Green Mountain

Writers Conference


Meet our writers

  • Elle Aviv Newton
  • Justen Ahren
  • Patty Carpenter
  • Elizabeth Inness-Brown
  • Chuck Clarino

  • Director YVONNE DALEY has published six nonfiction books, more than 5000 works of journalism, fiction and non-fiction and has contributed to National Public Radio. She has returned to an old love of writing poetry and has published poetry on the online magazine Poets Reading the News and took part in the Tupelo 30/30 challenge in 2018.

    Her most recent book, "Going Up the Country: When the Hippies, Dreamers, Freaks, and Radicals Moved to Vermont," was listed by most Vermont bookstores as their best-selling book of 2018. Part oral history, part nostalgia-tinged narrative, and part clear-eyed analysis of the varied and uncoordinated phenomenon collectively referred to as the counterculture movement in Vermont, "Going Up the Country" is the story of how young Northeastern migrants, largely from the cities and suburbs of New York and Massachusetts, turned their backs on the establishment of the 1950s and moved to the back woods of rural Vermont spawning a revolution in lifestyle, politics, sexuality, and business practices that would have a profound impact on the state and the rest of the nation.

    Yvonne's previous book, "The Bend in the Road: The Lenny Burke Story," chronicles the life-changing brain injury sustained by a young Vermont athlete and scholar, his near-death experience and eventual recovery, and the lessons learned about the brain's ability to heal.

    Yvonne's other books include, "A Mighty Storm: Stories of Resilience After Irene," an account of how Vermonters rebuilt their state after Tropical Storm Irene; "Octavia Boulevard," a neighborhood memoir that explores the clash between progressive politics and capitalism, the legacy of the counter-culture, and the idiosyncrasies, both good and bad, of San Francisco.

    Along with workshops on narrative writing (fiction and nonfiction) and activist poetry, Yvonne will offer a three-day intensive on memoir writing. Please note: The three-day, two-and-a-half-hour memoir intensive will be kept intentionally small. Please indicate interest in your registration form. Attendance will be limited so request participation early, please.

    DEDE CUMMINGS is a poet, Vermont Public Radio commentator, and publisher. At Middlebury College, she won the Mary Dunning Thwing Award and attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference as an undergraduate fellow. Her poetry has appeared in Mademoiselle, Connotation Press, Mom/Egg Review, Figroot, Green Mountains Review, Bloodroot Literary Magazine, and she was a Discover/The Nation poetry semi-finalist. Dede attended Bread Loaf as a poetry contributor in 2013, and she was awarded a partial fellowship and writers' grant from the Vermont Studio Center in 2016. Her first poetry collection, To Look Out From, won the 2016 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize and was published by Homebound in 2017. Her second book of poems, entitled The Meeting Place, is due out in spring 2020 from Salmon Poetry. Dede is also an editor and book designer and she gives talks on the publishing process, nature poetry, and making our voices heard. Dede is the founder and publisher of Green Writers Press in Brattleboro, Vermont, a global press devoted to environmental activism, social justice, and sustainable publishing. She lives with her family in West Brattleboro, Vermont, in a hand-built home with solar panels for hot water and electricity.

    Her Green Writers Press, is an independent, woman-owned, Vermont-based publishing company dedicated to spreading environmental awareness and social justice by publishing authors who promulgate messages of hope and renewal through place-based writing and environmental activism. In the past five years, Green Writers Press has expanded significantly, publishing such authors as Julia Alvarez, Chard deNiord, John Elder, Dr. M Jackson, former Vermont Governor, Madeleine Kunin, and Clarence Major. Our mission is to spread a message of hope and renewal through the words and images we publish.

    JENSEN BEACH is the author of two story collections, most recently Swallowed by the Cold (Graywolf), which was awarded the 2017 Vermont Book Award. He holds an MFA in fiction from the Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as an MA and BA in English from Stockholm University. He teaches in the BFA program at Northern Vermont University, Johnson, where he is the fiction editor at Green Mountains Review. He is also on faculty in the MFA Program at New England College. His writing has appeared recently in A Public Space, the Paris Review, and The New Yorker. He lives in Vermont.

    Jensen will focus on the traditional short story, giving workshops on plot, endings, character development and other important aspects of the genre. He will be available for one-on-one meetings at a separate cost for short-story writers who wish to have some work critiqued.

    JUSTEN AHREN is a poet, writing coach and founder and director of Noepe Martha's Vineyard Center for Literary Arts, and a writing workshop, Cultivating a Daily Writing Practice, Cultivating a Daily Writing Practice, held in Orvieto, Italy, each November. Justen was West Tisbury, Massachusetts Poet Laureate from 2013-2016 and is the current Martha's Vineyard Poet Laureate. His first collection of poetry, "A Strange Catechism" was published in 2013. Justen's poetry has appeared in numerous journals including, most recently, Cafe Review, Comstock Review and BorderSenses. A graduate of Emerson College with an MFA in Creative Writing, Justen lives with his family in Martha's Vineyard.

    The focus of Justen's three-day intensive workshop will be on cultivating a daily writing practice, which will lead to an experience of creative connection and abundance. He writes, "There is no such thing as writer's block, but sometimes we just need to find ways to begin. This workshop provides tools to break the silence of the blank page. In-class exercises will give you the confidence and energy to begin writing, and playfully manipulate the images 'imprisoned within,' as Rilke says." Beyond that, Justen's workshops strive to "bring an awareness of how our creative energies are supported by the world around us, which is always willing to assist our dreaming, once we allow it to."

    He will also give an open poetry workshop and a mini-intensive on cultivating a daily writing practice. Please note: Attendance in the three-day session with Justen Ahren will be limited and will require early sign-up with the conference director, Yvonne Daley. Just write your interest on your registration form, please. It fills up fast.

    ELLE AVIV NEWTON, is a poet, editor, teacher, community organizer and arts curator. A fourth-generation native of Oakland, California. Newton's writing has appeared in print, radio and digital space, and was recently adapted for the stage. She regularly leads writing workshops and curates exhibitions, performances, and community happenings in California and elsewhere. She is cofounder and editor of Poets Reading the News, a digital platform that publishes original poetry about current events. The publication's website proclaims, "We believe in the power of poetry to transform the world and how we see each other."

    Elle Newton will offer a workshop on writing poetry that is grounded in and responds to the events of the world. She will also take part with other staff members in a workshop on the publishing experience, one that participants can also contribute to as we explore the growing and diminishing options for publishing in print and online.

    VERANDAH PORCHE is a poet, performer and writing partner whose work explores the relationships between individuals and communities. Her latest collection, "Sudden Eden," has been praised in numerous recent reviews and by fellow poets, such as Stephen Sandy, who wrote, "Porche's tone is ingenuous yet sophisticated at once. The sections develop their own themes with style and forms to match; and grow to a wonderful climax."

    Based in rural Vermont since 1986, she has published two other books of poems, "The Body's Symmetry" and "Glancing Off." Verandah has published in Ms., The Atlantic, The Village Voice, The New Boston Review and Vermont Organic Farmer, among others. During the past thirty years, she has traveled from her home in rural Vermont, writing with and for people in grange halls and garages, elementary schools and Elderhostels, nursing homes and daycare centers, mansions and soup kitchens, veterans' centers, board rooms and basements, homes and jails, literacy programs and colleges. In so doing, Ms. Porsche has developed a practice called "told poetry" or shared narratives that enable people who need a writing partner to create, preserve and share personal literature. In the past few years, her work has been celebrated at the Boston University-sponsored Narrative Conference where she has worked with journalists and nonfiction writers, not only introducing them to the power of poetry to tell true stories but also bringing back to us the richness of narrative as it is being presented in both traditional and nontraditional formats.

    Verandah has been engaged in residencies, including ones at Real Artways in Hartford, CT., and Gifford Medical Center in Randolph, Vt. Her project with Hartford, Ct. resulted in a published collection of her poems, In 1998, the Vermont Arts Council awarded her its prestigious Citation of Merit, honoring her contribution to the cultural life of Vermont.

    Last year, she worked with the artist, Kathleen Kalb, to create narratives of the loggers whom Kalb had captured in her art. The touring presentation has been seen at museums, the Vermont State House and throughout New England, bringing the stories of unsung workers who harvest the trees that make our homes, furniture and books, using the best environmental methods and, in so doing, managing our natural resources while contributing to human comfort. In celebrating ordinary people living in nursing homes, laboring in the woods, hanging out at a tavern or remembering a neighbor, Porche enters the lives of strangers, distilling insight gained through friendship or drawn from visits, phone calls, interviews, letters, and/or email. It's a unique and delightful process that lives alongside her more personal poems, written in response to life and death, history, betrayal and rejuvenation.

    Porche lives in Guilford, Vermont on the land purchased 50 years ago as a commune founded by members of the Liberation News Service. This summer, as in the past, she'll offer poetry workshops in both traditional and nontraditional formats and with musician Patty Carpenter lead a blues-writing workshop. Bring your instruments should you like -- not required -- for the fun.

    One-on-one sessions with Porche will be available on a limited basis for an additional cost.


    CHUCK CLARINO has worked as a journalist for 35 years, writing for the Rutland Herald, Vermont Sunday Magazine, Vermont Life, Varsity Sports New England, the Green Mountain Journal, Velo News and other publications. A recent inductee into the Sportswriters Hall of Fame, he has appeared frequently on television and radio as a sports commentator and analyst and, with his wife, Yvonne Daley, has published many travel stories. He is also an essayist and memoirist whose family stories and personal recollections delight the reader with historical detail and humorous anecdote. Chuck's short stories have been published widely, including in New Mellennium, which awarded his memoir pieces, "Randazzo: Jewels of Memory," and "Farley Binkey."

    He is working on a collection of true-life stories tenatively called "Work."

    Again this year, Chuck will lead a discussion about the joys of reading and the ways in which writers use the works of others as both inspiration and learning tools.

    ELIZABETH INNESS-BROWN returns to us this year concentrating this summer on instruction surrounding the novel. is the author of the novel, "Burking Marguerite" (Knopf), which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and the New York Times wrote, "Vivid yet concise, Inness-Brown's language burns away all but the essence of her story, as if to demonstrate what Marguerite tells young James early in the novel. 'Smoke loves a chimney,' she says. 'Smoke is the soul of the tree. Fire sets it free, and a chimney helps it find its way heavenward." Liz's stories have also appeared in the New Yorker, the North American Review, Boulevard, and other literary magazines. She has published two short-story collections, "Satin Palms" and "Here." Of the latter, a reviewer wrote, "maps a territory of loneliness and love. 'Here' is the sanctuary of the solitary mind, the land to which the unwanted exile themselves, the place to which we all retreat when life becomes too hot to touch. With wit, affection, and finesse, this collection shows us the dark side of our moon, the unfamiliar side that we nonetheless recognize as soon as we see it. Under the sensual and sometimes fanciful surface of these fourteen stories lurks a dark reality: what any of us will do, desperate for love. But within the reality gleams a kind of measured transcendence, the kind of reclaimed innocence and balance that come only from accepting things as they truly are."

    With a second novel on the market now, Liz is at work on a third, and this year her workshops will focus on the novel as she directs an intensive on long-form writing with an emphasis on process, voice, and structure.

    ANN BRADEN Ann Braden writes books about kids struggling to find their voice amidst the realities of life. HER debut middle grade novel The Benefits of Being an Octopus was listed as one of NPR's Best Books of 2018, received a starred review from School Library Journal, and was described by Newbery award-winner Karen Hesse as "a compassionate look at poverty, hard choices, and defending one's right to be treated humanely." Ann founded GunSenseVT, a grassroots group focused on championing the common ground on the issue of guns in Vermont, which recently helped pass landmark gun violence prevention legislation.

    She also founded the Local Love Brigade, which now has chapters all over the country sending love postcards to those who are facing hate. Ann is a former middle school teacher, the co-host of the children's book podcast, "Lifelines: Books that Bridge the Divide," along with Pakistani American author Saadia Faruqi, and recently one of the co-organizers of #KidsNeedMentors. Ann lives in southern Vermont with her husband, two children, and two insatiable cats named Boomer and Justice. Ann will give general fiction writing workshops and special tips for those interested in writing for children and young adults.

    GARY MARGOLIS was a Robert Frost and Arthur Vining Davis Fellow and has taught at the University of Tennessee, Vermont and Bread Loaf, and Green Mountain Writers Conferences. His third book, "Fire in the Orchard" was nominated for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, as well as "Raking the Winter Leaves: New and Selected poems" (2013). His poem, "The Interview" was featured on National Public Radio's "The Story" and Boston's ABC Channel 5 interviewed him on the Middlebury campus reading his poem, "Winning the Lunar Eclipse," after the 2004 World Series.

    Dr. Margolis was awarded the first Sam Dietzel Award for Mental Health Practice in Vermont by the Clinical Psychology Department of Saint Michaels College and the Covey Community Award of the Counseling Service of Addison County. His clinical articles have appeared in the Journal of American College Health Association, Adolescence, the Ladies Home Journal, Runner's World Magazine and he has been interviewed on his work with college students by Time Magazine, ABC and CBS News.

    As a Middlebury College graduate, Gary participated in 4 varsity sports, and brought that love to his poetry; Boston Globe sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy called Gary's sport's poetry "thoughtful" and "inspired" and Sports Illustrated writer Alexander Wolf wrote "Like a cop or a reporter, Gary Margolis works a beat, at once his little patch of New England and 'the whole wide world."

    His recent work includes a memoir, "Seeing the Songs: A Poet's Journey to the Shamans in Ecuador" and "Runner Without a Number," a book of poems.

    A licensed psychologist, Margolis is the former executive director of counseling and former associate professor of English at Middlebury College in Vermont. He lives in Cornwall, Vermont, where he is a volunteer firefighter.

    Gary will be our keynote speaker, addressing the issues of a life spent spent writing and the benefits, regardless of publication, of capturing one's thoughts, hopes and dreams in words over a long period of time and the pleasures of sharing those words with others, near and dear, or unknown.

    PATTY CARPENTER studied jazz at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with the great Archie Shepp and Max Roach, and was heavily influenced by many great women artists from Joan Baez and Roseanne Cash to Billie Holiday and Carmen McCrae. A lead member of the Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band (DFJB), an incomparable collective with a Jazz/Americana/Soul/Folk sound, Carpenter and Porche have been lifelong friends and collaborators. Carpenter's music and voice are unforgettable -- bluesy and jazzy all at once -- and combined with Porche, the songs are rooted in today's political and social world, the world of families and friends, your world too. It will be a treat to have her join Verandah in a celebration of the art of working together. Over the year, they've worked on new pieces, separately and collaboratively. Along with leading us in the Green Mountain W riters Conference song, Carpenter and Porche will lead a blues-writing workshop and perform together in a concert celebrating poetry, song and spoken word.


    About the conference | Our writers | How to register
    Green Mountain Writers Conference
    Chittenden, Vermont | July 29 - Aug. 2, 2019