Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter, February 2014


Guild Announcements:
Guild among sponsors for Take Back The Night Poetry Contest

Member Announcements:
A memoir by Harvey Havel

Area Announcements:

  • Shira Dentz & Andrew Sullivan to read at Caffè Lena February 5
  • Writers in the Mountains (WIM) to hold Creative Non-Fiction workshop with Anique Taylor starting February 13
  • Poet Philip Good to read at the Social Justice Center February 20
  • NYS Writers Institute Spring 2014 Community Writing Workshops start March 5 & 6
  • Exploration of expressive arts
  • Registration open for workshops celebrating women writers
  • First New York State “Poetry Unites” contest announced
  • New York State Writers Institute announces Spring 2014 schedule of visiting writers & film series
  • New York State Summer Writers Institute taking applications summer workshops for adults
  • New York State Summer Young Writers Institute taking applications


Guild among sponsors for Take Back The Night Poetry Contest
“Take Back The Night” is an annual event held in Albany during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and coincides with Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The 2014 Take Back The Night Rally and March Against Sexual Violence will be held on Thursday, April 10, at the Albany Law School, located at 80 New Scotland Avenue. To recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month and to celebrate National Poetry Month, The Hudson Valley Writers Guild, in conjunction with the Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center and Albany Law School, is sponsoring a poetry contest. The winner will recite their poem at “Take Back The Night” and be published in the event program.Submission guidelines —

  • Theme: Strength, resilience and freedom from violence.
  • Maximum length: 30 lines.
  • Deadline for submissions: March 1, 2014.
  • Poems may be submitted electronically to

The winner will be notified on or before March 20, 2014.


PublishAmerica Presents Mother: A Memoir by Harvey Havel
PublishAmerica is proud to present Mother: A Memoir by Harvey Havel from Albany. Harvey’s memoir follows the turbulent relationship between the author’s mentally ill Pakistani mother and the author himself who carries the same mental illness. From living together in the slums of New York City’s Lower East Side in the 1980s through the author’s education in Connecticut and the several hospitalizations he has to confront, Mother is a powerful and unforgettable read that tries to be as honest as possible in portraying what ought to be a loving relationship between a mother and her son but strays far from that ideal into the areas of abuse, poverty and crushing mental illness.For more information, visit the publisher online  and


Shira Dentz & Andrew Sullivan to read at Caffè Lena February 5
On Wednesday, February 5, Caffè Lena will present poetry readings by Shira Dentz and Andrew Sullivan. Indie Film “Life On the Run” will be filming for part of the evening. 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 Street, Saratoga Springs, (518) 583-0022, Contact: Carol Graser via email:

Shira Dentz is the author of two books, black seeds on a white dish (Shearsman, 2011) and door of thin skins (CavanKerry Press, 2013), and two chapbooks, Leaf Weather (Shearsman, 2012) and Sisyphusina (forthcoming from Red Glass Books). Her third full-length manuscript was a National Poetry Series finalist this year. Her writing appears in many journals, including The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, and New American Writing, and has featured online at The Academy of American Poets’ website (, NPR, Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. Her awards include an Academy of American Poets’ Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem Award and Cecil Hemley Memorial Award, Electronic Poetry Review’s Discovery Award, and Painted Bride Quarterly’s Poetry Prize. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she holds a Ph.D. in creative writing and literature from the University of Utah. Shira is also reviews editor at Drunken Boat and lecturer in creative writing at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Andrew Sullivan is a professional engineer and less-professional writer who has lived in the Saratoga area on-and-off for most of his life. He started writing in college at SUNY Binghamton to take his mind off of math and physics, and he has continued to write ever since. For the past two years, he’s been attending readings and open mics in Albany and Saratoga and sporadically self-publishing on his WordPress blog, Cohesive Narrative.

Locally produced, micro-budget, indie feature “Life On the Run” will be filming for the first part of the evening. They’ll be bringing in some open mic people to begin the night. The film is an optimistic and witty celebration of humanity’s will to be creative against all odds. Sheila O’Shea plays Beth Farrell whose success as a novelist takes her into new territory as she explores poetry. Her debut as a poet will be filmed during Caffè Lena Poetry Night. For more info, please visit

Writers in the Mountains (WIM) to hold Creative Non-Fiction workshop with Anique Taylor starting February 13
Writers in the Mountains (WIM) will hold a new Creative Non-Fiction workshop with Anique Taylor, February 13 to March 20. The class will be held Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pine Hill Community Center, Main Street, Pine Hill, NY. The class will bring the compelling and dramatic to students’ personal stories, essays and memoirs. Studying craft techniques of poetry, fiction and playwriting, the class will enter a journey of mood, metaphor, viewpoint, dialogue and tone. It will explore memory, risk, danger, dreams, versions of reality and perceived truth. A combination of free-writing, exercises, short assignments, warm and supportive feedback, plus the study of non-fiction work by famous authors, will help students hone and deepen their writing. All levels are welcome.

Anique Taylor has co-authored works for HBO, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster. Her poems have appeared in The World (St. Mark’s Poetry Project), Adanna, Southern Poetry Review and Earth’s Daughters; her creative non-fiction in Rattle Magazine and e-Bibliotekos’ Pain and Memory. She’s studied poetry at Drew University (MFA), literature at the Sorbonne (Diplome) and fine arts at Pratt Institute (MFA & BFA).

To register, call Jean Stone at (607) 326-4802, or e-mail her at To register online, visit Class fee is $60, if you register and pay three weeks before the class begins and $75 after that. Writers in the Mountains is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing.

Poet Philip Good to read at the Social Justice Center February 20
Poet Philip Good will read from his work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, on Thursday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m.  Philip Good’s work can be found online with BigBridge, Exquisite Corpse, Tool and The Volta. Look for his forthcoming book UNTITLED WRITINGS FROM A MEMBER OF THE BLANK GENERATION by Trembling Pillow Press.

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:

NYS Writers Institute Spring 2014 Community Writing Workshops start March 5 & 6
New York State Writers Institute Fellow and award-winning author James Lasdun will conduct two creative writing workshops for community writers during the spring 2014 semester. Lasdun, a fiction and nonfiction writer, poet, and screenwriter, will offer two eight-week workshops: one on fiction writing and one on poetry. The workshops are offered for non-credit and will be held at the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Admission to both workshops is based on the submission of writing samples. Complete information on the workshops and submission guidelines may be obtained by calling the Institute at (518) 442-5620 or by visiting the Institute’s website.

  • Fiction Writing Workshop — The Fiction Writing Workshop (starting March 6) will focus on detailed discussion of students’ work but there will also be readings from published novels, novellas, and short stories. These will range from the classic to the contemporary, and will be selected with a view to broadening the discussion of topics such as character, plot, style and form, as they arise. Participants will be expected to be strongly self-motivated and to submit two works of up to twenty pages each over the course of the semester. These may be short stories or excerpts from longer works.
  • Poetry Writing Workshop — The Poetry Writing Workshop (starting March 5) is for self-motivated students who already have some writing experience, and is intended to give participants an opportunity to develop and revise poems within a context of constructive peer-group criticism. Course work will concentrate on students’ writing, but will also include close reading of selected texts with a view to discussing specific aspects of the art of poetry, such as voice, metaphor, and the relation of style to subject. Participants will be expected to submit up to ten pages of poetry every second week.

Exploration of expressive arts, March 22-23
If you have been curious about expressive arts and how its methods can enrich your writing, this is the opportunity you have been waiting for. Join us for two days of exploration and experiential learning in Expressive Arts and discover the natural cross-fertilization among the arts: “When I draw and paint my writing becomes more precise and more colorful. When I move by body, my writing becomes more grounded and flows more easily. When I sing and play music, I come into my own rhythm.”

  • March 22 – 23, 2014
    Saturday, 10 – 6, and Sunday, 9 -5
    Second floor studio of New York Expressive Arts in Albany, NY
    Cost is $200 ($150 for members of HVWG)

All  materials are provided and any art training or previous experience in any of the modalities will not interfere with your participation. Guides are Denie Whalen, Steve Podry, Susannna Armbruster — all graduates of the European Graduate School Masters and CAGS Expressive Arts Therapy Program and all with many years of experience bringing the arts into the world in various venues. To register, contact Denie at (518) 729-3258 or Limited to 10 participants.

Registration open for “Celebration of Women’s Voices: Women Writers Past and Present
Registration is open for a writing conference in honor of Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day and the award-winning publication by Codhill Press: Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley. Workshops will be held March 7-9 on Historic Huguenot Street, New Paltz, NY. Space is limited, so sign up early. Workshops are open to men and women.

To register for memoir, short story, poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, getting published workshops and more, visit While you’re at the website, add your email address to the e-news list to receive information about conference. You can also visit the Facebook page for Historic Huguenot Street or call for more information: 845.255.1660, ext. 104.

First New York State “Poetry Unites” contest announced
Open to all New York State residents for the best short essay about a favorite poem. After a successful six-year run in Europe, the Poetry Unites contest, inspired by Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem project, is coming to New York State. Marie Howe, the New York State Poet under the sponsorship of the New York State Writers Institute, and Corinne Evens, a philanthropist, in co-ordination with the Academy of American Poets, the New York State Writers Institute, and the New York State Office of Cultural Education, are pleased to announce a contest for the best short essay about a favorite poem. For more information, visit the website.

New York State Writers Institute announces Spring 2014 schedule of visiting writers & film series
“The Spring 2014 Visiting Writers Series features old friends and new faces, always a good mix for literary events,” said Institute Director Donald Faulkner. Visit these links for details about each series:

Events take place on the UAlbany uptown and downtown campuses and are free and open to the public (unless otherwise noted). Here is a list of visiting writers by date (details available at the links above):

  • February 4 (Tuesday): Walter Mosley, novelist, and Frankie Y. Bailey, mystery writer and criminal justice scholar
  • February 12 (Wednesday): American Place Theatre performance of “Black Boy”
  • February 18 (Tuesday): James D. Redwood, short story writer
  • February 19 (Wednesday): Nick Turse, investigative journalist and military historian
  • February 27 (Thursday): E. L. Doctorow, fiction writer
  • March 5 (Wednesday): A Celebration of Poet and Translator Pierre Joris
  • March 10 (Monday): The 18th Annual Burian Lecture presented by Christopher Durang, playwright
  • March 13 (Thursday): Dinaw Mengestu, fiction writer and journalist
  • March 25 (Tuesday): Walter Kirn, journalist, and fiction and nonfiction writer
  • April 3 (Thursday): Julia Glass, novelist
  • April 11 (Friday): Francesca Marciano, novelist, short story writer and screenwriter
  • April 16 (Wednesday): Lydia Davis, short story author and translator
  • April 22 (Tuesday): Akhil Sharma, Indian-American fiction writer
  • April 29 (Tuesday): Robert H. Patton, novelist and historian

For additional information contact the Writers Institute at (518) 442-5620 or online at

New York State Summer Writers Institute taking applications
Visiting writers for the summer workshops for adults will include Paul Auster, Jamaica Kincaid, Joyce Carol Oates, William Kennedy, Robert Pinsky, Marilynne Robinson and many more. For more information and applications, visit the website.

New York State Summer Young Writers Institute taking applications
The 16th Annual Creative Writing Workshop for young writers will take place July 2 – July 12 at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. The New York State Summer Young Writers Institute is a eleven-day in-residence writing workshop for high school students. 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.

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. Financial assistance based upon individual need is available to help offset the cost of tuition and room and board.

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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.

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