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Word Up 

State of the Arts

Published April 6, 2011 at 9:05 a.m.

The third issue of Burlington-based The Salon: A Journal of Poetry & Fiction is out. Among various local verse, prose and drama, it includes the late Poppa Neutrino’s first-person account of the wreck of his scrap-wood raft on Lake Champlain last November. The artist, activist and sometime Burlington resident, who died at age 77 last January in New Orleans, writes that the accident reminded him that “once a man gives up the need to create the impermanent, the need to play god, he reconnects to the permanent.”

Out on the new frontiers of publishing, many authors are spearheading their own promotion. Newport’s J.D. Masterson is particularly enterprising. Last week, Burlington residents may have found a postcard in their mailboxes advertising upcoming signings of her novel The Scorpion’s Sting, a Da Vinci Code-esque adventure. On April 2, Masterson was at Borders. On April 4, she chatted about the novel on WCAX.

The Scorpion’s Sting is published by Tate, an Oklahoma-based, Christian-oriented firm that is noted for its practice of collecting a $4000 “investment” from aspiring authors. Masterson’s novel won an honorable mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival, which is devoted to “self-published or independent-publisher” books, according to its website.

It’s hard to imagine a setting more conducive to a writer’s imagination than the landscaped pastures, woods and lakeshore of Shelburne Farms. Perhaps that’s why the nonprofit is holding a weekend workshop called “Words Take Wing,” where current and aspiring writers can get guidance as the countryside starts to fill with rustling wings and bird song.

At $325 plus optional accommodations, the weekend isn’t cheap. But participants can work with Nzadi Zimele Keita, an associate professor at Pennsylvania’s Ursinus College, and Burlington-area poet Julie Cadwallader-Staub, whose work has been heard on Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac.”

Cadwallader-Staub’s published collection, Face to Face, chronicles her husband’s death from cancer and the role of her faith in weathering the crisis. “Map,” a poem recently read by Keillor, pays tribute in strong, simple language to the navigation skills that brought her father through a long life.

Two big names in writing for teens visit Shelburne’s Flying Pig Bookstore this month. On Friday, the store hosts Nic Sheff, young author of the memoirs Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines and the new We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction. Next week, fans can chat with Erin Hunter, crafter of the best-selling Warriors fantasy series about formidable kitty cats.

The Champlain College Publishing Initiative blog has a new Games page with nifty writing prompts. This week, try your hand at a 10-line screenplay about spring break and submit it before midnight on April 9 at champlaincollegepublishing.com. We’re off to draft Piranha 3-D II...


J.D. Masterson book signing

Wednesday, April 6, 4 to 6 p.m. at Green Mountain Suites Hotel in South Burlington. jdmasterson.com.

‘Words Take Wing’ Retreat for Poets and Writers

Friday, April 15, 11 a.m., through Sunday, April 17, 2 p.m., at Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Road, in Shelburne. $325 includes tuition and meals; optional accommodations, $60 per person per night. Info and registration, 985-8686. shelburnefarms.org

Nic Sheff

Friday, April 8, 7 p.m. at the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne. Free; RSVP recommended at 985-3999.

Erin Hunter

Wednesday, April 13, 4 p.m. at the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne. Free; RSVP recommended at 985-3999.

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About The Author

Margot Harrison

Margot Harrison

Margot Harrison is the Associate Editor at Seven Days; she coordinates literary and film coverage. In 2005, she won the John D. Donoghue award for arts criticism from the Vermont Press Association.


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