Robert Burke Warren

Robert Burke Warren is a writer, performer, and musician. His work has appeared in Salon, AARP, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Texas Music, Brooklyn Parent, The Woodstock Times, Vulture, Paste, The Rumpus, The Bitter Southerner, Chronogram, Longform, and the Da Capo anthology The Show I‘ll Never Forget. His debut novel, Perfectly Broken, is available in paperback. As a songwriter, he has released seven CDs – two as Robert Burke Warren and five as family musician Uncle Rock. His songwriting appears on albums by Rosanne Cash, RuPaul, and rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson. In the mid-1990s, he portrayed Buddy Holly in the West End musical Buddy: the Buddy Holly Story. Prior to that, he traveled the world as a rock ’n’ roll bass player.

Our Instructors.

Durga Yael Bernhard

D Yael Bernhard is the illustrator of over three dozen children’s books – all of which she designed except for one – including fiction and non-fiction, natural science titles and multicultural folktales. She has also written several unique concept books for children.  Her illustrated books include A Ride on Mother’s Back (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); While You Are Sleeping (Charlesbridge Publishing); In the Fiddle is a Song(Chronicle Books); and Never Say a Mean Word Again (Wisdom Tales Press).  Most recently, she has published a calendar of fine art paintings titled The Jewish Eye. 

Yael brings unique influences to her work, including a strong grounding in musical rhythm and graphic design, and a deep love of African culture, Eastern and Western religion, and the natural world.  She is a firm believer in blurring the lines between commercial and fine art, and between work and play as an artist.  Yael’s work encompasses several different styles, and has been published on everything from book, magazine and CD covers, to business logos, brochures, websites, corporate promotional materials, and publicity for religious and ecological causes.  As an arts-in-ed teacher, Yael brings creative inspiration into elementary school classrooms, combining illustration and book-making with academic learning.  She enjoys teaching artists of all ages.

Her website is

Jane Seitel

Elizabeth Koster 

Elizabeth Koster was published in the New York Times Modern Love column and holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Columbia University. She serves as a writing mentor for Girls Write Now and has taught creative writing to high school students, Columbia undergraduates, senior citizens at JASA, and incarcerated women on Rikers Island. She lives in New York City and is currently completing a memoir.

William Duke

William Duke is a poet, painter and yoga instructor, and hosts Spiritual Solutions on WIOX Radio. In the 1990s he was one of the founders of the Saturn Series, the longest running weekly open mic in NYC. He edited an anthology of divorcé poems, Split Verse: Poems to Heal the Heart, with Meg Campbell (Midmarch Arts Press 2000). Recent books of poetry include, A Little Blessing 2017 (, and Alphie the Angel's Little Alphabet Book 2020 ( ). William has been a featured reader at Word Thursdays at the Bright Hill Literary Press and Center of the Catskills as well as at Catskill Cabaradio at the Pine Hill Community Center and Live on WIOX Radio.

Dr. Bill Birns

Dr. Bill Birns is the author of three Catskill-themed books: A Catskill Catalog; The Myth in the Mountain; and I Was Corning a Beaver, Like You Do. An active Delaware County citizen for 45 years, Bill taught a couple generations of Catskill Mountain kids, both at Margaretville Central School and Onteora High School. A Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric and Linguistics, Bill’s 1986 dissertation is the most in-depth study of the dialect of the Catskills.

Sari Botton

Sari Botton is a writer, editor and teacher living in Kingston, NY. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, The Village Voice, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, More, plus other publications and assorted anthologies. She is the editor of the award-winning anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York and its follow-up, the New York Times bestselling Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York.  She is a columnist at The Rumpus and Longreads, and editorial director for the non-profit TMI Project. Learn more about her at

Ginnah Howard

Ginnah Howard’s work has appeared in Water~Stone Review, Permafrost, Portland Review, Descant 145, Eleven Eleven Journal, The Tusculum Review, and elsewhere. Several stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Night Navigation, Book 2 of her upstate novel trilogy, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Chronogram called Book 3, Doing Time Outside (Standing Stone Books, 2013), “a beautiful read.”  Book 1 of the trilogy, Rope & Bone: A Novel in Stories (Illume, 2014) was listed by Publishers Weekly as one of the “best of the best” Indie books of 2015. In her latest book, I’m Sick of This Already: At-Risk Learning in a High School Class, Howard focuses on a year of working with students in a small rural town. Currently she is putting together a collection of poetry and prose titled An Opera of Hankering.

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Sharon Israel

Sharon Israel hosts the radio program Planet Poet-Words in Space, an edition of The Writer’s Voice program on WIOX 91.3 FM in Roxbury, New York. As a poet and soprano, Sharon collaborates with composer Robert Cucinotta on works for voice, live instruments, and electronics and has premiered several of his works in New York. She was an early recipient of Brooklyn College's Leonard Hecht Poetry Explication Award.  Her poem “Melodrama at the Biograph” was nominated for Sundress Publication’s “2016 Best of the Net” and her debut chapbook Voice Lesson was published by Post Traumatic Press in 2017. Sharon is certified in the Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) method.


Lissa Kiernan

Lissa Kiernan is the founding director of the Poetry Barn, a literary center based in West Hurley, New York, sponsoring workshops, readings, craft talks, and book arts for all ages.  Her first collection of poetry,  Two Faint Lines in the Violet (Negative Capability Press), was a 2014 Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalist, as well as a finalist for the Julie Suk Award for Best Poetry Book by an Independent Press. Her book-length braided essay, Glass Needles & Goose Quills: Elementary Lessons in Atomic Properties, Nuclear Families, and Radical Poetics, is forthcoming in fall 2016. Individual poems can be found in numerous journals and anthologies including Podium Literary Journal of the 92nd Street Y, and The Yale Journal for the Humanities in Medicines, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She holds her MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from the Stonecoast, ​the University of Southern Maine, and an MA from The New School. More at

Sharon Ruetenik

Sharon Ruetenik is the author of a poetry chapbook, The Wooden Bowl. She is currently working on a manuscript of sevenlings. Her work has appeared in print and online journals, most recently The Green Door. Ruetenik was awarded a poetry fellowship at the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts.

As a speaker for the the New York Council for the Humanities, she has lectured on short stories, novellas, and poetry. Her day job is working at SUNY Delhi as the coordinator of the Writing Center, the international student advisor, and adjunct instructor in composition and literature. Ruetenik lives in Delhi with her family, which includes many large dogs and several indolent cats.

Leslie T. Sharpe

Leslie T. Sharpe is an author, editor, and educator. She began her editing career at Farrar, Straus & Giroux and is currently an editorial consultant specializing in literary nonfiction, literary fiction, and poetry. A member of PEN American Center, she is the author of Editing Fact and Fiction: A Concise Guide to Book Editing (Cambridge University Press), which is regarded as a “modern editing classic.” Leslie has also a been a regular contributor to Newsday’s “Urban ‘I’” column, and her essays and articles have appeared in a wide variety of publications including the Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Global City Review, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, New York Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, and Village Voice; The Villager; The Writer; and Psychology Today. She recently finished her memoir, Our Fractured, Perfect Selves, and her new book, The Quarry Fox and Other Tales of the Wild Catskills, a lyric, narrative look at the wild animals of the Catskill Mountains, will be published by The Overlook Press. Her poems for children have appeared in Ladybug Magazine, and she is currently at work on a poetry collection, Little Possums Book of Poems. Leslie has taught writing and editing at Columbia University, New York University and the City College of New York.

Nina Shengold

NINA SHENGOLD writes in many genres.  Her books include the novel Clearcut (Anchor Books), a Book Sense Notable Selection; River of Words: Portraits of Hudson Valley Writers, with photographer Jennifer May (SUNY Press); and 13 theatre anthologies for Vintage Books and Viking Penguin.  She won the Writers Guild Award for her teleplay Labor of Love, starring Marcia Gay Harden, and the ABC Playwright Award for Homesteaders.  Nina has taught creative writing at the University of Maine, Manhattanville College, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and locally at Word Cafe, the Omega Institute, and as a visiting guest artist at SUNY Ulster.

Anique Sara Taylor

Anique Sara Taylor’s full-length poetry book Where Space Bends was released in June 2020 with Finishing Line Press. She holds a Poetry MFA (Drew University), a Diplôme (The Sorbonne), a Painting BFA (Highest Honors/Pratt) and Drawing MFA (Pratt Institute). Her work has appeared in Rattle, Common Ground Review, Adanna, Stillwater Review, Earth’s Daughters, The World (St. Mark’s Poetry Project), The National Poetry Magazine of the Lower East Side among others. Her chapbook Poems is published by Unimproved Editions Press. She’s co-authored works for HBO, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster and a three-act play that was performed by Playwrights Horizons and Williamstown Theatre Festival. In 2014 her chapbook was chosen Finalist by both Minerva Rising and Blue Light Press’ 2014 Chapbook Competitions. In 2015 her next book Under the Ice Moon was chosen a Finalist by Blue Light Press’ Chapbook Competition. Her work has appeared in several anthologies: The Lake Rises (Stockport Flats Press), Pain and Memory (Editions Bibliotekos, Inc.), Veils, Halos and Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women (Kasva Press). An award-winning artist, Taylor’s art has been featured in numerous galleries including The Bruce Museum, CT, The Monmouth Museum, NJ, The Noyes Museum, NJ, The Puffin Foundation, NJ, The Cork Gallery at Avery Fisher Hall, NYC, The Bronfman Center Gallery, NYC. She teaches/taught Creative Writing for Benedictine Hospital’s Oncology Support Program, Bard LLI and Writers in the Mountains. Her website is

Linda Lowen

A book reviewer for Publishers Weekly, Linda's nonfiction has been published in the New York Times and is forthcoming in "Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less" from Artisan Books in December.  Her writing advice has appeared in The Writer and Writer's Digest magazines. She teaches creative nonfiction at the Downtown Writer’s Center in Syracuse, NY, and has led workshops at the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival and HippoCamp, the annual CNF conference sponsored by Hippocampus magazine. Her website is

Stephanie Nikolopoulos

Stephanie Nikolopoulos is a writer and editor based in New York City. She is the coauthor, with Paul Maher Jr., of the biography Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” Afar animated her flash travel story “Seeing the Light in Sweden” for their Travel Tales series in 2019, and the Albany International Airport Gallery selected her “Essay after Visiting the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Written from a Skyscraper” for their Landmarks exhibit in 2018. She currently writes the New York City history column A Byte Out of the Big Apple for Thomas Insights. Her website is

Melissa Holbrook Pierson

Melissa Holbrook Pierson is the author of five books, including The Place You Love Is Gone and The Perfect Vehicle. A freelance book critic, essayist, and editor, she has taught writing at the Cape Cod Writers Conference and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. She has an MA in English Literature from Columbia University and is a submissions reader for the literary magazine The Common. Her website is

Robert Burke Warren

Robert Burke Warren is a writer, performer, and musician. His work has appeared in Salon, AARP, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Texas Music, Brooklyn Parent, The Woodstock Times, Vulture, Paste, The Rumpus, The Bitter Southerner, Chronogram, Longform, and the Da Capo anthology The Show I‘ll Never Forget. His debut novel, Perfectly Broken, is available in paperback. As a songwriter, he has released seven CDs – two as Robert Burke Warren and five as family musician Uncle Rock. His songwriting appears on albums by Rosanne Cash, RuPaul, and rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson. In the mid-1990s, he portrayed Buddy Holly in the West End musical Buddy: the Buddy Holly Story. Prior to that, he traveled the world as a rock ’n’ roll bass player.

Lynn Domina

Lynn Domina is the author of many books, including two collections of poetry, Corporal Works and Framed in Silence. Her recent poetry appears or is forthcoming in The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Museum of Americana, The New England Review, Stone Canoe, and many other periodicals and anthologies. After living for many years in Delhi, NY, she moved to Marquette, Michigan in 2015. She currently serves as Head of the English Department at Northern Michigan University and as Creative Writing Editor for The Other Journal. Read more at

Jane Seitel is an Expressive Arts Therapist, writer and teacher, living in Apex, North Carolina. She currently teaches writing and literature courses at The Osher Institute at Duke University, in person and online. She received her MFA in Poetry from Drew University, her MEd from Lesley University and her BA in English (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of Miami, FL. She teaches literature as well as writing in her classes. She loves to teach Mixed Genre classes because individual choice of form allows the student to more fully enjoy and engage in the process of writing and revision. She personally uses writing as both a meditation practice and a honed craft. Her awards include The Charlotte Newberger Prize (Lilith Magazine) and awards from national and international publications including Voices Israel, Kakalak, So To Speak, The Orison Review and others.  Her creative non-fiction and poetry have been included in Prairie Schooner, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Split This Rock, Bird’s Thumb, The Florida Review, Midstream, Minerva Rising, The Stillwater Review, Poetica, as well as several anthologies. She works for environmental protection and animal preservation. In her youth, she enjoyed many an enchanted summer in the Catskills.

Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Sarah Blakley-Cartwright is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. She is Publishing Director of the Chicago Review of Books and Associate Editor of A Public Space.