Report From The Field: The Defensive Male Writer | VIDA: Women in Literary Arts

Our Executive Artistic Director, Diana Norma Szokoyai, has a new Op Ed in VIDA called “The Defensive Male Writer.”


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I’d like to thank the editors at VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts for publishing my Op-Ed “The Defensive Male Writer.”

You can read it here:

Report From The Field: The Defensive Male Writer | VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

And here are a couple of excerpts:

Being a female and a writer has its interesting twists (I purposely am not saying “woman writer” or “female writer” because we rarely make the distinction “man writer” or “male writer”).  Women need to have their voices heard, but they don’t need their voices to be ghettoized into a special bookstore category of “women’s writing.”  This suggests that men’s writing is the default and that women’s writing is some sort of sub-category, or—worse—something that happens far off on the exotic island where women write, certainly not on the main continent of male writing.

Yes, the body of a beautiful woman of color…

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Brooklyn Yoga, Aromatherapy, & Writing Workshop – January 31, 2015

Jan 31 Creativity through the Senses Workshop copyapply YOGA &  AROMATHERAPY & WRITING Workshop

SPECIAL DISCOUNT: REGISTER BY FRIDAY 1/30/15 AT NOON FOR ONLY $60 (after, workshop fee is $85)

This workshop is intended to invigorate and relax the mind and body, as well as open the senses and creativity centers of the mind and body.  After the yoga and aromatherapy sessions, participants will learn specific tools to improve and shape their writing to make it irrestible to read (whether it is fiction, nonfiction or poetry).

Our “Winter Workshop For Creativity Through The Senses” offers a relaxing and inspiring triad of experiences and is open to all levels of yogis and writers.  Join CWW’s Diana Norma Szokolyai and Elissa Lewis for a day that will allow you to:

* Immerse yourself in Yoga Sequences that Invigorate & Restore.
* Learn about how Essential Oils can inspire you to create, heal the spirit, and open up the chakras for living in harmony with your surroundings.
* Inspire your writing (for all levels & genres of writers) with a workshop on Writing for the Senses, Making your Reader Feel.

More information:
In preparation for the workshop, please wear comfortable clothing, and bring materials to write with (paper, pen, or laptop if that is your preference).  The center provides yoga mats, blocks and cushions, but if you prefer to bring your own, you are welcome to.

Our schedule will be as follows:
12:00 invigorating yoga  (with Elissa Joi Lewis)
12:30 aromatherapy workshop: we will learn about the therapeutic & healing uses of essential oils, as well as sample and explore how they can open our creativity through the senses (With Diana Norma Szokolyai & Elissa Joi Lewis)
1:45 break
2:00 restorative yoga (with Elissa Joi Lewis)
2:30 “Writing for the Senses, Making Your Reader Feel” writing workshop and feedback session (with Diana Norma Szokolyai)
4:00 Workshop Ends

We are doing this workshop in partnership with the wonderful Family of Light Holistic Center in Ditmas Park.  Please register directly throughout Family of Light by calling, emailing or visiting their website. SEATS ARE LIMITED. CONTACT US TO PREREGISTER.  $85 ( $60 if you register by FRIDAY at noon) 717 Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218.   (718)928.7771 (347)587.9344 apply

CWW’s Artistic Director Diana Norma Szokolyai’s Poem Published in Anthology Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Artistic Director Diana Norma Szokolyai’s poem “Sarajevo” published in groundbreaking anthology Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History.  On December 3, the anthology launches in London! See for more info.



When editors Claire Trévien and Gareth Prior wrote to me asking if I would like to contribute to their forthcoming anthology last July, I was thrilled to submit to such an exciting project.  The editors set out with the mission of publishing poetry that offer different perspectives on history than the main stream.  I think this is a very important volume, and I thank the editors for putting together this groundbreaking anthology.  My poem, “Sarajevo” was published, and I’m grateful to be in the company of many amazing poets (see the full list below).

The anthology features poems by James Brookes, Matt Bryden, Karen Jane Cannon, David Clarke, Ross Cogan, Sasha Dugdale, Martín Espada, Rebecca Goss, Hel Gurney, Linn Hansén, Emily Hasler, Sarah Hesketh, Holly Hopkins, Kirsten Irving, Jemma L. King, Rose Lemberg, Robin Lim, Éireann Lorsung, Hannah Lowe, Susan Mackervoy, Harry Man, Dawn Manning, Richie McCaffery, John McCullough, Michael McKimm, Lynn Pedersen…

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Pre-Thanksgiving Yoga & Creative Writing Cleanse


Join the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop presents for our second annual Pre-Thanksgiving Yoga & Creative Writing Cleanse held at Ashtanga Yoga Shala in Manhattan’s East Village!  If you’re participating in #NaNoWriMo 2014, come join us and rejuvenate your creative juices and enjoy working on your novel in a relaxing environment!

Pre-Thanksgiving Yoga & Writing Cleanse
Saturday November 22 * 2-4 pm

Sunday November 23 * 2-4 pm

Ashtanga Yoga Shala
295 E. 8th St. (Corner of Ave B.)
New York, NY 10009

Join our Pre-Thanksgiving Yoga & Creative Writing Cleanse. As the leaves are changing colors, bring some of those transformations into your life.  Before re-uniting with family for lots of heavy food and holiday affairs (along with the cheer and stress that comes along with it), treat yourself to a weekend of creative writing, yoga, and raw juice cleanses!

Pre-registered participants get a free jar of raw homemade juice (please register by November 21, 2014 to be put on the list).  Early registration encouraged by November 15, as spots are expected to fill quickly!  Drop-ins also welcome, provided there is room!

$100 for both days
$50 for a single day

Register by November 15 at:

LitCrawl Manhattan: Literary Masquerade – Sept 13, 8pm – presented by the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop


Featured in Time Out New York!  

Literary Masquerade

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop hosts a literary masquerade with writers and performance artists Gregory Crosby, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Jonah Kruvant, Elizabeth Devlin, Rita Banerjee, and Nicole Colbert. Original readings and performances will be intermingled with musings on masks from Pessoa, Kierkegaard, Descartes, Dickinson, de Beer, and more. There will be masks. There will be libations. There will be paint and skin.  Join us at LitCrawl Manhattan.

SAT.  SEPTEMBER 13 * 8:15 p.m.
One Mile House, 10 Delancey St., NY, NY 10002

Gregory Crosby is the author of the chapbook Spooky Action at a Distance (2014, The Operating System); his poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Court Green, Epiphany, Copper Nickel, Leveler, Sink Review, Ping Pong, & Rattle. In 2002, as a poetry consultant to the City of Las Vegas, he was instrumental in the creation of the Lewis Avenue Poets Bridge, a public art project in downtown Las Vegas. His dedicatory poem for the project, “The Long Shot,” was subsequently reproduced in bronze and installed in the park, and was included in the 2008 anthology Literary Nevada: Writings from the Silver State (University of Nevada Press). He is co-editor of the online poetry journal Lyre Lyre and currently teaches creative writing at Lehman College, City University of New York.

Diana Norma Szokolyai is a writer/performance artist/educator. She teaches 9-12 year-olds in a Montessori learning environment, and is also Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, where she teaches and organizes writing and yoga retreats for adult writers. She is author of the poetry collections Parallel Sparrows (honorable mention for Best Poetry Book in the 2014 Paris Book Festival) and Roses in the Snow (first runner-up Best Poetry Book at the 2009 DIY Book Festival). She has poetry forthcoming in the anthologies The Highwaymen NYC Annual # 2 and Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History and has also had her fiction, essays, and poetry published in The Fiction Project, Lyre Lyre, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, and Always Wondering, among others. She performs with Parallel Sonic, ChagallPAC, and the Brooklyn Soundpainting Ensemble.

Elizabeth Devlin is a modern day renaissance woman, if not composing music for the solo, autoharp wielding, singer-songwriter act, ELIZABETH DEVLIN, she can be found crafting Illustrations/Graphi¬cs at DEVLIN DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION, playing electric bass and singing as front woman for Brooklyn based rock band, VALVED VOICE, or curating a fresh new line-up for the THE HIGHWAYMEN NYC, a Brooklyn based, monthly, poetry reading series that meets on the full moon.

Rita Banerjee is a writer, and received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. She holds an MFA in Poetry and her writing has been published in Poets for Living Waters, The New Renaissance, The Fiction Project, Jaggery, The Crab Creek Review, The Dudley Review, Objet d’Art, Vox Populi, Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure, and Chrysanthemum among other journals. Her first collection of poems,Cracklers at Night, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010 and received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book at the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Book Festival. Her novella, A Night with Kali, was digitized by the Brooklyn Art-house Co-op in 2011. She is a co-director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, and her writing has been recently featured on HER KIND by VIDA: Women in Literary Artsand on KBOO Radio’s APA Compass in Portland, Oregon.

Jonah Kruvant is a writer, teacher, and student of the world. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College, his Master’s degree in Teaching from Fordham University, and his MFA degree in Creative Writing from Goddard College. After living abroad in four different countries, Jonah settled in New York. The Last Book Ever Written is his first novel. Visit his website at

Nicole Colbert (“Harlequin Loves Columbine”) teaches English at Kingsborough Community College-CUNY. She takes fiction writing classes with Rachel Sherman in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. Her non-fiction work, including interviews & reviews, has appeared in the Village Voice, Park Slope Reader, and New York Spirit Magazine. As a former dancer and choreographer, she still enjoys performing. She is the proud mother of two very creative children.

August 17 – Suspense, Experiments, and Secret Passageways au Château de Verderonne

We had a beautiful day that started off with delicious French pastries from a local pastry shop. Yum.  Rita taught a craft of writing seminar in the morning on using Rasa theory to create emotion and suspense in theater and fiction.  Everyone practiced creating emotionally charged scenes in their narratives.  In the afternoon, I taught a class where we learned about traditional and contemporary French poetry.  We even tried our hand at experimenting with some OULIPO (Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle) writing experiments.

In the early evening, Monsieur Marié de l’Isle took us on a walk to the ice house, one of the oldest in France.  We learned that in the days before freezers and refrigerators, people would harvest ice in the winter, storing it in a deep hole they constructed underground, called the ice house.  Ice was very expensive and enjoyed by royals and the nobility as a treat.  After a walk through the woods, we carefully ventured down the ivy and thorn covered stone steps, holding hands, taking care not to step on the slugs and precious escargot!  Then, we walked through a dark tunnel guarded by many spiders and stared down into the depths of what looked like an oubliette.  It was eerie to imagine the ice stored here centuries ago, people navigating their way here with oil lamps to scrape nature’s simple delicacy for some rich man’s table.

Then, on our way back, we saw a hideout called a “muche” in the old Picard language.  Now gated, these underground dwellings served as temporary shelters and storage cellars when military raids would plague the region.  It was a very interesting walk, and we were all inspired by the mystery in the air whilst exploring these secret passageways and ivy-grown tunnels long forgotten.

– Diana Norma Szokolyai, Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Artistic Director


August 13 – Cambridge Writers’ Workshop at the Château de Verderonne

At brunch this morning, we tried something new, “flan de carrotes.”  In the pictures, you can see Christina preparing for our afternoon writing workshop, along with Stephanie, Nannie and other participants in the Blue Salon.  Some of us wrote one act plays , new poems, novel excerpts, screen plays, and short stories.  We worked hard to upload our own by noon, and to read everyone’s work by 2:00 p.m.  Then, we critiqued each other using Liz Lerman’s method during our afternoon workshop.  A welcome break was feeding the chickens.  They follow us around now that they know we are the bearers of baguettes.  Some eggs are waiting to hatch!  After some bouts of down pouring rain, the sun kept peaking out.  We enjoyed a walk through the gardens and greenhouses.  At dinner, another specialty  appetizer was a terrine with chicken, carrots, green beans, and other vegetables.  Dessert was crème au chocolat…mmmm….along with Chef Monique’s favorite family recipe for “yogurt bread.”

At night, some of us relaxed during knitting circle.  Others did some creative writing or talked and over an herbal tea before bed.  Elissa gave a wonderful afternoon yoga class in the courtyard.  Everyone was treated to a little head massage with geranium oil.  All in all, it was  quiet and peaceful day at the Château de Verderonne and a productive workshop day.

Diana Norma Szokolyai, Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Artistic Director

CWW’s Diana Norma Szokolyai Performs with Parallel Sonic at Barbes

bbc_child1-617x1024Parallel Sonic (Diana Norma Szokolyai, Dennis Shafer Teerapat Gof Parnmongkol and Jessie Nelson) will be playing as part of the Bushwick Book Club at Barbes on June 25.  The Bushwick BookClub chooses a different book every month and invites performing artists to create a performance related to the work. Tonight, come hang out with us for and see the different experimental performances based on Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Wed. June 25, 2014 7p.m.
Parallel Sonic at Bushwick BookClub
Barbes, 376 9th St, Brooklyn, NY (at 6th ave and 9th st)

CWW’s Diana Norma Szokolyai Gives Poetry Reading in Woodstock, NY

Last Monday, Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Executive Artistic Director, Diana Norma Szokolyai read alongside many seasoned poets at the Harmony Café in Woodstock, NY.  After a short picnic and musical session by the side of the beautiful Cooper Lake, saxophonist Dennis Shafer and Diana Norma went into Woodstock and really enjoyed the night of poetry.  Among the luminaries were Donald Lev and beat poet Andy Clausen, a friend of Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg.  Here are some photos and a video of Diana Norma’s dual language poem, Hullám/Wave.

Watch a Video of the Hullám/Wave performance on YouTube:
Reading at Harmony, Café, Woodstock, NYHarmony Café Poetry Reading in Woodstock, NY