Now Celebrating Over 20 Years of Chapbook Publishing  

The Hudson Valley Writers' Center
Sleepy Hollow, New York


In this issue...
  • Poems from Katie Phillips the 2010 SHP Chapbook Competition Winner
  • Poems from the 2010 SHP Contest Runners Up
  • Slapering Hol Press’s new Conversation Series chapbook
  • An Update from SHP Author Sandra Upham
  • 2011 SHP Chapbook Competition now Open!
  • Pictures from the 2010 Poets and Writers on War and Peace reading

The Hudson Valley Writers' Center
300 Riverside Drive
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
fax: 332-4825
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 Two Poems from Katie Phillips' new chapbook
Driving Montana, Alone

Driving Montana, Alone was the winner of the 2010 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition and a version of the manuscript was also a finalist in the 2009 contest. The postcard-themed design was a departure from the norm for SHP, but it is a beautiful volume and is beginning to garner a lot of praise and positive reviews. A poem from this collection will be read by Garrison Keillor on NPR's "The Writer's Almanac" in the next few weeks (keep an eye on the HVWC website and newsletter for more information). Katie will be reading from Driving Montana, Alone at The Hudson Valley Writers' Center next month on Sunday March 23 starting at 4:30pm.   

In Driving Montana, Alone, Katie Phillips offers her readers a series of gritty, pastoral, elegiac poems.  Her radiantly distilled meditations are uncompromising, direct, and beautiful.  Phillips is a nuanced and complex writer.

--Denise Duhamel


By the cemetery, I hit him.
He did not make a sound,
just wrapped his striped tail round and
dipped the tip in the blood he was becoming. 

I went back and hit him again,
to be right, to be kind.
That road was never darker.
My headlights must have seemed
like distant moons, then blazing suns—
then music of the spheres.

The moon, so orange, did not fit
between leaves.  It slipped
away, made itself
an anti-leaf.  I thought if, heavy
with haze, it crashed down
on this paved planet,
there would be no room
for me.

At Last, Some Recognition

Whenever I see a red truck topped
with bikes helplessly spinning
their tires, I think how many times

I have waited, on doorsteps and at windows,
for diesel to announce your arrival, taking me
from another unhappy apartment.

You asked for these words because you ran out of gas
in Wyoming, headed north for another rescue,
and I wanted you to have them

for the thousands of miles between exits,
when the sun is rising, and you are leading me
back to the only place I've never left.

Katie Phillips
 lived in Montana before moving to a suburb of Chicago. Her poems have been published in the Cider Press Review, The Raintown Review, and White Pelican Review, and elsewhere. She was a finalist in the 2009 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Contest, in Byline Magazine's2006 Silver Anniversary Chapbook Contest, and for a 2006 Illinois Arts Council Grant. She has studied with Eamon Grennan and Joyce Sutphen. 


Poems from the 2010 Slapering Hol Chapbook Contest Runners Up
Norman Lang Siegel
from the manuscript
Between the Named Storms

   Nowhere is Not a Valid Address
    When lost in the woods
    Descartes advises us to go straight.

    While you were gone I chose
    the “simultaneous firing
    of two side-arms” workshop
    instead of our Monsoon month
    timeshare without you: how
    “everything we’ve not done before
    is exactly what was missing”
    explains the appeal of acupuncture,
    ballooning, and coming to Jesus
    on the Jerusalem-tiled
    dual-diagnosis Malibu
    treatment center bathroom floor,
    but not blueberry picking,
    for all for whom it is not a career,
    and which for argument’s sake
    you may substitute your choice
    of anything with the same
    emotional calories you’d want
    to do again – this time
    grabbing all you can.
    Look. The over-examined life ,
    with emphasis on “over”,
    is not worth the loathing.
    No reason to disassemble it
    anymore than it already is –
    especially not for the sixteen year olds
    in group who have no idea how one
    is supposed to look when whole,
    so come home, to whichever
    home you choose, you’re as ready
    already as you’ll ever be.

Norman Lang Siegel
is a displaced New Yorker, Johns Hopkins graduate, poet and OB/GYN practicing in rural southern West Virginia.  The chapbook "Between the Named Storms” contains selected poems from the presently unpublished book length manuscript of the same name. He has poems forthcoming in The Same.                     



Matthew Buckley Smith
from the manuscript Dirge for an Imaginary World 


    Walking at dawn I think I understand
    what drew the ancients toward the dim horizon.
    How terrible and perfect to demand
    You show Your face, the sun. Against all reason!
    Why wouldn’t our lonely predecessors find
    a tender sermon in the raveled fern,
    a scripture in the workings of the hand,
    in starlight grace no reason can discern?
    We name ourselves, our fathers, our desires,
    and so did they, the sweet, befuddled dead.
    We should be grateful for their hopes, the fires
    from which we’ve lit our own, the names they said
    You answer to, the prayers You can’t resist,
    we who so seldom beg You to exist.

Matthew Smith
was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned his MFA in poetry at the Johns Hopkins University and now studies playwriting at the Catholic University of America. He teaches literature at the Kirov Academy. His poems have appeared (or will soon appear) in various magazines, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, Iron Horse Literary Review, Measure, Unsplendid, The Alabama Literary Review, The Same, and The Lyric. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, Joanna.

New SHP Conversation Series Chapbook!
The newest chapbook from Slapering Hol Press, Enjoy Hot or Iced: Poems in Conversation and a Conversation by Denise Duhamel and Amy Lemmon is now available from Slapering Hol Press. 

Hot or Iced was edited by Margo Taft Stever and Peggy Ellsberg and is the second book in SHP's conversation series. Duhamel and Lemmon go poem for poem throughout the book which ends with the transcript of a short "conversation" between the two.

Marking the 25th published collection from Slapering Hol Press, this chapbook takes the reader out on the limbs of relationships gone bad.  From Duhamel’s hilarious “Madonna and Me,” to Lemmon’s wistful “Enjoy Hot or Iced,” this wide-ranging collection reminds us of the fragility of love and the bitterness of love lost.

Slapering Hol Press, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, publishes chapbooks by emerging poets through its annual contest, the Conversation series, and occasional anthologies. Enjoy Hot or Iced: Poems in Conversation and a Conversation, which sells for $12, is available from The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center website (
) and Small Press Distribution (SPD).

A Note from Sondra Upham, Author of the 2000 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition Winner Freight
The publication of my book established me as a writer in my community. It gave me chances to teach writing classes, to speak as a writer / survivor at a rape center,  and to mentor a young rape survivor who took courage from reading my book.  In my case, the publication of Freight was a life-changing personal event, which helped me heal from trauma, and helped my community bear witness to a crime which was never addressed by the law. I will never forget the day I received my first copy and saw how beautiful it was—hand tied, gorgeous paper—here was the dark secret of my past, which only a handful of people knew, presented as a fine piece of art. I continue to hear from people who have just found my book and order from Amazon.

Thank you and everyone else at SHP for your hard work and kindness.


                Sondra Upham



Let Slapering Hol Press Kick Start Your Poetry Career:
Submit to the 2011 SHP Chapbook Competition Today!



The 2010 Writers and Poets on War and Peace Reading


(From left to right: Dan Griffin, David Surface, Ann Lauinger, Rod Carlson)

Veterans Ron Carlson, Matt Coffey and Dan Griffin were participants in “Writing Our Lives”, a memoir-writing workshop for U.S. veterans, led by David Surface. The workshop was part of The National Endowment for the Arts' Big Read Project. 

Surface is currently working with members of the veterans' community to establish a Veterans' Writing Project which will pair Vietnam veterans with incoming veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan for community-based writing workshops, and also establish writing groups within the PTSD units of VA hospitals in Westchester and the Bronx. 

Photos by Cindy Beer-Fouhy



The Hudson Valley Writers' Center staff is:

Frank Juliano - Executive Director
Ryan J. Conatti - Assistant to the Director/Office Manager
Jean Schatz - Administrative Assistant

Let us know what you think! Feel free to contact us with any comments, questions, or suggestions! 

The Hudson Valley Writers' Center is located in the Philipse Manor Railroad Station in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Follow the Metro North signs to the station from Route 9, near Historic Hudson Valley's Philipsburg Manor. For more information, call us at (914) 332-5953 or visit our website, Our programs and events are made possible, in part, by grants from the Bydale Foundation, the David G. Taft Foundation, the Morgan Stanley Foundation, the Orchard Foundation, the Thendara Foundation, and the William E. Robinson Foundation; with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts; and by the Basic Program Support Grant of the Westchester Arts Council with funds from Westchester County Government.
The Hudson Valley Writers' Center, Inc. (HVWC) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1988 with a mission to advance the art and craft of writing by encouraging writers and readers at all levels to participate in and enjoy the literary arts. HVWC is a not-for-profit, IRC section 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions in excess of value received are deductible for Federal Income Tax purposes.


Wine for all SHP Readings and Events is donated courtesy of Grape Expectations in Tarrytown.
Stop in for your favorite bottle today and tell them that the Hudson Valley Writer's Center sent you!
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