Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter, October 2014


Member Announcements:

  • Leslie Neustadt to read at two local venues in October

Area Announcements:

  • New York State Writers Institute Fall 2014 Visiting Writers schedule
  • Arts Center of the Capital Region announces upcoming writing classes
  • Bernadette Mayer’s workshop commences fall session October 4
  • Schenectady’s Second “2nd Wednesday” Poetry Reading to be October 8
  • Paul Doty at Pine Hollow Arboretum October 10
  • Books for Troops fundraiser October 14
  • Publication party for Interesting Tales of Other People’s Woes October 14
  • Third Thursday to feature Elaine Cohen October 16
  • Poets Forum at NYU and The New School October 16-18
  • The Write Stuff: A One-Day Writers’ Festival, November 8
  • County of Kings by Lemon Andersen performed November 13
  • Schenectady Community of Writers annual reading November 23


Leslie Neustadt to read at two local venues in October

  • Local author and visual artist Leslie B. Neustadt will discuss and read from her new book, Bearing Fruit: A Poetic Journey (available now at The Open Door Bookstore), in a presentation at the Niskayuna Branch Library on Saturday, October 18 at 1 p.m. Following the reading and book signing, Neustadt will lead a group writing exercise. The focus will be on writing from personal experiences. Participants will be given prompts and time to free write a poem or short prose piece. The program is free and open to the public and no prior writing experience is necessary.
  • Leslie will also read from Bearing Fruit at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany on Thursday, October 30, at 7 p.m. The entire purchase price for each book sold at the event will go to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Upstate New York/Vermont Chapter. Free literature about the nonprofit organization and resources for patients and families living with blood cancer will also be available. Living with an incurable form of blood cancer and amyloidosis, Neustadt says she is “committed to being both visible and vulnerable” so that others may be touched by her life experiences.

About Leslie
A retired Assistant Attorney General of the state of New York, Neustadt’s essays and poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Cure Magazine and< The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. Her writing is illuminated by her Jewish upbringing and expresses her experiences as a woman, daughter, wife, mother, cancer patient, lymphoma patient (specifically) and incest survivor. Bearing Fruit, her debut collection, has been called “an autobiography in poetry…raw and real and fearless.” Proceeds from the book are donated by the author to nonprofit organizations that benefit cancer patients, aid children who have been abused, or use expressive arts as a healing modality. Neustadt lives in Niskayuna with her husband, Dr. Gary Kronick. For more information, visit


New York State Writers Institute Fall 2014 Visiting Writers schedule
The NYS Writers Institute is pleased to announce an exciting schedule of visiting writer appearances for Fall 2014:

  • October 1: John Lahr, Senior Drama Critic for the New Yorker (1992-2012), Tony Award winning playwright and son of Wizard of Oz “Cowardly Lion” Bert Lahr, presents his acclaimed new biography of troubled playwright Tennessee Williams.
  • October 9: Pulitzer-winning journalist David Finkel, author of the bestseller The Good Soldiers (2009), about being embedded with US troops in Iraq, presents his sequel to that book,Thank You For Your Service (2013), about those same soldiers adjusting to post-war life at home.
  • October 15: American Shakespeare Center’s Much Ado About Nothing. Admission charged. Contact the PAC box office for tickets:  (518) 442-3997
  • October 16: Two first-time novelists and rising stars of Black historical fiction, Tiphanie Yanique (Land of Love and Drowning) and Jacinda Townsend (Saint Monkey) will share the stage.
  • October 21: Major American poets in conversation— Edward Hirsch, MacArthur Fellow, President of the Guggenheim Foundation, and author of the surprise bestseller How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, presenting his magisterial reference volume, A Poet’s Glossary (2014); Kimiko Hahn, American Book Award winner, presenting her new volume Brain Fever (2014); and Marie Howe, the reigning New York State Poet (2012-14).
  • October 24, November 1, 6 & 13:  Events connected with the life and work of Lemon Andersen, Tony award winning member of the Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam, child of heroin addicts and 3-time felon, who found purpose and redemption in the art of poetry. We screen Lemon: The Movie on October 24 and November 1. Lemon visits UAlbany on November 6. And a dramatization of Lemon’s life story is presented on November 13.
  • October 28: Actress and playwright Najla Said, daughter of Palestinian-American intellectual Edward Said, presents her memoir, Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family (2013).
  • November 7: Major American composer of film music David Shire, winner of 2 Grammy Awards for Saturday Night Fever, and the Oscar for Norma Rae, discusses his score for Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Conversation,” following a 40th Anniversary screening of that film.
  • November 9: William Gibson, one of the most influential living writers of science fiction, author of Neuromancer (1984), which helped define the pop culture of the Computer Age, will present his new far-future novel, The Periperhal (2014), about cybersecurity, drone warfare, video gaming and lots of other things, at RPI’s EMPAC Concert Hall.
  • November 11: Two young novelists share the stage — Angela Pneuman, former UAlbany grad student and an exciting new voice in Southern American literature, presenting her first novel, Lay It on My Heart, and Julie Orringer, author of the bestselling Holocaust novel, The Invisible Bridge.
  • November 18: Neuroscience writer and developmental psychologist Susan Pinker, author of the international bestseller, The Sexual Paradox, presents her new book, The Village Effect: How Face to Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier and Smarter (2014).
  • November 20: Eminent historian of the American presidency and frequent PBS NewsHour commentator Richard Norton Smith presents his definitive biography of Nelson Rockefeller, On His Own Terms (2014).
  • December 2:  Joseph O’Neill, author of the bestselling novel Netherland, presents his new 2014 novel The Dog (long-listed for the Man Booker Prize).
  • December 5: Author Betty Medsger and filmmaker Johanna Hamilton present their award-winning 2014 documentary “1971: The Film,” based on Medsger’s book, The Burglary (2014), about eight ordinary citizens who broke into FBI offices and revealed the existence of COINTELPRO, an illegal program of spying on law-abiding Americans (the burglars’ identities have been kept secret until now). Medsger also broke the original story in the Washington Post in 1971.

For more details, times and locations, please visit our website at

Arts Center of the Capital Region announces upcoming writing classes
Here is a list of writing classes starting at the Arts Center in October and November:

  • “Master Class: Memoir” with Marion Roach Smith
  • “Fireflies: A Writing Workshop” with Coleen Paratore
  • “A Writer’s Circle: Encouraging Feedback and Advice for Writers” with Coleen Paratore
  • “Novel Writing 101” with Elizabeth Brundage
  • “Writing What You Know” with Marion Roach Smith
  • “The Art of the Interview” with Michael Eck
  • “Poetry: The Spoken Word” with Victorio Reyes

For more information and to register, visit

Bernadette Mayer’s workshop commences fall session October 4
Bernadette Mayer will lead her continuing workshop series on a fall session beginning October 4. She will once again provide participating poets with the opportunity to engage in her language experiments. 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. The workshop is not a traditional critique of participant’s previous work but an opportunity to fulfill Bernadette’s creative writing assignments. Completed assignments are then presented to the group and used as springboards for wide ranging discussion. 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 six Saturdays: October 4, November 1, December 7, January 3, February 7 and March 6. Each meeting will take place 2 – 4 p.m. Mayer will facilitate a conducive atmosphere that will bring 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 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. New participants are welcome to their lively get togethers.

E-mail ACASLINE@AOL.COM to reserve your place. The mailing address, if e-mail is not available, is Rootdrinker, P.O. Box 522, Delmar, NY 12054.

Directions to the workshop: 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 your 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.

Schenectady’s Second “2nd Wednesday” Poetry Reading to be October 8
The new Schenectady “2nd Wednesday of the Month” Poetry Reading had a grand kick-off in September with 16 poets, young and old, published and beginners, signing up to read alongside a wonderful featured poet.  Come join us at our warm and friendly venue!

The event is held at Arthur’s Market and Cafe, 35 North Ferry Street, Schenectady, in the Historic Stockade District. It continues with a second gathering on Wednesday, October. Sign-up for open mic is at 7 p.m. Readings begin at 7:30. The featured poet for this coming event is Virginia Bach Folger. The evening will be hosted by Jackie Craven. Tasty food and beverages are available.

Paul Doty at Pine Hollow Arboretum October 10
Paul Doty will be the featured reader at the Pine Hollow Arboretum, 16 Maple Avenue, Slingerlands, New York, on Friday, October 10, at 6:30 p.m.

Paul Doty is a reference librarian at St. Lawrence University and has served in that capacity for 16 years. Before joining the staff at St. Lawrence, he was a reference librarian at the University of Wisconsin Superior and the University of Utah. He resides in Canton, New York, with his wife and youngest daughter, a house full of books and a garage full of canoes. Paul has published essays or poems in publications such as the Reference Librarian, The Leaflet, The FODYLL Bulletin, Mississippi Review, Stone Canoe, Cortland Review, and Rootdrinker. His poetry is also found in the 2010 Natural Object Press publication glyph of poetry at the yoga loft which commemorates the November 6, 2009, group reading in Canton, New York, by Paul Doty, Dale Hobson, Albert Glover and Alan Casline.

The Pine Hollows Arboretum event includes a featured reader and an open mic. Open mic poets can read three short poems or two longer poems, also two pages of prose will be acceptable. Light refreshments. Donations welcomed. Contact Alan Casline at for more information.

Funding to support this reading series comes from Hudson Valley Writers Guild and Rootdrinker Institute.

Books for Troops fundraiser October 14
Ellen Keegan, a retired teacher, has found a simple, yet effective way to do something concrete to thank our troops for their service. She saw a need and founded an organization called Books for Troops. Her initial idea was to give our soldiers books as a source of escape from the horrors they were seeing each day—to offer them a release from loneliness, boredom, stress, homesickness and fear. She also wanted the books to be a tangible reminder of our gratitude.

Founded in 2010, first working out of her garage alongside four volunteers, then growing through force of will and the cooperation and generosity of cadre of dedicated volunteers and community support, she  she has been successful in sending 50,000 boxes of books to military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan and Africa; 10,000 boxes of books to twenty Veterans Administration hospital, the American Red Cross Wounded Warriors Program and veterans transitory homes and shelters; and 10,000 books to the families of the troops, in particular the children. The donated children’s books are sent to deployed troops so that they may read to their children via SKYPE or by recording on DVD using the military’s newly developed United Through Reading Program.

An infusion of monetary donations for postage of the books is imperative now to keep up with the demand of our ever growing presence throughout the world and the devastating and long recuperation and rehabilitation of our wounded. A fundraising dinner will be held on Tuesday, October 14, from 6-8 p.m. at the Grecian Gardens Restaurant, 1612 Route 9, in Halfmoon. The cost is $25 per adult, $45 per two adults and $10 for children under 12. Send check payable to BOOKS FOR TROOPS, c/o 258 Moe Road, Clifton Park, NY 12065. While book donations are the backbone of the operation, monetary donations are critical right now!

Activities will include a basket raffle, 50/50 drawing and an opportunity to adopt a box of books. Proceeds will help pay the $12.50 postage needed to send a box of 50 donated books, comics and DVDs to both deployed and recuperating troops. Books for Troops is a 501 © (3) organization registered with the NYS Charities Bureau.  All donations are deductible as designated by the tax law.

Publication party for Interesting Tales of Other People’s Woes October 14
Local author Damon Stewart will host a book publication party for Interesting Tales of Other People’s Woes on Tuesday, October 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at The Hollow Bar + Kitchen at 79 North Pearl Street, in downtown Albany. The party is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

The author will also lead a “Toast To Bad Decisions” (yours and others). Improv performers from the Mop & Bucket Co. will riff on passages from the book. There will be drink specials inspired by the seedy characters who haunt Damon’s sordid imagination, as well as free finger foods. The band Hard Soul will perform a tribute song to the author and play a set during the after party.

About the book
A local author explores the experiences of those who surrender to their character flaws in a new collection of short stories. Damon Stewart’s Interesting Tales of Other People’s Woes (162 pages) presents 12 stories written over the span of 15 years, some previously published in various literary magazines, such as Word Riot, Salvage, Big Toe Press, Hobart, Amoskeag, Full Circle and The Morpo Review. The stories in Woe provide a glimpse into lives that have gone off in unpredictable directions, both bad and good.

“Not all the tales are truly about ‘woe’ — some characters find hope, even contentment, in this collection,” said Stewart. “But we can relate to all of them, or at least get a sense of our neighbor’s fear or wonder. Sometimes it’s not about where you end up, but how you got there.”

“Woe” is available through Amazon in paperback and e-book editions. For information, and to read a sample story, visit:

About the author
Damon Stewart lives in New York’s Capital Region. He has published short stories in several literary journals, as well as travel and outdoor articles for national and regional magazines and newspapers. In 2007, he wrote and co-produced a pilot for a reality series, “The List.” In 2009, he wrote, produced and starred in a short film called “Shot Through The Heart.” His screenplay, “Termini Station,” was a finalist in the Fall 2011 Buffalo-Niagara Screenplay Competition. He is seeking publication for a recently completed novel.

Third Thursday to feature Elaine Cohen October 16
Poet and visual artist Elaine Cohen will read from her work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, on Thursday, October 16,at 7:30 p.m.

Gloversville native Elaine Cohen is the co-author of Unfinished Dream: The Musical World of Red Callender, the autobiography of the great jazz bassist, and author of the poetry chapbook Solita: A Sojourn in Mexico. She currently lives on Cape Cod where she paints and composes photographic collages.

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:

Poets Forum at NYU and The New School October 16-18
On October 16-18, the Academy of American Poets will present the 8th annual Poets Forum at New York University and The New School. Over the course of three days, more than 30 award-winning poets will gather to present inspiring readings and provocative conversations about poetry. This is an excellent opportunity for literary fans to engage with some of the most celebrated poets of our day, including inaugural poet Richard Blanco, National Book Award contenders Edward Hirsch, Claudia Rankine and Brian Blanchfield, as well as newly named MacArthur fellow, Khaled Mattawa.

For tickets and to see the full lineup, visit

The Write Stuff: A One-Day Writers’ Festival, November 8
The Write Stuff is a one-day writers’ festival taught by local authors at the Roe Jan Community Library, Hillsdale, New York, on Saturday, November 8, 8:30 a.m. – 6:15 p.m. A keynote address will be delivered by Ellen E.M. Roberts. She will speak on “What Kind of Book Should You Be Writing? How to Choose the Right Form for your Truth and your Art —- And Make Money Too!”


Conflict and Character: Creating a Short Story with Bobbie Slonevsky
This workshop will focus on the elements of conflict and character representing the beginning and middle of a story. The format will include brief remarks, examples from literature for each element and in-group writing from prompts.

Creative Writing for New Writers with Regina Colangelo
This workshop will target the primary building blocks of writing. Through discussion, examples and in-group writing exercises, participants will learn and practice skills every writer needs to tell a good story.

Memoir in Miniature with Laura Didyk
The mini-essay (750 words or less) —also called the micro- or flash essay—is quickly emerging as a respected and powerful genre in contemporary literature.  Focusing on true stories from our own lives, we will explore how to sustain, from beginning to end, the quiet urgency that is a hallmark of the short-short form.

Narrative Voice in Fiction with Wesley Brown
The participants in the workshop will be given brief examples of first and third person narrative voices. This will be followed by a writing exercise in which participants will be asked to write a paragraph in each one of the narrative voices. The writing exercise will include discussion with the entire group.

The Six Rules for Writing Non-Fiction that Sells with Janet Spencer King
While there are many types of non-fiction, the rules are the same whatever the genre:
•      Choose the subject that’s right—and right for you
•      Know your audience
•      Find your hook
•      Write a proposal (even if you are self-publishing)
•      Incorporate your voice/personality in your writing
•      Keep your writing lively
Attendees will present subjects they are writing about or considering; who they perceive as their audience and how that affects the writing process; and the take-away message of their story.

The Creative Process with Dara Lurie
Each participant will be asked to share one story or experience – whether fictional or lived – that has made a lasting impression. Then, working with the chosen story or experience, will move through an exploration sequence using guided writing and visualization exercises to uncover and develop the hidden levels of that story.

In addition, there will be a panel on getting published, including self publishing, and festival participants will have the option for individual manuscript review at an additional cost ($50). Manuscripts due October 15.

Registration is required! The early registration fee for the full day writers’ workshop is $40.  After October 1, the fee is $50. Please BYOL (bring your own lunch) or order and pay: The Front Porch 518-329-FOOD (3663). Beverages will be available with a wine and cheese networking session at the end of the festival.

For registration and additional information visit: This program is generously supported by The Hudson Valley Writers’ Guild.

“County of Kings” by Lemon Andersen performed November 13

  • Performance — 7:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
  • Pre-performance discussion at 7 p.m.
  • Advance Tickets: $15 general public / $10 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
  • Day of Show Tickets: $20 general public / $15 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
  • Box Office: (518) 442-3997;

Originally developed and directed by Elise Thoron, American Place Theatre took Lemon’s life story and adapted it into a solo play now performed by Michael Angel Viera. Weaving hard-edged drama with urban poetry and gritty prose, the work follows Lemon’s coming-of-age memoir in an astonishing journey toward self-discovery. “County of Kings” is a Literature to Life stage presentation of Young Audiences New York. Funding for this project is provided by The University at Albany Foundation; University Auxiliary Services at Albany; UAlbany’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Intercultural Student Success, and Alumni Association; and the Holiday Inn Express. Promotional assistance provided by the Campus Programming Board.

Schenectady Community of Writers annual reading November 23
The Schenectady Community of Writers Annual reading — sponsored by the Guild, Friends of the Schenectady Library and the Library — is scheduled for Sunday November 23 from 2-4 p.m. in the afternoon at the Schenectady Public Library. This year’s readers include Schenectady Poet Laureate Steve Swartz, Therese Broderick, Bunkong Tuon and Schenectady novelist James Pavoldi, among others. Light refreshments will be served and the event is free to everyone. Former Guild president Dan Wilcox with be the host of the reading.