Workshop Leaders

Keynote Speaker: Naomi Shihab Nye

OUR 2017 KEYNOTE SPEAKER, AWARD-WINNING POET AND ESSAYIST, NAOMI SHIHAB NYE, is the author of more than 30 volumes. Her books of poetry include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle EastA Maze MePoems for GirlsRed SuitcaseWords under the WordsFuel; and You & Yours (a bestselling poetry book of 2006). She is also the author of Mint SnowballNever in a Hurry; and I'll Ask You Three Times, Are You Okay?, Tales of Driving and Being Driven (essays)Habibi and Going, Going (novels for young readers). In addition to receiving numerous fellowships and awards, Naomi's work has been presented on NPR's  A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer's Almanac. She has been feautured on two PBS poetry specials including "The Language of Life with Bill Moyers" and also appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers. Born to a Palestinian father and an American mother, Naomi calls herself a "wandering poet," although she refers to San Antonio, TX, as her home.

Workshop Leaders

Paige Ackerson-KielyPAIGE ACKERSON-KIELY is the author of the poetry books My Love is a Dead Arctic Explorer, In No One's Land, and other works of poetry and prose. She lives in Vermont and works at a homeless shelter.

Rob ArnoldROB ARNOLD is cofounder of the online literary journal Memorious and coeditor of Grid Books. His poems, essays, and interviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Hyphen, Natural Bridge, and elsewhere. He lives in Boston where he serves as Associate Director of PEN New England.

Howard AxelrodHOWARD AXELROD's memoir, The Point of Vanishing, about the two years he lived in solitude in northern Vermont, is forthcoming from Beacon Press, 2015. His work has appeared in 25 and Under: Fiction (Norton/DoubleTake), The Moral Intelligence of Children (Random House), and The New York Times Magazine, Shambhala Sun, Harvard Magazine, and The Boston Globe. He received the Michael C. Rockefeller fellowship from Harvard, and has been awarded residencies from the Blue Mountain Center, Ucross, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Axelrod has taught literature and writing at Harvard, University of Arizona, and Grub Street.

Philip Baruth portraitPHILIP BARUTH is a novelist and award-winning commentator for Vermont Public Radio. His latest novel, The Brothers Boswell (Soho Press), tracing the famous friendship between James Boswell and Samuel Johnson, was selected as one of the Best Books of 2009 by The Washington Post. His novel, The X President was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of 2003. Referred to as a member of "the new generation of up-and-coming writers" by the Washington Post, Philip teaches Vermont Literature and creative writing at the University of Vermont, where he has served on the Faculty senate and is currently Associate Chair of the English Department.

Beach portraitJENSEN BEACH is the author of Swallowed by the Cold. His fiction has appeared recently in A Public Space, the Paris Review, and The New Yorker. He teaches at Johnson State College and in the MFA Program in Writing & Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Beeber portraitSTEVEN LEE BEEBER is author of The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk (Chicago Review Press, 2007), editor of AWAKE! A Reader for the Sleepless (Soft Skull Press, 2008), and associate editor of the literary journal, Conduit. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Fiction, Harper’s, The New York Times, and elsewhere. As a writer and journalist he has collected garbage in the nation’s wealthiest suburb, dealt blackjack at a nudist colony, been an undercover judge at a teenage beauty pageant, and had his life threatened by Richard Hell. He currently is working on a novel about the early Jewish community in Atlanta, writing a column for the German magazine, Spex, and teaching fiction and creative nonfiction at Lesley University and Grub Street.

Jim Ellefson portraitJ.C. ELLEFSON. At one time or another, J.C. Ellefson has made his living as a hired hand, a blacksmith, and a fiddler in an old-timey band. He has taught at Shanghai International Studies University, the Universidade Dos Acores, and has published poetry and short fiction in magazines throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, and Japan. Jim currently teaches writing and literature at Champlain College, where he is Poet-In-Residence, and chair of The Committee on Verbal Insurrection. His book, Foreign Tales of Exemplum and Woe, will be out this spring. He and his wife, Lesley Wright, own and operate Summer's Gale Farm in Leicester, VT, and direct the Champlain College Young Writers’ Conference.

Geof Hewitt portraitGEOF HEWITT lives in Calais, Vermont. Vermont's slam champion, Geof has been teaching, editing, writing, performing, and passing out wolf calls for forty-five years. This makes him sound like an oracle, and he is. His latest books are Only What's Imagined (poems) and Hewitt's Guide to Slam Poetry and Poetry Slam, which comes with a DVD and won the Mom's Choice award for poetry in 2008. His collection of selected and new poems, The Perfect Heart, is due from Mayapple in the fall. (Photo credit to Jeb Wallace-Brodeur)

Seth Jarvis portraitSETH JARVIS is a writer, director, producer, and performing artist. Several of his original plays have been produced, including The Once & Future Ubu, The Next State, Icon, The Moreau Horrors, and last fall's Transitions..., commissioned by the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. He has produced and co-hosted several series over the years, including The Burlington Poetry Slams, artsProject VT, and Playmakers. Jarvis has been a teaching artist for over twenty-five years, most recently with FlynnArts, Vermont Young Playwrights, and Champlain College. He currently works at the Vermont International Film Foundation.

Clark Knowles portraitCLARK KNOWLES has been teaching fiction and creative non-fiction at the University of New Hampshire for eighteen years and holds the title of Charles S. Murkland Lecturer. He received his M.A. in fiction writing from the University of New Hampshire, and his MFA in Writing from Bennington College. In 2009, the New Hampshire Arts Council awarded him an Individual fellowship, and his fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines, most recently in issues of The Collagist, Northern New England Review, Harpur Palate, Conjunctions, Bellevue Review, Limestone, Nimrod, Eclipse, and Glimmer Train Stories.

Larkin portraitTANYA LARKIN is the author of two collections of poetry, My Scarlet Ways, winner of the 2011 Saturnalia Prize and Hothouse Orphan, Convulsive Editions. She is the recipient of two artist fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a MacDowell Colony Calderwood Fellowship, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. She teaches Expository Writing at Tufts University and also teaches poetry writing at a local jail.

Kerrin McCaddenKERRIN McCADDEN is the author of Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, winner of the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize, judged by David St. John. She has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and The Vermont Studio Center, as well as a Sustainable Arts Foundation Writing Award and support from The Vermont Arts Endowment Fund. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, Verse Daily, American Poetry Review, Rattle, Green Mountains Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poet Lore and other journals. She holds an MFA from The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and teaches at Montpelier High School. She lives in Plainfield, Vermont.

Jessica Hendry NelsonJESSICA HENDRY NELSON is the author of If Only You People Could Follow Directions (Counterpoint Press, February 2014), which was selected as a best debut book by the Indies Introduce New Voices program, the Indies Next List by the American Booksellers' Association, named a Best Book of 2014 by Kirkus Review, and was a finalist for the 2015 Vermont Book Award. Her work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Tin House, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Carolina Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Columbia Journal, Crab Orchard Review, PANK, The Rumpus, Drunken Boat and many others. She teaches writing at Champlain College and the low-residency MFA program at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. She serves as the Managing & Nonfiction editor of Green Mountains Review.

Jericho ParmsJERICHO PARMS is the author of Lost Wax forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press in 2016. Her essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, The Normal School, Hotel Amerika, American Literary Review, Brevity and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, noted in Best American Essays, and anthologized in Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction, and the forthcoming Waveform: Twenty-First Century Essays By Women. She is the Assistant Director of the MFA in Writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches at Champlain College.

KL Pereira portraitKL PEREIRA's chapbook, Impossible Wolves was published by Deathless Press is 2013. Her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction are forthcoming or appear in The Drum Literary Magazine, Shimmer Zine, Lightning Cake, The Golden Key, Innsmouth Free Press, Innsmouth Magazine, Mythic Delirium, Jabberwocky, The Medulla Review, Bitch Magazine and other p ublications. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Goddard College and a Master of Arts in Gender/Cultural Studies from Simmons College (where she studied women in folk literary traditions around the world). Her writing on fairy tales, sexuality, Wonder Woman, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are featured on Studio 360 and other radio programs, cited in numerous publications, and assigned in courses all over the United States and Canada.

Rasmussen portraitJOHN RASMUSSEN hails from Nebraska. The Caribbean has served as his teaching and filmmaking base for thirteen years. He is well versed in narrative, documentary, and experimental movie making. He is fond of saying "To be able to assist, instruct, and advise in the making of movies is a true gift. The Haitian Spaghetti Western is the film genre of the future."

Ryan portraitDAVID RYAN is the author of the short story collection, Animals in Motion (Roundabout Press). His stories have appeared in Esquire, BOMB, Tin House, Electric Literature, Fence, and elsewhere. He's the recipient of a MacDowell fellowship, an arts grant from the state of Connecticut, and was recently the Elizabeth Yates-McGreal Writer in Resident at New England College. A co-founding editor of the journal, Post Road, he currently edits the Fiction and Theatre sections, and teaches in the creative writing programs at Sarah Lawrence College and New England College.

Schlossberg portraitLINDA SCHLOSSBERG received her PhD in English from Harvard University, where she teaches courses in literature and creative writing and serves as the Assistant Director of Studies for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. She has received writing grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, several awards for excellence in teaching, and was thrilled to be voted one of Harvard’s “favorite professors” by the graduating classes of 2010 and 2011. Her novel Life in Miniature (Kensington, 2010) was chosen as a Book Club recommendation by the Harvard Book Store as well as a Book Club selection for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Linda lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Alex SmithALEX SMITH  Singer-songwriter Alex Smith grew up in Long Lake, NY, in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. The son of a boat-builder/writer and a historian, Smith was immersed in folk tradition and started to write songs at the age of twelve. Alex began touring while in college at St. Lawrence University, and there released his first two albums, Sawdust, and Live with Dylan Rice.  Now, five years later, he tours nationally and internationally--and records extensively both solo and with his band The Mountain Sound.  In 2012, Alex signed with Wepecket Island Records, with whom he released his third album, Hamilton County.

Stracher portraitCAMERON STRACHER is the author of two memoirs, Dinner with Dad (Random House, 2007) and Double Billing (William Morrow 1996), a novel, The Laws of Return (William Morrow 1994), the YA thriller, The Water Wars (Sourcebooks 2011), and a non-fiction book about the 1970’s running boom, Kings of the Road (Houghton Mifflin 2013). His comic novel, The Curve, co-written with Jeremy Blachman, will be published in June. His essays and opinion pieces have been frequently published in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. When he’s not writing, he is a media lawyer whose clients include The National Enquirer and Star magazines, the producers of the hit television series Dog the Bounty Hunter and Extreme Weight Loss, and Al Roker Entertainment. Both he and his wife are graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Ryan WalshRYAN WALSH grew up in West Virginia. He is author of the poetry chapbooks Reckoner and The Sinks (winner of the 2010 Mississippi Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest). His poems have appeared in Blackbird, Ecotone; FIELDForklift, Ohio; Narrative, and elsewhere. For many years he taught in the University of Michigan's New England Literature Program (NELP). He is currently the Writing Program Director at the Vermont Studio Center and lives in Burlington, VT.