Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter, March 2014


Guild Announcements:

  • “Take Back The Night Poetry Contest” deadline extended to March 10
  • Hudson Valley Writers Guild 2013 Year-End Membership Report
  • Hudson Valley Writers Guild 2013 Membership Honor Roll
  • Hudson Valley Writers Guild New Membership Form

Member Announcements:

  • Paul Castellani’s new novel available, upcoming readings May 3 & 28
  • Hollis Seamon’s novel included on list of 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults

Area Announcements:

  • Bookmarks reading March 3: “The Times They Were A’ Changing: Memories from the Sixties Generation”
  • Cara Benson & Coli Collen to feature at Caffè Lena March 5
  • Upcoming deadline for Bookmarks reading series: March 5
  • Announcements from Misfit Magazine
  • Upcoming dates for area’s only open mic featuring poetry and prose
  • Writers in the Mountains hosts new self-publishing class March 9
  • Registration opens March 17 for Smith’s Tavern 5th Annual Poet Laureate Contest
  • Bookmarks Reading: “Eat the Past,” March 19
  • Poet Catherine Norr to read at the Social Justice Center March 20
  • Exploration of expressive arts
  • New York State Writers Institute announces Spring 2014 schedule of visiting writers & film series
  • Upcoming workshops from Janine De Tillio Cammarata


Take Back The Night Poetry Contest deadline extended to March 10
“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: EXTENDED through March 10, 2014.
  • Poems may be submitted electronically to

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

Hudson Valley Writers Guild 2013 Year-End Membership Report
At the end of 2013, the Hudson Valley Writers Guild had 143 “active” members, i.e., people who’ve paid membership dues in the past couple years. Of them, 85 (60%) paid 2013 dues and 58 (40%) did not. The 85 dues payers contributed $2,605. There were 13 new members and six people who made voluntary contributions (without being asked). The bulk of the renewals (66) came from people who responded to membership solicitations. They were split roughly evenly between people whose membership expired in 2013 (32) and people whose membership had expired in a previous year (34).

The Guild’s membership solicitation efforts were carried out through 251 mailings composed of 166 renewal requests, 72 thank you letters and 13 new member welcome letters. Additionally, 56 year-end email reminders were sent to the non-paying members.

The direct cost of the 2013 membership effort was $262, which when compared to the $2,605 income, means that the administrative expense for membership was 10%.

Hudson Valley Writers Guild 2013 Membership Honor Roll
The Guild had an honor roll in 2013 of six members who made extra financial contributions in addition to their membership dues. The following people are called out for recognition of their extraordinary efforts:

  • Lin Bell (a new member)
  • Therese Broderick
  • Phyllis Hillinger
  • Gary Phillips
  • Robyn Ringler
  • David Wolcott

Hudson Valley Writers Guild New Membership Form
Yes, it’s true folks! After many years, the Guild has a new membership form, re-designed by Dan Wilcox and David Wolcott. Among other changes, you’ll see the form is more promotional to catch the eye of people at meetings where it might be handed out or laid on a table, hopefully to draw attention to the Guild as an organization people might want to join.

David now has 1,000 copies of the form sitting in a box on his closet floor, but clearly that’s not where they belong. First, they belong in the hands of board members and other members who are organizing Guild events. And then, wherever the Guild is holding a meeting or sponsoring an event, these forms must be out there visibly accessible to the public. In general, whoever is organizing these events can be responsible for making this happen.

Why is this so important? As noted in the year-end report above, the Guild attracted only 13 new members in 2013. That’s just 9% of our active members; frankly, we could do better. And it gets worse: new members last year were about half of the year before. The Guild’s new member enrollment is going down when it should be doing exactly the opposite. With new members comes new blood, new ideas, new energy.

So what do we do? Well, for a start people who need the forms should contact David (see below) and tell him how many copies you need and when you need them. If it’s right away, he will arrange expedited delivery, otherwise he’ll mail them to you. It’s as simple as that! Let’s all work together to help make this happen effectively.

For forms, contact:

David Wolcott
256 New Road
Nassau, NY 12123
(518) 859-5773


Paul Castellani’s new novel available, upcoming readings May 3 & 28
Paul Castellani’s new novel, Sputnik Summer, has been published and is available at local bookstores and from North Country Books. Readings and signings are scheduled as follows:

  • Open Door Bookstore, Schenectady, Saturday, May 3, 1- 2:30 p.m.
  • Bethlehem Public Library, Wednesday, May 28, 7 p.m.

In Sputnik Summer, a teenager’s testimony about a homicide rips apart an Adirondack resort town. Here is a synopsis:

It’s only a month into the summer of 1958, and 17-year old Kevin Boyle is already in trouble with an older girl. And a priest who’s zeroing in on Communists and degenerate books in the library is way too interested in his sex life. When he thinks nothing else can go wrong he sees his best friend’s brother shove a tourist to his death at a lakeside hangout. Or did he?

By the time the coroner’s inquest comes around, half the town thinks he’s caused the drop in tourism.  The other half thinks he’s mixed up with the suspect librarian, and his friends are sure he’s sold out to the lawyer who’s dangling a college scholarship and loan to his financially-strapped parents for the right testimony. Whatever Kevin says at the inquest will change his life.

Set in an Adirondack resort town, Sputnik Summer is a story of what happens when simmering tensions between tourists and the folks who rent to and wait on them every summer boil over. Dramatic events force characters to question whether they can trust their friends. What secrets could ruin their lives if revealed? What lies will they tell to get what they want?

The novel is available from your local bookseller or through North Country Books, Utica: 1-800-342-7409, $19.95, paperback, 6×9, 328 pages, ISBN #978-1-886166-39-4.

Hollis Seamon’s novel included on list of 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults
Hollis Seamon‘s novel, Somebody Up There Hates You, has been included on the 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults list complied by the American Library Association. The complete list is available here. This novel will be published under the title ALGUIEN ALLA ARRIBA TE ODIA in Spanish translation by Planeta Publishng in February 2014, in French translation in March by Anne Carriere Editions as DIEU ME DETESTE, and in German translation in May by Random House Germany as EINER DA OBEN HASST MICH.


Bookmarks reading March 3: “The Times They Were A’ Changing: Memories from the Sixties Generation”
Monday, March 3, 7 p.m., Arts Center, Troy. Curated by local writer and memoirist Carol Derfner. Do you remember The Sixties? It was an era of awakening, rebellion and responses to the world in new and sometimes confusing ways: student rebellion and anti-war demonstrations, civil rights marches, and the agitation for women’s equality, the explosion of American art, music and popular culture; Elvis, Motown, the Beatles and Janis Joplin, Earth Day, organic foods and Julia Child; JFK and Jackie; cool cars and women in the workplace.

We will hear the voices of men and women who were part of the fabled generation who lived those life-changing moments that transformed the way we all live today. Five of the eleven writers are reading for the first time in the Bookmarks series:

  • Paul Bouchey
  • Tina Lincer
  • Mary Scanlan
  • Robert Knightley
  • Tom Martin
  • David Wolcott
  • Natasha Williams
  • Harriet Englander
  • Carol Wandrey
  • Dan New
  • Elizabeth Racicot

Bookmarks is a series of group readings featuring writing that is grounded in personal experience. We encourage both experienced writers as well as those whose work has has neither previously been read publicly nor published, to submit work.

Cara Benson & Coli Collen to feature at Caffè Lena March 5
On Wednesday, March 5, Caffè Lena will present poetry readings by Cara Benson and Colie Collen. 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 47 Phila Street, Saratoga Springs. (518) 583-0022.

Cara Benson is the author of “Cara Benson” and of the poetry book (made). She has been published in NY Times, Boston Review and Best American Poetry. She has been a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in poetry and chair of the PEN Prison Writing Program. She’s been a visiting writer at the NYS Writers Institute at SUNY Albany, UPENN, Rhode Island School of Design and Skidmore College and has taught creative writing in a NYS prison since 2005.

Colie Collen practices floral design and gardening as her primary forms of focused engagement with the world, but sometimes poetry leaks out on the sides. She lives in Troy, New York, but feels indebted to many places for the textures and leaf-shapes of her writing.

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 the will to be creative against all odds. Sheila O’Shea plays Beth Farrell whose success as a novelist leads her to poetry. Her debut as a poet will be filmed tonight.

Upcoming deadline for Bookmarks reading series: March 5
Let Your Voice Be Heard. Submission deadline: Wednesday, March 5, 5 p.m. Curated by Thom Francis. What is your passion? What are your dreams? Using poetry and spoken word, tell your story, in your own words. This event is presented as part of Albany Poet’s youth event for Word Fest Week 2014. Young writers are warmly invited to submit! Reading: Monday, April 14, 7 p.m.

Visit the call for entries page at the Arts Center website for details on how to submit.

Announcements from Misfit Magazine
Misfit Magazine #8 is now live at Poetry, essays, reviews, local poets, the well known and the unknown, side by side. What more could you want? Check it out. Reading for future issues now.

Upcoming dates 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 at 2:00 p.m.  Please bring two poems or five minutes of fiction or non-fiction prose.

Here are our upcoming dates for Second Sunday @ 2:

  • March 9
  • April 13
  • May 11
  • June 8

All are welcome!  Free and open to the public!

Writers in the Mountains hosts new self-publishing class March 9
“Self-Publishing and Book Marketing: What you need to know” with Simona David, Sunday, March 9, 1-4 p.m., Roxbury Library. Workshop will familiarize participants with basic concepts and processes involved in book production and publication. Class fee is $35. Register online at, by phone at (607) 326-4802 or email

Registration opens March 17 for Smith’s Tavern 5th Annual Poet Laureate Contest
Smith’s Tavern Fifth Annual Poet Laureate Contest will be held Sunday, April 27, at Smith’s Tavern, 112 Maple Avenue, Voorheesville. Cash prizes: Poet Laureate, $100; second place, $50; honorable mention, $25. The contest is open to the first 20 people to register, and registration begins March 17 at noon by email to Registrants will receive notification of acceptance right away. Note: You may sign up only yourself.

In the contest, there will be three rounds (any style in English): poems of 25, 35, 45—or fewer—lines respectively. Here’s the schedule:

  1. Starting Time: 12:30 SHARP
  2. Reading order: LOTTERY (by round)
  3. Two opening rounds, then a 30-minute break
  4. Music to celebrate Poetry Month!
  5. Then Final Round
  6. Prizes presented following tallied scores
  7. Names engraved on Laureate statue.

Judges are Susan Oringel (head judge), Ron Pavoldi and Terry Rooney. Scorekeeper is Georgia Gray. The event is sponsored by Sunday Four Open Mic. Hosts: Dennis Sullivan, Edie Abrams, Michael Burke

Bookmarks Reading: “Eat the Past,” March 19
Wednesday, March 19, 7 p.m. Free. Curated by Steve Barnes. Taste and smell are rooted in some of the most primitive parts of our brain, and so food-related moments provide some of our most powerful memories. We’ll share stories about meals we remember and, perhaps, the perils of trying to recreate them.

Poet Catherine Norr to read at the Social Justice Center March 20
Poet Catherine Norr will read from her work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, on Thursday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m. Catherine Norr has written poetry and performed original songs and covers for many years. She is a member of several peer writing groups and a former board member of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild. Her debut poetry collection, Return to Ground, was recently published by Finishing Line 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:

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.

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):

  • 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

Upcoming workshops from Janine De Tillio Cammarata
Dream Circle Writing for Healing & Self Awareness

  • The Yoga Lily, 1 Barney Road, Suite 222, Clifton Park
  • (518) 744-5565
  • Age: 15+
  • Cost: $10 one week advance or $15 thereafter
  • Next date: Thursday, March 27
  • To register: Click here
  • More info: Click here

Digital Storytelling Program for Teens (Grades 9-12)

  • Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, 475 Moe Road, Clifton Park
  • Maximum group size is 12
  • Registration is REQUIRED and begins April 7th
  • To register: Click here
  • More info: Click here

Writer’s Journal for Students in Grades 4-5

  • Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, 475 Moe Road, Clifton Park
  • Dates: Mondays, April 21 – May 9, 3:30-4:45pm
  • Maximum group size is 12
  • Registration is REQUIRED and begins April 7th
  • To register: Click here
  • More info: Click here

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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 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.