Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter, October 2015


Guild Announcements:

  • Winners of HVWG poetry contest to be honored November 15
  • Save the Date: HVWG Annual Meeting November 15

Member Announcements:

  • Pauline Bartel offers course on book writing and publishing
  • Alan Catlin to present Edgar Allan Poe lecture October 30

Area Announcements:

  • An update from Misfit Magazine
  • Pine Hollow Arboretum open mic night to feature Brenda Coultas October 2
  • Opening reception for Pine Hollow Arboretum digital photography exhibit October 3
  • Caffè Lena to feature James Schlett and Susan Spivack October 7
  • Clifton Wharton to present autobiography Privilege and Prejudice: The Life of a Black Pioneer October 8
  • 8-week series – “Love, Technology: Poems Written in the Digital Age”- begins October 13
  • Arthur’s Market and Cafe poetry open mic to feature Tom Corrado October 14
  • Third Thursday to feature John Amen October 15
  • Call for work: Literary journal contest deadline October 15
  • Essay contest for students in Delaware County
  • Schenectady Community of Writer’s Program to be held November 22


Winners of HVWG poetry contest to be honored November 15
The Hudson Valley Writers Guild is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 writing contest. The genre this year was poetry, and the winning poets and their poems are:

  • First Place: Karen Schoemer for “November Sun”
  • Second Place:  Tom Corrado for “Letting the Body Love What It Loves”
  • Third Place:  Jackie Craven for “Her Daddy Was”

The judges, Howard Kogan and Cheryl A. Rice, had a daunting task. Winners were selected from 142 poems submitted by 56 poets living throughout New York State. The contest was coordinated by local author Jan Marin Tramontano.

The winners will be honored at an award ceremony and reading during the Hudson Valley Writers Guild Annual Meeting on Sunday, November 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Albany Public Library located at 161 Washington Avenue in Albany. The program is free and open to the public.

The Hudson Valley Writers Guild sponsors a writing contest each year with rotating genres. The genre for the next contest will be short fiction. Rules and submission guidelines will be announced in 2016. It is the mission of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild to foster an active community of writers and readers by encouraging the development of local authors and providing opportunities for them to share their talents with local audiences. For more information on the Guild, go to

Save the Date: HVWG Annual Meeting November 15
The annual meeting of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild will be held on Sunday, November 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the community room, second floor, of the Albany Public Library, Main Branch, 161 Washington Avenue, Albany. The meeting is open to members and non-members; everyone is invited. The program will include an election of board members and a reading by the winners of this year’s poetry contest.  More details will be included in next month’s newsletter.


Pauline Bartel offers course on book writing and publishing
A course for aspiring authors interested in writing and selling books will be held on a series of three Thursdays — October 29, November 5 and 12 — from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College. “No Excuses: Writing and Selling Your Book” is offered through the Office of Community and Professional Education. Course fee is $55, which includes a coursebook. To register, call (518) 629-7339.

Instructor Pauline Bartel will discuss the step-by-step process of transforming an idea into a published book, including creating a book proposal, finding agents and publishers and guiding a book to publishing success. Bartel is an award-winning writer and the author of seven published books. She is a member of the prestigious American Society of Journalists and Authors. Visit her website ( for further information.

Alan Catlin to present Edgar Allan Poe lecture October 30
Alan Catlin is going to present a lecture on the life and times of Edgar Allan Poe at the Schenectady Public Library at noon on October 30. It’s the 165th anniversary of the death of the Master of the Macabre, so it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate All Hallows Eve. Take a walk on the dark side at the library!


An update from Misfit Magazine
The 16th issue of is to be posted in early October. This is our biggest, most diverse issue yet, with the usual wide assortment of poets, reviews and an essay by the editor on the life and times of the late Paul Weinman. We are taking a brief holiday hiatus so please hold your submissions until January 2016 for issue 17.

Pine Hollow Arboretum open mic night to feature Brenda Coultas October 2
Brenda Coultas will read her work at the Pine Hollow Arboretum Visitors Center Building on Friday, October 2, at 6:30 p.m. The arboretum is located at 16 Maple Avenue in Slingerlands, New York.

Brenda Coultas is the author of The Tatters, a collection of poetry, recently published by Wesleyan University Press. Her other books include The Marvelous Bones of Time (2008) and A Handmade Museum (2003) from Coffee House Press. She has received a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship (NYFA) and a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council residency (LMCC).  Her poetry can be found inThe Brooklyn Rail, the Denver Quarterly and the newly released Hudson Valley anthology Infiltration. This year she is a mentor in the Emerge-Surface-Be program sponsored by The Poetry Project and The Jerome Foundation.

Others poets can read three short poems or two longer poems. Also, two pages of prose will be acceptable. Light refreshments served. Donations welcomed. Contact Alan Casline at for more information. Funding to support this reading series comes from Rootdrinker Institute.

Opening reception for Pine Hollow Arboretum digital photography exhibit October 3
Pine Hollow Arboretum invites you to the opening reception of the digital photography exhibit “Images of Nature.” It features nature images from all over the United States and the world by Martha H. Hubbard, Anna Webb, Michael Czarnecki, Alan Casline, John Berringer, John Abbuhl, Mark W. Ó Brien, Michael Lawrence, Luba Ricker, Nancy Dyer, Drew Monthie, Charles Hayes, Shawn Tomlinson, Sally Rhoades, Nancy Gardner, Ann Cohan and others.

There will be an opening reception held at the Pine Hollow Arboretum Visitors Center (16 Maple Avenue, Slingerlands, New York) on  Saturday, October 3, from 2-5 p.m. Light snacks and drinks will be provided.

“Images of Nature” will be exhibited at the Pine Hollow Visitors Center throughout the month of October. Weekend hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with other times arranged by appointment. Phone:(518) 439-6472.

Caffè Lena to feature James Schlett and Susan Spivack October 7
On Wednesday,October 7, Caffè Lena will present poetry readings by James Schlett and Susan Spivack. 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 St., Saratoga Springs. (518) 583-0022.

James Schlett is an award-winning journalist and the author of A Not Too Greatly Changed Eden: The Story of the Philosophers’ Camp in the Adirondacks (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2015). His prose has been published in Songs of Innocence, New York Archives and the Mid-Atlantic Almanack, and his poetry has been published in Nomad’s Choir, The Literary Gazette, The Heron’s Nest, Acorn and Bottle Rockets.

Susan Fantl Spivack’s poetry has appeared in many small press publications, including  Earth’s Daughters, Calyx and the First and Second Word Thursdays Anthologies. Her chapbook In the Garden—Poems (Nov.-2013) is available from Bright Hill Press ( Her Singing Frog Press has published Times River 2: A Calendar of Poems (a 12 chapbook series) and 9 other hand-sewn chapbooks.

Clifton Wharton to present autobiography Privilege and Prejudice: The Life of a Black Pioneer October 8
Clifton R. Wharton, Jr., former SUNY chancellor, will present his new autobiography, Privilege and Prejudice: The Life of a Black Pioneer (Michigan State University Press), on Thursday, October 8, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Rockefeller Institute, the public policy research center of the State University of New York, located at 411 State Street, Albany. In a rare and intimate conversation with long-time friend and former Washington Post and Times Union editor Harry Rosenfeld, Dr. Wharton will discuss the challenges of competing in a society where obstacles, negative expectations and stereotypes remained stubbornly in place.

Dr. Wharton’s book reveals a Black man whose good fortune in birth, heritage and opportunity of time and place helped him to forge breakthroughs in four separate and distinguished careers in higher education, business, government and the nonprofit sector. Clifton R. Wharton Jr. entered Harvard at age 16. He was the first Black student accepted to the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins, and he went on to receive a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago — another first. For 22 years, he promoted economic and agricultural development in Latin America and Southeast Asia, earning a post as chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation. He pioneered higher education firsts as president of Michigan State University and chancellor of the 64-campus State University of New York system. As chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF, he was the first Black CEO of a Fortune 500 company. His commitment to excellence culminated in his appointment as deputy secretary of state during the Clinton administration.

In addition to learning Dr. Wharton’s fascinating life story, you will also hear Dr. Wharton discuss his dealings with national leaders in business, philanthropy, higher education and government — names like Nelson A. Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller III, Paul Volcker, Bill and Judith Moyers, Henry Ford II, Cy Vance, Hugh Carey, Mario Cuomo, Hubert Humphrey, Vernon Jordan, Milton Friedman and Presidents Carter, Ford, and Clinton.

Following the program there will be a reception and book signing. To RSVP, please contact or call (518) 443-5258 by October 6. Seating is limited and free parking is available to attendees.

8-week series – “Love, Technology: Poems Written in the Digital Age”- begins October 13
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 October 13 to December 1, will include the reading and discussion of published poems and their techniques, as well as the reading and discussion of student work. Starting Tuesday, October 13, classes will be held weekly from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Schenectady JCC in the Farber/Miness Gallery. The JCC is located at 2565 Balltown Road, Niskayuna.

Susan Comninos has taught poetry at the University of Michigan, RPI, Troy Arts Center and Temple Sinai, in Saratoga. Her poetry recently appeared in the Harvard Review Online, Malahat Review, Hobartand Southern Humanities Review. Previously, it appeared in Subtropics, TriQuarterly, Quarterly West, Cortland Review, Nashville Review, Lilith and Tikkun, among others. In 2010, she won the Yehuda Halevi Poetry Contest run by Tablet magazine. Her new work is forthcoming in The Tishman Review, The Common and Subtropics.

The cost for Schenectady JCC members and returning poetry students is $90; new students, $110. Enroll at the Schenectady JCC or by calling (518) 377-8803.

Arthur’s Market and Cafe poetry open mic to feature Tom Corrado October 14
A poetry open mic and featured poet take place on the 2nd Wednesdays at Arthur’s Market and Cafe, 35 North Ferry St. (at the Lawrence Circle) in Schenectady. The featured poet October 14 is Tom Corrado. Tom is a musician, painter and published poet. He is a founding member of the now-defunct Voorheesville Library’s Every Other Thursday Night Poets, as well as the currently alive-and-kicking Rensselaerville Library Poetry Group. He recently placed second in the 2015 Hudson Valley Writers Guild poetry contest. You can read his Screen Dumps at

The open mic/reading is hosted by Catherine Norr. Sign-up: 7 p.m. Readings: 7:30 p.m. Beverages, food and hospitable atmosphere!

Third Thursday to feature John Amen October 15
Poet and editor John Amen will read from his work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, on Thursday, October 15, at 7:30 p.m.

John Amen is the author of four collections of poetry: Christening the Dancer, More of Me Disappears, At the Threshold of Alchemy and The New Arcana (with Daniel Y. Harris). His next collection, strange theater, will be released by New York Quarterly Press in 2015. In addition, he has released two folk/folk rock CDs: “All I’ll Never Need” and “Ridiculous Empire.” Further information is available on his website: He founded and continues to edit The Pedestal Magazine.

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:

Call for work: Literary journal contest deadline October 15
A note from Ralph Cooper: I’m the managing editor of Sequestrum, a literary journal of new prose and poetry, and I’m emailing you because we’re holding a contest through October 15 for new writers (anyone yet to publish a book-length manuscript). I appreciate the vital role local and regional organizations play for writers in all stages of their careers, and I’d appreciate if you could pass this note along to any writers who might be interested in participating in the contest. The contest is open to short fiction, nonfiction and poetry, with winners for both prose and poetry. Full contest details Our library contains NEA and Guggenheim Fellows, Pulitzer Prize Nominees and other award-winning poets and novelists, and we hope to put some of today’s emerging talents alongside them.

Essay contest for students in Delaware County
Writers in the Mountains (WIM) is sponsoring the fourth annual Matilda Friedman essay contest for middle school and high school students throughout Delaware County. The board of directors for WIM is hoping that students from your school will be encouraged to participate. Authors of the winning essays will be awarded cash prizes. Writers in the Mountains will host a reception for contest winners on November 8. Students will also have an opportunity to read their winning essays on WIOX radio’s program, “The Writer’s Voice.”

The topic this year is “What is your favorite music, and how does it move you?” Students are encouraged to choose any musical genre, composition, artist or band that appeals to them, and explain why the music, specific piece or artist is important to them and how it (or the artist) makes them feel. The approach to the topic should be determined by each student who chooses to enter the contest.

Contest rules for student participation have been provided to all middle and high school English teachers. The judging will be performed by WIM board members who will be looking for strength of thought and creativity in the content more than the mechanics of spelling and punctuation.

The contest was developed in memory of Matilda Freidman, a long time friend of Writers in the Mountains and is supported by her family and the WIM board of directors.

A reception for the winners will be held on November 8. Cash prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • high school: 1st place $100, 2nd place $75, 3rd place $50 and honorable mention $10
  • middle school 1st place $75, 2nd place $50, 3rd place $25 and honorable mention $10

Winners will be invited to read their essays at the reception and on WIOX Radio.

Schenectady Community of Writer’s Program to be held November 22
The annual Schenectady Community of Writers Program at the Schenectady Public Library is Sunday November 22. Readers include

  • the husband and wife team of Jim and Carol McCord, who will be presenting poems by Jim and accompanying photos by Carol;
  • poetry by Kelly de la Rocha and Leslie Neustadt;
  • memoir from Esther Willison;
  • James Schlett discussing and reading from his new book on the Adirondack Philosopher’s Club; and
  • children’s author Nancy Castaldo.

Hosting will be Thom Francis, president of Albany Poets.