Wednesday Cider

September 23, 2020
Greetings from VCCA on this first full day of fall. We hope you found a way to enjoy the equinox yesterday wherever you are. In honor of the cooling weather here and our accompanying traditions, today this community newsletter transitions from "Wednesday Lemonade" to "Wednesday Cider." We imagine gathering inside the Fellows residence at Mt. San Angelo with you to hear about Fellows' work, warm cider in hand.

If you were here, you'd join us in thanking and celebrating Bea Booker, whose 17-year VCCA work anniversary is today!

Fellows and friends are invited to two virtual events tomorrow. We're bringing you a special "new Board member" edition of our Fireplace Series, which will be immediately followed by a virtual reunion on Zoom. Get those details below. And save the date for another virtual event next week.

Today's messages from Fellows are brought to you by poets Dan Albergotti, Paula J. Lambert, and Barbara Buckman Strasko. We remind you of our page on Bookshop where we're highlighting Fellows' September book releases. We also spotlight this month's Composer Playlist one last time before October rolls around. Our highlights from Virtual VCCA come from Christina Chiu and David Ebenbach.

Of course, the arrival of autumn also means the arrival of election season here in the U.S. On the heels of National Voter Registration Day yesterday, today's resources include a guide to advance voting shared by Fellow Patricia Spears Jones and a nonpartisan voter outreach initiative recommended by Board member Steven Petrow.

Well wishes to everyone, with extra thought given to our Fellows out west facing wildfires. As always, stay safe and be well.
views from mt. san angelo
tomorrow: september 24
VCCA Fireplace Series 10: E. Dolores Johnson and Juan Manuel Granados
Tomorrow, we're hosting a special edition of our Fireplace Series featuring two Fellows who have been recently appointed to the VCCA Board of Directors: nonfiction writer E. Dolores Johnson and visual artist Juan Manuel Granados. Read more about our guests and find more event details on our website.

Tune in tomorrow, Thursday, September 24, at 7:30 p.m. ET.
You can watch on Facebook or on YouTube. Regardless of which platform you choose, we encourage you to use the comments to say hello and let our guests know you're with us!
Note: There is currently a bug causing our Facebook video link to show a "Content isn't available" message. We've been assured you will be able to see the stream there once we go live. However, if you run into trouble, head to YouTube or check our main video page on Facebook.
Virtual Reunion
Immediately following our Fireplace Series event, we'll move to Zoom for an online VCCA reunion!

Drop by tomorrow, Thursday, September 24, between 8:15 and 9:30 p.m. ET.

Meeting ID: 847 1109 7309
Passcode: 422508
october 1
Next in the Fireplace Series: Rone Shavers and Jay Petrow
We'll be back at the virtual fireplace next week on Thursday, October 1, with writer and VCCA Board member Rone Shavers and visual artist Jay Petrow.

They'll be hosted by Washington Post columnist and VCCA Board member Steven Petrow. That's two VCCA Board members and two Petrows, so we should be in for a special treat.

Rone Shavers will read from Silverfish, his experimental Afrofuturist novel published just a few weeks ago by Clash Books.

Jay Petrow will present some earlier work and show how his work has developed recently.
Fireplace Series 11
10/01/20 7:30pm - 10/01/20 8:00pm

Interested? Sign up for an event reminder email:
Remind me!
fellow messages
Fellows, please send us your news. This is a way to tell the VCCA community about how you're navigating these times as an artist and human and to spread the word about work affected by or created during the pandemic.
Dan Albergotti
"Hello, VCCA family! I hope this finds all of you safe and healthy as we navigate the new world. I have been very fortunate, as my six-month residency at the Amy Clampitt House in Lenox, Massachusetts (scheduled for July through December) was not cancelled due to the pandemic. I am up here, happily isolated with no responsibility other than to make poems. I'm so lucky to be here.

Over 20 years ago, I wrote a poem titled 'Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale.' It's a poem that people had contacted me about, telling me it helped them during a time of feeling trapped and isolated. So it wasn't too surprising to me when it went a bit 'viral' (excuse the metaphor!) in March as everyone suddenly felt that way. A few people even made videos of it. I'm linking my favorite of those here, made by Australian paper artist Pearl Taylor. I think it's a beautiful thing. My best wishes to you all as we wait here in the belly.

And thank you, ever, to VCCA for your support over the years and your abiding work on behalf of artists."
Paula J. Lambert
"I’ve been very lucky to have signed two book contracts this summer, one for How to See the World with Bottom Dog Press and one The Ghost of Every Feathered Thing with FutureCycle Press. For me, self-quarantining very early on was a chance to process a lot of grief from the previous year where, starting in July of 2019, one family health crisis came on the heels of another, and I was traveling constantly to keep up with it all. In December, my father passed away. Grief, travel, and care-taking continued through the winter, so March lent itself to long-overdue stillness, a chance to process it all. By April I was writing daily poems, by June I’d completed a collection and submitted it. Strangely, I looked back at the other collection I’d been working on for years and suddenly saw clearly how it needed to be revised. I sent it out, and lo — it, too, was accepted."
Barbara Buckman Strasko
"For the rest of this year, I planned to promote The Opposite of Lightning, released in April. I had lined up readings for the spring, summer, and fall. Many of the poems in my new book are poems I wrote or revised at VCCA in 2014. My time in the beautiful mountains of Virginia was very productive. I fondly remember talking to and sharing ideas with other writers and artists such as Patricia Spear Jones, Ahron Taub and Kelle Groom. I began to work on a memoir but when the pandemic and its anxiety hit, I went back to writing poetry. A friend in Asheville proposed that we each write a poem a day and send them to each other and we have been doing that for more than sixty days. I find it helps me stay centered."

Here’s Day 3:

The Vase / on my table holding hellebores / and daffodils / has the engraved words / dance as if no one is looking / I laugh to myself / in my isolation / “What choice do I have?”
Barbara Buckman Strasko headshot
vcca fellows bookshop
September 2020 Releases

Out This Month:
  • Bread and Salt by Valerie Miner (fiction)
  • Caw by Michael Waters (poetry)
  • Clutter: An Untidy History by Jennifer Howard (nonfiction)
  • Daddy by Michael Montlack (poetry)
  • Dinosaurs for Democracy, A Guide for Young Citizens by Laurie Krasny Brown, illustrated by Marc Brown
  • How to See the World by Paula J. Lambert (poetry)
  • The Mighty Oak by Jeff W. Bens (fiction)
  • The Only Way to Play It by Peter Alson (fiction)
  • Silverfish by Rone Shavers (fiction)
  • The Watcher by Jennifer Pashley (fiction)
vcca composers playlist
September Playlist
Listen to this month's playlist before we hit the refresh button in October to feature six new pieces by VCCA Fellows. Our September playlist includes:

  1. Tim Peck | Moulin à Nef
  2. Laurence Sherr | Blue Ridge Frescos
  3. Gregory Mertl | A Seeker's Song
  4. Jennifer Bernard Merkowitz | Les crapauds de la fontaine
  5. Carl Bettendorf | ... à travers ... encore
  6. Andrea Clearfield | Prayer to the Shechinah

Keep these playlists going strong: VCCA Fellow-composers are encouraged to submit a piece for inclusion in a future playlist.
voting resources
Advance Voting and GOTV Resources
There are plenty of resources out there to help you determine the safest and easiest way to cast your ballot this November. We like this interactive guide to advance voting from the Associated Press that Patricia Spears Jones shared recently in the VCCA Fellows group on Facebook. It breaks down key deadlines and details by state.

If you're looking for safe ways to help get out the vote, VCCA Board member Steven Petrow has enjoyed handwriting letters for Vote Forward's "The Big Send."
highlights from virtual vcca
These updates come from members posting in Virtual VCCA, our online community platform powered by Mighty Networks:
Christina Chiu invites you to find community and set accountability goals. Read more.
David Ebenbach reveals the cover for his forthcoming book How to Mars (Tachyon Publications, May 2021). Read more.
🧡 Stay safe, and be well.
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