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The New York State Literary Curators Web Site

By Bertha Rogers

%%%%% The New York State Lit (erary) Tree web site, first appeared on the world wide web in 1999 and, since then, has welcomed thousands of visitors. The site, a project of Bright Hill Press, Inc., a not-for-profit literary organization, in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts, was created to serve NYSCA-funded organizations with literary programs, their curators, and the poets and writers they present, and has expanded to serve independent literary presses and magazines and presenting organizations offering literary programs. The Lit Tree offers in-depth information about the organizations and their curators as well as detailed schedules, thereby serving as a learning center and clearing house for those involved in literature-based presentation. The site also presents detailed profiles of literary curators and of poets and writers who present their work throughout New York State.
%%%%% Beginning this winter, the site will premiere a major new map of Literary New York state, and will offer audio from poets and writers from New York.
%%%%% Bertha Rogers, founding executive director of Bright Hill Press, serves as Program Director and Lit Tree designer; NYSCA's Literature Program Director Kathleen Masterson provided information, encouragement, and support. Connie Lovatt gathered information, and Brittney Schoonebeck and other Bright Hill staff members enter data. The site was designed by Loss Pequeño Glazier, webmaster, who also is director of the Electronic Poetry Center, SUNY Buffalo, and is maintained by the staff of Bright Hill Press, with the assistance of Mr. Glazier.
%%%%% The Lit Tree welcomes organizations, events, and writers; for further information on how to be part of this extraordinary site, contact wordthur@catskill.net, or call 607-746-7306, or write to Lit Tree, c/o Bright Hill Press, POB 193, Treadwell, NY 13846.
%%%%% Bright Hill Press, Inc. BRIGHT HILL PRESS, a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), literary organization, was founded in 1992. Bright Hill Press has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction since 1994. Titles include the anthologies: Speaking the Words, The Word Thursdays Anthology of Poetry and Fiction, Out of the Catskills and Just Beyond: Literary and Visual Works by Catskill Writers and Artists, with a Special Section by Catskill High-School Writers and Artists, Iroquois Voices, Iroquois Visions: A Celebration of Contemporary Six Nations Arts, The Second Word Thursdays Anthology; poetry collections The Man Who Went Out for Cigarettes (Adrian Blevins-Church), My Own One Hundred Doors (Pam Bernard), Blue Wolves (Regina O'Melveny), Whatever Was Ripe (William Jolliff), To Fit Your Heart Into the Body (Judith Neeld), Traveling Through Glass (Beth Copeland Vargo), My Father and Miro (Claudia Reder, forthcoming), Every Infant's Blood (Graham Duncan, forthcoming), and the fiction collections Low Country Stories and Boxes (Lisa Harris).
%%%%% WORD THURSDAYS, the twice-monthly ( second and fourth Thursdays) Catskill reading series, began in early 1992 and has since featured more than 600 poets, writers, and storytellers at its Thursday evenings, as well as countless open readers. SPEAKING THE WORDS is an annual poets and writers tour and festival presented by Word Thursdays/Bright Hill Press and often co-sponsored by regional arts organizations, nursing homes, businesses, art galleries, and others. Because Word Thursdays believes that good writing is worth remuneration, all the featured readers are paid. In a sparsely-populated region, Word Thursdays is a literary oasis, and regional writers often drive more than an hour to reach Bright Hill Farm and the readings. Poets, writers, and storytellers from all over New York and the Mid-Atlantic region, and other, more distant states, have traveled to Word Thursdays, to read to an intensely-interested audience. Writers speak of the "extraordinary experience" and the "intimate and supportive atmosphere"—this in the middle of nowhere, an old house on a little mountain in the Catskills, with people crowded into a green room. Poetry and prose by the Word Thursdays poets and writers have been published in The Word Thursdays Anthology of Poetry and Prose and The Second Word Thursdays Anthology.
%%%%% The annual SPEAKING THE WORDS POETS AND WRITERS TOUR AND FESTIVAL was begun by Bright Hill Press in 1993. The tour and festival, bringing poets and writers to Bright Hill Farm and nearby locations — arts organizations, galleries, libraries, nursing homes, colleges, museums, and, in 1998, banks, real estate offices, and other businesses, are a marvel of collaborative success. Cosponsors have included, besides nearby colleges and public schools, arts organizations, and museums, grocery stores, cafes, and offices for the aging. The poets and writers, besides reading or performing their writing individually and in round-robin sessions, discuss their work among themselves and with the audiences in informal meetings. They also participate in choral readings — Poe's "The Bells," Whitman's "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," and Dylan Thomas's "I, In My Intricate Image." In 1996 Bright Hill Press co-sponsored, with Hartwick College, "Iroquois Voices, Iroquois Visions: A Festival of Contemporary Six Nations Arts."
%%%%% RADIO BY WRITERS is a series of 30 to 60minute audio programs (individual poets and writers or theme programs) developed especially for radio; Poetry Moments is a series of 30-second to 90-second poetry audio developed for radio. Both series are heard regionally on commercial radio's the Delaware Broadcast Group (WDLA, WDHI, and WIYN) and on the Catskill NPR station, Radio Catskills WJFF.
%%%%% SHARE THE WORDS, another Bright Hill Press endeavor, is the Catskill High-School Poets and Writers Forum and consortium; throughout the year, Word Thursdays holds poetry workshops and mentoring sessions with regional high-school students (in person, by fax, or by e-mail), then sponsors, with ONC BOCES, schools, and area businesses, the Word Thursdays Share the Words Catskill High-School Poetry Competition, an all-day, oral poetry meet culminating in a winning school team, a top poet, two runners-up, and other award winners. The winning team takes home a traveling trophy and a permanent banner inscribed with the names of the team.
%%%%% WORD THURSDAYS LITERARY WORKSHOPS FOR KIDS target children, ages 6-17, for winter and summer literary workshops. Courses include Storytelling; Mythology for Fun (inventing and building (from papiér maché) creatures that explain natural or human phenomena and events and writing myths or legends about them, in fiction or poetic form); Creatures of the Woods and Waters (researching real or fabulous animals, constructing them of papiér maché, and writing about them); Feel It, Think It, Write It, Revise It: How Poetry Comes To Be; Making Artist's Books and Making Artist's Boxes, a course which re-establishes the natural relationship between words and images, both two- and three-dimensional, a process that facilitates effective communication. The Summer workshops are twelve intensive days in two sessions; the winter, six Saturdays Students read from and show their works at special sessions of Word Thursdays and at the Speaking the Words Festival. Contact Bright Hill Press at wordthur@catskill.net or by writing to:
Bright Hill Press
POB 193
Treadwell NY 13846
Telephone: 607-746-7306.