November 27, 2017

Community of Writers, November 19

This is perhaps the longest running annual event sponsored by the Hudson Valley Writers Guild, featuring a number of local writers in various genres, coordinated & hosted by Alan Catlin, & held at the Schenectady County Public Library on Clinton St. This year there were 7 writers.

The first reader was novelist Tom Swyers. He centered his talk around his latest best-selling novel, The Killdeer Connection, a legal thriller set in the Capital Region (Schenectady = “Mohawk City,” Niskayuna = “Indigo Valley”), & talked abut the power of fiction, & our pre-conceptions of reality, & how he, as an author, uses these preconceptions as he writes about reality.

Joan Kruger writes poetry & is working on a novel. She began with a couple poems, “She Grew Lean” & “Matryoshka” (a love poem with Russian nesting dolls as the main image). She also read from her novel, The Great Cat Caper, a Pickwickian farce about a con-artist couple.

Paul O’Brien has written & published 2 memoirs from his days of teaching high school English & he read from both. From Voices from Room 6 “The Wire Walker” about how he got Philippe Pettit to come to his his high school & speak to the students, & from Keys on the Road a piece about growing up, & his later years.

Poet Dawn Marar read partly from her forthcoming chapbook from Finishing Line Press Efflorescence. She began with “Grandma’s Purse,” then from the chapbook a couple poems “Dispatches from Beit Jala Near Bethlehem” & “On the Road to Damascus,” about traveling in the Middle East with her family, then an emotional personal remembrance of family member veterans “You Citizen.”

T.G. (Todd) Monahan’s first novel, published earlier this year, is titled The Vexing Heirloom. He began by talking about his fascination with how facts become myth, become fiction in the hands of the writer. He described his novel as a classic hero’s journey & origin story; it is set in 1896 during the Cuban War of Independence, & read brief excerpts, including the ending.

Poet Carolee Bennett began with a couple of works-in-progress, “The Constraints of Celestial Mechanics” a “mash-up” of science literature & carnival images, then a poem in response to a writing prompt “My Grief is the Soup.” “Thermodynamics” is a poem about a campfire set in the shadow of Clarksville’s Bennett Hill (no relation). She ended with a couple of poems related by theme, one old “The Tear Drop Lounge” & the newer “Palaise Royale New Year’s Eve 2016."

Once again a wonderfully diverse reading from the great well-spring of local literary talent in the Capital Region. For more information about the Hudson Valley Writers Guild, visit their website at

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