Support Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers 2015

Support Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers 2015!

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Breena Clarke and Cheryl Clarke



For FESTIVAL 2015 

the weekend of September 11, 12 &13th 

in Hobart, New York, Book Village of the Catskills 

Nancy K. Bereanonkb-photo

Mermer Blakeslee: mermerBlakeslee  

Esther Cohen: Esther Cohen

Simona David:Simona David

                                                               Alexis De Veaux:deveaux_alexis

Julie R Enszer: Julie Enszer

Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa: dahlma-llanos-figueroa ”

                                              Maria Mazziotti Gillan Maria Mazziotti Gillan:

  Jewelle Gomez: Jewelle Gomez

                                     Ginnah Howard: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  JP Howard (aka Juliet P. Howard): JPHoward

Linda Lowen: Linda_Lowen

                             Stephanie Nikolopoulos: SNikolopoulos

Bessy Reyna:PR-Bessy_Reyna bolton  

                                                Bertha Rogers: BERTHA HEADSHOT 101113  

  Kat Rosenfield:Kat Rosenfield

 Sophfronia Scott Sophfronia Scott:

                           Mecca Jamilah Sullivan: Mecca Jamilah Sullivan  



Spotlight: Esther Cohen

16Back by popular demand, Esther Cohen returns for her third year as an invited writer to the Hobart Festival of Women Writers. This year she will be teaching the two-day writing intensive Sing, Cry, Explore, Laugh, and Tell: How to Tell a Good Story.  (for a full workshop description)

Esther Cohen’s writing spans genres. She is the author of Don’t Mind Me: And Other Jewish Lies with illustrations by Roz Chast; the novels No Charge for Looking and Book Doctor; and two volumes of poetry, God Is a Tree and prayerbook. In 2000 she began Unseen America, an ongoing project in which homecare workers, migrants, nannies, and others among the working class tell their life stories through the photographs they take in their daily lives.   
15  18  17  God Is A Tree
Originally from New Haven, Connecticut, Cohen now divides her time between Manhattan and Cornwallville, New York. She blogs daily at  
Esther Cohen shared her thoughts on women needing a room of their own as well as her passion for collaborative projects with fellow returning Festival participant Stephanie Nikolopoulos.
Nikolopoulos: Your home is stunning with its overflowing bookshelves, backyard porch lit with candles, and outdoor shower. Virginia Woolf wrote that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she wants to write fiction.” What sort of “room” do you need, as a poet and novelist, both in terms of the physical space and the means and opportunity to write? 
Cohen: What I think we all need to write (I would NEVER EVER disagree with Virginia Woolf but it isn’t so easy to have a room of our own. Especially those of us who live with other people in small apartments. My desk for many many years has been on top of a radiator. When it’s too hot I move.) what we need to write is WILL. Where doesn’t matter. Although in the country I have more space than I’ve ever dreamed, I write on my bed, where I am now. I like my bed, and have always had one. My first story, in grammar school, was written on a bed too. My advice for other writers is to write. Where and what doesn’t matter at all. What matters is that you are able to put those words right there where you want them to be.
Nikolopoulos: What was the first poem you remember reading or hearing that made you appreciate reading and want to become a poet? What was it about that poem that spoke to you?
Cohen: My first poem that I remember (it was published in the Peck Observer, my grammar school paper) was this:
when spring springs, will we? 
I love so many poems and poets. It would be hard to pick just one.
Nikolopoulos: You’ve done several collaborative projects. For your book Unseen America, you gave cameras to the working class so that they could document their lives and you helped tell their stories. For Don’t Mind Me: And Other Jewish Lies, you worked New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chas. For Painting Brooklyn Stories, you contributed bio-poems to Nina Talbot’s portraits. What is it about collaboration that appeals to you? 
Cohen: Yes I have done many collaborative projects, all my life. I’ve written poems with visual arts like the wonderful Nina Talbot, I was lucky enough to collaborate with amazing cartoonist Roz Chast, and I’ve been doing an ongoing project for many years with my favorite photographer Matthew Septimus (our work is on the ON BEING blog on the NPR site at Other people often bring our own work Somewhere Else. Matthew’s pictures, for instance, take my words into another place, a place they want to go.
Nikolopoulos: You’re active on social media, publishing a poem a day on your website. How do you think social media helps you as a writer? What advice would you give other writers about how to use social media?
Cohen: I publish a poem a day (and I will try to write stories too) and how that helps I’m not sure. I’m not a good spokesperson for Social Media. In a funny way it seems a little anti-social. I don’t understand it much. Don’t even know what most of the words associated with it mean. 
The way I’ve always helped other writers (don’t ask me how I know how I do this. I can’t tell you.) is by helping them find their stories. I’m in love with stories, and am pretty good at finding them. Because I am entirely sure they exist. 
Cohen can help you find your story when you register for her two-day writing intensive Sing, Cry, Explore, Laugh, and Tell: How to Tell a Good Story. For more information, visit: 
REGISTER for Festival of Women Writers 2015 at:

Intensive Workshops at Festival 2015


The Intensive Workshops.


Intensive Workshops, an opportunity for serious, committed writers to explore, to be challenged and to grow working directly with an award winning, published writer. Immerse yourself in the inspiration of Hobart’s mountain vistas and focus on your writing craft for a two-day workshop in a small group setting.

Take the next step.



This unique two- day, eight hour Intensive Workshop with Alexis DeVeaux, will offer an exhilarating chance to focus solely on writing your story – creating and improving your narrative.

Link here for a detailed description of this workshop and for information about Alexis DeVeaux

Structuring a Novel to Completion with Sophfronia Scott  48

Some writers use them, some don’t, yet an outline, even the simplest one, can be a valuable tool that can help ensure you will actually finish your novel. In this Intensive, participants will work to develop a strong outline either started and/or completed by the end of Day Two.

Link here for a detailed description of this workshop and for information about Sophfronia Scott

Sing, Cry, Explore, Laugh, Tell: How to Tell the Good Story  16

With unmatched intensity and passion and an incisive critical eye Intensive Leader, Esther Cohen, will look at stories, good, bad and otherwise, knowing that stories are at the heart of life, of writing, of what we want to say, no matter what form we choose.

Link here for a detailed description of this workshop and for information about Esther Cohen


USES OF FORM IN POETRY with the poetic master, Bertha Rogers

Participants will learn how to write several different kinds of poetic forms from various cultures: 1) Italian Sestina; 2) Italian/French Villanelle; 3) French Rondeau; 4) Korean Sijo; 5) Vietnamese Luc-Bat (Climbing Rhyme); 6) Japanese Haibun (Prose + Haiku); 7) English Sonnet (blank verse, iambic pentatmeter); 8) Malaysian Pantoum

Link here for a detailed description of this workshop and for information about Bertha Rogers


How do I start? Where do I begin? How can I find out what I need to know? The intensive will begin with a survey of the state of the Self-Publishing Industry with industry expert, Simona David. This workshop will be a nuts and bolts workshop with practical steps and guidance toward a successful launch of your project.

Link here for a detailed description of this workshop and for information about Simona David

REGISTER FOR INTENSIVE WORKSHOPS at Festival of Women Writers 2015 here:

Spotlight: Julie Enszer

As a young woman the question of where to put one’s time and by extension one’s faith into words or works interested me. Was it better to devote time and energy (which, not incidentally, seemed limitless then) to words? To writing beautiful lines? Sublime sentences? Or was it better to do good works? To put one’s time and energy into doing the work of the world? Being of service to people and to communities? Works or words? Words or works?  – Julie R. Enszer, Blogging at the top of the form:

2015 Festival of Women Writers welcomes


Julie Enszer

“Dr. Julie R. Enszer has almost singlehandedly preserved the literary contributions of lesbian feminist writers and print culture. Sinister Wisdom, founded in 1976, making it the longest running lesbian feminist journal to promote the multicultural lesbian writing community. Enszer is its editor. She has kept Sinister Wisdom publishing; and it also functions as a publishing arm for reprinting the work of lesbian feminist poets, Minnie Bruce  Pratt, Cheryl Clarke, and most recently Elana Dykewomon. Sinister Wisdom has just released a special issue on Latina lesbians, guest edited by Nivea Castro, et. al.” –  Cheryl Clarke

With Cheryl Clarke,  Julie Enszer has coedited a special issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies on Pat Parker and Judy Grahn, West Coast working class lesbian poets of the 1970’s and ’80’s.

Julie Enszer is currently completing a book on lesbian feminist publishing.

For Festival of Women Writers 2015, Julie Enszer will lead the workshop:

GETTING WORK OUTThe Contemporary  Publishing Scene.

Julie describes her workshop: We all have plenty of polished poems and stories. It’s time to send them out into the world. This Workshop will explore the process of journal publishing, considering popular journals, regional journals, thematic journals, and other occasional publications. We will discuss how to complete submissions, how to respond to rejection, how to celebrate successes, and other tips for publishing YOUR work.

Register today for Festival of Women Writers 2015 at:

32  31  34   books by Julie Enszer

For more information on the depth and breadth of her work, go to Julie’s website:

Read a feature article in Catskills tribes

Sisterly camaraderie: writing women of the Catskills about Hobart Book Village and the Festival of Women Writers here:

Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers 2015 – September 11, 12 & 13th

For the last three years, the Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers has created an opportunity for women writers to reach their readers, sell their books, establish relationships with independent book sellers and with other colleagues, and to enrich their lives in this extraordinary setting. 20 stunning published women writers working in all genres will participate in Festival 2015. Visit our website for all of the information about our schedule, registration fees and for links to restaurants and services nearby. We’ve planned an exciting three day celebration of writing by women to take place this year on September 11, 12 & 13th in Hobart, New York, the Book Village of the Catskills. We’re open to all lovers of language. Explore the array of workshops and author readings  that we’re offering. link to our site here for the full schedule:

Rack Card 2015 Front    Rack Card 2015 Back

A part of The Festival of Women Writers’ purpose is to address the gender and racial imbalances in the publishing. In its sixth year, the all-volunteer literary organization, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, has completed its  the fifth annual 2014 VIDA Count, the second annual 2014 Larger Literary Landscape VIDA Count and their first annual 2014 Women of Color VIDA Count. Founded by Cate Marvin, Erin Belieu, and Ann Townsend,  VIDA: Women In Literary Arts is a research-driven organization founded to increase critical attention to contemporary women’s writing as well as further transparency around gender equality issues in contemporary literary culture.

Each year The VIDA Count  compiles over 1000 data points from the top tier, or “Tier 1” journals, publications, and press outlets by which the literary community defines and rewards its most valued arts workers, the “feeders” for grants, teaching positions, residencies, fellowships, further publication, and ultimately, propagation of artists’ work within the literary community. The annual VIDA Count offers up concrete data on gender and publishing and, as the VIDA website proclaims,  “. . . the sloped playing field is not going unnoticed. We ignite and fan the flames of necessary discourse.  Our literary community can only benefit from a range of voices.”

Expand your reading horizons.

Read the published work of the Participating Writers for Festival of Women Writers 2015.

Check out their books at: Pinterest:



What’s Going On this Weekend?

Grab a bite. Pick your own. Shop at a roadside farm stand.


Table on Ten has been a popular local food hangout since it opened in the tiny village of Bloomville NY. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch, but also serves wood-fired pizza for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.

For additional Food and Drink suggestions in the Catskills check out this survey of the 8 Best Places to eat in the area:

Blue-Sky-Farm-and-Winery-Blueberrys  Pick your own produce at Blue Sky Farm & Winery in Stamford, NY

Hilhaven Farms  get your produce and hanging plants at Hillhaven Farms, a family owned & operated business and farm located on the corners of Rts. 10 & 23 in Stamford, NY.

Then get serious for

Festival Alumna and 2015 Participating Writer, Ginnah Howard will offer the talk, Publishing and Marketing Rope & Bone as an Indie Novel at Colgate Writers’ Conference Shop Talk ~ June 14 @ 3:30

Howard will discuss the step-by-step process of her novel, Rope & Bone from a major house “pass” to publishing a print-on-demand book—MSWord Document to PDF to “Available on Amazon” to a starred review in Publishers Weekly 2/24/15“…Stunning in its simplicity, Howard’s lean prose belies the detail and richness of the characters she conveys.”All of Colgate Writers’ Conference craft talks, shop talks, and faculty readings are free and open to the public: Meyerhoff Auditorium, 101 Ho Science Center: Craft Talks 9 a.m. ~ Shop Talks 3:30 ~ Faculty Readings 7:30

for more information:

Spotlight: Stephanie Nikolopoulos

Stephanie Nikolopoulos, a writer and editor embracing the beatific and author with Paul Maher, Jr. of  Burning Furiously Beautiful:  The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road  speaks to Festival co-organizer, Breena Clarke about her passion for Jack Kerouac and The Beats.

Furiously Passionate Part One:  Stephanie and Breena Q&A

Clarke: I’m of the generation that kind of took our counter-culture marching orders from the Beats. You’re a couple of thousand years younger than me. How did you fall under the spell of Jack Kerouac and the Beats?  

Nikolopoulos: I first heard about the Beats in perhaps the most unlikely of ways—a fashion magazine aimed at teens. I was seventeen years old, reading Seventeen magazine when I flipped to a spread featuring “real” teens talking about their favorite music and books, one of which was “The Portable Beat Reader” edited by Ann Charters. When I discovered the book on the shelves of my local bookstore in New Jersey, I asked my mother to buy it for me. I was instantly hooked. I read through Gregory Corso’s poem “Marriage” over and over again—and to this day I continue to read it over and over. I got a kick out of Tuli Kupferberg’s “1001 Ways to Beat the Draft,” a satirical pamphlet about the Vietnam War. I revered Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem “Dog.” I tried to emulate Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” with my own bad poetry at the time. Prior to reading these poems, my favorite poet had been John Keats, whom I still enjoy and study, but the poets of the Beat Generation opened up a new world of poetry for me—one that was humorous, raw, experimental, uncontained. What I found particularly intriguing was how self-referential the poems were. It was as if they were writing witty poems to and for each other, instead of just trying to craft beautifully written poems a wide readership would admire.

Clarke: BTW I love the stark black and white look of your blog.  I like your photo, too. The crisp, sharp look makes me think Kerouac would follow your blog. Stepanie Nikolopoulos

NikolopoulosThanks.  As I read Ann Charters’ compendium, “The Portable Beat Reader”, Jack Kerouac’s name kept popping up in other people’s writing—Amiri Baraka’s “In Memory of Radio,” Ferlinghetti’s “The Canticle of Jack Kerouac,” Neal Cassady’s letters. Who was this Jack Kerouac? Why were all these other writers writing about him? His “Essentials of Spontaneous Prose” and “Belief & Technique for Modern Prose” fascinated me. I wanted to know more, and I must’ve talked incessantly about the Beats because at Christmas there was a copy of Kerouac’s On the Road under the tree from my mother. I wasn’t cool enough to know about counter-cultural literature, and although I was familiar with the image of goateed bongo players on tv I didn’t know the term “beatnik” and didn’t associate it with the Beats, so I came to read Kerouac and the other poets and writers labeled as the Beat Generation without preconceived notions. I found Kerouac’s work especially to be tender, nostalgic, rich in language. It was only after I began reading biographies and other nonfiction works about the Beats that I learned of the cultural and literary criticism surrounding the Beats, and it just didn’t resonate with my experience reading their works. I couldn’t understand how someone would get the image of a “beatnik” from reading On the Road, when for me the passages that stood out were the ones when Kerouac described the fields in California and the feeling of being let down by friends. 

Stephanie Niko in action
Stephanie leading a workshop session in Adams Antiquarian Bookshop at Festival 2014

Stephanie Nikolopoulos returns to Festival of Women Writers 2015. She will lead the workshop, CUT-UPS, JAZZ-POETRY, AND PICTURE POEMS: Writing under the Influence of the Beat Generation.  This workshop is open to all registered participants. For more INFORMATION: 

REGISTER for Festival of Women Writers 2015 at:

Stephanie Nikolopoulos2      LISTEN to Stephanie Nikolopoulos read from Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road