Opportunities & Announcements: Week of November 14, 2017

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2nd BWW annual meeting! What a great kickoff to our strategic planning for this community’s future. The generous sharing of  perspectives and experiences made for a strong foundation to an ongoing conversation about where we want to go together.

For anyone who wasn’t able to join in the meeting, here’s a look at the timeline for our  strategic planning process that will unfold over the next several months. There will be  many opportunities for input and collaborative exploration at workshops, online, and at the strategic planning retreat.

If you missed the meeting, here are the slides presented. And here are the survey result charts. Two important notes on the slides regarding survey data and responses:

  1. A very small portion of our membership took the survey this year. So the results do not reflect a general consensus among members. This survey will be just a small input into the overall discussion, with more focus put on the annual meeting discussion and continuing inputs (in person and online).
  2. The slides showing member top interest only show the results of the #1 choice of members in those questions. So please keep that in mind when viewing. For example, no one picked Best Of as their #1 choice of things to be involved in. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still a positive part of their experience.

In the coming weeks, notes from the meeting will be posted as well and a link provided in O&A.

In the meantime, please keep creating. Everything we’ve ever done in the BWW has come out of member ideas. So, if you have an idea for workshops, readings, publications, or other programming and events, please always feel free to let us know  what you have in mind and how you want to be part of making it happen. Whether it’s using the space in Burlington for a small-group writing session or organizing a reading at your local coffee shop or even your house—we can offer you tips on how to go about it, help you reserve the BWW space, give you BWW books to bring to display at a reading if you’d like, and help to promote your workshop or reading in our communications. Remember, the BWW is our shared community. We want you to make it yours.

Opportunities

Share your story by the fire at Hotel Vermont

Saturday, December 9, 6:30 p.m. at Hotel Vermont

People have been sharing stories around the fire since they discovered how to light that first spark. And we’re continuing that tradition with the 3rd annual Stories by the Fire event at Hotel Vermont on Saturday, December 9.

Come be part of the tradition. We’re looking for a few BWW writers who have winter or winter holiday themed stories to share out loud, performed rather than read, “Moth-style.” We can even offer coaching if you’ve never told an oral story to an audience before. Send a brief (1 paragraph or less) description of your 8-minute oral story today. Pitch your story >

Announcements

Congrats and thanks

Thank you to everyone who helped in preparations for the annual meeting, from helping to create the presentation to making food: Lauren BenderPartridge Boswell, Terry ClevelandCynthia Close, Eva GumprechtDeena FrankelRebecca Starks, and Danielle Thierry. And thanks again to everyone who came with their ideas and their positive energy!

Thank you to the Fletcher Free Library for providing the space.

Thank you to Deena Frankel for coordinating the amazing BWW open mic. Thank you to Partridge Boswell, our warm and inspiring emcee. Thank you to our readers (Barbie AlsopCynthia Close, Joy Cohen, Annie CooperNina Gaby, NoahGenrose Lambert, Michael Sevy, and Candelin Wahl) and our singer-songwriter Nate Orshan. Your performances were impressive and moving. Thank you to Lee Anderson and the staff of the Light Club Lamp Shop for their generous hospitality. Check out the photos from the event >

Thank you to Eva Gumprecht for the wonderful idea of building upon the mission-based questions posed at the annual meeting to continue collective brainstorming  in workshops and other sessions.

Thank you to Peter Biello for having the foresight to sign the BWW up for City Market’s Rally for Change program several years ago. We’re now at the top of the list, and we’ll be the nonprofit recipient of 10% of donations throughout the month of December. More on this next week, but in the meantime, check out the program information >

Thank you to Mindy Wong, our space manager, for the terrific idea to create “open hours” times on the Meetup calendar for folks to come to our shared space to write, drink coffee, and connect. Look for open hours coming soon!

P.S. There are a lot of people to thank this week. So if we missed you on the list, please know it wasn’t intentional and that all of your contributions—big and small—are deeply appreciated.

Congrats to Cynthia Close, who is currently being spotlighted in The Woven Tale Press.

Congrats to Kerstin Lange, whose commentary is highlighted on Vermont Public Radio.

Congrats to  Ilamae Lund, who will be speaking at reading at the Emile A. Gruppe Gallery in Jericho on November 26 between 3 – 4 p.m.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of November 5, 2017

I talked to so many people this week whose lives were seriously disrupted by last weekend’s freaky storm; friends who were without power—and heat—for 5 or 6 days. I suppose the silver lining is the good stories that will come from all that adversity. The experience was certainly one of those times for reflection on the comforts of modern society.

Annual meeting Nov 11, noon, Fletcher Free Library

Speaking of reflection, next Saturday is a perfect time for BWW members to gather and reflect on where we’ve been, but more importantly, where we’d like to take this community of ours in the future. It isn’t too late to RSVP on Meet-Up for next Saturday’s annual meeting, to be held at 12 noon in the Fletcher Free Library. RSVP for the annual meeting now >

BWW Open Mic, Nov 16, 6:30-8:00, Light Club Lamp Shop

The first (of 2) BWW open mics associated with our BCA grant is drawing a big crowd for a full slate of readings, songs from the songwriting workshop, and oral stories. The 10 slots in the program are filled with a wait list, but there’s plenty of room to enjoy the evening at the Light Club Lamp Shop. If you haven’t been there, you’re in for a treat. Can you say “funky”? RSVP for the open mic today >

Seeking BWW writers for the 3rd annual Stories by the Fire

The Hotel Vermont has enthusiastically invited BWW back for the third annual Stories by the Fire, an evening of oral stories on the theme of winter or the winter holidays. The enchantment begins at 6:30, December 9, in front of the lobby fireplace. If you have a first-person, true story you’d like to tell in 8 minutes, please submit a brief description (a paragraph or less). If you have an idea, but haven’t told an oral story to an audience before, coaching is available. Submit your story description >

Congratulations

 Cynthia Close’s creative nonfiction essay, “Slip-sliding Away”—which was workshopped at the BWW—was recently published by The Woven Tale Press. Cynthia also recently published a book review of Stan Brakhage’s Metaphors on Vision in Documentary Magazine 

Nina Gaby’s micro essay “Observations from the Girl Who Wasn’t Even Under the Bridge” was a finalist in The New Millennium Writings monthly muse contest.

 Dian Parker recently published 2 short stories, “Back of Beyond” in The Burlington Beat, and “The Art of Falling” in BlazeVox.

 Jimmy Tee‘s poem “There, I’ve Done Something About It” was published in The Burlington Beat.

 Have you published something recently, won an honor or award, or have an accomplishment to share? Please let us know so we can help share your good news with your fellow BWW members.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of October 30, 2017

There are just 2 spots left on the performance schedule for the BWW’s first open mic night at the Light Club Lamp Shop. We’ll be gathering in the magical living room that is the Light Club on Thursday, November 16 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. to share stories, poems, and songs. If you’d like to share your work, please see the instructions on the RSVP page. Or, just join us to listen and support your fellow BWW members! RSVP now >

This event is sponsored in part by a grant from the Burlington City Arts Community Fund.

Keep reading below for more opportunities and announcements.

Opportunities

BWW annual member survey

Open through November 4
If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to fill out our annual member survey. We’ll present the results to help serve as a foundation for discussion at the annual member meeting. We’ll also use the results throughout the year to ensure we’re meeting member needs . Take the survey >

BWW annual member meeting

November 11, noon, at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington
Join us for a creative exercise to kick off our upcoming strategic planning process, followed by readings and performances from some of our many talented members. RSVP now >

NaNoWriMo Write-In at the Vermont Steampunk Expo

November 4-5 at the Sheraton Hotel in South Burlington
In honor of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the Vermont Steampunk Expo will be hosting a “write-in” during the weekend event. Learn more about this opportunity >

Announcements

Mud Season Review

Mud Season Review issue #33 launched this October 20th. This issue is a special one, celebrating poetry and allowing us to feature more of the amazing poets we’re connecting with around the world—from New Jersey to the Netherlands to Nigeria.

The issue features the work of 12 poets: Hussain Ahmed, Aileen Bassis, Alexis Bates, James Blevins , Moushumi Chakrabarty, Savannah Cooper, Natalie Crick, Jessica Lee, D.S. Maolalai, Kristian O’Hare, Milla van der Have, and Rachel Walker.

Rounding out the issue is the featured artwork of Brent Schreiber.

Congrats to the entire Mud Season Review staff on the launch of this issue. And special thanks to the MSR poetry team for bringing this poetry supplement to life: Lauren Bender, Bette Jane CampNancy Malhotra, Grier Martin, Aurora Nowak, Emma Parkinson, and Candelin Wahl.

Flynn Center blog

BWW writers regularly blog for the Flynn:

Josh McDonald previews Soovin Kim and Gloria Chen performing the violin sonatas of Charles Ives >

 

Congrats and thanks

Congrats to Peter Biello, whose recent report on the Manchester, NH VA’s lack of private access to their women’s clinic for female Veterans resulted in announced plans to relocate the clinic. Read more about this issue >

Congrats to Kane Gilmour, whose new novel with Jeremy Robinson, Viking Tomorrow, is now available. Learn more about the book >

Thank you to our 2017 Retreat Committee for an amazing summer and fall full of warm, collaborative, inspiring retreats. Committee members and retreat hosts include: Wendy AndersenLinda Ayer, Terry ClevelandRose Eggert, Eva Gumprecht, Jen HallieRiki Moss, and Candelin Wahl. Thank you, as well, to this year’s retreat instructors: Robin McLeanJericho ParmsRebecca Starks, and Baron Wormser.

Thanks to everyone—from past and present board members to our scheduler and space manager to our workshop leaders, retreat committee, and Mud Season Review staff—who is helping to pitch in extra during this time of transition. Your support and attention to all the many details that keep this organization running is deeply appreciated.

Have you published something recently, won an honor or award, or have an accomplishment to share? Please let us know so we can help share your good news with your fellow BWW members. Contact us >

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of October 23, 2017

Fall is a busy time at the BWW, with many opportunities upcoming. But perhaps the most important opportunities ahead are several ways for you to help shape the future of the BWW, for us to engage in thinking about the future together, and to hear your creative voice, if you are so inclined.

Member survey launched

Today we launched the annual BWW Member Survey, which will remain open until November 4. Each year, the Board of Directors relies heavily on this feedback to shape the next year’s programming and determine how resources are spent. The aggregated results of the anonymous survey are shared at the annual meeting to help provide a framework for further discussion about member goals, and are used throughout the year to inform decisions—taking into account what’s working, what could be improved, how the BWW can better meet member needs, and who wants to step forward to help. With the organization at a moment of transition, your input is more important than ever.

Annual meeting Nov 11, noon, Fletcher Free Library

On November 11, we will gather from noon to 2 p.m. at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington for the BWW Annual Meeting. Please RSVP today. You will not want to miss the collaborative thinking about the future and the fun—by which I mean good food, good company, and readings and performances from each of our diverse types of writing: Best Of, Mud Season Review, songwriting, the literature group, and the oral storytelling workshop.

BWW Open Mic, Nov 16, 6:30-8:00, Light Club Lamp Shop

Finally, I’m pleased to announce the first (of 2) BWW open mics at the Light Club Lamp Shop, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on November 16. If you would like to read your work, tell an oral story, or play an original song, please sign up here. These open mics are part of the programming associated with the BCA grant we received this summer. Even if you don’t care to read or perform, come join us for an evening in the magical living room that is the Light Club.

Announcements

The BWW Board met on Saturday, October 21. We accepted BWW founder Peter Biello’s resignation with sadness and thanks, and elected veteran BWW member Deena Frankel as chair of the board. As the board begins a strategic planning process—with lots of opportunities ahead for member input—Danielle Thierry, current board member and past organizer, will be aiding in the transition to give us time to decide how to “staff” various roles in the future.

Congratulations

Rebecca Starks’ poem, Open Carry, was published in the October 8, 2017, edition of Rattle.

Candelin Wahl has 6 poems published and forthcoming in Red Wolf Journal and HerStory.

Congratulations, Rebecca and Candelin.

Have you published something recently, won an honor or award, or have an accomplishment to share? Please let us know so we can help share your good news with your fellow BWW members.

A message from your BWW board

 

Dear BWW members,

If you have seen the most recent Opportunities & Announcements or Facebook posts, you know that Peter Biello, founder of the BWW, has resigned from his leadership roles. Speaking for ourselves and for the larger community, we are sad to see him go, and filled with deep gratitude for his passion, vision, and dedicated service to the organization he founded and nurtured these many years. We are glad that he will stay connected as a member. As a board, our ultimate goal is to honor Peter’s legacy, while looking forward to what we can keep building together.

We hope members can be positive and patient and understanding in this transition. Given the strength of what we have built together, current member engagement, and the depth of skill and non-profit leadership experience on the board, we have great cause for optimism about our future as an organization. No doubt Peter’s announcement has raised questions in members’ minds, and we hope through this message to answer these and lay out some next steps.

At Saturday’s board meeting, we will accept Peter’s resignation and elect a new chair, and then take up the business that was already facing the board. The work ahead includes:

  • Fielding the annual member survey next week, with a greater focus on future direction and assessing what is working and what needs adjustment with regard to BWW publications. The survey is an essential cornerstone to beginning a new strategic plan.
  • Preparations for the November 11 annual membership meeting where we hope to have broad input and a free-wheeling, creative session about strengthening what we are today and envisioning what we want to be tomorrow.
  • Scheduling and shaping our strategic planning process.
  • Continuing work begun last weekend with the Mud Season Review staff to ensure that MSR is well positioned to fulfill its ambitious vision, that staff have a rewarding experience, and that we can meet the expectations and needs of our authors and readers.

Last Saturday, five members of the board had a thoughtful and well-informed conversation with the Mud Season Review staff. One of the outcomes of that conversation was that we decided to put the 2018 Vol 4 print issue on hold for now. We want to get the whole staff together for a meeting soon, and during that meeting, we’ll talk more about the print issue and how we want to move forward with it in the future. But we want to allow time to have that discussion and explore our options before jumping into the work of putting the volume together. Lauren Bender is staying on board as we search for our next Editor-in-Chief. Several other staff members have expressed interest in taking on greater roles. So, more to come. If you are not currently involved in MSR, but would like to be, there are roles to fill. The October online issue, which is dedicated to poetry, will be out on the 20th.

With your help, input, and support, we look forward to building on the solid foundation of the BWW and all it has to offer, and to helping it evolve organically to best meet its members’ needs.

If you have questions, concerns, ideas, etc., please contact any member of the Board.

Sincerely,

BWW Board of Directors: Lauren Bender, Partridge Boswell, Terry Cleveland, Deena Frankel, Rebecca Starks, Danielle Thierry

RSVP for the Annual Meeting here

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of October 16, 2017

Thanks to Candelin Wahl, here we have a photo from our recent songwriting workshop. It’s a regular offering at the BWW, one Thursday a month, and proof that the BWW is a big tent, capable of providing space to creative types of all kinds.

If you thought that sentence sounded like the prelude to a pitch, you would be correct. This songwriting workshop–and all of our Burlington workshops–happen around this table, in a space that costs money to rent.

We don’t charge a fee, but the BWW leadership team ask folks like you to chip in a few bucks from time to time to support the mission of the BWW, which is to provide free learning opportunities for writers like you. If you’d like to give a certain amount each month (let’s say $6 or $12) you can become a sustaining member here. 

We hope you will. Automatic gifts like yours provide a stable base of support for the expenses that come with running this nonprofit organization.

We’ve got more opportunities and a big announcement to make, so please do check out this week’s opportunities and announcements.

Continue reading

Fiction Workshops with Jensen Beach

Author Jensen Beach.

Thanks to a grant from Burlington City Arts, we’re offering three workshops in November with Jensen Beach, award-winning author of the collection of short stories, Swallowed by the Cold.  Sign up for one of these workshops using the links below. They’re all free and open to the public.

(If you’re new to the BWW, please read this helpful guide on how to get started.)

Jensen Beach is the author of two story collections, most recently SWALLOWED BY THE COLD (Graywolf). He holds an MFA in fiction from the Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as an MA and BA in English from Stockholm University. He teaches in the BFA program at Johnson State College, where he is the fiction editor at Green Mountains Review. His writing has appeared recently in A Public Space, the Paris Review, and The New Yorker.

Fiction Writing with Jensen Beach

Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017, 6:30 PM

Burlington Writers Workshop
110 Main Street, Studio 3C Burlington, VT

9 Writers Attending

Please join us for a fiction writing workshop with Jensen Beach, author of Swallowed by the Cold, at our workshop space in Burlington. This workshop was funded in part by a grant from the Burlington City Arts Community Fund.In these sessions (November 1, 8, and 15), we will engage in focused workshop of participant stories (link to reading materi…

Check out this Meetup →

Fiction Writing with Jensen Beach

Wednesday, Nov 8, 2017, 6:30 PM

Burlington Writers Workshop
110 Main Street, Studio 3C Burlington, VT

5 Writers Attending

Please join us for a fiction writing workshop with Jensen Beach, author of Swallowed by the Cold, at our workshop space in Burlington. This workshop was funded in part by a grant from the Burlington City Arts Community Fund.In these sessions (November 1, 8, and 15), we will engage in focused workshop of participant stories (link to reading materi…

Check out this Meetup →

Fiction Writing with Jensen Beach

Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017, 6:30 PM

Burlington Writers Workshop
110 Main Street, Studio 3C Burlington, VT

5 Writers Attending

Please join us for a fiction writing workshop with Jensen Beach, author of Swallowed by the Cold, at our workshop space in Burlington. This workshop was funded in part by a grant from the Burlington City Arts Community Fund.In these sessions (November 1, 8, and 15), we will engage in focused workshop of participant stories (link to reading materi…

Check out this Meetup →

These workshops were made possible in part with support from the Burlington City Arts Community Fund.

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 25, 2017

Three down, one left.

Our free writing retreats have been a success so far this year. On the weekend of September 18th, Vermont poet Baron Wormser led a day-long retreat in Adamant, Vermont. Candelin Wahl, one of the participants, said, “The workshop was great! Engaged participants, very strong leader/teacher in Baron Wormser, amazing location & a restaurant-quality potluck lunch.”

We’ve got one more free writing retreat left. You can learn more about it and put your name in the hat for the lottery here.

There’s more to discover in this week’s opportunities and announcements, so read on!

Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 11, 2017

Lauren Bender, editor-in-chief, Mud Season Review

Lauren Bender, editor-in-chief of Mud Season Review, is getting ready to step down from her post. We’re so glad that she was able to spend a year (1) publishing great online and print issues and (2) facilitating the learning experience that MSR provides to Vermont’s aspiring writers. Lauren, we can’t thank you enough for your stellar work!

Lauren’s going to be working with her replacement to ease the transition to new leadership, which should be in place no later than October 31, 2017.

Who’s the new editor-in-chief? We don’t know yet, but we’d like you to apply for the job if you’re interested. Details on this and other opportunities for writers can be found in this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of August 28, 2017

The second Burlington Writers Workshop retreat of the summer took place this past weekend. Fiction writer Robin McLean, author of the short story collection Reptile House, spent the day working with attendees. Here’s what a few folks who attended had to say about the retreat:

“The retreat was better than anything I’d imagined. Certainly the organization was admirable. The setting was amazingly beautiful and inspiring. The folks who attended (including our hosts) added so much to the experience; the generous participation, the bravery, and the food! Our instructor was so much more than that; a mentor, our guru, our spiritual leader; leading us to the hidden wells of  inspiration and creativity tucked away in our unconscious minds; teaching us to banish the gatekeeper/censor and go forth like cowboys exploring deep caverns… wow.”

“I’d like to add my thanks to Riki and Rose for their great hospitality and for providing such a gorgeous setting. Thanks too to Robin for being such an inspiring workshop leader! Thanks finally to all the writers who shared their wonderful writings and commentary. I was so fired up that I rose early on Sunday morning and started working again on my novel.”

“Kudos for that magical day go to Riki and Robert [retreat hosts] for sharing creative space; to Wendy and Karin [retreat committee members] for their behind the scenes work; to everyone who opened their hearts and souls giving all of us the courage to go deeper; and to Robin for her careful and inspiring guidance in allowing us to find ourselves.”

The next BWW retreat will take place on September 16th. All our retreats are filled by lottery. This gives all writers an equal chance to attend. You can learn more and put your name in the hat by checking out this page.

Learn more about what’s happening for writers in Vermont in the coming weeks in these opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of August 14, 2017

At our workshops, we’ll discuss anything. Last week, when I was leading a workshop, we were discussing the trials of entering the dating market when you’re over 60. (Dating, it was noted at the workshop table, is perilous at any age.)

One of our writers had written about a woman entering the dating market after her husband of 30 years passed away. The novel-in-progress generated quite a discussion. Beyond that, I can’t comment about what was said. Like they say about Las Vegas: What happens in workshop, stays in workshop.

But if you’d like to be privy to workshop conversations, there’s one thing you can do: sign up and claim your seat.

Learn more about this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 31, 2017

The BWW held its first retreat of the season on July 15. These folks pictured here attended at the home of BWW Treasurer Terry Cleveland. These retreats are meant to help you get away from whatever happens to be distracting you from your work. If you’re interested in signing up for more of these retreats, please check out this page and see what we have to offer.

We’ve also got workshops aplenty, so sign up for a few when you have a chance. And check out this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 17, 2017

A view of downtown Burlington, Vermont on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.

For the first time in two years, I attended a Wednesday night writing workshop in downtown Burlington, Vermont. Wednesday night writing workshops are the longest running tradition at the Burlington Writers Workshop. Part of that tradition involves going out for drinks downtown after the discussion ends. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed the lively Wednesday night conversations and the chance to socialize with BWW members over a beer (or two).

Part of the fun for me, of course, was getting feedback on my latest short story. I was hoping to see this story in a new light and, as always, BWW members delivered. In the next few days, I’m going to get started on revisions. Thanks, fellow workshoppers!

If you’ve got a piece of writing you need to see through someone else’s eyes, we’ve got plenty of opportunities for you. Here are this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 3, 2017

“A Ulysses Summer: Summer Literature Reading Group” is one of our most popular workshops this summer.

Lately a group of BWW members have been reading Ulysses by James Joyce together. Patrick Brownson leads the group, which counts 13 regular attendees plus a waitlist, meaning it’s one of the most popular things we’re offering this summer. As you can see, our workshop space is occupied by quite a few happy readers, one of whom owns a selfie stick.

This reading group is full, but you can still participate in other workshops, if you’d like. We’ve got plenty. We’ve also got four free writing retreats planned this year.

Check out this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading