August 2016
Amherst Writers & Artists Newsletter
Attentive August


Photo of Madge O’Callaghan & Gwen Nusbaum by Maureen Buchanan Jones

Dear AWA Friends,

The AWA Method establishes respect for each writer, a focus on the writing, privacy, and attention to craft. Embedded in each practice is the necessity of listening. In an AWA workshop, writers listen to each other in a way that is different from the way we listen to each other in ordinary conversation. In our daily interactions we swap stories, and offer sympathy, congratulations, or a shared laugh. We don’t listen for how the story is being told. AWA writers listen for what is strong, what is working in each piece of writing. They listen for how they can support the writer’s voice, the writer’s craft, the writer’s experiments and risks. This kind of listening requires the listener to leave assumptions behind and enter the universe created by the writer. This listening is a whole-being activity. When it happens, each writer in the group feels well and truly heard. Emotions are acknowledged and shared; we do laugh and cry! But those emotions rest on the knowledge that the writing has been attended to, and that the efforts of the writer to shape the poem or story are central. The Five Practices of the AWA Method contain this sixth essential practice.

At AWA we listen carefully as well. We have heard what is important to you as you use and visit the AWA website. With your questions, observations and suggestions in mind, we have been working steadily on a very new version of our virtual presence. Please stay tuned for the reveal of the entirely new AWA website!

Calling all trained AWA Workshop Leaders! We need everyone to join us on October 22nd or 23rd and volunteer to lead a workshop. These donations will make it possible for people who can’t afford the training tuition to become an AWA colleague, and bring the Method to places that are not yet represented. If you can’t lead a workshop, please consider attending one that is being offered. Details are below and online.

The 2016 Training Schedule is more than half complete. The Chicago session will begin September 4th and the Albuquerque session, with a few openings remaining, will begin November 13th. Please contact us for information. We are putting the final touches on the 2017 training schedule. Sessions will be offered in Atlanta, Malibu, and Chicago, with an additional session in the works. Dates and details are soon to be posted on the AWA website.

The 6th Annual Pat Schneider Poetry Contest is completed. Once again, we have received remarkable poems. The winner will be announced this fall. To see past winners’ work, check out the recent editions of Peregrine available for purchase online.

When we write in an AWA workshop we allow our inner voices to have their say. When we listen in an AWA workshop we allow stillness to arrive so that we can hear what is being offered. Listening is the strength we use to hold each other’s words.

With gratitude and respect,
Maureen Buchanan Jones
Executive Director



This is what we do! It’s not too late. Don’t miss this event!

We need every trained workshop leader to join us in this first-ever, global, fundraising writing marathon.

Our goal is to include all AWA workshop leaders and writers in our expansive circle.

Dozens of leaders have already signed up to lead workshops in support of AWA from places far and wide as Mexico and France, with more responding all the time.To join us, please respond to this email with your contact information. We will send the support details.

If you’re interested in participating in a workshop in your area, keep your calendar clear the weekend of October 22nd & 23rd. We can’t wait to write with you!

Training News



Upcoming AWA Workshop Leadership Trainings:
September 5 – 9 in Chicago, IL
November 13 – 17 in Albuquerque, NM

tTo join us, please begin the application process online or print the 2016 Application and send it with a $300 deposit to: Amherst Writers & Artists, PO Box 1076, Amherst, MA 01004

Reach out with any questions to We look forward to hearing from you!

Affiliate Classifieds


AWA facilitator Dana Cunningham Anderson offers new Writing Alive! Telephone Workshop. Need privacy to write or access to a group because you live in a rural community or work as a teacher, therapist, physician, minister? Join us: Wed. Sept. 7 – Oct. 5, 2-4:00 PM Pacific. Write from any time zone at our “virtual writing table.” $125US. Contact artlight7[at]gmail[dot]com

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