Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter, April 2014

Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter

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Guild Announcements:

  • HVWG poetry contest winner to read at Take Back The Night program April 10
  • Save the date – June 8 – for HVWG Writers Conference
  • HVWG 2014 non-fiction contest submission guidelines

Member Announcements:

  • Hollis Seamon to read from new novel April 5
  • Cecele Allen Kraus announces a new chapbook
  • Carol Derfner’s work included in anthology nominated for 2013 Indie Book Of The Year
  • Carolee Bennett takes on gig as Times Union blogger

Area Announcements:

  • Catherine Norr and Susan Riback to read at Caffè Lena April 2
  • Staged reading of Carolyn Yalkut’s new play “Everywoman” April 3
  • Writers In the Mountains presents “Meet the Authors – First Annual Catskills Book” Festival April 6
  • Monday evening workshop “Significance of Story” begins April 7
  • Writers Institute adds event with Stephen Kinzer April 7
  • Rensselaerville’s 9th Annual Celebration of National Poetry Month
  • April 13 next date for area’s only open mic featuring poetry and prose
  • Poetry Unites essay contest deadline April 15
  • Third Thursday to feature St. Rose students April 17
  • 10-week poetry course starts at JCC of Schenectady April 29
  • Short prose open mic May 3
  • Hudson Valley Fiction Writers Group seeking new members
  • Bernadette Mayer workshop series continues, space limited
  • May 2014 retreat for novelists at Vermont College of Fine Arts
  • New York State Writers Institute Spring 2014 schedule of visiting writers & film series


HVWG poetry contest winner to read at Take Back The Night program April 10
The Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center is sponsoring the 33rd annual “Take Back The Night” rally and march against sexual violence on Thursday, April 10, at the Albany Law School Pro Bono Program. The Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center invites all members of the community to attend this free event and take a stand against all forms of sexual violence, including rape, child sexual abuse, incest, sexual harassment, stalking, domestic violence and hate crimes.

“Take Back the Night” is a nationally recognized event designed to raise public awareness and educate the community about sexual violence and traces its roots back to the anti-rape marches in the early 1970s. Pre-rally events will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Albany Law School Pro Bono Program campus gymnasium and will feature a tabling of various community service providers, food vendors, live performances and more! The rally and survivor speak-out will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a march and vigil at 7 p.m. Amy Reynolds Comtois, winner of the Hudson Valley Writes Guild poetry contest held in conjunction with “Take Back The Night,” will be part of the program.

Join the many voices in the fight to end sexual violence and in making strides towards hope, towards change and towards humanity. For more information, call the Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center at (518) 447-7100.

Save the date – June 8 – for HVWG Writers Conference
Please mark your calendars for the HVWG Writers Conference on June 8 at 2 p.m. at the East Greenbush Library. The theme will be “Marketing Your Writing” with panelists from the fields of poetry, self-publishing, e-books, romance and fiction. For more info. call (518) 583-9571 or email:

HVWG 2014 non-fiction contest submission guidelines
The Hudson Valley Writers Guild is pleased to announce this year’s non-fiction contest. Submission categories will be memoir/personal essay and humor. There will be a $100 award in each category, and winners will be invited to read their winning submissions at a special program in the fall of 2014. All contestants must be residents of New York State.

The entry fee is $10 for HVWG members and $15 for non-members. Checks made payable to HVWG must accompany submissions. If $30 membership fee is paid with submission, please enclose a separate check. HVWG board of directors and their families and/or current or past students and family of judges are ineligible. Entries must be postmarked June 15-August 15, 2014. Contact information must not appear anywhere on the submission. A cover letter must include: name, address, phone number, email, title, submission category and word count (1,200 word maximum). All submissions must be typed, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman or Cambria font. Send three hard copies by mail. No email submissions. Submissions must be previously unpublished. Please no pornography or erotica.

This year’s judges are Diane Cameron and Gene Damm (personal essay/memoir) and Anne Decker (humor). Diane Cameron is a writer, writing teacher and creativity coach. She is a syndicated newspaper columnist and blogger. Most recently, she’s written Out of the Woods: A Woman’s Guide to Long-Term Recovery and Looking for Signs: Essays and Columns. Humorist Anne Decker’s essays have appeared on public radio, in local newspapers and magazines. She has an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College. Gene Damm is past president of the Friends of the Albany Public Library. He is the author of Guanyin and Other Poems, as well as A Chinese Folk Tale and Other Stories.

All entrants will be notified of winners by email unless an SASE is provided. Results will be posted on our website:

Contact Jan Tramontano at for more information. Mail submissions and entry fee to: HVWG CONTEST c/o Jan Tramontano, 14 Brookwood Avenue, Albany, NY  12203.


Hollis Seamon to read from new novel April 5
Hollis Seamon will be reading from her young adult novel, Somebody Up There Hates You, at the Claverack Free Library in Claverack, NY, on Saturday, April 5 at 3 p.m., as part of the library’s “Celebrate Local Authors” series.  For more information, go to or call (518) 851-7120.

Cecele Allen Kraus announces a new chapbook
Cecele Allen Kraus’ new chapbook, Harmonica, was released in March by Liquid Light Press. It is available at www.liquidlightpress and at local bookstores.  A reading is scheduled for Friday, June 13, 5 p.m., at The Chatham Bookstore, 27 Main St., Chatham, New York. Reception to follow.

Carol Derfner’s work included in anthology nominated for 2013 Indie Book Of The Year
Columbia County writer Carol Derfner thinks it is “groovy” that a book, which includes a short memoir she wrote last year, is a finalist for a national literary award.  The book, Times They Were A’ Changing: Women Remember the ‘60s and ‘70s, has been nominated by Foreword Reviews as one of the top anthologies published in 2013 by independent publishers.

Derfner’s contribution to the 49 memoirs featured in the book was chosen in a nationwide contest sponsored by She Writes Press in Berkeley, California. Derfner’s story, “In the Family Way,” recounts the tribulations of two sorority sisters who have to come to grips with an unwanted pregnancy in 1964. “Whenever I finish reading ‘In the Family Way’ to an audience, there is a moment or two of silence, then a soft collective moan.  As a writer, it is very gratifying to know my memories of how we lived in the sixties can make that kind of human connection.”

A panel of over 100 booksellers and librarians from throughout the nation will determine the winners of the Foreword’s prestigious annual Book of the Year awards.  In June, cash prizes will be awarded for the best in fiction and non-fiction work and significant recognition will be given to winners in 60 other literary categories.

Carol Derfner is a published author of memoir, short fiction and poetry. She is an active participant with The Center for Creative Non-Fiction, the Arts Center of the Capital Region’s Memoir Project, A Room of Her Own Foundation and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society. In 2010, one of her short stories was a prizewinner in the Hudson Valley Writers Guild Fiction Contest.  Derfner is currently working on a memoir of her life in politics in Alaska, a crime novel set in Old Kinderhook and an article about Millay’s library.

Foreword, the only literary organization in the nation solely dedicated to reviewing books published by independent publishers, is committed to discovering and reviewing new indie books and finding those authors and publishers whose groundbreaking works stand out in the crowded field.

Carolee Bennett takes on gig as Times Union blogger
Local poet, HVWG member and newsletter editor Carolee Bennett has joined the Times Union‘s cadre of volunteer bloggers. The TU reached out based on the voice and writing style Carolee uses at her personal blog, Good Universe Next Door. Carolee will continue to blog there (focusing exclusively on poetry at least for April which is National Poetry Month), while sharing some of her personal musings about poetry, parenting, love and life downtown with TU readers. The new blog is “Carolee on Lark: The view of all things from a stoop in downtown Albany.” She’d love to see some friendly faces in the comments section!


Catherine Norr and Susan Riback to read at Caffè Lena April 2
On Wednesday, April 2, Caffè Lena will present poetry readings by Catherine Norr and Susan Riback.  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.

Tonight’s co-sponsor, Saratoga Reads, is a community reading program celebrating its 10th anniversary with And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. Poetry has a strong presence in the book, and Saratoga Reads is proud to celebrate National Poetry Month at Lena’s Poetry Open Mic.

Catherine Norr is a retired French teacher and lifelong poet and musician. Return to Ground (Finishing Line Press) is her debut chapbook. Her work has appeared in Avocet, The Evening Street Review, Oriel and more. Catherine is on the board of Hudson Valley Writers Guild.

Susan Riback works both as an RN in long-term care and as a poetry teaching artist in local elementary schools. Trained by the National Association of Poetry Therapy to use writing as a healing modality, she has facilitated writing workshops with cancer survivors and writers of all ages using memoir, poetry and creative writing. Her chapbook, Gratitude and Other Poems, was released by Pudding House Publications in 2000, and Shaking the Sand Out: Poems of Motherhood was published in 2003.

Caffè Lena is located at 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs. (518) 583-0022.

Staged reading of Carolyn Yalkut’s new play “Everywoman” April 3
You are invited to a staged reading of UAlbany professor Carolyn Yalkut’s new play, “Everywoman,” on Thursday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center on the UAlbany Uptown Campus.

Should a woman’s life stop just because she’s giving birth? Time and space collide in WAM Theatre’s staged reading of Carolyn Yalkut’s one-act play that debates global, as well as personal, catastrophe in women’s lives everywhere. The classic quandary of being a woman is explored in this lighthearted, innovative and poignant tragicomedy that reaches across generations.

The play was developed during a fellowship and multiple residencies by the playwright at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony in Provincetown, MA. Professor Yalkut has taught numerous undergraduate courses at UAlbany in association with the NYS Writers Institute Visiting Writers Series.

Advance tickets: $5 general public; $3 students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff. Call (518) 442-3997 to reserve. Day of show tickets: $8 general public; $6 students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff. For more information, visit website.

Writers In the Mountains presents “Meet the Authors – First Annual Catskills Book” Festival April 6
Writers in the Mountains (WIM) invites you to “Meet the Authors – First Annual Catskills Book Festival,” Sunday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Roxbury Arts Center, 5025 Vega Mountain Road, Roxbury, NY.

Participating authors include award-winning writers:

  • Mermer Blakeslee, author of When You Live by a River;
  • Ginnah Howard, author of Night Navigation and Doing Time Outside;
  • Breena Clarke, author of River, Cross My Heart and Stand the Storm; and
  • Laurie Boris, author of The Joke’s on Me, Don’t Tell Anyone and Sliding Past Vertical.

Other prominent participants include poet Cheryl Clarke, PhD (organizer of the Hobart Festival of Women Writers and author of Living as a Lesbian), Dr. Bill Birns (author of A Catskill Catalog and The Myth in the Mountain) and Simona David (author of Self-Publishing and Book Marketing, A Research Guide). In addition, beginner and less known authors will be featured and invited to give talks. Participating authors will read from their works and share their stories with the audience. All selected titles will be offered at a discounted price.

The program will include a segment dedicated to poetry (April is National Poetry Month), a segment dedicated to news from the publishing industry and a raffle with 10 selected titles. At 10:30 a.m., poet Sharon Cucinotta will share the stage with poet Cheryl Clarke and painter Richard Kathmann in a moment dedicated to poetry. At 11:30 a.m., Laurie Boris, who writes for Indies Unlimited, ranked by Publishers Weekly as number three best blog for independent authors, will share the stage with Simona David and discuss latest news and trends in the publishing industry. At 12:30 p.m., a raffle with 10 selected titles will be awarded. In addition, book swaps will be encouraged throughout the day.

Admission is free. Light refreshments, coffee and tea will be available on the premises. Parking is available on Main Street and municipal parking lot. For more information, visit or email 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.

Upcoming literary events at the Roe Jan Community Library, Hillsdale
The Roe Jan Community Library (9091 Rte 22, Hillsdale, NY) will host the following events:

  • Saturday, April 6, 4-5 p.m. Acclaimed poet, Mark Wunderlich, will read from his recently published The Earth Avails.  Previous books are The Anchorage and Voluntary Servitude. The event is free and followed by a wine and cheese reception.
  • Saturday, April 12, 4 p.m. Poetry in Song. Ellen Mandel, pianist, and Daniel Neer, tenor, give voice to some of the world’s most cherished poems.
  • Tuesday, April 15, Noon to 1 p.m. Brown Bag Lunch. We’ll read Dylan Thomas poems.
  • Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m.  Movie night:  Il Postino.
  • Thursday, April 24, 6 p.m.  Poetry Open Mic.  Bring your own poems or a favorite poem to read.  Or come to listen.
  • Saturday, April 26, 4 p.m. Joan Potter, Vicki Addesso, Susan Hodara and Lori Toppel will discuss fiction and memoir, as well as their collaborative book, Still Here Thinking of You, A Second Chance with Our Mothers. 
  • Friday, May 9, 6 p.m. Poem-a-day Open Mic. Poets who have participated in the poem-a-day project will read their original work. To participate in the month-long project, contact Jan Hutchinson ( with “April Poetry Challenge” in the subject line.

For more information about library events, call (518) 325-4101.

Monday evening workshop “Significance of Story” begins April 7
Writers in the Mountains (WIM) announces its popular 6-week workshop, “The Significance of Story: Threads of Revelation” with Carol Little at the Andes Public Library, Mondays, 6 – 8 p.m., from April 7 to May 12. Every person’s story is unique, no matter what shared experiences we have had.  We are changed and shaped by what we experience—by our choices, our circumstances and by things that simply happen as we maneuver through life. Stories have personal meaning, turning points and markers. As we remember and write, or write and remember, we bring together parts of ourselves that may have been scattered, hidden or distorted. We gain a deeper understanding for the truth of our lives, and often a greater appreciation for our own journey.

This class is open to anyone interested in writing about their life. No prior writing experience is required. It all starts with a word, an image or a sentence and a willingness to discover. Carol Little, a long time member of WIM, has extensive experience working with groups and with the use of writing for personal expression. She is a psychotherapist in private practice.

To register, visit, go to “register online page” or write to To benefit from the early registration fee of $60, register and pay by March 17. Class fee is $75 after that.

Writers Institute adds event with Stephen Kinzer April 7
New York State Writers Institute will host Stephen Kinzer, bestselling nonfiction author, April 7 (Monday). Discussion will be at 7:30 p.m. [note early start time] in the Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus. Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent, formerly with the New York Times, and a bestselling author of books on American foreign policy in Central America, Rwanda, Turkey and Iran. His newest book is The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War (2013), which recounts how the two powerful men helped to shape America’s zealously anti-Communist foreign policy in the 1950s. The Washington Post reviewer called The Brothers, “a bracing, disturbing and serious study of the exercise of American global power.” The book was named a “Best Book of the Year” by the Atlantic and Kirkus Reviews.

The event is co-sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute; Women Against War; UAlbany’s History, Political Science, and Judaic Studies Departments, and Journalism Program; and UAlbany Peace Action. For more about Stephen Kinzer, click here. For more information about the event, contact the NYS Writers Institute at (518) 442-5620 or by email at You can also visit the blog or like us on Facebook.

Rensselaerville’s 9th Annual Celebration of National Poetry Month
Attention: Cowgirls and cowboys, naturalists and farmers, humor lovers and word lovers, musicians and friends – You don’t have to be a poet to enjoy poetry! All are invited to Rensselaerville’s 9th Annual Celebration of National Poetry Month sponsored by The Rensselaerville Library & Conkling Hall, Rensselaerville, NY.

Events include:

  • Inspiration: An Afternoon of Music and Poetry. April 12, Saturday, 2-4 p.m. at Conkling Hall. Hosted by Peter Boudreaux, musician and writer. This event features the following: poet (and Whitman scholar) Howard Nelson, who will read from his own work, as well as from the poets who inspired him; Alto Sarah Nelson Weiss, who will perform an original piece inspired by Walt Whitman and composed and performed by Peter Boudreaux; the wonderful Village Voices; and musicians Diana Ryan and Hank LaBrecque, who will share pieces inspired by poetry or written by folk-poet songwriters.
  • Four Thursdays. Enjoy four relaxing and stimulating evenings at the library, listening, reading and discussing poetry with friends and neighbors:

Poetic Humor, Laughing Our Way into Poetry Month. April 3, 7 p.m. Hosted by Richard Ronconi, teacher, beekeeper, and occasional writer. As a teacher, Richard found humor to be a good “entrance” into poetry. We don’t always connect poetry with humor.  Often we think of a poem as an expression of beauty, love or some other deep emotion.  Humor is also an emotion favored in poetry. Together let’s read some light-hearted poems that have been written by some distinguished and not so distinguished poets to make us laugh and have fun.  This hour is for readers of all ages, so kids, teens, adults, let’s cheer each other up with an hour of fun poems.

How to Read, and Perhaps Enjoy, Very New Poetry. April 10, 7 p.m. Hosted by Tom Corrado, poet and coordinator of the library’s poetry group. Isn’t poetry poetry? Isn’t all poetry the same? Using sound, imagery and concision to tell a story, convey a message, extract meaning from experience? Isn’t new poetry pretty much like old poetry? Simply new wine in old bottles? Not really! Some interesting things are happening in poetry, and new poets are shepherding poetry into new arenas, crafting poems that at times can be intimidating, befuddling, seemingly meaningless. Find out about new poetry and new poets.

Birds, Bees, Trees and More: The Poetry of Nature. April 17, 7 p.m. Hosted by Virginia Carter, teacher, artist and bird-watcher. Poets have always been inspired by nature, from the ancient Greeks to contemporary poets.  Enjoy an evening reading, listening and discussing a variety of poetry that was inspired by the natural world.

Easy Chairs and Saddle Sores: Cowboy Poetry. April 24, 7 p.m. Hosted by Janet Botaish, equine specialist, EAGALA certified.  “To me, horses and freedom are synonymous.” (Veryl Goodnight). Cowboy poems have a life of their own. They are built with words that are spawned not only from labor, but also from an occupation with which the poet’s very existence is expressly linked. A cowboy or rancher lives where he or she works, and what they do in their work determines their survival.  This is the essence of cowboy poetry. Come and be enchanted by words, both old and new, that are attached to a life few know firsthand.

  • Enjoy your Saturday morning cup of coffee with guest poet Marilyn McCabe. April 26, Saturday, 11:30 a.m. Marilyn’s poem “On Hearing the Call to Prayer Over the Marcellus Shale on Easter Morning” was awarded A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando Prize, Fall 2012, and appeared in the Los Angeles Review. Her book of poetry, Perpetual Motion, was published by The Word Works in 2012 as the winner of the Hilary Tham Capitol Collection contest. Her work has appeared in literary magazines such as Nimrod, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Painted Bride Quarterly, French translations and songs on Numero Cinq, and a video-poem on The Continental Review.
  • Now It’s Your Turn! April 27, Sunday, 2-4 p.m. at Conkling Hall. All are invited to read a favorite poem at our annual Favorite Poem Project emceed once again by the inimitable writer/actress/reverend Claire North. The Favorite Poem Project, part of a national movement begun by former poet laureate Robert Pinsky, encourages communities to come together to share poetry.  Over the past eight years, neighbors and friends have gathered to read aloud their favorite poems, everything from the silly to the serious, favorites from childhood as well as adulthood.  Bring a favorite poem to this year’s event!  If you are a writer, you may also bring one original (as well as one favorite) poem or other short piece to share. Of course you can come just to listen!

All events are free (though donations to the library are welcome). Refreshments served at all poetry month events! For more information about any of these events, please call the Rensselaerville Library at (518) 797-3949 or visit its website at

Please Note: Conkling Hall is located on Methodist Hill Road in Rensselaerville.  All events not in Conkling Hall will be held at the Rensselaerville Library, Main Street, Rensselaerville.

April 13 next date for area’s only open mic featuring poetry and prose
Please join co-hosts Nancy Klepsch and Dan Wilcox for the area’s only open mic featuring poetry and prose.  Open the second Sunday of every month up to and including June, we read in the Black Box Theater of the Capital Region Center for the Arts, River Street, Troy, NY at2:00 p.m.  Please bring two poems or five minutes of fiction or non-fiction prose.

Here are our upcoming dates for Second Sunday @ 2:

  • April 13
  • May 11
  • June 8

All are welcome!  Free and open to the public!

Poetry Unites essay contest deadline April 15
You are invited to enter the first New York State “Poetry Unites” short essay contest, open to all New York State residents for the best short essay (no longer than 600 words) about your favorite poem. After a successful 6-year run in Europe, the Poetry Unites contest, inspired by Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem project, has come to New York State.

Marie Howe, the New York State Poet (appointed by Governor Cuomo 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. The contest is open to all New York State residents.


  • The four winners of the main prize will be featured in short film profiles, which will be placed on the Academy of American Poets website, New York State Library website, New York State Writers Institute website, and may be broadcast in the USA by Public Television.
  • All winners will be invited to NYC gala in October 2014. The invitation will cover travel expenses within New York State.

For more information, click here.

Third Thursday to feature St. Rose students April 17
Poets going by the collective handle “Josie & the Drop-Boxers” will read from their work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, on Thursday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. “Josie & the Drop-Boxers” is a group of students in professor Daniel Nester’s “Poetry and Performance” class at the College of St. Rose.  Students will be reading as part of Albany WordFest 2014, the week-long celebration of poetry and spoken word. (For more information, visit

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:

10-week poetry course starts at JCC of Schenectady April 29
The JCC of Schenectady will offer another poetry class, “Writing the Contemporary Poem II.” The course will explore not only the use of different forms and styles of poetry writing, but it will also treat the art of writing for a particular audience. Whom do you write for? And whom do you most want to reach?

The market for publishing poetry is wide, so together we’ll explore how to develop your distinctive poetic voice, while also considering which publications might offer your poems a good home. Not every poet wants to publish, but it’s good to keep in mind what readers need to know in order to best understand your work. This course is for anyone who wants to work on creating polished, printable poems, whether or not you choose to submit the poems for publication.

Instructor for the course is Susan Comninos. In addition to teaching creative writing, Comninos works as a freelance arts journalist and poet. Her journalism has recently appeared in The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Jewish Daily Forward and Albany Times Union and is forthcoming in The Millions. Her poetry has appeared in Subtropics, TriQuarterly, The Courtland Review, Tulane Review, Nashville Review, J Journal: New Writing on Justice, Literary Mama, Quarterly West, Lilith, Tikkun and Judaism, among others. She recently completed her debut book of poems, Out of Nowhere.

Cost is $70 for 10 classes April 29 to July 3 (there is no class on June 3) from 7 – 8:15 p.m. The JCC of Schenectady is located at 2565 Balltown Road, Niskayuna. Register by calling the JCC of Schenectady: (518) 377- 8803. Please ask for the poetry class. For more information, please contact Jewish Cultural Director, Irit Magnes at (518) 377-8803, ext. 235, or

The program was made possible through the generous support of the Epstein Jewish Cultural Fund, Meyer & Mary Kurland/Gebell Fund and Jonas & Edith Fleminberg Jewish Cultural Fund and MVP Health Care.

Short prose open mic May 3
Read your own prose of listen to local talent! On Saturday, May 3, the Roe Jan Community Library will host a “Short Prose Open Mic” in the library community room from 4-6 p.m. This event is open to all fiction, non-fiction and memoir writers. No pre-registration is necessary. All readings must be no longer than seven minutes in length. Please come share your work or spend an afternoon enjoying our local talent. Contact Regina Colangelo at

The Roeliff Jansen Community Library, which is chartered to serve Ancram, Copake and Hillsdale, is located at 9091 Rt. 22, approximately one mile south of the light at the intersection of Routes 22 and 23 in Hillsdale. For information on hours and events, call 518-325-4101, or visit the library’s website.

Hudson Valley Fiction Writers Group seeking new members
The Hudson Valley Fiction Writers Group has openings for new members interested in critiquing and being critiqued by a group of mutually supportive writers. The group, which meets every other Wednesday at 7 p.m., was founded by former Guild officer, Joachim Frank, and has been active for nearly 30 years. We welcome new, as well as experienced, writers. If you are interested, please contact Noelle at and attach 4-5 pages of recent work from a short story or novel.

Bernadette Mayer workshop series continues, space limited
Bernadette Mayer will lead her continuing workshop series through a summer session beginning in May 2014.  She will once again provide participating poets with the opportunity to engage in her language experiments.

This session will also place an added emphasis on poetry as it appears on the page.  Bernadette discussed the summer session saying all participants would be creating “unusual, usable musical poetry” as a result of the workshop experiences. She will also talk about her mentors and contemporaries and suggest new directions in verse.  She will suggest books you should have to aid in your writing and how to publish your poems. Bernadette will continue to write and distribute new poems for the benefit of workshop participants and subject matter.

Kevin Killian, writing on famous poetry workshops mentions, Bernadette Mayer’s Poetry Project Workshop in NYC “that gave birth to all those exercises.” Locally, Bernadette has been exercising and teaching those poets who have taken advantage of poetry workshops held in her living room.

Bernadette Mayer’s poetry writing workshop takes place at her home in East Nassau, NY. The workshop will meet on five Saturdays: May 3, June 7, July 5, August 2 and September 6, 2014. Each meeting will take place between 2 – 4 p.m. Mayer will facilitate an atmosphere conducive to bringing forth enhanced new poems from each of the participants. Total Cost: $65, including drinks and light refreshments. Workshop limited to eight participants.

Bernadette Mayer (born May 12, 1945 in Brooklyn, NY ) is a poet and prose writer. In 1967 she received a BA from New School for Social Research. She has since edited the journal 0 TO 9 with Vito Acconci and the United Artists Press with Lewis Warsh and worked as Director of St. Mark’s Poetry Project. Her new book, Helens of Troy, is a Spring 2012 release by New Directions. For more than a decade she and poet Philip Good has lived in East Nassau.

From the beginning of this series of workshops in September 2011, she has provided an expansive menu of poetic technique and belief, as well as her careful listening to an appreciative core of workshop participants including Philip Good, Alan Casline, Edie Abrams and Howard Kogan. These poets have become regulars who continue to attend each new workshop session. They welcome new participants to their lively get together.

Contact: By e-mail contact to reserve your place. The mailing address if e-mail is not available is Rootdrinker, P.O. Box 522, Delmar, NY 12054.

Directions:  Take Route 20 East from the Capital District. Just pass Brainard turn left on Route 66 North towards Troy. After a short time on Route 66 take a left on to Tatsawawassa Rd. Mayer’s house is 53 Tatsawawassa Rd. Red in color, it is the first house on the left side of the road. Google map using 53 Tatsawawassa, East Nassua, NY, as destination is recommended. Car pool from Albany area is available.

Payment:  Payment of $65 may be made by check or money order. $40 of the total is a tax deductible contribution. Payment check should be made out to “Committee on Poetry.” IMPORTANT: write “Friends of Bernadette Mayer Fund” on check memo. Provide your mailing address to receive a letter to include in your tax returns for your deductions. Send you payment to Alan Casline, Rootdrinker Institute, PO Box 522, Delmar, NY 12054. We will verify your payment for the workshop and forward your contribution for your tax deduction.

May 2014 retreat for novelists at Vermont College of Fine Arts
An invitation from Connie May Fowler, Director, VCFA Novel Retreat:

I want to take a moment to tell you why I felt a need to create a novel retreat at Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) and why I hope you’ll consider joining us for six days this May.

For most of us, writing is something we carve into our day with stubborn and often guilty persistence. Because we stare at a blank page as we focus on the voices in our heads — Gardner’s narrative dream — we need a space that is all our own, free from the minutia of “real life.” That can be very difficult to come by. Our modern lifestyles simply don’t lend themselves to the quiet, contemplation novelists require.

A year ago, unable to finish my novel, I thought to myself, I need a retreat and so do a lot of other writers. So, why not create one? Why not breathe life into it through VCFA, a place that feels like a second home to many writers? And why not fashion it in a way that builds community, helps solve issues in our writing, and propels us further toward our common goal: completing our books?

At the VCFA Novel Retreat, you will be given your own writing studio. Every morning after breakfast, you will retreat into your studio for dedicated writing time. In the afternoon, you can continue to write or take advantage of various craft talks. Perhaps you and a faculty member will stroll into downtown Montpelier and discuss your project over coffee. Maybe you’ll find another writer with whom you feel sympatico and you’ll exchange pages, find solutions, discover questions you had never thought to ask. In the evenings, we will gather as a community to discuss that day’s writing-plot problems solved, character dilemmas overcome, possibilities suddenly made apparent. We will read from our work. Bonds that will last a lifetime will be forged. Your novel will take on weight and certitude.

This idea of community can’t be overstated because while we write in solitude, we gain strength and insight from a group of creative and like-minded souls. That is why we are limiting the retreat to thirty participants.

The retreat is designed to give you the gifts of time, quiet, and productivity while still providing personal access to and advice from our terrific faculty: Laurie Alberts (manuscript mentorships), Robin Hemley, Sigrid Nunez, and me. And each of you will be assigned a faculty advisor who will offer counsel and support.

I hope you will consider coming to Montpelier this May. The Green Mountains are beautiful. The campus has all sorts of fabulous spaces that make perfect studios. And when you leave, you will take with you a novel that feels like a real book, rather than just the dream of one.

For more information, please visit the retreat’s website. Or take a look at our Facebook page. And, of course, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me:

New York State Writers Institute 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):

  • 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

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Special Editor’s Note for APRIL:
What an edition, right? It’s jam-packed. What a thrill to see so much going on in our region for writers of all genres! I’m writing a special note to let you know that Gmail (where I format the newsletter) was being very “glitchy” as I put this issue together — freezing often and causing me to lose work. I believe, in each instance, I went back in and recreated what disappeared. If you see something amiss — or something “a’missing” — my apologies! And please let me know.

(Regular) 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 The deadline each month is the 25th, and the newsletter publishes on (or around) the 1st. Please note: All announcements are subject to editing.
  • Got issues with the newsletter formatting? other feedback? Please email that same address:
  • 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.