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Writers Conference 2017 Presenters and Registration Materials

Stuart Kestenbaum is the author of four collections of poems, Pilgrimage (Coyote Love Press), House of Thanksgiving, Prayers and Run-on Sentences and Only Now (all Deerbrook Editions), and a collection of essays The View From Here (Brynmorgen Press).  The director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts from 1988 until 2015, he has written and spoken widely on craft making and creativity, and his poems and writing have appeared in numerous small press publications and magazines including Tikkun, the Sun, the Beloit Poetry Journal, and on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac.   Former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser has written "Stuart Kestenbaum writes the kind of poems I love to read, heartfelt responses to the privilege of having been given a life.  No hidden agendas here, no theories to espouse, nothing but life, pure life, set down with craft and love." He was appointed Maine's poet laureate in 2016.

Jensen Beach is the author of two collections of short stories, most recently Swallowed by the Cold. His fiction has appeared recently in A Public Space, the Paris Review, and The New Yorker, among others. He is on faculty in the MFA Program in Writing and Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is an assistant professor in Writing & Literature at Johnson State College, where is also fiction editor of Green Mountains Review. He lives in Vermont. 

Patricia O'Donnell is a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Maine at Farmington, where she teaches fiction writing.  She also directs the BFA Program in Creative Writing.  In 2015/2016 she was awarded the Trustee Professorship, an award created to "recognize exemplary full-time faculty members at University of Maine System campuses." Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Agni Review, The North American Review, Prairie Schooner, The American Literary Review, and other journals and anthologies. Her novel, Necessary Places, was published in 2012 by Cadent Publishing (now part of Tilbury House).  Her memoir, Waiting to Begin, was published in August, 2016 by Bottom Dog Press. In addition, her collection of short fiction, Gods for Sale, won the Serena McDonald Kennedy Fiction Award for 2016, and was published by Snake Nation Press.

Erin E. Moulton is the author of Flutter (Philomel/Penguin, 2011), Tracing Stars (Philomel/Penguin, 2012), Chasing the Milky Way (Philomel/Penguin, 2014), and Keepers of the Labyrinth (Philomel/Penguin, 2015). She is also editor of the forthcoming anthology Things We Haven't Said (Zest/Quirk Books, 2017). Her books have been selected and nominated for national and state award lists, such as the Amelia Bloomer list, the Kentucky Bluegrass Master List and the Isinglass Teen Read Award List. Flutter was also a 2011 Kid's Indie Next pick. When Erin isn't writing books she can be found drinking an excessive amount of Barry's Tea, scribbling in notebooks, carving pumpkins, staring off into space wearing her noise cancelling headphones and trying to stay out of mischief without always succeeding. She also works as teen librarian at the Derry Public Library where she maintains a collection of awesome YA books and leads teen programming. Erin loves fostering new voices, which makes her an active school visitor, mentor and workshop leader to writers of all ages. She is a proud VCFA alum, as well as a teen advocate, a humanist, a feminist, and a would-be philanthropist if she could find any extra dollars. You can find her online at

Betsy Sholl has published seven collections of poetry, most recently Rough Cradle (Alice James Books, 2009). Don't Explain won the 1997 Felix Pollak Prize from the University of Wisconsin, and her book The Red Line won the 1991 AWP Prize for Poetry. Her chapbooks include Pick A Card, winner of the Maine Chapbook Competition in 1991, and Betsy Sholl: Greatest Hits, 1974-2004, Pudding House Publications. She was a founding member of Alice James Books and published three collections with them: Changing Faces, Appalachian Winter and Rooms Overhead. Among her awards are a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts, and two Maine Writer's Fellowships. Her work has been included in several anthologies, including Letters to America, Contemporary American Poetry on Race, and a range of magazines, including Field, Triquarterly, Brilliant Corners, The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, Beloit Poetry Journal. She has been a visiting poet at the University of Pittsburgh and Bucknell University. She lives in Portland, Maine, and teaches at the University of Southern Maine and in the MFA Program of Vermont College. From 2006 to 2011, Betsy served as the Poet Laureate of Maine.

David Blair is the author of three books of poetry: Arsonville (New Issues Poetry & Prose), Friends with Dogs (Sheep Meadow Press) and Ascension Days (Del Sol Press), which was chosen by Thomas Lux for the Del Sol Poetry Prize. He currently teaches at Bentley University and in the online graduate program in creative writing at Southern New Hampshire University.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is a writer and teacher. His first collection of poems, Death of a Ventriloquist, was chosen by Lisa Russ Spaar for the Vassar Miller Prize and published in 2012. The book received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, spent several weeks on the Poetry Foundation's list of contemporary best sellers, and was featured by Poets & Writers as one of a dozen debut collections to watch. His poems have appeared in several publications, including 32 Poems, Guernica, Maine magazine, Prairie Schooner, The New Republic, Poetry Northwest, and Verse Daily, and in the anthologies Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House and From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great. He has received awards for his poems from the Bellevue Literary Review and University of California Berkeley. With graduate degrees from University of California Berkeley and Columbia University, he has taught writing and literature in public and private middle schools, high schools, and colleges in California, Vermont, New York, and Maine. In 2011, he was named one of Maine's "emerging leaders" by the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media for his work directing the Telling Room, where he still occasionally teaches writing. He lives in Portland, Maine, with his family and is at work on a novel and a second book of poems.

2017 Guidelines, Newsletters, and Registration

These documents are all in Microsoft Word format for dowwnloading to your computer.

2017 Flyer ~ 2017 Registration Form ~ Daily Schedule ~ February 2017 News ~ 2017 Newsletter 1 ~ 2017 Newsletter 2

Contest Guidelines ~ Poerty Contest Entry ~ Prose Contest Entry

2017 Summer Season