Spring Writes is an annual program of Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County

Spring Writes Events

Recordings of May 2022 events. 


(Click below for links to longer descptions and recording link)

Spring Writes Past Events - click for recordings

   * Hearing Voices: Writers and Their Inspiration
   * TCPL Presents: Poetry and Prose Open Mic 

   * Group Reading #1
   * Publishing/ Perseverance: Path to First Book
   * Afrofuturist Speculative Poetry
   * Group Reading #2
   * I.C. Writing Students' Senior Showcase
   * Taboo, Interrupted: Writing Mental Illness Panel
   * Intersections and Explosions, Performance
   * The Poetry of Confrontation, reading
   * The Forbidden Future
   * Group Reading #3
   * Strings Attached, performative readings

   * Inside Black Feminist Alchemy
   * Liminal, group reading
   * Finger Lakes: Memoir Anthology
   * Digging Deep Within To Find My Neighbor

    * Senior Troupe of Lifelong
   * Playwrights in Performance

   * 7 Minutes in Heaven, writers, actors, musician
   * Writing Lyrics for Musical Theatre
  * Tell the Truth, But Tell It Scant: Flash Fiction
   * From Page to Stage!



Hearing Voices: Writers and Their Inspiration

WATCH RECORDING: https://youtu.be/pXgJgUBExgI
This reading and discussion explore the sources of writers’ inspiration. Whose voices do we listen to? Which ones demand our attention and why? What happens when we listen deeply to our own inner voices and/or the voices of others? Carol Kammen focuses on lost voices from American history, as she reads from her recently published historical novel that describes the experiences of women and girls traveling west on the Oregon Trail in 1842. Susan Currie reads from a soon to be published memoir about a forgotten chapter in medical history, in which she describes her childhood confinement in a hospital in Mississipi in the late 1950’s. And Anne Mazer reads a previously published story called “Forgotten.”

TCPL Presents: Poetry and Prose Open Mic

WATCH RECORDING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeSHLyMZ-mk
The Tompkins County Public Library presented a free virtual literary open mic! Local poets and prose writers of all ages and experience levels had opportunity to showcase their work.

Group Reading #1

WATCH RECORDING - https://youtu.be/GwtwBJxovOo
Karel Hilversum (poetry), Jillian Barnet (poetry), Regi Carpenter (creative non-fiction), Christopher DeWan (fiction),  Emily Sanders Hopkins (poetry), Kris Haines-Sharp (creative non-fiction).

Publishing and Perseverance: The Path to a First Book

WATCH RECORDING: https://youtu.be/lgosyfHp71g

Jennifer Savran Kelly, AM Kvita, and Kate Doyle will read from their work and discuss their journeys toward a first novel or story collection -- journeys which have required patience and resilience. Offering perspective, encouragement, and pragmatic advice, our conversation will explore what it takes to navigate the ups, downs, and uncertainties of seeking an agent and publisher for a work of fiction. We will discuss the periods of waiting that can arise in an author’s early career—for example, between getting an agent and selling the book—in order to shed light on this high stakes, unfamiliar process. Some questions we'll discuss include: How does identity inform the work of seeking a supportive agent and supportive publisher? Where can I look for a literary agent? How do I know if an agent is legitimate? How do I know if an agent is the right fit for me and my work? How do I know if I'm on the right track or when to try a new strategy? What is it like to have an agent and a book on submission with publishers? What happens once I get a book contract?

Afrofuturist Speculative Poetry


Join us for a group reading with writers Akua Lezli Hope, Andrew Geoffrey Kwabena Moss, Bryant O’Hara, Jacqueline Johnson, Linda Addison, Terese Mason Pierre and Uche Ogbuji, as they present their Afrofuturistic speculative poems. Speculative poetry, the poetry of possibilities, includes a range of imaginative, fantastic, supernatural and mythological themes.  Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic exploring themes and concerns of the African diaspora through technoculture and the speculative, encompassing a range of media and artists with a shared interest in envisioning black futures.

Group Reading #2


Lizzie Frank (fiction), Peaches Gillette (poetry and prose), Kyara “KP” Perkins (poetry), Katharyn Howd Machan (poetry) Haley Rylander (fiction novel exerpt), Mackenzie Berry (poetry).


I.C. Writing Students' Senior Showcase

Recording Coming Soon

Senior Writing majors from Ithaca College read excerpts from their final projects, which are works pursued independently while under the guidance of professor mentors. The event will cut across genres, including pieces from poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction. Madeline Mecca (our Community Arts Partnership intern!),  Kristen Gregg, Ioanna Vargianiti, Adam Dee, Kelly Proctor, and Gabrielle Tola. 


Taboo, Interrupted: Writing Mental Illness

Recording Coming Soon

More than half of all Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their lifetime, and their experiences form an important part of the human story. Yet writing about one’s own illness or that of others presents significant creative and ethical challenges. In this panel, writers Eleanor Henderson, Katie Marks, Joan Marcus, and Jaime Warburton will share approaches to writing about mental illness in memoir, fiction, and nonfiction that are non-exploitative, accurate, and compelling. The panel is also part of “Breaking Our Silence: Storytelling for Mental Health,” a series of workshops and performances organized by Story House Ithaca in April and May

Intersections and Explosions

WATCH RECORDING: https://youtu.be/nLvoaheKNC4

Sound stylist Vickie Daniel, R.N., Scholar-Artist, Dr. Juhanna Rogers, and Poet Dr. Sarah Jefferis come together to create an intoxicating experience of spoken word, music, colors and poetry. Their writing and music illuminates the question: How can we blend beautiful complex journeys about womanhood while exploring differences and sameness in the middle of the pandemic?  Intersections and Explosions offers a soothing musical backdrop that will transform the soul and lift the spirit. This performance is an opportunity for the audience to indulge in artistic expression while laying back and letting the energy transform them.

The Poetry of Confrontation

WATCH RECORDING: https://youtu.be/KpjMUbDcTbo

Eight poets share work that explores confrontation with others in their personal experience. While our individual experiences must have relevance for our collective well-being, the focus of this panel is how we behave, understand our behavior and learn from our experience. Dan Rosenberg. Cory Brown, Mary Gilliland, Jerry Mirskin, Roger Hecht, Caroline Manring, David Weiss and Evan D. Williams.


The Forbidden Future: Literature & Journalism in Today's Russia

Recording Coming Soon

Russian dissident poet, novelist, and satirist Dmitry Bykov says societies need writers to help them imagine the future, but "the future is the most forbidden topic" in his country. Join Bykov, a visiting fellow at Cornell's Institute for European Studies and Ithaca City of Asylums's current writer-in-residence, in a spirited conversation with literary scholar Mark Lipovetsky, director of graduate studies at Columbia University’s Department of Slavic Languages. Moderator: Barbara Adams  

Group Reading #3

WATCH RECORDING: https://youtu.be/oV5bIMoBKIc

Brenna Fitzgerald (creative nonfiction/memoir), Sorayya Khan (creative non-fiction memior), Fran Markover (poetry), Stephen Paling (poetry), Dan Rosenberg (poetry), Dan Smalls (creative non-fiction), Daphne Sola (poetry)

Strings Attached

WATCH RECORDING: https://youtu.be/xEgGUrt1-kI 

Performative readings of new & old work by Leeny Sack, Yvonne Fisher, and Saviana Stanescu, followed by a talkback.


Inside Black Feminist Alchemy: Curricula of Liberation & Self-Discovery wth Dr. Nia Nunn


Dr. Nia Nunn: "I plan to read an excerpt of my manuscript, which tracks my journey as a professor at Ithaca College teaching courses centered on the liberation and self-discovery of/with Black Girls and Women. The work highlights themes that emerge through my curriculum, with autoethnographic data that supports a critical revelation: when Black Girls, particularly Black college Women, discover that their individual experiences are rooted in a larger historical and systemic oppression relevant to both race and gender, it can provide a transformational awakening."


WATCH RECORDING: https://youtu.be/tB5zFVGn560 (Note: The sound is okay, but the visuals are bad due to weak wi-fi during event. So close your eyes and enjoy.)

Liminal is a group reading of folks who resist the constraints put on creativity in the academic context or reject academia entirely. The ways we’ve felt like outsiders or outsiders inside (academia) are vast and deep as is the way our work connects. When the world outside can favor cold and magicless capitalism, we prioritize warmth and when we read together, we create a space that casts its own glow. Many of us are working class or were raised that way and navigate a rhetoric in our chosen path that is often not inclusive of our experiences. Many of us are keeping the magic bright and alive up on the hill. Whatever is true, we are not defined by anything outside of our own making. The readers of this series are actively building a bridge between the colleges in Ithaca and the community of Ithaca.  Elie Piha, Melissa Tuckey, nicole v. basta, Winniebell Xinyu Zong, and Briel

From the Finger Lakes: A Memoir Anthology

 WATCH RECORDING: https://youtu.be/rxdqFcsnsz0
Note: The sound is okay, but the visuals are bad due to weak wi-fi during event. So close your eyes and enjoy.) 

Two poets and three prose writers have been selected by the editors of Cayuga Lake Books to read their contributions to the just-published collection of poetry and essays, From the Finger Lakes: A Memoir Anthology.  The anthology authors’ diversity in ethnicity, gender, and age is evident in the topics they address:  from helping to run a refugee camp in South East Asia, to working on environmental issues in Ithaca, to teaching in the Middle East, to poetic observation of the changing seasons , to remembering the anguish of a father's Alzheimer's Disease, to traveling through Spain to revive the excitement of a marriage.  Readers are Alex Chertok, Mary Gilliland, Minfong Ho, Gail Holst-Warhaft, Lamar Herrin. Moderated by Peter Fortunato.

Digging Deep Within Myself To Find My Neighbor: A Discussion of Individual Creativity in Community

 WATCH RECORDING: https://youtu.be/LyHrPLFfC0M

‘Digging Deep In My Self, To Find My Neighbor: Individual Creativity in Community  will be a discussion panel which highlights what it means to be a ‘creative’ in and across multiple media and artforms. What if your creativity is at its finest when you are bringing together music, poetry, AND photography? What if your artform is bringing PEOPLE together? Or artworks? We will talk about our unique practices, how to awaken and encourage each other’s multiple talents, passions, goals and authentic creativity while breaking through limiting perceptions of creativity as a solo practice and the pressures to choose a singular specialty. We will also discuss how we use our art to organize in community and promote inclusive intentionality to motivate our audience in direct action. This panel will bring together two proposed local curator-creators from Ithaca (Dr. Nia Nunn from The Southside Community Center/Ithaca College and Ben Ortiz, local DJ and assistant archivist at the Cornell Hip Hop Collection) and 2 from New York City (Sabrina Parker, author of Voices of Black Power and writer Mikal McKay) in conversation with the host, Kyara Perkins, writer and founder of Urban Confab (Binghamton/Bronx). 

Senior Troupe of Lifelong performs stories from their lives


The Senior Troupe of Lifelong performs stories from their lives: 50 Years Ago. You will see a video of a live performance held with a small audience, this spring. You will hear about blind dates, the coup in Argentina, an abortion dilemma, first jobs, antiwar sentiment, rosebud the pig, young marriages and life in Ithaca. Troupe members are Janie Bibbie, Pat Fraizer, Emily Johnson, Miguel Piery, Michael Schaff, Mary Sue Schwarz, Jean Senegas, Deirdre Silverman, Mark Silverman and Paula Twomey.   https://closetohomeproductions.com/senior-theater-troupe. This program is made possible in part with funds from the Statewide Community Regrants program from the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of the office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County.

Playwrights in Performance


A virtual performance of short-short plays by a cornucopia of local (Tompkins County-based) playwrights and theater-makers curated by Ross Haarstad of Theatre Incognita. Playwrights are Aoise Stratford, Ana Florencia Lopez Ulloa, Judith Pratt and Kristen Wright

Seven Minutes in Heaven

WATCH LIVE EVENT: https://youtu.be/WfgFmfdXZL0

This event makes collaborations happen semi-spontaneously. Seven writers, seven actors, and seven musicians agree to participate in a literal spin-the-bottle matchup. Before the event, the writers are paired with actors, and then at the event, the musicians and actors will be linked (again, by a spin of the bottle), and will perform seven minutes of text with a live soundtrack. Organized by Mary Lorson.

WRITERS: Rhian Ellis, Jon Frankel, Dan Kopcow, Pat Dutt, Katie Marks, Bob Proel, Leslie Daniels
READERS: Scott Whitham, Eric Brooks. Mary Lorson, Becky Lane, Mickie Quinn, Melanie Bush
MUSICIANS: Sera Smolen, Billy Cote, Joel Blizzard, Mark Mahoney, Nikolai Ruskin, Maria Alejandra Bulla Clavijo, Rich DePaulo


Writing Lyrics for Musical Theatre


with Emma Plotkin. Writing for musical theater can be an exciting medium once you get comfortable with the form. Technique can create limitations but having something to push against is often a means of inspiration. In this workshop we will spend the first 45 minutes listening and discussing a variety of songs that span the gamut - Oklahoma! to Hamilton, Candide to Heathers! We’ll touch on various song structures, rhyme schemes and other literary devices. We’ll also consider the point of different songs within the show. For example, The “I want” song is often the protagonist's revelation or admission of their greatest desires. 


Tell the Truth, But Tell it Scant: A Workshop in Flash Fiction. 


Flash fiction is a story told in a single page, sometimes a single sentence. But just because it's short doesn't mean it's easy! Writers of flash create whole journeys and evoke powerful experiences for readers. How do they do it?

This workshop will feature three prominent writers of flash fiction, each reading one of their own stories and then leading a writing prompt inspired by the story they read. By the end of the hour, workshop participants will have three new flash pieces and three new techniques for generating future work. Featuring Leonora Desar, Christopher DeWan, and K.C. Mead-Brewer


From Page to Stage!  



Got a new play or musical in the works? Curious about your next steps? Let us help empower you to take your piece from page to stage! Intended for aspiring and accomplished playwrights, lyricists, and composers alike, this workshop shares a step-by-step process of how one shepherds the development of theatrical scripts and scores in between revisions. Discussion topics will include highlighted stages from the creative process such as table reads, workshopping, staged readings, full productions, and publication. Join our group of panelists, all of whom are Ithaca-based theatre professionals with experience developing new works in collaboration with WoW and/or other local theatre companies: Priscilla Hummel, Anna Marcus-Hecht, Carley Robinson, Shirley Serotsky, Saviana Stanescu, Benjamin Stevens, and Jaime Warburton.