Opportunities and Announcements: Week of December 26, 2016

Check out Issue #26 at www.mudseasonreview.com

The latest issue of Mud Season Review is live and it is stunning! Issue #26 features the fiction of Vi Khi Nao, nonfiction of Nancy McCabe, poetry of  Seth Copeland, and artwork of Rose B. Simpson. Check out issue #26 >

If you’re a reader of Mud Season Review and want to help us keep the journal going, please consider donating to our December fundraiser. Everything we do here at the BWW—including MSR—is aimed at bringing learning opportunities to Vermont’s writers and editors, while also doing our part to ensure that powerful, relevant writing and artwork continues to get out to the larger world. Donate any amount to help us continue  in our mission >


Calls for submission

Call for storytellers for COTS Literacy Event

Come help us share stories with adults and kids alike at the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) Main Street and Firehouse shelters on January 17 and 27, 2017.

We’re looking for 5 to 7 BWW members to participate in these events as storytellers or readers. And we’re looking for stories for both adult and child audiences. You’re welcome to propose anything from an original story to your favorite read-aloud children’s book.

This program is designed to help the COTS literacy committee meet its goal of 5,000 minutes of readings for the shelters in 2017.

Got a story in mind? Please contact Deena Frankel at dfrankel118@gmail.com by January 3 with your proposal. Please include the following: a brief description of the story, intended audience, story length, and whether you intend to read or recite.

Call for art submissions for The Best of the BWW 2017

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 >


New to the BWW?

Join us for a new member workshop.
Thursday, January 5 at 6:30 p.m.

If you’ve attended 5 or fewer BWW workshops to date, we’d like to invite you to a workshop specifically designed for new members.

In this workshop, we’ll start off with a brief overview of the Burlington Writers Workshop—including how it all works and opportunities to get involved. Then, we’ll review a member’s work and walk through the workshop process together. Don’t worry about bringing written feedback to the workshop. Just read the work that’s on the schedule and come with some thoughts to share—or even with just an open mind to listen to the conversation of your fellow writers. Writers of all skill levels are welcome! RSVP for this workshop now >

Want to learn how to give better feedback?

Join us for a workshop on giving better feedback with BWW founder Peter Biello.
Saturday, January 28 at 11 a.m.

Feedback isn’t just for the author receiving it. Writing a response to your peer’s piece is an exercise in careful reading. To write a thoughtful response is to become a better reader, and when you become a better reader, your writing improves, too.

At this workshop, we’ll look at a few strategies for writing a response to someone’s work-in-progress. We’ll also attempt a response to a published piece. RSVP for this workshop now >

Want to deepen your poetry craft?

Join us for a Winter 2017 Poetry Craft Workshop Series with Partridge Boswell
Thursday mornings at 10:30 a.m. (January 12, 19, and 26)

This small-group workshop series will benefit poets at any level who want to improve their poems, from the inside-out & bottom-up, bones & all. In 3 weekly sessions poets will be (re)introduced to elements of craft—devices which accompany us consciously and unconsciously as we excavate and make the poem within. Reading excerpts from Kim Addonizio, Mary Oliver, Mark Strand, Eavan Boland, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Richard Hugo and Annie Finch, along with diverse and ample poems as examples along the way, you’ll gather useful tools to help you shape your raw material and bring the experience of your poem to life.

There’s just 1 spot left in this workshop! RSVP now >


Mud Season Review interviews

MSR art co-editor Mike Sweeney interviews issue #25 featured artist Ole Brodersen >

Congrats and thanks

Congrats to Nina Gaby, whose “One Rule from a Working Life” (an excerpt from a collection of vignettes in progress, due out this spring) won runner-up in the annual Quarter After Eight Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest. In addition, Nina’s “The Edge of Shivers” (excerpted from the collection, “Overheard: Story/Gesture”) has been chosen for Proximity‘s special issue on guns, due out in January.

Congrats to Kerstin Lange, whose book review of Middlebury author Jack Mayer’s Before the Court of Heaven was recently published in Seven DaysRead the review >

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 26, 2016

11-12-16-3This past weekend was an inspiring one for this BWW organizer.

On Saturday, I got to spend the day with 14 dedicated BWW workshop leaders (and future workshop leaders) as we discussed how to continually improve the inclusiveness and depth of our workshops, how to make sure newer writers feel welcomed into workshop conversations while ensuring that experienced writers continue to feel challenged, how to keep discussions dynamic with craft exercises and prompts, and all kinds of other ideas both practical and philosophical. Under the excellent guidance of Nora Mitchell, an experienced local writer and creative writing professor, we also explored ways to deepen our own reading experiences so that we can bring those techniques and exercises to BWW workshops.

On Sunday, I got to hear several of our members read their beautiful poetry at The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016 book tour stop at Shelburne Vineyard. What a lovely, cozy environment for a reading (and the great wine was a bonus too)! Thanks to Michelle Watters, Best of 2016 poetry reader, for bringing us there. I hope we’ll be back soon.

And now, I have the privilege of inviting you—our members—to the first-ever Burlington Writers Workshop Annual Member Meeting on Saturday, November 12 at Main Street Landing in Burlington.

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).

Here’s the plan:

4 p.m.: Board presentation of 2016 activities and survey results & open member forum. Bring your thoughts, questions, and ways you can volunteer to share.

5 p.m.: Member reception and auction. Bring your enthusiasm, your friends, and your donations to purchase some excellent gift-giving items to give to friends and family while supporting the BWW. Look for more information coming soon.

6 p.m.: Member open mic. Bring your stories, songs, and poems for our member open mic night. We’re hoping this is the kickoff of many more BWW open mic nights to come.

And don’t forget to take the member survey before you arrive! The 2016 member survey will be open from October 1 – October 14, 2016. Survey results will inform the framework of the open member forum. Check back here, or look for upcoming Opportunities & Announcements emails, for the link to the survey on October 1.

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 >


call-for-subsCall for submissions:
 The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017

This is an exciting year to be part of the anthology, as 2017 marks our 5-year anniversary of publishing the work of BWW members. 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.

Deadline for submissions is October 31, 2016. Submit your work now >


Elizabeth Powell

Poet Elizabeth Powell

Workshop your poetry with Elizabeth Powell

We have an excellent opportunity for the poets in the group coming up on Monday, October 10 in Burlington. Guest poet Elizabeth Powell will be joining us to lead the Monday Night Poetry Workshop.

Elizabeth is the author of “The Republic of Self,” a New Issue First Book Prize winner, selected by C.K. Williams. Her second book “Willy Loman’s Reckless Daughter: Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances” won the Robert Dana Prize in poetry, chosen by Maureen Seaton, and will be published by Anhinga Press in 2016. In 2013, she won a Pushcart Prize. Powell has also received a Vermont Council on the Arts grants and a Yaddo fellowship. Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, Black Warrior Review, Ecotone, Harvard Review, Handsome, Hobart, Indiana Review, Missouri Review,Mississippi Review, Slope, Sugarhouse Review, Ploughshares,Post Road, and elsewhere. She is editor of Green Mountains Review, and associate professor of writing and literature at Johnson State College. She also serves on the faculty of the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing and Publishing. Born in New York City, she has lived in Vermont since 1989 with her four children.

Save your spot now >

And sign up to have your work reviewed by Elizabeth >

Readings & Events

Four Poets Read at the BCA
Sunday, October 2, 4 p.m.

kerrins-eventFrequent BWW guest poet Kerrin McCadden is reading at an event hosted by another supportive BWW partner, Burlington City Arts (BCA). “Four Poets Read” features Kerrin along with poets Paige Ackerson-Kiely and Justin Boening (winner of the National Poetry Series for his debut collection, Not on the Last) as well as fiction writer Tom Paine. Learn more > 

Best of 2016 Book Tour: Reading in Middlebury
Saturday, October 22, 4:30 p.m.

Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016 anthologyThe next stop on the Best of 2016 book tour takes us to Middlebury! 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 >



Meet our new Mud Season Review editor-in-chief

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

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

On September 20, Rebecca Starks, our founding co-editor of Mud Season Review, passed on the leadership of the journal to Lauren Bender, a dedicated BWW volunteer, Burlington poet, and former co-editor of Green Mountain College’s literary journal, Reverie. I recently had the chance to talk with Lauren about her background and her goals for the journal. Check out our conversation and get to know Lauren a bit. Read the interview >

Flynn Blog

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

Lorraine Ryan previews Ifrikya Spirit, coming to FlynnSpace on September 30 >

Colleen Ovelman previews Ben Folds, who recently performed on the Flynn MainStage >


Congratulations to Bill Torrey, whose debut collection of short stories, The Ta Ta Weenie Club, was recently published by Green Writers Press. Bill will be holding his book launch at Phoenix Books on October 5 at 7 p.m. You can learn more about the book at billtorreyvt.com.

Joan Furchgott and Brad Sourdiffe founded Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery 25 years ago in the heart of Shelburne Village. BWW member Cynthia Close provides some history and surveys the three 25th anniversary exhibitions that celebrate the gallery’s 25 years in a recent article for Vermont Art Guide. Read the article >

and thanks…

Thank you to the dedicated workshop leaders (and future workshop leaders) who attended Saturday’s workshop leader retreat: Barbie AlsopKarin Ames, Wendy AndersenCathy BeaudoinMartin Bock, Dennis BouldinRosa CastellanoAnn FisherDeena FrankelEtiane GeorgeEva GumprechtWalt MahanyNatasha Mieszkowski, and Amanda Vella. And thank you to our retreat facilitator, Nora Mitchell.

Thank you to Michelle Watters for coordinating and hosting The Best of 2017 book tour reading at Shelburne Vineyard. And thank you to the poets who read at the event: Zoe Armstrong, Mark Hoffman, Spencer Smith, and Jimmy Tee.

Meet our new Mud Season Review editor-in-chief

An interview with Lauren Bender

I recently had a chance to talk with Lauren Bender, our new editor-in-chief for Mud Season Review. As I get to know her more, I’m ever more sure the journal is in very good hands. Here’s what Lauren had to say about how she got involved with the BWW, how she started writing poetry, and how she sees the journal’s future taking shape.

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

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

You’re relatively new to Burlington and I remember meeting you at your first BWW event, The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016 launch party. You were so helpful and willing to jump right in and volunteer. Can you share with your fellow members a little bit about what drew you to Burlington in general and to volunteering with the BWW specifically?

I really fell in love with Burlington after my wife and I attended the Burlington Pride parade/festival for the first time in 2012. I grew up in a large city in Virginia but had spent the last several years living in a small town, which felt limiting to me after a while.

As soon as we knew we were going to move, I started scoping out the writing community, mostly through Facebook. One of the upcoming events I saw was the BWW Best of 2016 launch party. That led to me heading over to the BWW website and joining so that I could RSVP to that event, and then I saw the call for volunteers and thought that would be the perfect way to meet people.

You joined the staff of Mud Season Review shortly after joining the BWW. What drew you to the journal? 

The Mud Season Review Vol 2 launch party happened about a week after the Best of 2016 launch party; that was another event I spotted on Facebook. There were also copies of MSR for sale at the Best of launch, and I was impressed by the design and the quality of work included. I remember immediately wanting to get involved and emailing Rebecca soon after that to ask about any volunteer opportunities.

Can you share some of your favorite pieces from the Mud Season archives?

I really love Lisa Beech Hartz’s art-focused poetry (Issue 19) and Aimee Nezhukhumatathil’s poem “The Smallest Commotion” from our Volume 2 print issue. Lori White’s nonfiction piece “Mapquest to Auntie Iryne’s” (Issue 17) is brilliant with form without any sacrifice to the quality of the writing. With fiction, I’m usually drawn to magical realism and strangeness, so one of my favorites is Jacob Guajardo’s “We Have Commandeered Our Bodies to Science” (Issue 14). And there are a few art pieces that I feel I could stare at for hours: Dr. Ernest Williamson III’s “Regardless of What You Face” (Issue 4) and Jessica Nissen’s “Red Storm” and “Purple Storm” from our Volume 1 print issue.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 19, 2016

Check out issue #23 at www.mudseasonreview.com

Check out issue #23 at www.mudseasonreview.com

Mud Season Review Issue #23 launched today—and it’s a special issue on 2 fronts.

For the first time, we’ve invited guest editors to select or solicit work for an issue of MSR. Thank you to our guest editors, Aimee Nezhukumatathil (poetry), Sean Prentiss (nonfiction), and Robin McLean (fiction), all of whom were featured authors in our 2016 print issue. I’m looking forward to digging into the work they’ve chosen for this issue.

Issue #23 also marks a turning point in the journal. A point where we move forward in our vision of a collaborative and dynamic experience that allows for many different members of the Burlington Writers Workshop to gain the experience of editing a literary journal and to lend their voices to this community-led creation. After 2 full years of publishing, we have come to our first 2-year editor term limit turnover.

Many, many thanks to the MSR staff members who have been with the journal from the beginning and are moving on from their current positions: Wendy Andersen (copy editor), Cynthia Close (art co-editor), Emily Ferro (associate nonfiction editor), and Brett Sigurdson (nonfiction co-editor). These staff members have made many contributions during their time with the journal and I look forward to seeing their continued contributions to the BWW and the wider literary world.

And last, but certainly not least, Rebecca Starks, our founding editor-in-chief, whose beautiful sense of language, incredible generosity in editing, and tireless dedication to quality has been at the heart of this journal since long before we opened the first call for submissions. Having worked closely with Rebecca, first as managing editor of MSR and then as BWW organizer, I’ve seen firsthand just how much of herself she has given to this journal, its staff, and all of the many writers we have featured—and I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to take this journey with her.

Like many of you I’m sure, I will also miss reading the works of art that are Rebecca’s monthly letters-from-the-editor, but I look forward to working with her on new projects for MSR and the wider BWW—and I know we both are very much looking forward to seeing where this journal goes next under an expanded team and new leadership. Look for an introduction to Lauren Bender, our incoming MSR editor-in-chief, and other new staff members soon!

Check out the writing of Christina Mun-Lutz (poetry), Jonathan Rovner (nonfiction), and Nathan Leslie (fiction), and the artwork of Troy Simmons in Issue #23.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of August 1, 2016

This week brings a few new opportunities to get more involved in the Burlington Writers Workshop!

Baron Wormser, BWW guided poetry retreat leader

Baron Wormser, 2000 Poet Laureate of Maine, founder of the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching, and award-winning poet, will host the BWW’s 2016 Guided Poetry Retreat

First up:

Our September 2016 Guided Poetry Retreat with Baron Wormser

This full-day retreat will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at the beautiful Adamant Music School in Adamant, Vermont.

The retreat lottery is open now through midnight, August 15, 2016. All active BWW members and volunteers are encouraged to enter!

Enter the lottery now >

Find out how else you can get involved. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of June 21, 2016

Mud Season Review Issue #21Issue #21 of Mud Season Review is now live! Take a look at this month’s issue to see the artwork of Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees and read the fiction of Jessica Bryant Klagmann, nonfiction of Nancy Wyland, and poetry of Ace Boggess.


An opportunity from a BWW sponsor, the League of Vermont Writers

Support for the BWW comes from the League of Vermont Writers. LVW invites you to their biennial WRITERS MEET AGENTS event on July 23 at the Double Tree Hotel in South Burlington. The all-day event includes presentations, panels, and opportunities to pitch your finished manuscript to agents.

Several BWW members have signed up so far and we’ll also have a booth at the event. Hope to see you there! Visit the LVW website to register, purchase one-on-one pitch sessions, and get more details > 

Other upcoming opportunities

Never been to a BWW workshop?
Our new member informational workshops are the best way to get started. There are still spots left in our next one coming up on Monday, June 27 at 6:30 p.m. in Burlington.  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 >

Get involved by volunteering
The saying may be worn, but the sentiment is not. Lots of hands make light work. If you’d like to volunteer to help out with the BWW, please contact us anytime. If you’re not sure how you can help or how much time you can give, we’re happy to find opportunities that fit your skills and schedule. There are many ways, big and small, in-person and virtual, that you can be part of helping the BWW keep doing what we do.

Read for Mud Season Review
Interested in fiction? You might enjoy becoming a fiction reader for our literary journal, Mud Season Review. While there are occasional in-person staff meetings for the journal, much of the work for this role can be done online from home. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us.


Retreat update

The lottery for our first retreat (the guided fiction retreat with Megan Mayhew Bergman) is now closed. Thank you to all who entered. Lottery winners will be notified and asked to confirm their spots by June 24. If you don’t hear from us, we encourage you to enter the lotteries for future retreats. The next lottery will be open beginning July 1. More info on upcoming retreats can be found here >

Flynn Center blog

Burlington Writers Workshop members regularly blog for the Flynn. These members recently wrote about performances as part of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival:

Lorraine Ryan wrote this review of Diane Schuur and the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra.

Brett Sigurdson wrote this review of Antibalas and this review of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

Josh McDonald wrote this review of the Ingrid Jensen Quintet.

Congrats and thanks

A huge congratulations to our chairman of the board, Peter Biello, for his radio team’s recent National Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television News Association. Peter and his New Hampshire Public Radio news team won in the category of New Series for their series titled “The First Decade: Early Childhood Disparities and the Future of N.H.’s Kids.” You can listen to the full series here >

Welcome to Lauren Bender, our new Mud Season Review poetry reader.

Thank you Dan Hopkinson, our new space volunteer for Tuesday summers in the Burlington space.

Thank you to Darlene Witte-Townsend and Wendy Andersen for their work in reconfiguring our Burlington workshop space.

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. – 6 p.m.

Thursday: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

Friday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

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!


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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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of April 25, 2016

Mud Season Review Issue #19

Check out Issue #19 at www.mudseasonreview.com

Mud Season Review issue #19 is up for viewing! This issue offers a preview of what’s inside MSR’s print issue vol. 2, forthcoming in May. Check out the artwork of Sonja Hinrichsen, fiction of Evan D. Williams (with illustrations by Meredith C. Bullock), nonfiction of Melissa Wiley, and poetry of Lisa Beech Hartz. And don’t forget to RSVP for the print launch party on Saturday, May 7, 7 p.m. at Hotel Vermont.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of April 18, 2016

Mud Season Review print issue vol. 2 launch partyThe next few weeks bring two of our biggest events of the year. First up is the Best of 2016 launch party on Friday, April 29th at the BCA. If you’re planning to attend (and we hope you are!), please remember to RSVP. This will help us to accurately plan for food and seating for the event. The following week brings the launch party for Mud Season Review print issue vol. 2. This celebration will be held Saturday, May 7th, beginning at 7 p.m., at Hotel Vermont. The evening will feature author readings by Ralph Culver, Robin McLean, Sean Prentiss, and Alison Prine as well as an art installation of work by Riki Moss, whose artwork is featured in the MSR print issue. Please kindly RSVP for this event as well.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of January 25, 2016

Mud Season Review Issue #16

Issue #16 is live at www.mudseasonreview.com

If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to check out Mud Season Review’s Issue #16, which was published just this past week. The issue features art by LiQin Tan, fiction by Rebecca Fishow, poetry by Luisa A. Igloria, and nonfiction by Arthur Plotnik.

Congrats to the MSR staff on yet another stellar issue. And, if you’re not on the staff but think you might like to be, you should know that MSR is looking for fiction readers! Read this invitation from JD Fox, MSR‘s co-editor of fiction, to learn more >

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Perchance to Read

JD Fox, Mud Season Review editor

JD Fox, co-editor of fiction and consulting poetry editor for Mud Season Review

Most likely, anyone coming to this site has the writing bug, either actively writing (yay!) or thinking about doing so (yay to you, too!). After all, the site is called the Burlington Writers Workshop.

But there is a hidden word in its title. One that should go without saying. So, of course, I’m going to say it and talk about it. Though before I do, can you guess what it is?

Actually it’s two words, to be all Strunk-and-White proper. However, the other one is “and,” which is a great word, but isn’t the one I’m looking for.

Did you guess it now?

This organization could be called Burlington Writers (and Readers) Workshop.

Writers, in general, tend to be voracious readers. Which is a good thing. Not only does reading improve your own writingit also makes other writers happy. Especially when reading leads to publication, which leads to their work being read by a larger audience than, say, just the staff at Mud Season Review.

As fiction co-editor at MSR, I read a lot of submissions. Not all of them, of course, get published. But did you know that not all of the ones I like get published either?

So how do we decide?

Lots of readers, lots of discussion, and lots of coin tossing.

Just kidding about the coin tossing.

But nothing gets rejected based on only one set of eyes. And by the time something makes it all the way to publication, it has had a great number of eyes upon it and has been read and reread. There is often story advocacy involved and more than a little persuasion.

After all, we’re human. Maybe I didn’t get the symbolism of the rocking chair during my read and need to have it pointed out. Or maybe I need to make the case that a story isn’t scant, but brilliantly minimalistic.

We all have our biases, thoughts of what makes a good story, and reasons for liking or disliking something. I know for myself, dialogue is one of the more important elements. I have a lot of flaws as a writer, but I tend to write strong dialogue. So when it isn’t done well, it’s difficult for me to take a work seriously, even one with otherwise cool rocking chair symbolism.

The diversity of our fiction team helps us ensure that what ends up on our site is the best that we can find. We are currently looking for more readers to join our staff. If you are a Burlington Writers Workshop member and you’re interested in reading for us, please send an e-mail to editor@mudseasonreview.com.

—JD Fox, co-editor of fiction and consulting poetry editor, Mud Season Review