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The Nittany Valley Writers Network Newsletter
June 2011

The NVWN is a sharing, supportive, inspiring community linking local writers of all genres and levels of experience:  expert and novice, published and hopeful.


No NVWN Meeting / speaker this month – Join us at the Breakfast or Social instead.

Wed 15 Jun – NVWN Early-Risers Breakfast – Every 3rd Wed, 7-8am at The Waffle Shop, 1610 W College Ave, State College. All are welcome – ask for the Writers Table.

Tues 28 Jun – NVWN Writers Social – The 4th Tues, 5:30-7pm at The Autoport, 1405 S Atherton St., State College.

Network News

Self-Publishing Panel Discussion – See “Worthy Links” below for a link to Greg Halpin’s blog entry about our May event.

Monthly Forum

This month’s question was a challenge to write six-word stories. This proved to be very popular at the Social, with the following contributions:

Man rules planet Earth, or not. – Jim Garthe
Submerged canoe yanked, as we cling. – Jim Garthe
Commitment is what makes life worthwhile. – Frank Rocco
For the sake of a necklace… – Hulya Yilmaz
Warning! Virile robots on the loose!  – Sally Driscoll
In the end, it wasn’t the end. – Greg Halpin (*, 7 words re: rapture)
Diane died. Oh f***, now what.  – Patty McKenna
Everything can change on a dime.  – Patty McKenna
I wonder who wrote my obituary?  – Mark Shirey
My garden’s overgrown, maybe it’s Triffids.  – Sarah Goslee
My balloon rises, valve stuck open.  – Sara Goslee
I came, I saw, I conquered.  – Rita (*, 3 words in Latin)
Of Mice and Men in Scranton – a suggestion re: renaming Greg’s book to increase sales
VFR only, BFTC ahead, 180 now.  – Tom Houseknecht via Anne Cornell (pilot lingo:  VFR = visual flight rules (flying “on instruments”), BFTC = big thunder cloud)
She attended both her husband’s weddings. – Anne Cornell (who did)
She attended both her husbands’ weddings.  – Anne Cornell
Scroll up. Scroll down. Enough exercise.  – Walt Fillmann
Mirror, mirror in my hands… oops.  – Walt Fillmann

The new question of the month is “How are you making yourself a better writer?” Share your answer(s) with mts@uplink.net (or Yahoo or Facebook or the Social).

                                                   Why Poetry Matters              by Zoë Brigley Thompson

At a recent event at Penn State, poet Robin Becker opened her reading by noting that poetry had its origins in song, and she quoted the Pennsylvania poet J.D. McClatchy who says: “All arts want to have their birth in music”. Poetry and song do seem to overlap in significant ways. Some poets like the Surrealist Peter Blegvad set their words to music. Musicians also make songs of poems, as in Joni Mitchell’s rendering of W.B. Yeats’ `The Second Coming‘, John Cale’s version of Dylan Thomas’s `Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night‘, or Leonard Cohen’s `Take this Waltz‘ based on Lorca’s poem `Little Viennese Waltz’.

Some songwriters, too, have the lyrics of a poet. Many cite Bob Dylan as a prime example, or his forebear, Woody Guthrie, who wrote poetic narratives on the lives of the poor. This particularly American tradition is carried on today by artists like Gillian Welch, who write the stories of the outcast, poor and bereft. Written about the tragedy of American sharecroppers in the 1930s, Welch’s `Annabelle‘ recalls Walker Evan’s eponymous photographs of Depression-era poverty. Songs like this also recall the origins of poetry, as an essentially sung form and a means to convey oral histories.

Worthy Links

NVWN web page:  http://schlowlibrary.org/nvwn > Nittany Valley Writers Network
NVWN Yahoo group:  
(e.g., see Links to find members blogs)
NVWN Facebook page:  
This Month’s Recommendations:

Critique Groups

CLAW (Creating Literature At Webster’s) – Fiction writing – Jen, facilitator@clawcritique.com
W4K (Writers for Kids) – Children/YAF – Virginia Loewen, 238-1817, vloewen@verizon.net
Christian Writers Roundtable – Laurel West at 237-3010, laurelwest975@gmail.com
OLLI Writers Group – All genres – Rita, ritalouise@gmail.com
Memoir Writing Group – 1st Thu 1pm – Barb Foley, knock3xs@hotmail.com
State College Writers Group – Fiction and poetry – Glenn, 234-1949, gbv750@hotmail.com


Programming:  Sally Driscoll (sallydriscoll@verizon.net), (814)231-0913
Technology:  Greg Halpin (gphalpin@gmail.com)
Marketing:  Zoë Brigley Thompson (
Critique Groups:  Karen Dabney (
Publicity:  Bev Molnar (
Newsletter & Social:  Mark T. Shirey (
mts@uplink.net). Send items by the 25th.



Cartoon contest winners usually generate lots of captions. Studies of creativity have shown that quantity breeds quality – what I call the productivity theory, because high productivity corresponds to high creativity.  – Keith Sawyer, creativity researcher

If you don’t write your books, nobody else will do it for you. No one else has lived your life.  – José Saramago