Mud Season Salon

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.

Mud Season Salon: Gathering together in the storm

On March 3, 2017, we held our very first event, The Mud Season Salon, in White River Junction, Vermont. Our friend EM Reynolds attended, took photos, and then wrote this terrific recap of the evening. Thank you to her, to the presenters, to the attendees, to Junction Magazine, to Open Door, and to everyone else who helped make this event even better than we had dreamed it might be.

______________ 

Too often we introverts give in to the need for comfort and home. How could anything compete with pajamas and a book? But what happens if we brave the elements and attend an evening event? Such is the premise that Literary North’s debut event was founded upon. They set out to answer the question, What would entice people to come out on a snowy night?

There is something so liberating, so almost other-worldly about sitting in an audience focused on someone’s words. This evening there were three presenters: Taylor Katz, Robin MacArthur and Jeff Sharlet. Each brought a unique interpretation to the theme of "Sign of the Times," and provided an interesting balance of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

Robin MacArthur

Robin MacArthur

Setting aside her mug of tea, Robin spoke first, reading from her newly finished manuscript. In her soft eloquent manner, she talked about being beside her grandfather as he died and how the themes of love and loss permeate her writing. As she spoke, she also addressed the ideas of home and land, topics near and dear to her. Her experiences often resonate emotionally, becoming the basis of fictional work. She is, in essence, the translator of her life and the generations before her to the page in front of her. A proud product of the land and her New England ancestors. And, of course, it being March in Vermont, Robin told us of her family’s weekend spent maple sugaring. It brought to mind pots of sap and fire, primal and essential. As she conjured up these images for us, she exalted a slower life. As she finished, she championed authors by claiming Art as witness; speaking to the power of writing and creating as necessity not frivolous luxury. And my inner writer nodded in agreement.

Taylor Katz

Taylor Katz

Then Taylor got up to recite some of the poems from her chapbook. I found her to be exactly what she says she is. Forthright and plainspoken, she is refreshingly authentic and original. She’s a poet for hire and a tea farmer, and both occupations inform and support the other. The advantages being you can get down in the dirt, and you can get back to the basic origins of the clichéd metaphors we all take for granted. My favorite poem was “Shout out” in which she praises volunteers and librarians and grannies and mailmen—in short, everybody. She warned us that it was a long poem and we should gird ourselves for the onslaught. But each time she gave another shout out, there was a moment of connection and I was pleased for that group to be recognized. Honestly, I wish that poem could have been longer. She says her long poems compensate for her short stature and that she used to want to be known, but her poems are out in the world and now she is seen through them. She believes that being a little louder helps to make a little goodness grow. She professed her love of adjectives like juicy and spiky, a confluence of construction that perfectly sums up this poetess.

Jeff Sharlet

Jeff Sharlet

Jeff then took the floor to read from the manuscript of his next book. He too talked about spending time with family members in need of care. When his father was recovering from a heart attack, Jeff made overnight journeys to visit him in Schenectady, NY. It was during this time that he snapped an Instagram photo with his phone and inspiration struck. His focus became about connection and witness, rather than about artifice and polished perfection. The revelation was unearthed that stories are not aligned next to each other, but stacked, piling on top of each other. To which the audience seemed in total agreement. During the time he was working on his book he struggled to put his thoughts on paper; yet even when he thought it was finished, his own heart attack caused him to rethink the end. In rewriting he began to ponder symmetry and coming to terms with what and who we are. He is, as he says, writing his way home.

Ben Cosgrove

Ben Cosgrove

Journeys became a touched upon theme of the evening, which began with Ben Cosgrove. He played before the authors spoke, these haunting original pieces. They were inspired by land, but they flowed in a way that made me feel as if I were being swept away. Playing involves so much of his body, of which his instrument is an extension. It’s almost as if he’s dancing, the way he puts his head down, pushing the notes to the side. 

At the end of the evening there was a Q and A with all four participants. As they answered queries, we could see the connections in their work. The lines were drawn, affixing land to loss to love and the need to put these emotions into words and music.

Each author brought a resource with them to share and also talked a bit about works they’ve been reading lately trying to feel inspired.

QandA
Audience

For me these events are what lift me up. I feel like I’m part of something larger. Today’s world is crazy and chaotic. Our feelings churn into overdrive when we watch the news or look at our Twitter feeds. It’s hard to look away for fear we may miss something. I would respond that we need to find ways to nourish ourselves, to find strength in gatherings. There is comfort sitting in a room of strangers, but communing in a somewhat sacred space of our own creation. A place where words and ideas are delivered as both balm and benediction.

Mug
Toast
Table
Lean

The whole evening, despite the snow, was a warm antidote to the weather. It was thoughtfully and intentionally orchestrated. The room was beautiful, and after the discussion there were handcrafted refreshments. Because these are the efforts that matter in this world. That’s what we introverts who organize such events do, we try to provide the best way we know how. With warm tea and comfort food, toast, pastrami, jams and nut butters. The paper cranes flanking the door, the exquisite bouquet of flowers, the wheel-thrown mugs—it was all evidence of the handmade. To all of the people who helped to make the evening possible—shout out to all of them!

So much work went into the planning of this event, but with any luck we’ll have more chances to gather to be part of a larger literary community. Some evenings it’s best to come together as listeners and honor words. To step out and step up. Because sometimes ignoring the siren song of a mug of tea and reading at home by yourself is the best thing we could possibly do.

______________

EM Reynolds is a librarian, bookseller, writer, photographer and aspiring ukulele player living in Vermont. Visit her photographs during the month of March at The Norwich Public Library: Through the Lens: a Retrospective of Community at NPL.

The Dipper - March 2017

Each month we'll 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

News

Our very own Mud Season Literary Salon with Vievee Francis, Taylor Katz, Robin MacArthur, Jeff Sharlet and musician Ben Cosgrove is on Friday, March 3  from 7 to 8:30 pm at Open Door in White River Junction, VT. All seats have been reserved, but please email us if you'd like to be added to the waiting list.

March Highlights

Poets Michael Collier and Martha Rhodes will be reading at Sanborn Library at Dartmouth on Thursday, March 2 from 4:30 to 6 pm. Books will be available for purchase, and refreshments will be served.

On March 9 at the AVA gallery in Lebanon, NH, the Mudroom live storytelling event will be taking place. The theme is Protest! Come at 6:30 pm for music and refreshments. Storytelling begins at 7 PM.

Amina Gautier will read from her collection of short stories at the Vermont Studio Center on Tuesday, March 21 at 8 pm.

 

 

 

 

Brooke Williams will be at the Norwich Bookstore on Wednesday, March 29 from 7 to 8 pm reading from his book, Open Midnight, Where Ancestors and Wilderness Meet. A book signing will follow. Reservations are recommended.

Poet Cynthia Huntington will be at the Kimball House in Concord, NH, as a part of its salon series on Friday, March 31 from 7:30 to 8:30 pm. She will be discussing her work and her evolution as a poet. Tickets are $25.

 

For Young Readers

Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen will present their new children's picture book, Triangle, at the Shelburne Town Hall on March 23 from 3:30 to 5 pm. Bring the young ones to meet this dynamic duo!

 

Photo by Ed Kashi

Photo by Ed Kashi

Worth a Drive

Mohsin Hamid will be reading from his new novel, Exit West, on Sunday, March 12, at 7 pm at The Odyssey Bookshop in Hadley, MA. A book signing will follow.

 

 

 

 

Calls for Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The deadline for all Hunger Mountain contests is Wednesday, March 1. The contests include the Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize, the Hunger Mountain Creative Nonfiction Prize, the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, and the Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing. For more information and submission guidelines, please visit their Contests page.

Three by Five storytelling project is looking for submissions.

The Young Writers Project Winter Conference will take place on Saturday, March 11. To participate, please visit their Sign up page.

The New Hampshire Writers' Project's twenty-ninth annual Writers' Day will take place at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire on Saturday, April 1. To register, please visit their Online Registration page by March 28.

The MacDowell Colony is accepting applications from artists and writers for their Fall 2017 Residencies. The application deadline is Saturday, April 15. For more information, please visit their Application Guidelines page.

Applications for The Frost Place summer programs are now open, including the Conference on Poetry and Teaching, the Conference on Poetry, and the Poetry Seminar. For application deadlines and more information, please visit their Application page.

 

March Workshops and classes

Young Writers Project, in partnership with Vermont Young Playwrights and award-winning Middlebury College playwright Dana Yeaton, is presenting the YWP/Middlebury Playwrights Workshop, an online experience that could result in your play being presented on stage. This online course begins in early March. Space is limited, so register now!

Poet Bianca Stone of the Ruth Stone Foundation is offering a class entitled Waiting For The Miraculous: On Poetry and Art from March 18 through April 15 The class will be held on Saturdays from 1 to 3 pm in Middlebury, VT, at the Ilsley Public Library. Cost is $200. You must register by March 10.

Poet Ben Pease of the Ruth Stone Foundation is offering a class called Lyrical and Narrative: Song and Story in Poetry from March 17 through April 14. The class will be held on Fridays from 6 to 8 pm at the Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury, VT.  Cost is $200. You must register by March 10.

Lynn Peterson, retired surgeon, will be leading a seven-session class called "Environmental Science and Poetry," which will examine contemporary ecological science in conjunction with poetry by writers like Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, and Louise Glück. The class runs from Monday, March 20 to Monday, May 1. For more information and to register, contact the Osher at Dartmouth office.

New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alice B Fogel is leading the "Putting Together Your Poetry Manuscript" workshop at Toad Stool Books in Keene, NH. Register now for this event on Saturday, March 25 at 11 am.

Registration for The Center for Cartoon Studies 2017 Summer Workshops is now open. In addition to workshops for drawing and writing cartoons and comics, this summer's schedule includes three graphic novel workshops led by writers and cartoonists Paul Karasik, Jo Knowles, Tillie Walden, and Melanie Gillman. For more information and to register, please visit their Summer Workshops page.

The Writer's Center in White River Junction, Vermont, hosts writing workshops and events on an ongoing basis. For their current schedule, please visit their Workshops page.

The Dipper - February 2017

Each month we'll 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

News

LNandJCT.jpg

Literary North is thrilled to announce the Mud Season Salon on Friday, March 3, 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Open Door in White River Junction, Vermont!

The Mud Season Salon features author readings and lively conversation on the topic of "Sign of the Times." The authors include Vievee Francis, Taylor Katz, Robin MacArthur, and Jeff Sharlet. Cost: Suggested donation of $5 at the door. For more information or to register to attend, visit the Mud Season Salon page. This event is graciously co-sponsored by Junction Magazine.

 

February Highlights

Celebrate the launch of Junction Magazine with DJ phogen and DJ ShaR4 at the Main Street Museum! Saturday, February 4, 8:30 pm to 1:00 amCost: $5 at the door / BYOB.

Charles Baxter, author of There's Something I Want You to Do, Visiting Writer at the Vermont Studio Center will be reading at the Vermont Studio Center on Thursday, February 9, 8:00 to 9:00 pm.

Photo by Sue Barr

Photo by Sue Barr

Jim Shepard, author of The World to Come: Stories, will be reading at Northshire Bookstore on Saturday, February 18, 7:00 to 8:00 pm.

Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, will be at The Music Hall on Wednesday, February 22, 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

 

Worth a Drive

Roxane Gay will examine social critique and innovative reasoning on race, gender, and identify at "Flashpoint!" a public lecture on Thursday, February 16, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

 

 

Calls for Submission and Upcoming deadlines

The Kellogg-Hubbard Library is putting out a call for poetry submissions for PoemCity 2017. Submission deadline: Wednesday, February 8. For details, please visit their Submission page.

PoemTown Randolph invites Vermont poets of all ages to submit original poems for its 4th annual celebration. Submission deadline: Friday, February 10. For details, please visit their website.

The AVA Gallery would like to hear from storytellers of all ages to participate in their upcoming Mudroom storytelling event, "Protest." Application deadline: Wednesday, February 15.

Vermont Studio Center Writing Fellowships are open to all writers. Application deadline: Wednesday, February 15.

The deadline for all Hunger Mountain contests is Wednesday, March 1. The contests include the Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize, the Hunger Mountain Creative Nonfiction Prize, the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, and the Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing. For more information and submission guidelines, please visit their Contests page.

The Young Writers Project Winter Conference will take place on Saturday, March 11. To participate, please visit their Sign up page.

The New Hampshire Writers' Project's twenty-ninth annual Writers' Day will take place at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire on Saturday, April 1. To register, please visit their Online Registration page by March 28.

The MacDowell Colony is accepting applications from artists and writers for their Fall 2017 Residencies. Application deadline: Saturday, April 15. For more information, please visit their Application Guidelines page.

Applications for The Frost Place summer programs are now open, including the Conference on Poetry and Teaching, the Conference on Poetry, and the Poetry Seminar. For application deadlines and more information, please visit their Application page.

 

February Workshops and classes

The Joy of Creativity: Writing Poetry, Saturdays, February 4, 11, 18, and 25, 11:00 to 12:00 am at The Writer's Center, White River Junction, Vermont. Cost: $100. For more information or to register, contact The Writer's Center, or email Anne McKenna (instructor).

Half-Day Writing Retreat led by Joni B. Cole, Tuesday, February 7, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm in Woodstock, Vermont. Cost: $125. For more information or to register, please email jonibethcole@gmail.com.

The Writer's Center in White River Junction, Vermont, hosts writing workshops and events on an ongoing basis. For their current schedule, please visit their Workshops page.