow. Doors open for sign-ups at 7 p.m., and the readings will start at 7:30. The host for the event will be Carol Graser, and the cost is $5. Caffè Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022, www.caffelena.org.

Josh McIntyre is a long lost regular at Caffè Lena Poetry and is most known as the poet who proposed marriage to his wife from our stage. He has been published in various magazines and journals, including Metroland, Modern Drunkard, Capital Region Poets and, most recently, in the men’s room at Caffè Lena! This will be Josh’s first return to an open mic stage in three years. He thanks you in advance for your kindness.

Dave Jaicks is the author of several short stories and flash fiction collections. His most recent titles are Spirit Man and Horses in the Fog. He has published his poetry in Fence, Open City, The Haight Ashbury Literary journal, Passages North, Peninsula Poets and Hummingbird. He has won some minor awards for his writing and is currently in the MFA writing program at the University of Massachusetts. His website is davidjaicks.com.

Third Thursday to feature Sarah Michelle Sherman February 19
Poet Sarah Michelle Sherman will read from her work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, on Thursday, February 19, at 7:30 p.m. Sarah Michelle Sherman, is a writer, teacher, bartender, graduate student pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at The College of Saint Rose and managing editor of Pine Hills Review. Her work has appeared in Nailed Magazine, Ploughshares Online, The Helix and Decades Review. She is also a contributing writer for Albany’s alternative newspaper, Metroland.

A reading by a local or regional poet is held each Third Thursday at the Social Justice Center. The event includes an open mic for audience members to read. Sign-up starts at 7 p.m., with the reading beginning at 7:30. The host of the readings is Albany poet and photographer Dan Wilcox. The suggested donation is $3, which helps support this and other poetry programs of the Poetry Motel Foundation and the work of the Social Justice Center. For more information about this event contact Dan Wilcox, 518-482-0262; e-mail: dwlcx@earthlink.net.

New Work from the Powder Keg Sessions at No. Six Depot on February 22
For over 100 hours, two groups of Berkshire women have faced down the blank page and tethered themselves to the rigors of a daily writing practice. They have taken time from careers, children, housework and other obligations for this radical act. Under the guidance of writer and blogger Suzi Banks Baum, they call themselves “The Powder Keg Sessions” — and on February 22, they will ignite No. Six Depot with their voices and new work. 

The reading of new work from the Powder Keg Sessions will be at 2 p.m. at No. Six Depot, 6 Depot Street, West Stockbridge, MA. This reading is co-hosted by the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, and The Powder Keg Sessions are sponsored by the Great Barrington Public Libraries.     

Enhancing this devotion to pen and page is the exhibit opening of “What a Daily Writing Practice Looks Like: The Hand-Bound Journals of Writer, Maker, Mother Suzi Banks Baum.” In homage to the time-honored tradition of writers in cafes, Banks Baum’s hand-bound Coptic Stitch books filled with hand-painted papers, found and vintage papers, collages, and small paintings and drawings will be on display in No. Six Depot’s Café gallery until March 31. While she has studied with master book artists, Banks Baum also considers these journals critical to her daily writing practice. The books will be open, so viewers can witness how appetite and curiosity draw diverse resources onto single pages – and eventually, into the world. “What a Daily Writing Practice Looks Like” can be seen between 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at No. Six Depot (except Tuesdays) between February 22 and March 31. For more information, contact Suzi Banks Baum at suzi@laundrylinedivine.com.   

“My commitment to creating, to making, has buoyed me through the worst of times,” says Banks Baum. “It has also given me a strength and ability to do things I never dreamed of doing. I am convinced that supporting women in engaging their creative voices will allow them to discover tools to improve their own lives and the lives of their families.”                                                                                                 

About Suzi Banks Baum / Suzi Banks Baum creates community wherever she goes. She’s an actress, writer, fiber and mixed media collage artist, teacher and collaborator. She’s also the editor and publisher of An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice; creator of “Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others” for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers; and collaborator with FeMail, a snail-mail art exchange in its seventh year. She lives with her husband and two teenagers in the Berkshires and blogs atwww.laundrylinedivine.com.

Weekly poetry class with Susan Comninos starting March 3
Susan Comninos will offer a weekly poetry class — “The Poetry of Faith & Science” — beginning March 3 at the Schenectady JCC. The 9-week course (March 3 to April 28) will include the reading and discussion of published poems and their techniques, as well as the reading and discussion of student work. Please come prepared to write and participate.

Faith and science are the scrims through which many of us view and understand our lives. Consequently, both can make for fertile ground when we write poems that operate within, or struggle against, their borders. Explore how accomplished poets like Gerald Stern, Stanley Kunitz, Fanny Howe, Eve Grubin and Robert Morgan attempt to pair science with the Divine, or opt to embrace one over the other.

Classes are held at the Schenectady JCC in the Farber/Miness Gallery. The JCC is located at 2565 Balltown Road, Niskayuna. The cost for Schenectady JCC members and returning poetry students is $95; new students, $115. Enroll at the JCC or by calling 377-8803.

About the instructor: Susan Comninos is both a poet and a journalist. Her poetry’s appeared in Subtropics, TriQuarterly, Quarterly West, The Cortland Review, Nashville Review, Tulane Review, Judaism, Lilith, Tikkun, J Journal: New Writing on Justice, Gastronomica and The Malahat Review, among others. In 2010, she won the Yehuda Halevi Poetry Contest run by Tabletmagazine. She’s taught poetry at the University of Michigan, RPI and Troy Arts Center.

Tickets available for film screenings and Gusty Gal Film Awards at the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers
Tickets are now available for the Gutsy Gal Film Awards and film screening events presented by Gutsy Gals Inspire Me® at the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers on March 21 and 22 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

“The first annual Gusty Gal Film Award celebrates an inspiring group of women filmmakers. Not many women have been able to accomplish what they have accomplished and we are proud to put them in the spotlight,” said Deborah Hutchison, founder of Gutsy Gals Inspire Me. 

The film awards, ceremony, and screening of “Muffin Top: A Love Story” will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 21 at the McConnell Theater at Bard College. Actress Karen Allen, an honorary recipient of a Gutsy Gal award, will present awards to the writers and directors of 11 feature length and short films. Grand-prize winner Cathryn Michon, writer and director of Muffin Top, in addition to many of the remaining winners, will be in attendance. The event is open to the general public and is held in conjunction with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, which runs through the month of March. 

On Sunday, March 22, a screening of “Breaking Through the Clouds” and panel discussion will begin at 11 a.m. at the Triplex Theater in downtown Great Barrington. The discussion will be led by the film’s writer and director Heather Taylor, the Berkshire International Film Festival’s founder and director Kelley Vickery, and Gutsy Gals Inspire Me founder Deborah Hutchison. Tickets will be available at the door.

“Because of Cathryn Michon’s fearless and truly entertaining film Muffin Top, and for being an authentic comedy voice about the lives of women everywhere, we are honored to present her with this award. Karen Allen has played very strong female roles and we can’t think of a better way to honor these women than have Karen present them, from one gutsy gal to another. All awards are going to wonderful role models for the future of gutsy women,” said Hutchison.

Tickets are available for the evening of March 21 at tinyurl.com/gutsygalsatberkshire, and tickets will be available at the door for the March 22 event. For more information, visitgutsyaward.com or biffma.org.

NYS Summer Young Writers Institute application deadline April 1
The New York State Summer Young Writers Institute (SYWI)  is a 13-day in-residence writing workshop for high school students. Held during the months of June and July (this year: June 29- July 11) at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, the workshop offers young writers artistic development, recognition and respect, and peer support. Students work closely with professional writers, immersing themselves in poetry, prose, creative nonfiction, and the critical evaluation of each other’s work. Admission is limited and participation is determined by the evaluation of creative writing samples submitted as part of the application process. The SYWI is open to any high school student entering the 10th, 11th or 12th grade in the fall of 2015.

Workshop participants attend three instructional sessions per day — a ninety-minute workshop in the morning and two hour-long workshops each afternoon. In addition, the young writers attend readings and presentations by the nationally-known writers who are part of the New York State Summer Writers Institute, which is held at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. Work produced by each student during the Summer Young Writers Institute is published in an anthology.

Full and partial financial assistance based upon individual need is available to help offset the cost of tuition and room and board. The application deadline is April 1st. For more information visit 17th Annual Creative Writing Workshop or contact the Skidmore Office of the Dean of Special Programs at (518) 580-5593.   

Catskills-based writers needed for arts publication
We are developing a quarterly digital publication focused on art and artists in the Catskills (Ulster, Delaware, Sullivan, Schoharie, Greene, and Otsego counties), and we need writers!

Catskill Made fills the gap in high quality regional arts-focused publications. Local artists, the creative lifestyle and the regional art world will be explored through engaging storytelling, clean design, and beautiful photography. Our mission is to “explore the creative environment”–both personal and regional.

Our first issue will be released March 20 and the theme is “Equinox” — balance in night and day, life and work, creativity and productivity, and every other type of balance that exists. We are interested in the following types of pitches: interviews/features on artists, coverage of art shows and galleries, examining the Catskills life and how this influences art and artmaking, finding inspiration in nature, creative routines, Catskills art history, in-depth examinations of specific artworks, personal essays, journalistic pieces, gChats with artists, creative writing inspired by art. These are just a few ideas. If you have other ideas, or you have an idea that may not fit this theme but still fits our overall scope, send it along. We are open to poetry and short stories that are outstanding and relevant to our purpose.

What we don’t need (or want): pieces on the “revival” of the Catskills; features on young rich people rediscovering the mountains; anything on New York City; articles on food, restaurants or shopping; reviews, listicles or travel itineraries. There are plenty of other publications that would love to publish these!

See details here: http://catskills.craigslist.org/wrg/4869203107.html. Potential contributors can send pitches and portfolio info to this address, hello@eberhardtsmith.com. Payment starts at 10 cents per word.

About us: Catskill Made is run by two Woodstock/Saugerties locals. We also run Eberhardt Smith, a creative company (find us at EberhardtSmith.com) from our tiny cabin. We design, write, edit and photograph for a living and this is our “passion project,” because we love this area, the creative people who live here and the type of lifestyle that we have here.

About the publication: Catskill Made will be magazine-style, but utilize the benefits of a digital format, such as photo galleries, videos, and links. It will be offered on the web and for purchase through the app store. The first issue will be free, and issues after that can be purchased. Each issue will include 6+ stories, photo essays, interviews, etc. Our audience is regional as well as national and global–anyone who is interested in the creative process and lifestyle.

How to pitch: please send us an e-mail that includes your experience, clips or a personal portfolio (a blog is okay–anything that demonstrates your style and skill). Include well-articulated ideas for stories of 500+ words that pertain specifically to this issue or to possible future issues. We pay 10 cents per word to start, and we’re hoping to increase that number within the first year.

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Editor’s Note

I enjoy putting together this newsletter for the HVWG. As a member of the Guild and a working writer in our community, I recognize its incredible value and hope it is a terrific resource for you, as well. Please let me know if there’s anything we can do to improve it. 

Here are some housekeeping notes:

    • Want your news item published in a future newsletter? Submit it to me at hvwgnews@gmail.com. The deadline each month is the 25th, and the newsletter publishes on (or around) the 1st. Please note: All announcements are subject to editing. 
    • PLEASE INDICATE IF YOU ARE A MEMBER when submitting your publication credits and readings (personal accomplishments). If you indicate you are an active member, I can place your announcement in the member section; otherwise, it will be placed under “area announcements.”
  • Got issues with the newsletter formatting? other feedback? Please email that same address: hvwgnews@gmail.com.
  • The Hudson Valley Writers Guild offers space in its newsletter for submission and program opportunities but does not endorse any programs or publications that are not offered through the Guild.

~Carolee

Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter, January 2015

Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter

Important note: Do not submit news items for future newsletters by replying to this email. INSTEAD, please send news items to hvwgnews@gmail.com. Thank you!

IN THIS ISSUE

Member Announcements:

  • News & updates from Kate Laity
  • Winifed Elze’s latest novel available at Schenectady book stores
  • Kate McNairy to be featured poet at Caffè Lena
  • “Move with Mindfulness, Write with Ease” retreat January 24 & 25

Area Announcements:

  • Deadly sins: Theme issue of Misfit Magazine open for submissions
  • Upcoming “Bookmarks” reading series deadlines
  • Caffè Lena to feature Suzanne Parker & Kate McNairy January 7
  • Next “Second Sunday” open mic: January 11
  • ARTHUR’S Market & Cafe Poetry night to feature Alan Catlin January 14
  • Third Thursday to feature Poetyc Visionz January 15
  • 20 local story tellers contribute to new anthology

MEMBER ANNOUNCEMENTS

News & updates from Kate Laity

Kate sends the following publication news, as well as info on an upcoming workshop and a possible reading series:

  • I’m happy to announce the release of Drag Noir, the third noir anthology I have edited for Fox Spirit Books (foxspirit.co.uk). Fox Spirit will also be releasing a new edition of my short story collection Dream Book (originally published as Unikirja/Dream Book in 2009) with two new stories after the first of the year. Also in January, my historical novel Knight of the White Hart will be published by Tirgearr Publishing (tirgearrpublishing.com) under the nom de plume Kathryn Marlowe. It’s the first in a new series of historical adventures called The Breton Lais. My paranormal noir novel White Rabbit has gained a lot of good press since its release earlier this year.
  • Vincent Zandri and I are hoping to put together a few folks for a “Noir at the Bar” reading series in the new year. Feel free to contact either of us via our websites (vincentzandri.com or kalaity.com) if you’re interested in reading or attending.
  • I’ll be offering a workshop “How to Keep Writing with a Full Time Job” on Saturday February 7, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Universal Pathways, Pleasant Valley Road, Berne NY (universalpathways.wordpress.com). Have you always dreamed of writing, but didn’t think you had the time? Award-winning author K. A. Laity, writer of the Chastity Flame novel series, White Rabbit, Owl Stretching, The Mangrove Legacy and many more books, essays and stories will help you attain your writing goals in just minutes a day with this short workshop based on her guide of the same name. The workshop will combine handouts, exercises and tips for making the most of your limited time. Cost $50. Payable via PayPal or check. See kalaity.com for details.

Winifed Elze’s latest novel available at Schenectady book stores
Winifred Elze has published her latest novel, Threads. Set in Schenectady, it tells the story of a young girl who unexpectedly inherits a clothing store  — a different kind of clothing store. Clothes made there may have your future woven into the fabric. Threads is available at Proctors Gift Center and the Open Door Bookstore, both in Schenectady.

Kate McNairy to be featured poet at Caffè Lena
HVWG member Kate McNairy sends news that she will be one of the featured readers at Caffè Lena this month. Details, including Kate’s bio, can be found under Caffè Lena’s announcement below. Congrats, Kate!

“Move with Mindfulness, Write with Ease” retreat January 24 & 25
It’s winter, we’re achy, we need (and love) to write but sitting long periods is tough. What to do? Come write in a cozy retreat house and learn different ways to take care of your writer’s body. On January 24-25, 2015, Diane Kavanaugh-Black from Of-the-Essence Holistic Wellness offers her quarterly Move with Mindfulness, Write with Ease workshop at Still Point Retreat Center, near Saratoga Battlefield. The workshop runs 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day. $59 per day ($29/day limited income); attend one or both days.

Along with time to write, we’ll incorporate stretch breaks and gentle yoga (no prior experience necessary), meditative walks or snowshoes (trails and labyrinth on-site). Visit http://OfTheEssenceHolisticWellness.com for further information and to reserve a spot.

AREA ANNOUNCEMENTS

Deadly sins: Theme issue of Misfit Magazine open for submissions January 1-March 15
Misfit Magazine is looking for your submission for its “Lucky 13″ Issue. This issue will be a themed one on deadly sins. Even if you are one of those poets who lives a life of spotless virtue and has no sins to report, as one poet we all know and love — and who shall remain nameless due to confidentiality issues. She knows who she is! — assures Misfit editor Alan Catlin that maybe you have observed or know someone who has sinned. If so, and you have 3-5 poems that fit the general theme, send them after January 1 to submissions@misfitmagazine.net. Deadline is March 15, 2015   For more specific information visit our Misfit Magazine Facebook Page.

Upcoming “Bookmarks” reading series deadlines:

  • “As the Light Returns.” Curated by local writer and veteran Dan New. Submission deadline: Monday, January 5. Reading: Monday, January 26.
  • “Gardening as Metaphor.”  Curated by Diane Kavanaugh Black. Submission deadline: Monday, January 19. Reading: Monday, February 9.
  • “Transformation.” Curated by Abby Lublin of the Front Parlor Series. Submission deadline: Monday, February 23. Reading: Monday, March 23.
  • “Speaking Truth to Power.” Curated by local poet/spoken word artist Victorio Reyes. Submission deadline: Monday, March 23. Performance: Monday, April 20.
  • “Sonic Stasis.” Co-Curated by composers Ryan Ross Smith and K. Michael Fox. Submission deadline: Wednesday, April 20. Performance: Monday, May 18.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

  • Interested writers/creators should submit online via Submittable.
  • All submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. on the date indicated. The submission window will close at that time.
  • Submissions should not exceed length specified on the submission form.
  • You may submit to multiple curators but only once per theme.
  • All applicants will be notified at least 10 days before the event or once the curator has chosen readers/presenters.
  • Keep the date OPEN in case you are selected!

Find links to each reading, including deadlines, submission guidelines and other details, by clicking here.

Caffè Lena to feature Suzanne Parker & Kate McNairy January 7
On Wednesday, January 7, Caffè Lena will present poetry readings by Suzanne Parker and Kate McNairy. An open reading will follow. Doors open for sign-ups at 7 p.m., and the readings will start at 7:30. The host for the event will be Carol Graser, and the cost is $5. Caffè Lena is located at 47 Phila Street in Saratoga Springs. (518) 583-0022. www.caffelena.org.

Kate McNairy is a Saratgoa Springs native whose first chapbook, June Bug was recently published with Finishing Line Press.  She was a finalist in the Blue Light Poetry Competition 2013, and her work has appeared in Word Wednesday, Chronogram, Misfits, Hudson View and Many Waters, among many others. She is also a freelance writer for local newspapers and is an adjunct writing instructor at Empire State College. She’s on the editorial board of The Apple Tree, a literary magazine. Her website is www.katemcnairy.com.

Suzanne Parker is a winner of a Kinereth Gensler Book Award, and her collection of poetry, Viral, (Alice James Books, 2013) was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. Her poetry has appeared recently in Bloom, Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Sierra Nevada Review and numerous other journals; she’s a winner of the Alice M. Sellars Award from the Academy of American Poets and was a poetry fellow at the Prague Summer Seminars. Suzanne’s creative non-fiction is published in the travel anthology Something to Declare by the Univ. of Wisconsin Press. Suzanne is a poetry editor at MEAD: The Journal of Literature and Libations.

Next “Second Sunday” open mic: January 11
The next “Second Sunday @ 2 Open Mic for Poetry and Prose” will be Sunday, January 11, at 2 p.m. Please bring two poems or five minutes of prose to read. All are welcome. The event is co-hosted by Dan Wilcox and Nancy Klepsch at The Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River Street, Troy.

Here are dates for the rest of the 2014-15 series (save the dates!):

  • February 8
  • March 8
  • April 12
  • May 10
  • June 14

ARTHUR’S Market & Cafe Poetry night to feature Alan Catlin January 14
Open mic & featured reader. Second Wednesday, December 10. 7 p.m. sign-up; 7:30 begin readings. Featured reader for January is Alan Catlin. Hosted by Catherine Norr. Arthur’s Market & Cafe is located at 35 N. Ferry Street, Schenectady. Food and beverages are available.

Third Thursday to feature Poetyc Visionz January 15
The poet known as Poetyc Visionz will read from his work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, on Thursday, January 15, at 7:30 p.m. Poetyc Visionz is an Albany native and has been performing his spoken word art for nearly 15 yrs. He was a part of the Nitty Gritty Slam Team 2012, 2013 and 2014, and is also a part of the Empire State Slam Championship Team of 2014. He is now working on his third CD project, along with a book installment.

A reading by a local or regional poet is held each Third Thursday at the Social Justice Center. The event includes an open mic for audience members to read.  Sign-up starts at 7 p.m., with the reading beginning at 7:30.  The host of the readings is Albany poet and photographer Dan Wilcox.  The suggested donation is $3, which helps support this and other poetry programs of the Poetry Motel Foundation and the work of the Social Justice Center.  For more information about this event contact Dan Wilcox, 518-482-0262; e-mail: dwlcx@earthlink.net.

20 local storytellers contribute to new anthology
Twenty local storytellers have collaborated to publish the anthology, Stories We Tell: Tales from the Story Circle of the Capital District. They are members of the Story Circle of the Capital District, which was established in 1983 and hosts a regular schedule of meetings, open mics and storytelling performances at Proctors, Caffè Lena and other venues. This book is their first written anthology. It is a collection of folklore, fantasy, historical and personal stories; many of them fuse several genres. The book (166 pages; paperback; $14.95) is a solid example of the breadth and scope that storytelling can achieve.

Stories We Tell can be purchased at local bookstores, such as The Open Door, New York Folklore Society and Battenkill Books, and online at www.storytellersanthology.com.

* * *
Editor’s Note

I enjoy putting together this newsletter for the HVWG. As a member of the Guild and a working writer in our community, I recognize its incredible value and hope it is a terrific resource for you, as well. Please let me know if there’s anything we can do to improve it.

Here are some housekeeping notes:

    • Want your news item published in a future newsletter? Submit it to me at hvwgnews@gmail.com. The deadline each month is the 25th, and the newsletter publishes on (or around) the 1st. Please note: All announcements are subject to editing. 
    • PLEASE INDICATE IF YOU ARE A MEMBER when submitting your publication credits and readings (personal accomplishments). If you indicate you are an active member, I can place your announcement in the member section; otherwise, it will be placed under “area announcements.”
  • Got issues with the newsletter formatting? other feedback? Please email that same address: hvwgnews@gmail.com.
  • The Hudson Valley Writers Guild offers space in its newsletter for submission and program opportunities but does not endorse any programs or publications that are not offered through the Guild.

~Carolee