Nathan Yungerberg

Interview: Nathan Yungerberg

Those of you who attended JAGFest 2.0 back in February 2018 might remember a riveting staged reading of Nathan Yungerberg’s play Esai’s Table, where destiny meets eternity for three young black men atop an ancient magical table in a mythic tale of black lives, friendship, family, and love. Back then, we volunteered at JAGFest and were able to do a brief interview with this remarkable, thoughtful playwright.

This month, Esai’s Table is back as a full production at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, Vermont, and Nathan kindly took time out of his incredibly busy schedule to answer a few of our questions about his experience in moving from a staged reading to a full production. We love his reflections on the process and hope you will too. Thank you so much, Nathan, and Jarvis Green of JAG Productions for bringing this incredible production to the Upper Valley. Break a leg!

The world premiere of Esai’s Table is at Briggs Opera House from October 10 to 17, starring Dimitri Carter, Cornelius Davidson, Marcus Gladney, Jr., and Benton Green, and directed by Stevie Walker-Webb.

Tickets to Esai’s Table are $35 and are on sale now!

Nathan Yungerberg

Nathan Yungerberg


Literary North: How would you describe Esai's Table to someone coming to it for the first time?

Nathan Yungerberg: Esai's Table is an Afro Surrealist fantasy that explores the humanity of young black men. It is hard to explain too much without giving away crucial elements of the story, but I would say be prepared for an otherworldly dimension jumping emotional rollercoaster!

LN: How did JAGfest and the work you did there shape the final creation of Esai's Table?

NY: Getting away from NYC for one week and having a chance to breathe allowed me to see the play from a whole new perspective. I ended up making a significant change to the ending of the play that is much more subtle on some levels but packs an emotional punch and wraps up the themes of the play.

LN: What do you think of the process, in general, of doing staged readings? Have you found it helpful (or essential?) to developing a full production?

NY: Staged readings can be helpful for so many reasons. This day and age, when it is so challenging to get a production, it is beneficial to be able to share your work in a simplified, cost-effective setting. I appreciate readings because I can learn the most when I can hear it. I also find it a great way to introduce people to my work. I can say that over a decade of writing and numerous readings, I am a fan of the process and find it helpful. I have found it useful in the developmental process that leads up to this full production. I have learned so much about the play over the past five years, and each reading I have done, I learned a little more.

LN: Were there things in the staged reading version (themes, characters, scenes, lines, etc.) that you ultimately decided to cut or change for the full production but were sorry to lose? If so, can you tell us about an example?

NY: There was a numerology theme that existed in the staged reading. While I loved it, I felt it was confusing for the audience. I had also not fleshed out the idea enough to warrant its place in the play, so it had to go. I wouldn't say I was sorry to lose it, but it is always a process of letting a creative aspect go. The good thing is that I recycle aspects of my stories that don't make the cut, so I will probably use it in another story one day.

LN: What special gifts do each of the individual actors bring to the production?

NY: First of all, the actors are so amazing, and I love them so much! When Benton Greene, who plays Esai, came into the audition room, he brought this air of mystery and otherworldly energy that was scary, but it was exactly what we wanted for the character! He also brings a lot of compassion and love to the role, which balances out the dark sides of Esai. Benton is also brilliant, and when he comments about something that isn't sitting right, I listen!

Dimitri Carter, who plays Adam, brings a level of optimism and innocence that is crucial to the character. We knew Dimitri was our Adam from the moment he walked into the audition room and melted our hearts.

Marcus Gladney, Jr. IS David. He has this authentic air of self-esteem and self awareness that is so beautiful.

Cornelius Davidson brings both the vulnerability and the sharp edge of Michael into the room. You get the sense that the character has a lot going on deep inside because Cornelius understands the revealing of layers that are required to make Michael believable.

LN: What are you working on next?

NY: I decided a few months ago that I am going to start calling myself a storyteller, and I am launching my own storytelling company, Mercurri. I will be producing a national tour of my play THEA (about Sister Thea Bowman) and an international tour of my play Mother of Pearl, which is a metaphysical love letter to the house music scene. I am also working on a play with music with Larry Waddell, one of the founding members of the R&B group Mint Condition.


Nathan Yungerberg is a Brooklyn-based playwright whose work has been developed or featured by The Cherry Lane Theatre (2017 Mentor Project with Stephen Adly Guirgis), Roundabout Theatre Company, The Playwrights’ Center, JAG Productions, Crowded Fire Theater, American Blues Theater, The Brooklyn Museum, The Nuyorican Poets Café , The Lorraine Hansberry Theater, and many others. Nathan is one of seven black playwrights commissioned by The New Black Fest for HANDS UP: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments, which was published by Samuel French.

The Dipper - October 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 

October News

We both adored Sara London’s new poetry collection, Upkeep (out from Four Way Books), so naturally, we just had to ask Sara for an interview. Head on over to our blog to give it a read. You can catch Sara reading from her new collection on Thursday, October 10, at The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vermont, as part of the NER Vermont Reading Series.

It’s October 1, which means we start our group read of Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport today! We’d love for you to read along with us. Although the book had to be reprinted, copies should be available now or will be in the near future. The comments section of our blog post is open and ready for discussion. We can’t wait to hear what you think of this Booker shortlisted title.

Ben Cosgrove

Ben Cosgrove

We’ve started work on the second chapbook in our Little Dipper series, an essay by composer and musician Ben Cosgrove tentatively titled A Space Filled With Moving. We have a bit of editing to do, but we’re working on the design now! They will be available in a limited edition of 25.

Because of the above projects plus an upcoming event in December that we’re excited to tell you about soon, our Slow Club Book Club is on hiatus until January 2020. Did you miss a title? Well, now you have plenty of time to play catch up. Finished everything? Then we’d love to have you join us for our group read along of Ducks, Newburyport. Would you like to help us plan for SCBC 2020? Send us an email with your thoughts and suggestions.

Those of you who attended JAGFest 2.0 back in February 2018 might remember a riveting staged reading of Nathan Yungerberg’s Esai’s Table. Back then, we volunteered at JAGFest and were able to do a brief interview with this remarkable, thoughtful playwright. This month, Esai’s Table is back as a full production at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, Vermont, from October 10 to 27. It’s moving, beautiful, powerful, and very worth your time. Tickets are available now.


October Shooting Stars

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

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  • Did you hear that The Yale Review has a new design and a new editor, Meghan O’Rourke, for their 200th anniversary issue? The lineup for the new issue includes Sheila Heti, Sarah Manguso, Dan Chiasson, Kevin Young, Shane McCrae, Idra Novey, Emily Bernard, and Aria Aber. I know I’ll be getting a copy.—Shari

  • Speaking of new designs and editors, Junction Magazine is back! Junction was founded by our friend James Napoli, a kindred spirit, a great photographer, and the center of so many excellent events and parties. When James moved to Minnesota earlier this year, he left Junction in the capable hands of a new band of editors. Welcome back, Junction! We missed you! —Rebecca


October Highlights

Major Jackson

Major Jackson

On Tuesday, October 1, Major Jackson introduces Didi Jackson, Vievee Francis, Camille Guthrie, and Jane Shore in celebration of The Best American Poetry 2019 at The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vermont, at 6:30 pm.

The Vermont Humanities 1st Wednesdays Lecture Series kicks things off again in October. The series, which goes through May 2020, features authors Alison Bechdel, Mark Dery, David Macaulay, Ilan Stevens, Richard Blanco, David Blight, Melanie Finn, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Annelise Orleck at various locations around Vermont. For more information and a complete schedule of events, please visit the Vermont Humanities website.

Ann Patchett will be in conversation with Peter Biello at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire, on Wednesday, October 2, at 7:30 pm to talk about her newest novel, The Dutch House.

On Friday, October 4 at 7:00 pm, poets Janaka Stucky and Samuel Ace are reading at Antidote Books in Putney, Vermont.

Jeff Sharlet

Jeff Sharlet

Also on Friday, October 4, Jeff Sharlet (who was a part of our very first event, The Mud Season Salon) will be at MacDowell Downtown in Peterborough, New Hampshire, to share clips and talk about the making of the Netflix documentary series The Family, which is based on his books The Family and C Street. Not to be missed.

Join Open Fields School on Saturday, October 5 at the Newberry Market in White River Junction, Vermont, for their biennial fundraising extravaganza: The Great Goose Egg Auction. The auction features a slew of decorated and illustrated eggs, many by writers, book illustrators, and cartoonists. It’s always a fun afternoon and all proceeds go directly to this special school.

Ross Gay will be reading and signing books at UVM on Tuesday, October 8, at the Davis Center at 4 pm.

Reuben Jackson reads from his newest collection of poetry, Scattered Clouds, on Tuesday, October 8 at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont. The reading begins at 7:00 pm.

On Thursday, October 10 at 7:00 pm, The Vermont Bookshop in Middlebury, Vermont, is hosting the NER Vermont Reading Series, featuring four extraordinary writers: Emily Arnason Casey, Rahat Huda, Sara London, and Sarah Wolfson.

Shira Erlichman. Photo by Hieu Minh Nguyen

Shira Erlichman. Photo by Hieu Minh Nguyen

Poets L.S. McKee, Jennifer Sperry Steinorth, and Shira Erlichman will be reading at The Word Barn in Exeter, New Hampshire, on Friday, October 11, at 7:00 pm.

On Saturday, October 12, Montana author and activist Rick Bass offers a public reading and talk at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, Vermont, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm.

David Sedaris returns to the Lebanon Opera House in Lebanon, New Hampshire, on Sunday, October 13, at 7:30 pm for an evening featuring all-new stories, an audience Q&A, and a book signing.

The winners of the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards will be announced at Filene Auditorium at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire on Wednesday, October 16, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

The Brattleboro Literary Festival has a particularly stellar lineup this year for their weekend-long festival October 17 to 20. The 2019 schedule is now live on their website (and our calendar). Here are just a few of the writers we’re looking forward to seeing: Casey Cep, Anna Maria Hong, Miciah Bay Gault, Edgar Kunz, Dorothea Lasky, T Kira Madden, Jess Row, Mary Ruefle, Pitchaya Sudbanthad and Philip B. Williams.

M Jackson

M Jackson

On Tuesday, October 22 at 7:00 pm, geographer, adventurer, explorer, and Green Writers Press author M Jackson will be giving talk at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont, about how an Icelandic community is dealing with the loss of their local glaciers.

Jericho Brown reads as part of the Poetry at Bennington series on Wednesday, October 23, at 7:00 pm. The reading takes place in Tishman Lecture Hall on Bennington College’s campus in Bennington, Vermont.

Catch Peter Orner reading from his latest book of short stories, Maggie Brown & Others, at Dartmouth College’s Sanborn Library in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Thursday, October 24, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm.

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

 

Worth a Drive

  • If you’ll be in the Boston area the weekend of October 19 and 20, you should definitely pop over to The Boston Book Festival in Copley Square and Roxbury. Authors include Elizabeth Strout, Richard Blanco, Sarah Broom, Susan Choi, Akwaeke Emezi, Saeed Jones, Jamaica Kincaid, Sandra Newman, Morgan Parker, Kate Walbert, Chris Ware and so many more!

  • We can’t imagine a cooler event to attend than A Night of Poetry at Mount Holyoke College on Tuesday, October 8 at 7:00 pm to celebrate the release of Shira Erlichman’s newest collection, Odes to Lithium. Franny Choi and Ocean Vuong will be joining her to read and discuss. The event takes place at the Gamble Auditorium on Mount Holyoke’s campus in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

 

Worth a Listen

  • “Imagining a New America” with Ta-Nehisi Coates on the On Being podcast.

  • Give us all the Ruefle, all the time. Mary Ruefle is over at Bookworm and WMFA with two fabulous and very different interviews.

 

We're Looking Forward to These October Releases


Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

NHIA Storytelling Festival
This year’s Festival (November 2) calls for entries from artists based on ‘growing-up.’ Writers, storytellers, illustrators, graphic novelists, creatives working in a wide variety of other media (both professional or amateur), are invited to participate in this Moth Radio Hour-style event. The stories can be true or embellished and each presenter will be limited to five minutes.
Deadline: October 11 | Details

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

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

Tupleo Press’s Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize
Now accepting submissions for the annual poetry prize for adult writers. This year’s prize is judged by Cornelius Eady. The Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize includes a cash award of $1,000 in addition to publication by Tupelo Press, 25 copies of the winning title, an introductory reading at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, a book launch, and national distribution with energetic publicity and promotion.
Deadline: October 31 | Details

Bloodroot Literary Magazine
Submissions are open for Bloodroot, Volume 12. Send three to five pages of poetry or 10 to 12 pages of fiction and nonfiction in Microsoft Word format. For other work, like an experimental form or digital project, please send a one-page proposal and they will be in touch if they want to see more. They are looking for new, unpublished work.
Deadline: December 31 | Details

Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards
Submissions are open for the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards for Speculative Fiction, Debut Speculative Fiction, and Playwriting. For fiction, any work published or under contract to be published no earlier than January 1, 2019 and no later than December 31, 2019 is eligible. For plays they invite submissions of full-length plays addressing the question “What does it mean to be a human in a computerized world?” The fiction awards come with an honorarium of $5,000 to be received at an event at Dartmouth College. The playwriting award comes with a $5,000 honorarium as well as a support for a two-stage development process with table readings at local arts festivals.
Deadline: December 31 | Details

MacDowell Colony Summer 2020 Residency
Applications for the summer residencies (June 1 to September 30, 2020) open in mid October. The MacDowell Colony provides time, space, and an inspiring environment to artists of exceptional talent. A MacDowell Fellowship, or residency, consists of exclusive use of a studio, accommodations, and three prepared meals a day for up to eight weeks. There are no residency fees.
Deadline: January 15, 2020 | Details

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

Junction Magazine
Junction Magazine founder James Napoli has moved to Minneapolis. With his blessing, a local collective has decided to re-launch the magazine, and they invite you to contribute. Pitches and submissions should fit into one or several categories/subject areas: arts and culture, food and farm, people, wild, photo essays, and the calendar.
Deadline: rolling submissions | Details


Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Writing Personal Essays with Rebecca Jamieson
October 5, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

How do we write a stirring essay from the raw materials of our own lives, desires and curiosities? In this class, we’ll delve into the rich realm of the personal essay, looking at work from other writers and deepening our own craft through guided exercises.
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont | Cost: sliding scale | Details

Read Like a Writer/Write Like a Reader with Riki Moss
Six-part series starting October 5, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

In this six-part series, you’ll be reading contemporary, short fiction that suggests a craft strategy, a theme to explore with prompts. Fiction writers, and those writers interested in fiction, on all levels, are welcome. Open to Burlington Writers Workshop members.
Location: n/a | Cost: n/a | Details

Comics Workshop with Marek Bennett
October 5, 1:00 to 5:00 pm
Join New Hampshire teaching artist Marek Bennett for a hands-on comics creation lab, featuring basic techniques of cartooning, comics creation, and self-publishing. Learn to create and publish original comics based on primary sources of social justice activism in Vermont and elsewhere. No experience required.
Location: Billings Library at UVM, Burlington, Vermont | Cost: free | Details

In Change: Writing for Healing Workshop with Laurie McMillan
Saturday, October 5 and 12
There will be in-class exercises and sharing in a supportive lively environment. No writing experience necessary. You will gain insight, writing tools to keep focused, to let go and to process life's transitions.
Location: River Arts, Morrisville, Vermont | Cost: $55 | Details

Writing with Spirit with Nancy Kilgore
October 7, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

This is a group to practice spontaneous writing from-the-heart, creativity as play. To let it flow, not knowing what’s coming next, we just let ourselves write for 45 minutes, trusting the creativity that is within. This is a modification of the Amherst Method developed by Pat Schneider and is perfect for people just entering the writing life or for experienced writers needing to break out of a rut or block.
Location: The Burlington Writers Workshop, Burlington, Vermont | Cost: free | Details

Poetry Workshop with Kate Gibbel
Tuesdays October 8 to November 5, 6:15 to 8:15 pm
Are you having trouble making time and space to write poems? Are you new to poetry and want a structured environment where you can explore? Are you a seasoned poet looking for new approaches to writing? In this workshop we will experiment with new forms and techniques. Over the course of five weeks, we will strengthen our work and take risks in our writing. Through a combination of in-class writing exercises, workshops, and discussion of outside poems, we will develop reading and writing practices that will make us more attentive, generative, and generous poets. Participants will be expected to read three short poems and hand in one new poem each week.
Location: The Writer’s Center of White River Junction, Vermont | Cost: $100 | Details

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

Writing Intensive: Drafting, Developing, and Revising Your Work with Joni Cole
October 13, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Writers face a lot of very real challenges, from the intimidation of a blank page, to a sense of staleness during the drafting process, to a dearth of quality feedback. Fortunately, there are very real solutions to these challenges—which is the focus of this 3-hour intensive. During this interactive workshop, we’ll cover techniques of narrative craft essential to empowering your prose. You’ll find your muse (and likely not where you expected). And you’ll get instructive feedback to help you write forward productively. Bring 3-4ish double-spaced pages to read aloud. Open to new and seasoned writers serious about making progress.
Location: The Writers Center, White River Junction, Vermont | Cost: $115 | Details

Tiny Book Workshop
October 13, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Make a tiny book in recognition of National Book Month. Wear it as a necklace or give to a book loving friend!
Location: The Howe Library, Hanover, New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

One Story at a Time: A Writing Workshop with Joni Cole
October 15 and November 5, 6:30 to 8:00 pm

In appreciation for the Everyone is Reading selection Walking to Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel—and in appreciation of all our stories—please join us in this fun and meaningful workshop. You will be invited to write from a “prompt” as a means of mining material from your own life story. You also will have the opportunity to read aloud what you wrote and, equally powerful, listen as others share their voices, memories, and perspectives. Absolutely no writing experience is required, but aspiring authors in the workshop will pick up narrative techniques and tips on how to effectively craft memoirs or personal essays. Please bring a ready pen (or laptop) and an open mind.
Location: Howe Library, Hanover New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

Aspects of Creative Writing with Beth Stickney
Tuesdays, October 15 to November 19, 12:30 to 2:30 pm

Over the course of six two-hour sessions, we will explore the elements of showing and telling, characterization, setting, point of view, plot, and theme. Each session will include both reading and writing. We will look at models from classic and contemporary works for inspiration. The format will encourage sharing and feedback.
Location: Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, Vermont | Cost: $100 | Details

Poetry Workshop with Marie Harris and Deborah Brown
October 20, 2:00 to 3:00 pm

This workshop is designed to combine lessons and exercises on aspects of craft (image, diction, metaphor) with a small amount of critique and in-group writing. Open to the novice and to the published.
Location: MainStreet BookEnds & Gallery, Warner, New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

Magic in the Kettle: Writing Magical Realism in Fiction with Bianca Viñas
November 2, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Transport yourself from the ordinary into the realm of the fantastic. In this workshop, writers develop an eye for the bewitching, secretly hidden world of magic. We start with the ordinary and make the leap into the extraordinary. Hone the senses, pinch the nerves. Prepare to be immersed with live audioscapes, videos, and, of course, writing exercises. Equal measures mediation and imagination, this workshop will give you the eye for magic in fiction.
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont | Cost: sliding scale | Details

Gentleheartedness: A writing and Yoga Retreat with Deb Heimann and Joni Cole
November 3, 12:30 pm to 8:30 pm

As we ready ourselves for the various end-of-year holidays and cold starkness of the coming winter, many of us feel anxious, overwhelmed, and even grumpy. In this 8-hour retreat we welcome all who wish to cultivate gentleheartedness as a means of dissipating fear and anger and channeling the potency of kindness toward peace within ourselves and the world. We will call on ceremony to support our hearts; write from prompts that explore our relationship to peacefulness, gratitude, and tenderness; breathe and move in ways that nurture us; and share ourselves, our writing, and a meal.
Location: Good Commons Retreat Center, Plymouth, Vermont | Cost: $110 | Details

Travel Blogging and Web Design with Virginia Booth
Sundays, November 3, 10, and 17, 2:00 to 3:30 pm

Join Virginia Booth as she delves into a three-week series exploring the ins and outs of the various marketing strategies that we are exposed to daily, step by step on how to build your own website and the depths of travel blogging.
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont | Cost: sliding scale | Details

Vermont Humanities Council Fall Conference
November 15 to 16

Registration is open for the 2019 Fall Conference, “Searching for Home: Journeys, Quests and Migrations.” The conference includes talks and breakout sessions on the topic of “the search for home.” This year’s plenary speakers include essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon, clarinetist Kina Azmeh, Dr. Hasia Diner from New York University, and professor Carol Dougherty from Wellesley College.
Location: University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont | Cost: $149; $99 for students | Details

Writing Fiction with Ukamaka Olisakwe
November 16, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

In this workshop, writers will pay attention to how they consciously or unconsciously shape their character’s interiority, or what is also referred to as a character’s mental process, and the reader’s access or lack of access to them. We will consider some short stories/novel excerpts by some of my favorite writers and how they pay attention to the characters’ mental processes, as well as doing some writing of our own. You’ll leave the workshop with more insight into how to create complex characters, as well as new tools to bring into your own writing. Bring something to write with.
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont | Cost: sliding scale | Details

NaNoWrMo Rally: An Expressive Writing Workshop
November 18, 6:30 to 8:00 pm
The pressure’s on if you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month, the creative writing project that challenges participants to write a 50,000 word manuscript in November. Let us take some of that pressure off, with this fun expressive writing workshop that invites you to write from a prompt to develop a character….add a plot twist…or discover a scene that’s just been waiting to burst onto the page. Facilitator, Joni B. Cole, founder of the Writer’s Center of White River Junction. (For more info, visit www.jonibcole.com) Bring a notebook or laptop, and leave all self doubts at the door.
Location: Norwich Public Library, Norwich, Vermont | Cost: free | Details

Poetry of Protest with Rebecca Jamieson
December 7, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

What can poetry offer in times of political crisis? How have writers used their poetry as a form of resistance, and how might we follow their lead? In this class, we’ll explore these questions through discussion, writing prompts, and reading the diverse and powerful ways that other poets have approached these subjects in their work. You’ll leave the class with a better understanding of protest poetry, the beginnings of fresh poems of your own, and connection to a community of other writers. Bring something to write with.
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont | Cost: sliding scale | Details

Quiecence: A Yoga and Writing Workshop with Deb Heimann and Joni Cole
December 7, 9:00 am to noon

In this intimately-sized 3-hour “retreat” we welcome all who wish to revitalize their spirit through a combination of yoga and expressive writing. As part of the yoga practice, we will refresh through breathing exercises, poses to open channels of vitality, and heart-centered intention. We also will write from a “prompt” as a means of exploring our thoughts and feelings on the page, and sharing our journey forward. Absolutely no yoga or writing experience is required to attend this retreat.
Location: Central Street Yoga, Taftsville, Vermont | Cost: $55 | Details

The Dipper - February 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!

 

February News

Here in New England, we're in the quiet heart of winter. But the minutes of daylight are accumulating on either end of the day, and if you listen quietly you can just begin to hear the gathering pulse of the spring and summer reading season.

AWholeLife.jpg

There's still plenty happening in this in between month, though. If you're a regular Dipper reader, you already know about our Slow Club Book Club, which began in January and will go all year long. We're so happily surprised by how many of you are joining us for our first book, A Whole Life, by Robert Seethaler. Haven't joined yet? It's never too late! We'll be sending our next SCBC  newsletter out to subscribers soon.

Predictions of dicey weather forced the postponement of Robin MacArthur's January reading from her new novel, Heart Spring Mountain, at the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont. The new date is Friday, February 9, at 7:00 pm. We hope to see many of you there! In the meantime, you can read our interview with Robin on the blog.

Also starting Friday, February 9 is JAGFest 2.0 at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, Vermont. We recently had a chance to ask Nathan Yungerberg—author of Friday night's play, Esai's Table—a few questions. Check out our interview with Nathan.

In what looks to be an annual tradition for us, Shari and I are following in The Millions' footsteps, by sharing our "Year in Reading" with you. See Shari and Rebecca's lists on our blog. What were your favorite reads in 2017? Let us know and maybe can we share a reader's roundup here!

February's Shooting Stars

In this new feature, we'll each share one cool literary find to help light up your month...

Star.png
  • I'm eagerly anticipating Nafissa Thompson-Spires' new book, Heads of the Colored People. Check out her interview over at Electric Literature and pre-order her book from your local indie. —Shari
  • I'm loving the new blog, One Great Things, which delivers a mini literary review every Wednesday. So far, they've reviewed an essay, three poems, and a piece of flash fiction. I love their selections, insights, and enthusiasm. —Rebecca

February Highlights

James Crews (who was a featured poet at our Poetry & Pie event last year) will read from his book, Telling My Father, at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont, on Friday, February 9, at 6:00 pm.

Jennifer Tseng

Jennifer Tseng

Jennifer Tseng, poet and author of the chapbook The Passion of Woo & Isolde, will be reading at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday, February 12, at 5:30 pm.

On Thursday, February 15, the Young Writers Project hosts its annual Vermont Writes Day. Writers of all ages are invited to take seven minutes to write. You can write in response to one of the supplied prompts, or write anything you like. For more information, visit the Young Writers Project website.

Every third Thursday, the Upper Valley Food Co-op in White River Junction, Vermont, hosts the Lettuce Write Poetry Series, a cost-free, judgement-free, all-ages event open to every poet and listener! Write a poem that relates to the monthly theme, and share it with the group. The next meeting is Friday, February 16, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Bianca Stone has a new book of poetry, The Mobius Strip Club of Grief. Our friends Ruth and Jeremy at Antidote Books in Putney, Vermont, will be hosting an event for Bianca on Saturday, February 17, at 6:00 pm.

Haroon Moghul

Haroon Moghul

On Thursday, February 22, at 5:00 pm, Haroon Moghul, author of How to Be a Muslim: An American Story, will be leading a discussion and signing his book at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire.

On Friday, February 23, novelist James Scott, poet Julia Shipley, and essayist Jericho Parms will be reading at Cafe Anna, on the campus of the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vermont. The readings begin at 5:30 pm.

As a part of the Painted Word Poetry Series, Michael Dickman will be at the Fleming Art Museum in Burlington, Vermont, Wednesday, February 28, at 6:00 pm.

 

Worth a Drive

Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones

On Thursday, February 8, at 8:00 pm, poet CA Conrad will be reading in Amherst, Massachusetts, as a part of the UMass Amherst's Visiting Writers Series. The reading will be held at in the Great Hall at Old Chapel on the UMass campus.

Tayari Jones will be at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Monday, February 12, at 7:00 pm to read from her new novel, An American Marriage.

 

Worth a Listen

Shari loved David Naimon's interview with Leni Zumas on his podcast, Between The Covers.

 

We're Looking Forward to These February Releases

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The deadline to apply for one of Vermont Studio Center's 60+ month-long residency fellowships is February 15. All artists and writers living and working anywhere in the world are welcome to apply. For more information and to apply, please visit the VSC Fellowship page.

Bread Loaf Environmental Writers' Conference (June 1 to 7) is accepting applications through February 15. Faculty includes Brooks Haxton, Amber Flora Thomas, Luis Alberto Urrea, Ted Genoways, Deirdre Heekin, Scott Russell Sanders, and Ginger Strand. For more information, please visit the Conference page.

In neighboring Amherst, Massachusetts, applications are open for the Juniper Summer Writing Institute (July 17 to 24) and the Juniper Institute for Young Writers (July 22 to 29) at the University of Massachusetts. Faculty for the Juniper Summer Writing Institute includes Eileen Myles, Dorothea Lasky, Rickey Laurentiis, Dara Wier, Noy Holland, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Joy Williams. A non-refundable application fee for the Summer Writing Institute is required. There is no application fee for the Young Writers Institute. For more information about both institutes and to apply, please visit the Juniper Summer Writing Institute website.

    Hunger Mountain, the literary journal from VCFA, holds four annual contests: The Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction PrizeThe Hunger Mountain Creative Nonfiction PrizeThe Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, and The Katherine Patterson Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing. All contests are open to submissions through March 1. For more information, please visit their Contests page.

    Enter the Mass Poetry contest to have your poem included as part of Mass Poetry's Raining Poetry project. Excerpts from the winning poms will be displayed on the streets of Salem, Massachusetts to celebrate the 10th Massachusetts Poetry Festival (May 5 to 6). Use the submission form to submit up to three original poems on the broad theme of the body by March 1.

    The 2018 Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry is open for entries through March 30. The winner receives $1,000 and an invitation, with honorarium, to read in June 2018 as part of The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm. For more information and to enter, please visit the Frost Farm Prize page.

    Applications are open until March 31 for two scholarships at The Frost Place:

    • The Gregory Pardlo Scholarship for Emerging African American Poets is open to African American Poets writing in English who have published up to one book of poetry. The winner will receive a full scholarship to attend the Poetry Seminar, including room and board, and will give a featured reading at the Seminar. For more information, please visit the Gregory Pardlo Scholarship page.
    • The Latin@ Scholarship is open to applicants that self-identify as Latin@, have a strong commitment to the Latin@ community, and are at least 21 years of age. The winner will receive tuition, room and board, and travel for The Frost Place Conference on Poetry. For more information and to apply, please visit the Latin@ Scholarship page.

    Vermont Literary Review is taking submissions of creative work about New England until March 31. For more information, please visit Castleton University's website.

    The Odyssey Writing Workshop (June 4 to July 13) is accepting applications until April 7.  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 the VCFA Novel Retreat (May 15 to 21, 2018). 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.

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

    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.


    February Workshops and Classes

    February 9 to 11, Dani Shapiro will lead "The Stories We Carry: Meditation and Writing," a weekend-long workshop that blends meditation and movement, generative writing exercises, group sharing, and discussion. The workshop will be held at Kripalu, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Tuition is $375. For more information and to register, please visit the Event page.

    On February 10, Bill Biddle is offering a workshop entitled "Making Slam Poetry and Preparing to Compete in a Poetry Slam" at Catamount Arts. This workshop is intended for writers new to poetry slams and is geared toward ages 12 and up. The workshop is free but registration is required. For more information and to register, please visit Catamount Arts.

    Join author and associate professor in the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire, Tom Paine, for an hour-long webinar titled “The Secret Architecture of Short Fiction.” The workshop will be held online, on Monday, February 12, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. $10 for NHWP members; $25 for non-members. For more information and to register, please visit the New Hampshire Writers Project Workshops page.

    Steve Carter, co-owner of Maat Publishing is teaching a workshop called, "Making Scrivener Work for You" on Saturday, February 24, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. This workshop will show you how to use Scrivener to write the first draft, manage characters and settings, develop the structure of your writing, revise, prepare your manuscript to be shared with beta readers, editors, and publishers, make an ebook, and more. $50 for NHWP members. $75 for non-members. The workshop will be held at The Ford House on the SNHU Campus in Manchester, New Hampshire. For more information and to register, please visit the New Hampshire Writers' Project Workshops page.

    Judith Hertog is teaching a five-week course, Dare to Write!, from February 27 through March 27 at The Writer's Center in White River Junction, Vermont. The focus of the workshop is personal nonfiction but fiction writers are welcome, too. For more information and to register, please visit The Writer's Center Workshops page.

    Interview: Nathan Yungerberg

    In anticipation of JAGFest 2.0, we're delighted to publish interviews with some of the participating playwrights.

    This week's interview is with Nathan Yungerberg, whose play, Esai's Table, will be presented on Friday, February 9, at 7:30 pm at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, Vermont. For more information about the play and to purchase tickets, please visit the JAGFest website.


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    Literary North: What led you to becoming a playwright?

    Nathan Yungerberg: After many years of working as a photographer, I felt a desire to take my creativity to another level. I wanted to be able to sit in a room with my creative visions and watch them speak, move and interact rather than just seeing them expressed in a still photograph.

    LN: What inspired you to write this play?

    NY: The killing of Michael Brown was the impetus for this play. I was tired of seeing the menacing images the media would display of young Black men who had been shot and killed by the police. The fact that those images were the sole representation of the life of someone's child, brother, friend, and son was an insult to the entirety of their existence.  I wanted to create a space where the intricate layers, talents, and humanity of young Black men could be expressed and appreciated.

    LN: Why did you want to bring this play to JAGFest?

    NY: I met Jarvis last summer through a mutual connection, and I immediately sensed that we had shared values on many levels. I was inspired and impressed by what he was doing in VT, and as a Black writer the mission of JAG Productions is congruent with my aesthetic and artistic voice. 

    LN: What do you want the audience to take away from seeing your play?

    NY: I want their hearts to be filled with the beauty and humanity of the three young Black men in my story.


    Nathan Yungerberg is a Brooklyn-based playwright. His plays include Esai’s Table, The Son of Dawn, Pousada Azul, Orchids and Polka Dots, Golden Gate, Brush Strokes and Isosceles. Nathan’s work has been developed or featured  by The Cherry Lane Theatre (2017 Mentor Project with Stephen Adly Guirgis), The Playwrights’ Center,  Crowded Fire Theater, The Brooklyn Museum, The Nuyorican Poets Café , The Lorraine Hansberry Theater, Brava Theater, The Lark, The Fire This Time Festival, 48 Hours in Harlem, The National Black Theatre, The Hansberry Project, The National Black Theatre Festival, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Blackboard Reading Series, T. Schreiber Studio, The Dramatist Guild,  Flashpoint Theater, The August Wilson Red Door Project, New Venture Theater, The Brooklyn Generator, Multistages theater and BBC Radio Afternoon Drama. Nathan is one of seven black playwrights commissioned by The New Black Fest for HANDS UP: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments. Awards and honors: The 2016 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference (Semifinalist), Ken Davenport 10-Minute Play Festival (Winner), 11th Annual InspiraTO Festival (Finalist), and the Blue Ink Playwriting Award (Semifinalist).