Sara London

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

Interview: Sara London

Sometimes the right book falls into your hands at just the right time, and that’s how we feel about Sara London’s new collection of poems, Upkeep, which is released today by Four Way Books. The poems in Upkeep feel somehow like burnished stones, solid and familiar in the hand, yet full of surprising veins and glinting minerals. Every word feels perfectly etched just where it ought to be, making each poem feel so fully formed you can’t imagine them being written any other way.

Through these poems, Sara London traces the pain of losing someone dear, the paths to finding a solid grip on the world again, and the ways we can all be both strangers and neighbors to each other. As the poet Tom Sleigh put it, “…her work embodies what Seamus Heaney once called ‘the steadfastness of speech articulation,’ in which her care for language is continuous with her care for other people and the world.”

We are so delighted that Sara agreed to do an interview with us, and we are even more delighted that Upkeep is here in the world at last! Go get your copy, and then read it out loud!

Sara will be reading along with Sue Burton at the Fleming Museum of Art in Burlington, Vermont, on Thursday, September 12 as part of the Painted Word Poetry Series. This is a great opportunity to see two wildly talented poets in one great evening.

 
Upkeep.jpg
 

Literary North: Upkeep begins with an epigraph from Seamus Heaney's “Clearances" and contains a poem titled “Letter to Seamus." The language in your poems also certainly shares a linguistic heritage with Heaney's poems (blunt, concrete, chewy, Anglo-Saxon vocabulary). Can you speak a bit about your connection to Heaney and his influence on this book and your writing?

Sara London: I love your adjective “chewy” to describe Heaney’s diction—those tongue-to-teeth words that afford so much pleasurable munching for the reader. His language dazzled me early on, the alliteration and percussiveness of the consonance, the imagery, his invocations of a rural Irish childhood amongst frogs and bogs. And his edibles, blackberries of course (“when the bath was filled we found a fur”), oysters (“The frond-lipped, brine-stung / Glut of privilege”), and milk’s “scuts of froth.” I love all his books, but Death of a Naturalist was a revelation to me as a young poet, and I still go to his many volumes and teach his poems routinely.

Within that lyrical feast, there are loamy, pitted layers of human complexity. It was a treat to hear him read on a few occasions, and when he and his wife Mary visited Smith College, I was able to join a more intimate afternoon chat with students. He struck me as a deeply generous, wise and unpretentious man. His sonnet cycle, “Clearances,” an elegy in memory of his mother, is one I return to again and again. And on the topic of language, in one section, he writes of his mother’s feeling of verbal inadequacy. “She’d manage something hampered and askew” — which makes the speaker “naw and aye /…relapse into the wrong / Grammar which kept us allied and at bay.” (Of course the Irish-inflected idiom is a famously rich dish, no matter the grammar!) I still feel sad that he’s gone—that big, profound poetic heart.

LN
: Speaking of language, we were struck (and comforted) by your use of Yiddish in several poems. Did you grow up with Yiddish as part of your language at home? Does it enter your poetry naturally? How does it feel to play with multiple languages in a poem?

SL: My grandparents and great aunts and uncles (all gone now) would sometimes spice their English with Yiddish asides. These were uttered amidst laughter for private commentary or as punchlines inappropriate for the youngsters around the dinner table. And they used endearments like shayner-kops (“pretty heads”) for my sisters and me. Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish was as thumbed through as any dictionary or encyclopedia in my parents’ home.

My father seemed to take special pleasure in the humorous application of Yiddish, and in translating for us. I’ve kept a note he wrote in Yiddish after making a quick stop at my house in Northampton many years ago. In part, it reads: “Ich hob zum der w/c (oo) geganger . . . Das ist alles. Pa!” The full translation he provided reads: “I came, I saw, I drank a glass of water, I used the facilities, I sat on the porch. Be well, I love you, thanks, that is all — Dad!” For me, my father will always be associated in part with that older world in which Yiddish commonly punctuated Jewish American conversation. (These days, Yiddish is mostly used among Orthodox Jews.)

I love the sound of the language, though sadly I know little of it myself. (For Yiddish enthusiasts out there: Philip Roth has a hilarious riff on the word “pupik,” belly button, in Operation Shylock, where he perfectly characterizes the “sonic prankishness of the [word’s] two syllabic pops…” And I recommend Aaron Lansky’s Outwitting History, his richly anecdotal account of founding the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts.)

LN: The Martian poem series in the section titled “Fugitive You" is clearly about someone considered alien to our world or culture, but maybe not a true interplanetary alien. "Rain on the Red Planet," for example, made us think of the Jew as an alien in America. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the Martian poems and the interplay between Judaism and "Martianism"?

SL: So many thoughts converged in that poem. As we uncover more details about Mars, we come closer to “touching” the red planet, yet human touch comes with such serious liabilities historically and environmentally. There’s an apocalyptic note in that “hard rain.” And though I wasn’t making an explicit association between Martians (aliens) and Jews, I can see how one might decipher a link. The persecuted Jew and the Jewish immigrant hover as ghosts in some of my poems; they’re fixtures of my cultural and historical imagination I suppose. The Martian I’ve imagined, on the other hand, dwells in a sort of cosmic innocence—alien, yet safely so.

But the Martian series actually began as a sort of linguistic thought experiment: How might I describe both mundane and more profound aspects of human experience to “someone” who doesn’t know our world? It began with the playground swing—that universal apparatus of “escape” and “return”; children’s first release into “space.” I wanted to capture that uniquely kinesthetic sensation anew, “without any irritable reaching after fact and reason,” as Keats once put it. So the Martian became my test audience, but grew quickly “real” and complex for me, a being from afar for whom I grew increasingly affectionate. Not a god, but perhaps a sort of analogue of myself—a “nobody” in another realm of space and time, who became for me a pulsing “somebody” on the far side of my grief.

LN: The book includes several touching and personal poems about your father's death. What was your experience in writing these poems? How does it feel to be sharing them with the world (including your family)?

SL: Death is such a strange thing—there’s nothing commensurate, nothing like the thrust of close personal loss to so unsteady us. It’s a bit surreal. When I think of those days now, my father’s dying, I see it as a kind of cruel yet fascinating “magic” played upon the family, that “there/not there” conundrum. In that last phase, there’s an intensified physicality, as we note each breath; we lean in closer and closer, yet ultimately the very mystery of endings holds us at bay. We remain “outside” the experience.

An odd theatricality characterized my father’s last days—there was much that I couldn’t write about. Of course, there’s such a highly personal aspect to this sort of writing; a lot of raw emotion involved. One hopes that family members will understand that these privacies of grief are also shared, gleaming, human moments—they’re ours, yet also part of the sweeping mortal saga. I’m so grateful to have had poetry and family to help me through that time. And if my poems resonate with anyone, that’s a true bonus. The work simply flooded forth; never before or since have I been as prolific. The elegy is a vital inherited form, and poets’ lives are in some ways spent in preparation for a dip into these powerful waters.

LN: Did this collection begin with a specific idea or poem? How did the experience of writing this book—your second—differ from writing the first (The Tyranny of Milk, 2010)? What do you look for when you are gathering poems together to put in a collection?

SL: Unlike the first book, this one came together tonally, through elegy, though it took some time to get it all right. Organizationally, it was tricky; many poems focus on my father, but not all. And issues of tone created some challenges—the question of how to blend the humor, irony and sobriety in a way that would make for dynamic and logical reading and provide that desired “narrative arc.” I ended up taking out at least ten poems from the original manuscript (mostly more topical poems). And, at my editor’s wise suggestion, I placed the Martian poems at the front of the book rather than at the end, where they’d originally been. (They’re the most recent work in the book.) I think this reversal helped establish a more surprising, and, ideally, a more interesting point of view at the outset. I thought I’d go on to address this alien figure for a longer series (a couple of Martian poems were not included), but my weirdly extraterrestrial imagination proved finite. The Martian just stopped visiting. Nonetheless, I keep a glass of luminescent milk on my windowsill, in case my poem-pal returns!

LN: What are the simple things that you encounter in a day that might move you to begin a new poem? Do you keep a notebook?

It’s hard to say just where most of my poems come from, but reading good contemporary poetry inspires me to write; reading has always been ignition for me. But often a memory or a phrase will come unbidden, and I’ll write something down that might develop into a poem. Observation, experience, memory—all feed my impulse to write. And I’m always eager to get those initial pen scratches onto the computer. I’m an inveterate reviser; my first drafts are typically weak. But I try to nail that first inspiration quickly, so I don’t lose it, and then I work on poems for months. I make notes constantly—words, ideas, images, phrases, little sparks that could lead me to greater illumination. I don’t use a single notebook; I’m not that organized or particular, but I do put scraps in (paper) files, to keep track of poems when they’ve made it to the “in-progress” phase.

LN: The final poem in the collection ("New Worlds") feels so uplifting after many poems of sadness: "the heart's / pipes never yet wrung, old tubes, they play on." What was the source of this poem and how did you choose it to cap the collection?

SL: That poem, dedicated to the Ghanaian-born artist El Anatsui, was, in fact, unique in that I wrote it for a Mount Holyoke College Art Museum exhibition catalogue. As a member of the MHC InterArts Council, I worked with an interdisciplinary team of faculty members involved in collaborating on the Anatsui exhibition catalogue. His dazzling bottle-top sculptural pieces inspired the poem, and my own memory of collecting bottle caps in Mexico as a child helped me respond very personally to his process of trash-redemption. I was thrilled to meet him when he came to campus to talk about his work. And I wanted my book to close on a note of affirmation. I’m passionate about the visual arts in general, and for many years wrote arts journalism and reviewed contemporary exhibitions. I also love ekphrastic poetry (poems about art) and often teach it in my classes. I find that visits to art museums can be poetically soul-pumping.

LN: What is the most memorable thing you've read this summer?

SL: The most memorable book of poetry I’ve read in recent years is Tyehimba Jess’s Olio. The artful ambitiousness of that collection, its use of many forms and employment of technical acrobatics (his graphically sprung “syncopated sonnets,” for example), is truly inspiring. The poems are instructive historically, and awaken a world of voices from unheralded African American musicians and performers of the past. The book is a paean to lost artists, and a political statement so crucial to our moment.

As for what I’m reading now: a fascinating study of empathy in the primate world, Frans De Waal’s Mama’s Last Hug. This summer has been one of interruptions, so I’ve begun a number of excellent books that I’m still finishing: Margo Jefferson’s Negroland; Tom Sleigh’s new essay collection, The Land Between Two Rivers; Tracy K. Smith’s Ordinary Light and Patrick Donnelly’s Little Known Operas. In these terribly distracting and very troubling times, stretches of reading are too often broken up. But I’m always eager for the kind of linguistic, intellectual and emotional pleasure that’s most reliably found amidst the pages of books. I treasure that simple task of scrutinizing words, roaming among lines of poems—like Heaney’s lantern of Diogenes in “The Haw Lantern” —for that one honest thought.

 
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Sara London is the author of Upkeep and The Tyranny of Milk, both published by Four Way Books. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including The Common, Quarterly West, The Hudson Review, Poetry East, The Iowa Review and the Poetry Daily anthology. She teaches at Smith College, and has also taught at Mount Holyoke and Amherst colleges. Sara is the poetry editor at The Woven Tale Press. She lives in Northampton, MA.

The Dipper - September 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

 

September News

Welcome to September! We hope you all had a good August, read some books, attended a reading or two, and maybe even wrote a thing or two. Although we took August off from writing The Dipper, that doesn’t mean we were lazing in our hammocks. Oh no. We’ve been up to stuff…

Our first Poetry & Pie in 2017 was just our third event and it was a major leap for this fledgling organization. We learned a lot that first time out and Poetry & Pie II was even better. But, you know, we think that this year’s Poetry & Pie was our best one yet! We owe much of the day’s success to the many talented, patient, and energetic people who help make our literary dreams come true. Our grateful thanks to all of you for making this event not only possible but perfect. We can’t wait to do it all again with you next summer!

As if Poetry & Pie weren’t amazing enough on its own, the day also marked the release of our first Little Dipper chapbook, Half-Fabulous Whales, by Rena J. Mosteirin. Little Dippers are produced as limited editions of 25, numbered and signed. They have letterpressed covers and are hand-stitched with linen thread that matches the cover’s ink color. Creating these books has been a dream of ours for some time and we’re thrilled with how they’ve turned out. We’re busy working on the second edition, an essay by Ben Cosgrove, which we intend to release by the end of the year. Although Edition 1 is sold out, you can visit the Little Dipper page for more information about the Little Dipper series and to download a free digital version of Half-Fabulous Whales.

One of our favorite things about the Slow Club Book Club is that we really are slow… and quiet. Sometimes we hear from members about their thoughts about the current book, but, even when we don’t, we really enjoy knowing you’re all out there, reading along at your own pace. We recently sent a check-in newsletter to members about the current book, Tove Jansson’s The Woman Who Borrowed Memories. We’ll soon be announcing our final book in our year of Women in Translation. Visit our Slow Club Book Club page for more information.

Have you heard about Ducks, Newburyport, by Lucy Ellmann, which has been longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize? The Guardian says this “1000-page monologue of an angst-ridden US homemaker fretting about love, loss and the state of the nation is an unabashed triumph.” Already released in the UK and coming out on September 10 in the US, this book is really calling to us. In fact, we have a crazy idea: let’s read this behemoth together! We’re still finalizing the plan, but the general idea is to work our way through the book at a steady pace of about 50 pages a week starting on September 20. If you’re up for the challenge, sign up for the Ducks, Newburyport Read Along and we’ll be in touch on September 10 with more details.

September, Schmeptember! It’s still summer in our our hearts, which means you still have time to complete your Adult Summer Reading Bingo card and claim your “Still North, Still Reading” tote bag from Allie Levy of Still North Books & Bar (opening later this year in Hanover, New Hampshire). To play, just download the card, and note the books you’ve read that match the card’s categories. Once you have “bingo,” take a photo of your completed card and email it to hi@stillnorthbooks.com. You’ll win a “Still North, Still Reading” tote!

Speaking of summer, we’ve been busy collecting and sharing summer reading lists on our blog. Check out the lists from Allie Levy of Still North Books & Bar; Becky Karush, creator and host of the READ TO ME podcast; writer and musician Ben Cosgrove; Angela Evancie, host of the Brave Little State podcast; Christopher Hermelin and Drew Broussard of the So Many Damn Books podcast; reader, writer, and book lover P. T. Smith; and Katherine Forbes Riley, author of The Bobcat. If you can’t find a book in all those lists to carry you into October, we need to know!

Miciah Bay Gault’s debut novel, Goodnight Stranger, came out on July 30 to much acclaim (in fact, The New York Times just included Goodnight Stranger in their The Shortlist column). Miciah, who teaches in the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and coordinates the Vermont Book Award, graciously answered all our questions about her book and her writing process in an interview on our blog.

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When Becky Karush, creator and host of the READ TO ME podcast, asked us to suggest a book for her podcast, we didn't hesitate! Mary Ruefle's Madness, Rack, and Honey is one of our favorites. We love the way Becky found her way into this book, which she initially found challenging. As she put it, “How do you read work that makes you feel... stupid?…It moves faster than I can catch. I get wavery inside. I slap up walls between me and the work to protect myself — and I am lost. This is why Mary Ruefle's MADNESS, RACK, AND HONEY is a gift.” While you’re on the READ TO ME site, check out the other episodes too; you’re sure to find an episode that appeals to your reading tastes.


September’s Shooting Stars

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

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September Highlights

On Thursday, September 5, a group of New England Poets will gather at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire, to read from the recently published Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall. The reading by Matt Forrest Esenwine, Kyle Potvin, Scott T. Hutchison, Jessica Purdy, Andrew Periale, and James Fowler begins at 6:00 pm.

Sydney Lea

Sydney Lea

On Friday, September 6 at 6:00 pm, you have a difficult choice: either catch former Poet Laureate of Vermont Sydney Lea reading from Here, his thirteenth poetry collection, at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont, or see award-winning poet Phillip Williams reading at the Frost Stone House Museum in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

David Shields, Rita Banerjee, and Frances Cannon kick off the Vermont College of Fine Arts Fall 2019 Reading Series at Cafe Anna on the VCFA campus in Montpelier, Vermont, on Wednesday, September 11. The series continues on Friday, September 27, with readings by Janaka Stucky, Miciah Bay Gault, and Erin Stalcup. All readings begin at 5:30 pm.

Sue Burton

Sue Burton

Also on Wednesday, September 11, Madeline ffitch is reading from her new and widely acclaimed novel, Stay and Fight, at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire, at 6:00 pm.

Poets Sue Burton and Sara London are reading at the Fleming Museum of Art on Thursday, September 12, in Burlington, Vermont, as part of the Painted Word Poetry Series. The reading begins at 7:00 pm.

Patrick Donnelly ends this year’s Hyla Brook Reading Series with a reading on Thursday, September 12, at 6:30 pm, at The Frost Farm in Derry, New Hampshire.

Chen Chen. Photo by Jess Chen

Chen Chen. Photo by Jess Chen

The AVA Gallery’s quarterly story-telling series, The Mudroom, returns on Thursday, September 12, in Lebanon, New Hampshire, with the theme “Breaking the Rules.” Food is available for purchase starting at 6:30 pm. The storytelling begins at 7:00 pm. Tickets go quickly for this event, so grab yours soon.

The 5th Annual New Hampshire Poetry Festival is on Saturday, September 14, at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire. This year’s festival features headline reader Ilya Kaminsky. Workshop leaders are Chen Chen, Patrick Donnelly, Maudelle Driskell, and Joan Houlihan. Visit the Festival website for more information and to register.

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison

Join a community celebration of Toni Morrison at 118 Elliot in Brattleboro, Vermont, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm on Saturday, September 14. The event will feature local writers and community members reading the work of Ms. Morrison, followed by an open mic for others to share brief statements, quotes and favorite lines by the author.

The Kent’s Corner annual Words Out Loud series begins on Sunday, September 15, with readings by novelist Susan Ritz and poet Sue Burton. The series continues on September 22 with Rick Winston and Elizabeth A. I. Powell, and on September 29 with Daniel Lusk and Janet Pocorobba. All readings take place at the Old West Church in Calais, Vermont, and begin at 3:00 pm.

Best-selling author Emma Donoghue (Room) presents her latest novel, Akin, at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire, at 6:00 pm on Thursday, September 19.

On Wednesday, September 25, see novelist Rachel Lyon read as part of Bennington College’s Fall Literature Readings. The reading will be held in Franklin House on the Bennington campus from 7:00 to 8:00 pm.

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The Burlington Book Festival arrives on the scene September 27 to 29 at various locations in the Queen City including The Fletcher Free Library and Contois Auditorium. Garret Keizer gives the inaugural reading and the festival is dedicated to Governor Madeleine Kunin. Other participating authors include Peter Money, Nancy Richardson, Megan Price, and Emily Bernard. This year’s Festival features “Says You! The Inside Story,” a special benefit event. Please visit the Festival website for the full schedule of events.

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

 

Worth a Drive

  • Amherst Poetry Festival - September 19 to 22 in Amherst, Massachusetts. The Festival kicks off with a block party and poetry slam on September 19. Workshops, readings by Paisley Rekdal, Adrian Matejka, Paige Lewis, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Melanie Goodreaux, and Alicia Mountain, and more. Plus the annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon, a one-day reading of all 1,789 of Emily Dickinson’s poems!

  • BLK FMNNST Loaner Library 1989–2019, Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts - September 25 (also meets November 7 and December 5) - A community book club facilitated by Gwendolyn Van Sant. The book for the September event is Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.

 

Worth a Listen

We’ve been saving up podcast episodes since we didn’t have an August Dipper. Here’s a bunch of truly riveting conversations for you!

  • Max Porter discussing his novel, Lanny, with David Naimon on Between the Covers was quite memorable and fantastic.

  • Don’t miss Aimee Nezhukumatathil with Franny Choi and Danez Smith on the VS podcast.

  • Mira Jacob on So Many Damn Books!

  • Local author Peter Orner on KCRW’s Bookworm discusses his latest, Maggie Brown & Others, with Michael Silverblatt. And while you are over at Bookworm, don’t miss the conversation with Ocean Vuong all about proximity.

  • Julia Phillips discusses the inspiration for her debut, Disappearing Earth, with Maris Kreizman on The Maris Review.

  • Sarah Broom’s conversation with Paul Holdengraber on A Phone Call From Paul was so inspiring. Her book, The Yellow House, is at the top of our stack.

 

We're Looking Forward to These September Releases


Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

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

Northern Woodlands Conference
Register now to attend this year’s Northern Woodlands Conference (October 18-20) at the Hulbert Outdoor Center in Fairlee, Vermont. The conference is a fun, informal weekend and vibrant mix of speakers. This year’s gathering includes natural history talks, readings, writing workshops, and hands-on experiences, from nature journaling to photography to late-season bee lining! Featuring presentations by David Carroll, Chris Maynard, Laurel Symes, Wyatt Oswald, and a special celebration in honor of Northern Woodland’s 25 anniversary. $225 to $425.
Deadline: September 30 | Details

“Poems of New Hampshire” Poetry Contest
This contest, sponsored by the Peterborough Poetry Project, is open to anyone living in, visiting, or intrigued by New Hampshire may enter by writing and submitting up to three original unpublished poems on the theme of "New Hampshire, past, present, future, or fantasy." The writers of the first-, second-, and third-place poems will win $75, $35, and $25, respectively.
Deadline: September 30 | Details

SNHU Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction
Applications are open for the January 2020 cohort. You will spend two years honing your skills in a small cohort of students, learning from national best-selling and award-winning authors, and receiving personal consultation from leading agents and editors. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. $40 application fee.
Deadline: October 1 | Details

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

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

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

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

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

Igniting Creativity with James Crews
Saturdays starting September 7, 1:00 to 3:30 pm

Many of us have the idea that poetry is some abstract, inaccessible craft reserved for those in obscure academic circles. As this workshop will reveal, however, beautiful and moving poetry can emerge from the details of everyday life. Each week, we will work from examples and prompts that invite us to turn the so-called ordinary objects, images and memories of our lives into fuel for extraordinary art that reaches out and touches others. All skill levels are welcome.
Location: Equinox Village, Manchester, Vermont | Cost: $75 | Details

Writing Intensive: Drafting, Developing, and Revising Your Work with Joni Cole
September 8, 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. 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. Open to new and seasoned writers serious about making progress. Space is very limited.
Location: Writer’s Center of White River Junction, Vermont | Cost: $115 | Details

Writing Ecopsychology: Nature Writing and Personal Narrative with Carly Wynn
Sundays, September 8 to 29, 1:00 to 2:30 pm

The natural world provides ample opportunity to connect with our creative selves. Words can be harnessed to capture the essence of our most profound experiences in nature, and to share those experiences with readers. This class is an opportunity to take a deep dive into personal experiences in nature and their link to the emotional currents of our lives. No prior ecopsychology experience necessary, though participants should come prepared to write about their experiences in nature and how these experiences link to personal or universal themes.
Location: Writer’s Center of White River Junction, Vermont | Cost: $145 | Details

OSHER @Dartmouth Fall Term
September 16 to November 15
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth is a volunteer, non-profit (501c3) organization that provides educational programs year-round for residents in the greater Upper Valley and North Haverhill. The coming term offers a variety of classes in writing and literature, including classes on James Joyce’s Ulysses, writing and telling the well-told story, reading graphic novels, Shakespeare, John Updike, participating in writing circles, and writing poetry. Classes are open to members only ($70 annual fee).
Location: Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire | Cost: $40 to $80 | Details

Introduction to Bookbinding: Making a Pamphlet with Deborah Howe
September 9, 5:00 to 6:30 pm

In this workshop you will make single signature, pamphlets with covered boards and possibly double signature pamphlets. Variations of pamphlet binding, tool cleaning, and brush cleaning will also be reviewed.
Location: Dartmouth Book Arts Workshop, Hanover, New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

Practicing Non-Judgement: A Meditation and Writing Retreat with Jeffrey Slayton and Joni Cole
September 20, 5:30 to 8:00 pm

As humans, part of our mind’s natural capacity is to analyze and try to make sense of our experience. When this process is unconscious we can have a tendency for our analysis to turn into habitual judgement of others and ourselves. This workshop offers participants the opportunity to practice ways of letting go of blame and judgment; to shift our minds into a more open, supportive, and tranquil space. During this retreat we will practice sitting and walking meditation. We also will write from a “prompt,” as a means of inspiring a freedom of expression and rich creative flow. Absolutely no meditation or writing experience is required to attend this retreat.
Location: Shambala Center of White River Junction, Vermont | Cost: free but donations are appreciated | Details

Ways of Re-seeing in Words: Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop with Rick Agran and Karla Van Vliet
September 22, 9:00 to 11:00 am

In this workshop participants select a compelling work of art from the reVision exhibit and seek to celebrate and explore it in words.
Location: Kent Museum, Calais, Vermont | Cost: free | Details

Fall Writing Workshop with Robin MacArthur
Tuesdays, September 24 to October 29, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

This supportive, encouraging and semi-formal workshop is for writers of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry. Both new and established writers are welcome, though we do have an application process for this intimate session. In this six-week workshop, we will get to know one another and our goals. We will do some generative work, talk a lot about process and some about craft, and create a generous circle of (gentle) feedback.
Location: Word House, Brattleboro, Vermont | Cost: $180 | Details

Writing Memoir: A Sense of Memory with Jenny Gelfan
Thursdays, September 24 to November 12

Our lives are full of stories: comedies, dramas, mysteries, the wonders of everyday moments. This class will guide you to dive in and gather images, sounds, fragrances, feelings, and experiences, that you can capture in words. These fragments together tell a story about each life. The class' focus will be on exploration. You will write from prompts, have an opportunity to read what others have written, and enjoy each other’s creativity.
Location: AVA Gallery, Lebanon, New Hampshire | Cost: $25 | Details

Sustenance: A Yoga and Expressive Writing Workshop with Deb Heimann and Joni Cole
September 28, 12:00 to 3:00 pm

In this intimately-sized three-hour “retreat” we welcome all who wish to reap the warmth and sustenance within ourselves, as a means of preparing for the winter ahead. As part of the yoga experience, we will practice breathing exercises, poses to nourish us, and heart-centered intention. We also will write from a “prompt” as a means of exploring and harvesting our thoughts and feelings on the page and aloud. Absolutely no yoga or writing experience is required to attend this retreat.
Location: Upper Valley Yoga, White River Junction, Vermont | Cost: 55 | Details

Letterpress Intensive Informational Meeting: Bilingual Poetry with Won Chung
September 29, 2:00 to 3:00 pm

The Letterpress Intensive workshop is offering an opportunity to explore letterpress typography by typesetting and printing poetry interlined with its translation in a second language and typeface. Participants will learn about historic typefaces and how to hand set and print a short poem of their choice using movable metal type. At the end of this introductory session, attendees can decide if they would like to register to participate in this workshop. Subsequent sessions will be held on Sunday afternoons from 2:00 to 5:00 pm through the term.
Location: Dartmouth Book Arts Workshop, Hanover, New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

The Art of Writing: The Power of Visual Media in Storytelling
September 28, 8:30 am to 3:15 pm
The League of Vermont Writers’ fall Gathering. Details are still being finalized. Check their website for more information.
Location: St. Albans Historical Society & Museum, St. Albans, Vermont | Cost: $47 non-members, $32 members | Details

Family, Memory, Place: Writing Family Stories with Maura MacNeil
September 29, 3:00 to 4:00 pm

What family stories do you carry with you? What story do you tell over and over? What landscape do you cherish the most? One of the deepest human instincts is to tell our life stories, to figure out who we are and what it means to be human. This interactive workshop explores how the landscapes of our lives shape the stories that we tell. Participants explore the themes of family, memory, and place through sample narratives and a series of short writing exercises, gaining a deeper awareness of how their stories can preserve personal, generational, and communal history.
Location: Plainfield Town Hall, Plainfield, New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

Comics Workshop with Marek Bennett
October 5
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

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

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