Literary Taboo Workshop with Rita Banerjee at the Munich Readery – April 27, 2014

tabooLiterary Taboo Creative Writing Workshop
Sunday, April 27 * 14:00-16:00
The Munich Readery, Augustenstraße 104, 80798 München

Come join Rita Banerjee and the Munich Readery for an afternoon of literary games, riddles and creative writing!  Get ready to play Literary Taboo. During the game, you may be asked to describe a person, idea, object, or phenomenon without using certain taboo words. You are welcomed to create poems, short stories, theatrical sketches, first-person narratives, and riddles about the topics you encounter during the game, and everyone is invited to become a true literary detective! So join us for an afternoon filled with creative writing, sensorial riddles, and literary taboos!  Workshop fee: €20.  To register, send an email to

New Release: Spooky Action at a Distance by Gregory Crosby, CWW Board Member


Congratulations to our very own Executive Board member, Gregory Crosby, for his haunting and beautiful new poetry collection, Spooky Action at a Distance.  Gregory Crosby’s poems have appeared in Court Green, Epiphany, Copper Nickel, Leveler, Ping Pong & Rattle, among others. He is co-curator of the long- running EARSHOT reading series and is co-editor, with Jillian Brall, of the online poetry journal Lyre Lyre.  He has served as a host and panelist for several Cambridge Writers’ Workshop events, including 2012 & 2013 Brooklyn Lit Crawl, the 2012 Mass Poetry Festival, and  our live radio shows.

The lines often whisper back to me while I’m at work or riding the subway home, literally haunting me. The collection begins with the line: “I was full, I was desperate.” Automatically, the reader is set up to want more, to crave words like sugar. The speaker in the first poem almost seems bodiless–the observations are omniscient: “I watched my brain cells expire,/wondering who would brush my hair/while I slept”.

Playing with sound would be an understatement; Gregory builds sonic landscapes the size of oceans. In his poem A Fathom: “I become clear when I slip through fingers/& linger in tears. I see you have a conch/held at one ear. I suppose you want mystery,/a mermaid, murmuring, The sea, the sea!” Rhyme has gone in and out of fashion in the poetry world; right now, rhyme isn’t exactly popular, but Gregory crafts it coolly, seamlessly into the lines.

What I truly adore about this collection is careful use of technology and pop culture; all too often, poets have a heavy hand in trying to appear relevant, cool, or ironic. Infusing modern technology into verse is essential to poetry, if we are ever to write a true line. We live in a world dictated by pop culture, media, and technological advances–how can we ignore it? Poetry is not an archaic art, it is merely a tool for us to understand the environment around us, and Gregory does this with tact and intelligence. – Joanna C. Valente

New Release: The Dismal Science by Peter Mountford

DismalSciencePeter Mountford’s second novel, The Dismal Science (Tin House, 2014), was recently reviewed by The New York Times.  We are proud to have had Peter read with us in Seattle in our A Night at the Victrola Reading.  Since graduating from the University of Washington’s MFA program in 2006, Peter’s short fiction and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Best New American Voices 2008, Conjunctions, Salon, Granta, ZYZZYVA, and Boston Review, where he won second place in the 2007 contest judged by George Saunders. He’s currently a writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House and at Seattle Arts and Lectures.

The plot follows D’Orsi as he quits the bank in a “kamikaze’s strategy” over a seemingly small argument with a colleague, about funding for Bolivia if the leftist Evo Morales wins the presidency. D’Orsi is being asked to cut off aid, putting politics above the bank’s mission. Because of his daughter, her activist colleagues, boredom and grief, “exhausted by the bank’s bloated ineptitude and inefficiency,” D’Orsi gives the story to his best friend, a reporter for The Washington Post. Its publication causes a spectacular and very public blowup, unfurling D’Orsi’s career and life. “It had an appealingly straightforward quality: He resented the bank and despised himself for participating in its work, so he torpedoed himself into the bank.” – Martha McPhee, The New York Times

New Release: Don Dreams and I Dream by Leah Umansky

DonDreamsInspired by the hit-series Mad Men, Leah Umansky, has created a wonderful selection of poems which explore themes of love, lust, betrayal, and ambiguity in her second poetry collection, Don Dreams and I Dream.  Leah debuted some of the poems from Don Dreams and I Dream at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop A Night at the Victrola Reading in Seattle!  Leah Umansky contributing writer to Tin House,  Luna Luna Magazine, BOMB Magazine’s BOMBLOG , and The Rumpus, and curator of The Couplet Reading series in New York.

Don Dreams and I Dream is compulsively readable, but it is far from a light collection of poems. Most hold the weight of women’s struggles for recognition as human beings over much of the past century. The poems are at once political and confessional, feisty and giddy, aggressive and playfully submissive. The poems are nothing if not sexy, and sensuality is key to their power—just as it is, in large part, the key to Don’s. -Amy Silbergeld

New Release: Life Cycle by Dena Rash Guzman

dena-rash-guzmanWe’re proud to announce a new poetry collection, Life Cycle (Dog Chain Press, 2014), by author Dena Rash Guzman, a Portland poet, who read with us at our A Night at the Victrola Reading in Seattle!  Dena Rash Guzman is an American author, poet, editor, born in Las Vegas, Nevada 3/8/72. Founding Editor literary journal Unshod Quills. Poetry Editor, The Nervous Breakdown. Founder of Old Heavy Press; first print title for release in 2013, a chapbook about David Bowie by Seattle author Jenny Hayes. Poetry Editor and Managing Director at HAL Publishing, Shanghai’s independent English language literary journal and small press. Former co-producer for Unchaste Readers, Portland’s only live reading series focusing solely on the work of female writers.

Dena is not only a great poet, a bold feminist and a great editor, but she’s also a greatly  genuine and good-hearted woman.  Her work is comical, sensual, hearty and nourishing (and that’s not just because there’s a poem about Warhol’s Campbell Soup). – Leah Umansky



New Release: The Situation & What Crosses It by Amy Schrader

AmySchraderAmy Schrader, a wonderful poet and good friend of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, has just released her first collection of poems, The Situation and What Crosses It, through MoonPath Press.  Check out this wonderful collection of sonnets!  Amy Schrader holds a B.A. in Molecular & Cell Biology and English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley, and an M.A. in English Literature from Boston University. She earned her M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Washington. She was a semifinalist for the 2006 and 2007 “Discovery”/The Nation poetry contests, and a recipient of a 2008 GAP grant from Artist Trust.  

These sonnets are like spells, like mirrors, as in funhouse—, smoke &—, magic—, and even ceiling— (oh, the delicious, dirty double entendres!). They are sly forms within forms, these sonnets in the Celtic Cross, stories in poems, the made-up in the real, the work of life in a game. In these playful, lovely pieces, Schrader shows us language trying to see and hear itself, admire and rip its own skins. Reading these poems is like reading all the secrets wedged in all the bottles floating in all the oceans, but be careful—they’re stuffed with bits of heartbreak and danger. —Arlene Ki

CREDO Anthology Call featured on Duotrope

CREDO-FINALThe Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is proud to have CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing featured on Duotrope.  The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2014!  So send in your creative writing manifesto, writing exercise, or essays on writing craft & advice today!  The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop invites writers of all stripes (Poets! Fictioneers! Memoirists! Journalists!  Essayists!  Dramatists!  Genre-benders!) to submit to CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing.  Writers are invited to submit their personal aesthetic philosophies and manifestos for the anthology, writing exercises and prompts that have helped to kick-start their imagination, and short essays on the art of writing, reading, and being creative.

AWP 2014 – That’s A Wrap

AWP14-2The AWP 2014 Conference in Seattle was full of meetings with wonderful writers and friends, great hijinks, and even better literary readings.  During the conference, the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Bookfair Table was featured in the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts’ Scavenger Hunt!  At the CWW, we met some amazing new writers, and got a chance to tell people about our Call for Submissions for CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing, our 2014 Summer Yoga & Writing Retreat at the Château de Verderonne, and our upcoming workshops & literary internships!  A very special thanks to Elizabeth Devlin, Jessica Reidy, Pattabi Seshadri, Jessica Day, Alice Marshall,  Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szkolyai for helping man the CWW table!!  On Friday February 28, Diana Norma Szokolyai and Rita Banerjee had featured author signings at the AWP 2014 Bookfair, and later that evening, the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop celebrated “A Night at the Victrola!” at the original Victrola Coffee & Art café in Seattle!

CWW-VictrolaA Night at the Victrola was featured as a top AWP 2014 reading in Vanguard Seattle and included the wonderful fiction, poetry, and nonfiction of Seattle, Portland, and East Coast writers such as Peter Mountford, Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Pattabi Seshadri, Nancy Jooyoun Kim, Kevin Skiena, Jessica Day, Anca Szilágyi, Talia Shalev, Carrie Kahler, Dena Rash Guzman, Leah Umansky, Susan Parr, & Johnny Horton.  It was great to see so many UW MFA alumni and affiliates of the CWW at the reading!  Congratulations to Peter Mountford and Anca Szilágyi for having their stories, “Life in the Group Room” and “Sugar” published in the New York Times Magazine and Gastronomica, respectively!  Thanks so much for sharing your work with us before it was published!  Check out our AWP 2014 Equisite Corpse & reading highlights at our Night at the Victrola Gallery.  Also, be sure to check out all the AWP & CWW action in Anca Szilágyi’s wonderful review, “The Best AWP Ever.”

PW-Retreats2014Thanks also to all the wonderful literary organizations and blogs which reviewed the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop at AWP 2014 and featured our readings, authors, and events!  Thanks especially to Yoga Trail, BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog, The Furnace, Poets & Writers Magazine,, Harvard Magazine, Duotrope, Dena Rash Guzman, Leah Umansky, Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma SzkolyaiAnca Szilágyi, Jessica Reidy, Raquel Henry, The Writers’ Loft at MTSU, my rite of passage, Sarah Kuntz Jones, Amy King, and Allison Joseph for featuring our events and supporting the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop!  You guys rock!

Until next time,
Cambridge Writers’ Workshop

Novelist Peter Mountford featured in The New York Times Magazine

mountfordPeterCongratulations to Peter Mountford, a good friend of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and an excellent fiction and nonfiction writer, whose piece, “Life in the Group Room” was recently published in The New York Times Magazine.  Peter Mountford originally read ‘”Life in the Group Room” at “A Night at the Victrola,” an AWP 2014 Reading sponsored by the Cambridge Writer’s Workshop.  Thank you Peter, for sharing this brave and provocative piece with us!  Peter Mountford’s debut novel, A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), won the 2012 Washington State Book Award and was a finalist in the 2012 VCU Cabell First Novelist Prize. In its full-page review, The Seattle Times wrote: “Debut novels don’t come much savvier, punchier, or more entertaining…the work of an extraordinary talent.”  His second novel, The Dismal Science, was published in early 2014 by Tin House Books. For his work on The Dismal Science, he was awarded a 4Culture Grant, a grant from the city of Seattle, and the Corporation of Yaddo’s Wallace Fellowship for a Distinguished Writer.   Since graduating from the University of Washington’s MFA program in 2006, Peter’s short fiction and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Best New American Voices 2008, Conjunctions, Salon, Granta, ZYZZYVA, and Boston Review, where he won second place in the 2007 contest judged by George Saunders. He’s currently a writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House and at Seattle Arts and Lectures.   Peter grew up in Washington, DC, apart from three years in Sri Lanka during the early stages of the Sri Lankan civil war.

Château de Verderonne Fiction Instructor Jessica Reidy Nominated for a 2014 Puschart Prize

JessicaReidyJessica Reidy’s short story, “We Rise Up” Short Story of the Week in Narrative Magazine, was nominated for a 2014 Puschart Prize!  Jessica will be our Fiction Instructor at the 2014 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Yoga & Creative Writing Retreat at the Château de Verderonne.  She is a writer, poet, and teacher from New Hampshire with an MFA in Fiction from Florida State University and a B.A. from Hollins University. Her work has appeared in Narrative Magazine as Short Story of the Week, The Los Angeles Review, Arsenic Lobster, and other journals. She’s a staff-writer for Quail Bell Magazine where she writes non-fiction pieces about feminism, Romani (“Gypsy”) rights and representation, social justice, arts and culture, and other topics, plus the occasional poem or short story. She is also part of the Social Media Outreach team for VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts and she’s delighted to be teaching and traveling with The Cambridge Writers Workshop. Jessica is currently working on her first novel about Coco Charbonneau, the half-Romani burlesque dancer and fortune teller of Zenith Circus, in post-WWII Paris, and her quest for vengeance and justice.  Read her review of our Summer 2013 Yoga & Creative Writing Retreat at the Château de Verderonne here.