Summer Reading Lists - Katherine Forbes Riley

Each summer we like to invite authors to share their summer reading lists with us.

First up this summer is Vermont author Katherine Forbes Riley, a writer and computational linguist whose debut,The Bobcat, was released in June (Arcade/Skyhorse 2019). The Bobcat was recently picked by Ms. Magazine as a Read for the Rest of Us. Alexander Chee calls The Bobcat, “a heartfelt, revelatory, and moving novel about how the way back to our humanity and to the humanity of others leads us sometimes through the animal world. Surprising, precise, and full of love for the immeasurable possibilities of the human heart.”

Thanks for sharing your picks with us, Kate!


With summer in full swing, here are six great reads for the beach or lake. Each paragraph will stun and be savored, after which you’ll likely find yourself staring out at the endlessly repeating patterns of water and thinking about all that it might mean. That’s my idea of a great beach/lake read.

Naamah, by Sarah Blake

This book is built on a fantastic premise, plank by plank, and then let loose on us. What do you think about Noah’s wife? About that boat, those animals, their noise, their stench? You may not think much now but I can promise you’ll be thinking after you read Naamah. You’ll think about each phrase. I’m a fast reader, quick to skim if something doesn’t hold me, but this one forced me to read slowly, to listen like music and absorb every note, and I almost didn’t want to finish—not until I could get my hands on Blake’s next one.

The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen

This book matched pace with me as fast as my thoughts could go. This author is dangerous, his mind brilliant and multi-faceted. I would love to hear him read or even just speak. These are images from a war we all by now think we know intimately, and so it’s amazing that he makes them new. He makes them bitter, funny, awkward, unexpected; he weds us to them newly.

The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

The first fifty pages of this novel should be required reading for every citizen of America. They could only have been written by one for whom such horror is truly alive in memory, but they should be read by us all, so those memories come alive for our whole country. So that we can all together almost not bear them.

There, There, by Tommy Orange

This book burns. Simply burns. The multiplicity of characters and voices is insane. How did Orange do it? I think he did what one of his protagonists does: he recorded voices. And then inside his head he muffled his own and let those others come through. And as unique as they are, still they resound with the lost and found in all of us. We must read them and think, these are my countrymen.

Milkman, by Anna Burns

I’ve never read something so internal. So amazing and disturbing and universal. I kept thinking, this sounds just like communism, like life behind the Wall, even though it’s Ireland. It reminds me a lot of Beckett as well. But it’s a woman, and the main character is a young woman, and she thinking about people, a town full of people that she thinks about as if it’s a net that holds her, also a spider’s web.

The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez

If I had to pick one book that’s made the deepest personal impact on me recently, I’d have to say The Friend. It’s such a paradoxical book, one that fabricates even as it acknowledges it, one that as a writer affirms my love of writing even while putting forth some pretty irrefutable reasons for why I shouldn’t be writing at all. It’s also got a dog, a big tough old dog. And it’s written by a very smart tough older woman, and that voice feels really good to me, mingling with all the others.

The Dipper - July 2019

"The Dipper" is our monthly newsletter, where we highlight readings, events, calls for submission, and other literary-related news for the coming month. If you have news or events to share, let us know 

July News

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We are so delighted to have had the opportunity to interview poet Ron Padgett about his new work, Big Cabin, which comes out on July 2. Written over the course of three autumns in Vermont, Big Cabin includes both poetry and prose, with thoughts on memory, time, aging, and the natural world right outside of his cabin window. We hope you enjoy the book as much as we did. Huge thanks to Ron for agreeing to this interview and to Daley Farr and Timothy Otte at Coffee House Press. To order your copy of Big Cabin, head over to the Coffee House Press shop or your local indie. Check out our interview with Ron in celebration of the book’s release!

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We have a new guest Friday Reads post for you over on our blog, written by Michael Epstein, who reviewed Peter Orner’s new book of short stories, Maggie Brown & Others, which releases on July 2. Thank you so much, Michael, for your review and for wanting to be part of our Friday Reads series. If you love Michael’s review, be sure to check out his blog, BookMarks, which is full of his reading lists and book reviews.

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Allie Levy of Still North Books & Bar (opening in the fall in Hanover, New Hampshire) had a fun idea that we were eager to partner with her on: Adult Summer Reading Bingo! Why should the kids have all of the fun? Adults, put a dent in your summer TBR list this year. To play, just download the card and keep track of the books you’ve read that match the card’s categories. Once you have “bingo,” take a photo of your completed card and email it to hi@stillnorthbooks.com. You’ll win a “Still North, Still Reading” tote!

Did you listen to Vermont Public Radio’s 2019 Summer Book Show? There was a lot of great discussion about books for every taste. If you missed it, get thee to the Vermont Edition archives. A few of Rebecca’s picks made it onto the show!

We’ve announced our third Slow Club Book Club selection of the year and we’ll begin reading on July 1. Head over to the SCBC page on our site to see which short story collection by a woman in translation we’ve chosen. It’s never too late to join us. Just sign up for our Slow Club Book Club newsletter for all of the details, plus a little check-in from us every now and again.

Thank you so much to everyone who has already reserved seats for Poetry & Pie III. We are already filling up! Now is the time to reserve your seats if you are hoping to attend. Imagine sitting in a beautiful Vermont barn watching the barn swallows, eating pie, listening to poetry and music, and drinking cold brew coffee. We can’t imagine a better summer afternoon, can you? We’d love for you to join us.

Once again we’re going to take August off from writing The Dipper. We hope we’ll see many of you at Poetry & Pie, and we hope all of you have a really restful and beautiful month filled with just the right books. We’ll be back in September. Have a great summer!

July’s Shooting Stars

A cool literary find from each of us to help light up your month!

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  • Writer Jami Attenberg hosted 1000 Words of Summer for two weeks last month. As a writer who needed a kick in the pants, I found this so helpful. Bonus advice in the daily dispatches from writers such as Alexander Chee and Celeste Ng. The best part is you can start whenever you can carve out two weeks and access the archives to follow along with the project. —Shari

  • While working on the design of our first Little Dipper chapbook (Rena Mosteirin’s gorgeous half-fabulous whales, coming later this summer), I tested a whole lot of layout tools. One of my favorite finds is Chapbookify, by Verse, home of the excellent weekly poetry playlists. Upload a PDF of your manuscript and Chapbookify speedily generates a two-up, two-sided PDF that’s ready to print and bind. It’s fast, it does what it says it will do, and it’s free. Go forth and create chapbooks!—Rebecca


July Highlights

Cadwell Turnbull

Cadwell Turnbull

Calling all speculative fiction fans! Cadwell Turnbull will be reading at Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, Vermont, on Monday, July 1 at 6:00 pm. His debut novel, The Lesson, has a rave review on Lit Hub’s Bookmarks.

Howard Norman will be reading from The Ghost Clause on Tuesday, July 2, at 7:00 pm, at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont. We’ve heard rumors that this will be his last novel. An event not to be missed!

On Tuesday, July 9, at 7:00 pm, Rachel Barenbaum will read from her fabulous historical novel, A Bend in Stars, at the Howe Library in Hanover, New Hampshire. If you missed it, check out our interview with Rachel about her new book.

The always fabulous Canaan Meetinghouse Readings series kicks off on Thursday, July 11 and continues through Thursday, August 1 in Canaan, New Hampshire. We love the beautiful space, the homemade desserts, and the fact that you can borrow a cushion for your wooden pew. Hernan Diaz, Peter Orner, Gregory Pardlo, and more! A highlight of our summer.

Rachel Hadas reads at The Frost Farm in Derry, New Hampshire, as a part of the Hyla Brook Reading Series on Thursday, July 11, at 6:30 pm.

Jaed Coffin

Jaed Coffin

Jaed Coffin will read from his memoir, Roughouse Friday, on Saturday, July 13, at 6:00 pm, at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont.

The annual Tory Hill Author Series launches at the Warner Town Hall in Warner, New Hampshire, this month. Diane Les Bequets begins the series on Saturday, July 13, at 7:00 pm. The series also features Andre Dubus III, John Porter, and Peter Miller.

Rebecca Makkai brings her highly praised novel, The Great Believers, to Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont, on Tuesday, July 16, at 7:00 pm

The third annual Non-Fiction Comics Mini-Fest will be held on Saturday, July 20 at The Saint Albans Museum in Saint Albans, Vermont. The day-long festival features presentations by cartoonists Glynnis Fawkes, Kurt Shaffert, Sara Yahm, Marek Bennett, and others.

The River Poets (Sue Burton, Laura Foley, Pam Harrison, Clyde Watson, and Carol Westberg) will read poetry inspired by Kira Fournier Schore’s sculpture, Split Lady, at the AVA Gallery in Lebanon, New Hampshire, at 1:30 pm on Saturday, July 20.

Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo will read from her debut nonfiction book, Three Women, on Thursday, July 26, at 6:00 pm, at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont.

The Bookstock Literary Festival, Woodstock, Vermont’s, annual book festival, will be held this year from Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28. The festival includes readings by Vievee Francis, Dede Cummings, James Crews, Carolyn Forche, Maggie Smith, Emily Bernard, Ilya Kaminsky, James Dobson, and others; workshops; a book sale; custom poems by Benjamin Aleshire; and plenty more.

Katherine Riley (The Bobcat) and Peter Orner (Maggie Brown & Others) will read on Sunday, July 28 at BigTown Gallery in Rochester, Vermont, at 5:30 pm. If you’ve never attended a reading at BigTown, you should! It’s such an intimate space, filled with beautiful art.

Lucky you, you still have a chance to catch a local reading with Ocean Vuong. He’ll be at Bookstock in Woodstock, Vermont, on Saturday, July 27 at 2:00 pm, and then at The Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont, on Sunday, July 28, at 5:30 pm. In the meantime, check out this clip from his appearance on The Seth Meyers show and go buy his book, On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous.

Miciah Bay Gault launches her novel, Goodnight Stranger, on Tuesday, July 30, at 7:00 pm, at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont. Look for an interview with Miciah on our blog on July 30.

Visit our calendar for detailed information about these events and more!

 

Worth a Drive

  • Get your tickets now to see Colson Whitehead read from his latest novel, The Nickel Boys, at the First Baptist Church of Newton in Newton Center, Massachusetts, on Thursday, July 18 at 7:00 pm.

 

Worth a Listen

  • Start your summer off right by adding Mary Grimm’s story “Back Then” from The New Yorker’s Writer’s Voice podcast to your phone. Listen on your commute to work and think about the summers of your youth.

  • Another fantastic listening experience this month was Teju Cole on On Being.

 

We're Looking Forward to These July Releases

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

MacDowell Colony Winter/Spring 2020 Residency
Applications open mid July for the Winter/Spring 2020 residency season (February 1 through May 31) in Peterborough, New Hampshire. A Fellowship consists of exclusive use of a private studio, accommodations, and three prepared meals a day for two weeks to two months. Applications must include a description of your proposed project, a letter of reference, and information about your artistic work such as education, training, and artistic achievements, as well as examples of current work. There is a $30 non-refundable application processing fee.
Deadline: September 15 | Details

Hunger Mountain Issue 24: Patterns
General submissions are open in prose and poetry on the theme of patterns. Work must not have been published before, including online.
Deadline: October 15 | Details

Lifelines Magazine
Accepting submissions of original and unpublished short stories, nonfiction, poetry, and artwork for their 2020 issue. While they consider a broad spectrum of subject matter for publication, they are looking for pieces that speak to the experience of medicine in some way.
Deadline: October 31 | Details

Center for Cartoon Studies, MFA Degree and Certificate Programs
Now accepting applications for the MFA, one- and two-year certificate programs, and low-residency second-year option. Learn all you need to know about making comics and self-publishing in a prolific and dynamic environment and community. $50 application fee.
Deadline: rolling admissions until programs are filled | Details


Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Fragments of a Great Mystery, A Writing Workshop with Sarah Anderson and Mercy Carbonell
Mondays, July 8 through July 29, 6:00 to 8:45 pm

This Summer Writing Workshop provides a chance to explore the translational and horological power of writing from saved artifacts, preserved objects, the inherited stuff of our lives. Through poetry, lyric reflection, flash fiction and the interweaving of photography, we will unravel what the poet, Philip Levine, called “the fragments of a great mystery.” This workshop is designed for those who “hold everything dear” (John Berger) and want to capture in language the memory, imagination, story, essence of the tactile, physical and tangible. The Workshop Series will culminate in an optional Word Barn reading.
Location: The Word Barn, Exeter, New Hampshire | Cost: $250 | Details

Poetry Workshop with Lee Ann Dalton and Matt W. Miller
Tuesdays, July 9 through July 30, 6:00 to 8:45 pm

In this workshop we will look closely at line, sentence, language, metaphor, and image in an attempt to revise and reshape our poems into stronger versions of themselves. Whether you are working in strict poetic form or testing the boundaries of what a poem can be, our goal will be to work collaboratively and be supportive while at the same time honoring the voice and vision of the individual. Looking at our poems in progress, we will offer suggestions for revisions and use our discussions to perhaps generate new work.
Location: The Word Barn, Exeter, New Hampshire | Cost $250 | Details

The Art of Bookbinding with Jong-Yoon Kim
Thursdays, July 11 to August 1, 6:00 to 9:00 pm

These workshops cover various types of non-adhesive, long-stitch binding techniques such as linking stitches and coptic sewing. If you’ve ever been curious about how to make a book, this is the place to start.
Location: AVA Gallery, Lebanon, New Hampshire | Cost: $230-$270 | Details

Poetry Workshop with Deborah Brown
July 14 / Second Sunday of every Month, 2:00 to 3:00 pm

The workshops are designed to combine lessons and exercises on aspects of craft (image, diction, metaphor) with a small amount of critique and in-group writing. For the novice to the published, 9 to 99 years. Join at the beginning or when you can. Free and all are welcome.
Location: MainStreet BookEnds, Warner, New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier: A Full-Day Retreat with Joni Cole
July 13, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
This retreat will help you cultivate a healthy and productive creative process that will serve you now, and for the rest of your writing life. You’ll learn tips and techniques to get started and stay motivated. You’ll receive quality instruction on craft. You’ll also find inspiration and generate new material through writing prompts and other forms of sustenance, most notably gathering within a supportive community. As part of the retreat, everyone is encouraged to bring 3-4 pages of writing to share for appreciation and quality critique. Both nervous beginners and seasoned authors are welcome.
Location: Old Clary Farm, Greensboro, Vermont | Cost: $145 | Details

Expressive Writing Workshop with Joni Cole
Monday, July 15, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
This fun expressive writing workshop invites you to write from a prompt inspired by the photographs of Norwich resident Ros Orford, which will be on display in the Norwich Library’s community room. No writing experience is necessary. Bring a notebook or laptop, and leave all self doubts at the door.
Location: The Norwich Public Library, Norwich, Vermont | Cost: free | Details

Create Comics Workshop with Luke Howard and Jon Chad
July 15 to July 19
This five-day workshop packs in the essentials for producing your own comics. Through lectures, exercises, and group projects, students learn about story structure, page composition, pacing, materials and techniques, character design, environmental drawing, and production. Students collaborate on a comic anthology that they self-publish during the workshop. Create Comics is for both beginner and advanced students age 16 and over.
Location: The Center for Cartoon Studies, WRJ, Vermont | Cost: $1000 | Details

Drawing from the Past, A Nonfiction Comics Workshop with Marek Bennett
Friday, July 19, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
We'll look at basic techniques of cartooning and comics creation, then try our hands at drawing original comics based on primary source texts—including letters, diaries, oral history transcripts and recordings, photographs, and other materials. Our discussions will address elements of readability, historical accuracy, point of view, research, and the responsibilities of the artist as an interpreter of historical narratives. Participants each create 1+ pages of original comics drawn from primary source texts, and go home with the skills necessary to continue their work independently. No experience required!
Location: Saint Albans Museum, Saint Albans, Vermont | Cost: $55-$95 | Details

Mindfulness and Writing Workshop with James Crews
Sunday, July 28, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
In this generative writing workshop, we'll examine connections between the practice of meditation/mindfulness and the act of writing fearlessly from the heart. Using poems and other written works as prompts, we will complete several exercises that invite us to pay closer attention to ourselves, our lives, and the world around us as we do our best to define the term, "mindfulness," and what that means for each of us.
Location: Northshire Books, Manchester Center, Vermont | Cost: $40 | Details

Graphic Novel Workshop with Paul Karasik
July 29 to August 2 or August 5 to August 9 (waitlisting)
During this week-long, on-campus workshop, students will participate in lectures, collaborative exercises, book discussion sessions, events, and group critiques, with the goal of producing the first draft of a longer comics project.
Location: The Center for Cartoon Studies, WRJ, Vermont | Cost: $1000 | Details

Queer Comics Workshop with Tillie Walden
July 29 to August 2
In this week-long workshop participants will explore the topic of identity in comic stories. This workshop focuses on learning to develop ideas through plotting, drafting, and class discussion. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate and reflect on their work in a group environment. Walden will also be giving lectures on all the relevant comics topics like world-building, character design, productivity, and monetizing your art. There will be enough time for free drawing, along with individual guidance and presentations of the results in the group. This workshop is specifically for queer comic stories!
Location: The Center for Cartoon Studies, WRJ, Vermont | Cost: $1000 | Details

Creating Graphic Novels for the Young Adult Market with Jo Knowles and Tille Walden
August 5 to 9
YALSA award winning author Jo Knowles teams up with Eisner award winning cartoonist Tillie Walden to share their strategies for crafting authentic, relateable teen characters and narratives. This five-day workshop utilizes lectures and exercises to successfully examine the idiosyncrasies of the young adult genre.
Location: The Center for Cartoon Studies, WRJ, Vermont | Cost: $1000 | Details

Talking ‘Bout Your Generation: A Poetry Workshop with BJ Ward
August 18 to 23
The generation of new writing, that is! Each morning, we will discuss a selection of carefully-curated poems to explore what makes them work. Then, we will write to prompts that will push us to create something new. Each afternoon we will convene for feedback sessions that will provide clear and compassionate critique of our new pieces. We will leave New Hampshire with newly-generated poems, and ideas on how to revise them and generate more. Beginning and experienced writers welcome.
Location: Dexter’s Inn, Sunapee, New Hampshire | Cost: $795 | Details

Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop One-Day Craft Classes and Multi-Week Workshops
Starting September 7
The Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop hosts a series of one-day craft classes and multi-week workshops throughout the fall. Class topics include nonfiction writing, fiction character development, writing about the body, writing dialogue, memoir writing, short story writing, poetry revision, and more.
Location: Williamsburg, Massachusetts | Cost: $60-$350 | Details

Writer’s Workshop with Rick Bass
October 11 to October 13
Writer and activist Rick Bass leads an intensive weekend workshop for up to eight writers who seek to improve their craft. Hands-on group sessions, both mornings and afternoons, will include active workshopping of individual manuscripts and craft-focused discussion. Writers at all levels will find support and challenge for their work. To apply, e-mail up to 15 pages of a manuscript—fiction, poetry or non-fiction—to landskeinfarm@gmail.com. Manuscripts will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis. A non-refundable deposit of $375 is due upon acceptance.
Location: Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Craftsbury Commons, Vermont | Cost: $1,250 | Details: Melanie Viets at landskeinfarm@gmail.com

Friday Reads - June 14

We met Michael Epstein at a reading at The Norwich Bookstore last year and were recently in touch with him again. If you are looking for your next read, he has a wonderful blog called BookMarks, which is chock-a-block full of reviews and his own personal reading lists. When we invited him to be a guest for our Friday Reads feature, we were delighted to discover that he wanted to write about our friend Peter Orner’s upcoming release, Maggie Brown & Others, which is due out on July 2 from Little, Brown and Company.

Thank you, Michael, for this thoughtful review of Maggie Brown & Others. We were already looking forward to reading this book—now we really can’t wait!


Peter Orner’s new book, Maggie Brown & Others is superb. In 44 short stories and one novella, Orner introduces vibrant and vital characters in both mundane and exotic settings, and says to the reader, “Here’s life with all its complexities and beauties. See it and weep.”

Orner is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth and the author of two previous novels, two story collections, and a memoir, Am I Alone Here? In that book, he writes about what he has learned in reading authors from Chekhov to Woolf, from Welty to Kafka. In one typically offbeat and fascinating chapter, Orner introduced Herbert Morris, whose book of poetry he had pulled from a free bin outside a used bookstore in San Francisco. I’ve now read Morris’ poetry and found wonder and solace in his sketches of people in their “most intimate, unguarded moments.”

It is this same ability to provide the reader with the intimacy of knowing a character in just a few sentences and being plunged into a situation that evolves in a few pages that is Orner’s gift. The first section comprises 13 stories situated in California where drugs, mental illness, suicide, divorce, and death provide a contemporary frame for the passing of time, the passing of people, and the sadness of life. In the nine stories in the section entitled “Lighted Windows,” Orner leaves California for places that appear to be more autobiographical and associated with relationships---a brother who calls his sister after disappearing from the family for 12 years, various extra-marital experiences, and my favorite story in the collection about a summer camp counselor, “An Ineffectual Tribute to Len.”

In that story, the narrator, a cab-driving grad student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, looks back on his counselor with gratitude and sadness—“Len was one of the first people to notice something in me, anything in me.” The student vows to write a novel about Len who died young of AIDS, but he can’t manage to move from the manila folder full of notes to the novel. Ultimately, he decides to write a short Chekhovian short story. Orner writes, “All hail Chekhov. If done right, he tells a story that never ends. A story lurks. A story, a good story, is just out of reach, always. Wake up in an unfamiliar darkness, in a room you don’t seem to recognize. Flip on the light. Nothing there….The last period of the last sentence of a story isn’t a full stop; it’s a horizon…..We’re talking about the quest for infinity here….a story, one that ends but doesn’t end, that’s infinity, immortality right there.”

And this is precisely what Orner does throughout this entire volume, sketching a character, a location, a situation with a few quick brush strokes, developing the complex lives of these characters in a mere page or two, and leaving the reader to reach their own conclusion about the outcome, the horizon that refuses to be defined in simple terms.

From Lighted Windows, Orner moves to the last three sections of the book. The epigram that introduces one section is a quote from the poet Robert Creeley: “Turn left by the old house that used to be there before it burned down.” How apt an introduction to Orner’s world. The author takes his character back to his boyhood Chicago settings to revisit relatives, friends, and family members in an attempt to sort out the now vanished past and how it influences and even determines the present

And finally, we settle into the 100+page novella that concludes the volume, the story of Walt Kaplan, a life-long resident of the crumbling New England town of Fall River, a furniture store salesman, the father of Miriam, the husband of Sarah, the best friend of Alf. One could not find a more bland character, and yet I felt deeply about Walt and his mundane, every-day, life. That is Orner’s great skill.

In his “Notes For An Introduction” in Am I Alone Here?, Orner writes that he is “drawn to certain stories because of their defiant refusal to explain themselves. Fiction isn’t machinery; it’s alchemy….A piece of fiction can have all the so-called essential elements, setting character, plot, tension, conflict, and still be so dead on the page that no amount of resuscitation would ever do any good.” Orner’s stories in Maggie Brown & Others are not in need of any resuscitation. They are vibrantly alive, taking the reader to horizons that in their enigmatic unreachability, force one to think, to consider, to ponder who we are and who we might be able to become before the final sentence in our final chapter.

This is a wonderful book.


Michael F. Epstein reads and writes in Brownsville, Vermont, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. He can be reached at www.EpsteinReads.com, where you can find over 1000 review of books to answer the question of “What should I read next?” or on Facebook and Instagram.

The Dipper - June 2019

"The Dipper" is our monthly newsletter, where we highlight readings, events, calls for submission, and other literary-related news for the coming month. If you have news or events to share, let us know

 

June News

Rena Mosteirin

Rena Mosteirin

Dan Chiasson

Dan Chiasson

GennaRose Nethercott

GennaRose Nethercott

Drumroll, please….!

It’s finally time to announce the featured poets for Poetry & Pie III. We are beyond thrilled that Rena J. Mosteirin, Dan Chiasson, and GennaRose Nethercott will be joining us at Sweetland Farm in Norwich, Vermont, on Saturday, August 3, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

Poet-for-hire Taylor Mardis Katz is returning with her Remington typewriter so that she can write custom poems for you. As in past years, we welcome you to read your own, original work at our open mic. New to Poetry & Pie this year, we’ll have a musical interlude by one of our favorite local musicians, Laura Jean Binkley (who also performed at last November’s Writers’ Process Night). And, of course, we’ll ply you with every kind of pie—sweet, savory, gluten-free, vegan—that you can imagine. Get the details and RSVP on our Poetry & Pie page. We look forward to seeing you there!

Rena Mosteirin, a Poetry & Pie featured poet, is also the author of the first Little Dipper, our new handmade chapbook series. Rena’s chapbook, tentatively titled half-fabulous whales, is a collection of erasure poems crafted from the pages of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. We’re producing a limited edition of 25, numbered and signed, and will have them for sale at Poetry & Pie. If you’d like to reserve a copy in advance, let us know!

Our friend Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, comes out on June 4, and we couldn’t be more excited. You might remember that Ocean was one of the featured poets at last year’s Poetry & Pie, where he read an excerpt from the novel. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous has received rave reviews—including starred reviews from Kirkus, Library Journal and Booklist—and is the number one Indie Next pick for June. You have a few opportunities to see him in New England in June and he’s going to be at Bookstock in Woodstock, Vermont, at the end of July. Not only is his writing amazing, but he’s a wonderful reader of his own work. Not to be missed!

In case you missed it, we have some new goodies on our blog, including a Friday Reads selection by writer Sierra Dickey, and an interview with local writer, Rachel Barenbaum about her debut novel, A Bend in the Stars.

 
 

Slow Club Book Clubbers are leisurely making their way through our spring selection, Wioletta Greg’s Swallowing Mercury. If you’re not a member yet, you can read our recent, mid-season check-in letter about that book, and you can sign up to be notified about our summer book, which we’ll announce very soon.

 
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And finally… we recently changed our website from .com to .org. We’ve always imagined ourselves more as a community organization than a business, and we want our website to reflect that. The old website address will automatically take you to the new one for the time being, but, when you get a chance, please update your bookmarks to the new address: www.literarynorth.org.

June’s Shooting Stars

A cool literary find from each of us to help light up your month!

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  • I recently discovered a new favorite podcast, Everything Else, a culture podcast from the Financial Times. My favorite episode is “Ways of Seeing: Sheila Heti on Pierre Bonnard, but there are so many good ones. Richard Grant, Alexander Chee, Kerry James Marshall, Sally Rooney. Give it a listen! —Shari

  • If you have a spare ~24 minutes in our day, listen to Mary Ruefle read her essay “My Private Property” on KCRW’s Bookworm podcast. Every time I listen, it leaves me speechless. —Rebecca


June Highlights

Shomari Wills

Shomari Wills

Brooklyn journalist and author Shomari Wills reads from his book, Black Fortunes, in the historic Barn House at the Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte, Vermont, on Saturday, June 1, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

If you haven’t had a chance yet to see James Crews talk about his book, Healing the Divide, he will be at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont, along with Julia Shipley, Todd Davis, Carol Cone, Alice Gilburn, David Axelrod, and Michelle Wiegers on Sunday, June 2, at 2:00 pm.

Helen Macdonald

Helen Macdonald

The Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference and Translator’s Conferences offer many readings open to the public from Friday, May 31 through Wednesday, June 5 at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. Some of our favorite writers will be on hand, including Megan Mayhew Bergman, Claire Vaye Watkins, Dan Chiasson, J. Drew Lanham, Helen Macdonald, Emily Wilson and more.

The Thing in the Spring—an annual festival of music, art, and literature in Peterborough, New Hampshire—features readings by Mary Ruefle and Arielle Greenberg on Friday, June 7; Adar Cohen, Doug Valentine, and Ed Symkus on Saturday, June 8; and Iliana Rocha and Rage Hezekiah on Sunday, June 9. All readings take place at the Toadstool Bookshop. Check our calendar for reading times.

The Joan Hutton Landis Summer Reading Series kicks off on Sunday, June 9, at 5:30 pm with Angela Palm and Nathan McClean. The series takes place at Big Town Gallery in Rochester, Vermont, and continues through September 1.

Amitava Kumar. Photo by Snigdha Kumar

Amitava Kumar. Photo by Snigdha Kumar

Amitava Kumar, author of Immigrant, Montana, is reading at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont, on Thursday, June 13, at 5:30 pm.

Sunday, June 16 is Bloomsday, the day we commemorate the life of James Joyce and his novel Ulysses. If you’re in the Upper Valley, you can celebrate with a brunch, readings, and discussion with professor James Heffernan at Jesse’s Restaurant in Hanover, New Hampshire, starting at 11:30 am. $32 per person. Registration is required.

The 2019 Hyla Brook Reading Series continues in Derry, New Hampshire, on Friday, June 14, at 7:00 pm with keynote speaker Bruce Bennett and Frost Farm Prize winner, David Southward.

David Huddle and Gregory Spatz read from their latest works of fiction at The Vermont Bookshop in Middlebury, Vermont, on Thursday, June 20, at 7:00 pm.

Zinzi Clemmons. Photo by Nina Subin

Zinzi Clemmons. Photo by Nina Subin

Cheryl Strayed will speak at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro, Vermont, on Tuesday, June 25, at 7:30 pm in celebration of Brattleboro Area Hospice’s 40th anniversary.

On Friday, June 28, Zinzi Clemmons will read from her debut novel, What We Lose, at the Norman Williams Public Library in Woodstock, Vermont. The reading begins at 4:30 pm.

This year’s Justice - And Poetry - For All, put together by the Sundog Poetry Center, will focus on the poetry of immigrants. As of press time, the date and lineup haven’t been announced, but Sundog’s website says it’s happening in June. Check their website for updates.

Visit our calendar for detailed information about these events and more!

 

Worth a Drive

  • Yaddo presents Amy Hempel at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, New York, on June 6, at 6:00 pm. Reservations are required. She will be in conversation with Elaine Richardson, President of Yaddo.

  • Robert MacFarlane, author of Underland, will be in conversation with Sebastien Smee at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on June 11, at 7:00 pm.

  • Regina Porter will be reading from her debut novel, The Travelers, at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Massachusetts on June 20, at 7:00 pm.

  • The Juniper Summer Writing Institute hosts public readings during the month of June. Readers include Joy Williams, Ross Gay, Ocean Vuong, Mitch Jackson, CA Conrad, and more!

 

Worth a Listen

  • Check out last month’s Brave Little State from VPR, where they looked into just what draws so many writers and poets to Vermont.

  • Pam Houston on the OtherppL podcast.

  • Preti Taneja joins Andy Miller and John Mitchinson on the Backlisted podcast to discuss Beloved, by Toni Morrison.

 

We're Looking Forward to These June Releases

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

Frost Farm Poetry Conference
Accepting registrations for this year’s conference (June 14 to 16). Registration includes workshops, a one-on-one meeting with your instructor, keynote with Bruce Bennett, critiques with poet-in-residence Rhina Espaillat, panel discussions, readings, a reception, breakfasts and lunches.
Deadline: June 1 | Details

Juniper Summer Writing Institute
Accepting applications for this summer’s institute (June 16 to 22). The institute includes manuscript consultations, craft sessions, workshops, readings, and other events, led by a wide range of instructors, including CAConrad, Gabriel Bump, Ross Gay, Khadijah Queen, Bianca Stone, Ocean Vuong, Dara Weir, and Joy Williams.
Deadline: rolling admissions until full | Details

The Frost Place 2019 Conference on Poetry
Spend a week at “intensive poetry camp” (July 6 to 12) with writers who are deeply committed to learning more about the craft of writing poetry. The Frost Place Conference on Poetry offers daily workshops, classes, lectures, writing and revising time in a supportive and dynamic environment. $25 application fee.
Deadline: June 15 | Details

Vermont Studio Center Fellowships
Twenty-five VSC fellowships open to all artists and writers living and working anywhere in the world, in addition to six special fellowships for writers. These awards are for residencies scheduled between September 2019 and May 2020. Every VSC residency opportunity includes private room, private studio space, all meals, and full access to their schedule of evening programs and events. $25 application fee.
Deadline: June 15 | Details

Zig Zag Lit Mag
Accepting fiction, non-fiction, dramatic forms, poetry—any genre, any topic. To submit you must live, labor, or loiter in Addison County, Vermont.
Deadline: June 30 | Details

Green Mountain Writers Conference
For five days each summer (July 29 to August 2), people who have been coming to the conference for years and first-timers joyously tackle the job of putting words together to tell story, to craft poetry, to communicate, to share, and to learn from one another under the close tutelage of published authors. Faculty this year includes Dede Cummings, Jensen Beach, Yvonne Daley, and Gary Margolis.
Deadline: Call (802) 236-6133 for availability or email the director, Yvonne Daley, at yvonnedaley@me.com | Details

The Frost Place Poetry Seminar
Join a select community of poets for 5-1/2 days (August 4 to 10) to refresh your artistic inspiration in a setting of great natural beauty. Have your poems-in-progress given generous and focused attention in this intimate setting. The seminar offers unparalleled access to a faculty of celebrated contemporary poets. The goal is to send you home charged up to re-enter your own work. $25 application fee.
Deadline: July 1 | Details

Hunger Mountain Issue 24: Patterns
General submissions are open in prose and poetry on the theme of patterns. Work must not have been published before, including online.
Deadline: October 15 | Details

Lifelines Magazine
Accepting submissions of original and unpublished short stories, nonfiction, poetry, and artwork for their 2020 issue. While they consider a broad spectrum of subject matter for publication, they are looking for pieces that speak to the experience of medicine in some way.
Deadline: October 31 | Details

Center for Cartoon Studies, MFA Degree and Certificate Programs
Now accepting applications for the MFA, One- and Two-year Certificate programs, Low Residency second-year option. Learn all you need to know about making comics, self-publishing, in a prolific and dynamic environment and community. $50 application fee.
Deadline: rolling admissions until programs are filled | Details


Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Helping the Poet Make a Better Poem with Steven Cramer
Saturday, June 8, 1:00 to 4:00 pm

In this three-hour workshop, we’ll honor both the critical and creative faculties of our brains (perhaps discovering that they’re closer siblings than we might have thought). We’ll first discuss work-in-process by participants, asking ourselves the only question worth asking in a workshop: how might we help the poet make this poem the best it can be? Then we’ll engage in one or two writing “experiments” designed to encourage using language more as paint than as a vehicle for conveying information, favoring the sensory over making sense.
Location: The Ford House, SNHU, Manchester, New Hampshire | Cost: $65-$85 | Details

Elements of the Novel Workshop with Eileen Charbonneau
Saturday June 8, 15, 22, and 29, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Do you think you have a novel in you?  Have you written one (or more!) and want to make it better and closer to publication? Eileen will cover topics such as setting, characterization, voice and dialogue. All are encouraged to write during class and learn how to critique each other and self-edit.
Location: Village Square Booksellers | Cost: $5 per session | Details

New Hampshire Writers’ Project Write-In
Saturday, June 22, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

The NHWP holds seasonal Write-Ins for its members where they can come and hang out with fellow writers and have a dedicated time to write. We write all day, break for a social lunch, and then get back to writing or take part in an optional ad hoc critique session with fellow writers.
Location: The Ford House, SNHU, Manchester, New Hampshire | Cost: free for members | Details

Do I Have a Book in Me? with Bill Schubart
Tuesday, June 25, 7:00 pm

As an author or eight fictional works—both self-published and traditionally published—Bill will answer questions about the work of writing and the new business of publishing. Bill will also discuss his recently published novel, The Priest.
Location: Phoenix Books, Burlington, Vermont | Cost: free | Details

Tapping into Your Write Brain: A Workshop for the Creatively Inclined with Joni Cole
Friday, June 28, 6 to 7:30 pm
In this workshop, you will participate in a creative writing exercise using thematic prompts that stir up…who knows? And that’s the fun, freeing, and always powerful experience of writing and sharing from a “prompt”. No writing experience is required. Space is limited. Please register by June 21 through the Hood Museum of Art’s website.
Location: Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

Write Here, Write Now with Barbara Steiner
Saturday, June 29, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Beginning and experienced writers are invited to a day-long creative writing workshop at Aryaloka Buddhist Center. Based on the Amherst Writers and Artists method, we’ll write in response to prompts (which you are free to ignore) designed to help us bypass our inner critic and write from what comes to us.
Location: Newmarket, New Hampshire | Cost: $45-$85 | Details