New York’s Hudson Valley has always been a magnet to a wide array of writers, poets, dance and music makers and visual artists. Writers especially have lived and thrived here. The joke is, “Throw a stone, you’ll hit a writer.” And where you have writers, you’ll find writer’s groups, sharing and supporting each other’s work. In James Lipton’s extensive books of lists: An Exaltation of Larks or, The Venereal Game (Penguin, 1977), he notes that groups of writers are called “A worship of writers,” an apt term describing the dedication and reverence for those who touch pen to paper or fingers to keyboards.
One of the long-standing troupes is The Hudson Valley Women’s Writing Group which has survived a number of incarnations for nearly thirty years. Its current ensemble, who, when not writing and editing each other’s work in their scheduled meetings, have had careers as artists, nurses, educators, lawyers with all still active in their cultural and community work. The writers, Colleen Geraghty, Kit Goldpaugh, Eileen Howard, Tana Miller, Mary K. O’Melveny, Kappa Waugh and Jan Zlotnik Schmidt, write in multiple forms, creating poetry, fiction, memoir and dramatic works. The group continues to present their works “live” (and virtually) throughout the Hudson Valley at various reading series.
Here in the Lightwood Spring Issue #5, we’re pleased to present poems by two of these writers. You’ll find the poems, “Chrysalis” by Mary K. O’Melveny and “Safe” by Tana Miller. In an earlier Lightwood issue, you can read a review of Jan Zlotnik Schmidt’s book, Foraging for Light, published by Finishing Line Press along with the prose poem, “a handprint in alabaster- a cornerstone of memory.” Please click on the Literature/Poetry and the Review/Books links for these earlier Lightwood posts.
In 2018, the group prepared an anthology with a sample of each writer’s work. An Apple in her Hand was published by Codhill Press in early 2019 and is available at online stores and through the Codhill.com website. The group’s words continue to flow as they plan a new anthology. In a collective message, they’ve said:
“We are writers, poets, musicians. All of us are volunteers, activists and artists. We write from the collective perspective of being women-of-a-certain-age in a culture that tends to render older women invisible, irrelevant. Sharing our unique perspectives on such universal themes as memory, joy, resistance, resilience, aging, transformation, visibility we hope to engage readers of all ages and backgrounds.”
We at Lightwood hope our viewers will continue supporting local writers and artists such as the Hudson Valley Women’s Writing Group and to read/see and hear them virtually or live whenever they present their work.
Laurence Carr is the publisher of Lightwoodpress.com. He writes fiction, poetry and drama and works as an editor. His work has been been published and performed throughout the U.S. and abroad.