Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter, May 2015


Guild Announcements:

  • Submission guidelines for the HVWG 2015 Poetry Contest

Member Announcements:

  • Tom Swyers’ Novel Saving Babe Ruth wins Benjamin Franklin Book Awards

Area Announcements:

  • Book shop at Feed and Seed Building in Kinderhook reopens May 2
  • Poetry course starting May 12 – “Love, Technology: Poems Written in the Digital Age”
  • Arthur’s Market and Cafe’ Open-Mic features Mimi Moriarty May 13
  • Third Thursday to feature Barbara Ungar May 21
  • Reading of  “Song of Myself”  May 31
  • Illustrator wanted!


Submission guidelines for the HVWG 2015 Poetry Contest
The Hudson Valley Writers Guild is pleased to announce this year’s poetry contest. Cash prizes will be awarded to first ($100), second ($75) and third place ($50) poems. The winning poets will be invited to read their winning submissions at a program in the fall.

Here are the guidelines:

  • 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 between June 15 and August 15, 2015.
  • One to three previously unpublished poems may be submitted. Poems must not exceed 40 lines.
  • Contact information must not appear anywhere on the submission.
  • A cover letter must include: name, address, phone number, email, title, and line count.
  • Submissions must be typed using 12-pt. Times New Roman or Cambria font.
  • Send three hard copies by mail. No email submissions. Please no pornography or erotica.
  • Mail submissions and entry fee to: HVWG CONTEST c/o Jan Tramontano, 14 Brookwood Avenue, Albany, NY  12203

This year’s judges are Howard Kogan and Cheryl A.Rice.

Howard Kogan is an award winning poet whose work has appeared in many literary journals including Still Crazy, Occupoetry, Poetry Ark, Naugatuck River Review, Jewish Currents Anthology (2014), Jewish Currents Calendar (2015), Writer’s Haven, Farming Magazine, Literary Gazette, Pathways, Up the River, Point Mass Anthology and Misfit Magazine. He has also published a book of poems,Indian Summer, and a chapbook, General Store Poems.

In 2011 he was the Poet Laureate of Smith’s Tavern, Voorheesville, NY.  He was a finalist in the second Annual Jewish Currents Dora and Alexander Raynes Poetry Competition, a semi-finalist in the Naugatuck River Review Annual Contest (2014) and one of three first place winners of the Rensselaerville Festival of Writers Poetry Contest (2014).

Cheryl A. Rice’s work has appeared in Baltimore Review, Chronogram, Florida Review, Home Planet News, Mangrove, The Temple and Woodstock Times, and in the anthologies,Wildflowers, Vol. II (2002: Shivastan Publishing), For Enid With Love (2010: NY Quarterly Books) and A Slant of Light  (2013:Codhill Press), among others. She is the author of Moses Parts the Tulips (2013: APD Press), My Minnesota Boyhood (2012: Post Traumatic Press) and Auction (2004, Flying Monkey Press; 2nd edition 2010). Her CDs are: “Nobody Slept Last Night” (2003, Another Poor Bastard Productions) and “Girl Poet” (2007, Flying Monkey Productions).

She is also founder and host of the Sylvia Plath Bake-Off. Her poetry blog, Flying Monkey Productions, may be found at

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

Contact Jan Tramontano at for more information.


Tom Swyers’ Novel Saving Babe Ruth wins Benjamin Franklin Book Awards
Member Tom Swyers’ novel Saving Babe Ruth earned two Benjamin Franklin Book Awards at the 27th annual Independent Book Publisher Association’s conference and awards ceremony held in Austin, Texas, on April 10. Saving Babe Ruth was awarded gold for “Best First Book Fiction” 2015 and silver for “Best Popular Fiction” for 2015.

Tom is scheduled to speak about Saving Babe Ruth at the Albany Institute of History and Art on May17 at 2 p.m. and at the Norman Rockwell Museum on May 30.


Book shop at Feed and Seed Building in Kinderhook reopens May 2
The Friends of the Kinderhook Memorial Library Book Shop at the Feed and Seed Building will re-open on May 2. The shop will be completely re-stocked with hundreds of new and gently used books for adults and children, all at affordable prices. The Friends’ book collection includes vintage, collectible and contemporary fiction and non-fiction. Each week a special collection will be highlighted and new books will be added as donations come into the Library.

The Book Shop will be open every Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through mid-October. The Feed and Seed building is located at 24 Hudson Street in the Village of Kinderhook. For more information about the Friends and other Library programs, please visit the Kinderhook Memorial Library website:

Poetry course starting May 12 – “Love, Technology: Poems Written in the Digital Age”
Irony, brevity, self-focus: all are the calling cards of communication in the Digital Age. But, to quote the poet Donald Hall, “Does it end there?” Today’s poetry often references the Internet, Twitter and our personal lives as mediated through screen time. In the face of what’s trending, how do we tease out what literature will last and what kind of writing will be gone in the time that it takes to say “screen shot”?

Join poet Susan Comninos in exploring poetry that’s set within our cultural moment, while trying your hand at writing poems of lasting value. This 8-week series, from May 12 to June 30, will include the reading and discussion of published poems and their techniques, as well as the reading and discussion of student work.

Susan Comninos has recently published poems in Subtropics, TriQuarterly, Quarterly West, The Cortland Review, Nashville Review, Lilith, Tikkun and Gastronomica, among others. Later this year, her poetry is forthcoming in the Harvard Review Online, Malahat Review, Subtropics and Catskill Made. In 2010, she won the Yehuda Halevi Poetry Contest run by Tabletmagazine. She has taught poetry at the University of Michigan, RPI, Troy Arts Center, Schenectady JCC and Temple Sinai. She currently lives in Guilderland.

Classes are held at the Schenectady JCC in the Farber/Miness Gallery. The JCC is located at 2565 Balltown Road, Niskayuna. The cost for Schenectady JCC members and returning poetry students is $85; new students, $110. Enroll at the Schenectady JCC or by calling (518) 377-8803.

Arthur’s Market and Cafe’ Open-Mic features Mimi Moriarty May 13
Second Wednesday open mic and featured poet May 13 at Arthur’s Market & Café, 35 N. Ferry Street, Schenectady. Featured poet: Mimi Moriarty. Mimi’s many published works include two chapbooks from Finishing Line Press: War Psalm and Sibling Reverie (written with her brother Frank Disiderio). Another chapbook, Crows Calling, is from Foothills Publishing. She has presented at many local and regional venues.

Sign-up starts at 7 p.m.; readings begin at 7:30. Hosted by Catherine Norr. Good food, beverages and cozy, welcoming ambiance!

Third Thursday to feature Barbara Ungar May 21
Poet Barbara Ungar will read from her work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, on Thursday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. Barbara Ungar is a professor of English at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY; she directs the MFA program there. Among her books of poetry are Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life, The Origin of the Milky Way and the recently published Immortal Medusa (The Word Works, 2015).

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 or

Reading of  “Song of Myself”  May 31
Poets and other citizens will gather on Sunday, May 31, at 6 p.m. at the Robert Burns statue in Washington Park in Albany, NY, to celebrate the birthday of the quintessential American poet, Walt Whitman, with a reading of his poem “Song of Myself.” The event is sponsored by the Poetry Motel Foundation and the Hudson Valley Writers Guild. It is free and open to the public. Persons interested in reading a section of Whitman’s poem can sign up to read at the event.

Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, at West Hills, NY, near Huntington on Long Island. “Song of Myself,” composed of over 1,300 lines in 52 sections, first appeared in Whitman’sLeaves of Grass in 1855. The poem went through a number of revisions and changes until the 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass. Whitman died in 1892 in Camden, NJ. The theme of “Song of Myself,” as indeed it is of most of Whitman’s work, is the celebration of the individual, of the nation and of the spiritual possibility within us all.

The Robert Burns statue is located in Albany’s Washington Park, along the park road that parallels Willett Street and the intersection of Hudson Avenue. The reading will take place rain or shine; it is suggested that the public brings chairs or blankets to sit on.  For more information call or email Dan Wilcox at or visit the Guild’s website,

Illustrator wanted!
A note from Jeff Marden: “I am seeking an illustrator for a children’s book for 2-8 year olds. The illustrations need to be colored pencil drawings. The theme personality is moderate fantasy taking place in a city neighborhood with traditional brownstone houses. If interested in discussing please contact Jeff Marden, Thank you.”