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A Poetry Reading with Martin Espada and Lauren Marie Schmidt

When: Wednesday, April 18, 7:00pm

Where: The Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA


7 Women Writers Read

Friday, April 20, 7–9 p.m.

St. John’s Episcopal Church, 6 South Street, Ashfield, MA
Free + open to the public

Women Writers is a writing group from The Heart of Story, a suite of workshops led by Jane Roy Brown.

The Gallery of Readers Series Presents Bonnie Atkins & Meryl Cohn

 Bonnie Atkins and Meryl Cohn Reading from their recent work.
Sunday, April 22, 4 PM
Seelye Hall 106
Smith College
Northampton, Massachusetts
Poet, memoirist and fiction writer Bonnie Atkins lives with her wife and child in Easthampton at the foot of a mountain.  She works as a social worker and loves the sound of a fountain pen against paper.
Meryl Cohn is a playwright and author who recently started writing fiction. She studied psychology at Smith College and earned an MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is the author of the best-selling humor book Do What I Say: Ms. Behavior’s Guide to Gay and Lesbian Etiquette. She lives with her wife, novelist MB Caschetta, in Massachusetts.

Book Launch & Reading with Marion VanArsdell

Join us for a book launch and reading with author Marion VanArsdell,
Tuesday, April 24, 7 pm, at the Florence Civic Center.


A poetry reading especially for people who don’t drive after dark, or go out at night much. Or those who missed my first reading in Greenfield.

Mary Clare Powell will read from her latest book of poems, Everyday Ecstasy, on Thursday, April 26, at 3 pm at the Charlemont Federated Church, right on the Mohawk Train in the middle of Charlemont, on the right coming from the east.

Tea will be served, along with cookies, and we will eat and drink as we listen to poems in the Social Hall.

Everyday Ecstasy is a collection of poems about aging, but it is not gloomy. Of course, aging brings with it loss, but these poems celebrate things like hanging out laundry on the line, swimming in the river, making up what Dear Abby would advise about growing old, conversing with my GPS on a long car trip, etc. The poems are whimsical, and have been described by a poet friend as “praise songs of the ordinary.”

My partner, Vi Walker, will be playing the musical saw before the reading, and to accompany several of the poems. There will be friends, tea and cookies, poems to hear and good cheer. All are welcome!


Spring Weekly Writing Workshops at Patchwork Farm with Patricia Lee Lewis. 

Patricia Lee Lewis

Tuesdays or Thursdays beginning in May.  Watch spring turn into summer from the vantage of our little mountain in Westhampton.  Walk the trails, meet fellow writers and make progress on your writing project. Experienced and beginning writers alike meet weekly for meditation, guided writing sessions, and inspiring exercises. Individual consultations are included.

The weekly workshop is a wonderful way to take time out and allow the deeper levels of your own creative self to emerge onto the page. Besides all of this, we have fun.  More information here: http://writingretreats.org/weekly/

Stories for Justice writing workshop

 Stories invite us into a dramatic situation, one where something important is at stake. They can offer an experience of injustice, perhaps through an unexpected perspective, enticing us to consider the world in fresh ways. This is a writing workshop, designed for people who may never have written fiction but want to tell stories about injustice/justice. We will play with ways to move beyond headlines and slogans, to create characters, and write a short scene about something that matters. Note: Workshop participants should bring pen and paper, or a laptop.

Led by Ellen Meeropol
Saturday, June 2, 2018, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Nueva Esperanza, Holyoke.

This workshop is offered by the Sojourner Truth School. Free, but registration is required here.


Writing from you Life Retreat


Upcoming Workshops at Writers in Progress


Casting Characters for Memorable Fiction, with Cindy Littlefield


Writing the Personal Essay, with Sarah Buttenwieser

253362_10151497917928387_1847278697_nWe all have powerful stories, and the personal essay is a great way to tell them. But what makes a personal essay work? It turns out there are a few guidelines that can really help you master the form. This daylong workshop is for anyone who wants to write personal essays and is looking for concrete tips on how to do it well. We’ll go over some key elements of successful personal narratives. We’ll read a few essays, brainstorm topics, give and receive feedback on our essay ideas—and then, with some scaffolding in place, we’ll write. You will leave this workshop with a rough draft of your own personal essay. If that sounds impossible, trust me—I know you can do it!

Saturday, April 28, 9:30 am– 4:30 pm ($150) Register Now

Sarah Buttenwieser’s essays appeared in the New York Times, Washington PostPaste Magazine, Full Grown Peopleand many others. A freelance journalist, she’s also at work on a middle grade novel. She’s taught blogging workshops at WIP. She earned her MFA in fiction at Warren Wilson College.

Research and Backstory: Two Trouble Spots, with Jacqueline Sheehan:

5Research and Backstory are essential ingredients in fiction–they bring authority, authenticity, and depth to a story. But making all those fascinating facts work for you and not against you is tricky. Research can lead down a rabbit hole of evermore-tantalizing tidbits of information, bogging down process and product. Backstory is research’s evil twin, occasionally turning into an information dump that can overshadow the plot. In this workshop, we discuss the best sources and practices for research, and how to distill just enough into our stories to lend authenticity without making them dull. A terrific workshop!

Saturday, May 5th, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm ($150)  Register here

Jacqueline Sheehan, Ph.D. is the New York Times bestselling author of The Comet’s TaleLost & Found, Now & ThenPicture ThisThe Center of the World, and The Tiger in the House. She writes NPR commentaries, travel articles, and essays including the New York Times column, “Modern Love.” She edited the anthology, Women Writing in Prison. Jacqueline teaches workshops at Grub Street in Boston and around the world.  Find out more…  

How to Pitch (and Write!) That Freelance Article, with Kenneth R. Rosen

unnamed.jpgGetting published in a magazine takes perseverance, insight, advanced planning, and above all: patience. From Front-of-Book columns to Back-of-Book essays and all the long-form feature articles sandwiched between, this half-day workshop will cover how to pre-report a story, how to conceive and write a magazine pitch, and how to figure out whom to pitch. Writers need not bring anything other than a desire to learn and explore magazine publishing but feel free to bring 1-2 pre-written pitches if you have them for workshopping.

June 16th, 9 am -12 pm ($75)  Register Now

Kenneth R. Rosen is a senior news assistant at The New York Times and an independent journalist covering conflict and vice around the world. He is a Livingston Award finalist in international reporting for his coverage of the Battle of Mosul in Iraq. A contributing writer at Pacific Standard magazine, he has written for Harper’sWIRED, and The Atlantic, among other print and web publications.



WRITING RETREAT in Cumbrea, Scotland

Join us June 8-15, 2018
Patricia Lee Lewis, Jacqueline Sheehan, and Jane Mortifee will combine their energies for an unforgettable Creative Writing, Hatha Yoga and meditation retreat on the Isle of Cumbrae.
We will spend 8 days, 7 nights at The College of the Holy Spirit, set in 8 acres of woods and fields and five minutes from the broad seafront. Nearby Millport, with its beautiful curving bay and tiny harbor has from Victorian times been a favorite seaside resort, sheltered from sight of the mainland by its graceful hills and yet only a short ferry ride away. More here.

Writers and Artists Retreat in Ireland!

Join Us -

June 30-July 28, 2018
County Galway/Kinvara

Share a beautiful 5 bedroom home in the west of Ireland. Double and single rooms available. One week minimum. Shared kitchen, walking distance to town, 30 minutes from Shannon Airport. Master class in Hybrid Writing will be offered. July 16-29 is the Galway Arts Festival, an extravaganza of art, music, writing, and theater. Galway City is 30 minutes away. $400 for a double room per week (double bed) and $350 for a single room (twin bed) for a week. Literary gathering once a week—otherwise you are free to write or do your art. There are ferries to the Aran Islands from Galway and the Burren, Flaggy Shore, and the Cliffs of Moher are nearby. The small harbor town of Kinvara has traditional music and good restaurants. Shopping is about 15 minutes away though there are grocery shops in town and a wonderful Farmer’s Market once a week.
For information, contact Lisa C. Taylor lisactaylor22@gmail.com  

Straw Dog Member News!

Fate and Choices: No Regrets - New Memoir

New Straw Dog member - Reda Migeed has a new memoir "Fate and Choices: No Regrets, self-published at Amazon, and it is on sale now and Create Space too,  as well as the front page of the Wilbraham-Hampden Times,  March 15, 2018.

Reda will be at two Local Author Fairs on Saturday, April 14, 2018 :

10 a.m. to Noon @ Wilbraham Public Library, Wilbraham, MA

12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. @ Springfield Central Library



Call for Readers

Voices for Resistance: a celebration
is scheduled for Monday, June 4, 7 pm at the Forbes Library Coolidge Museum. 
If you would like to read a short piece (under 4 minutes) that addresses social justice/injustice, please send an email with your name to ellenmeeropol@gmail.com BEFORE April 30. 
We will pick names for half the slots from those who contact us. The other slots will be chosen, also randomly, the evening of the event on June 4. 


Paperbark Literary Magazine, Issue 1: Emergence
Be a part of our first ever issue! Submissions Deadline: Friday, April 13
Submissions received after April 13th will be considered for publication on our website and/or in Issue 2.
Emergence. The beginning. The first movements to beyond. Simultaneously rooted and pressing forward. This is our start, our coming into being, our inception. Here, we are celebrating the new, the groundbreaking, and the onward—work that is timely, important, that perhaps has not existed before, that is malleable and still being shaped, that looks to the future while recognizing the past. This work is bold, unafraid, and grapples with multiple localities. It reaches.
Paperbark Literary Magazine is an expression of the intellectual and artistic currents working to shape collective consciousness about issues of sustainability in the information age. Born in New England, Paperbark draws on the unique heritage and culture of the region to support and stimulate creative engagement with progressive ideas. Rooted in themes of stewardship, innovation, and possibility, Paperbark strives to illuminate the impacts of human society while nurturing our intrinsic capacity to catalyze positive change.
For more information, please visit https://www.paperbarkmag.org/submitting-to-paperbark/

Green Fire Writers

Do you care passionately about our world? 

Do you want to use writing or other forms of creative expression to make a difference?

If so, you should contribute to Fired Up!

Editors Jana Laiz and Jennifer Browdy seek writing in any genre, along with photography, short videos or podcasts that express positive, forward-thinking perspectives on where we are now as individuals and as a society and envision the better world we hope to create.

We accept submissions on a rolling basis and will publish a new online edition once a month. 
Check out our submission guidelines here: http://www.greenfirewriters.com/firedup/submit/


Consultation w/ Gail Thomas


Poet and teacher Gail Thomas is available for individual consultation on your poetry submissions, manuscripts and residency applications. With more than 40 years of publishing and teaching experience, Gail offers feedback that not only focuses on your writing goals, but also strengthens your craft. Contact her at gailthomaspoet@gmail.com
Website: http://www.gailthomaspoet.com/

Manuscript Review by D M Gordon

Want your writing to be the best it can be? Aching to be published? Thinking of an MFA? Why not work with an individual editor first. I’m less expensive than a low-residency program, with more focused, extensive attention. I work with post-MFA grads towards publication, poetry, and prose, as well as writers first seeking to share their work. From query letters to self-publication, we can discuss your immediate goals and how to achieve them. A prize-winning poet and fiction writer, and an experienced, respectful editor in multiple genres, I’d love to talk with you.

Visit my website at www.dmgordoneditorial.com for more information, then write to me, Diana Gordon, at dmgordon@comcast.net. I look forward to hearing from you.

Body-Mind Centering work with Beth Goren

Gentle and effective hands-on sessions in the Body-Mind Centering work. Beth is a certified and registered teacher-practitioner with 40+ years of practice. She offers sliding scale rates for elders via her Hands-on Elders non-profit. Approach bones, muscles, nerves, glands, fluids, organs, voice/reading with integrity. Single session or series.

Learn more: www.bethgoren.com

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