Calliope Poetry Series on Sunday, January 10

by web editor on January 6, 2016

Dear Calliope Community,

We’re looking forward to this weekend, when not only will we celebrate the series’ eighth birthday with a special Calliope Cake (if you like our cheese, you’ll love the cake), but also welcome three outstanding poets for our first reading of 2016. On Sunday, January 10, at the West Falmouth Library, John Hodgen, George Kalogeris, and Holly Guran will share their work from 3 to 5 p.m. You can read more about each poet below (as well as learn about our upcoming Calliope workshops), but first we’d like to offer another taste of what’s to come, this time a poem by John Hodgen called “Having Nothing.”

Having Nothing

Red light.  Storrow Drive.  Sad car alongside.

Man and woman, mother and son, gesturing wildly for me to put my window down.

The passenger, the woman, calming quickly, saying, Charles Street, nothing more,

as if she’s been asking directions every day of her life.  But I simply don’t know.

I’ve got nothing, I say.  She turns, leans closer, as if to implore.

And then I see it, her left eye, a quadrangle around it, four plastic sticks affixed

to her face, as if she’s fled in the middle of emergency surgery, no medical coverage,

run down the hallway and out the back door, out in the one-eyed world, amazed.

It’s really a prosthetic stitched to her skin to let the bones heal from a blowout fracture

of the orbital rim, from where, more than likely, someone has punched her,

and then punched her again, has broken the rim of her face.  I repeat I’ve got nothing.

I’m sorry, I say.  But her son isn’t having it.  He thinks I’ve got something.

He screams at me Mass Eye and Ear.  I tell him I’m not from around here,

that sad true thing that people say.  The light is changing.  I pull away.


But tonight I still see them, the woman, her fracture, her fortress, her pick-up-sticks eye,

asking car after car where Charles Street must be, and her son, still screaming

to all who will listen, saying Mass Eye and Ear, like a pictograph prayer,

like a hoodoo, a hologram, to make it appear.  I can see them now driving

up Storrow again, down Memorial Drive, Charles Street just beyond their peripheral vision

as they loop by again, and miss it each time.  I think they have circled so many times now,

asked so many people, all having nothing, all not from around here,

that their sad car has built up centrifugal force, that it lifts into orbit, higher and higher,

from one star to the next in Orion’s quadrangle, still asking directions,

still looking for Charles Street, for the mass eye and ear of the sky.

Join us Sunday to hear more of John’s, George’s, and Holly’s work (and, of course, enjoy Calliope Cake). The reading will also include an open mic (sign-up, 2:45 p.m.). A donation of $5 is suggested to help fund the poets’ stipends. For information, along with driving directions, visit

See you Sunday at Calliope!

About the Poets

John Hodgen is visiting assistant professor of English at Assumption College in Worcester, MA. He won the AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry for Grace (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005). His fourth book of poetry, Heaven & Earth Holding Company, came out from the University of PIttsburgh Press last year, and his first book, In My Father’s House, has just been reprinted by Lynx House/University of Washington Press. Hodgen’s work is featured in Common Threads 2015, an annual publication featuring the work of 7 to 10 Massachusetts poets. He has new and upcoming poems in Ploughshares and Poetry.

George Kalogeris is the author of a book of paired poems in translation, Dialogos (Antilever, 2012), and a book of poems based on the notebooks of Albert Camus, Camus: Carnets (Pressed Wafer, 2006). His poems and translations were anthologized in Joining Music with Reason, edited by Christopher Ricks (Oxford, 2010). He teaches English Literature and Classics in Translation at Suffolk University.

Holly Guran, the author of River of Bones (Iris Press) and the chapbooks River Tracks and Mothers’ Trails, earned a Massachusetts Cultural Council Award in 2012. Her work has appeared in Poet LoreSan Pedro River ReviewWorcester ReviewU.S. 1 WorksheetsSalamander, and Borderlands, among others. She is a member of the Jamaica Pond Poets.

Calliope Craft Workshops Begin in January

On January 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the first of a trio of Calliope’s Craft Workshops will be held. Alan Feldman, professor emeritus at Framingham State University, will provide much needed post-holiday incentive to focus on our writing: Jump-Start: A Generative Workshop. Many of the poems in Alan’s latest collection, Immortality (University of Wisconsin Press, 2015), came from assignments he has given in his workshops, including some chosen for Best American Poetry (2011), Writer’s Almanac, Poetry Daily, and this year’s Common Threads. As he notes, poems sometimes take us by surprise, as if they were in us all the while, but never gave us the least clue. This workshop will present writing ideas––not topics, primarily, but ways of making poems about almost any topic—designed to help you entice poems you might not even have known you wanted to write. “Bring a notebook and lots of energy, since I anticipate we’ll each write two or three poems, and come away with ideas for many more,” Alan says.

Fred Marchant will lead the second workshop in the series on February 27. Titled “Music in Our Lives,” this session will invite participants to write about any aspect of music in their lives.  “The music could be from any tradition,” Fred says, “be it classical or jazz or rock and roll or hip-hop. You could indeed write a song lyric, or write about music that lives on in memory, or focus on a musical instrument, a music lesson, a music teacher. You might want to capture in a poem what it feels like to witness a great performance, or even a not-so-good piece of music that failed to touch you. In other words, it’s my hope that you might find a wide-open range of possibility within this topic, and that it will inspire some new poems.” Participants should bring with them a new poem about music that can be discussed during the workshop.

Susan Donnelly will complete our series, on March 12, with a workshop on revision and critique, Choices & Changes.

This series of poetry workshops are offered in collaboration with the West Falmouth Library.  Each workshop costs $25, which provides the instructor with a modest stipend, and contributes to the community programming of the West Falmouth Library.  Registration is required, as space is limited (and fills rapidly).  To register, 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

Alice Kociemba, Founding Director, 

Rich Youmans, Associate Director,

Kathleen Casey, Social Media Director

Calliope – Poetry for Community

Guest Editor, Common Threads 2015 & 2106

Guest Editor, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Volume III

“Friend” us on Facebook


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Forthcoming Novel from Gustaf Berger

by web editor on December 15, 2015

The Cape Cod Writers Center is proud to announce that member Gustaf Berger has signed a contract with Touchpoint Press to publish his crime novel Death Postponed. The release date is in the fall of 2016. This will be his first published novel.

Twelve years after 9/11, a young journalist, whose fireman father died when the North Tower collapsed, pursues a couple of slick scammers who collected insurance when one of them faked his death.

Gustaf BergerGustaf Berger (AB Colgate University) lives in Boston and is proud of his cynical New York sensibility. A lifelong storyteller, he began writing fiction in 2008 after closing his mail order business. He travels extensively, having visited 45 countries and 35 states.

Six Word Story Smash at our Holiday Writers Night Out

by Artistic Director on December 10, 2015

Ernest Hemingway is applauding somewhere after overhearing fifteen members of the  Cape Cod Writers Center present their six-word stories at the holiday Writers Night Out on Wednesday evening, December 9th, at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis.

It was a tough competition for those thirty members who attended our buffet dinner aned holiday celebration. That’s because the  stories were better than ever this year, ranging from subjects as diverse as Venus and the moon to Christmas cheer to memorials about loved ones to too much bubbly at holiday time.

The winner was Pat Mullaly, pictured below on the left as CCWC’s business manager, Sara Kass, presents her with a gift.

Happy Holidays to All!

PAT MULLALY WINNER 6-word Story Dec 7, 2015

Member News for December

by web editor on December 8, 2015

As we celebrate the holidays, let’s also take a moment to celebrate the recent accomplishments of our inspiring members!

Sandra Bolton has recently completed a beautiful coffee table book called Explore Contemporary Marstons Mills, Cape Cod that will be available for purchase the week of December 14th. Limited edition: reserve your copy now!

Rick Cochran had a great turn-out for his book reading/signing at the Wellfleet COA.  In its first three week, his book, Wellfleet Tales, has already broken the century mark in sales.

Marina Davalos won an essay contest for The Barefoot Writer on her success with National Novel Writing Month. Check it out here: The Barefoot Writer.

Jan Krause Greene was invited to participate in Local Authors Night at Jesse M Smith Memorial Library in Harrisville, RI on December 3 to talk about and sign her novel I CALL MYSELF EARTH GIRL.

This February, Belle Bridge Books will release SWANN SONGS, the 4th book in Arlene Kay’s Boston Uncommon Mystery Series. Join new bride Eja Kane Swann as she learns that revenge is both SWEET and DEADLY.

Christina Laurie of West Falmouth has successfully completed the NaNoWriMo challenge for 2015. National Novel Writing Month, which occurs every November, challenges writers to create a 50,000-word book or new novel in a month. That averages out to 1,667 words a day. Christina wrote a middle grade fantasy called “Silver Wood” in 30 days.

In November, David Litwack published The Stuff of Stars, the second book in The Seekers dystopian trilogy (Amazon:

Steven P. Marini’s latest mystery, Schmuel’s Journey, is out as an ebook and paperback. A young man who survived the Holocaust finds he can’t escape his past while living in a small New Hampshire college town. A Nazi monster may be hiding there in plain sight. Is he a killer or is there another criminal on the loose?

Diane McDonough’s poem, “A Prompting in Winter (Prince’s Cove),” has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize by the National League of American Pen Women Poetry Editor, Treanor Baring.

Debbie McNaughton had a short story published in Reminisce Magazine Dec/Jan issue, titled “The Little Auto That Could.”

Member Judith Partelow will be featured in a Prime Time Magazine article in December that will spotlight her self-published chapbook, A Woman’s Heart. And on Thursday, December 17th, she and the members of The Scargo Hill Poets (created by her out of the Cape Cod Writers Center) will do a reading at 7 pm at the Dennis Memorial Library on Old Bass River Rd. and Rte 6A in Dennis. A free event!

Barbara Eppich Struna’s second historical novel, The Old Cape Teapot, is #1 on Amazon’s 100 bestsellers list for ebooks in historical fiction, mystery, thriller, & suspense. She will be signing her books at Struna Galleries in Chatham on December 11 and 12 during their Christmas stroll.

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 Monday in January. To have your news included, please email a one or two sentence announcement to no later than Friday, January 1st. 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.)

Twenty four writers and readers turned out on Friday morning, December 4th at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis for our holidays Breakfast with the Authors program. They weren’t disappointed!

The program opened with a presentation by Theresa Barbo about her Hidden History of Cape Cod,  followed by Ray Anderson’s description of what inpsired him to write his suspenseful hiking story, The Trail.  Finally, Trisha Leaver fascinated the audience with her poignant description of teenagers in the digital age in connection with her latest best-selling young adult book, The Secrets We Keep.

Trisha Leaver, Ray Anderson and Theresa Barbao BWTA December 4, 2015 IMG_3005

After a lively question and answer period, the authors signed books for audience members. With thanks to our trio of talented writers who made this Breakfast with the Authors one of our best programs to date!



Writers Night Out and Holiday Party on December 9th

by web editor on December 2, 2015

Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, 35 Scudder Avenue

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

Join us for our Happy Holidays Writers Night Out! A celebration and chance to shine. Come read your six-word story. An adoring audience awaits you all.snowy-treescape.jpg

In addition to his famous six-word story, Ernest Hemingway wrote, “Courage is grace under pressure.” So be courageous and participate in this beloved annual event. Stories may be on any theme; the only rule is to use your own original six words. Tell a story and vote for your favorites. We can’t wait to see you!

Prizes and gifts will be given. We will also be holding our annual holiday book sale with poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and writing books. Buy them as gifts for family and friends. And buy one for yourself too!


The cost of Writers Night Out, including dinner and a non-alcoholic drink, is $20 for CCWC members and $25 for non-members. The cost is $10 to attend the presentation at 7:00 only.

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

See you on the 9th!

Exciting News from Kevin Symmons

by web editor on November 19, 2015


Former CCWC President Kevin Symmons is having a busy fall in print! First, he had a great article in the South edition of the Boston Globe by Paul Kandarian this September. As a result, Babson College, where Kevin received his Master’s Degree, has chosen to profile him and his writing in their Alumni magazine this quarter. It’s the lead in a series of three articles they’ll be publishing titled “Second Acts,” dealing with careers after retirement. His fourth and latest romantic thriller, titled Chrysalis, will be reviewed in the December edition of The Big Thrill, the monthly publication of the International Thriller Writers, the world’s largest professional writing organization. His fall will be capped off by an article in the prestigious Huffington Post. More specifics as the publication dates comes due!

What motivates a group of fifteen teenagers get up early on Saturday morning, November 14 and appear at the Sturgis East Charter School in Hyannis from 9:30 a.m -3:30 p.m.? Is it football? Or soccer? No, it’s writing – the opportunity to learn new literary skills from author-teachers and publishers of the Cape Cod Writers Center’s Tomorrow’s Writers Today program (TWT).


Teachers for November’s TWT program were college writing professor and publisher Stephanie Blackman and Cape Cod Writers Center’s Executive Director, the author Nancy Rubin Stuart. Ms. Blackman taught on symbolism, setting and point of view; Ms. Stuart instructed the students on creating credible characters and effective dialogue.











From their exit surveys, the students expressed enthusiasm for the program.

Here’s a sampling of their comments.

 “ They helped me learn things I never knew before. It was fantastic!”

“ The instructors were very good at teaching this subject and I learned a lot from the program.”

“ It is a great experience working with real authors ad publishers. Thanks so much for this opportunity”

“ This was the best so far!! Keep it up!!”

“ I personally believe ever aspect of it was great.”

“Everyone shared their work and each contribution was used as specific examples on how to execute different aspects of writing.”

“ The instructors were informed and helpful in every way humanly possible.”

“ I liked the different exercises.”

‘They gave us great tips on writing.”

‘I liked that we could share what we learned with each other and shared our writing.”

Interview Tips: CCWC Writers Night Out November 11, 2015

by Artistic Director on November 14, 2015

Two dozens writers appeared at the Resort and Conference Center on Wednesday evening, November 11th for Writers Night Out to  hear former television announcer Robert Silverberg talk about how he interviews authors on Channel 18 for the Writers Center’s “Books and the World” program.


After everyone enjoyed cocktails and a buffet diner,  Bob shared several anecdotes about the way various authors responded to interview questions during the taping of his shows.  Some writers were well prepared and responded immediately to questions; others replied with “yes” or “no” answer which made Bob’s job much more difficult and did little to promote their work to listeners. Since 40 minutes can be a lot of time on the air, Bob also mentioned that  sometimes an author’s side story or anecdote related to his book can provide a tip for more discussion.

One of his techniques to calm nervous authors is to remind them that he’s ” just having a conversation with them about their book.”  Stated that way the author may become so comfortable during the discussion, he forgets about the camera altogether, resulting in a fine interview.

Lessons from Bob’s talk.  1) know your book cold  2) anticipate likely questions and prepare answers ahead of time  3) have a side story or related anecdote prepared in case there’s air time left 4) above all, try to relax and remember that the best interview is a natural one while you’re simply “having a conversation” about your book.

With thanks, Bob, for those valuable insights!

Come Have Breakfast with the Authors on December 4th

by web editor on November 10, 2015

Breakfast with the Authors

Friday, December 4, 2015, from 9:30 am to 11:30 am
at the Resort and Conference Center, 35 Scudder Ave., Hyannis

 Featuring a continental breakfast, talks by three acclaimed authors, a Question and Answer session, and a book sale and signing.



Sometimes history is right before our eyes, or under our feet. Learn why at our December 4th Breakfast with the Authors event featuring three Cape Cod authors.  First, you’ll hear from nonfiction author Theresa Barbo why one of the most famous rescues in Coast Guard history spent nearly fifty years beneath the waves of public notice. Discover which wild creature went from the 19th century soup pot to enjoying conservation protection under state law. In Hidden History of Cape Cod, Theresa Mitchell Barbo reveals perspectives and aspects of past centuries that may cause you to think about our shared past in a fresh light.



In The Trail, Paul Leroux is a serial killer who decides to escape to Canada on the Appalachian Trail, where thru-hikers use trail names and travel anonymously. His life gets complicated when Desert Storm veteran Karl Bergman, who is also trying to escape his own failure, becomes suspicious of Leroux and begins to pay careful attention to his every move. In this cat-and-mouse thriller, Ray Anderson depicts the dangerous mindset of both men as they struggle to fight their identities and confront their fears and inner turmoil.

swk front cover copyThe Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver features Ella and Maddy Lawton, identical twins who, while arguing, get into a tragic accident. Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy’s death and everyone’s grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy’s life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options–confess her deception or live her sister’s life.

Admission:  $15 for members of the Cape Cod Writers Center

   $20 for non-members


Reserve your space at Breakfast with the Authors by e-mailing or calling 508-420-0200.