Want to Edit a Literary Journal?

If you’ve ever submitted your fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or artwork to a literary journal, you may have wondered: What’s it like to receive all these submissions? How do you decide what’s worthy of publication?

If you’d like to gain some experience choosing pieces for publication, we’ve got some opportunities for you on Mud Season Review.

Our volunteer staff members read submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and artwork on a rolling basis using an online system called Submittable. It’s a fun, collaborative effort that results in the publication of eleven online issues and one gorgeous print edition each year.

We need folks who are living in the Burlington area or can easily commute to Burlington. Though most of this work can be done remotely, we do need editors to meet in person at our workshop space in Burlington from time to time to collaboratively make editorial and other decisions.

We have immediate openings for editors and readers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. If you’re interested, tell us by filling out the form below.

Your Full Name : *
Your Email : *
Genre(s) of Interest : *
Why do you want to be an editor? : *
Please briefly describe any editorial experience you may have. If you have none, write "None." : *
Are you a member of the BWW? : *
 

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of April 24, 2017

Author Jericho Parms reads from her essay featured in Mud Season Review Vol. 3.

To everyone who came out for our 2017 Book Launch Celebration, thank you! What a wonderful night of celebrating everything that makes the BWW what it is—the creativity and inspiration of the literary arts experienced within an open and generous community and supported by passionate volunteers whose dedication keeps it all going.

Thank you to everyone who bought a copy of Best of 2017 and Mud Season Review. Vol. 3. We appreciate your support!

Thank you again to the staffs of The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017 and Mud Season Review Vol. 3, to everyone who helped make the event happen, and to the wonderful poets and authors who read during the celebration: Julia C. Alter, Peter Biello, Elizabeth Gaucher, Benjamin Hale, Jericho Parms, and Meg Reynolds.

For those who couldn’t join us, I wanted to share with you what I announced at the launch party. And that is that I have decided to step down as organizer in May.

After 2 years of serving as organizer, and a year before that serving as managing editor of Mud Season Review, it feels like the time is right to take a breath and create some more space for my family and my own creative pursuits. I will still be serving on the board and working on behalf of this community—so I’ll look forward to still seeing and working with you all. It’s been such an amazing experience working with you all, and an honor to serve as your organizer. I can’t thank you enough for the support you’ve shown me in this role.

More info will come soon from the board as we work through the transition. In the meantime, workshops will continue as always and you can feel free to contact us any time with questions or concerns!

Opportunities

Volunteers needed!

Mud Season Review is looking for volunteers to join the fiction and art staff. If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Lauren Bender, editor-in-chief, at editor@mudseasonreview.com.

We’re also looking for a space manager at our Burlington location. This involves keeping the space stocked with supplies and looking nice, coordinating volunteers to help keep the space open for our members, and being the point of contact for space-related questions. This is an important role for the organization and is ideal for an active member who’d like to use the space regularly during non-workshop hours for writing time. If you’re a BWW member interested in this role, please contact us.

And, we’re looking for 3 members to join a new Marketing Committee. This committee will work to help spread the word about the BWW through social media, print, and around town. If you’re interested in being on this committee, please contact us.

Announcements

Mud Season Review launches online issue #28

Congratulations to the Mud Season Review staff on the launch of issue #28! Check out the stunning artwork of Toni Hamel and the gorgeous writing of Chen Chen (poetry), Noelle Q. de Jesus (fiction), and Jericho Parms (nonfiction). Read issue #28 >

 

Congrats and thanks

Congrats to Lauren Bender, Mud Season Review editor-in-chief, whose poem, “Harm,” was recently accepted by Yes Poetry. Read the poem >

Congrats to Cynthia Close, BWW board member, who will be reading from her memoir-in-progress at the CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ 29 in NYC in June.

Thank you to the volunteers who helped to make the launch party such a successful event: Anne AverytLauren BenderPeter Biello, Cynthia CloseRose Eggert, Laura Napolitano, Erin Post, Jody SmithRebecca Starks, and Mike Sweeney.

Thank you to High-Low Jack for providing the evening’s music, to Have Your Cake Catering for providing the bar, and to Burlington City Arts and the City of Burlington for hosting us. And to our book cover artists Robert Waldo Brunelle, Jr. (Best of) and Toni Hamel (Mud Season Review).

Thanks, as well, to Jericho Parms and Benjamin Hale for leading crafts workshops in conjunction with the Mud Season Review Vol. 3 launch. Both workshops got rave reviews from our members and we’re looking forward to having Jericho and Ben back for future workshops!

 

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of April 10, 2017

Author Benjamin Hale will read from his work at the Mud Season Review/Best of the BWW launch party, on April 21, 2017.

Both The Best of the BWW 2017 and Mud Season Review Vol. 3 are back from the printer and our editing teams are looking forward to sharing them with all of you at the upcoming launch party on Friday, April 21!

Join us on 4.21.17, 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Contois Auditorium (in Burlington’s City Hall) for author readings, live music, refreshments, and good fun. The event is free and open to the public so feel free to bring friends. RSVP  now>

As an added bonus for the launch weekend, Mud Season Review featured author Benjamin Hale has graciously agreed to hold a craft workshop for BWW members while he’s in town for the launch.

Join Ben on Saturday, April 22, 10:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m. in our workshop space in Burlington for a craft workshop on experimental fiction. RSVP for the workshop >

Ben also recently spoke with Mud Season Review co-fiction editor, Natasha Mieszkowski,  and editor-in-chief, Lauren Bender, about his work, his craft, and his advice on writing. Read the interview >

Opportunities

Workshops

What is experimental literature? A craft workshop with Benjamin Hale
Saturday, April 22, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

As mentioned above, join us for a workshop on experimental literature with Benjamin Hale, author of the novel The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (Twelve, 2011) and the collection The Fat Artist and Other Stories (Simon & Schuster, 2016). In this session, Ben will first lead participants through an exploration of the definitions and purposes of experimental literature (including essays and stories relevant to the discussion by Kafka, Nabokov, Roland Barthes and Zadie Smith). This will be followed by a workshop, for which participants should feel free to bring copies of their own creative work for peer review and discussion.

RSVP for this workshop >

Retreat committee

BWW guided poetry retreat

It’s time to start planning our 2017 writing retreats! If you’re interested in being part of the retreat committee for creating the retreat experiences, please contact us this week.

Live music at the launch party

Friday, April 21, 6 – 9:30 p.m.

Come listen to HIGH-LOW JACK, an old-time Mom & Pop duo consisting of Sarah Hotchkiss and John Mowad, at the Best Of 2017Mud Season Review Vol. 3 launch party!

HIGH-LOW JACK features old-timey fiddle tunes, gambling songs, bad guy songs, railroad songs, songs of sin and sadness, real music for real folks, good-timey and bad-timey music. The perfect music for writers and the perfect prelude to the evening’s readings.  RSVP  now>

Announcements

Flynn Center blog

BWW writers regularly blog for the Flynn:

Cynthia Close reviews 42nd Street >

Joyce Gallimore previews Christal Brown: The Opulence of Integrity >

Congrats and thanks

Congrats to Cynthia Close, who was recently accepted to attend a NY conference for writers pitching full-length manuscripts.

Congrats to Hank Lambert, whose memoir, Highgate Switchel : A Vermont Memoir, the First Thirty Years is now available at Phoenix Books in Burlington and Essex and The Eloquent Bookstore in St. Albans as well as online at Lulu.com. Buy a copy online >

Congrats to Kerstin Lange, whose commentary on health care as a political issue was recently featured on Vermont Public Radio. Listen to the commentary >

Congrats to Jimmy Tee, whose poem “Donny” is featured in the Vermont Stands With… art exhibition sponsored by Art Alive at Main Street Landing for the month of April.

Support

Support for the BWW comes from A Book of One’s Own Literary Services. Janice Obuchowski is a longtime fiction editor who helps cull and refine writing.  Through offering substantial feedback and developmental suggestions on short stories, essays, and book-length manuscripts, she can make your writing more compelling, polished, and ready to submit to agents and literary journals.  Contact her at ownbookliterary@gmail.com to inquire about specific pricing and services, or visit ownbookliterary.com.

We learn how to build better stories

An interview with author Benjamin Hale

Mud Season Review co-fiction editor, Natasha Mieszkowski,  and editor-in-chief, Lauren Bender, recently talked with Benjamin Hale, author of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore and a featured author in MSR’s print issue Vol. 3. Here’s what Ben had to say about his work, his craft, and his advice on writing.

Author Benjamin Hale will read at the Mud Season Review launch party on April 21, 2017.


To hear Ben read from his work: Join us on Friday, April 21, 6 p.m. at Contois Auditorium in Burlington’s City Hall for the Mud Season Review Vol. 3 & The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017 launch party.  RSVP for this free event now >


Your piece [featured in Mud Season ReviewTower of Silence is an excerpt from your next novel. What inspired you to write this work? What do you hope readers take away from it?

I was teaching a class at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop last spring, and at some point I mentioned a story about the legacy of Kafka’s archives. When he was dying of tuberculosis, Kafka gave all his unpublished manuscripts, diaries, letters and so on to his friend Max Brod, and told him to burn them all after his death. He didn’t—instead, Max Brod published a lot of them (which is why we have most of the Kafka we do), and held on to the rest, which he then left to his secretary and maybe mistress, Esther Hoffe, when he died decades later in Israel. And when she died in 2007, she left them to her two daughters. The fate of the Kafka papers is still undecided—the National Library of Israel is suing the sisters to obtain them. One of the students in the class remarked on how much she hated romantic anecdotes about famous male writers giving their papers to mistresses with solemn commands to destroy them. That comment sparked the idea for this story. The other ideas floating around in there have to do with our bad habit of romanticizing the lives and suicides of great artists who were bad or badly dysfunctional people; legacy; fame; and why anyone bothers to make art in the first place.

 

You spend a lot of time in this section developing the background of the two central characters. How much time did you take to plan these characters and their histories out? Have you mentally mapped out their future as well, or do you let the story shape itself? 

I always do a lot of planning and groundwork before beginning to write the sentences of a story.  I try not to start laying down the bricks and mortar before the architect has drawn up pretty thorough blueprints for the house. I always try to start a story with a nine-part outline: I detail the action that needs to happen or the information that needs to be revealed in each leg of the story before moving on to the next. This story takes place over the course of several months, and I know what happens to each of the characters during that time. I have no idea what they might do after the story is over.

The two main characters have not met by the end of this section. Yet you’ve established enough tension surrounding them to make the reader want to know what will develop between them, and what will happen to the boxes. Could you describe your thoughts on constructing a story with such a gentle build-up of tension while maintaining a reader’s interest?

Besides thinking about the story of the Kafka archives, the other source of inspiration for this novel was Heinrich von Kleist’s novella, Michael Kohlhaas. A year or so ago I was reading all of Kleist’s novels and stories—an interest that was brought on by Kafka—but I was particularly astounded by Michael Kohlhaas. It’s about a very stubborn, principled horse trader in sixteenth-century Saxony who gets screwed out of a couple of horses by a bored aristocrat; in seeking remuneration for this relatively petty injustice, events compound upon events, and the situation spirals rapidly out of control as Michael Kohlhaas stumbles into leading a violent peasant rebellion. The novella is narrated in a cold, distant style, hovering a mile above the characters’ heads. A dry, businesslike voice moves the story quickly from one action to the next. That’s the way I want this story to unfold. I don’t know if I’ve achieved it yet—it’s a work in progress.

Since this work is currently in progress, how do you feel publishing this excerpt will impact the story? Do you ever have any hesitation or anxiety about releasing a piece of your story for the public before it’s completed? 

Maybe I should feel some hesitation about publishing part of it before it’s done, but I don’t.

With such a compelling beginning that leaves so many questions unanswered, I’m sure our readers will be anxious to know when they can expect to read the rest of it. Do you have a timeline in place yet?

All that is undecided so far. I don’t want to say anything specific, for fear of jinxing it. 

Do you have any other writing projects in the works? How far out do you plan in advance?

I have quite a few novels and stories lying around in states of semi-completion, waiting to be returned to. I hope eventually to get back to all of them, but that is all dependent on a million things, most of all the fluctuations in my teaching schedule.

Could you describe your writing process, and how you approach revising?

Step one: Planning/research. I read a lot of books about the subject I’m working on, and when I’m ready, I map out the plot. Mapping the plot usually takes at least a few weeks, and I expect to go back to my outline and fiddle around with things many times over the process of writing.

Step two: Write the first draft by hand. I always write the first draft of anything by hand in notebooks first. I try to work as quickly as I can at this stage, hopefully during the chunks of time when I’m not interrupted by teaching—during the summer, or the winter break between semesters, in January. I don’t let myself start typing it up until I’ve finished a draft of the whole thing by hand.

Step three: Type up the second draft. I prop up my notebooks on a music stand next to my desk, and type the second draft into my computer. This process takes months and months and months.  In typing the second draft, I work much more slowly, reworking the sentences as I type, taking things out and putting things in. This stage of the process is better suited to the school year, when my writing time is much more stop-and-go than those long, unbroken stretches in the summer.

Step four: Hand-edit the manuscript. I print out the manuscript, and carefully go over every sentence, again taking things out and putting things in, playing around with word choice, grammar, messing around with the sentences. This, for me, is the most fun part of writing—paying extremely close attention to every word, experimenting with language, trying to make every sentence as beautiful and interesting as it can be.

Step five: Type up the hand-edits. I put the typed and edited manuscript back on the music stand next to my desk, and make all the changes to the manuscript. This is a very slow and careful process, as I’m hoping this one will be something like a final draft.

Step six: Repeat steps four and five until happy with the result.

What are you reading right now? 

A quick list of books I’m in the middle of reading, or that I’ve read or reread recently: Mark da Silva’s Square Wave, Frank Kermode’s The Genesis of Secrecy, John Berryman’s Dream Songs, Susan Sontag’s Against Interpretation, Gabriel Blackwell’s Madeleine E., Idra Novey’s Ways to Disappear, Martin Seay’s The Mirror Thief, The Collected Poetry of Wallace Stevens, Apuleius’s The Golden Ass, Jan Potocki’s The Manuscript Found in Saragossa. And then there are things that I’m rereading because I’m teaching them, or about to teach them: Descartes’s Discourse on the Method, David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster, Patricia Highsmith’s The Animal-Lover’s Book of Beastly Murder, Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies, Kafka’s “The Burrow,” Jakob von Uexküll’s A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans.

You’ve already published two books: The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore and The Fat Artist and Other Stories. How has going through the publication process changed how you start to write a new novel?

In one way, it heightens anxiety about writing a new novel: I know that this one will probably be published—I’m not working desperately in the dark, as I was with my first novel. But it lessens another kind of anxiety, which comes from the terrifying questions that haunt a writer who hasn’t yet published a book while working on a book: Am I wasting my time? Will anyone ever read this? You might never get back the hunger you had when you wrote while you were starving.

The subject of writing, and other writers, seems to wiggle its way into your works. Why is that? Is this a way of examining your own processes and place within the literary world?

Whether directly or not, all literature is commentary on other literature. Some works of literature choose to ignore this. Others address it head-on. Borges, for example, or Roberto Bolaño, assume that if the reader is the sort of person who is interested in reading a Borges story or a Bolaño novel, it’s probably a safe bet that such a reader would be interested in the lives and works of writers, critics, and poets. Some books seem to be set in worlds in which writers, readers, and books do not exist. That’s not my world, or any world I would want to live in.

What is the best advice about writing you have ever received?

The single most useful tool anyone has ever given me to go about the process of trying to write fiction was a trick William Melvin Kelley taught me about sixteen years ago. Willy Kelley died at the age of 79 just recently (on February 1, 2017), and I will continue imparting his system for outlining to my students until I die, or quit teaching. Here it is:

  • Write your story in three sentences: beginning, middle, and end.
  • Take those sentences and break them into nine sentences:
  1. The beginning of the beginning.
  2. The middle of the beginning.
  3. The end of the beginning.
  1. The beginning of the middle.
  2. The middle of the middle.
  3. The end of the middle.
  1. The beginning of the end.
  2. The middle of the end.
  3. The end of the end.

You now have an outline. Take this, and start writing. This system builds a three-act structure into a story, and helps you think about a plot architecturally.

You are a senior editor of the literary journal Conjunctions. What do you enjoy most about this role? How has it influenced your own writing?

A few years ago, I co-edited an issue of Conjunctions with Bradford Morrow (the magazine’s founder and longtime editor), but aside from that project, the title is basically an honorary one. I have a direct line to Brad open though, if I ever want to send him something or if I want to pass someone else’s piece along to him. I’m a proud member of the Conjunctions family.

Has writing been a part of your life since childhood? What is the first story you remember writing? 

The first pieces of fiction I remember finishing were a couple of stories that I adapted from Boccaccio’s Decameron, when I was a freshman in college. They were sex-revenge jokes set in monasteries, which I re-set in a boys’ boarding school. They were the puerile and gleefully nihilistic products of an eighteen-year-old boy, and I bet I’d be mortified to reread them now. And yes, writing has been a part of my life for as long as I’ve been a fully conscious human.

What writers have been important to your development as a writer? 

Vladimir Nabokov, Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, Günter Grass, Italo Calvino, Miguel de Cervantes, Flannery O’Connor, James Joyce, Susan Sontag, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, Thomas Bernhard, Elfriede Jelinek, Patricia Highsmith…to name a few. There are many others.

Because we grew out of a workshop, we like to ask: what is your best or worst workshop experience?

I don’t have a particular experience that leaps to mind, but I do have something to say about the writing workshop in general, which is a fashionable thing to malign. The subject of what to call our writing classes here at Bard comes up from time to time—some people dislike the word “workshop” and want to do away with it. My colleague here, Ann Lauterbach, hates the word. I on the other hand rather like it. I like the humbleness of the word. It makes me think of shop class in high school: we would all be nailing and sawing on our birdhouses, while Mr. Arnold walked around the room, offering woodworking tips, practical advice about measuring, cutting, gluing, sanding. That’s pretty much the way I see my role as a teacher. I asked Ann why she hates the word “workshop” so much, and she said she doesn’t like the way it implies we’re “fixing” something. I don’t think of it so much as “fixing,” but as building—in this class, we learn how to build better stories. And in the process, we will have a more general conversation about what literature could be and should be, which is always the more important thing.

 More about Ben

Benjamin Hale is the author of the novel The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (Twelve, 2011) and the collection The Fat Artist and Other Stories (Simon & Schuster, 2016). He has received the Bard Fiction Prize, a Michener-Copernicus Award, and nominations for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. His writing (both fiction and nonfiction) has appeared, among other places, in ConjunctionsHarper’s Magazine, the Paris Review, the New York Times, the Washington PostDissent, and the LA Review of Books Quarterly, and has been anthologized in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013. He is a senior editor of Conjunctions, teaches at Bard College, and lives in a small town in New York’s Hudson Valley.

More about Mud Season Review Vol. 3

Mud Season Review Vol. 3 is the third in our annual MSR print issue series. This volume features fiction by Benjamin Hale, nonfiction by Jericho Parms and J. Drew Lanham, poetry by Chen Chen, and additional work by many other talented writers and artists. MSR Vol. 3 will be available for purchase soon at MudSeasonReview.com.

To hear Ben and others read selections from MSR Vol. 3: Join us on Friday, April 21, 6 p.m. at Contois Auditorium in Burlington’s City Hall for the Mud Season Review Vol. 3 & The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017 launch party.  RSVP for this free event now >

 

 

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of March 20, 2017

Read our interview with Elizabeth Gaucher, whose nonfiction essay is featured in The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017.

The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017 and Mud Season Review Vol. 3 are off to the printer! We’re very much looking forward to sharing the latest editions of both publications at this year’s book launch celebration, to be held Friday, April 21 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Contois Auditorium in Burlington’s City Hall.

Gearing up for the celebration, we’ll be featuring interviews with some of our Best of and Mud Season writers who will be reading at the event. This week, our Best of nonfiction editor, Nina Gaby, speaks with Elizabeth Gaucher, whose piece, “Dialing the Dark,” is included in this year’s anthology.

Read the interview >

And join us to hear Elizabeth and others read at the event >

Opportunities

Spring 2017 Literature Reading Series
Beginning Tuesday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m. in Burlington
Thank you to everyone who voted to choose our next reading for this series. Each Tuesday evening this April, you’ll find us in our space in downtown Burlington reading and discussing James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. Space in the group is filling up fast. RSVP now >

New member workshop
Thursday, April 6 at 6:30 p.m. in Burlington

Have you attended 5 or fewer BWW workshops to date? If yes, please join us for a new member workshop.  This is a great opportunity to learn about the workshop and see what’s it like to review a piece, all among other new members.  All skill levels are welcome. RSVP now >

Book Launch Party
Join us on Friday, April 21 at 6 p.m. to celebrate the launch of The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017 and Mud Season Review Vol. 3. Enjoy readings from authors featured in both publications, plus free food, cash bar, music, and good company. RSVP now >

Join the staff of Mud Season Review
We have editing and reading positions open on our art, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry teams right now. We’re also looking for someone to help coordinate events. If you love literature and want to experience working on a literary journal, please let us know. Send inquiries to Lauren Bender, editor-in-chief, at editor@mudseasonreview.com.

 

Announcements

Flynn Center blog

BWW writers regularly blog for the Flynn:

Jeffrey Lindholm reviews Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s recent performance on the Flynn MainStage >

Cynthia Close reviews The Chieftains’ recent performance on the Flynn MainStage >

Congrats and thanks

Congrats to Deena Frankel, our oral storytelling workshop leader and designer of The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshopwho will be performing at the upcoming Boston Women in Comedy Festival.

Congrats to Michelle Watters, leader of a monthly BWW poetry workshop and Mud Season Review co-editor of poetry, whose poem was recently accepted by Typehouse Literary Magazine.

Thanks to Karin Ames for filling in on scheduling while our BWW scheduler (Dennis Bouldin) is away on vacation.

Thanks to Katie Jickling from Seven Days for joining us for Saturday’s workshop on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Vermont’s “Right to Know” laws for journalists.

Support

Support for the BWW comes from A Book of One’s Own Literary Services. Janice Obuchowski is a longtime fiction editor who helps cull and refine writing.  Through offering substantial feedback and developmental suggestions on short stories, essays, and book-length manuscripts, she can make your writing more compelling, polished, and ready to submit to agents and literary journals.  Contact her at ownbookliterary@gmail.com to inquire about specific pricing and services, or visit ownbookliterary.com.

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 >

Opportunities

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 >

Workshops

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 >

Announcements

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 >

Opportunities


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 >

Workshops

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 >

 

Announcements

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 >

Congrats…

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.

Opportunities

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.

Announcements

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!

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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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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