Opportunities & Announcements: August 7, 2018

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Mission, vision & invitation to 2nd strategic planning session

Strategic planning update & meeting invite

Back in January, a group of about 25 BWW members met at the Fletcher Free Library on a cold Saturday morning for a three-hour strategic planning session. Since then, the BWW board of directors has been incorporating that input into a revised mission statement and a draft statement of values. The board has also articulated four strategic initiatives to carry us forward based on broad input from membership. At a meeting on April 7, we hope to get feedback on this work and roll up our sleeves on next steps. This post includes:

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Opportunities & Announcements: Week of March 5, 2018

Opportunities and Announcements LogoIn this issue (click to jump to a section):

Opportunities

Second Winter Write-In Retreat March 11 in Burlington

Writers at work during the first winter 2018 write-in retreat.

Building off the momentum of the first write-in, we’re hosting a second retreat on Sunday, March 11 at the BWW space. There are still a few spots available, so feel free to sign up and join your fellow writers for a day of quiet writing in a warm, welcoming atmosphere. RSVP now >

 

BWW open mic  March 12 at the Light Club Lamp Shop

12 Winooski Ave in downtown Burlington

Open Mic 3/12/18Our next open mic night is coming up on Monday, March 12 at 7 pm. We’ll be joining the Lit Club at the Lamp Shop for an evening of poetry, song, and stories. Even if you’re not scheduled to perform, come out to support your fellow BWW members and stick around to sign up for the first-come, first-served portion of the open mic evening to follow our scheduled performers. See the line up and RSVP now >

March Podcast Literary Conversation & Workshop will focus on the longform interview

Saturday, March 24, 10:30 a.m. in Burlington

What creative nonfiction writing techniques make a news story so compelling you can’t forget it? How do good writers use these techniques? How is this relevant to how you read and learn about the world? How is this relevant to your own writing practice? We’ll explore these questions and more by listening to podcasts featuring Rachel and Kaadzi Ghansah, reading the longform journalism discussed in the podcasts, and critically analyzing the writing on our own, then come together for discussion.

The first edition of this new workshop was a highly stimulating conversation about the  literature, #MeToo, and identity. Civil discourse and thoughtful reflection on writing just don’t get any better. Come join the conversation.

RSVP now >

BWW member and workshop facilitator offers poetry as spirituality course

Lizzy Fox, performing her poetry at a 2013 Burlington Writers Workshop reading

BWW member and recent guest workshop facilitator Lizzy Fox is offering Poetry as Spiritual Practice begins March 13 and meets online for 12 Tuesday evenings, 7-8:30pm EST. You can learn more about the course at www.lizzyfoxpoetry.com, and the registration page is open with sliding-scale tuition fees.

About the facilitator:
Lizzy Fox is a poet and educator with an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has taught writing and performance in partnership with the Vermont Arts Council, Flynn Arts, The New England Young Writers Conference, VSA Vermont, and countless schools. Lizzy is a recipient of the Laura J. Spooner Prize and the Corrine Eastman Davis Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of Vermont. Her poems have appeared in journals, anthologies, and art displays. You can reach her directly here. 

Announcements

Mud Season Review issue #36 launches

Congratulations to the staff of Mud Season Review on the launch of issue #36. This issue features the art of Hun Kyu Kim, fiction of Jillian Merrifield, nonfiction of Lynne Feeley, and poetry of Robert Rothman.

Updates from the board

At the February board meeting, longtime BWW member Michael Freed-Thall was voted onto the board to fill the vacant seat. Welcome, Michael! Minutes from the meeting will be available soon.

The next board meeting is scheduled for March 15. Members are always welcome.

Flynn Center blog

Burlington Writers Workshop members regularly blog for the Flynn.

Read Cynthia Close’s preview for The Second City Touring Company’s Look Both Ways Before Talking >

Read Joyce Gallimore’s review of Pilobolus’ Shadowland >

Congrats & thanks

Congrats to Andrea Chesman, whose short story, “A Girl Walks into a Bar,” is now available online at Green Mountains Review.  The story, which was workshopped at the Middlebury chapter of BWW, was a finalist in the 2017 Neil Shephard fiction contest.

Thanks to Barbie AlsopWendy Andersen, and Riki Moss for serving as BWW hosts for this past weekend’s workshops.

Thanks to Karin AmesWendy Andersen, Kristabeth Atwood, Melinda BachandPartridge BoswellPatrick Brownson, Rosa Castellano, Terry Cleveland, Seth Melvin Cronin, Eva Gumprecht, Stephen Kastner, Natasha MieszkowskiRiki MossRita MunroRebecca Starks, and Danielle Thierry for hosting BWW workshops in February.  And thank you to our February guest workshop facilitators, Joni B. Cole and Baron Wormser.

Thanks to Josh McDonald,  Natasha Mieszkowski, and Janet Schneider for hosting open hours at the BWW space in February.

Thanks to Rose Eggert and Terry Cleveland for another month of managing the BWW’s finances.

Thanks to Mindy Wong for another month of managing the BWW space and open hours.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of February 19, 2018

In this issue (click to jump to a section):

Opportunities

Poetry Master Class with Karin Gottshall

Figuration Smorgasbord: Roll up Your Sleeves and Get Messy with Metaphor
Saturdays: March 3, 10, and 17 at 10:30 a.m. in Burlington

karingotshall_theriverwontholdyouWe’ve just added a great opportunity for our poets in March! Join poet Karin Gottshall—author of 2 award-winning collections of poems and 3 chapbooks published by independent presses—for a deep dive into the realm of metaphor, investigating its ability to widen our minds and perceptive abilities. We’ll look at examples of poems that use figurative effects such as synesthesia, metonymy, and synecdoche, along with our old favorites from elementary school, and then we’ll craft our own poems using generative exercises and prompts.

Karin will be offering 3 separate workshops with us in March (Saturdays, March 3, 10, and 17). These workshops do not need to be taken as a series. Since the workshops are coming up soon, we won’t be holding a lottery for these. Please sign up for each workshop individually.

RSVP for March 3 >
RSVP for March 10 >
RSVP for March 17 >

These workshops are funded in part by the BCA Community Fund.

Prose Master Class with Baron Wormser

Individual workshops to be held Wednesdays, March 14, 21, and 28, 6:30 p.m. in Burlington

These workshops will consider how various approaches to sentence construction can broaden any writer’s approach to his or her material. We will do 2 prompts each session, one from a fiction writer and one from a nonfiction writer.

Each is an individual workshop and they do not need to be attended as a series. Participation in these workshops will be decided via a lottery. The lottery closes on Friday, February 23, midnight. Enter the lottery now >

Open Mic Night

Monday, March 12, 7:00 p.m.
Lit Club at the Light Club Lamp Shop, 12 North Winooski

Mud season can be a boon to our writing, a quiet time to tune our voices word by word, line by line (what else are we going to do?). But come March, if your pen feels a bit stir crazy and your words are dying to get off the screen or page, out on the town and onto the stage…then please join us on Monday, March 12th when the BWW teams up with the Lamp Shop Lit Club for its next thrilling open mic event. Open to all genres, whether read, recited, sung or mashed up with siracha on the side…we invite folks on stage to do their thing—the only restriction, we ask each performer to please limit mic time to 5 minutes or less. If November’s packed reading was a sign, we’re in for another eclectic and electric ride in March.

Sign-ups will be by lottery. To request time on the roster, simply RSVP and leave a comment in the Meetup event by Friday, February 23 letting us know you’d like a spot. We’ll confirm the line-up by Monday, February 26. Preference will be given to those who didn’t get a spot in the last open mic.

Enter the Open Mic lottery >

If you don’t get a spot in the BWW portion of this event, don’t worry! Feel free to come by and sign up for the Lit Club’s continued open mic to follow, with a first-come, first-served sign up system. And keep your eye out for the next BWW open mic coming this summer.

Have you been wanting to join our workshops, but not sure how to get started?

If so, please join us for a new member meeting. Board members Rebecca Starks and Danielle Thierry will help fill you in on how everything works and answer any questions you might have. We’ll also workshop a piece of writing to help you better understand our process of giving feedback to fellow writers. Writers of all skill levels, from experienced to brand new, are welcome! RSVP now >

Announcements

Update on BWW anthology naming poll

Thanks to those who responded to the follow-up poll on whether or not to rename the BWW anthology—and if so, what to call it. The answer to the first question was clear: 62% of responses favor renaming the anthology. On the second point, the comments and objective responses suggest we haven’t come up with just the right replacement yet, and more creativity is in order.

We’ll know it when we hear it! The “right” name will have the kind of wit and fit that “Mud Season Review” has for the BWW literary journal, and we just aren’t there yet.

The staff is just being assembled for this year’s edition, and the call for entries is about to be issued for publication in the fall. So stay tuned for more conversation at workshops, online and at gatherings, and please share your naming brainstorms via the  contact form>

BWW board update

Your board of directors met on Thursday, February 15. Minutes from the meeting will be available soon. The next board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 15 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the Burlington Writers Workshop space.

Flynn Center Blog

BWW members regularly blog for the Flynn Center.

Read Cynthia Close’s preview of the 3-part harmony group The Sweet Remains >

Read Joyce Gallimore’s review of Pilobolus’ Shadowland >

Congrats & thanks

Congrats to Cynthia Close, whose review of The Criterion Collection, 100 Years of Olympic Films, 1912 – 2012, was recently featured in Documentary magazine.

Congrats to Terry Cleveland, who was selected for this year’s Vermont Studio Center residency.

Nina Gaby, who won the New Millennium Writings Monthly Musepaper Award for her flash creative nonfiction piece, “The Sum of its Parts.”

Congrats to Margaret Grant, whose short story, “Arrieta 410,” was recently accepted for publication by Kenyon Review.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of February 5, 2018

In this issue (click to jump to a section):

 Opportunities

New Member Informational Workshop

Thursday, February 28, 6:30 p.m. in Burlington

Have you attended 5 or fewer BWW workshops to date? If yes, please join us for a new member workshop with BWW board members Rebecca Starks and Danielle Thierry. We’ll offer a brief introduction to the BWW—including how it all works and opportunities to get involved—and answer any questions you might have.  Then, we’ll review the work (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry) of 1 member, focusing on specific elements of craft and giving honest responses to the writing. All skill levels are welcome.

RSVP for this workshop now >

Fast Feedback Workshop with Joni B. Cole : 2 spots open

Saturday, February 17, 10:30 a.m. in Burlington 

We’ve had 2 spots open up in the February 17th Fast Feedback Workshop with Joni B. Cole.  As part of this workshop for writers of fiction and creative nonfiction, participants are invited to bring 2-3 double-spaced pages of a work-in-progress to read aloud for appreciation and quality feedback. The discussions also will include instruction on craft, and insights on how to cultivate a positive and productive creative process. Both nervous beginners and seasoned authors are welcome. Enrollment is limited to 9. The workshop is taught by Joni B. Cole, founder of the Writer’s Center of White River Junction and author of the new book Good Naked: Reflections on How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier (listed as “One of the Best Books for Writers” by Poets & Writers magazine).

RSVP for this workshop now> 

Lottery opens for Generative Prose Workshops with Baron Wormser

Individual workshops to be held Wednesdays, March 14, 21, and 28, 6:30 p.m. in Burlington

These workshops will consider how various approaches to sentence construction can broaden any writer’s approach to his or her material. We will do 2 prompts each session, one from a fiction writer and one from a nonfiction writer.

Each is an individual workshop and they do not need to be attended as a series. Participation in these workshops will be decided via a lottery. The lottery closes on Friday, February 23, midnight. Enter the lottery now >

Baron Wormser is the author/co-author of fourteen books and a poetry chapbook. His books include Scattered Chapters: New and Selected Poems (Sarabande Books), The Road Washes Out in Spring: a Poet’s Memoir of Living Off the Grid (University Press of New England), and The Poetry Life: Ten Stories (CavanKerry Press). His novel Tom o’ Vietnam, about a Vietnam veteran who is obsessed with King Lear, was published by New Rivers Press in the fall of 2017. Wormser has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. From 2000 to 2006 he served as poet laureate of the state of Maine. He has taught many dozens of workshops across the United States and continues to offer generative workshops along with workshops focusing on the works of a particular poet. Founder of the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching and the Frost Place Seminar, Baron lives in Montpelier and teaches in the Fairfield University MFA Program.

 

Reminder: BWW anthology name change survey

The BWW anthology follow-up survey concerning the possibility of changing the anthology’s name will be held open until this Friday, February 9. We’d like to see at least 40 responses before we close the survey. If you haven’t responded, please share your opinion on this important question.  Take the survey now > 

Open hours at the BWW studio: All writers welcome!

During “open hours” at the studio, Burlington Writers Workshop members are invited to come to the workshop space to free write, write with guided prompts, make coffee or tea, and mingle with other fellow writers. RSVP for an upcoming open hours time  below:

Announcements

Board and strategic planning update

At the last meeting of the BWW board of directors, we finalized the budget for 2018, and focused attention on next steps in developing our strategic plan. (Meeting minutes will be posted shortly.) Here are our evolving ideas for next steps, with strong emphasis on the board’s intention to have lots of conversation in many different ways as we go forward.

  1. Mission/vision statement: Board member Partridge Boswell is doing some initial drafting of a revised mission/vision statement. (All organizations should have poets  do this work!) Once we have a working draft, we’ll bring together the BWW members who were part of the initial strategic planning retreat, and other interested folks, for an informal focus group discussion. We’ll also offer other, online opportunities for feedback and discussion.
  2. Sustainability and the need for committees or working groups: In the coming month, we’ll be considering a committee structure to engage members more formally in the work that sustains the organization. In some areas, such as retreats and space management, leaders have emerged naturally and the work is in hand. In other areas, more hands are needed to make lighter and more collaborative work. Stay tuned for more details later in February.
  3. Strategic initiatives: Based on the work at the strategic planning retreat, the board has articulated 4 strategic initiatives that seem to have broad consensus. We hope to have more conversation about these at the upcoming mission/vision statement gathering. Initiatives include:
  • Powerful programming: Supporting and developing workshop leaders and providing content and support that continually evolves to meet emerging member needs (such as the work being done now to ensure MSR can continue on a self-sustaining path).
  • Digital platform reinvention to better support members and membership development.
  • Redefinition of “free” to a sustainable model and practices for the organization’s long-term health.
  • Administrative support.

The next meeting of the BWW board of directors will be held on February 15 at 6:30 p.m. This meeting will be a phone conference. If you’re interested in listening in, please feel free to contact us and we’ll provide the conference number.

Mud Season Review applies for Barrelhouse Amplifier Grant

A dedicated team of volunteers met the January 31 application deadline for this year’s Barrelhouse Amplifier grant for small literary magazines. If Mud Season Review is selected for this $1500 award, the money will be used to provide editing workshops and other types of professional development to journal staff in order to continue to strengthen the journal and its value for those who do the work. Thanks to Danielle Thierry, Margaret Grant, Rebecca Starks, Erin Post, Lauren Bender, and Deena Frankel for the collaborative work that produced a strong and creative application.

Flynn Center Blog

BWW members regularly blog for the Flynn Center. Read Joyce Gallimore’s recent preview of Pilobus’ “Shadowland” >

Congrats & thanks

Congratulations to Barbie Alsop whose poem “social security day” was published in the February edition of Peeking Cat Poetry, Issue 34.

Congratulations to Martin Bock, whose “Studies in Depth,” photos, sculpture and a Burlington Ode, will be exhibited at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington from February 6 to April 28.

Thank you to Wendy AndersenKristabeth Atwood, Melinda BachandKelly BartlettPatrick Brownson, Rosa CastellanoTerry ClevelandEva GumprechtStephen KastnerSeth Melvin CroninNatasha Mieszkowski, and Rita Munro for hosting workshops in January. And thanks again to our January special guests, Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord and digital marketing consultant Mieko A. Ozeki.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of January 22, 2018

In this issue (click to jump to a section):

 

December fundraising success

Thank you to everyone who supported the BWW this December—whether as a sustaining donor, with a one-time donation, by rounding up your change in the checkout line at City Market, or through a Mud Season Review feedback request, full manuscript review, or tip jar donation.

In December, you helped us raise a total of $8,513.27:

In addition, your board members met this past Thursday night to review financials for the year as well as the budget for 2018. Minutes and financials from that meeting will be available as soon as they are finalized.

Opportunities

BWW anthology name change survey and call for staff

First, the survey

In the 2017 annual member survey and at the annual meeting, a number of people suggested changing the name of the Burlington Writers Workshop annual anthology (The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop).

We sought member input through a survey in December to determine whether our wider membership preferred to keep the name or change it, and to gather suggestions to consider if we are to make a change. The survey split down the middle—with 19 votes in favor of a change and 19 votes opposed.

Below are a few points shared through the survey and through discussion, to offer member thinking on this issue:

  • The idea of “best of” feels like a misnomer to some members because:
    • For some members, it doesn’t feel consistent with our supportive organizational culture.
    • For others, because selected works featured in the anthology each year reflect the subjective judgment of each year’s editors rather than an objective standard of what it means to be the “best of,” the language of “best of the BWW” feels like it sets up a misleading sense of competition.
  • Some members feel that given the 5 years invested in the current name to date, changing the name could result in a loss of brand recognition.

Given the tie vote, we are offering a follow-up survey. This survey is meant to share some new naming options for your consideration, ask again “keep or change” in the context of the alternatives, and get feedback on the alternatives to inform a renaming decision, if we go that way. The survey will be open through Monday, February 5.

Take the survey now > 

And now the call for staff

Editors at work selecting submissions

If you expressed interest through this survey in being part of the 2018 anthology staff and provided your name and email, we’ll be contacting you next week with more information. If you didn’t responding in the survey, but you’re interested in possibly joining the staff, please let us know by Monday, February 5. We’re planning an informational meeting to be held in February.

Express your interesting in joining the 2018 BWW anthology staff >

Open hours at the BWW studio: All writers welcome!

During “open hours” at the studio, Burlington Writers Workshop members are invited to come to the workshop space to free write, write with guided prompts, make coffee or tea, and mingle with other fellow writers. RSVP for an upcoming open hours time  below:

Wednesday, January 24, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Hosted by Mindy Wong

Wednesday, January 31, 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.: Hosted by Natasha Mieszkowski

Announcements

Board update

View the board minutes from our December 2018 meeting >

Strategic planning update

View the notes from our January 2018 strategic planning meeting >

Congrats & thanks

Congrats to Anne Charles, whose review of Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America, an anthology edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding, appeared in the Jan. 5 issue of the Lambda Literary Review (Vol. 9. Issue 155).

Congrats to Candelin WahlMud Season Review poetry editor, whose poem” Attending Murmurations Dance” was recently published in MockingHeart Review. 

Thank you to Mud Season Review staff members who will be doing this round of manuscript reviews to help raise funds in support of the journal: Lauren Bender, Patrick Brownson, Emily FerroAnn FisherErin PostRebecca StarksCandelin Wahl, and Mindy Wong.

Thank you to Mieko A. Ozeki, owner of Radiance Studios, for leading a highly informative workshop on building a writer’s website to a packed house this week. And thank you to Cynthia Close for bringing this workshop idea to the group and hosting the event.

Thank you to Natasha MieszkowskiCandelin Wahl, and Mindy Wong for hosting open hours sessions in January.

Thank you again to City Market for their “Rally for Change” program that helped raise funds for the BWW this December, and continues to raise funds to support many important nonprofits. And thanks to Peter Biello for signing the BWW up for this program.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of January 7, 2018

In this issue (click to jump to a section):

 

Mud Season Review aims for long-term sustainability & invites more BWW members to join the staff

As announced at our annual meeting in November, the BWW board and Mud Season Review staff have been meeting over the past 2 months and discussing how to help ensure the journal’s long-term sustainability while staying true to all aspects of its mission. We are now in a position to share our collective plan to help Mud Season further its objectives as an integral part of the BWW. Some very promising changes are afoot.

Click here to read the plan

Adding professional development for our staff

The main goal of Mud Season Review is to help interested BWW members learn how to become editors, better understand the publishing world of literary journals, and build connections with authors and artists outside of Vermont. To that end, the BWW will now offer at least 4 professional development workshops throughout the year, with in-house and outside editors sharing their knowledge with MSR staff as well as editing staff of the BWW annual anthology. The first will be later this January.

Adjusting the publishing schedule to allow for more community building

As part of the Burlington Writers Workshop, Mud Season also serves as an extension of the BWW community and learning initiatives. To that end, we are modifying the publishing schedule significantly to allow staff more time to meet, mentor and be mentored, and attend workshops so they can continually develop skills and build stronger connections with each other as a team.

Going forward, Mud Season will publish 6 online issues per year, one every other month, with discrete one-month submission periods.

Paying contributors in lieu of an annual print issue to save resources and adjust to a changing media climate

Because the print issue requires a significant investment of funds and time-intensive work, as well as the work needed to raise those funds, Mud Season will not be doing a print issue unless staff members decide in a particular year to take on this challenge and make it happen. Instead, with the money raised through manuscript reviews, Mud Season will begin to pay contributors, $50 for each featured author and artist and $15 for each illustrating artist.

This decision was made based in part on the following considerations:

  • While these are nominal amounts, payment of any amount shows respect for the work that goes into writing and art, and provides a strong marketing tool.
  • Paying contributors is seen as an even greater draw than having a print issue in today’s changing media climate.
  • Our MSR contributors have consistently expressed a preference to be online rather than in the print issue, because being featured online gives them the spotlight through an interview and allows them to share their work on social media.
  • The BWW already provides the experience of designing and working on a print journal through our annual anthology of member work.

Expanding and strengthening our staff

Mud Season can also strengthen our connection to local communities and receive their support in turn. We will continue to provide internships for Champlain College students and hope to draw on the resources of other local universities. But our hope is that the bulk of the journal’s staff will come from the BWW itself. To that end, we would like to put out a broad call now, to invite more members to be involved in the capacity that best meets both their needs and the journal’s.

If you are interested in being part of Mud Season Review, please respond below with:

  1. Any relevant experience, from editing to proofing, to website design and social media aptitude, to community building and marketing
  2. A statement of your interest, whether in a particular genre (nonfiction, fiction, poetry, art) or in a particular role (reading, editing, interviewing, social media, marketing)
  3. What you hope to gain from involvement with Mud Season
  4. An assessment of how much time you could give to the journal (hours per week) and whether you would be available to meet 4-6 times a year

This call will be open for 2 weeks, and then will look to match applicants with the roles best suited to them, or modify roles accordingly.

Finally, a note on mission

In the annual survey and at the annual meeting, questions were raised about the connection between the BWW and Mud Season. We would like to share a few thoughts on this.

By giving BWW members the experience of a literary journal and putting it in touch with the broader literary world beyond Vermont, we enrich our organization in 2 primary ways:

    1. Voices new to us become part of our community, whether virtually or by coming to lead workshops and retreats or by giving time and money to the organization (all of these have happened to date)
    2. Mud Season volunteers come back to workshops with new perspectives, more experience reviewing stories and poems and essays, and more experience with the process of submitting and getting work into publishable form. Better writers and readers enhance the quality and reputation of workshops, result in better feedback to submitters, and draw in more community members and funding that allows the organization to expand its offerings. We are hopeful that with the new workload balance, everyone in the community will benefit from the symbiosis between the BWW and Mud Season.

Frigid day, hot ideas at BWW strategic planning

The weather outside was a frightful-15°F, but inside the Fletcher Free Library, the BWW was cooking Saturday morning when 2 dozen dedicated volunteers participated in a strategic planning retreat. The commitment, creativity, and collaboration on display suggest a very bright future for our all-volunteer organization. A summary of the proceedings will be available in a future edition of O&A, but in the meantime, here’s what the group looked like hard at work.

Opportunities

View Stories By the Fire streaming and broadcast

“Stories By the Fire December 9, 2017,” presented by the BWW in cooperation with the Hotel Vermont and RETN, is now available to watch online and on television.

ONLINE here  and here  and here.

ON TV: The show premiered on RETN Channel 16 on Monday, December 25, 9:00 p.m. And on BTVHD Channel 216 on Monday, December 25, 8:00 p.m. Additional air times will be posted online as they are scheduled. RETN is also distributing this show over the Vermont Media Exchange for statewide cable TV distribution. If you have any questions or would like to request a digital copy of the program, contact the RETN distribution coordinator.

Podcast Workshop

Saturday, February 3, 10:30 a.m. in Burlington

Do you enjoy listening to and participating in literary conversations? If so, please sign up on Meet Up to join us for a Saturday morning conversation sparked by an attentive listening to a podcast interview with an author. Before the workshop, participants will listen to David Naimon’s conversation with Eileen Myles, poet, writer and, most recently, author of Afterglow (a dog memoir). The group will continue that conversation to start the workshop, read aloud from Myles’ work, and allow time for writing based on questions or prompts that arise from the podcast conversation. RSVP now >

Mud Season Review call for volunteers

As we gear up for 2018, we invite more BWW members to get involved in the journal.

If you are interested in being part of Mud Season Review, please respond below with:

  1. Any relevant experience, from editing to proofing, to website design and social media aptitude, to community building and marketing
  2. A statement of your interest, whether in a particular genre (nonfiction, fiction, poetry, art) or in a particular role (reading, editing, interviewing, social media, marketing)
  3. What you hope to gain from involvement with Mud Season
  4. An assessment of how much time you could give to the journal (hours per week) and whether you would be available to meet 4-6 times a year

We will have this call open for 2 weeks, and then will look to match applicants with the roles best suited to them, or modify roles accordingly.

Celebrated poet performs at Higher Ground

On Thursday, January 18, Higher Ground presents celebrated slam poet Andrea Gibson. Here’s more info on the event.

Announcements

Congrats & thanks

Thank you to Lauren BenderErin PostRebecca Starks, and the entire Mud Season Review staff for their hard work on putting together the Mud Season Review changes proposal.

Thank you to the dedicated volunteers who served as an initial strategic planning group at Saturday’s retreat. And thank you to Liz Dallas of the Coaching Center of Vermont for expertly facilitating the session.

Thank you to Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord for coming all the way from Putney, VT, to lead an inspiring poetry workshop this week.

Thank you to Karin Ames for generating the idea of a new literary discussion workshop inspired by timely podcasts.

Thank you to Mindy Wong for her work in solidifying our winter space volunteer schedule and process for keeping the space warm, inviting, and well-stocked.

Congratulations to Barbie Alsop, whose poem “Making Loaf” will appear in the spring issue of Buck Off magazine.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of December 18, 2017

 

Well, I’ll jump right into it because we have a lot to cover this week. So here you are, this week’s opportunities and announcements from your Burlington Writers Workshop…

Gift match challenge: Donate to the BWW by December 31 and see your gift matched!

If you’d like to help make sure this community can keep offering support to beginning writers, established writers, and everyone in between, please consider donating today. Any amount is deeply appreciated. And an anonymous donor has offered to match up to $250 of all new donations received through the end of the year. So help us turn $5 into $10, $25 into $50, or $50 into $100! Donate now >

Opportunities

For our poets: 2 master class offerings in January

We’ve just added opportunities for you to dig into your craft and study with 2 of Vermont’s master poets:

Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord

Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord

Poetry Master Class with Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord
Monday, January 8, 6:30 p.m. in Burlington
Join Chard deNiord for a workshop focused on reading and writing poems whose speakers place another before them, and then make charged figurative connections to what Walt Whitman called “the other I am.” Read the full description and RSVP now >

 

Vermont poet Gary Margolis

Vermont Poet Gary Margolis

Poetry Master Class with Gary Margolis
Monday, January 22, 6:30 p.m. in Burlington
Join Gary Margolis for a workshop focused on examining the technique and mysteries of the poetic line break. Read the full description and RSVP now >

 

For our prose writers: Good Naked Workshops with Joni B. Cole

This February, we’re offering 3 separate workshops led by Joni B. Cole, founder of the Writer’s Center of White River Junction and author of the new book Good Naked: Reflections on How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier (listed as “One of the Best Books for Writers” by Poets & Writers magazine).

Fast Feedback
2 separate sessions offered Saturday, February 17 and Saturday, March 3, 10:30 a.m. in Burlington
As part of this workshop for writers of fiction and creative nonfiction, participants are invited to bring 2-3 double-spaced pages of a work-in-progress to read aloud for appreciation and quality feedback. The discussions also will include instruction on craft, and insights on how to cultivate a positive and productive creative process. Both nervous beginners and seasoned authors are welcome.

A Crash Course on Narrative Craft
Saturday, February 24, 10:30 a.m. in Burlington
Newbies and published authors alike will find inspiration in this workshop that invites participants to write from a prompt…and discover where their creativity takes them. The discussions that follow will include plenty of takeaways on narrative techniques, plus tips on how to foster a productive creative process every draft of the way. Bring something to write on, and leave all self doubts at the door

We’re continuing to experiment with ways of making workshop attendance for guest author workshops as fair as possible. In that spirit, we’ll be doing a lottery for these workshops, and other guest author workshops moving forward. The lottery for the Joni B. Cole Workshops will close on Saturday, January 6, midnight.

Learn more about the lottery and enter your name. Enter the lottery now >

All of these workshops were funded in part by the Burlington City Arts Community Fund. Learn more about the BCA >

Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop survey

There’s still time to make your voice heard in answering the question of whether or not to consider renaming our annual anthology. This is our collective anthology, so we’d very much like this to be a decision informed by as many members as possible. After the survey closes, January 2, 2018, we’ll announce the results and—if renaming is in the cards—offer ideas for final selection. We’ll also be in touch with those of you who’ve expressed an interest in volunteering on the anthology staff.

If you haven’t done so, please provide your feedback and let us know if you’d like to be part of the team. Take the survey >

Retreats update

A Write-in: Winter Writing Retreat
Sunday, February 18, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Our winter write-in retreat—designed to bring BWW members together for a day of solid writing time free of distraction—filled up instantly. But if you’d like to attend, please RSVP for the wait list because spots may open up. And, if there are not enough cancellations, you’ll be automatically added to the next retreat, tentatively scheduled for March 11th, celebrating daylight savings time and the return of the light.  This is a great utilization of our space as well as a tribute to our dedicated writers. Join the wait list >

Announcements

Mud Season Review Issue #35 launches

Congratulations to the staff of Mud Season Review for yet another compelling issue featuring art by Adelaide Tyrol, fiction by Florence Sunnen, nonfiction by Mahdis Marzooghian, and poetry by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad. It’s hard to believe we’ve published 35 online issues (not to mention 3 print volumes) in just a few years! Everyone who works now, or has ever worked, on this publication should be proud.

In addition, a new interview is up on the site. Mark Benton, MSR art editor, recently spoke with Brent Schreiber, Issue #33 featured artist. Read the interview >

Keep rallying for change at City Market

As you do your holiday shopping, remember that “rounding up” at the checkout counter at City Market benefits the BWW. Through their Rally for Change program, 50% of round-up donations go to the Chittenden County Food Shelf, 40% to the Committee on Temporary Shelter, and 10% to the BWW through the month of December. Visit the downtown store or the new location in the South End.  Learn about City Market’s Rally for Change >

 

Flynn Center blog

Burlington Writers Workshop writers continue to blog for the Flynn. Read the latest:

Josh McDonald reviews the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops concert >

Lorraine Ryan reviews the Nebraska Theatre Caravan production of A Christmas Carol >

Congrats and thanks

Thanks to Cathy Beaudoin, past BWW board treasurer and Mud Season Review fiction reader, for her beautiful testimonial about what the BWW has meant to her as a writer. Read Cathy’s testimonial >

Thanks to the retreat committee (Wendy AndersenLinda Ayer, Rose EggertEva GumprechtJen HallieRiki Moss, Candelin Wahl) for the  idea of a winter “write in” retreat. Judging from how fast this retreat filled up, it’s a very welcome idea indeed!

Thanks to Partridge Boswell, BWW board member, for his work in helping to continue expanding and strengthening our network of talented and inspiring guest authors. Look for more workshops and series soon!

Thanks to Rose Eggert for taking the lead on starting up our new digital committee. This committee will be working to assess our needs and strengths across our digital platforms in order to propose ideas for long-term solutions. We’ll keep you updated as we go!

Thanks to Liz Dallas, founder of the Coaching Center of Vermont, for meeting with us to prepare for our upcoming strategy retreat. Look for opportunities to weigh in as we continue to evolve to meet member needs, and feel free to contact the BWW board any time with questions or ideas.

The value of a strong writers’ community

A testimonial from Cathy Beaudoin,
past BWW board treasurer and Mud Season Review fiction reader and forever member

Cathy Beaudoin and her service dog, Winnie, in their new home in California

In 2014, I began attending the Burlington Writers Workshop in earnest. At the time, I couldn’t possibly understand how the depth of the community would have such a positive impact on my development as a writer. The first workshops I attended were held in the basement of the Half Lounge, and it was nearly impossible to hear anything anyone said.  But the beer flowed and the people I met at those sessions kept me coming back for more. In fact, some of those people are still good friends.

As the vision of the organization began to evolve, the group started meeting in a dedicated space on Pine Street. More people got involved, and the breadth of workshops and other writing opportunities expanded. In addition to new and varied workshops, and an annual anthology highlighting selected member writing, a literary journal as well as a robust, and literary-focused, book club were started. The organization moved, and then moved again. Still, with so many motivated artists around me, I finally succumbed to a lifelong desire, and began to write. In the beginning, my writing was mostly nonfiction. I wanted to document my journey as a blind woman. After all, it was my area of expertise. The topic was unique, and the resources to learn how to write a story were at my fingertips. I had no more excuses.

Like most beginning writers, my prose was raw, choppy, unpolished, and difficult to follow. But the creative nonfiction community was patient with me, and provided endless encouragement. With all the feedback, I learned a truly valuable lesson: people were interested in what I was writing. It was just a matter of writing, re-writing, and writing some more. I learned that writing a beautiful sentence did equate to writing a story with a beginning hook, a strong middle section, and a meaningful ending. The value of having a group of people willing to read and give feedback cannot be measured. There is no way I would have ever progressed to writing better nonfiction, and ultimately fiction stories, without the nurturing of the BWW community.

Ultimately, because of workshops offered by BWW leaders, and outside writers like Robin McLean, Jensen Beach, and others, I felt like being a decent writer might be within my grasp.  And two stories that I initially presented at BWW workshops have since been accepted for publication, one in the literary journal titled Five on the Fifth, and the other in a yet to be titled anthology of short stories highlighting the successes of blind people.  I have three fiction stories that are complete, and am working on a fourth. My fiction story, “Gaining Momentum” has been accepted by Scarlett Leaf Review.

Because the BWW was such a valuable resource for me, I tried to give back to the community, working hard behind the scenes to prepare monthly financial and operating reports.  While a life decision led me to move from the Burlington area, I wanted to take the time to express my gratitude to the BWW community.  It is an incredible opportunity for writers to get out of their heads, to measure their progress, to be motivated to write every day. While nothing is perfect for everyone, I know the BWW will always have a place in my heart.  And because of my deep connections with many of the people there, I will continue to support the organization in any way possible. I hope others are motivated to do the same.


Donate to the BWW by December 31 and see your gift matched!

If you’d like to help make sure this community can keep offering support to beginning writers, established writers, and everyone in between, please consider donating today. Any amount is deeply appreciated. And an anonymous donor has offer to match up to $250 of all new donations received through the end of the year. So help us turn $5 into $10, $25 into $50, or $50 into $100! Donate now >