Opportunities and Announcements: Week of October 20, 2014

Howard Frank Mosher will offer a presentation of his work, titled "Where in the World is Kingdom County?" on Tuesday, October 21st at Hotel Vermont.

Howard Frank Mosher will offer a presentation of his work, titled “Where in the World is Kingdom County?” on Tuesday, October 21st at Hotel Vermont.

The big news this week: Howard Frank Mosher will join us for a presentation of his work tomorrow (Tuesday, October 21st) at Hotel Vermont. It’s a free event, open to the public, beginning at 7 p.m. Howard is one of those people you think of when you think: Vermont writer. You can learn more about him and RSVP on Facebook.

Here are the opportunities for Vermont writers and BWW announcements for this week. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of October 6, 2014

BWW organizer Peter Biello sanding one of the two new workshop tables.

BWW organizer Peter Biello sanding one of the two new workshop tables.

We’ve been using donated tables since we opened in January, and they have been great, though a little bit awkward, since one table was about three feet shorter than the other. BWW member Rob Lietar bought the wood and other materials for matching pine tables. On Saturday, Rob and I screwed the planks in place. Yesterday, I sanded one of them flat, and it’s looking good (so far).

Rob will be sanding, gap-filling, and sanding again this week. We’ll stain the tables next weekend, so we’re hoping to have these installed by Monday, October 13th. If anyone has experience making furniture and some time to spare, please do let me know. Rob knows the ropes, but an extra set of hands could be a big help!

Anyway, here are this week’s opportunities and announcements.


I mentioned last week that we’re now looking for editors for The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2015. I hope you’ll take a moment to look at the job descriptions and apply.

Justin from Retro-Motion is looking for freelancers to write for an agricultural publication. If you’re interested, contact him: justin@retro-motion.com

I’m looking for a volunteer to help with the marketing efforts for our StoryhackVT workshops. As you may remember, the BWW won a Vermont Community Foundation grant to hold digital storytelling workshops with Nate Herzog, founder of StoryhackVT. This will involve a little Facebook, a little Twitter, and some flyering. It’ll be painless, I promise. Please contact me if you’re interest.


Mud Season Review launched the interview with our first fiction writer, Barbara Harroun.

My interview with David Huddle ran on VPR’s Vermont Edition last week.

Laban Hill’s workshop on October 23rd will be moved or cancelled, depending on what those who were planning to attend want Laban to do. In the meantime, consider attending Laban’s reading at Phoenix Books that night at 7 p.m.

You have spoken, and you want Howard Frank Mosher to talk about A Stranger in the Kingdom when he comes to Hotel Vermont to speak on Tuesday, October 21st. We are looking for donors to help pay for this event. Make a gift of $300 or more to the BWW and we’ll treat you to dinner with Howard at Juniper, Hotel Vermont’s fancy schmancy restaurant, before the reading. You’ll like it! Make your gift today.

The Hatch is coming to the Flynn Center! Learn more here.

Congratulations! You’ve reached the end this week’s announcements. If you’ve read this far, you deserve a prize. Contact me and say “I want my prize” and I’ll leave you something special in the BWW workspace this week.


Thanks to Marble House Project for supporting the BWW. They offer writing courses in Southern Vermont, and you can learn more about it here.

Thanks to Quantum Leap Capital in South Burlington for supporting the BWW. For several months, QLC has been a great supporter of this workshop. QLC offers financial planning for people of all ages and income levels.





Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 29, 2014

Did you know that, on the last day of the month, we schedule a month’s worth of workshops? Tomorrow is the last day of September, so we’ll post all of November’s workshops to Meetup.com. If you have an idea for a workshop, send it to me ASAP, and we’ll see if we can fit it. If not, it’ll have to wait until December.

We’ve got lots of opportunities for you to get involved with the local writing scene, so let’s get to them!

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 22, 2014

Poet Artress Bethany White reads her work at the launch of Mud Season Review on Saturday, September 20, 2014. White's work will appear in a forthcoming issue of MSR.

Poet Artress Bethany White reads her work at the launch of Mud Season Review on Saturday, September 20, 2014. White’s work will appear in a forthcoming issue of MSR.

This year’s Burlington Book Festival was a great success. We held our launch party for Mud Season Review and gave a stellar reading on religion and faith the following morning. We met lots of new folks and reconnected with some old friends. In short, it was a fantastic weekend for literary folks in Vermont.

We’ve posted pictures of the Mud Season Review festivities on the MSR Facebook page, which I hope you’ll both “Like” and invite your friends to “Like.” As one of our authors said at Saturday night’s reading, it’ll be exciting to see where this journal is in five years. A good place, I’m sure.

Anyway, without further ado, here are this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 15, 2014

Thank you to everyone who came to “Community Night” at Bluebird BBQ. We raised a total of $260 for the BWW, which is awesome and greatly needed.

If you couldn’t make it but would still like to help us pay for BWW expenses, please make a donation here. We need your support. Thanks!

There are quite a few opportunities and announcements for you this week, so here they are.

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A Free Writing Retreat for Women

photo 1Tayna Lyn Willard, a member of the BWW, has offered to lead a free writing retreat for women on October 25th. The retreat will take place at HOWL (Huntington Open Women’s Land trust). There is a house, a barn and 50 acres of land including fields, streams and hiking trails.

This is a nature retreat for both poetry and prose writers. Poetry-focused time will be from 9 a.m. – noon and prose-focused time will be from 1-4 p.m. This is meant to be only a lightly guided retreat with much time and space allowed for writing and creating during the retreat.

There is an option to camp overnight in the field by the pond. HOWL has a full kitchen and shower available for the use of anyone who would like to camp that night. Camping participants should plan to bring their own food or eat in a neighboring town. Participants should also bring anything they need to sleep, such as a sleeping bag and tent. Tanya will also be leading a hike once the sessions are over for anyone interested in staying active. HOWL is only about a five minute drive from Camel’s Hump if anyone is interested in hiking that afterwards. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 8, 2014

If you’re a member of the Burlington Writers Workshop, it’s likely that you measure yourself using two yardsticks: (1) The quality of your writing and (2) the quality of the feedback you give to your fellow writers.

In both cases, the word “quality” is a matter of opinion. What makes a piece of writing good is up for debate. Ditto for feedback.

However, there are techniques you can use to help move your writing along, and there are steps you can take to becoming a better provider of feedback. I’ve outlined some steps that I hope you’ll consider. We ought to give each other the best possible response at every single workshop, and reading this, IMHO, is a good way to start.

Okay. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on to this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Recommendation: Peter Roy Clark’s WRITING TOOLS

writingtoolsPeter Roy Clark’s book Writing Tools answers writing questions I never thought to ask. When should I list just one item versus two, three, or more? When is passive voice useful? What’s the most powerful placement in a sentence or paragraph for a given word?

Starting with the smallest details and expanding to ever broader ideas, Clark’s fifty writing tools struck me in the head like an unexpected apple from a very insightful tree. Opening with “Begin sentences with subjects and verbs” and wrapping up with “Own the tools of your craft,” Writing Tools offers unambiguous, concise, practical recommendations for all varieties of writing, starting each of of its fifty sections with an explanation of the point, then driving it home with illuminating examples.

Clark uses these tools as he explains them. For example, in summarizing “Tool 20: Choose the number of elements with the purpose in mind,” Clark says

  • Use one for power.
  • Use two for comparison, contrast.
  • Use three for completeness, wholeness, roundness.
  • Use four or more to list, inventory, compile, and expand.

Along with pointing out ways to optimize writing, Clark trots out metaphors that show effective ways to accomplish key writing tasks, like keeping the reader happy (with gold coins left here and there in your piece) and explaining difficult concepts (by climbing up and down the Ladder of Abstraction).

Many of the good habits Clark describes can gradually develop without ever registering as specific techniques, as when an untrained but skilled singer uses vibrato and grace notes to add more feeling to a song. Certainly some of Clark’s points felt validating to me because I had already figured them out intuitively. Even then, though, Clark often sheds new light. Writing Tools adds, clarifies, and completes what we already understand about writing.

You may not agree with every one of Clark’s suggested techniques, and some of them may not be entirely applicable to your writing, but regardless of who you are or how long and well you’ve been writing, I’d be amazed if you didn’t come away from reading Writing Tools without at least a few insights that will be worth many times the price of the book.

Note: For a little more discussion of the “gold coins” tool, see my blog post.

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of August 11, 2014

The most important thing we do for each other is provide honest, thoughtful responses for our friends and fellow writers. I’ve written an essay that offers six strategies for providing this feedback. I hope you’ll take a moment to read it and use these strategies next time you respond to someone’s work.

Here are the opportunities and announcements for this week. Continue reading

A Poem for Galway Kinnell

Galway Kinnell. Photo by Richard Brown.

Galway Kinnell. Photo by Richard Brown.

Galway Kinnell was honored today fat the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vermont for his accomplishments as a poet. Vermont Poet Gary Margolis wrote this as a tribute to Kinnell.

Coming to the Statehouse to Honor Galway Kinnell
by Gary Margolis

Under Washington, his portrait,
in this chamber, the well
of the House, we’ve come
to honor one of ours.

Word-neighbor. Poem-maker.
Among other things, champion
of using is three times rightly
and consecutively in a verse’s

line. Here, where our state’s once
chief executive welcomes us and asks
what our state would be, if
we, wall-to-wall, poets were voted in

to caste our votes. We’re sitting
at their desks with the aye and nay
switch close at hand. And listening
to his words read back to him.

By our country’s best representatives.
I mean his writing, singing heirs.
Who, as Frost said, say his poems
into our listening air. Our poet, sitting

among us, holding his hand to his ear,
speaker-like. Although you can be sure
he can read their lips, for a scent
of bear, love-moaning from a bedroom.

a field’s lipstick of blueberries.
As well as the pause between words.
Where he lives, too. Here in our fortunate
Vermont. We can fill a well with the songs

of Galway Kinnell. Who we can’t do without.
Who’s not here to sit for his portrait.
Who still speaks in and out.
Who rises to our long standing applause.

Learn more about Gary Margolis.