Hannah Howard

The Dipper - May 2018

"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!

 

May News

We've made it! Unfrozen precipitation is falling all over the brown-turning-green grass. Bulbs are shooting up. Buds are breaking out. Maybe some of you have even taken the snow tires off your car. Let's call it Spring, and with it we have so much wonderfulness to celebrate.

LadySingsTheBlues.jpg
LadyDayPostcard.jpg

First of all, our Lady Sings the Blues book group is happening this month, on Tuesday, May 15, at Yankee Bookshop! It's not too late to read the book and join us! We're getting excited for some great conversation, a little Billie Holiday music, and some freshly baked refreshments. For full details, head over to the LN Events page.

Whether or not you can attend the Lady Sings the Blues book group, you won't want to miss seeing JAG Productions' Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill at The Engine Room in White River Junction, Vermont, May 24 to 27 (also in Pomfret and Burlington late May through early June). If you attended JAGfest or any other JAG shows, you already have an inkling of how great this show will be. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the JAG Productions website.

JoTilleWorkshop.png

A couple weeks ago, we had the chance to interview YA writer Jo Knowles and comic maker Tillie Walden about their 2018 summer workshop, "Creating Graphic Novels for the YA Market," at The Center for Cartoon Studies. Individually, Jo and Tillie are smart, creative, articulate, and fun people. Together, they form a dynamic duo of graphic novel power! Read the interview, and then sign up for their workshop!

Poetry&Pie-header.jpg

Finally, we are beyond thrilled to announce Poetry & Pie II!

It's happening Saturday, July 21, at 3:00 pm, at Sweetland Farm in Norwich, Vermont. Wonderful poets Didi Jackson, Julia Shipley, and Ocean Vuong will be there, reading poems and eating pie. We'd love you to be there, too! We'll have an open mic, lots of great conversation, pie, pie, and more pie. For details and to RSVP, visit the LN Events page.

 

May's Shooting Stars

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

  • Our friend James Crews is teaching an online Mindfulness and Writing workshop from May 5 to June 2. If you made it to Poetry & Pie last July, you already know how wonderful James is. There will be exercises/prompts, videos, readings, and the opportunity for a phone consult at the end of the course. All levels are welcome. —Shari
     
  • The first sestina I fell for is Elizabeth Bishop's, but I've never attempted writing my own—yet. If you're like me and need a little help, local writer and all-around wonderful human Rena Mosteirin has created a little software tool that generates the correct order for your selected end words. As she notes, the source code for the program is itself a sestina. ♥—Rebecca

May Highlights

Morgan Parker. Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Morgan Parker. Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Natalie Shapero and Morgan Parker read from their poetry collections at Bennington College on Wednesday, May 2 at 7:00 pm.

The Bloodroot Literary Magazine launch party for Issue 10 is happening at Left Bank Books in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Friday, May 4, from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. Hannah Howard will read from Feast, followed by an open mic for all Upper Valley writers.

Bianca Stone. Photo by Hillery Stone

Bianca Stone. Photo by Hillery Stone

Waking Windows hosts the Page Burner Reading Series in Winooski, Vermont, on Saturday, May 5 at various locations beginning at noon. Authors include James Crews, Jessica Hendry Nelson, Annie DeWitt, and Bianca Stone.

A new season of Talk of the Porch begins on Monday, May 7 and will continue most Mondays in May, June, and August. Based at the Craftsbury Public Library in Craftsbury Common, Vermont, and led by Vermont writers Stark Biddle and Julia Shipley, Talk of the Porch is a slightly irreverent but totally intense reading/discussion group focused on fiction in The New Yorker. Copies of the week's stories are available at the library starting the Wednesday before each meeting.

Poet Joshua Bennett will read at Dartmouth College's Sanborn Library in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Thursday, May 10 at 4:30 pm and then award the Dartmouth Creative Writing Prize.

Bernd Heinrich is reading from his new collection, A Naturalist at Large, at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont, on Friday, May 11 at 7:00 pm.

Local author Melanie Finn will be at The Norwich Bookstore on Wednesday, May 16 at 7:00 pm to launch her new novel, The Underneath.

Ross Gay

Ross Gay

You'll be able to catch poet Ross Gay at two Vermont venues this month: Wednesday, May 16 at Bennington College, and Thursday, May 17 at Vermont Studio Center. We are very much looking forward to his new book of essays coming in 2019.

The 2018 Hyla Brook Reading Series begins on Thursday, May 17 at 6:30 pm with poet David Davis. The series' readings take place May through September at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, New Hampshire.

Poets April Ossman and Cynthia Huntington will be reading at Phoenix Books in Rutland, Vermont, on Thursday, May 31 at 6:30 pm.

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

 

Worth a Drive

Rachel Kushner will be at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Thursday, May 3 at 7:00 pm to read from her new novel, The Mars Room.

If you missed Bruce Kennett's terrific talk about designer and renaissance man W. A. Dwiggins at Left Bank Books in April, you have an opportunity to catch him at Hingham Public Library in Hingham, Massachusetts, on Thursday, May 3 at 7:00 pm.

masspoetryfestival.png

The 10th Massachusetts Poetry Festival is taking place from Friday, May 4 to Saturday, May 6 in various venues around Salem, Massachusetts. This year's festival features Sonia Sanchez, Kaveh Akbar, Duy Doan, Jeffrey Harrison, Dorianne Laux, Erika Meitner, Carl Phillips, Nicole Sealey, Sean Thomas Dougherty, and Rhina P. Espaillat.

Charles Simic—poet, essayist, and translator—is the featured guest at the Kittery Art Association's annual Mangion Memorial Poetry Celebration on Saturday, May 5, beginning with an interview and craft talk from 3:00 to 4:30 pm, followed by a reading, reception, and book signing beginning at 7:00 pm. The events will be held at the First Congregational Church in Kittery Point, Maine.

 

Worth a Listen

Michelle Dean speaks about her new book, Sharp, and her early career on the Longform podcast.

Take a listen to Alexander Chee on the Fail Safe podcast and you'll quickly see how lucky we are to have Alex at Dartmouth. Make sure you mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 9, when he'll be reading at The Norwich Bookstore.

 

We're Looking Forward to These May Releases

MarsRoom.jpg

Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The Frost Place 2018 Conference on Poetry and Teaching (June 23 to 26) and Writing Intensive (June 27 to 28) is now accepting applications. The conference application deadline is May 17. The application fee is $25. Tuition is $725. Meals are $145. The Writing Intensive is $180. For more information and to apply, please visit the Conference page.

The Frost Place Conference on Poetry (July 8 to 14) is also accepting applications. The conference application deadline is May 31. The application fee is $25. Conference rates are from $250 (day rate) to $1550 (includes all tuition, meals, and lodging). For more information and to apply, please visit the Conference page.

Registration is still open for the VCFA Novel Retreat (May 15 to 21). Faculty includes Connie May FowlerJeff KleinmanRichard McCann, and Crystal Wilkinson. A $200 non-refundable deposit is required. For more information, please visit the Novel Retreat page.

The Bennington Review is open for submissions through May 15 with no reading fee. For more information, please visit the Bennington Review Submissions page.

nErDcampVT is accepting registrations for their "unconference" (May 20), which focuses on literacy, at Burlington High School in Burlington, Vermont. The event is free but you must register in advance. For more information and to register, please visit their website.

The New England Review is open for poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and digital submissions through May 31. For more information, please visit the NER Submissions page.

Green Writers Press is accepting submissions through June 1 for the 2nd Annual Howard Frank Mosher First Novel and Short Story Prize. This prize is for a novelist or short story writer who writes about Vermont and/or the themes that resonate so well with Howard's work: nature, small-town stories, love, friendship, forgiveness, Vermont, solitude, and rural life. All ages are welcome to submit. For more information, please visit the Green Writers Press website.

The Frost Place Poetry Seminar (July 29 to August 3) is accepting applications. The scholarship application deadline is May 24. The seminar application deadline is June 28. The application fee is $15. Seminar rates are from $250 (day rate) to $1550 (includes all tuition, meals, and lodging). For more information and to apply, please visit the Seminar page.

Putney Mountain Association and Antidote Books have announced the first Putney Mountain Poetry Contest. Judged by poet Seth Landman, the winner will receive a broadside print of their poem displayed at the Putney Mountain Trailhead and a featured reading at Antidote Books. Submit up to three original poems inspired by the Vermont landscape as PDFs to putney.poetry@gmail.com. Do not include your name on the poems, but please include your name, town of residence, and contact information in the email. All entries are due by June 30.

The Hopper, a literary magazine from Green Writers Press, is accepting submissions of full-length manuscripts to its 2018 Hopper Poetry Prize through July 1. Judged by Amie Whittemore, the winner of this contest will receive $500 and publication by Green Writers Press. The contest is open to all poets with an identified interest in the natural world. There is a $25 entry fee. For more information and to see work by previous contest winners, please visit the Hopper Prize page.

Clara Martin Center is seeking submissions for their third annual art/poetry show entitled "Abundance: Celebrating Creativity in Mental Health, Wellness, and Recovery" (September 10 to November 2). You are invited to submit poetry, 2-D or 3-D artwork to display in the exhibit. Submissions are due by July 31. Applicants must be Vermont residents, and preference is given to artists/writers in the Upper Valley. For more information, please visit Clara Martin Center's website.

Registration is open for the 3rd Annual Poetry Festival at the Fine Arts Work Center (August 5 to 10) in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The Festival includes poetry and songwriting workshops. Faculty includes Traci Brimhall, Cornelius Eady, Nick Flynn, Vievee Francis, Ross Gay, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Patty Larkin, and Patrick Rosal. For information on tuition, housing, and registration, please visit the FAWC Festival page.

The Burlington Writers Workshop 2018 anthology team is pleased to invite submissions from the BWW community. Fiction, flash fiction, poetry, memoir, personal essay—it's all welcome. The only requirement for submission is that you must have attended at least one BWW workshop within the past five years. For more information, please visit the Burlington Writers Workshop website.

Registration is now open for The Center for Cartoon Studies Summer Workshops (June 11 to August 10), in White River Junction, Vermont. This year's workshops include everything from drawing and writing single-panel comics, to creating graphic memoirs and novels, taught by award-winning artists and writers, including Hilary Price, Jo Knowles, Tillie Walden, and Melanie Gillman. Tuition ranges from $600 to $1200. For more information and to register, please visit the Summer Workshops page.

The Poetry Society of Vermont's Summer Contests are open. Submissions must be received by July 1. For more information, please visit the Contests and Awards page.


May Workshops and Classes

Are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer? Hungry for a book that shows you how to write and revise your novel without an outline? Author and writing coach Annalisa Parent will walk you through the elements of a publishable manuscript during her "Storytelling for Pantsers" workshop on Thursday, May 3 (5:30 to 6:30 pm), at Gibson's Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire. For more information and to register, please visit the Event page.

From Saturday, May 5 through Saturday, June 2, James Crews is teaching a Mindfulness & Writing online workshop. $195. This course is open to all levels. For more information and to register, please visit the Northshire Books website.

Elayne Clift of The Writer's Center in White River Junction, Vermont is offering a workshop called "Life Stories: Memories of Love, Action and Thought," on Saturday, May 5 (10:00 am to 1:00 pm). This workshop will guide participants as they write and share stories “to know precisely what the past was, to explore this knowledge and these memories, and then to wait and see what comes of knowing and remembering. $35. For more information and to register, please visit the Workshop page.

On Saturday, May 5 (2:00 to 5:00 pm), Carol Potter of The Writer's Center, in White River Junction, Vermont, is offering a workshop titled "Shaking the Tree: Experiments with Form." In this workshop you will explore experimental forms and quasi-traditional forms in poetry from the “American sonnet” to the pantoum to Terrance Hayes’ “Golden Shovel” to the Prose poem. $150. For more information and to register, please visit the Workshops page.

Joni Cole of The Writer's Center in White River Junction, Vermont is offering two "How to Write More, Writer Better, and Be Happier" retreats. On Saturday, May 5, join Joni for a full-day retreat (9:30 am to 3:30 pm) in Greensboro, Vermont. The cost is $150. On Thursday, May 26, Joni will be offering a half-day version (9:00 am to 1:00 pm) in Woodstock, Vermont; the cost is $100. For more information and to register, please visit the Workshop page.

On Monday, May 7 (6:30 to 8:00 pm), join poet Gary Margolis for a continuation of his workshops on the poetic line, hosted by Burlington Writers Workshop, in Burlington, Vermont. If you were in the original workshop, bring with you the copies you were given and bring extra copies of your poems for anyone new who signs up. In addition, bring copies of either a poem whose use of line you admire or a poem that is well-regarded but whose use of line baffles you. For more information and to register, please visit the BWW Workshop page.

The League of Vermont Writers is offering "The Critic and the Muse" workshop on Thursday, May 12 (12:30 to 4:30 pm) at the Expressive Arts Studio in Burlington, Vermont. This four-hour workshop uses collage and free writing to help you explore and form a conscious relationship with the invisible powers that help or inhibit your writing. $60 for members; $80 for non-members. Registration closes on May 7. For more information and to register, please visit the Gatherings page.

On Friday, May 18 (10:00 am to 3:00 pm), join Andy Kolvos, Vermont Folklife Center Director of Archives and Research, for a workshop on recording audio for oral history and ethnography. In this workshop, attendees will receive a thorough introduction to the fundamentals of digital audio, types of common field-recording microphones, and the use of digital audio recorders. The workshop will be held at the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury, Vermont. $95. For more information, please visit the Event page.

The Dipper - April 2018

"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!

April News

We're excited to (finally) celebrate Robin MacArthur and her fabulous second book, Heart Spring Mountain, at the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont, on Friday, April 6, at 7:00 pm. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. We do hope you'll join us!

GoodWoman.jpg

If you haven't joined the Slow Club Book Club, please note that you can join anytime. The email announcing our second selection, Good Woman, poems by Lucille Clifton, just went out to subscribers, just in time for National Poetry Month. Even if you think you aren't a poetry fan, we hope you'll give our latest selection a try. Remember: it's fine to read slowly. You can dip in and out. Poetry is perfect for this. Pop the book in your tote or in your glovebox and you can read whenever you have a spare moment. We can't wait to hear what you think. Tag us on Instagram or Twitter with #slowclubbookclub or send us an email. We'd love to hear from you.

As we mentioned last month, we're partnering with JAG Productions and Yankee Bookshop to hold a one-meeting book group on Tuesday, May 15 to discuss Billie Holiday's autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, at the Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, Vermont. If you haven't signed up/bought your book, now's the time! A reminder that Yankee Bookshop has generously offered to donate $5 per book purchased at their store directly to JAG Productions. To read more about this event and to RSVP, visit our LN Events page.

Feast.jpg

We want to wish a very Happy Book Birthday to Feast by Hannah Howard! We've got a lovely interview with Hannah and an excerpt from her book over on our blog.

Finally, make sure you celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, April 28! We love our local indies: Yankee Bookshop, The Norwich Bookstore, and Left Bank Books. Show your favorite local independents some love.

 

April's Shooting Stars

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

  • Are you familiar with The Tournament of Books? The Morning News hosts one of my favorite events in March that I neglected to mention last month. No matter. You can go back and read up on all of the literary match-ups and see if you agree with the outcomes. —Shari
Star.png
  • There are a lot of great poetry podcasts out there—and I hope we'll talk about many of them here—but the one that really moved me recently is the March 21 New Yorker's Poetry Podcast with Marie Howe, who reads and discusses the work and loss of Lucie Brock-Broido and her shiver-inducing poem, "The American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act." Just that would have been enough, but then Marie reads one of her own remarkable poems, and then she and Kevin Young go on to talk about Seamus Heaney and one of my favorite books of his, Seeing Things, and, well, let's just say it's a riveting 38 minutes. —Rebecca

April Highlights

Donika Kelly

Donika Kelly

Donika Kelly, Melissa Febos, and Michael Dickman are reading at VCFA's Cafe Anna in Montpelier, Vermont, on Friday, April 6 at 5:30 pm.

On Saturday, April 7, The New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, is hosting the second annual Storytelling Festival from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. The festival features a variety of forms of storytelling and will be emceed by NHPR's Peter Biello.

In Montpelier, Vermont, PoemCity 2018 celebrates its ninth year with a variety of workshops, lectures, music, history, and art revolving around poetry throughout April. The festival opens with a keynote reading by Chard deNiord, Alice B. Fogel, and Stuart Kestenbaum on Saturday, April 7, at Lost Nation Theater. For more information about this and other festival events, visit the PoemCity website.

Meanwhile, PoemTown Randolph 2018 events are scheduled in Randolph, Vermont, throughout the month. The first event is on Monday, April 9 at 6:00 pm: dinner with poets Major Jackson and Didi Jackson at Black Krim Tavern, followed by readings. While you're in you're in Randolph, browse the more than one hundred poems by Vermont poets posted in windows all over town during April. See our calendar for more information about PoemTown Randolph events.

New England Review's Vermont Reading Series will be taking place at the Marquis Theater in Middlebury, Vermont, on Wednesday, April 11, featuring Didi Jackson, Jodi Paloni, Ben Pease, and Layla Santos. This event is free and open to the public.

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera

Wednesday, April 11 also brings you readings from two former US Poet Laureates: Juan Felipe Herrera—reading at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, at 6:30 pm—and Billy Collins, reading at the Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester, Vermont, at  7:00 pm.

Spend Saturday, April 14, immersed in the 603: The Writers' Conference, the New Hampshire Writers' Project annual conference. The event, held on SNHU's campus in Manchester, New Hampshire, features keynote speaker Richard Russo, special guest Ann Hood, and an agenda full of master classes, workshops, a reception, and other events.

Bianca Stone and Alison Prine will be reading from their poetry collections at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont, on Tuesday, April 17, at 7:00 pm.

Blair Braverman. Photo by Christina Bodznick

Blair Braverman. Photo by Christina Bodznick

Blair Braverman will be at the Sanborn Library at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Thursday, April 19 at 4:30 pm. We both adored her non-fiction book, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube. Not to be missed!

Our friends at Green Writers Press are holding a Spring Celebration to celebrate the release of their new spring books in fiction and poetry. The celebration will be at 7:00 pm on Friday, April 20 at Next Stage Arts in Putney, Vermont. Sounds like a fun evening.

Five Colleges Book Sale in Lebanon, New Hampshire, will be happening at Lebanon High School on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22 (half price on Sunday!). For more information, visit their website.

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

 

Worth a Drive

Leslie Jamison will be in conversation with literary critic and writer James Wood about her new non-fiction book, The Recovering, on Thursday, April 5, at 6:30 pm, at the Cambridge Public Library, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Leslie Jamison

Leslie Jamison

The Juniper Literary Festival will be held April 6 to 7 at UMass Amherst. The festival features readings, workshops, and a literary journal and book fair. Edie Meidav and Ocean Vuong will teach community workshops. For the full schedule of festival events, please visit their website.

The Newburyport Literary Festival takes place April 27 to 28 in Newburyport, Massachusetts, with Ann Hood, Tom Perrotta, Andre Dubus III, Mark Doty, and more. For more information, please visit the festival website.

 

Worth a Listen

Short Story podcast by BBC Radio 4. Just the perfect thing for your commute.

 

We're Looking Forward to These April Releases

HeadsOfTheColoredPeople.jpg

Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The Vermont Writers Roundtable is holding a weekend workshop (June 22 to 24) in Londonderry, New Hampshire, on writing creative nonfiction for children and teens. The deadline to apply for this workshop is April 7. For more information and to apply, please visit the Workshop page.

The Odyssey Writing Workshop (June 4 to July 13) is accepting applications until April 7. The Odyssey workshop, for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, is held on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Prospective students must include a 4,000-word writing sample with their application. For more information, please visit the Workshop page.

Registration is open for 603: The Writers' Conference (April 14) on the SNHU campus in Manchester, New Hampshire. The keynote speaker is novelist Richard Russo. The conference includes master classes, workshops, panel discussions, lunch, and a reception. $85 to $135. For more information and to register, please visit the Conference page.

The Frost Place 2018 Conference on Poetry and Teaching (June 23 to 26) and Writing Intensive (June 27 to 28) is now accepting applications. The scholarship application deadline is April 19. The conference application deadline is May 17. The application fee is $25. Tuition is $725. Meals are $145. The Writing Intensive is $180. For more information and to apply, please visit the Conference page.

The Frost Place Conference on Poetry (July 8 to 14) is also accepting applications. The scholarship application deadline is April 30. The conference application deadline is May 31. The application fee is $25. Conference rates are from $250 (day rate) to $1550 (includes all tuition, meals, and lodging). For more information and to apply, please visit the Conference page.

Registration is still open for the VCFA Novel Retreat (May 15 to 21). Faculty includes Connie May FowlerJeff KleinmanRichard McCann, and Crystal Wilkinson. A $200 non-refundable deposit is required. For more information, please visit the Novel Retreat page.

The Bennington Review is open for submissions through May 15 with no reading fee. For more information, please visit the Bennington Review Submissions page.

nErDcampVT is accepting registrations for their "unconference" (May 20), which focuses on literacy, at Burlington High School in Burlington, Vermont. The event is free but you must register in advance. For more information and to register, please visit their website.

The New England Review is open for poetry and digital submissions through May 31. For more information, please visit the NER Submissions page.

The Frost Place Poetry Seminar (July 29 to August 3) is accepting applications. The scholarship application deadline is May 24. The seminar application deadline is June 28. The application fee is $15. Seminar rates are from $250 (day rate) to $1550 (includes all tuition, meals, and lodging). For more information and to apply, please visit the Seminar page.

Green Writers Press is accepting submissions through June 1 for the 2nd Annual Howard Frank Mosher First Novel and Short Story Prize. This prize is for a novelist or short story writer who writes about Vermont and/or the themes that resonate so well with Howard's work: nature, small-town stories, love, friendship, forgiveness, Vermont, solitude, and rural life. All ages are welcome to submit. For more information, please visit the Green Writers Press website.

The Hopper, a literary magazine from Green Writers Press, is accepting submissions of full-length manuscripts to its 2018 Hopper Poetry Prize through July 1. Open to poets with an identified interest in the natural world and whose work explores issues tied to our ever-changing environment. There is a $25 entry fee. For more information, please visit the Hopper Prize page.

Clara Martin Center is seeking submissions for their third annual art/poetry show entitled "Abundance: Celebrating Creativity in Mental Health, Wellness, and Recovery" (September 10 to November 2). You are invited to submit poetry, 2-D or 3-D artwork to display in the exhibit. Submissions are due by July 31. Applicants must be Vermont residents, and preference is given to artists/writers in the Upper Valley. For more information, please visit Clara Martin Center's website.

Registration is open for the 3rd Annual Poetry Festival at the Fine Arts Work Center (August 5 to 10) in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The Festival includes poetry and songwriting workshops. Faculty includes Traci Brimhall, Cornelius Eady, Nick Flynn, Vievee Francis, Ross Gay, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Patty Larkin, and Patrick Rosal. For information on tuition, housing, and registration, please visit the FAWC Festival page.

The Burlington Writers Workshop 2018 anthology team is pleased to invite submissions from the BWW community. Fiction, flash fiction, poetry, memoir, personal essay—it's all welcome. The only requirement for submission is that you must have attended at least one BWW workshop within the past five years. For more information, please visit the Burlington Writers Workshop website.

Registration is now open for The Center for Cartoon Studies Summer Workshops (June 11 to August 10), in White River Junction, Vermont. This year's workshops include everything from drawing and writing single-panel comics, to creating graphic memoirs and novels, taught by award-winning artists and writers, including Hilary Price, Jo Knowles, Tillie Walden, and Melanie Gillman. Tuition ranges from $600 to $1200. For more information and to register, please visit the Summer Workshops page.


April Workshops and Classes

On Monday, April 2 (6:30 to 8:30 pm), join poet Gary Margolis for "The Technique & Mysteries of Line Breaks," a poetry master class hosted by Burlington Writers Workshop, in Burlington, Vermont. Workshop participants should bring three original poems to class. Participants will also write new poems during the workshop. For more information and to register, please visit the BWW Workshop page.

Kingdom County Productions in collaboration with the Second Wind Foundation is offering a ten-week writing workshop for people who are in recovery from addiction, and their siblings and friends. The workshops will be held on Tuesdays, beginning Tuesday, April 3 (1:15 to 2:45 pm) at the Turning Point Center in White River Junction, Vermont. For more information, please call the Upper Valley Turning Point Center at (802) 295-5206 or visit the Writers for Recovery website.

Join storyteller Recille Hamrell for "The Art of Storytelling" workshop on Wednesday, April 4 (6:00 to 7:30 pm) at Burlington City Arts, in Burlington, Vermont, then stay for the open mic following the clinic to share your story in a safe and open-minded environment. The cost is $10. For more information and to register, please visit the BCA Event page.

On Saturday, April 7 (1:00 to 5:00 pm), Join River Arts in Morrisville, Vermont for a Coptic Bookbinding Workshop. Participants will select handmade papers for the hardbound coves and sew the open-spine binding using a traditional Coptic binding technique. The workshop fee is $85. For more information and to register, please visit the River Arts Programs page.

The League of Vermont Writers is hosting two workshops in April: "Getting Your Author Blog and Website Started" on Saturday, April 14 (4:00 to 6:00 pm) in Burlington, Vermont, and "The Road to Publication" on Saturday, April 28 (9:30 am to 3:00 pm), in Killington, Vermont. For more information and to register, please visit the League's Gatherings page.

On Tuesday, April 24 (6:30 pm), Annalisa Parent will host a workshop entitled "Writing for Pantsers" at The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, Vermont. The workshop will focus on adding order to your writing life. For more information, visit The Galaxy Bookshop Events page.

Join poet Julia Shipley on Saturday, April 28 (10:00 am to 2:00 pm), for "The Husbandry of Poetry," a rumination and discussion of best practices for the care and feeding of poetry. The workshop is free, bur registration is required. For more information, please visit the River Arts Programs page.

The Center for Cartoon Studies offers a free One-Week Cartooning Workout. This seven-day email course is for aspiring cartoonists who need help getting started, cartoonists who need a refresher to get back into the creative groove, and those interested in graphic memoir, comics, journalism, or fantasy genres. Sign up at any time; the course begins when you sign up! For more information and to sign up, please visit the Center for Cartoon Studies website.

Interview: Hannah Howard

Feast.jpg

We had the pleasure of reading advance copies of Feast (Thanks, Little A!) in the heart of the winter and knew we wanted to feature Hannah and her compelling memoir on our blog. Hannah Howard is a writer with many years of experience in the food world. From working in restaurants to hosting cooking classes and creating videos—she's done it all. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Anthropology from Columbia University and is currently working on her MFA in non-fiction writing at the Bennington Writing Seminars.

Megan Mayhew Bergman says of Feast, "Hannah Howard's debut memoir Feast is a gorgeous, painful reckoning with food, femininity, and ambition - a moving look at a young woman becoming herself in the grueling culture of New York City restaurants." We couldn't agree more.

Thank you, Hannah, for sharing your book and your thoughts with us. And happy book birthday to Feast!

BONUS! Read an excerpt from Feast at the end of our interview with Hannah!


Literary North: What was the initial seed for Feast? Did you know everything you wanted to write about when you first started, or did that change as you wrote?

Hannah Howard: I knew I wanted to tell a story about working my way through restaurants, falling in love with food, and recovering from an eating disorder. I'm definitely the kind of writer who thinks and discovers on the page, through the process of writing itself. The book grew, morphed, shrunk, grew again, and shape-shifted dozens of times throughout the journey of transforming from a bunch of paragraphs and ideas into an actual manuscript. I wrote an outline as part of my proposal, and it looks almost nothing like the finished version of Feast.

LN: Do you have any favorite books/writers in the food memoir genre? Whose writing inspired you as you began to write your story?

HH: Absolutely! As far as memoirs go, I love all three of Mary Karr's memoirs, Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life, Cheryl Strayed's Wild, and Lucy Grealy's Autobiography of a Face. In terms of food memoirs, it was reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and Heat by Bill Buford that made me decide I wanted to work in the restaurant biz. Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones & Butter is my favorite restaurant memoir of all time, and Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone is a beautiful book that tugs at my heart. And I have writing heroes who I keep way up on a pedestal where they belong: James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf, Alice Munro, Joan Didion, Junot Diaz.

LN: The first few chapters of Feast were really compelling and pulled us immediately into your story. Did you write those chapters first, or did they come later?

HH: Thank you! I had written them early-ish in the process, but it wasn't until much later that I had the revelation of starting Feast with my epic last binge and using recovery as a frame for the story. I kept obsessively rearranging chapters and scenes-figuring out a structure was one of my biggest challenges. When I landed on something that felt organic and right, it was a huge relief.

LN: Feast describes your path from feeling like an outsider, unhappy with your body and your relationships, to becoming much more self confident and in control of your life. How did writing your story affect this sense of confidence and control?

HH: When I started writing Feast, I felt like I was a good place with my eating disorder recovery. I didn't anticipate how grueling it would be to dig up the hardest, darkest moments from my life and really linger there. I started seeing a therapist again, which was a great idea.

It was only after the writing was behind me that I felt anything like catharsis. Being able to make stories from those unhappy times and share them feels like such a gift. It's given me confidence to hear readers say what feel like truly magic words: that reading Feast made them feel less alone. In turn, I feel less alone. So many people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and walks of life struggle with a destructive relationship with food and their bodies. Telling our stories helps dissipate shame. That's been huge for me.

LN: You write very candidly about your relationships, including with some probably identifiable people in the food and restaurant world. Did you struggle at all with how open and honest to be with regard to other people in your book?

HH: Totally! I'm still worried about hurting people. Feast went through a thorough legal review, where we changed some identifying characteristics and details. My intention was to be as honest and kind as possible.

LN: What advice do you have for young women who want to be a part of the restaurant world?

HH: Work with people you admire. Be a sponge. Read everything you can. Watch food TV. Cook at home. Take a risk. Be kind to yourself.

LN: Can you tell us a bit about your path to publishing with Amazon via Little A? How has this experience been for you?

HH: My wonderful agent, Andrea Somberg, had been pitching the proposal for Feast around. She believed in the project, which helped as the rejections started to roll in. So many of these rejections were truly lovely-they'd rave about the beauty of the writing only to end in an apologetic "no thank you." One of the publishers had put out a food memoir the previous year and thought mine was too close; another thought a restaurant memoir and an eating disorder memoir should be separate projects for separate audiences, not combined into one book. (Ha!)

At some point, I realized that I knew the wonderful poet and writer Morgan Parker, who at the time was an editor for Little A. Morgan acquired Feast. One of the biggest reasons I chose Little A was that I felt like the story was so personal, and knowing my editor beforehand felt like some sort of protection. Morgan was an excellent editor but ended up leaving Little A. My new editor, Laura Van der Veer, ended up being a perfect fit for me and for Feast. She's brilliant in a different way than Morgan is, so Feast got even better.

The whole team at Little A has been patient, supportive, and incredible. I think Little A is the best of both worlds-there's the personal attention and intimate feeling of a small press, plus the marketing muscle and impressive resources of Amazon. I feel immensely lucky.

LN: Are you working on any new writing projects now?

HH: I'm actually writing something about the anxieties associated with second books. I have a bunch of small projects, but am still looking for the heart of the idea that will become the Next Big Project.

LN: What was the most memorable thing you read in the last month? The most memorable meal you ate?

HH: I loved Ariel Levy's memoir The Rules Do Not Apply. I also read The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy in Kerala, India, where I went with my mom. There's something awesome about traveling somewhere and reading a novel that takes place there-right out the window.

The most memorable meal I ate was a simple dinner I cooked with my fiancé when I got home. We seared some stunning lamb chops on our cast iron with rosemary, garlic, and a little chili pepper. We set off the fire alarm, which is always a good sign. We ate them with roasted asparagus, orzo, and juicy Spanish red wine on the couch with Netflix. Perfection.

Hannah will be at Bridgeside Books in Waterbury, Vermont, on Thursday, May 3, at 6:00 pm.


hannah black and white.jpg

Thank you to Hannah for providing the following excerpt from Feast.

 

Tonight when you are ripped open
down to the very seed,
when you feel that hunger, know:
you are not what you pack up now for next year,
you will not be put up on the shelf in jars.

Rena Mosteirin

 

Cookies

On the night of my last binge, New York City is raw. Even my teeth twinge with cold. It’s November, I’m twenty-four years old, and I have just moved back to Manhattan after a stint managing a fine dining restaurant in Philadelphia. I feel at home for the first time in years. Everyone is welcome here, everything allowed. On my worst days, now, I feel pregnant with loneliness, exhausted from loathing my body and the rest of me; I walk east on 95th Street to the park and think, I live here, which is sweet consolation. New York buoys me up and up again. I rarely miss my boyfriend Ari—ex-boyfriend now—although I feel guilty for abandoning him in Philadelphia. He calls me most nights, late. I always regret when I answer.

After looking at dozens of tiny but inordinately expensive NYC apartments—maybe the kitchen consists of one burner and a minifridge; or the bedroom is actually a living room, which the landlord needs to walk through to access her own bedroom—I find a little slice of the Upper West Side which is actually kind of (not quite, but I’ll take kind of) affordable. I sign the lease on the spot.

I love my new studio on West 95th Street, how the light saunters in every morning, the wide countertop that separates the kitchen from my new post-Ari mattress in its wrought iron frame, the window ledges that I use as bookshelves. Mostly I love that it’s mine.

I hang a sparkly red tapestry I bought with my best friend Ursula in Thailand. The quilt on my bed is bright as watermelon. If I lean to the left and squint just so, I can catch the start of the green expanse of Central Park outside my window, past avenues of traffic and scarf-wearing ladies wheeling shopping carts.

My parents invite me to dinner at their friends’ Upper East Side apartment. I walk across Central Park in new motorcycle boots, filled with a particular New York brand of hope. Everyone here is fulfilling vast dreams to make billions, redefine modern dance, launch artisanal ginger ale companies, and they are all in the park tonight: crowds, dogs, tourists, families, the setting sun and its reflection against the still surface of the reservoir, the last few burnt-orange leaves illuminating the trees.

At Joy and Alec’s place, intricate carpets overlap each other. A gray puppy jumps its little legs onto my knees. Joy pours me a glass of wine in a glass as big as their puppy. Alec shakes my hand before pulling me into a hug.

“Your mom tells me you have a new job. Fairway, huh?” I’m tall, but Alec towers over me benevolently. He speaks with the slightest Greek accent.

“That’s right.”

“I can’t get enough of their smoked salmon.”

“We’re Fairway smoked salmon addicts,” Joy agrees. “And the mini bagels, the mini everything bagels! Come eat. We’re going to sit in the living room like the slobs we are.”

But nothing feels slobbish about this endeavor. Their sofas are upholstered in silk and the giant coffee table is set with porcelain chopsticks and goblets for water. Dissonant jazz plays on the speakers. I wonder if this is how everyone lives on the Upper East Side.

“Did you get a haircut?” my dad asks. “I like your hair.”

He is trying to be nice; my hair is the same as always. “No haircut. But thanks.”

“Well.” Joy gestures to the spread of sushi rolls and slivers of sashimi, gyoza and edamame, little bowls of ginger and wasabi. The feast covers the entire table. “Don’t be shy.”

My dad fills his plate first. My mom pulls a soybean from its green shell with her teeth. At first, I partake like a normal human being, dip a salmon avocado roll in soy sauce, add a dab of wasabi. And then another and another. Everyone is eating; a pause in the conversation.

Then, there’s a shift. Something is awakened in me, a hunger that feels like a foreign, malicious force curled up in my stomach and reaching its monster limbs into my mouth and through my hands. I can’t stop eating. My mom gives me a sideways glare. I know that look, the same one from when I was a kid. It means You are eating a lot and I am noticing and it is not okay. It means You are not a skinny girl and you are not okay. The only thing worse is when she actually says, out loud, “You know, dinner is coming.” Or “Save some for everyone else.” Or “Don’t you think you’ve had enough to eat, maybe?”

I wait for my mom to say one of those things, or something worse, but she turns to Joy.

“How is your aunt? Oh, I’m forgetting her name.”

“June is healthy as a horse, with killer lipstick. We just celebrated her ninety-fourth birthday.”

Mom turns away from Joy to give me The Look again. I see what I usually see in her eyes—embarrassment, judgment. And past all that, I see something new. Compassion?

I am practically snuggled up with Mom and Dad on Alec and Joy’s sofa, but the conversation feels far away. I can’t stop hand to mouth to hand to mouth, no matter how much I will myself and no matter how much I hate myself for my lack of self-control, my irrepressible gluttony. I hate the bulk of my body, and I hate that I am failing to shrink it. I watch the way my thighs squish and unfurl onto the sofa.

Somehow I manage to stop eating sushi before the entire tray is consumed. Joy and Alec’s fluffy dog curls up in my lap, its little head rests, soft on my knee.

“So tell us about Fairway. Do you know the secret of the smoked salmon yet?” Joy asks.

“I only know the secrets of the cheese. I’m starting behind the cheese counter. It’s a temporary situation until they figure out a job in the office for me. But the cheese is right next to the deli counter, where we have all the lox and the geniuses who slice it.”

Joy and Alec’s kindness feels as soft as the pup, and I find it touching that they want to know about the minutiae of my life. I tell them about the light in the morning in my new apartment, Central Park out the window. I tell them about Fairway, the way I spent my first day breaking down a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano, how we use the rinds to flavor soup.

Then dessert is served: a giant plate of cookies, set right in front of me.

“They’re just from the deli next door, but I think they’re the most outrageous cookies in New York,” Alec says, proud of the cookies.

“We’re not really sweets people,” my dad chimes in. He must be using the royal we; cookies are my favorite.

“We really shouldn’t be eating them either,” Joy says.

My mom looks at me again. I don’t meet her eyes.

There are five of us at the table and probably enough cookies for a party of twenty, or even more. Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, butterscotch, peanut butter. The cookies are fat, round, as big as my face. Everything else fades out of focus. All I see are cookies.

I am Odysseus and the cookies are sugar sirens.

My parents and their friends fade to a fuzzy scrim.

I start with a little wedge each of oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip. That seems a reasonable way to start. But it also seems reasonable that I should try the other varieties, because they indeed turn out to be exemplary cookies—sweet but not too sweet, crunchy but with give, buttery and dense. The cookie sends a rush, electric almost, from my mouth to my brain. The other cookies, from which I snap off pieces to chew on slowly, are excellent, too. And by this point, I haven’t eaten a whole cookie, just pieces, which doesn’t feel like enough, really, so I eat some more pieces, and then some more. It’s a crime to leave a piece of cookie, broken, naked like that, prone on the platter. It’s my duty to eat it. The rush vibrates and surges to my stomach, my temples. My fat thighs disappear from underneath me. I feel the sugar and the butter surge to my toes, as if I have been switched on. I transform.

My mom’s eyes say cease and desist, but more cookies are the only answer to the problem of her embarrassment, and of my own. I willfully lose track of how many cookies I eat. Eight? Twelve? More?

The gigantic platter is empty, save for some crumbs. It takes all my energy, not diving into those crumbs. Still, we laugh and sip our wine like nothing is awry, and the dog sits at my feet now, panting, until it’s time to go home. Everyone hugs me goodbye like I am human, not a cookie monster.

They are wrong. I am all monster, wired, ravenous, manic. I get a cab home because I can’t fathom the interminable wait for the subway or the long walk with myself across Central Park. My face is hot with humiliation.

At my building, I ride the elevator to the eleventh floor. Inside, I don’t take off my shoes. I don’t take off my coat. I go straight to the fridge and empty its contents: leftover pasta, bag of grapes (I leave the garlic cloves, salad greens, milk). I eat the pasta and the grapes so fast I hardly register them. The pasta is lubed up with olive oil, and it glides down my throat. The grapes I inhale by the handful, their skins snapping around juicy flesh.

I don’t keep a whole lot of food in my kitchen for fear of exactly this. Sometimes I manage to go for a week without a binge, a month, even two, but other times I am ravaging my kitchen every night in insatiable panic. In my cabinet: a bag of dark chocolate chips, a box of cereal (the super-healthy kind, but that doesn’t matter when you devour a whole box in one sitting), some dried figs, a half-eaten jar of almond butter. I lay out the goods on my countertop. I will eat every last bit. Waves of nausea pummel me, but I keep going. Heaping spoonfuls of the almond butter, then I scrape out the sides of the jar until my knife scratches empty plastic. The almond goo is glue on my tongue, the back of my mouth, the insides of my stomach. I need to scarf every last bit. I tilt the bag that lines the cereal box down my throat, sucking up the cereal pulp. The figs instantly make me want to puke, the seeds stick in my teeth, but I eat every one, barely pausing to chew. The chocolate chips—they’re the good stuff. I manage to save them for last.

When everything is gone I open the fridge again, and then the cabinet, looking for more food. I am desperate. There’s some raw quinoa, a softening apple I need to toss. The food quiets my panic. Without it, dread rises in my chest, my heart beats gunfire.

I think of going downstairs, out into the night. The fro-yo place is still open. I could get a bucket-sized vanilla yogurt smothered in all the candy and sprinkles and chocolate sauce. I could go to the grocery store and restock my reserves with cereal and chocolate and maybe some more cookies. Cookies for twenty people aren’t enough for me. Not even close. I am possessed.

Somehow I manage to kick off my shoes. They ricochet across the floor.

I use the food because it works. It is an instant cure to whatever ails me, save the paltry price of the morning after—waking up and needing to barf and not being able to, vowing to eat nothing for a day, a week; the self-imposed, relentless suffering. When my friend Amanda didn’t invite me to her sixth-grade sleepover, when my thighs rubbed together under my blue polyester school uniform, when I listened to easy conversation from the solitary confines of my college dorm room and felt loneliness drowning me, food was my friend. And when I won a poetry prize, and the sun shone on a springy day, and my chest swelled with love, with lust, there food was, an ever-loyal companion. Sure, food is my answer to anxiety, sadness, boredom, anger, but also to excitement, possibility, and joy.

And just like starving is the answer, bingeing is the answer.

Life is big and scary. Food is constant, safe, dependable.

Food blots everything out and calms everything down, draws the shades and tucks me in. Cozy. Miserable. Numb.

Feast, by Hannah Howard, is available now.