Dear Calliope Community,

You can feel it in the air, and hear it, as the nightly peepers tune up: Spring is coming, and every day the sunlight stays just a little bit longer. It’s a magical time of rebirth and renewal—and what better way to celebrate than with the magic of poetry? Join us, as Daylight Savings Time begins, on March 13 at the West Falmouth Library, when poets Rich Michelson, Susan Donnelly, and Mary Ellen Redmond (along with our open mic readers) welcome the new season in style.  Remember we “spring forward” so 3 PM was 2 PM the day before!

As a first taste, below is a touching poem by Susan, whose work has appeared widely—in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and many other publications, including her new chapbook about childhood, Sweet Gooseberries. This poem, from the current edition of the Valparaiso Poetry Review, use an antique iron as the springboard for a meditation on the passing of time, and human connection, and, ultimately, kindness.



                            — for David


Heavy, this old blackened

triangle, bringing to mind

the gigantic labors of wash day,

and the frail woman who’d visit

your mother, how her hands

must have hefted this, pressed

forward, set it down a moment,

raised and reheated it —

an expedition around collars,

the wrinkles at each button

like those at her squinting eyes,

the journey down a sleeve

a tracing back to her wedding day

in 1890 when she and Mr. Maher

took a coach—imagine!—from

the church to the reception.

A fine day that, when her wrists

were strong, and the ring

fit her finger.  Now she lived,

long widowed, in one room

on the Old Age Assistance,

and glad enough to visit

the kind neighbor who’d set out,

always, a sandwich with the tea.

You can hear more of Susan’s work (along with Rich’s and Mary Ellen’s) on March 13. The reading will run from 3 to 5 p.m., with open mic sign-up at 2:45 p.m. A donation of $5 is suggested to help fund the poets’ stipends. You can read more about each poet below.


You can hear more from Susan when she leads the March 12 Calliope Poetry Workshop, “Choices and Changes: Revision and Critique,” which will also take place at the West Falmouth Library. Only two seats remain; for more information go to and email to reserve a space.


See you at Calliope!



About the March Readers


 Susan Donnelly is the author of four chapbooks—her latest, Sweet Gooseberries, was published in 2015—as well as three full collections: Eve Names the Animals, Transit, and Capture the Flag. Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Prairie Schooner, and many other journals, textbooks, anthologies, websites, and blogs, including The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Her poem “Chanson on the Red Line” appears in the 2016 Common Threads collection published by Mass Poetry.  She lives, writes, and conducts poetry classes and consultations in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Richard Michelson, who just completed his second term as Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, has been a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and the Harlem Book Fest Award, and he is the only author ever awarded both the Sydney Taylor Gold and Silver Medals in a single year from the Association of Jewish Librarians. His many books for children, teens, and adults have been listed among the Ten Best of the Year by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The New Yorker, and among the best Dozen of the Decade by Amazon. The University of Pittsburgh Press published Michelson’s latest poetry collection, More Money than God, in 2015, and his most recent children’s book, S Is for Sea Glass, was written on the porch of his summertime gingerbread cottage in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. He recently received a 2016 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship.

Mary Ellen Redmond earned her MFA in poetry from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her poems have appeared in The Drunken Boat, Free State ReviewComstock ReviewCape Cod Review, and Rattle. A former slam poet, she represented Cape Cod at the National Poetry Slam Competition in Providence, Rhode Island. This is her twenty-second year teaching English to students in the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District. Her son, a submariner stationed on Guam, has given her the new designation as a “Guam Mom.” He has a poem of hers tattooed on his rib cage.


About Calliope: Poetry for Community

Founded in January 2008 by Alice Kociemba, Calliope seeks to foster and celebrate community through a shared appreciation of poetry. The readings have featured both well-known and emerging poets, and many have included an open mic for local poets. For more information about upcoming events, go to

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Join a Writing Group Today!

by web editor on February 24, 2016

One of the main goals of the Cape Cod Writers Center is to “provide opportunities for writers to congregate for inspiration, education, and networking.” One of the many ways the CCWC strives to accomplish this is through writing groups.  The CCWC offers a variety of genre-specific groups of writers who meet regularly to share their work and enhance their skills in a supportive atmosphere. During sessions, writers read from their work and fellow members comment upon its strengths and offer suggestions for improvement.

We have just finished updating our files on existing CCWC writers groups and are happy to say we have some open slots in several groups and are in the process of forming new groups for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and picture books. If you are interested in joining a CCWC writing group, please email the information below to and one of our writing group coordinators will be in touch.

Thanks, and happy writing!


Contact information (email and phone):

Writing level:

Location preference:

Meeting time preference (daytime or evening time):

Are you willing to be the contact person/coordinator for a new writing group:

CCWC Logo Quill only


Join Us for Pathways to Publication on March 19th

by web editor on February 18, 2016

Two Great Workshops for Writers!

On Saturday, March 19th, the Cape Cod Writers Center proudly presents a pair of workshops at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis.

9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: SUCCESSFUL SELF-PUBLISHING
This workshop: $40 for members / $50 for nonmembers
Both workshops: $70 for members / $90 for nonmembers

Now more than ever, non-traditional pathways to publication abound. While you might not be the next 50 Shades of Grey self-published success, there are tried and true ways to get your work published, and more importantly, read. To present your work to the public and ensure it has a place on the bookshelves of the future, you’ll need a strategy and a planned pathway. This session explores various ways to do that, including how to secure an agent, how to self-publish successfully, and how to use social media to promote your work.

Christine MerserChristine Merser specializes in non-traditional marketing methodology including social media and the new PR. Her company, Blue Shoe Strategy, serves authors, candidates, companies and entrepreneurs. In the industry, she has consulted for Conde Nast, Andrew Wylie, the agent extradordinaire, to name a few. A prominent blogger ( and podcaster (she is Hollister on, Christine lectures around the country on social media.

1:15-4:15 p.m.: RESEARCH FOR WRITERS
This workshop: $40 for members / $50 for nonmembers
Both workshops: $70 for members / $90 for nonmembers

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you’ll probably have to engage in some sort of historical research while completing your work. The process can be time-consuming, demanding, and sometimes confusing. In addition, the Internet is not necessarily the most accurate source of  information about the past.  In this workshop, Peter Drummey of the Massachusetts Historical Society shares some of the skills, ideas, and tips leading to the acquisition of  historical information to provide your work with important background material or make your family history authoritative. Bring your questions to this session for guidance and solutions!

Peter DrummeyPeter Drummey is the Stephen T. Riley Librarian of the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston, where he has worked since 1978.  Founded in 1791, the Historical Society is an independent research library that collects and preserves manuscripts – the unpublished letters and diaries of individuals and families – that document the course of American history from the time of the European settlement right up to the present.


Reserve your spot by emailing the Cape Cod Writers Center at or call  508-420-0200.

The First Kiss

Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis
35 Scudder Avenue

5:30 Networking
6:00 Dinner
7:00 Presentation

roses champagne

What image comes to most of us when we envision a classic romance novel? The first kiss! The one we’ve anticipated since the smoldering eyes of the hero met those of his lovely lady. This kiss is also a staple of other literary genres from dystopian fiction to classic westerns.


In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, our February Writers Night Out at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis addresses the challenges ofwriting an exciting first kiss. To that end, Kevin Symmons, CCWC former president and author of best-selling romantic thrillers, and another published author will offer constructive feedback on your first kiss scene. This scene can be from one of your finished manuscripts or a current project.

We hope you will participate! Please bring a scene to read of two minutes or less that night. Why not join us for the fun and share your romantic side with others? Chocolate kisses for all!


Please note the change in prices! Dinner and a non-alcoholic drink is $25 for CCWC members and $30 for non-members. However, there is NO COST to attend the presentation at 7:00 only; non-members may give a $5 donation if they wish.


Please contact Sara at our office to sign up via email for what promises to be an inspiring and instructive evening: or call 508-420-0200.

February Member News

by web editor on February 2, 2016

Check out our members’ recent accomplishments!


J Bean and Chris Palmer’s Cape Cod Witch series of middle grade fantasy adventures, including ElsBeth and the Pirate’s Treasure, ElsBeth and the Privateer and ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties (also a Moonbeam Award Honoree), received the Mom’s Choice Award for excellence in children’s literature and was a winner in the New Book Awards contest 2015/2016.

Chip Bishop has signed a contract with ForeEdge Publishers, the trade division of the University Press of New England, for his upcoming biography of Elliott Roosevelt. Elliott was Theodore’s younger brother and the father of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s due to be published early next year. Bishop has written two well-received Roosevelt-themed books, The Lion and the Journalist and Quentin and Flora. Lion was a New York Times best-selling e-book.

Anita Caruso’s second children’s book in the Brayden’s Magical Journey series, Brayden’s Magical Carousel Horse, has been published. Copies are available to buy.

Eric Chiles, winner of the 2015 Cape Cod Writers Center poetry contest for his poem “The orchid garnish,” also has poetry forthcoming in Allegro and Chiron Review.

Children’s book author, Kyle Chirgwin, earned a “Literary Classics 2015 Gold Award” for MY BIG TOW: The Adventures of Captain Recovery. In recognition of the award, Chirgwin donated 40 copies of the book to local elementary schools and libraries. MY BIG TOW is available at many Cape book stores. If your school or library would like a free copy please call Kyle @ 774-994-8048 or e-mail him @

Jim Coogan and Jack Sheedy of Harvest Home Books were notified in January that two of their recent books, Cape Cod Collected: A Selection of the Cape’s Greatest Stories and Cecelia the Seal Gets a Meal, were awarded Honorable Mentions by the 2015 New England Book Awards Festival.  Harvest Home Books is located in East Dennis, Massachusetts.

C.L. Fornari’s newest book, The Cocktail Hour Garden, will be available in March from St. Lynn’s Press.  C.L. will be celebrating the publication of this book with appearances at several local bookstores.

Ben Gagnon of Brewster won two honorable mentions in two separate categories (Novel Excerpt and Creative Nonfiction) from the Soul-making Keats Literary Competition. Ben will join other winners for a reading at the San Francisco Public Library in April. and

Debi Graham-Leard has published her debut traditional mystery The Uninvited Guest through Riverhaven Books in Whitman, MA. It’s available through Amazon as both an eBook and paperback.

Jan Krause Greene will be featured in performance art piece, Every Woman Has a Story to Tell, and on a panel, Green Visions: Writing the Environment in Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Prose at the 6th Annual Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, Sunday, March 13, at the Eastover Estate & Retreat Center, 30 East Street, Lenox, Massachusetts. To learn more about the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, contact Jan Krause Greene at

Achievement Unlocked: Jim Hill has signed with agent Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Arlene Kay will join two fellow Sisters-in-Crime in a panel honoring Titcomb’s bookstore with a special award. Location: Sandwich Library; Date:February 6th. Arlene will also address the Friends of the Cotuit Library on Feb.17th. Topic: Female literary characters: Passive, Passionate, and Empowered.

TP Keane is releasing her debut fantasy novel, The Paladins of Naretia. The ebook version is now available for pre-orders on Amazon. More details can be found at

Christina Laurie has a new book recently accepted by publisher Pen Woman Press. A volume of 35 meditation vignettes, it hosts 28 line drawings by her as well. It has been called “a balm for the soul and so beautifully written” by her editor, Trish Wootten. Slated publication date is mid-March. Christina will be setting up a launch date in early April. She also has had poems published in several recent editions of Avocet Weekly, Haiku Universe, and Bay State Echo, the monthly publication of the Mass. State Poetry Society, Inc.

Antoinette Libro is winner of the Seventh Annual Moonbathing Contest for Best Tanka poem, as published in the 2015 Autumn/Winter Issue of Moonbathing: A Journal of Women’s Tanka. Copies available from the editor at

Pamela Loewy has just published her second romantic suspense novel, Doubt and Desire. Please go to or contact Pam at for more information.

Kissing a Fish: Memoirs of a Fisherman’s Son, by Carol Malaquias about her husband’s childhood in Provincetown, was published by The Peninsula Press and is available at and on Amazon. A launch is planned for the Spring.

Janet Purcell’s third novel, Rooster Street, published by Sunpenny Publishing in the UK  and Spain,  is scheduled to launch in July.  Like her first two novels, Singer Lane and The Long Way Home, this, too, is set in Cape Cod.

Current CCWC members are invited to submit their news to the next Member News Roundup, which will be posted to our blog and Facebook page on the first Tuesday in March. To have your news included, please email a one or two sentence announcement to no later than Friday, February 26th. Write “Member News” in the subject line, and be sure the announcement includes your name exactly as you would like it to appear. We do not have room for longer articles or reviews, but you may include an email or website link so readers may contact you or find further information. If you have multiple events, signings, etc. coming up, the best way to publicize these is with a link to a calendar on your own blog or website. (Please note that we reserve the right to edit any announcement for length or for potentially offensive or controversial content.)

2015 CCWC Writing Contest Winners

by web admin on January 26, 2016

The 2nd Annual Cape Cod Writers Center Contest has finally drawn to a close. Authors from 15 different states and 4 different countries submitted entries in Poetry, Young Adult/ Middle Grade Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Fiction categories. Judges read through hundreds of entries and made many difficult decisions. After much analysis and careful thought, we are happy to announce the following winners:


1st Place: The Orchid Garnish, by Eric Chiles

Runner-up: Snowbound: An American Idyll by Lindsay Illich



CCWC Contest Badge Winner YA-MG


1st Place: What Once was Lost by Jan Lower

Runner-up: Tomfoolery by Mary Cronin



CCWC 2016-award-badge-nonfiction


1st Place: To Market…To Market by Carol Michels

Runner-up: The Ring by Diane Speare Triant



CCWC 2016-award-badge-fiction


1st Place: One Day the Gate Opened by Margaret Moore

Runner-up: The Secret of Navigation Farm by Gail Nickerson


First Place Winners received a $200 monetary award as well as their choice of two workshops at the Cape Cod Writers Center Summer Conference. Winning entries in the Fiction, Non-Fiction, and YA/MG categories will receive a critique from Linda Camacho at the Prospect Agency. The winning poetry entry will receive a critique from esteemed poet Charles Coe.

This coming week, we will be revealing some preliminary information about 2016’s contest. Stay tuned!


On Sunday, February 14 from 3 to 5 PM, Calliope: Poetry for Community and the West Falmouth Library will present a special poetry reading to benefit the Falmouth Service Center, whose mission is to  “ease stress, reduce hunger, and improve the quality of life for our neighbors in need.”


Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Legros George and Jennifer Jean—two poets whose work has focused on the vulnerable and the need for a shared humanity—will be the featured readers. The event will take place at the West Falmouth Library, 575 West Falmouth Highway.  A donation of $20 is suggested, and all donations will go directly toward the Falmouth Service Center.


Both of the readers are accomplished poets whose work exhibits a strong social consciousness. Danielle Legros Georges, the current Poet Laureate of Boston, is a professor in the Creative Arts in Learning Division of Lesley University.  She also teaches in the Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her poems have been widely anthologized, and recent essays of hers have appeared in Others Will Enter the Gates:  Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences and Writing in America (ed. Abayomi Animashaun) and Anywhere But Here:  Black Intellectuals in the Atlantic World and Beyond (eds. Kendahl Radcliffe and Jennifer Scott).  She is the author of two poetry collections, Maroon and, The Dear Remote Nearness of You (forthcoming from Barrow Street Press, spring 2016.)  A Haitian-American poet, her poem, “The List Grows” appears in Common Threads, 2016, the poetry discussion project of Mass Poetry.
“Most, if not all, artists are affected by the social, environmental and political events around them,” Legros George says, “and they reflect these events or address what is missing. Poetry, and art more broadly, can allow for empathy, for connection, for seeing individual beauty, and for exploration of a shared humanity.”


Jennifer Jean’s poetry and prose have been published in many literary journals, including Denver Quarterly, Rattle, and Tidal Basin Review. Her debut poetry collection, The Fool, appeared in 2013. She is co-director of Morning Garden Artist Retreats and teaches Free2Write poetry workshops to sex-trafficking survivors.

Poetry is a means to real healing, compassion, and change,” she says. “I believe it is with non-standard, often vulnerable writers that poetry’s true power can be realized.”


“This is the first of several fundraising events we plan to present,” says Alice Kociemba, Calliope’s founding director. “Over its nine years, Calliope has worked to foster a community of poets and bring outstanding poetry to the region. These are still our goals, but now we are expanding our focus to find ways in which, through poetry, we can reach outward to help benefit the entire community.”


A donation of $20 is suggested for this special event. There will be no open mic this month.  For more information, visit

About Calliope: Poetry for Community

Founded in January 2008 by Alice Kociemba, Calliope seeks to foster and celebrate community through a shared appreciation of poetry. The readings have featured both well-known and emerging poets, and many have included an open mike for local poets. For more information about upcoming events, go to Calliope Pic

Dialogue and Its Uses — Writers Night Out, January 13, 2016

by Artistic Director on January 15, 2016

Despite the chilly weather on Wednesday evening, January 13, twenty-four members of the Cape Cod Writers Center appeared at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis to enjoy cocktails and a buffet dinner followed by a craft session on dialogue.

The evening began with an enthusiastic greeting from the Cape Cape Writers Center’s new president of the board,  Trisha Leaver, a well-known author of books for Young Adults.

Trisha Leaver CCWC January 2015

After Trisha’s welcome,  Nancy Rubin Stuart, Executive Director of the Writers Center, announced several programs planned for 2016. Among these were the Tomorrow’s Writers Today program at Sturgis East Charter School on March 12, the Pathways to Publication program on March 19 at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, and a preview of plans for the 54th summer conference, August 4-7, also at the hotel.

Nancy WNO CCWC January 13, 2015

Nancy then presented a craft session on the three uses of dialogue in a story. These are to advance information, to reveal character, and to reveal both inner tensions of a character and conflict between characters.  Those in attendance then had a chance to write their own examples of dialogue and read them aloud.

Happy New Year to all!





Check Out Big Sur on Cape Cod!

by web editor on January 11, 2016

Register now for Big Sur on Cape Cod, held from May 13-15 in North Falmouth, MA! Hosted by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and Howl Press, this workshop features small critique sessions for beginning and seasoned writers of children’s literature. There is a $150 discount through January 16, so don’t delay! Check it out here:

Below is some information on the workshop, taken from Big Sur on Cape Cod’s website:

Long known as one of the top international children’s writer’s agencies, Andrea Brown Literary Agency (ABLA) brings top tier professionals together with both beginner and seasoned writers. This workshop, popular in Big Sur, California is proudly being offered here on the east coast in picturesque Cape Cod.

Two industry professionals will mentor you in very small group sessions where one-on-one feedback is provided. Writers will get the chance to mingle and discuss their works with editors, agents and published authors throughout the all-inclusive weekend

Space is limited. Through these personalized workshops, ABLA and publishing giants have had the good fortune to find new talent. Are you next?

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned writer, don’t miss this incredible opportunity to work on your material with the best in the industry in one of the world’s most beautiful locations.

With spring on the wing, it’s never too early to think about summer! IMG_0732

Remember to save the dates August 4-7, 2016 for the 54th Cape Cod Writers Center Conference at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis!  

Brochure available in late April on line and in print in May 


Our Distinguished Faculty Include: 

Keynote Speaker:  Peter B. Abrahams, New York Times Best-Selling Author

Barbara Blatner, Award-Winning Playwright

Leslie Fishlock, “The Geek Girl,” prominent social media expert

Phoebe  Baker Hyde, Author of New York Times 2013 “Book of the Year”

Jacqueline Kolosov, award-winning author, poet, and memoirist

Mindy Lewis, author, editor, acclaimed essayist

Ron MacLean, prize-winning fiction /mystery writer, Grub Street instructor

Colin McEnroe, humor writer and radio personality

Olivia Miller, editor, creativity expert

Lauren Mills, award-winning author of children’s books

Leigh Montville, biographer and former sports columnist for Boston Globe

Jonathan  Papernick, short story author and Writer-in-Residence, Emerson College

Adam Sexton, author and professor of creative writing at Yale University

Deborah Swiss, award-winning author of nonfiction

John Walsh, prominent graphic novelist

William Wenthe, poet and fellow, National Endowment for the Arts


Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary Agency

Michael Carr, Veritas Literary Agency

Alia Hanna Habib, McCormick Literary Agency

Ammi-Joan Paquette,  Erin Murphy Literary Agency

Amaryah Orenstein, Go Literary Agency