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 >

 

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of December 11, 2017

Hands in a circle graphic‘Tis the season when nonprofits remind us that their important work can’t happen without our tax-deductible support…because it’s true!  If you’re thinking about end-of-year giving, please remember the good work that depends almost completely on BWW member donations. Whatever you took away this year—a workshop or retreat, the opportunity to work on a publication, the fellowship of a writing community, a place to write—was all made possible by member contributions. As the end of the year approaches, please give what you can to support the health and growth of the Burlington Writers Workshop. Donate today >

Survey says…

That’s a teaser. Actually the survey is still open to gather input for the 2018 BWW anthology (aka The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop) and to recruit people interested in staffing the publication. At the moment, opinion is running 5-to-3 in favor of renaming, and there are some great ideas for names on this list. When the survey closes, January 2, 2018, We’ll announce the results and—if renaming is in the cards—offer a few ideas for final selection. Watch for an organizational meeting date early in the new year. And thanks to those who have already expressed interest in staffing.

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 >

Packed house for Stories By the Fire

Stories by the Fire: A BWW and Hotel Vermont event

What could be more fundamentally human than listening to fellow humans tell stories around a fire? Saturday night more than 60 people gathered at the Hotel Vermont for the 3rd annual Stories By the Fire, a very special night hosted by Gin Ferrara and featuring 7 BWW members and community storytellers. Special thanks to the hotel for again providing the warm and welcoming space, and the snacks. If you missed it, thanks to our media sponsor RETN, you’ll be able to watch it online and on Channel 16. Watch for a link coming soon.

Writing retreat—literally—Feb 18

The Retreat Committee has some wonderful ideas in development for 2018, and its first event, February 18 at the BWW space, is something different. For this retreat, writers will neglect everything and lock in to just write, glue themselves to their chairs, eat pretzels, run up and down the stairs, take bathroom breaks…that’s it. This will appeal to writers who are deeply immersed in a particular work and don’t want the distraction of prompts, feedback, or direction from leaders. Also for anyone feeling like they don’t have time to write due to life’s many distractions, as well as writers who just want to get out of the house and not into a bar. If this is exactly what you’ve been needing to fulfill your writing resolutions in the new year, sign up for a seat and get ready to write. RSVP for this BWW winter retreat >

The Rally is On…At City Market: Rally for Change

Throughout December, remember that shopping at City Market and “rounding up” at the check out 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. Visit the downtown store or the new location in the South End.  Learn about City Market’s Rally for Change >

Congrats and thanks

Congratulations to Cathy Beaudoin whose nonfiction stories “Opening Up My World” and “Seeing is Believing” were published in Five on the Fifth and Kind Magazine, respectively. Her fiction story “Gaining Momentum” has been accepted by Scarlett Leaf Review.

Thanks to our 8 Stories by the Fire storytellers:  Gin Ferrara, Peter Burns, Deena Frankel, Owen Foley, Cardy Raper, Anne Mollo and Bill Torrey.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of December 4, 2017

Support your writing community and fight hunger by rounding up at City Market

December is the Burlington Writers Workshop’s month for City Market’s “Rally for Change” program. Throughout the month, 10% of all funds raised from patrons who “round up” at check-out will come to the BWW as a donation. The other 90% goes to programs addressing hunger. So whether City Market is your go-to grocery store, or you want to make a special trip to support the BWW and hunger programs, please consider rounding up at check-out!

Donate to the Burlington Writers Workshop directly

Support the Burlington Writers WorkshopDecember is traditionally a fundraising month for us here at the Burlington Writers Workshop. If you already donate—monthly online, a once-a-year check, or a few dollars in the donation box at a workshop—thank you on behalf of everyone who benefits from the BWW.

And if you’re so inclined, please consider giving a special donation this month to help fuel our efforts as we head into 2018. Together, we’ll be bringing even more of what members like you say they want most—more craft workshops, more retreats, more open mics, more opportunities for connecting. If we each give what we can, we’ll help to ensure we’ll all get what we need from this beautiful community of ours. Donate today >

Opportunities

The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop

It’s time to start planning!

We’re beginning plans for our 6th annual anthology of member work—but we’re doing things a little differently this year. After all, we’ve learned a lot in the 5 years we’ve been publishing this labor of love and we want to use what we’ve learned to make it even better for the anthology’s staff, the writers we publish, and the BWW community overall.

So, first things first, a survey! Some members have suggested we rename the anthology. We’d like to explore that as a community, even as we start plans for the next issue. Please take a few minutes to tell us if you like the name as it is, or if you’d like to change it—and any ideas you might have for a new name. Take the survey now >

Are you interested in staffing the 2018 edition? We need lead editors, copy editors,  designers, marketers, and project managers. If you’re interested or want to know more, let us know (take the survey) what roles pique your interest. We plan to hold an in-person learning and information session to answer your questions and start to build a team. If you’d like to be involved, but you don’t have editing experience, don’t worry! One purpose of the anthology is to help members learn new skills, and we’re here to support you. Volunteer for the journal >

3rd Annual Stories by the Fire

Saturday, December 9 at Hotel Vermont

Join us this Saturday as Gin Ferrara hosts first-person, true stories by BWW and community storytellers, told without notes in the style of The Moth. Our media partner for this event is RETN. RSVP now >

The Writer’s Website: Presenting and Managing Your Work on the Internet

Thursday, January 18 at the BWW space in Burlington

Looking for help creating your writer’s website? Join Mieko A. Ozeki, owner of Radiance Studios LLC, for a workshop designed to take the anxiety out of the process. Mieko will provide an overview on how to plan, create, curate, and manage content for your website. We’ll review a selection of all-in-one website builder platforms such as SquareSpace, Wix, and WordPress. And you’ll get tips on how to promote traffic to your site and optimize search results that point to your work. RSVP now >

Announcements

Winter workshops

Many of our workshops are now scheduled for January and February. Check out the calendar >

Note: If you’re wondering why you don’t see any Wednesday Workshops, or some Mondays, yet, it’s because we’re working on securing guest authors for craft workshops and series. We expect to have those confirmed soon, and will update the calendar—and announce the details in Opportunities & Announcements—as soon as we have dates.

Board meetings

Minutes from past meetings:

Minutes are now available for the annual meeting and the most recent board meeting.

Read the annual meeting minutes >

Read the 11/29 board meeting minutes >

Next board meeting: December 16, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

The next meeting of the BWW board of directors is scheduled for Saturday, December 16, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.  Due to hectic holidays schedules, this will be a phone meeting. If you’d like to listen in as an observer on the call, please contact us and we’ll get you the conference line details. Minutes from the meeting will also be posted, as usual, on the site.  Contact us >

Flynn Center Blog

Burlington Writers Workshop members regularly blog for the Flynn:

Cynthia Close reviews Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy’s “A Celtic Family Christmas” >

Lorraine Ryan previews “A Christmas Carol” >

Thanks and congrats

Thanks to Erin Post for leading 2 collaborative team meetings for the Mud Season Review staff as we continue working to increase the journal’s long-term sustainability. And thank you to everyone on staff who came out to these meetings to share their ideas and their dedication.

Thanks to Patrick Brownson for yet another successful season in our literature reading series. What started with “Infinite Summer” has now become a beloved, year-long opportunity for members to gather for meaningful and challenging discussion of some of the great works of literature. Up next is our 3-month winter series featuring Middlemarch, a Study of Provincial Life by George Eliot (aka, Mary Ann Evans). Seats are filling up fast. Grab yours today >

Thanks to Wendy Andersen, Kristabeth Atwood, Melinda Bachand, Rosa Castellano, Terry Cleveland, Seth Melvin Cronin, Eva Gumprecht, Natasha Mieskowski, and  Mindy Wong for leading recent workshops.

Thanks to Barbie Alsop and Dennis Bouldin for their work in getting winter workshops and submissions scheduled.

Thanks to Eva Gumprecht for testing out the instructions for maintaining member submissions on our site as we begin the process of spreading this responsibility around.

Thanks to the retreat committee (Wendy Andersen, Linda Ayer, Rose Eggert, Eva Gumprecht, Jen HallieRiki Moss, Candelin Wahl) for their work on a proposal for more retreats throughout the year—and their continued work to make them happen.

Thanks to Margaret Grant and Cynthia Close for keeping the board apprised of ongoing grant opportunities for the BWW and Mud Season Review.

Thanks to Lauren Bender and Rebecca Starks for their work in capturing minutes for the annual meeting and most recent board meeting.

Thanks to Rose Eggert and Terry Cleveland for another successful month of tracking the funding that makes all this possible!

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of Nov. 27, 2017

Stories By the Fire: A BWW Winter Tradition

It’s great to be responsible for a new holiday tradition! This year marks the third annual Stories By the Fire, presented by the Burlington Writers Workshop in collaboration with the Hotel Vermont. This entertaining and moving event has drawn overflow crowds both years to date, as BWW and community members gather early in the holiday season for a tradition as old as the hearth.

Join us on Saturday, December 9th as Gin Ferrara hosts 6 to 8 first-person, true stories—each about 8 minutes long—told without notes in the style of The Moth. Our media partner for this event is RETN.

The atmosphere is magical. Please join us by RSVPing now.

Space Available in Dec 11th Poetry Workshop with Kerrin McCadden

Kerrin McCadden’s  upcoming poetry workshop  still has a few spaces available.  The session is the next in our continuing craft workshops series, supported in part by a grant from Burlington City Arts. Kerrin is the author of Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, inaugural winner of the 2015 Vermont Book Award, as well as the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize, chosen by David St. John. Check out her full bio and grab an available spot today.

Round Up for BWW at City Market

The new South End City Market is a beautiful store, opened just in time for the holiday season. And the timing is perfect because this month our turn came up for their “Rally for Change” program. Throughout December, 10% of all funds raised from patrons who “round up” at the check-out will come to BWW as a donation. The other 90% goes to programs addressing hunger.

In the check-out line this weekend, every patron around me chose to round up, so clearly this is a successful fundraising technique. It is one of many ways City Market supports its community. A good reason to visit City Market anytime, but especially throughout December.

Mud Season Review Issue #34

Mud Season Review issue #34 launched this week. Check out this month’s stunning words and images. And thanks to all the MSR staff whose hard work makes this journal a source of international recognition and justifiable pride for the BWW.

Congratulations

Mud Season Review editor-in-chief Lauren Bender‘s poem “# wife”  was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the Pittsburgh Poetry Review .

In this week’s Flynn Center blog, Cynthia Close previews “A Celtic Christmas, via Canada” featuring Canadians Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, a sold-out Dec. 1 production.

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