May 7, 2012

Writers in the Mountains

Logo B&Wis a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing. Our workshops are informal, ordinarily held in six sessions. Each participant has the chance to read aloud either a new work, or a work in progress. The instructor and the other writers in the workshop will critique the writing, offer constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement.

The number of participants in a workshop will vary from as few as six to as many as twelve. We want to be sure that each participant has an opportunity to read and receive evaluations. At the end of the workshop a public reading is arranged so that the work can be shared with the community. Some of our participants have no writing experience at all and others have written for years. There are workshops geared toward all styles, genres, and experience. All that is required is a love of language and the desire to tell a story.

                                                                                                                                       Logo Design by Katie Miller                                                                                


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Celebrating A Quarter-Century of Creative Writing and Community in the Catskills

WIM 25



Writers in the Mountains’ Fifth Annual Catskills Literary Festival

SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2018 FROM 12 NOON TO 4 P.M.  


43311 State Hwy 28, Arkville, NY


Writers in the Mountains (WIM) invites you to its annual literary arts and community event and celebration Writers Unbound, the fifth in our series of annual literary festivalsThis year the event takes place once again at the Union Grove Distillery in Arkville, NY, on Sunday, April 29 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Union Grove is housed in a big old barnlike building featuring comfortable spaces fitted with stainless steel and copper and wood, a roaring fireplace, and the percolation of fine spirits—along with its wonderful owners and staff, it makes for a perfect environment in which to listen to, talk about, and think about books and writing.

The daylong event welcomes all writers and readers, artists and audience, and community members from every walk to enjoy a warm gathering of successful and fascinating writers, illustrators, editors, educators, booksellers, and publishers from Syracuse to New York City and points between and beyond.

This year’s keynote speaker is Jan Albert. Albert has storytelling in her blood. Her father, Marvin H. Albert, a prodigious fiction writer, produced over one hundred novels (from westerns to private-eye series) under his name and five pseudonyms, and wrote movies for Frank Sinatra and Sidney Poitier, among others. But when it came to her own life’s work, Albert stuck with the facts, since the “stranger-than- fiction”/ “you-couldn’t-make-this-stuff-up” true-life tales of the people she’s met traveling the world and the streets of New York City, producing and writing for radio, television, documentary film, newspapers, museums, magazines, and the Internet have never failed to amaze and inspire her.

Albert began her career at WBAI, a public radio station in New York, where she interviewed hundreds of creative artists, including Al Hirschfeld, Stephane Grappelli, Lillian Hellman, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Joan Didion, and Harold Pinter. Also at WBAI, she produced and hosted Behind the Screens, a long-running series of talks with film directors, actors, writers, and producers, followed by A Minute at the Movies, a series of one-minute film reviews heard on WNYC and National Public Radio.

After several years at the Village Voice, where she ran the city desk, Jan moved on to television, crafting news pieces and documentaries for CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, A&E, Lifetime, and the History Channel. She’s worked with legends like Bill Moyers, Diane Sawyer, Walter Cronkite, Mike Wallace, and Ed Bradley, and her television and radio work has been recognized with two Emmys, a Cable Ace Award, and the Armstrong and CPB Awards.

Albert has also written for newspapers and magazines, including the Village Voice, the NY Daily News, and the Columbia Journalism Review, and has written audio tours and multimedia presentations for the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Intrepid Museum, and other institutions throughout the U.S. and in India, where she crossed Rajasthan, to tell the stories behind some of the region’s greatest forts and palaces. Currently she is blogging for PsychologyToday.com. Jan and her husband, Dick Demenus, co-founder of Tekserve (New York City’s original Apple store) split their time between New York City and Pine Hill.

This year’s featured poet is Beth Lisick. Lisick is a writer, actor, and the author of five books, including the New York Times bestseller Everybody Into the Pool. Her work has been published in various magazines and journals, including Best American Poetry. She co-founded San Francisco’s Porchlight storytelling series, traveled the country with the Sister Spit performance tours, and received a Creative Work Fund grant for a chapbook series with Creativity Explored, a San Francisco studio for artists with developmental disabilities. Lisick has appeared in films that have screened at Cannes, Sundance, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. She is a resident of Brooklyn and West Hurley and is currently finishing her first novel.

Come by to shop for books directly from their authors, hear readings and peer-to-peer discussions (always with a Q and A element), join in an enticing raffle (books are the prize, of course), and vote in the Best Book Cover contest. Union Grove’s hand-crafted vodka drinks as well as beer and soft drinks will be on sale. (Note, there is no food sold at Union Grove, but the Arkville Bread & Breakfast Diner is right next door.)

The program is as follows:

12:30 p.m.—Poetry Reading hosted by Sharon Israel, author of Voice Lesson / Featured Poet Beth Lisick 

1:00 p.m.—Publishing Panel / Group Discussion Addressing the Latest News and Trends in Publishing

Panelists include Leslie T. Sharpe (author), Sari Botton (editor), Anique Taylor (educator), and Roz Foster (literary agent). Moderated by Simona David.

1:30 p.m.—Keynote Address with Jan Albert 

2:30 p.m.—Illustrator’s Moment with cookbook editor Carrie Bradley Neves and illustrator and children’s book author Durga Yael Bernhard 

3:00 p.m. —Writing Fiction: Leaping from the Known to Unknown with Ginnah Howard

3:30 p.m. — Catskill Fish Stories / Angler Tall Tales: The Ones That Didn’t Get Away, reading moderated by Dr. Bil Birns (readers include Stephen Sautner, Leslie T. Sharpe, Anique Taylor, and Sharon Israel)   

4:00 p.m. — The Bounty of Books Raffle, with a prize of ten selected book titles, will be awarded (come early, tickets are limited!), and the winner of the Best Cover Contest will be announced.

Throughout the day, participating authors will read from their works and share their stories with the audience.



May 7 – June 18, 2018 (skipping Memorial Day)

Andes Public Library

Andes, NY

Writers in the Mountains (WIM) presents The Journey from Theme to Images to Poem with Sharon Ruetenik, May 7 to June 18, 2018 (skipping Memorial Day). The class will be held Mondays, 6 to 8 pm, at the Andes Public Library.

This class will embrace the message of the Song Dynasty poet Wei T’ai, “Poetry presents the thing in order to convey the feeling. It should be precise about the thing and reticent about the feeling.”  We will use a series of umbrella themes that participants may interpret in a way meaningful to them. Emphasis will be on the use of imagery and narrative to express an emotional landscape. Themes will include “Home Sweet Home,” “In the Still of the Night,” “Animal Planet,” “Once Upon A Time,” “Into the Woods,” and “How Does Your Garden Grow?” Both beginning and advanced writers are encouraged to attend, share their work, and give and receive helpful feedback from the other members of our group.  The instructor will supply weekly samples and prompts.

Sharon Ruetenik is the author of a poetry chapbook, The Wooden Bowl. She is currently working on a manuscript of sevenlings. Her work has appeared in print and online journals, most recently The Green Door. Ruetenik was awarded a poetry fellowship at the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. As a speaker for the New York Council for the Humanities, she has lectured on short stories, novellas, and poetry. Her day job is working at SUNY Delhi as the coordinator of the Writing Center, the international student advisor, and adjunct instructor in composition and literature. Ruetenik lives in Delhi with her family, which includes many large dogs and several indolent cats.

To register, call Jean Stone at (607) 326-4802, or e-mail her at jtstone@catskill.net. To register online, go to Register Online page. Class fee is $70, if you register and pay by April 16, and $85 after that.

Writers in the Mountains is a 501 ( c ) (3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing. Online at writersinthemountains.org.



Seeing Nature in Words:

A Nature Writing Workshop with Leslie T. Sharpe

(Author of THE QUARRY FOX and Other Critters of the Wild Catskills)

Sunday, May 20, 11AM to 2PM

Delaware County Historical Association, Delhi NY

Whether one is writing to change the world, or for the simple pleasure of recording one’s observations in a notebook, the relationship between the observer and nature is, at its core, always personal and intensely felt. It is this passion that has made nature writing so dynamic and also so accessible, to read and to write. The goal of “Seeing Nature in Words: A Nature Writing Workshop” is to encourage writers to explore their own special relationship with the natural world—whether that relationship is to the Catskills or a backyard garden, expressed as a description of a single flower or as an essay probing an environmental issue—in their own true voice.

Writers will be asked to write a maximum of 1,000 words, which translates into approximately 4 pages, double-spaced, TNR, 12 pt. to share with the class. (Writers will also be encouraged to submit their writing in advance, via email, to Leslie and the rest of the class, so that one’s writing may achieve maximum attention.) Journaling, or for that matter blogging, as in recording impressions in a naturalist’s notebook, is fine, and we will work to sharpen the writer’s eye and descriptive details.  But if a writer aspires to write a finished personal essay, perhaps even for submission, with fully developed subject and theme, we will support that too.

Leslie’s approach, as an editor, as well as a writing teacher, is to find what works in the writing and to build on that. And that approach is rooted in her respect for every writer, and their work. What is especially important for writers is a workshop environment that allows them to feel safe—safe to express themselves, their thoughts and feelings, as well as observations—especially when working in those creative nonfiction forms (journaling, personal essay, memoir) that use the first person “I” voice, and that speak directly out of one’s personal experience.

Leslie is an author, editor, and educator. She began her editing career at Farrar, Straus & Giroux and is currently an editorial consultant specializing in literary nonfiction, literary fiction, and poetry. A member of PEN American Center, she is the author of Editing Fact and Fiction: A Concise Guide to Book Editing (Cambridge University Press), which is regarded as the “modern editing classic.” Leslie was a regular contributor to New York Newsday’s “Urban ‘I’” column, and her essays and articles have appeared in a wide variety of publications including the Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Global City Review, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, New York Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, and Village Voice, The Villager, The Writer, and Psychology Today. Her poems for children have appeared in Ladybug Magazine, and she is currently at work on a poetry collection, Little Possums Book of Poems. She recently finished her memoir, Our Fractured, Perfect Selves. Her new book, The Quarry Fox and Other Tales of the Wild Catskills, a lyric narrative look at the wild animals of the Catskill Mountains, was published by The Overlook Press in the spring of 2017. Leslie has taught writing and editing at Columbia University, New York University and the City College of New York.

To register, call Jean Stone at (607) 326-4802, or e-mail her at jtstone@catskill.net. To register online, go to Register Online page. Class fee is $35.

Writers in the Mountains is a 501 ( c ) (3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing.




Call for Submissions – Raining Poetry & Painting in Roxbury 2018

Dear poets, a contest for you.  We’re raining poetry again this July!  Looking forward to all your entries.  Please reply before or on deadline.  No late submissions will be considered.  Your poem must be six words.  Not one word more or less. Please consider a small syllable count.  Creative brevity is key to all.

As you may have noticed, the paragraph above is made up of sentences of only six words a piece. That’s the challenge for this year.  We want original SIX WORD poems from you. Subjects for poems will be open, but we encourage works connected to the Catskills. Poems meeting length restrictions will be selected through a blind-judging committee of three, and overseen by Writers in the Mountains.

Once again, our public street project, modeled after Boston’s Raining Poetry Project, opens on July 7th in happy conjunction with the 2018 Celebrate Roxbury Summer Festival (over 1,500 visitors in 2017) and will feature approximately 20 poems stenciled on Roxbury sidewalks using biodegradable water-repellent spray. They will not be visible in dry weather.  Watering cans will be placed near each poem & visual response on opening day. Visitors will walk through town in search of the watering cans, and then sprinkle the water onto the sidewalk to reveal the poems & paintings.


Also, this year, we are thrilled to welcome visual artists to our project – now titled Raining Poetry & Painting in Roxbury 2018.  We are pairing artists with our selected poems, and will stencil their visual response on the sidewalk next to the poem. This is a fun and unexpected way to expose people to poetry and the synergy between different art forms.  Poems and art will work together to bring new energy and beauty to our project.

An open-air reception for poets and artists will follow (details to come). Participating Poets will be invited to read their works and answer questions from the audience.

Please send submissions to jtstone@catskill.net no later than April 16, 2018. Include your name, address, and phone number, in addition to your email address.

Raining Poetry & Painting in Roxbury 2018, sponsored by Writers in the Mountains, is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered in Delaware County by the Roxbury Arts Group.

Writers in the Mountains is a 501 ( c ) (3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing.


Poem submitted by Esther Cohen in 2017





“The subject will choose you,” Holly George-Warren



Writers Unbound 2017. FOR MORE PHOTOS CLICK HERE





Creative Nonfiction Workshop with Anique Taylor

“With provocative and inspired reading assignments, fun and imaginative homework, and stimulating group discussion combined with compassionate, supportive feedback, Anique Taylor’s Creative Nonfiction class is a cultivated environment where writers can flourish and expand ideas and concepts creatively and safely.” Bonnie Lykes, Boiceville

“I’m excited to take this course. Anique provides interesting reading assignments, meditations, writing exercises, and examples that can be applied to your work in progress. The class also offers an opportunity to share your writings and gain valuable feedback from Anique and fellow classmates. It’s a warm and supportive environment. I highly recommend this course.” Heather Marsten, Woodstock  




“WIM is THE premier organization for writers to gather and learn from each other, informally, and also in the many excellent and thoroughly professional course offerings, in the Catskills. WIM events, such as Writers Unbound, allow writers the opportunity to share their works with the public, to preview their writing, and also exchange practical information that is so helpful for fathoming the marketplace. The atmosphere at all these events is down to earth, warm, and very helpful. And just plain fun! Most of all, WIM provides a support system for writers. Which all of us, no matter how well published, need.” Leslie T. Sharpe, Walton

Meet the Authors – Third Annual Catskills Book Festival was great. Thanks for having me!” Sari Botton, Kingston

“I had the most wonderful time. It was very well organized, warm, entertaining, and educational. Looking forward to their next event. What a terrific organization!” Susan Wilbur, Greenwood Lake

“I just wanted to say that I had a fantastic time. Thank you for including me.” Craig Sanders, New York City

“A wonderful event yesterday! Loved your panel and all the writers who were part of the festival. Keynote speaker Rosie Schaap was amazing as well as the distillery / location.” Melisse Seleck, Phoenicia 

“The book festival was amazing, thank you!” Becca Andre, Roxbury




“What a wonderful event – I love WIM!” Lissa Kiernan, West Hurley

“The best writers in Delaware County. Better writing than at the 92nd Street Y – The Center for Culture in America. Some serious, some insightful, some funny, and some sad – anything you can dream of reading or hearing. It was the best I’ve heard in more than a decade in these mountains.”  Merna Popper, Andes


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