Reading for a Writerly Life

Rose Eggert, BWW sustaining member and member of the retreat committee

I have to be honest. I’ve never been much of a joiner. As I writer, my idea of a good day is writing a good sentence, followed by reading a good book, but the Burlington Writers Workshop has been a wonderful way to meet other writers who are as passionate about their work as I am. I’ve learned as much from reading and commenting on the works of others as I have from getting feedback.

But one of the most compelling ways I enrich my writerly life is BWW’s Literature Reading Series on Tuesday nights. Our most recent selection was Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner. As you probably know, Faulkner can be quite challenging, but reading and discussing a chapter or two each week with a brilliant, thought provoking and very welcoming group of literature lovers has stimulated my writing more than anything else I know.

In the words of William Faulkner, in order to write you must,

“Read, read, read! Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”

The BWW Literature Reading Series is one of the great pleasures of BWW membership for me. I am a sustaining member.

Rose Eggert

If you’d like to help keep programs like the BWW Literature Reading Series going, please consider becoming a sustaining member (at $12/month) or making a one-time donation of any amount today.

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of December 13, 2016

Image of the "Stories by the Fire" audience courtesy of our host, Gin Ferrara

Image of the “Stories by the Fire” audience courtesy of our host, Gin Ferrara

Wow. I’m still glowing from the warmth of Saturday’s “Stories by the Fire” event at Hotel Vermont.

The warmth of listening to some of Vermont’s best storytellers share their experiences of everything from childhood adventures (and misadventures) in snowmobile-enhanced sledding and late-night tobogganing to harrowing holiday experiences on the streets of New York City to the rallying of a middle school band against the bully in their midst. The warmth of being so fully supported by the generous audience while attempting my own first shot at oral storytelling. And the warmth of following it all up with dinner and great conversation with BWW friends both old and new.

As our wonderful host for the evening, Gin Ferrara, said in her closing remarks, this kind of gathering and sharing of stories is exactly what we all need to keep us going through the dark days ahead. So I hope you’ll all keep on joining us this winter for workshops and craft sessions, keep on gathering with friends you’ve made through the BWW, and keep on writing and sharing your stories.

And, since we’re in the midst of our December fundraiser, I’d be remiss not to add that I hope you’ll also consider making a donation to help us keep on bringing free and open events like this one to the Vermont creative community. Any amount is deeply appreciated. Donate now >

The BWW owes a huge thank you to several people and organizations for this incredible evening. First is Deena Frankel, who produced the event. From designing the Best Of books to leading the BWW’s oral storytelling workshops to editing for Mud Season Review, Deena is one of our most dedicated volunteers. She is also a fantastic storyteller and (as I can now personally attest to) an inspiring and generous storytelling coach. If you haven’t had the good fortune of working with Deena before, I highly encourage you to sign up for her next BWW Oral Storytelling Workshop on Thursday, January 19th in Burlington. Turning your written tales into oral stories can bring out a whole new side of your creativity. RSVP now >

Please see our thank you section below for recognition of all who made this event possible.

Opportunities

January workshops

Our January schedule is up on Meetup.com. We have some great opportunities coming up, including a new member workshop, a poetry craft series, and a workshop on how to give better feedback. Check out the January calendar >

Call for art submissions

This year marks the BWW’s 5th anniversary of our The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop anthology—a book that is edited by, and features the work of, writers within our community. For this anniversary year, we’re hoping to get local artists involved in the design of the book cover. All Vermont artists are welcome to submit work for consideration. Call for submissions is open through Monday, January 9, 2017.  See the submission guidelines >

the-masterWinter 2017 Literature Reading Series

Thanks for helping to choose our book for the Winter 2017 Literature Reading Series! We had our biggest response to date to a literature series poll. And you chose Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita to be our winter reading material.

This next reading series kicks off the first Tuesday in January. RSVP now >

 

Announcements

Website changes: You might have noticed changes to our website this week. We’re just doing some restructuring to keep the website as clean and easy-to-use as possible. If you’re looking for the workshop schedule pages to submit your work for review at an upcoming workshop, go to “Our Workshops” and click on the page for your preferred location.

Flynn Center Blog

Burlington Writers Workshop members regularly blog for the Flynn Center. Check out these recent posts:

Cynthia Close previews A Christmas Carol >

Lorraine Ryan reviews A Christmas Carol >

Mud Season Review interviews

Mud Season Review editors discuss writing with our Issue #25 featured authors:

Louisa Wakefield interviews nonfiction author Rebecca Fremo >

Chris LaMay-West interviews featured poet Triin Paja >

Patrick Brownson interviews featured fiction author Amanda Rodriguez >

Congrats and thanks

Thank you to everyone who made the recent “Stories by the Fire” event at Hotel Vermont possible:

Gin Ferrara for being the perfect host for the evening and for first bringing oral storytelling to the BWW with her workshops.

Deena Frankel for producing this joyful and inspiring event and for continuing the oral storytelling workshops for the BWW.

My fellow storytellers who shared their humor and their wisdom with us: Gin FerraraRichard FinkelsteinPeter BurnsSusanne Schmidt, Bill TorreyDennis McSorleyDeena Frankel, and Kevin Gallagher.

Hotel Vermont (and especially Tori Carton and John Abair), our longtime creative partners, for providing such a beautiful, cozy atmosphere for the event.

RETN, our media partner, for filming the event (stay tuned for when we’ll be featured on the station).

Susanne Schmidt for providing the excellent sound quality.

 

Why I give to the BWW

Terry Cleveland, BWW member and Wednesday Workshop leader

Terry Cleveland, BWW member and Wednesday Workshop leader

Three years ago, I decided I needed a forum to look at my questionable attempts at writing. Did I have the talent? Did I have something to say? Did anyone want to read what I had to say? I joined the BWW and sweated my first meeting at which the group reviewed my work.

I came away with a heart swelling with possibility. I received kudos for the courage to write what I had submitted. I received great feedback from the kind and supportive group. And I received what I needed most:  the boost to continue.

That is why I give to the Burlington Writers Workshop: for the boost. Sometimes I will go two or three weeks without the muse at my back. Then I go to a meeting after I’ve read the phenomenal writing submitted and we discuss it in a fun, safe, and intelligent bubble of encouragement. I more often than not will go back to my desk after one of those meetings and greet the muse once again.

I give for the education, the camaraderie, the like-minded people, and the chance to make my writing better. I urge you to do the same. The results are priceless.

—Terry Cleveland

If you feel the BWW gives a lot to you, please consider making a donation today.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of October 24, 2016

This is a very busy time for the Burlington Writers Workshop! Here are the top 5 opportunities you don’t want to miss over the next few weeks:

Top 5 Opportunities with the BWW

#1 Take the BWW survey

Deadline: October 28, 2016

the-bww-2016member-survey-1Share your thoughts on all things Burlington Writers Workshop—and help to shape what we’ll do in the future. The survey takes about 5 minutes. Deadline is Friday, October 28, 2016.

Take the survey >

 

#2 Submit your work for publication

Deadline: October 31, 2016

call-for-subsOur call for submissions for The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017 closes on Monday, October 31, 2016. So make sure to submit your work!

We’re looking for your fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The only criteria for eligibility is to have attended 1 BWW workshop within the past 5 years. Submit your work >

 

#3 Come to the BWW’s First Annual Member Meeting & Celebration

11-12-16-1Saturday, November 12 at Main Street Landing in Burlington:

Learn about all we’ve done this past year to meet member goals—and how you can get involved. Celebrate our dedicated volunteers. And, join us for our first BWW open mic night to share your talents with your fellow members. RSVP now >

 

#4 Support the BWW and win a basket of books

october-schedule-1Tickets on sale through Saturday, November 12 event

More than 20 accomplished authors who’ve either been a featured author in Mud Season Review, led a BWW guest workshop or retreat, or joined us for an expert panel or reading, have already donated copies of their latest books. And many of the copies are signed! Meet our authors >

Raffle tickets are $5 each.

And special offer: The first 2 people to sign up to be a BWW sustaining member (an automatic donation of $12 or more per month) this week will get 5 additional raffle tickets!

The drawing will take place at the Annual Member Meeting & Celebration. But don’t worry. If you can’t join us, we’ll contact you if you win.

To buy tickets, ask your workshop leader or make a donation and write your contact info + “raffle tickets” in the comments field. All proceeds go toward BWW programs & publications!

 

#5 Support the BWW in our online auction

Bidding open through Saturday, November 12 event

vtiff_logo-1Support the BWW—and local businesses—while buying some amazing gifts for yourself and others. Like a Friend Level membership to the Vermont International Film Foundation or a 10-class card to Evolution Yoga!

evolution-yogaWinning bidders can pay online through the auction site or by cash, check, or credit card at the Annual Member Meeting & Celebration on November 12. All proceeds go toward BWW programs & publications. Check out the auction > 

Announcements

Flynn Blog

Burlington Writers Workshop members regularly blog for the Flynn Center. Check out these recent posts:

Lauren J. Sanders previews the National Theatre Live’s Frankenstein, coming to Palace 9 Cinemas  on October 27 >

Josh McDonald previews the Middlebury Actors Workshop’s Macbeth, coming to the Flynn MainStage on November 1 >

Lorraine Ryan previews the Capitol Steps, on the Flynn MainStage tonight, October 25 >

Congrats…

Congrats to Anne Charles, whose review of the  2016 memoir A Body, Undone: Living On After Great Pain by Christina Crosby was recently published by the Lambda Literary Review (Vol. 7, Issue 94, Friday, Oct. 20, 2016). Read the review >

Congrats to Sam Hugheswhose poem “Representation” was recently published in Rattle. Read the poem >

And thanks…

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016 book tour event in Middlebury. Thanks, especially, to Elizabeth Gaucher for coordinating and hosting, David Weinstock and Ann Fisher for co-hosting and reading, and to all of our readers: Zoe Armstrong, Melinda Bachand, Dennis Bouldin, Cynthia Close.

Thank you to Cathy Beaudoin for hosting our first workshop leaders potluck. And thank you to all the dedicated workshop leaders who made it out for our meeting!

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of October 17, 2016

Support the BWW through our first online auction!

Support the BWW in our first online auction!

Support the BWW in our online auction and member survey

Our first online auction is now live! Thanks to our generous donors in the community, you can support the BWW while buying some amazing gifts for yourself and others. Like a 10-class card (valued at $140) to Evolution Yoga! The auction will be online all month—culminating in a live auction at our Annual Member Meeting & Celebration on Saturday, November 12, 4:00 p.m. at Main Street Landing Gallery in downtown Burlington.

Participating in the online auction is easy. Just complete the quick sign up on the site, browse the items, and place your bids. At the conclusion of the auction, the highest bidders will be able to pay online (via PayPal) or in person by cash, check, or credit card.  Bidders don’t have to be BWW members—so please share widely with friends and family!

Start bidding > 

Your support of the auction will help to fund BWW workshops, retreats, events, and publications for next year. So it’s also important to share your thoughts and ideas for what you’d like to see the BWW do in the future. We’re leaving the 2017 member survey open longer to make sure you have time to share your thoughts. It takes just about 5 minutes. Take the survey now >

Opportunities

Publishing opportunities


call-for-subsCall for submissions open through October 31, 2016:
 The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017

Don’t forget to send in your submissions for The Best of 2017!  We’re looking for your best work in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—and we’d love to hear from voices both known and new to us. If you’ve attended a BWW workshop within the past 5 years, you’re eligible! Deadline for submissions is October 31, 2016. Submit your work >

Deena Frankel, BWW oral storytelling workshop leader, shares a holiday-themed stories at Hotel Vermont

Call for winter- or holiday-themed oral story pitches for Stories by the Fire at Hotel Vermont: Open through November 15, 2016 

For the second year, the BWW will present Stories By the Fire around the hearth at Hotel Vermont, December 10, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. This oral storytelling event features 6 to 8 first-person, true stories—each about 8 minutes long—told without notes in the style of The Moth.

Producer and BWW oral stories workshop leader, Deena Frankel, is soliciting pitches now for this event. If you have a story idea and are open to a little informal workshopping in advance of the event, please submit a 1-paragraph summary of your story idea by November 15 to dfrankel118@gmail.com.

If the idea of telling without notes puts you off, we are considering accepting 1 story that is read by the author as an experiment in mixing the 2 styles. So if you have the perfect story under 800 words, please consider submitting your story by the deadline.

Readings & Events

BWW’s First Annual Member Meeting & Celebration
Saturday, November 12 at Main Street Landing in Burlington

Member Forum │ Fundraising Auction │ Open Mic Night

This event is your opportunity to hear firsthand about all the BWW has accomplished this past year to meet member goals—and to help shape the future of our shared community. It’s also a time to connect with other members you may not see regularly in workshops or on the Mud Season Review staff, help to recognize and celebrate our many dedicated volunteers, share your talents with the BWW community, and support the funding that makes everything we do possible (while picking up some great holiday gift-giving items through our auction & book raffle).

If you’re looking for ways to get more involved in the BWW—or if you’re already a dedicated member and want to continue helping to shape our direction—this is the time. RSVP to save your spot now >

Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016 anthologyBest of 2016 Book Tour: Reading in Middlebury
Saturday, October 22, 4:30 p.m.

Hosted by our Best of 2016 fiction editor, Elizabeth Gaucher, and BWW Middlebury members Ann Fisher and David Weinstock, this event will feature readings from some of the anthology’s talented writers: Zoe Armstrong, Dennis Bouldin, and Cynthia Close. Writers from the Middlebury Chapter will also read. RSVP now >

the-hatcheck-girlThe Hatcheck Girl: Book Launch in Jeffersonville
Friday, October 21, 5:30 p.m.

BWW retreat leader Tony Whedon will celebrate the release of his latest book, The Hatcheck Girl, with poems, jazz, and good conversation at the Bryan Art Gallery in Jeffersonville. Learn more >

Announcements

 Mud Season Review Interviews

Check out the insightful interviews of MSR featured authors:

Guest editor Aimee Nezhukumatathil interviews Issue #23 featured poet Christina Mun-Lutz >

Flynn Blog

BWW members regularly write for the Flynn Center’s blog. Check out these recent posts:

Lorraine Ryan previews Mike Birbiglia: Thank God for Jokes, coming to the Flynn MainStage on Sunday, October 23 >

Cynthia Close reviews Art Garfunkel’s recent performance on the Flynn MainStage >

Lorraine Ryan reviews Flip Fabrique’s recent performance on the Flynn MainStage >

Kelly Hedglin Bowen reviews Rennie Harris Puremovement, recently featured on the Flynn Main Stage >

Lorraine Ryan reviews Ifrikya Spirit’s recent performance in FlynnSpace >

Congrats and thanks

Thank you to our recent guest authors, David HuddleElizabeth Powell, and Sean Prentiss.

Thanks to our board, and especially Cynthia Close, for helping to solicit donations for our auction.

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 11, 2016

May Fundraiser UpdateThe May fundraising numbers are in. And they are impressive. Together, we raised a total of $7,802 in Maycombining our regular sustaining member donations and one-time donations coming in as part of the May fundraiser (including Mud Season Review manuscript reviews). This is exciting, as it will allow us to continue supporting the many high-quality, accessible literary workshops, programs, events, and publications that enrich all our livesand the larger Vermont creative community.

In fact, as we speak, your board is working hard on a workshop leader training program that will help our workshop leaders continue to grow in their roles and provide practical tools they can use to keep enhancing the workshop experience for all members. And that’s just one among many efforts to keep the BWW moving forward.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of May 31, 2016

BWW 2016 Retreats

Retreat season is upon us once again! In both the 2014 and 2015 BWW member surveys, writing retreats topped the list of member priorities. Last year’s retreat series was a great success and we’re excited to bring you the series again this year.

Our retreat committee has created 4 retreats to be held monthly, July – October. To make sure there’s something for everyone, we’re offering a mix of locations, topics, and retreat types—with 3 guided retreats in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry led by accomplished instructors as well as a free-form retreat with lots of time for focusing on your own writing projects in a quiet, inspiring atmosphere. As with all of our programming, these retreats are free. Participation will be decided through a lottery system.

First up in the series is a Guided Fiction Retreat with Megan Mayhew Bergman, Saturday, July 23 in Georgia, VT. The lottery for this retreat will be open now through June 15.

Learn more about the retreats and how you can participate > 

Fundraising update

We’re wrapping up our May Fundraiser and it’s looking like we’re going to hit our goal! As of right now, we’re just $10 away from our $6,000 goal for the month. Thank you. And if you’d like to be the one to get us to the goal, consider donating $10 or more today. We’ll share the final fundraising numbers next week. It is so inspiring to know that we have the funds to keep programs like the retreat series going!

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of May 23, 2016

Mud Season Review

Check out Mud Season Review Issue #20 at www.mudseasonreview.com

Mud Season Review Issue #20 is live this week! I encourage you to check out the environmental artwork of Sally Linder and delve into the writing of Tyler Barton (fiction), Lauren Spinabelli (nonfiction), and Peter Vanderberg (poetry). Read the issue >

If you couldn’t make it to MSR‘s launch party for print issue vol. 2, or you just want to hear the fantastic readings from Robin McLean, Alison Prine, Ralph Culver, and Sean Prentiss again, you can also check out our podcast of the evening.  The print issue can be purchased online or in our Burlington space.

Fundraising update

We’ve raised $4,450 of our $6,000 goal! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated. If you haven’t made your donation yet during our May Fundraiser, I hope you’ll consider giving what you can to help us keep Mud Season Review and all the other great things we’re doing here going for another year. For sustaining donors ($12/month or a one-time, $150 donation), we’ll thank you with a pair of BWW pint glasses.

Opportunities

Contest and awards

Southern Poetry Review‘s Guy Owen Award offers $1,000 and publication for an unpublished poem. Deadline (postmark) is May 31, 2016. Read the full submission guidelines >

BOA Editions offers $1,000 and publication for a short story collection (90 – 200 pages). Deadline is May 31, 2016. Read the full submission guidelines >

Upcoming workshops

Our first Saturday Prose Workshop is coming up on June 4. Join us at the Burlington space at 10:30 a.m. RSVP now >

Join us for the first of our summer Monday Night Poetry Workshops on June 6, 6:30 p.m. in Burlington. It’s all poetry, all summer on Monday nights. RSVP now >

Announcements

Do you have interest in a potential children’s writing workshop? We have a member who is eager to see who else might enjoy discussing and workshopping children’s literature. If you’re interested, please contact us so we can gauge interest in a potential workshop.

Flynn Center blog

BWW members regularly blog for the Flynn.

Cynthia Close recently wrote this review of Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq’s May 14 performance at FlynnSpace.

Congrats and thanks

Congratulations to Deena Frankel and Bill Torrey for their excellent showing in The Vermont Moth GrandSLAM II: When Worlds Collide at the Flynn.

Thank you to Eva Gumprecht for her work in securing a great new home for our Montpelier workshops.

Our hours

Stop into our Burlington space (110 Main Street, Studio 3C) during the following times this week to get some quiet writing or reading time in, or to find out more about the BWW:

Monday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Thursday: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

Friday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Being allowed to give

Eva Gumprecht, BWW Montpelier workshop coordinator

Eva Gumprecht, BWW Montpelier workshop coordinator

Coordinating a BWW workshop is sort of like herding cats. And it just so happens that I love cats. But I didn’t set out to be a cat herder. About 2 years ago, I innocently asked Peter [Biello, founder of the BWW] if the BWW had ever thought of holding workshops in Montpellier so that those of us from the hinterlands wouldn’t have to repeatedly risk our lives in the Bolton Flats. He responded, “We’ve thought about it, but didn’t have anyone willing to coordinate them.” The rest is history.

The thing I’ve appreciated most about the BWW has not been what I’ve gotten from it, but what I’ve been allowed to give. How many places do you know of, in this increasingly disconnected and regulated world of ours, where one is allowed to give what one has to offer? And to have what one gives treated as precious.

At its best BWW is not an “organization”—it is a living, breathing communal organism. Most organizations, including most writing programs, are basically service stations. You pay your money, you get services or goods in return, and you leave. At the BWW, there really and truly isn’t anyone here but us chickens (mixed metaphor between cats and chickens, but you get the point). There is the potential for something much more vibrant and rare than an “organization.” There is the rare chance here for a vast interdependent web that we will continue to weave together.

We think so much about what we want to get, to have, from life.  But really, in terms of what makes life worth living, what creates health and a sense of purpose, it’s what we get to give that counts. And to have our talents, our attempts, our energies, our generous and compassionate impulses, even our failures, received with appreciation and care.

I thought, when I attended my first workshops, that I would learn from having my work critiqued. But over these years I have learned far, far more from offering feedback to others. I’ve been blown away by the incredible variety of minds and the courage it takes to expose one’s private world and work to others. There are pieces to which I would never have given a second look if I saw them elsewhere….genres I thought I didn’t like, subject matter which I thought bored me. But the commitment we make to each other, when we sign up to attend a workshop, is to treat each piece the way we hope ours would be received.

It is an honor to be handed someone’s work. And so I expand my world.  I learn to practice patience, to find the gems in the sometimes very roughly hewn rock, to enter into someone else’s mind and heart and ask myself how I can help them to get where they want to go. People achieve things I would never have even attempted. It is an exercise in exchanging minds and souls.

It is this exchange that I support when I give to the BWW. I hope you will too.

—Eva Gumprecht, BWW Montpelier workshop coordinator

**Become a sustaining member at $12/month or a one-time donation of $150 and we’ll thank you with a pair of BWW pint glasses! Donate now >

 

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of May 16, 2016

may 2016 fundraiser (2)Another week brings another huge thanks to everyone who has donated to our May Fundraiser so farand an extra thank you to Michael Freed-Thall for his generous matching challenge.

Together, we’ve raised $3,540 and we’re more than halfway to our $6,000 goal with half the month still remaining. This means that we’re well on our way to fully funding the many events, programs, and publications that start from your ideas and continue thanks to our collective work, dedication, and passion for this community and what it brings to all of us.

If you haven’t made your donation yet, I hope you’ll consider giving what you can. And remember, if you’re able to become a sustaining member (at $12/month or a $150 one-time donation), we’ll thank you with a pair of BWW pint glasses.

Opportunities

Speaking of the events, programs, and publications that come to fruition through member ideas and dedication, our June 2016 calendar is up and includes both ongoing workshops as well as some new offerings. Here are just a few workshops to check out:

Infinite Summer 2016

Infinite Summer: A Guided Reading of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest
Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. in Burlington, June 7 – August 30

Infinite Summer is back and it’s filling up quickly! Join us for a 13-week guided reading of David Foster Wallace’s epic Infinite Jest. Whether you’ve always meant to read this masterpiece of postmodern literature, started it but couldn’t stick with the challenge, or have read it before but want to dig in deeper, this is the perfect way to commit to a full reading—and get more out of the book by sharing the perspectives of a community of readers. This series is led by Patrick Brownson, workshop leader for the BWW’s literature reading series, who has read Infinite Jest 6 times to date. Sign up now >

New Saturday Prose Workshop
Every first Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Burlington

Thanks to BWW board member and Mud Season Review fiction reader Cathy Beaudoin, we’re now offering a monthly Saturday prose workshop. Join us on the first Saturday of each month to discuss two short works of fiction or nonfiction submitted by workshop members. The first workshop will be held on Saturday, June 4 at 10:30 a.m. in Burlington. RSVP now >

New Member Informational Meeting
Monday, June 27 at 6:30 p.m. in Burlington
If you’ve been wanting to attend a BWW workshop, but haven’t been sure how to get started, here’s your chance. Please join us for an informational meeting for new members. We’ll talk about how the workshops work, our approach to giving feedback, how to submit a request to have your work reviewed, and the many other opportunities for getting involved in the BWW. RSVP now > 
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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of May 9, 2016

Support the Burlington Writers WorkshopWe’re making great progress toward our May fundraising goal of $6,000. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far to help us raise $1,981 in our first week!

This great start is a true testament to how much our community means to its members. If you haven’t donated yet, we hope you’ll consider making a contribution in any amount to help us to continue producing high-quality literature like Mud Season Review, providing forums for authors to read their work at events like Saturday’s print issue launch party, and bringing accomplished authors like Julia Shipley to our workshops.

And remember: If you become a sustaining member at $12/month or a one-time donation of $150, we’ll thank you with a pair of BWW pint glasses, so you can raise a toast to this awesome community anytime you want!

Opportunities

Don’t miss your chance to workshop your poetry with Julia Shipley.

Julia Shipley with the Burlington Writers Workshop

Julia Shipley will lead The Monday Workshop on May 16 in Burlington

We still have spots open in the Monday Workshop with Julia Shipley, Monday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. in Burlington. And, we’re looking for two poets to submit their work for review. This is a wonderful opportunity to get feedback on your work from an award-winning poet—as well as your fellow BWW members.

Julia Shipley is the author of a full-length poetry collection, The Academy of Hay, (Bona Fide Books, 2015) winner of the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize, and a long-form lyric essay, Adam’s Mark, (Plowboy Press, 2014), which was selected as a Boston Globe Best New England Books of 2014. She is also the author of four poetry chapbooks, including the limited edition, letterpress printed One Ton Crumb (CC&B, 2014), First Do No Harm(Honeybee Press, 2014), Herd (2010), winner of the Sheltering Pines Press Chapbook Award, and Planet Jr. (2012) winner of the Hazel Lipa Environmental Chapbook Award from Flyway Journal of Writing and Environment. Winner of the Ralph Nading Hill Award, and finalist for the Curt Johnson Prose Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Teachers and Writers Bechtel Award, she’s also received grants from the Vermont Community Foundation and the Vermont Arts Council (Featured grantee 8/4 /2011), and received fellowships to The Frost Place (NH), The Center for Book Arts (NYC) and The Studios of Key West (FL).

Send a request to submit your work for this workshop. And don’t forget to RSVP to save your spot!

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The BWW changed my life

Deena Frankel, leader of the BWW oral storytelling workshop

Deena Frankel, leader of the BWW’s oral storytelling workshop

The BWW changed my life. Really.

I’d been to a bunch of workshops, but never submitted work, as I struggled to transition from the dry writing in my day job to creative nonfiction. Then one idle Thursday night, I went to an oral storytelling workshop for want of a better plan, and I went home with a draft of my first “Moth-style” story. This new medium turned a key in my creative life. I’ve been telling oral stories ever since AND for me those oral stories became the gateway to the writing I’d been striving for. [Editor’s note: To see how far Deena’s storytelling has taken her, come hear her weave her storytelling magic on the Flynn MainStage for The Vermont Moth GrandSLAM II, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 8:00 p.m.]

Workshopping member writing is surely the heart of the BWW—for writers and readers alike. But the BWW is so much more. A place of continuous learning about the art, craft, and business of storytelling in its many forms. A community of colleagues and friends. Rich opportunities to try on new professional roles, whether staffing Mud Season Review or The Best of the BWW, or leading a workshop.

And all for one low price of admission: nothing. But of course it isn’t really free; it’s just on the honor system. We may operate on a staff-less shoestring, but you’ve still got to buy the shoestring.

What we provide and produce together at BWW is quite an extraordinary feat of community. I feel honor bound to do my part for that community by donating my money, as well as my time. I hope you will too.

Deena Frankel, leader of the BWW’s oral storytelling workshop, design editor of The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016, and senior nonfiction reader for Mud Season Review

**Become a sustaining member at $12/month or a one-time donation of $150 and we’ll thank you with a pair of BWW pint glasses! Donate now >

Are you hungry?

BWW member Darlene Witte-Townsend

BWW member Darlene Witte- Townsend

Are you a writer? I am.

I checked out the Burlington Writers Workshop on a warm Wednesday night in June of 2013. I was part of other writer’s groups in the distant past and I hoped to find a nurturing community here in Vermont. Was it even possible?

The address written on my hand was 136 1/2 Church Street. I set out. Where was Church Street? How can an address be 1/2 of something? I needed a map. The map Google showed me was dated 1822. Really? I trudged up and down.

Eventually, I found Church Street but not the address I was looking for. Was it hidden? Why? I searched the crowd for the helper whom I knew was likely to appear, the ingenue, the innocent who would hold the key. Soon I noticed a young woman walking alone and asked if she knew how to get to 136 1/2 Church Street. She eyed me with surprise and said, “I’m looking for it too.” Ah.

I followed her through the twilight until she pulled open a heavy old lead-paned street door near the Red Onion Cafe. I too stepped carefully inside.

We crept through dim light down lumpy stone stairs into a long narrow room. There were five small tables with thirteen people seated around, all of them chomping. Biting. Savoring. Devouring. Sipping. Masticating. Sampling. Smacking their lips. Picking their teeth. Swirling new and old flavors in their mouths. It was not everyday food that focused their attention, however, but chunks of original writing. Poems. Stories.

 

BWW writers gathered in One-Half Lounge

Writers gathered in One-Half Lounge, one of the BWW’s meeting places before securing our own Burlington space

 

With this company I fed on strong words and left satisfied. Thank you BWW. I have a place at the table. I have a place to be at home.

Are you hungry? Are you ready?

Darlene Witte-Townsend, BWW member since 2013

Support the Burlington Writers Workshop to help us keep this great thing going. And join us for a workshop in our new space at 110 Main Street, Studio 3C.

Who Wants a Pint (or Two)?

pint01-small

A thank-you gift for your contribution. Beer not included.

Hey, how would you like to own two of these fancy-looking BWW pint glasses?

When you make a contribution of $150 or become a sustaining member of the BWW at $12/month or more, we’ll give you a pair of these as a big ol’ thank you. It’s that simple.

Why are we asking for money? Because bills. But bills are good! Because we’re investing in Vermont’s literary community. We’ve got to pay the rent on our new workshop space, where we hold as many as five free creative writing workshops each week. We’re investing in Mud Season Review to make it a world-class literary journal. We celebrate local talent with The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop. We bring established writers to our workshop table to give you feedback. We provide free writing retreats and put together panel discussions.

Also, we’re an all-volunteer workforce. No salaries. Just volunteers putting in the hours for the love of the game.

Because you’ve taken advantage of this service, we hope you’ll become a sustaining member at $12/month. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Visit our donate page using a computer (not a phone or an iPad or other tablet; the mobile site these devices use doesn’t allow monthly gifts).
  2. Click on the yellow “DONATE” button.
  3. Once you’re at this page, enter the donation amount ($12 or more) and make sure you check the “Make This Recurring (Monthly)” box (see image below).

BWW-donate-PayPal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you make your donation before Friday, April 29th, you can pick up your pint glasses at the launch party for The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016. We hope to see you there!

If you have any questions, please let us know. Cheers!

A Trustworthy, Supportive Group

Walt Mahany, BWW board member

Walt Mahany, BWW board member

Like many, I was little intimidated by preconceptions of the process that takes place in a writing workshop. I was defensive and reluctant to participate in the discussions. When I eventually ratcheted up enough courage to submit my work, I was terrified. I envisioned an experience similar to dropping a piece of fresh meat into a pool of piranha. The visions were macabre. What would they do to my poor story, or to me for that matter? Such was the paralyzing nature of a fear, which is not all that uncommon among new writers.

What I discovered, however, was that I had become a part of a trustworthy, supportive group whose sole desires were to help improve the quality of my writing while at the same time honing their craft skills.

I didn’t think it could get any better than that, except that it does because it’s free.  To my way of thinking Burlington Writers Workshop is worth my time, energy, and contributions because of what they do to promote the development of writers.

I’ve made a contribution. Will you be a contributing member, too?

—Walt Mahany, BWW board member