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The Nittany Valley Writers Network Newsletter
August 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 17 Aug – 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 23 Aug – NVWN Writers Social – Every 4th Tues, 5:30-7pm at The Autoport, 1405 S Atherton St., State College. All are welcome – ask for the Writers Table.

Network News

See pictures from, and comments about, BookFestPA and our last Social at the Nittany Valley Writers Network Facebook page (see Worthy Links below). Share, discuss, post files, etc., via the Network’s Yahoo group (see Worthy Links below).

Monthly Forum

This month’s question was “What do you think of serial writing contests and would you be willing to contribute to and/or judge one?”  One person answered “No thank you. Might be fun, and even instructive, for a writing group, but I believe it’s pretentious to treat them as a valid mode of fiction.” Another thought they are a good way for beginning writers to connect with other writers and they work as a springboard for those in need of ideas. The new topic of the month is clever or literary insults or compliments. Share your gems at the next Social (or with mts@uplink.net or Yahoo or Facebook).

Why Poetry Matters              by Zoë Brigley Thompson

The world is still coming to terms with the massacre on the island of Utøya in Norway. Reading accounts of the horror by young people like Emma Martinovic in The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/27/norway-attacks-survivor-utoya-massacre) is moving and thought-provoking:  we ask ourselves, how would we respond in the face of such brutality?

Poets have often tried to make sense of inhuman and barbaric acts of murder. For example, the poem `Psychopath’ by the British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, or Carolyn Forché’s remarkable prose poem, `The Colonel,’ which presents a brutal Latin American dictator: “The colonel returned with a sack that he used to bring groceries home. He spilled many human ears on the table. They were like dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this.”

Perhaps the most poignant, however, is poetry of the survivor, poetry of those who mourn for the lost and seek a new future. Take Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno’s collection Slamming Open the Door written after her daughter, Leidy, was brutally murdered in 2003. Bonanno writes of her precarious existence after the event in the poem `Ice Skating’:

we skate way far over in the distance,
remotely visible,
two pitiable lurchers
where the surface is wafery thin
and the light is bad,
where no one would choose to skate
had God not pointed an icy,
peremptory finger
and said, There.

Worthy Links

NVWN web page:  http://schlowlibrary.org/nvwn > Nittany Valley Writers Network
NVWN Yahoo group:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nvwn/  (see Links and Files)
NVWN Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/nvwritersnetwork
This Month’s Recommendations:
Endless fun:  http://tvtropes.org (e.g., see Troperville, Tools, and Toys; http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ElNinoIsSpanishForTheNino , http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AnimalTalk)

Critique Groups

CLAW (Creating Literature At Webster’s) – Fiction – Jen, facilitator@clawcritique.com
W4K (Writers for Kids) – 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/poetry – Glenn, 234-1949, gbv750@hotmail.com
NEW! Elisha Clark Halpin’s group of women centered on Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”, Tues 7-8:30pm, Location TBD, starting 9 Aug – elisha@etchdance.com


Programming:  Sally Driscoll (sallydriscoll@verizon.net), (814)231-0913
Technology:  Greg Halpin (gphalpin@gmail.com)
Marketing:  Zoë Brigley Thompson (zoe.brigley@gmail.com)
Critique Groups:  Karen Dabney (greywing228@verizon.net)
Publicity:  Bev Molnar (bgs3@psu.edu)
Newsletter & Social:  Mark T. Shirey (mts@uplink.net). Send items by the 25th.


How to read `Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’? Why, very quickly, to begin with, and perhaps also to make an end. Why read it? Presumably, if you cannot be persuaded to read anything better, Rowling will have to do.  – Harold Bloom

For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.  – Matthew 12:37, The Bible