Writerly Happenings: Summertime Edition For July (and Maybe August)

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Listen, it’s summer and we are keeping it loose. This edition of Writerly Happenings is being brought to you by “Spontaneity and All The Popsicles,” and may contain happenings in both July and August. 

Katie’s Summer Reading List - no shame. #SaveTheMagazines

Katie’s Summer Reading List - no shame. #SaveTheMagazines

On The Nightstands…

In that same spirit, this edition of What Are We Reading is keeping it real and not worried about intellectual heft. Our fearless leader Katie confesses that she went to Rite Aid and bought all of the rag magazines and a Clive Cussler book for summer reading. She is on a quest to save the magazines. Right now, you’ll find all of them at big box stores. So, people need to buy them. You can pick up your favorites at Rite Aid too. And Vogel Pharmacy, if you’re out near Leo’s.

Managing Editor Marilyn Perez is reading “Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life” by Charlotte Bell for the third time! She comes back to it every couple years, and I can only assume it helps to inform her excellent yoga teaching at Firefly Yoga in Fishkill.  

As for me, I’m staying informed about local events and maintaining a very low overhead by enjoying the Chronogram and Edible Hudson Valley (yay, Weed Issue!) and the award-winning Highlands Current.

So then, what’s happening all around us?

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Writerly Happenings Around Town

Split Rock Books has this pretty incredible offsite event with author Benjamin Dreyer, discussing his book at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival on Friday, July 12. I’ve heard a lot of great things about his book, “Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style.” 

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Saturday, July 20, competes for your heart and mine with an intergalactic event at BAU. Matt Clifton and Larry Sansone are organizing a reading alongside an exhibition of Sam Beste and Elizabeth Arnold’s artwork. The subject is space exploration (in tandem with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission) and the fragility of life on earth.

Also that night, there’s another Spring Street Reading Series over at Atlas Studios in Newburgh. “Women and their Bonding,” from 7 to 8:30 pm, features writers Laura Brown and Idra Novey and is curated by Ruth Danon.

On Sunday, July 28, you could take a workshop with Donna Minkowitz, who will also be reading at Get Lit on Sunday, July 14, at Oak Vino. In the Beacon Summer Memoir Intensive, participants “write about our lives using the five senses, lyricism, emotion, critical thinking, and the art of storytelling." Then on Saturday, August 24, she is offering Writing From the Body at Wyld Womyn. This is a memoir workshop for all who identify as women, nonbinary or trans, and want to write about their “lives, sensations, pains, pleasures, and feelings of all kinds.”

Speaking of Get Lit, there’s a great interview with the righteous Ronnie Farley up on their website, and on Sunday, August 11, from 5 to 8 pm at Oak Vino they will feature poet Catherine Arra. Their lineup is looking very interesting for the fall, too.

And while we’re on the subject of of 50th anniversaries, on Tuesday, August 13, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, you can head to the Howland Public Library in Beacon to hear local author Sharon Watts discuss her newest book, “By the Time I Got to Woodstock - An Illustrated Memoir of a Reluctant Hippie Chick,” which she both wrote and illustrated! 

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Farther afield, there’s this fascinating series happening up in Hudson that I’m really intrigued by - The Home School Poetry Readings at Time and Space Limited - and they have a pretty stellar (interstellar?) lineup of writers. 

Also I saw a very pretty picture of some lucky writer working away at the Kingston Writer’s Studio and felt such envy! They are all booked up for members, but you can get a day pass and write all the things.

So then, if you Writerly Types can put down your magazine and climb out of the hammock, come join us. There will be air conditioning and no judgment about your summer trash-reading game. We’ll be tailgating out front with a popsicle.

Writerly Happenings: Friends Who Knew My Cat Way Back When (AKA April Writerly Events)

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We’ve made it to the light of April!

What Everyone Is Reading :: Theme: Friends Who Knew My Cat

The wind is blowing, seasonal allergies are beginning their ravaging Times Square hustle, and the sunsets are magnificent! But March dug her jagged little nails in at the very end and I had to put my cat of 16 years to sleep. So this introduction to Writerly Happenings will honor the reading habits of Friends Who Knew My Cat Way Back When.

Firstly, About My Cat

I rescued her as a tiny kitten from the roof of a crack house on South 12th Street on the way home from work in Philadelphia one July, and that all seems like a lifetime ago. The fact that I just eagerly started “I Must Be Living Twice” by Eileen Myles is fitting, I think.

When I got home with the kitten, my roommate, Miriam Singer, was an absolute angel about the new addition biting her toes. Right now she’s reading “M Train” by Patti Smith but feeling so-so about it. Maybe she should try “Evening in Paradise,” a collection of short stories by Lucia Berlin, because I am swooning over it. Swooning!

Our downstairs neighbor Alexandra was a champion of both cats and pink champagne at happy hour, and she is now reading “The Art of Communicating” by Thich Nhat Hanh and “Who I Am” by Pete Townshend. She once gave me a Freddie Mercury biography by Lesley-Ann Jones that I ate up with a spoon, so her rock memoir recommendations are solid.

Back In The Hudson Valley Writing Community

This event has already passed, but you should know about it, that on Sunday, April 7, you could have gone to Get Lit at Oak Vino and read for 5 minutes yourself, and/or enjoyed featured writer (and visual artist) Will Lessard and writer and musician Mike Faloon. (Don’t miss another Get Lit.)

Get Lit is sponsoring a book drive for Special Education English classrooms at Beacon High School for Get Caught Reading month in May! They’ve teamed up with Binnacle Books, and you can help contribute! A Little Beacon Blog already wrote all about it here. Binnacle Books is otherwise taking a break for their monthly Book Club for a hot minute, partly because they were producing this event, “Reframing Urban Renewal: A Presentation and Discussion,” which was at Fullerton Center in Newburgh for a discussion about urban renewal in the Hudson Valley. It explored creative ways of mobilizing a contested landscape and featured panelists including Ben Schulman of Newburgh Packet, David Hochfelder and Anne Pfau of 98 acres and University of Albany, and artist, academic, and author of “Contested City,” Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani.

Down In Cold Spring…

In the meantime, Split Rock Books in Cold Spring came back from their winter break with a vengeance and is offering approximately 7,000 things for you to do in April. I’m super interested in their reading on Saturday, April 13, with “author, poet and professor Caroline Hagood. ‘In Ways of Looking at a Woman’, a book-length essay that interweaves memoir with film and literary history, Caroline Hagood assumes the role of detective to ask, what is a ‘woman,’ ‘mother,’ and ‘writer’?” There’s also a discussion on Thursday, April 18, of “An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History #3)” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, which I’ve been wanting to read. On Thursday, May 16, Split Rock is hosting Susan Choi for her new book “Trust Exercise”. She just got a big write up in the New York Times.

Back In Beacon…

The phenomenal poet Edwin Torres is teaching a series of workshops on Saturdays at Beahive, aiming “to align our natural tri-lingual voice, our voice, with the humanity that defines us. “ Sounds so very good to me!

Thursday, April 18, is “Poem in Your Pocket Day,” as part of National Poetry Month and you should totally put a poem in your pocket and then give it to someone. Also, sign up for Poem-A-Day emails while you are at it! Meanwhile, have you seen the postcard books at Binnacle Books from local publisher Paravion Press, who is located in the old Beacon High School off Fishkill Avenue? So neat.

John Blesso’s Adult Stories is back on Sunday, April 28, if you want to share your work at Oak Vino. Looking ahead to May, we are certain that The Artichoke on Saturday, May 25, is going to sell out again, so maybe get those tickets now!

In the spoken word world…

On Saturday, April 20, there’s Poughetry Fest 2019, a not-to-be-missed festival of spoken and written word at the Cunneen-Hackett Center in Poughkeepsie. There will be a Youth Open Mic hosted by Derick Cross, LGBTQ Open Mic hosted by Jen Herman, the Calling All Poets Series hosted by Mike Jurkovic, the Poet Laureate Room featuring the newly appointed Hudson Valley & beyond Poet Laureates, and the Audre Lorde Room co-curated by Armando Batista. Amazing lineup!

In Newburgh…

Also Ruth Danon is teaming up with Atlas Studios to curate the monthly Spring Street Reading Series beginning on Friday, May 17, with Beacon’s own Julie Chibbaro and NYC hot ticket Laura Sims. We will be there with bells on. Well, we’ll probably take them off before the reading so as not to make a scene.

Also, up in Saugerties they are celebrating poetry all month with readings and sidewalk haiku and poetry and potions/purls and pints(oh my!).

Saturday, April 27, is “Independent Bookstore Day,” so give your local bookseller some big love that can’t fit into a big box.

Got more ideas about where to go for the writerliest of happenings? Please be in touch! phoebe@alittlebeaconblog.com. Or just let me know what you are reading and loving these days.

Writerly Happenings: Live Storytelling, Book Releases & New Writing Opportunities!

Hi Hi Hi! It’s Phoebe here. It’s been so long, I know, did you miss me? We wanted to wait til after the holidays to round up the best of the local literary scene and now we have eaten all the brie and there are so many good writerly happenings afoot to attend! We will do them all! We are leaning in to 2019! Actually, we are so tired, we are mostly falling over, but the love of the written word sustains us, does it not? (Love of the written word, and brie - life sustainers.)

But first we need to discuss what to read right now. This is the transitional part, like when Mr. Rogers changes his shoes and cardigan. (Why, oh why, won’t he ever pick the red one?) 

So… I’m currently reading “The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz, which is threatening to turn me into the woman with too many rings on who can’t shut up about the amazingly transformational book she is reading. Also I just ate up the delicious entirety of the new memoir “She Wants It” by Jill Soloway, the creator of “Transparent,” and I highly recommend. Still working on “Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje.

I also asked around for recs. Kristen Holt-Browning, writer and editor and co-producer of Get Lit, just finished reading “Northwood” by Maryse Meijer, a sort of novella-in-poems. She says it's a dark, twisty, fairytale-ish story of desire and obsession and also a physically gorgeous object, with white text printed on black pages. Sounds fierce.

Extremely well-published and well-coifed writer Lily Burana is reading “Thick” by Kiese Laymon, and “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel” by Alexander Chee. She’s happily frolicking in the bumper crop of essay collections that have been published in the past few years.

Ok. I’m ready now. Let’s lean/fall/dive/plunge/bellyflop on in.

January 2019 Writerly Happenings 

This Weekend!

The Artichoke at the Howland. Saturday, January 12, 7:30 pm, is sold out online, but not sure if there will be additional tickets at the door. Mentioning here anyway because it is just so cool that this is coming to Beacon. It’s an evening of live storytelling by The Artichoke, hosted by Drew Prochaska and featuring Sandi Marx (seven-time Grand Slam Winner, The Moth), Jeff Simmermon (Grand Slam Winner, The Moth; This American Life), Drew Prochaska (Risk!; Story Collider), Richard Cardillo (Risk!; Stories from the Stage, Susan Kent (The Moth), Micaela Blei (Grand Slam Winner, The Moth), Vanessa Golenia (Risk!) and John Blesso. Can’t get in? Well there’s another chance to do something similar on Sunday the 20th, but you must read on.

Also on Second Saturday is a book release event for Traffic Street Press’ "Trafficking in Poetry" series. The book "Manos Sucias/Dirty Hands" is a collaboration between Paulette Myers-Rich, the visual artist Greg Slick and poet Seán Monagle. A limited number of copies are available for purchase at the book signing at No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Works on Main Street from 3 to 8 pm. 

Get Lit is happening this Sunday, January 13, from 5 to 8 pm at Oak Vino. The featured speakers will be authors Jessie Chaffee and Brendan Kiely, and as always, anyone who wants to read is invited to sign up to do so at the beginning of the event - bring two or three pages of original writing to share. But also if you are new to writing, or sharing your writing, you answer the monthly prompt about what your New Year’s resolutions are, and then sign up for a one-minute slot. Literally, it’s just a hot minute.

Also In January!

On Sunday, January 20 at Dogwood at 5 pm, John Blesso will be hosting the first installment of “Adult Stories,” a new and developing monthly storytelling series that intends to be like The Moth, but edgier. He’s looking for people willing to share “funny stories, harrowing stories, sex stories, emotionally charged stories, and inebriation/bad-choice stories.” If you’re interested please send him pitches for stories between six and ten minutes long! He’s working with Donna Minkowitz and Drew Prochaska on this, if you miss The Artichoke, or just want more storytelling. All the stories!

What’s that about local memoir writer Donna Minkowitz? Funky Spunky Literature Night (Redux) is a game-show-like Community Memoir Write-a-Thon with prizes for the best sentences and scenes that audience members write about their own lives. She will be joined by professional storyteller Lorraine Hartin-Gelardi at Quinn’s on Wednesday, January 30, from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. She’s also got an 8-Week Memoir-Writing Workshop coming up, focused on craft, particularly on using the five senses, lyricism, emotion, storytelling, and critical insight to create profound and relatable works of memoir. Wednesday nights from February 6 through March 27, 7 to 9 pm. To apply, please email minkowitz46@gmail.com with a one-page writing sample.

Poet and teacher extraordinaire Ruth Danon (to whom I’m a bit partial, not going to even pretend otherwise) is going to start writing improvisation classes the week of January 29. Currently she’s planning on Tuesdays, from 9:30 am to 12 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm, but the time can be flexible based on everyone’s schedules… The fee is $275 for eight weeks and includes a private conference (at least one) and a public reading. Contact ruthdanonpoetry@gmail.com for more information.

Beacon’s magnificent Binnacle Books is featuring “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai for its next book club. I loved that book. So, so much sobbing. This month the book club will meet at the bookstore, but often is at Dennings Point Distillery.

And just downstream (or not, as our majestic and tidal Hudson River flows both ways) in Cold Spring, Split Rock books has a million events, or at least five, to get you through January and smarter on the other end.

The divine “Out Stealing Horses” by Per Petterson was the January book club choice at the Beacon Library, and we were sad to miss it, but the pick for February is “The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper” by Phaedra Patrick and it sounds charming. The Butterfield Library in Cold Spring has a writing workshop with Susan Wallach in January and almost always a box of free books to rummage.

As always, we want to big up independent bookstores that may be a bit farther afield:

Rough Draft in Kingston has happy hours, sip and writes and plenty of other happenings; the Golden Notebook in Woodstock has a terrific event lineup, as usual; and we are wanting to go check out Oblong Books which has somehow escaped our research until now. We’ll report back next month.

Now dear reader, go put on a cardigan and some fresh slippers and get to it. Write! Read! Make it happen!