Flynn Center Blogging Update

flynnpaintingDid you happen to catch what BWW writers are saying about shows at Burlington’s Flynn Center?

The BWW and the Flynn are partnering to provide articles about the Flynn’s 2013-14 season. They’re all posted on the Flynn Center’s blog. The idea is to create conversations about art. In short: so far, so good!

Danielle Theirry kicked off the project with this personal essay on historical reenactments. Inspired by Ain Gordon’s “Not What Happened,” her essay gets at the heart of one of the themes of the play: the ability to see life from the perspective of another person. Theirry also followed up with this post-performance review.

We’ve heard from Erika Nichols on Aparna Ramaswamy’s performance; Jim Gamble describes music “out of bounds” with his article on Alejandro Escovedo and Shelby Lynne; and Kerstin Lange asserts that we all should hear a little music, especially that of the Johannes String Quartet.

Amanda Vella’s forthcoming article on Reggie Watts is sure to provoke some discussion about the eccentric comedian. And we’ll be writing lots more in the coming season, so please do join the conversation at the Flynn Center Blog.

The Book Launch

The sandwich board on Church Street.

The sandwich board on Church Street.

The Book Launch Party was a great success.

For me, this was a loyalty event, a hearty “thank you” to all of the people who have supported this project. If everyone walked away feeling like their contributions were appreciated, then I feel like we’ve succeeded.

Gabe McConkey spent his birthday reading poetry with us. Anne Averyt, Erika Nichols (our poetry editor), and Lit Tyler also gave stellar readings.

Check out this photo gallery of the evening’s events!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


We asked Twitter users to tweet with #bwwlaunch, and you can check out the tweets here. If you missed the launch, but would still like to purchase the book, please buy one here.

Our Amazon Kindle ebook is also a good way to check out these talented Vermont writers.

During the celebration, the audience was asked to write an “exquisite corpse” poem. So here’s what the audience came up with:

I saw a buzzfly when I was born–
Trepidacious, mortar, drained with lost panko bullfrog
And then they died…
Her face was aglow with happiness.
We can just be friends and take things slow.
But even as I said it, I knew it would never be true>
So I walked down to the lakeshore & searched for meaning amongst the delicately stacked rocks.
Instead, I found lizards.
Lizards with gigantic green eyes and claws that could slice up rocks.
Lights flash! Cars crash
The lantern flickered faintly in the distance, carried by a cloaked figure who ambled hurriedly down the dew covered hillside.
Gliding among filamental clouds with the starlings, a gaseous gust of helium escaped from under a sheath of oily feathers.
A heavy wood, old world ceiling in a stark space.
Happiness is subjective.
It’s comforting to write with a cardboard pen.
Oh my my. There are still no meatpies in Grimsby!
And I quit being a vegetarian a month ago.
At times I wonder if this was a mistake, waking in the night with the taste of chorizo on my tongue.
But I haven’t eaten chorizo in years. Now my tastebuds make do with blander meats on their pallate.
They fell down on their knees and begged that this cup might pass.
The man looked down at him and frowned.
His life seemed to be on the end of a blade.
So much had changed so quickly.
Change is what happens when you’re stoned too long.
I’m at a writers workshop. Very scary, since I am barely a reader, aside from Vogue. I’ll go to the library I promise.
She made a beeline for the black door.
The secret you told me spilled over the edge of my eyes.
And I said something I never thought I’d say.

Being from Fall River, I’m happy that chorizo made an appearance in this poem, but it’s spelled “chourico“!

So, in short, it was a great evening, and I’m now working with BCA to plan next year’s launch. Because there will be another “Best of” collection next year, thanks to you.

Writing About Art At Burlington City Arts

Photo 2 edited

DJ Hellerman (right) demonstrates how “The God Box” works. Virtual flies and spiders climb on the surface and a map on the wall behind DJ shows where they were born and where they die.

This week, Burlington City Arts is launching an exhibition called “User Required.” It features a variety of pieces that require user participation. One piece, for example, gives you the opportunity to squish virtual bugs on a giant iPad-like device. Another features lights that illuminate the basement when you step on them.

This exhibition will be on display at Burlington City Arts during our book launch party. And the Burlington Writers Workshop will attempt to write pieces of literary art that respond to and create conversations with the physical, interactive pieces of art on display. If we produce good work, we’ll share it with the public at the book launch party and beyond.

DJ Hellerman of BCA was gracious enough to give us all a guided tour of the artwork. As the artists worked around us, we toured the galleries, pushed buttons, scratched meowing pictures of kittens, and sent text messages to a whirling fan that’s designed to display our messages. (Send a text message to 802-373-1117 on Friday night, and whatever you write will appear on the fans for the art-loving public to see.)

Photo 1In my view, this is the perfect art to surround the launch of a book that exists because of community participation. Users are required for these pieces of art as much as the writers in the workshop are required to make this crazy thing work.

“User Required” is open to the public on Friday. If you didn’t attend our private viewing tonight but still want to attempt a poem or short piece of prose inspired by a piece at BCA, visit on Friday or Saturday and send what you’ve written to me (peterbiello @ yah0o dot c0m) by Saturday night. Your participation is required!