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Mission Statement

CAP was founded in 1990 to act as an advocate for the arts, serve the public by providing services and resources for county artists and arts organizations, and encourage collaboration among arts, education, business, civic and government organizations.Learn more

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Information about our 2016 Spring Writes Festival will be posted in early April!
Stay tuned! 

The Spring Writes Literary Festival is a program of the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County.  Please peruse our website (you are on it!) for our other events, programs, workshops and grants!

The 2015 Festival was AMAZING. Thank you to all the people who made it happen, who came to events, and who were part of the festivities. 

We hope to see you again in May of 2016!

DOWNLOAD the 2015 Program: The full program, which includes the descriptions below is here.
DOWNLOAD: A list of events in calendar format with venue addresses here.


7:00 -9:00pm
Performance: Trampoline Presents: Family Matters ($5 cover)
Ithaca's competitive storytelling event returns to Spring Writes, with special guests, Lily's Silly Puppets. Anyone can join in as participants get five minutes to tell a true story with no notes. The winner will be invited to participate in our Big Showdown at the end of the year. This month's theme is Family Matters: because you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family.
Location: Lot 10


2:30 to 4:30pm
Workshop: "Precious Possessions": an intergenerational creative
writing workshop for ages 10 to 100, Zee Zahava

This workshop is designed to offer a safe, supportive, and stimulating environment for writing and sharing. Bring an object from home that has special meaning for you. It can be ANYTHING. When you're looking around trying to select what to bring, just trust your instincts and it will be the right thing! We'll use our own objects as the "spark" for our writing. Zee has been leading writing workshops for adults and teens in her downtown Ithaca studio since 1994. She is a former bookstore owner, a retired librarian, a small press publisher, and the curator of brass bell: an online haiku journal.
Location: Community Arts Partnership Art Space

5:00 -7:00pm
Reading: Rebecca Barry, Eleanor Henderson, and Jaime Warburton
New York Times notable author Rebecca Barry celebrates the release of her newest book, Recipes for a Beautiful Life: A Memoir in Stories, which Ian Frazier calls "engaging, wise, and delightful." Rebecca is a magazine writer, editor, and the author of Later at the Bar. She is also the co-founder of Fresh Dirt Ithaca, and the creative director of the Living Arts Program at the Lakshmi Institute.
She'll be joined by novelist Eleanor Henderson (Ten Thousand Saints) and Poet Jaime Warburton (Note That They Cannot Live Happily). Eleanor is an assistant professor of Writing at Ithaca College. Jaime's poems and stories have appeared widely in journals. (image: Eleanor Henderson)
Location: Buffalo Street Books

6:00 -8:00pm
Performance: The Starry Mountain Sweetheart Band Swansong Show
In their penultimate appearance, the Starry Mountain Sweetheart Band, made up of Cornell MFA students and faculty, will play a casual acoustic set spanning their brief career as Ithaca's premier writer rock band. Expect songs from their two albums, "The Starry Mountain Sweetheart Band" and "The Hate of Love," and a few new songs as well. Buy a CD and a shirt. Shout out requests; maybe they'll play ‘em!
Location: Bar Argos


8:00 to 8:00pm
First Day of Friends of the Library Booksale. The Friends' giant warehouse is full of gently used items in 80 categories. Enjoy the best selection and low prices on the first weekend of the Spring Sale. And don't forget to visit Collector's Corner, full of gift selections, first editions, rare books, signed copies, and lavish art books. Support the Tompkins County Public Library while you have fun browsing and buying. Location: 509 Esty Street. for all dates/hours. 

10:00am to 7:00pm
Free Comic Book Day
Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book shops around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores.  Comic For Collectors will be celebrating withguests Tom Peyer (The Atom Convergence #1) and Michael Garland, Boom Studios colorist. 
Location: Comic for Collectors

Workshop: "Writing a Sex Scene: From First Blush to Climax",
Jen Bokal, Ross Klavan, Jill Shultz

The sex scene-it can move a story from mundane to unforgettable, or when badly written, ruin a book. We'll discuss elements of the craft such as story arc, sensory detail, pacing, description, heat level, and vocabulary, as well as the social context of sex. Writing exercises, bad sex bingo, excerpts, Q&A, and handouts. This workshop is intended for adults and will include graphic language. Jen Bokal is the author of upcoming Montlake Romance releases, The Gladiator's Mistress (July 2015) and The Gladiator's Lover (Winter 2016). Ross Klavan's screenplay for the film Tigerland (starring Colin Farrell) was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. His comic novel Schmuck was published by Greenpoint Press. Jill Shultz is the author of the science fiction novel, Angel on the Ropes, winner of a 2014 Readers' Choice Award from RomCon.
Location: Tompkins County Public Library

10:45 to 12:45pm
Workshop: "Memoir: A Theatrical Approach", Rachel Lampert
Rachel Lampert, Artistic Director of the Kitchen Theatre since 1997, is a playwright, director and choreographer. In this workshop she will engage attendees in a process of using memoir to initiate a theatrical event.
Location: Kitchen Theatre

Noon to 1:00pm
Performance: Senior Theatre Troupe of Lifelong:
Stories From Their Lives

This performance centers on the theme of "money" featuring stories from the troupe's lives that are both humorous and serious. Directed and coordinated by Sue Perlgut, the troupe features, Margaret Dennis, Eva Luby, Sue Norvell, Natasha Tall, Carol Santucci, Deirdre Silverman, Mark Silverman, Jean Senegas and Barbara West.
Location: Cinemapolis

12:30 to 1:00pm
Reading: Dark Matters: Speculative Poems, Katharyn Howd Machan
A reading of new Science Fiction inspired work by Tompkins County's first poet laureate
Location: Tompkins County Public Library Borg Warner Room

1:15 to 2:45pm
Workshop: Writing Speculative Fiction and Poetry, Katharyn Howd Machan
Participants will generate new works of science fiction and/or fantasy inspired by prompts offered by a longtime Ithaca College Writing professor in the spirit of Rod Serling's legacy. Bring a notebook and pen, or laptop!
Location: Tompkins County Public Library Borg Warner Room

1:00 to 2:45pm
Workshop: "Begin Your Beginning: Tips on Starting Your
Story for Writers of All Ages" Ann Mazer and Rob Costello
Having trouble getting started? Not sure where to begin your story? And why are story beginnings so important, anyway? Anne Mazer and Rob Costello tackle beginnings in this writing workshop for ages twelve and up. Anne is the author of 45 books for young readers, including The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes series, The Salamander Room, and Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook. Rob Costello has an MFA in Writing for Children & YA.
Location: Community Arts Partnership ArtSpace

1:45 to 2:45pm
Panel: A Discussion on Running a Small Press, Cayuga Lakes Books
Jack Hopper, Edward Hower and Peter Fortunato, the authors and publishers of Cayuga Lake Books, a locally-based press that has published seven titles since its founding in 2012, discuss the challenges and thrills of running a small press, and what it means to float between the worlds of traditional and self publishing. They are joined by Rhian Ellis, guest editor of their upcoming anthology which is now seeking fiction and nonfiction submissions. Details are at Edward Hower is the author of eight novels, two books of stories, and most recently, ,What Can You Do: Personal Essays and Travel Writing. (image: Peter Fortunato)
Location: Buffalo Street Books

3:00 to 4:00pm
Reading an Book Signing: Saltonstall Foundation presents author, poet,
and disability advocate Stephen Kuusisto ('15)

The Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts is thrilled to host 2015 Fellow Stephen Kuusisto for a reading and book signing. Steve, who has been blind since birth, is the author of Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and the acclaimed memoir Planet of the Blind, a New York Times "Notable Book of the Year". He has also published Only Bread, Only Light, a collection of poems from Copper Canyon Press. A graduate of the "Writer's Workshop" at the University of Iowa, and a Fulbright Scholar, Steve holds the position of director of the Renée Crown University Honors Program at Syracuse University where he holds a University Professorship in the Center on Human Policy.  His books will be for sale at the event. 
Location: Community Arts Partnership ArtSpace

3:00 to 4:15pm
Panel: Writing about Nature
Nature writing often involves putting scientific information into a literary context. How do different writers balance the two? "Natural history" conveys scientific data in the form of a narrative. What literary forms do various writers bring to this enterprise? And how has this changed through time? An essayist, a journalist, a poet, a chronicler of interpretive walks, and a blogger will all weigh in on the topic. Tom Gavin, emeritus professor of biology at Cornell.; Clara MacCarald, freelance writer for Finger Lakes Community Newspapers, Ithaca Times, Tompkins Weekly; Wendy Low, poet and Director of Youth Education at Writers & Books in Rochester for many years; Tony Ingraham, author of A Walk Through Watkins Glen and other books, co-owner Owl Gorge Productions; Bill Chaisson, managing editor of the Ithaca Times, blogger at and (Image: Bill Chaisson)
Location: Buffalo Street Books

3:00 to 4:30pm

Workshop: Trampoline Presents A Storytelling Clinic
Trampoline host Bob Proehl and a collection of all-star storytellers offer a clinic in the art of storytelling. Bring a story you'd like to work on and together we will fine tune your tale for content, presentation and delivery. Bob Proehl is a writer and DJ. He was a 2012 NYFA Fellow in Fiction, and his first novel, A Hundred Thousand Worlds, will be published by Viking in 2016.
Location: Tompkins County Public Library

4:15  to 5:15pm
Reading: Poets Laureate Reading with
Jack Hopper and Tish Pearlman

Outgoing Tompkins County Poet Laureate Tish Pearlman (Afterlife, Foothills Publishing) passes the torch to 2015 Poet Laureate, writer and editor Jack Hopper (Doubles, Cayuga Lake Books) at this reading. 
Location: Buffalo Street Books

5:30 to 6:45pm
Reading: Writers' Café
Local authors read on the theme of "Revival". Drink writerly cocktails shaken up by Felicia's bartenders while listening to fiction,  poetry, and nonfiction from some of Ithaca's writers including Adam Price, Kathryn Henion, Jayme Kilburn, and Angie Pelekidis. The special menu of cocktails will include The London, The Gertrude Stein, and the Hemingway Daiquiri.
Location: Felicia's Atomic Lounge and Cupcakery

5:00 to 6:30pm
Performance: Signals with Mary Lorson
Mary Lorson, a musician, composer and dramatist, grew up in the 60s and 70s in Westchester County, NY, land of corporate plenty... and plenty of dysfunction. For her performance memoir Signals, she sets some of her family anecdotes to contemporary music, and takes turns narrating and singing these tales, backed up by an eight-piece jazz/rock band. A visual backdrop will accompany the show. Lorson (vocals, guitar, piano, percussion) began her career over twenty years ago as the lead singer of Madder Rose, and since then has fronted the jazzy artrock group Saint Low and the trio the Soubrettes, scored several films with Billy Cote, and collaborated on other dramatic and musical projects.
Location: Cinemapolis

7:00 to 9:00pm
Performance: Cosmic Joke Collective
($5 cover)
The Cosmic Joke Collective is a monthly artists' salon where performing artists curate their own set that features works-in-progress, collaborations, and glimpses of a larger show. Mistress of Ceremonies, Mickie Quinn, will thread the night together with the theme "What Grows". Puppets, poetry, comedy, and music will be performed by Lily Gershon, Andrew Alling, Gabe Tavares, Sandra Fish (as Janet Batch), and Ruben RC.
Location: Lot 10



8:00 to 8:00pm
Second Day of Friends of the Library Booksale.The Friends' giant warehouse is full of gently used items in 80 categories. Enjoy the best selection and low prices on the first weekend of the Spring Sale. And don't forget to visit Collector's Corner, full of gift selections, first editions, rare books, signed copies, and lavish art books. Support the Tompkins County Public Library while you have fun browsing and buying.
Location: 509 Esty Street. for all dates/hours.

11:30 to 1:00pm
Workshop: "Picture It" - A Workshop in Ekphrastic Poetry, Andrei Guruianu
The collaboration between the visual image (photography/painting) and poetry is not a new one and follows in the time-honored tradition of ekphrastic exchange. Ekphrasis - an artistic practice that dates as far back as Plato's work in The Republic - is in our own time seen predominantly when individual artists engage in their own literary and artistic genre to reflect upon another body of art. These artists seek to point out in new ways what the eyes might not pick up in the original and therefore to enrich the visual experience, to contribute to it, but most of all to engage in artistic dialogue that benefits both artists and audience.  Join writer and NYU professor Andrei Guruianu for a poetry writing workshop and reading of original work. Participants are encouraged to bring a photograph or a favorite image to the workshop to be used to craft their own original poem. Additional materials will be provided for those who cannot bring their own.  Andrei Guruianu is a Romanian-born writer and the author of more than a dozen books of poetry and prose, most recently Made in the Images of Stones and Portrait Without a Mouth (BrickHouse Books, 2014). He currently teaches in the Expository Writing Program at New York University.
Location: Community School of Music and Arts

1:00 to 2:30pm
Reading: Site-Based Flash Fiction
Bespoke is a short flash-fiction reading series inspired by Park Stories. At Bespoke, stories are tied to place, so audience members can physically experience a story's setting. The first reading, as part of the Spring Writes Festival will begin at 1:00 Dewitt Park, and the second reading will be part of Streets Alive! Ithaca ( Readers will include Lauren Schenkman, Metta Winter, Kendra Bartell, and Yardenne Greenspan.
Location: As Part of the Streets Alive festival. Location: DeWitt Park

1:15 to 2:45pm
Performance: Wolfsmouth Theatre Company
Our plays and playwrights will be presenting the following works in staged readings: "All Sea," Judith Pratt; "Ninety Degrees of Separation," David Guaspari; "Faithless," George Sapio; and "2's a Charm," Deb Simon.
Location: Buffalo Street Books

1:45 to 2:45pm
Panel: We Were Promised Jetpacks: Ideas in Science Fiction
Join local science fiction authors Benjamin Mumford-Zisk (The Origami Man), Eric Griffith (KALI: The Ghosting of Sepulchre Bay), and Daniel Kopcow (The Cobbler Cherry) as they debate the hot-button issues of sci-fi and speculative fiction, including: World-Building: All Important or a Crock of $#!+?, Time-Travel in Stories: Would it Be So Bad to Marry Your Grandparent? and Are Super-Heroes Taking Over? Why Now, and Why Not. Moderated and censored by Bob Proehl.  Eric Griffith is a tech editor/writer for by day, and writes scifi and fantasy books at night. His next book will be about a homeless guy with super-powers.  Dan Kopcow is the author of stories that have appeared internationally and nationally, numerous novels and screenplays. His story "The Cobbler Cherry" in the anthology Thank You, Death Robot," won a 2010 Independent Publishing Award for best science-fiction and fantasy.   (Image: Daniel Kopkow)
Location: Community School of Music and Arts

3:00 to 4:30pm
Reading: Boys/Girls with Jennifer Savran Kelly
Boys/Girls is a collaborative artists' book-in-progress featuring flash fiction and prose poetry that examines masculinity and femininity from diverse perspectives. Authors reading include Sarah Jefferis, Gina Keicher, Jennifer Savran Kelly, J. Robert Lennon, and Amy C. Whitney. (Other authors include Matthew Novitsky, Daniel Peña, and Jose Perez Beduya.) A chapbook containing the collection will be for sale at the event. 
Location: Buffalo Street Books

3:00 to 4:30pm
Reading: Ithaca Fiction Critique Group
Doreen Alsen, Eric Griffith, Lisa Hill, Gigi Vernon and other members read from published fiction and works in progress.
Doreen Alsen is the author of five contemporary romantic comedies from The Wild Rose Press. Her At The End Zone series is critically acclaimed by The Romantic Times Book Club, Book Siren Reviews, Fresh Fiction Reviews, among others. Eric Griffith (KALI: The Ghosting of Sepulchre Bay) is a tech editor/writer for by day, and writes scifi and fantasy books at night. His next book will be about a homeless guy with super-powers. From Rochester, Lisa Asenato writes both fiction and non fiction. Her novel, Pirate by Night will be released by Pelican Book Group in July 2015. Gigi Vernon's crime short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and elsewhere. Her "Show Stopper" in Mystery Writers of America Presents Ice Cold: Tales of Intrigue from the Cold War is nominated by International Thriller Writers.
Location: Community School of Music and Arts

4:00 to 6:00pm
Performance: Cayuga Vocal Ensemble
($5 students, $15 presale, $18 door, 12&under free)

"Spring Writes: A Civil War Commemoration": A performance of great American choral works marking the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. The performance will include readings of letters written by local citizens reflecting on the events of 1865, interspersed with music of the period, and settings by Walt Whitman and others.  Members of the Tompkins County Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission are readers. Please join us for this powerful performance.  Visit for tickets or pay at the door.
Location: First Presbyterian Church

5:00 to 7:00
Closing Reading: IthacaLit
IthacaLit Featured Poets, Michelle Courtney Berry, Tompkins County's second Poet Laureate, and Santee Frazier, member of the Cherokee nation & author of Dark Thirty, will headline this event, joined by poet performers Elizabeth K. Gordon, a Women of the World Slam champion, Sarah Jefferis, winner of the Bea Gonsalez poetry award, and Wendy Babiak, author of Conspiracy of Leaves. This event includes a brief Open Mike period for those who come prepared to read their work. Contributors' books & other IthacaLit swag will be available for purchase. There will be light refreshments at the reading, but we welcome you to tantalize your senses with one of the Argos Inn's uniquely refreshing cocktails.  (Images: Michelle Courtney Berry and Santee Frazier.
Location: Bar Argos

4:45 to 6:15pm
Performance: Theatre Incognita Presents
Theatre Incognita promotes local playwrights and actors as well as voices out of the mainstream. Two local playwrights present a staged reading: The Tinkerbell War, Pt One; One of Our Fairies Is Missing by Ross Haarstad; plus Curse of the Bambino by AJ Sage.
Location: Community School of Music and Arts



The Friends of the Library Book Sale starts on Saturday, May 2.  Over 250,000 items are for sale at 509 Esty Street.