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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

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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

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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

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Linda Lowen

A book reviewer for Publishers Weekly, Linda's nonfiction has been published in the New York Times and in the anthology "Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less" (Artisan Books 2020). 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

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Jane Seitel


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

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.


Elizabeth Koster 

Elizabeth Koster’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fourth Genre, Split Lip, River Teeth, Hobart, Lost Balloon, Five Minutes, and The New York Times Modern Love column. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Columbia University and and has taught creative writing in public schools, nonprofits, and a program for incarcerated women on Rikers Island.


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. Her website is

Stephen H. Foreman has been a freelance writer since 1974. He was a playwright and poet before screenwriting became his primary form of writing. He has had plays produced on both coasts and was awarded the Yale Literary Prize for Poetry. It wasn’t until 2004 that he began concentrating on novels and have had three published since 2007 (two by Simon & Schuster, and one by Skyhorse Press); a fourth novel is forthcoming. Toni Morrison was his first editor. His film credentials include “The Jazz Singer” (1980) with Neil Diamond and Sir Lawrence Olivier, “Hostage” (1988) with Carol Burnett and Annette Benning, and a documentary, “America The Beautiful” (1993) with President George H. W. Bush. Foreman also wrote and directed ”Cougar” (1984). He has worked with Jane Fonda, George Roy Hill, Michael Apted, Hal Ashby, the Eagles, Edward Albee, Robert Lowell, Alice Childress, Dana Delaney, John Cazale, Christian Slater, Al Pacino, and many others.

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Thaddeus Rutkowski

Thaddeus Rutkowski is a graduate of Cornell University and the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of seven books, most recently Tricks of Light, a poetry collection. His novel Haywire won the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s members’ choice award, and his memoir Guess and Check won an Electronic Literature award for multicultural fiction. He teaches at Medgar Evers College and received a fiction writing fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has been a resident writer at Yaddo, MacDowell and other colonies, and has been a sponsored reader in Berlin, Hong Kong and Singapore. He lives with his wife, Randi Hoffman, in Manhattan. His website is


Sheila Myers

Sheila Myers is an award-winning author and college professor in Upstate New York.  Her penchant for research and meanderings through the wilderness, lakes, mountains, and vistas (and the occasional trip to a cemetery) in the U.S. and abroad, inspire her novels and short stories. She is adapting her stories to screenplays. Myers has written five novels. Her Durant Family Saga trilogy is set in the Adirondack Mountains during the Gilded Age period of Great Camps. Her last novel in the trilogy, The Night is Done, received the 2017 Best Book of Fiction award from the Adirondack Center for Writing and a Kirkus starred review. Her latest, The Truth of Who You Are, published by Black Rose Writing in April 2022, is set during the Great Depression and chronicles the development of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can learn more here

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Amy Randall

Amy Randall began her career in publishing in the 1980s as a men’s fashion editor for Sportswear International and In Fashion magazines. She then became the US editor of Select and The Manipulator magazines and founded Randall, du Plessis, and Nada, a boutique advertising agency catering to men’s fashion brands. In the 1990s, Amy was the Executive Director of the National Writers Union, Local 1981 of the UAW. There she organized and advocated for freelance journalists and book authors through legislative actions, contract negotiations, and a landmark SCOTUS case concerning electronic rights. Today Amy is a ghostwriter and creative director for entrepreneurs and founders who want to create content that is as unique as they are. She is also a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor. Finally, Amy substitute teaches at Delaware Academy, where students, upon meeting her for the first time, invariably say, “You’re weird. When are you coming back.” 

Until her recent retirement Sharon Ruetenik was the international student adviser, writing center coordinator, and a part-time instructor in composition and literature at SUNY Delhi. Her poetry chapbook, The Wooden Bowl, illustrates the role of women from Eve to Dorothy. Ruetenik's work has appeared in print and online journals, most recently the anthologies Like Light and Prolific Press, Three Line Poetry, an online  edition of The Catskill Mountain Region Guide, and the print journals Iconoclast and Evening Street Review. She has taught poetry as a college instructor, for WIM, and at the Ogden Library through a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities. In addition Ruetenik has functioned as a facilitator for the council leading discussions, including “World War I,” “Aging,” “The Politics of Food” and “The Muslim Journey”. Ruetenik was awarded a fellowship at the Saltonstall Foundation of the Arts and Platte Clove. She particularly enjoys sharing her work and has read throughout the region. Of great interest as both educator and writer are what initially sparks the work, its process, and the art of tweaking. Her own work involves imaginative reworking of fairy tales and myths and exploring the hard truths of life and its incongruities.

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Sharon Ruetenik

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Sally Simon

Sally Simon has an MFA in Writing from Manhattanville College. She’s a past guest editor for Five Minute Lit and a current reader for Fractured Lit. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared or is forthcoming in Citron Review, Emerge Lit, Flash Boulevard, Hobart, (macr)ro(mic), Roi Faineant, Multiplicity, Dribble Drabble Review, Five Minute Lit, Herstry and others. She has also reached her yearly goal of over 100 rejections for the last two years. Sally’s work has been nominated for EZ (Ellipsis Magazine) Best of 2022.

Felicity H. Barber is Founder of Thoughtful Communications, a consultancy doing thought leadership, speechwriting, and training. She has spent more than a decade writing speeches and managing the executive communications of CEOs in financial services. Prior to starting her own business she wrote for the CEO of BlackRock, two Federal Reserve Presidents, and the CEO of Lloyd's of London. She has won Cicero Awards for her speeches on financial regulation and culture in financial services and she is an advisory board member of the Professional Speechwriters Association. Fun fact: Felicity once wrote a book that was given as a gift to the late Queen Elizabeth II. 

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Felicity H. Barber

A freelance writer for over 20 years, Rachel Dickinson's pieces about nature, history, science, and travel have been published in numerous publications including Aeon, The Atlantic, Audubon, Smithsonian, Salon, Outside Online, The Saturday Evening Post, and many publications that no longer exist. A two-time winner of the Travel Classics Writing Award, she’s also the author of seven nonfiction books. Her latest, a memoir in essays, is The Loneliest Places: loss, grief, and the long journey home (Three Hills Press, 2022). Dickinson has an MFA in nonfiction from Goucher College.


Rachel Dickinson

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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.

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Stephen H. Foreman

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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.

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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

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Dara Lurie

Dara Lurie is an author, workshop leader and book coach who helps writers of all levels discover their passionate and original voices in stories. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Film & Theater from Vassar College and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hunter College. Her first book, “Great Space of Desire: Writing for Personal Evolution” is a memoir and creative guide for writers. Learn more at 

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Sharon Israel

Sharon Israel hosts the bi-weekly radio show, Planet Poet-Words in Space, on WIOX Community Radio in the Catskills and on podcast. Her debut chapbook, Voice Lesson, was published in 2017 by Post Traumatic Press. Sharon was an early recipient of Brooklyn College’s Leonard B. Hecht Poetry Explication Award, was a “Best of the Net 2016” nominee and a 2020 “quarterly challenge” winner in four lines Poetry and Art Magazine,  She is certified in the Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) method and incorporates the principles of the AWA into her workshops. AWA, an international writing organization is founded on the belief that everyone is a writer. AWA supports practiced and emerging voices through its proven workshop method. Learn more about Sharon at

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Sam Truitt

Sam Truitt, PhD., was born in Washington, DC, and raised there and in Tokyo, Japan. He is the author of the ten works in the Vertical Elegies series, among others in print and other media, including most recently Tokyoatoto and the forthcoming state/shaft shaft/state. Among other recognitions, he is the recipient of numerous Fund for Poetry awards, a Contemporary Poetry Award from the University of Georgia, and a Howard Fellowship. He has published poetry, essays, and reviews in many annuals, journals, and magazines, including Best American Poetry, American Poetry: The Next Generation, Fence, Ploughshares, Boston Review, Jacket, Fulcrum and the American Book Review. The producer and a co-host of the podcast Baffling Combustions and the Station Hill Intermedia Lab, he lives in Woodstock, NY. Sam has taught at Bard College in the Language and Thinking Program. For more visit and


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. Her book, The Quarry Fox and Other Tales of the Wild Catskills, a lyric narrative look at the wild animals of the Catskill Mountains, was published by The Overlook Press in 2017. The Quarry Fox is an Independent Book Publisher Gold Medal Award Winner for Excellence. The Quarry Fox audiobook, which Leslie narrates, was published by Silver Hollow Audio. 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.

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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. Her website is

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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

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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

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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. His website is

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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

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