Opportunities & Announcements: Week of October 23, 2017

Fall is a busy time at the BWW, with many opportunities upcoming. But perhaps the most important opportunities ahead are several ways for you to help shape the future of the BWW, for us to engage in thinking about the future together, and to hear your creative voice, if you are so inclined.

Member survey launched

Today we launched the annual BWW Member Survey, which will remain open until November 4. Each year, the Board of Directors relies heavily on this feedback to shape the next year’s programming and determine how resources are spent. The aggregated results of the anonymous survey are shared at the annual meeting to help provide a framework for further discussion about member goals, and are used throughout the year to inform decisions—taking into account what’s working, what could be improved, how the BWW can better meet member needs, and who wants to step forward to help. With the organization at a moment of transition, your input is more important than ever.

Annual meeting Nov 11, noon, Fletcher Free Library

On November 11, we will gather from noon to 2 p.m. at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington for the BWW Annual Meeting. Please RSVP today. You will not want to miss the collaborative thinking about the future and the fun—by which I mean good food, good company, and readings and performances from each of our diverse types of writing: Best Of, Mud Season Review, songwriting, the literature group, and the oral storytelling workshop.

BWW Open Mic, Nov 16, 6:30-8:00, Light Club Lamp Shop

Finally, I’m pleased to announce the first (of 2) BWW open mics at the Light Club Lamp Shop, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on November 16. If you would like to read your work, tell an oral story, or play an original song, please sign up here. These open mics are part of the programming associated with the BCA grant we received this summer. Even if you don’t care to read or perform, come join us for an evening in the magical living room that is the Light Club.

Announcements

The BWW Board met on Saturday, October 21. We accepted BWW founder Peter Biello’s resignation with sadness and thanks, and elected veteran BWW member Deena Frankel as chair of the board. As the board begins a strategic planning process—with lots of opportunities ahead for member input—Danielle Thierry, current board member and past organizer, will be aiding in the transition to give us time to decide how to “staff” various roles in the future.

Congratulations

Rebecca Starks’ poem, Open Carry, was published in the October 8, 2017, edition of Rattle.

Candelin Wahl has 6 poems published and forthcoming in Red Wolf Journal and HerStory.

Congratulations, Rebecca and Candelin.

Have you published something recently, won an honor or award, or have an accomplishment to share? Please let us know so we can help share your good news with your fellow BWW members.

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of October 16, 2017

Thanks to Candelin Wahl, here we have a photo from our recent songwriting workshop. It’s a regular offering at the BWW, one Thursday a month, and proof that the BWW is a big tent, capable of providing space to creative types of all kinds.

If you thought that sentence sounded like the prelude to a pitch, you would be correct. This songwriting workshop–and all of our Burlington workshops–happen around this table, in a space that costs money to rent.

We don’t charge a fee, but the BWW leadership team ask folks like you to chip in a few bucks from time to time to support the mission of the BWW, which is to provide free learning opportunities for writers like you. If you’d like to give a certain amount each month (let’s say $6 or $12) you can become a sustaining member here. 

We hope you will. Automatic gifts like yours provide a stable base of support for the expenses that come with running this nonprofit organization.

We’ve got more opportunities and a big announcement to make, so please do check out this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 25, 2017

Three down, one left.

Our free writing retreats have been a success so far this year. On the weekend of September 18th, Vermont poet Baron Wormser led a day-long retreat in Adamant, Vermont. Candelin Wahl, one of the participants, said, “The workshop was great! Engaged participants, very strong leader/teacher in Baron Wormser, amazing location & a restaurant-quality potluck lunch.”

We’ve got one more free writing retreat left. You can learn more about it and put your name in the hat for the lottery here.

There’s more to discover in this week’s opportunities and announcements, so read on!

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 11, 2017

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

Lauren Bender, editor-in-chief of Mud Season Review, is getting ready to step down from her post. We’re so glad that she was able to spend a year (1) publishing great online and print issues and (2) facilitating the learning experience that MSR provides to Vermont’s aspiring writers. Lauren, we can’t thank you enough for your stellar work!

Lauren’s going to be working with her replacement to ease the transition to new leadership, which should be in place no later than October 31, 2017.

Who’s the new editor-in-chief? We don’t know yet, but we’d like you to apply for the job if you’re interested. Details on this and other opportunities for writers can be found in this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of August 28, 2017

The second Burlington Writers Workshop retreat of the summer took place this past weekend. Fiction writer Robin McLean, author of the short story collection Reptile House, spent the day working with attendees. Here’s what a few folks who attended had to say about the retreat:

“The retreat was better than anything I’d imagined. Certainly the organization was admirable. The setting was amazingly beautiful and inspiring. The folks who attended (including our hosts) added so much to the experience; the generous participation, the bravery, and the food! Our instructor was so much more than that; a mentor, our guru, our spiritual leader; leading us to the hidden wells of  inspiration and creativity tucked away in our unconscious minds; teaching us to banish the gatekeeper/censor and go forth like cowboys exploring deep caverns… wow.”

“I’d like to add my thanks to Riki and Rose for their great hospitality and for providing such a gorgeous setting. Thanks too to Robin for being such an inspiring workshop leader! Thanks finally to all the writers who shared their wonderful writings and commentary. I was so fired up that I rose early on Sunday morning and started working again on my novel.”

“Kudos for that magical day go to Riki and Robert [retreat hosts] for sharing creative space; to Wendy and Karin [retreat committee members] for their behind the scenes work; to everyone who opened their hearts and souls giving all of us the courage to go deeper; and to Robin for her careful and inspiring guidance in allowing us to find ourselves.”

The next BWW retreat will take place on September 16th. All our retreats are filled by lottery. This gives all writers an equal chance to attend. You can learn more and put your name in the hat by checking out this page.

Learn more about what’s happening for writers in Vermont in the coming weeks in these opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of August 14, 2017

At our workshops, we’ll discuss anything. Last week, when I was leading a workshop, we were discussing the trials of entering the dating market when you’re over 60. (Dating, it was noted at the workshop table, is perilous at any age.)

One of our writers had written about a woman entering the dating market after her husband of 30 years passed away. The novel-in-progress generated quite a discussion. Beyond that, I can’t comment about what was said. Like they say about Las Vegas: What happens in workshop, stays in workshop.

But if you’d like to be privy to workshop conversations, there’s one thing you can do: sign up and claim your seat.

Learn more about this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 31, 2017

The BWW held its first retreat of the season on July 15. These folks pictured here attended at the home of BWW Treasurer Terry Cleveland. These retreats are meant to help you get away from whatever happens to be distracting you from your work. If you’re interested in signing up for more of these retreats, please check out this page and see what we have to offer.

We’ve also got workshops aplenty, so sign up for a few when you have a chance. And check out this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 17, 2017

A view of downtown Burlington, Vermont on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.

For the first time in two years, I attended a Wednesday night writing workshop in downtown Burlington, Vermont. Wednesday night writing workshops are the longest running tradition at the Burlington Writers Workshop. Part of that tradition involves going out for drinks downtown after the discussion ends. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed the lively Wednesday night conversations and the chance to socialize with BWW members over a beer (or two).

Part of the fun for me, of course, was getting feedback on my latest short story. I was hoping to see this story in a new light and, as always, BWW members delivered. In the next few days, I’m going to get started on revisions. Thanks, fellow workshoppers!

If you’ve got a piece of writing you need to see through someone else’s eyes, we’ve got plenty of opportunities for you. Here are this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 3, 2017

“A Ulysses Summer: Summer Literature Reading Group” is one of our most popular workshops this summer.

Lately a group of BWW members have been reading Ulysses by James Joyce together. Patrick Brownson leads the group, which counts 13 regular attendees plus a waitlist, meaning it’s one of the most popular things we’re offering this summer. As you can see, our workshop space is occupied by quite a few happy readers, one of whom owns a selfie stick.

This reading group is full, but you can still participate in other workshops, if you’d like. We’ve got plenty. We’ve also got four free writing retreats planned this year.

Check out this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of June 19, 2017

The pile of manuscripts on my desk. Providing feedback for these folks makes me a better writer.

I’ve been providing a lot of feedback to writers lately through Mud Season Review. It’s one of the ways we keep the journal funded, but for me, it’s also a writing exercise.

Let me explain. In the past month or so, I’ve read someone’s novel, an essay collection, and four short stories. For each of these I’ve written a 1,500-word analysis, and I’ve made an effort to write a response of some kind on every page of the manuscript. It’s the kind of feedback I hope we’re giving each other in BWW workshops.

Anyway, doing this has really changed how I write. I’m learning how to articulate how I’m feeling as I read, and perhaps more importantly, I’m learning what I don’t want to see in prose. I’m learning what frustrates me as a reader. When I sit down to write my own work, I’m much more conscious now of what pleases me most as a reader, and what would please my ideal reader.

This, I think, is one of the key things about the BWW’s service. We get feedback on our own work, which is helpful, but it’s important to remember that giving feedback is not a purely altruistic act. You get something from it, assuming you put serious thought into it.

This is just to say: We’ve got many opportunities for you to exercise the feedback muscle. Here are the latest opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of June 5, 2017

The May fundraiser has ended successfully. Thanks to everyone who helped us raise $5,157.57 (our goal was $5k). In all, 52 people made a donation. One person gave twice! The average gift was just over $99. Excluding gifts made in exchange for our manuscript review service (which we provide for gifts of $275 or more), the average gift was just over $62.

About that manuscript service: We offer to folks on the Mud Season Review mailing list a chance to have their book-length manuscript reviewed. Someone on the MSR staff reads the manuscript and comments on it, much like we do in our workshops. During this past fundraiser, nine people gave $275 for these manuscript reviews.

If you’re a BWW member and you have a book that needs the eyes of your fellow writers, we do not charge anything to schedule a two- or three-part workshop, to which we’ll invite a group of peers to read your manuscript in big chunks. If you’d like to take advantage of this option, please contact me.

Overall, though, this manuscript review service is a way attract out-of-state money to support what we do in Vermont. We’ve got a dedicated crew of MSR folks who read these books for our donors, and we’re happy to do it.

We’ve got other stuff to talk about this week. So here are the latest opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of May 15, 2017

In less than a week, the Burlington Writers Workshop will turn eight years old. I’ll never lose my sense of amazement that we do, in fact, still exist, and that we’re as strong as we’ve ever been.

We are offering a ton of workshops this spring and summer.  These workshops are designed to motivate you and give you some feedback that (we hope) will inspire you to revise whatever you’re working on. So take a moment to check out these opportunities and announcements and claim your seat at the table. Continue reading

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 17, 2017

Author and BWW founder Peter Biello will read at The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017 launch party on April 21.

As we gear up for this Friday’s book launch party for The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017 and Mud Season Review Vol. 3, we continue to talk with authors whose works are featured in the books.

This week, we’re talking to our own Peter Biello, founder of the BWW and the Best of anthology series.  Peter’s short story, “The Man in the Orange Shorts,” is included in this year’s Best of. In our interview, Peter talks about the story’s evolution through the workshop process here at the BWW as well as the history of the Best of series and his own writing endeavors. Read the interview  >

Join us this Friday (4.21.17) from 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>

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.

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:

Lorraine Ryan previews Annie >

Joyce Gallimore reviews Christal Brown’s The Opulence of Integrity >

Congrats and thanks

Congrats to Margaret Grant who was selected to be a mentee in the AWP (Association for Writers and Writing Programs) Writer to Writer Mentorship Program for Spring, 2017.

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 writin

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.