News from Writers in the Mountains

Writers in the MountainsWriters in the Mountains Presents Writing Mountains with Dr. Bill Birns

Writers in the Mountains (WIM) presents Writing Mountains, a six-week long summer workshop with Dr. Bill Birns, July 2 – August 6, 2018. The class will be held Mondays, from 6 to 8 pm at the Roxbury Library, 53742 State Hwy 30, Roxbury, NY.

Week One: Me and the Mountains. Thinking about how I came to the mountains, how mountains became part of my life; in prose or verse, dialogue, narrative, exposition or other form. Written in class in 20 minutes writing time, after discussion. Shared with classmates. First assignment is Meaning of Mountains, due week two, outlined below.

Week Two: Meaning of Mountains. Thinking about the idea of mountains, the mountain-connections our minds make, experientially and symbolically, from the Catskills to the Adirondacks, the Rockies to the Himalaya’s, Mount Sinai to Mount Olympus; in prose or verse, dialogue, narrative, exposition or other form. Second assignment is Mountain Culture, due week three, outlined below.

Week Three: Mountain Culture. Thinking about the ways people’s activities, values, communities, and living-patterns are different and distinct from those of urban and “flat-land” living. Is there a mountain culture that can be found in various mountain regions, including our own? Address the question through personal experience, reading, or observation in prose or verse, dialogue, narrative, exposition or other form. Third assignment is A Mountain Original, due week four, outlined below.

Week Four: A Mountain Original. Thinking about people, places, animals, plants, events, and things that are quintessentially mountain. Bring alive such an individual person, place, animal, plant, event, or thing in prose or verse, dialogue, narrative, exposition or other form. Fourth assignment is Mountain Future, due week five, outlined below.

Week Five: Mountain Future. Thinking about what the future holds for mountain regions generally, and our own Catskills in particular, in light of climate change, changing population patterns, water conservation, wilderness protection, the inherent back-and-forth between conservation and development. Address the issue through personal experience, reading, or observation, in prose or verse, dialogue, narrative, exposition or other form. Fifth assignment is The Call of the Mountains, due week six, outlined below.

Week Six: The Call of the Mountains. Thinking about my own personal experience and all that I and my classmates brought forth over the preceding weeks, characterize (in prose or verse, dialogue, narrative, exposition or other form) the power and significance, real and/or symbolic, of mountains in your life, the place of mountains in your mind, the connection of mountains to your soul. Wing it!

Dr. Bill Birns is the author of three Catskill-themed books: A Catskill Catalog; The Myth in the Mountain; and I Was Corning a Beaver, Like You Do: Joe Hewitt, John Burroughs, Mountain Culture. An active Delaware County citizen for 45 years, Bill taught a couple generations of Catskill Mountain kids, both at Margaretville Central School and Onteora High School. A Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric and Linguistics, Bill’s 1986 dissertation is the most in-depth study we have of the dialect of the Catskills.

To register, call Jean Stone at (607) 326-4802, or e-mail her at To register online, visit Class fee is $70, if you register and pay by June 11, and $85 after that.

Writers in the Mountains is a 501 ( c ) (3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing. Learn more at


Raining Poetry and Painting in Roxbury 2018

Writers in the Mountains (WIM) is proud to present Raining Poetry & Painting in Roxbury 2018, a public street art project, on the sidewalks of Roxbury on Saturday, July 7, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This year WIM is happy to announce the participation of visual artists in this extraordinary public event, pairing artists with 20 selected poems. The artists will stencil their visual responses on the sidewalk next to the chosen poems. This doubling promises to be a fun and unexpected way to experience the beauty and synergy between poetry and painting.

Experience the method to this artistic madness by watering the poems and paintings! Twenty six-word poems and 20 reaction paintings will be stenciled on sidewalks using a biodegradable water-repellent spray — visible only when wet. This fun, surprising and interactive installation will provide watering cans for visitors to water the streets and reveal the hidden poems and art.

The public is also invited to an afternoon, open-air reception at 2:00 p.m. in front of Roxbury General, 53587 Main Street, Roxbury, NY. Participating poets will read their 6-word poems, artists will discuss their visual responses, and audience participation is encouraged.

For more information contact Robin Factor at 607-326-6174, email, or at Writers in the Mountains

Raining Poetry & Painting in Roxbury 2018, sponsored by Writers in the Mountains, is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Decentralization Grant Program, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and is administered in Delaware County by the Roxbury Arts Group (RAG).


Writers in the Mountains Presents Fiction Writing with Ginnah Howard

Writers in the Mountains (WIM) will present Fiction Writing, a six-week long workshop with Ginnah Howard, August 1 – September 5, 2018. The class will be held Wednesdays, from 1 to 3 pm at the Andes Public Library, 242 Main Street, Andes, NY.

Do you have a short story or novel that you’re ready to have critiqued by a workshop group? Or do you have ideas for a story that you want to begin?  This class is for new and more practiced fiction writers. If you’re working on memoir pieces, those will fit in as well since that form uses so many fiction devices. Most of each of the six sessions will be spent listening to members read their works-in-progress out loud on a “when ready” basis, with time given to talking about each piece in a supportive way that will help the writer decide on what revision may be needed. In the critique process we’ll always be talking about craft: voice, point of view, showing vs. telling, using significant details, etc. We’ll share sections of favorite published stories and novels that class members bring in that are good examples of “what works.”

Ginnah Howard’s work has appeared in Water~Stone Review, PermafrostPortland Review, Descant 145, Eleven Eleven JournalThe Tusculum Review, and elsewhere. Several stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Night Navigation, Book 2 of her upstate novel trilogy, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Chronogram called Book 3, Doing Time Outside (Standing Stone Books, 2013), “a beautiful read.”  Book 1 of the trilogy, Rope & Bone: A Novel in Stories (Illume, 2014) was listed by Publishers Weekly as one of the “best of the best” Indie books of 2015. In her latest book, I’m Sick of This Already: At-Risk Learning in a High School Class, Howard focuses on a year of working with students in a small rural town. Currently she is putting together a collection of poetry and prose titled An Opera of Hankering. Her website is  

To register, call Jean Stone at (607) 326-4802, or e-mail her at Class fee is $70, if you register and pay by July 11, and $85 after that. The class is limited to ten students.