Morgan Parker

The Dipper - February 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

 

February News

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Save the date! Literary North is proud to partner with our friends at the Brownsville Butcher & Pantry for Poetry & Pints in Brownsville, Vermont, on Sunday, March 10, from 5:15 to 7:00 pm. Doors open at 4:30 pm. Admission is by donation. The evening features poets Colin McKraig, Peter Money, and Ruth Antoinette Rodriguez; fabulous food, beer, and wine; plus an open mic so we can hear YOUR original work. Chef Peter Varkonyi is creating a cozy a la carte menu for the evening. Beer, food, poetry! It’s what you need to survive the end of winter. We hope you’ll join us. Visit the Poetry & Pints page on our website for full details.

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If you haven’t gotten tickets yet for this year’s JAG Fest—JAG Production’s annual festival of new in-process plays by African-American playwrights—what are you waiting for? This year’s festival shines the spotlight on black female poets. Four staged readings will take place the weekend of February 9 to 10 at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, Vermont. Each performance features a post-show conversation with the artists, moderated by Dartmouth scholars. Tickets are $20 per performance, or $50 for a weekend pass that includes access to all presentations. Last year’s performances were stunning. You don’t want to miss this! (Note: You can meet this year’s playwrights for conversation and lunch at Dartmouth College on Tuesday, February 5.)

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Are you already a member of the Slow Club Book Club? If not, here are five reasons you might want to join us for our first pick of the year, Yoko Tawada’s The Emissary, translated by Margaret Mitsutani:

  1. It’s short. 138 pages!

  2. It won the National Book Award for Translated Literature.

  3. New Directions, a fantastic small press, published it!

  4. It takes place in a world of giant dandelions where only crows and spiders are thriving. (Aren’t you intrigued?)

  5. In Yoko Tawada’s author photo, she is posing with a pomegranate.

If you’re reading along, let us know! And if you post about it to Instagram or Twitter, be sure to tag us with #slowclubbookclub or #literarynorth.

Several of our friends are hosting workshops or events soon that we wanted to bring to your attention. Full details for all of these are in the Deadlines and Workshops sections later in this newsletter:

  • Poets, please consider applying for the Free Verse Farm Residency in the hills of Chelsea, Vermont. The location is stunning and we can’t imagine better hosts than Taylor and Misha. Applications are due April 1.

  • James Crews is hosting his online Mindfulness and Writing workshop beginning on February 2. James was a featured poet at our first Poetry & Pie event. His poetry is outstanding, and he’s such a kind person. You’re sure to enjoy his class.

  • Jo Knowles and Tillie Walden will be teaching their “Creating Graphic Novels for the YA Market” workshop at The Center for Cartoon Studies this summer. We interviewed this dynamic duo last year about the class. Registration for CCS Summer 2019 classes is open now.

To make room on our site for new events, we’ve collected information and links for all of our past events and projects on a single page. We hope this makes it easier for you to find out what we’re up to and what we’ve done before. We have some really fun ideas for 2019 and can’t wait to add them to the list. As subscribers, you’ll hear about all of it first! Thank you, as always, for your support, kind words, and enthusiasm. Your energy helps fire up this two-woman team!



February’s Shooting Stars

A cool literary find from each of us to help light up your reading life:

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  • Need a brush-up on your grammar? Look no further than Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer, the copy chief of Random House. Witty grammar lessons? Yes, please. —Shari

  • This amazing and moving essay in The New Yorker by Gregory Pardlo about his father and the 1981 air-traffic controller strike includes beautiful sentences like this: “All your delicate ideas have to remain perfectly clear and distinct in your mind at all times.” —Rebecca


February Highlights

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Thursday, February 7 at 4:30 pm, Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, celebrates the life and work of Andre Dubus II in Sanborn Library with readings and discussion about Dubus’ work. The event features the editor of his re-issued series of Collected Stories, Joshua Bodwell, and the distinguished publisher David R. Godine.

The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vermont is holding A Celebration of Vermont Poets on Saturday, February 9, at 4:00 pm. The great lineup includes Dede Cummings, Chard deNiord, Karin Gottshall, Syd Lea, Gary Margolis, Julia Shipley, and Bianca Stone. With chocolate!

The Center for Cartoon Studies’ own James Sturm is on tour for his new graphic novel, Off Season. Catch him at the CCS in White River Junction, Vermont, on Thursday, February 14 at 4:00 pm. James’ presentation will also touch upon the drawing of dogs, crooked contractors, LSD, and 4 x 6 index cards.

Jane Brox. Photo by Luc Demers

Jane Brox. Photo by Luc Demers

The lovely Jane Brox will be at The Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough, New Hampshire, on Saturday, February 16, at 11:00 am to read from her latest non-fiction work, Silence.

Poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi reads at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Thursday, February 21, at 4:30 pm in the Sanborn Library.

You’ve got two great chances to see Pam Houston read from her recent book, Deep Creek. On Sunday, February 24 at 6:00 pm, she’ll be at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont; she’ll be at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire, on Tuesday. February 26.

Emily Bernard

Emily Bernard

Emily Bernard, a professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of Vermont, reads from her book, Black Is The Body, at 6:00 pm on Friday, February 22 at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont.

The Painted Word Poetry Series is back at The Fleming Museum of Art in Burlington, Vermont. Stephanie Burt reads on Wednesday, February 27 at 6:00 pm.

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

 

Worth a Drive

LitFest 2019 begins on Wednesday, February 27 and goes through Sunday, March 3 at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Jamel Brinkley—whose amazing collection of short stories, A Lucky Man, was nominated for a National Book Award and for The Story Prize—will be reading on Thursday, February 28 along with fellow NBA nominee Brandon Hobson. Other writers in attendance will be Jennifer Egan, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Cullen Murphy.

 

Worth a Listen

  • What a treat to hear Zadie Smith and her husband Nick Laird speak about their books, both titled Feel Free, on the Shakespeare & Co. podcast.

  • Every single episode of the Slowdown podcast with Tracy K. Smith. Period.

We're Looking Forward to These February Releases:

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

It’s PoemCity and PoemTown season again! Submit your poems for consideration to be displayed in downtown windows in Montpelier, Randolph, and St. Johnsbury, Vermont, during the month of April. The submission deadline for Montpelier and Randolph is February 4. The submission deadline for St. Johnsbury is February 28. For more information about Montpelier and St. Johnsbury submissions, please visit the PoemCity Submission page and the PoemCity website. For Randolph submissions, please send 1-3 original poems as Word attachments to musbird@gmail.com. Include your contact information in the email (name, mailing address, email address and telephone number). Then attach each poem separately with the title of the poem as the document name and no identifying information other than the poem’s title on each document.

The Upper Valley Fiction group is accepting new members. The group meets monthly, September though June, to offer honest feedback on each other’s work. An MFA or publication is not required, but comparable writing expertise is preferred. To apply, submit one short story or one chapter (no longer than 20 pages) by February 11 to uppervalleyfiction@gmail.com.

The Poetry Society of Vermont is accepting submissions to its publication, The Mountain Troubadour, until February 14. You can submit up to three poems, of 40 lines or less. You must be a PSOV member to submit. For more information, please visit the Mountain Troubadour Submission page.

Applications for the next round of Vermont Studio Center residency fellowships for artists and writers are due by February 15 (for residencies scheduled between May and December 2019 in Johnson, Vermont), including the James Merrill Poetry, ALSCW, VSC/Callaloo, Helen Zell Residency, and Voices Rising fellowships. Every VSC residency includes private room, private studio space, all meals, and full access to the VCS’ schedule of evening programs and events. For more information, please visit the VSC Fellowships page.

The Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program is seeking nominations for the 2019-2021 Poet Laureate. The Laureate is the PPLP’s main bridge to the community, a role model and recruiter for future generations of poets and sets the tone for two years in the life of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program. Nominees should live in Portsmouth, Dover, Durham, Eliot, Greenland, Kittery, Madbury, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, North Hampton, Rye, or Stratham, or work at least half time in Portsmouth. To make a nomination, send an email about your nominee to info@pplp.org by February 20.

The AVA Gallery in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is looking for storytellers for its next Mudroom event (March 14). Selected storytellers will be awarded an AVA membership and may bring a guest to enjoy the evening. Please include a very brief summary of your story (no more than 300 words) and a short bio (no more than 150 words) by February 24. For more information, please visit the Mudroom page.

Applications are open for Free Verse Farm’s week-long poetry residencies. Residents will stay in an off-grid small vintage camper on the farm in Chelsea, Vermont. The residence fee is $250/week, which includes coffee and tea, but all other groceries must be provided by the resident, with meal preparation occurring in the camper. Poets are welcome to bring a partner at no extra charge. The application deadline is April 1. For more information and to apply, please visit the Free Verse Residency page.

The Juniper Summer Writing Institute in Amherst, Massachusetts (June 16 to 22) is accepting applications. 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. The non-refundable application fee is $40. For more information and to apply, please visit the Juniper Institute website.


Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Poet James Crews is offering his four-week Mindfulness and Writing Online workshop from February 2 to March 9. This generative online writing workshop will examine connections between the practice of meditation/mindfulness and the act of writing fearlessly from the heart. Though not required, attendees will be invited to share their work via email with each other. Beginners and all skill levels are welcome. You do not need any previous experience with mindfulness, meditation, or online courses; all you need is an internet connection, email, and an open mind. $295 for four sessions. For more information and to register, please visit the Northshire Books events page.

On February 9 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, join the New Hampshire Writers’ Project and romance author Ana E. Ross at SNHU in Manchester, New Hampshire, for “So You Think You Know Me?” This workshop focuses on three vital elements of characterization in storytelling: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict (GMC). This interactive workshop invites you to bring a character you’re working on. $65 for members; $80 for non-members. For information and to register, please visit the NHWP Workshops page.

The New Hampshire Writers’ Project is hosting a six-week “Preparing Your Manuscript for an Agent’s Eyes” workshop, where you can work your manuscript into a polished version ready for agents, professional review, and publishing consideration. You will work directly with Amanda Forbes Silva, a professional writer and editor who will help you better evaluate your writing and determine how to edit your work for clarity and concision. All genres are welcome! The workshop meets on Saturdays, February 16 through March 23, 1:00 to 4:00 pm at SNHU in Manchester, New Hampshire. $390 for NHWP members; $510 for non-members. For information and to register, please visit the NHWP Workshops page.

On March 9, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is offering a “One Photo, Four Stories” writing workshop where you will use a photo of your choice as a prompt for four separate stories. This class is open to all levels. $68 for members; $80 for non-members. For more information and to register, please visit the AVA Gallery website.

Already dreaming of summer? Registration for Summer Workshops at The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont, is already open. This year’s workshops include Graphic Memoirs with Melanie Gillman, Creating Graphic Novels for the Young Adult Market with Jo Knowles and Tillie Walden, and a Graphic Novel Workshop with Paul Karasik. For all the details and to register, please visit the CCS 2019 Summer Workshops page.

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

Shari's 2017 Year in Reading

We're big fans of The Millions Year in Reading and, just like last year, we are here to share our favorites of 2017 with you.

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Idaho, by Emily Ruskovich, was the first book of 2017 that really hit me hard. It was quiet, devastating, beautiful. A book that definitely deserved more praise. I was reminded of Marilynne Robinson's writing when reading it.

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Homesick for Another World, by Otessa Moshfegh, made me laugh, cringe, and marvel at the world around me. Moshfegh writes about humans like no other writer working today.  And while her style may not be everyone's cup of tea, I am eagerly awaiting her new novel in July 2018.

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Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders, was the perfect book to sink into in February. It felt like Saunders upended the novel. I liked/needed that at the beginning of 2017.

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I loved Patricia Lockwood's Priestdaddy and passed it on to as many people as I could. I laughed so much. It felt like a relief from the heaviness of the first half of the year.

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I thought Alice McDermott's The Ninth Hour was splendid. Why have I never read her work before? This book is quiet, thoughtful, and unassuming. No bells and whistles here. Just straight-up gorgeous storytelling.

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Josephine Rowe's book, A Loving Faithful Animal, was the book I didn't know I'd been looking for. It felt sparkling and new. Catapult is quickly becoming my favorite small publishing house.

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I can't stop thinking about New People by Danzy Senna. I read it so quickly and feel like I need to go back and revisit it. Must read more by Senna.

I rediscovered my love for poetry in 2017.  Danez Smith's Don't Call Us Dead, Kaveh Akbar's Calling a Wolf a Wolf, Morgan Parker's There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, Nicole Sealey's Ordinary Beast! These books blew me away. Read them!

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My favorite book of the year, hands-down, was Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. Ward's writing is poetic and unflinching. This book is brilliant. Nothing else could compare.

Mud Season Salon: Sign of the Times resources

As part of this month's Salon, we asked our presenters to recommend resources, things that they found pertinent to the evening's theme, or things that helped give them solace and hope during difficult times. During the evening, many other resources came up as part of the conversation. Thank you to everyone who shared their words, thoughts, questions, answers, and inspiration!

Robin recommends

Read Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit, which has inspired Robin to get out on the streets and join with other people in activism, and also reaffirmed the importance of making art and the positive influences that can come from writing. Here are a few quotes from Solnit's book that Robin shared:

  • “Writing is lonely, it’s an intimate talk with the dead, with the unborn, with the absent, with strangers, with the readers who may never come to be and who even if they read you will do so weeks, years, decades later.”
     
  • “Every line we succeed in publishing today—no matter how uncertain the future to which we entrust it—is a victory wrenched from the powers of darkness.”
     
  • “Resistance is first of all a matter of principle and a way to live, to make yourself one small republic of unconquered spirit.”
     
  • “Inside the word emergency is emerge; from an emergency new things come forth. The old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters.”

Jeff recommends

Breitbart.com, "the one source that, if you read it and endured it, knew that this was coming." Reading Breitbart will give you a glimpse into the alternate universe that's happening every day.

After you read that, because it'll be a bit of poison, clear your mind by reading, rereading, or seeing a production of Tony Kushner's play, Angels in America, Parts One and Two. It's like reading a newspaper from today.

Read Carolyn Forche's poem, "The Colonel," and the book from which it came, The Country Between Us. The book includes a series of reported poems about El Salvador during the years of the US-sponsored war there. 

And let's remember a time when poets had pop star status, when Marianne Moore, a devoted baseball fan, threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium in 1968. Let's not forget there was a time when poets had that kind of recognition.

Finally, read Prophesy Deliverance!, where Cornel West writes about the nature of the relationship between hope and despair, how the two are so closely related that they cannot exist without each other, that hope arises out of despair. 

Taylor recommends

Attend Town hall meetings, which are are "boring in the most important way." Democracy isn't something that just happens. Democracy is something you do, participate in, cultivate.

Subscribe to Read Literately, a monthly newsletter for ravenous readers to distract you from the the crazy out there and remind you that there are thoughtful, creative people in the world writing things for us.

Download The New Economy Chapbook Cookbooka free PDF cookbook put together by a group of poets, activists, and home cooks. The cookbook, subtitled "Inexpensive, Healthy, Hopeful Feasts for 2017," collects fortifying recipes for cooking on a budget.

Read writers who are writing now, publishing today, who are almost writing as fast as you need them to. Poets like Morgan Parker who are writing poems we need to read right now.

And go back to the things you love, the books and movies that you already know and love, to appreciate them all over again, and find solace in things that haven't changed and still bring delight. 

Ben recommends

Find a place between land and air by following roads that aren't really there, going to places where you can't depend on where the ground is, like roads on ice that melts, or flood plains that are land and then aren't. See where the intermediary and temporary spaces are and get comfortable with being there.

Read anything by Rebecca Solnit. Maybe you've already started with Robin's suggestion of Hope in the Dark. After that, continue on with A Field Guide to Getting Lost, River of Shadows, and Wanderlust. These books continue the conversation about the value of looking to the landscape for metaphor and ballast.

Sink into Jane Kenyon's Collected Poems. You'll find sad beauty there, but also much hope and solace.

Shari And Rebecca recommend

Read "The Long and Pretty Good-bye" by Megan Mayhew Bergman (Paris Review).

Read "Grace Paley, the Saint of Seeing," by George Saunders (The New Yorker).

Print your own pocket constitution.

Fold a paper crane.

Take a walk. A long walk. Sing some protest songs while you're walking. Sing loud.

Read anything by Grace Paley, Terry Tempest Williams, and Barry Lopez. For example, Grace's poem, "That Country," Terry's book, Refuge, and Barry's essay, "The Invitation."

Wander through Jeff's Instagram feed to see the photos that accompany his essays. 

Go to Taylor's poem site to read some of her poems and thoughts.

Get your hands on a copy of Robin's book of short stories, Half Wild.

Listen to some of Ben's music, watch his videos, and read his essays.