Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter June 2016


Guild Announcements:

  • HVWG to host 1-day workshop to combat writer’s block June 4
  • Guidelines for the 2016 HVWG Fiction Contest

Member Announcements:

  • 18th issue of misfit magazine is live
  • Pauline Bartel offers “Writing Your Life Story” workshop June 11 at HVCC

Area Announcements:

  • Bernadette Mayer’s summer poetry workshop dates
  • William Weaver Christman Tribute June 1
  • Perry Nichols and Annie Christain to read at Caffè Lena June 1
  • Spencertown Academy presents Benjamin “Bernie” Kukoff poetry reading June 4
  • Writers in the Mountains offers workshop on writing the nonfiction book proposal June 5
  • Donna Wojcik to read at Arthur’s Market & Cafe June 8
  • Tech Valley Center of Gravity Writers Workshop summer schedule starts June 9
  • B-Fest National Teen Book Festival at Barnes & Noble June 10-12 seeks local writers
  • Joseph Luzzi to read from his memoir at Roe Jan Library June 11
  • Third Thursday to feature poet Karen Fabiane June 16
  • Upcoming featured poets at Pine Hollow Open Mic Series
  • Tables available for Saugerties Public Library Comic Con July 16
  • Annual 5-day workshop for women writers at Paradox Lake Retreat Center starts July 17


HVWG to host 1-day workshop to combat writer’s block June 4
The Hudson Valley Writers Guild is presenting a 1-day workshop,” Block Busting: How to Break Through the Barriers that Keep You from Writing,” to be held June 4, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the East Greenbush Community Library, 10 Community Way. The workshop, led by novelist and poet Julie Lomoe, is free (but please see below for information on pre-registration).

Writer’s block afflicts every author sooner or later. If you’ve ever found yourself paralyzed, staring at an empty piece of paper or a blank computer screen, you know the feelings of frustration and even downright panic that can keep you from writing. In this workshop for writers or would-be writers of all levels, we’ll explore the underlying feelings behind your personal blocks and learn a variety of techniques to help you overcome the barriers that keep you from reaching your fullest potential as a writer. This workshop will use creative visualization and writing exercises along with a discussion of successful writers’ tips and techniques for overcoming creative blocks. Free handouts will include a tip sheet and bibliography.

Julie Lomoe is a novelist and poet with over three decades of experience as a creative arts therapist and workshop leader.  She has published three novels: Mood Swing: The Bipolar MurdersEldercide and her most recent Hope Dawns Eternal (her first venture into paranormal fantasy fiction and the first of a series featuring the vampire and soap opera star Jonah McQuarry).

Writers may pre-register by calling the East Greenbush Community Library at (518) 477-7476 or by going to  For further information about the workshop, email Julie Lomoe at

Guidelines for the 2016 HVWG Fiction Contest
The HVWG writing contest alternates genres annually. This year’s contest is short fiction. Winners will be awarded cash prizes and invited to read their winning piece at the Guild’s annual meeting in November 2016. Prizes will be awarded as follows: 1st prize, $100; 2nd prize, $75; 3rd prize, $50; and three honorable mentions, $20 each.

  • Eligibility: All contestants must be residents of New York State. Current members of the HVWG Board and their families are not eligible.
  • Judges: Julie Lomoe, Joe Krausman and Andrea Portnick.
  • Submissions: 
    • Entries must be postmarked between April 1 and June 30, 2016.
    • Entry fee: $15 for non-members of HVWG; $10 for members. (Make checks payable to HVWG and include with submission.)
    • Identification/contact information MUST NOT appear anywhere on the submission.
    • Cover letter should include the following: name, address, phone number, e-mail address, title of submission and word count.
    • Word count must not exceed 5000 words. Any submissions that exceed this number will not be considered.
    • All submissions must be typed, double-spaced, 12-pt. standard font such as Cambria, Calibri or Times New Roman.
    • Submissions must be previously unpublished.
    • No pornography or erotica.
    • Submit four copies through the mail and an SASE if you would like a hard copy of results. Submissions will not be returned.
    • All entrants will be notified of winners by e-mail or SASE. Results will also be posted on our website at

For more information, please contact Faith Green at or (518) 253-8557.

Mail submissions with entry fee to: HVWG Fiction Contest, c/o Faith Green, 25B Patterson Drive, Glenmont, NY 12077.<


18th issue of misfit magazine is live
A note from Alan Catlin: “I would like to announce that the latest issue of is posted. It is our eighteenth issue, jam-packed with poems, reviews and an essay on Poe as the first American freelance writer. Submissions are always welcome at

Pauline Bartel offers “Writing Your Life Story” workshop June 11 at HVCC
A course for those interested in writing a life story or family history will be held on Saturday, June 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College. “Writing Your Life Story” is offered through the Office of Community and Professional Education. Course fee is $43, which includes a coursebook. To register, telephone (518) 629-7339.

Instructor Pauline Bartel will discuss the step-by-step process that transforms memories into memoirs. Learn techniques for stimulating memories, conducting personal and family history research and writing the story of your life. 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.


Bernadette Mayer’s summer poetry workshop dates
Bernadette Mayer will lead her continuing workshop series in a summer session beginning in May 2016.  She will once again provide participating poets with the opportunity to engage in her language experiments.  She will talk about her mentors and contemporaries and suggest new directions in verse.   Bernadette has been on the road a bit in the last 12 months and is glad to be back home doing her front porch poems.  Her subject material promises to be immediate. She will also suggest books you should have to aid in your writing and how to publish your poems. Bernadette will write and distribute new poems for the benefit of workshop participants while continuing her effort to exercise new ideas and cognitions among those poets are taking advantage of the poetry workshops held in her living room.

Bernadette Mayer’s poetry writing workshop takes place at her home in East Nassau, NY. The workshop meets on five Saturdays: May 28, June 18, July 4 (party), July 16, August 20 and September 17. 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 new book will be released by New Directions in the near future. Copies of her Benevolent Bird book All Fall Down will be available.

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. These poets have become regulars who continue to attend each new workshop session. They welcome new participants to their lively get together.

Contact: email ACASLINE@AOL.COM to reserve your place. The mailing address if email 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 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.

William Weaver Christman Tribute June 1
A William Weaver Christman Tribute will be held on Wednesday  June 1, at 6:30 p.m. with poetry by the Bozen Kill in honor of our own farmer, tree planter, nature lover and poet (held at the Christman Preserve).Take Trail to right to streamside. We meet on top of bank near large waterfall. Bring your own poems and Will Christman poems to read. Contact Alan Casline (ACASLINE@AOL.Com) if you plan on attending.

“Local poetry is contextual and includes everything about being at a location: biota, history, memory, geology, folklore, personal and reported events. When you open your eyes and look around—you admit a sensual moment, which is followed an instant later by another. The phenomenal world presents a reality gifted by our senses and made-up of some sort of physical joining of the inside with the outside.” from TOWARDS A BIOREGION OF LOCAL POETRY

Perry Nichols and Annie Christain to read at Caffè Lena June 1
On Wednesday, June 1, Caffè Lena will present  poetry readings by Perry Nichols and Annie Christain. 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,

Annie Christain is an assistant professor of composition and ESOL at SUNY Cobleskill with poems appearing in Seneca Review, Oxford Poetry, The Chariton Review and The Lifted Brow, among others. She received the grand prize of the 2013 Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Contest, the 2013 Greg Grummer Poetry Award, the 2015 Oakland School of the Arts Enizagam Poetry Award and the 2015 Neil Shepard Prize in Poetry. Additional honors include her being selected for the Shanghai Swatch Art Peace Hotel Artist Residency and the Arctic Circle Autumn Art and Science Expedition Residency. Her book Tall As You Are Tall Between Them will be released Spring 2016 from C&R Press.

Perry S. Nicholas is an associate English professor at Erie Community College North in Buffalo, NY, where he was awarded the 2008 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities and the 2011 President’s Award for Classroom Instruction. He received the SGA’s Outstanding Teacher Award on two occasions. He has published one textbook on writing prompts, six books of original poetry and one CD of poetry.

Spencertown Academy presents Benjamin “Bernie” Kukoff poetry reading June 4
Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents a poetry reading by Benjamin “Bernie” Kukoff on Saturday, June 4, at 4 p.m. An acclaimed film and television writer and producer, Kukoff will read from his debut poetry collection What This Country Needs (Conflux Press, 2015). The poignant, funny, wise and accessible poems explore his journey from a Brighton Beach youth as the child of Russian immigrants, to the upper tiers of entertainment industry success in Los Angeles, to trial separation from his wife and dating, to getting back together, to settling in the Hudson Valley, along with surprising digressions about major biblical characters. Following the reading, there will be a reception with light refreshments, and the author will sign copies of his book. Admission is free.

“I knew my old friend Bernie Kukoff could do almost anything. But write poetry? The hardest of the writing disciplines? Bernie’s done it, and in spades,” says Dick Cavett, author, journalist and host of The Dick Cavett Show. “And he can do it all. These superb poems are sharp, readable, sad, funny, painful, comforting, startling and profound. I dare you to read any three and try to stop.”

“I’m what my poetry teacher, Mary Stewart Hammond, calls a narrative poet. I’m a storyteller who writes about people, some I know or knew, some made up,” says Kukoff. “Much of my collection is autobiographical. None of it was pre-planned or thematic. I just wrote what came to me, or fairly gushed out of me, from what [my wife] Lydia refers to as my poetry vein. This happy happening was a total surprise, totally unexpected.”

Benjamin “Bernie” Kukoff has written poetry for more than 21 years, working with Mary Stewart Hammond in her master class at the New York Writers Workshop. Beyond poetry, he’s had a high-profile, eclectic career, having worked in television, film and theater. After graduating from the Yale Drama School, he acted Off-Broadway with Second City and was in the founding company of the Williamstown Theatre Festival. In a major career change, he moved to Los Angeles, where he created, produced and wrote TV series, specials and films over a span of 28 years. Among them were Diff’rent Strokes, The Cosby Show and shows starring Steve Allen, Jimmy Durante, The Everly Brothers, Glen Campbell, Milton Berle, Jerry Stiller and Howard Cosell. In New York, his first show as a theatrical producer was the blockbuster I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, which ran for 12 years and won a Drama Desk Award. He and his wife, Lydia, share a 19th century farmhouse in New York’s Upper Hudson Valley.

Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires and the Capital Region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, please or call (518) 392-3693.

Writers in the Mountains offers workshop on writing the nonfiction book proposal June 5
Writers in the Mountains will present “Selling Your Nonfiction Book: The Art of Proposal Writing,” a Sunday seminar with Leslie T. Sharpe, June 5, 1-4 p.m. at the Andes Public Library. In three information-packed hours, Leslie will effectively detail what it takes to write a winning nonfiction book proposal, illustrated with several handouts. In the second half of the seminar, she will invite writers to present their projects for evaluation and input in order to best shape their own top-notch “winning” proposals.

In addition to its diversity of forms, nonfiction also offers writers (which literary fiction usually does not) the possibility of having an incomplete manuscript accepted by an agent or editor— accompanied by a strong proposal. The proposal-including elements such as an overview of the book, annotated table of contents, author’s platform and market analysis are usually submitted with two or three chapters of text and is, first and foremost, a writing sample, as well as a sales tool. What agents/editors look for in a proposal is strong writing with a clear and cogent presentation of the book’s subject and/or narrative arc, depending on the form, and a persuasive rationale for why the book should be published and why the author is the best possible person to write it.

Leslie T. Sharpe is an author, editor, and educator. She began her editing career at Farrar, Straus & Giroux and is currently an editorial consultant specializing in literary nonfiction, literary fiction and poetry. A member of PEN American Center, she is the author of Editing Fact and Fiction: A Concise Guide to Book Editing (Cambridge University Press), which is regarded as the “modern editing classic.”

Leslie was a regular contributor to New York Newsday’s “Urban ‘I’” column, and her essays and articles have appeared in a wide variety of publications including the Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Global City Review, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, New York Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Village Voice, The Villager, The Writer and Psychology Today. She recently finished her memoir, Our Fractured, Perfect Selves, and her new book, The Quarry Fox and Other Tales of the Wild Catskills, a lyric narrative look at the wild animals of the Catskill Mountains, will be published by The Overlook Press. Her poems for children have appeared inLadybug Magazine, and she is currently at work on a poetry collection, Little Possums Book of Poems.

Leslie has taught writing and editing at Columbia University, New York University and the City College of New York.

To register, call Jean Stone at (607) 326-4802 or e-mail her at To register online, visit, go to “Register Online” page and fill in the registration form. Class fee is $35. Registration deadline is May 31.

Donna Wojcik to read at Arthur’s Market & Cafe June 8
The next “Open Mic & Featured Poet Second Wednesday” is June 8 at Arthur’s Market & Cafe, 35 N.Ferry St., Schenectady, NY.

The featured poet is Donna Dakota, a.k.a. Donna Wojcik, born in Chicago, who has become a beloved member of the very active writer’s scene in New York’s Capital District. She’s a long-time participant in writing marathons like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the August Postcard Poetry Fest. “I write on the steering wheel of my Honda Fit,” Donna says, “…but only at red lights.” Her lively, funny and irreverant writing includes three works in progress: Accident-Related Works, Love Poems For Someone I Have Never Loved and He 4 She. Sample some of her work at

The reading is hosted by Catherine Norr. Sign-up for the open mic starts at 7 p.m.; readings begin at 7:30. Food and beverages available on-site!

Tech Valley Center of Gravity Writers Workshop summer schedule starts June 9
Here’s the summer schedule for the Tech Valley Center of Gravity Writers Workshop: June 9 & 23, July 7 & 21, August 4 &18. Co-write with joy and focus on alternating Thursdays with the Tech Valley Center of Gravity Writers’ Group. Bring food and/or drink to share, your writing tool(s) of choice and a project on which to focus. All genres and platforms welcome. Electrical outlets, hot beverages, water and a snack provided. Wine and substantive finger foods encouraged!

6:00-6:25 – dine, settle in and socialize
6:30-8:25 – co-writing (no conversation; cell phones, text, FB and email silenced)
8:30-9:00 – sharing session (optional: stay to the end or leave at 8:30)

Bring other writers with you! Quiet co-writing time is the priority. TVCOG and TVGS members: free. All others: $5 at the door. Supports the TVCOG Kitchen. RSVP Rhonda Rosenheck, or

B-Fest National Teen Book Festival at Barnes & Noble June 10-12 seeks local writers
A message from Laura D’Orazio, the Community Business Development Manager for Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Inc. in Colonie Center in Albany:

I have an opportunity which your organization is sure to be excited about! Barnes & Noble is hosting our first-ever B-Fest National Teen Book Festival. The event runs from Friday, June 10, through Sunday, June 12. We are looking for local authors who have published books in the teen genre to be involved in this festival. There are many ways in which your authors could participate.

  • Participate in a group author signing.
  • Help host a writing workshop.
  • Be part of a discussion panel.

Events are still being determined, but it is shaping up to be a fun event and a great way for your authors to advertise their books!

The requirements for participation in the group signing are as follows: the local author’s teen book must be available in our system to order, available at a trade discount and returnable to the publisher. Books will be ordered through the publisher, and no books will be taken on consignment.  If the author’s book becomes unavailable for any reason or fails to meet the three requirements during the time leading up to the event, that author will have to decline attendance in the Teen B-Fest author signing portion of the event.

Please have any of your interested local authors respond as soon as possible as the event is just around the corner!  They should send me their name, book title, book ISBN and what part of the festival they are interested in. If they are interested in the group signing, I will be able to determine their eligibility at that time. Keep in mind that all books must be categorized in the teen genre.

Contact: Laura D’Orazio via email:

Joseph Luzzi to read from his memoir at Roe Jan Library June 11
Writer and Bard College professor Joseph Luzzi will read from his memoir In a Dark Wood at the Roeliff Jansen Community Library on Saturday, June 11, at 5 p.m. In this memoir Luzzi writes of the days and months that followed the terrible event that left him suddenly both a widower and a first-time father. Luzzi’s wife, Katherine, eight-and-a-half months pregnant, was in an automobile accident and died from her injuries less than an hour after giving birth to their daughter, Isabel. Vanity Fair’s Nicole Jones, describes Luzzi’s memoir as “Heartbreaking. Heartrending. Heart-stopping.”

Luzzi, a professor of Italian studies and a Dante scholar, begins his book with lines from Dante’s The Divine Comedy: “In the middle of our life’s journey, I found myself in a dark wood.” The memoir describes the challenges that Luzzi faced as a grieving widower trying to balance his responsibilities as a single father and an academic, and “to open …[himself] again to love.” The book explores the parallels between Dante’s journey through the Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise, and Luzzi’s own journey through “Grief, Healing and the Mysteries of Love.”

Joseph Luzzi, the first American-born child in his Italian family, holds a doctorate from Yale and teaches at Bard. He is the author of My Two Italies, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and Romantic Europe and the Ghost of Italy, which won the Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies from the Modern Language Association. An active critic, his essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Bookforum and The Times Literary Supplement. Dante has been the focus of his teaching and writing for over 20 years, and honors for his work on Dante include a teaching prize from Yale and an essay award from the Dante Society of America.

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

Third Thursday to feature poet Karen Fabiane June 16
Poet Karen Fabiane will read from her work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, on Thursday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m.

Karen Fabiane has been writing and performing poetry for more than 40 years.  She has published since 1976 in such small press journals as Home Planet News, MisFit, Momoware, Newsletter Inago, New Voices and others and in anthologies released by Bright Hill Press, which also published her book, Dancing Bears, in 2011. A second book,Seeing You Again, was published by Grey Book Press in 2014.

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:

Upcoming featured poets at Pine Hollow Open Mic Series
Poets of Earth, Water, Tree and Sky. Pot luck at 6 p.m. Reading starts at 6:30 p.m. Pine Hollow Arboretum Visitors Center, 16 Maple Avenue, Slingerlands.

  • July 8: Katrinka Moore
  • August 12: 6th Annual Poets at the Arboretum Group Reading
  • September 9: The Birdbrain Players present Perious Frink and the Great Barrel Race Puppet Show
  • October 14: Dawn Marar
  • November 4: David Landrey

Also: Saturday afternoon, June 4, 1 p.m. for a Pine Hollow sponsored haiku writing workshop with Michael Czarnecki.

Tables available for Saugerties Public Library Comic Con July 16
Scifi and fantasy writers: Set up a table at the Saugerties Public Library Comic Con! It will take place Saturday, July 16, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Saugerties Senior Center. Tables are free, and we welcome you to sell your wares. Contact Christine at or (845) 246-4317 for more information.

Annual 5-day workshop for women writers at Paradox Lake Retreat Center starts July 17
M. E. Kemp will lead a five-day workshop for women writers at the annual Paradox Lake Retreat Center for women writers beginning July 17.  Kemp’s workshop will feature the five steps to writing a mystery.  Other workshops at the retreat include poetry, memoir and nonfiction.  For more information about retreat classes – and to register – contact Jill Hanifan at: