November 2015: Now open again to new members

•November 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Are you a writer looking for the support of fellow writers who are serious about their work? If so, we’d love to meet you.

We reluctantly decided to close the group back in mid-2013 as it was getting too large to make constructive criticism possible. Things have calmed down since then and we’re now welcoming new members. The only qualification is that you be a native-level speaker and writer of English and that you are committed to actually writing, rather than just saying you’d love to write a book one of these days. You don’t need to have experience; you certainly don’t need to have been published. You just need to be prepared to come along and share your work on a regular basis, and to listen to others’ work respectfully before commenting. The most important rule (yes, we have rules!) is that everyone participates in a spirit of good faith. We are a community of writers who are trying to get better at what we do. Criticism is welcome, so long as it’s offered in a spirit of solidarity.

Whether you’re a poet, you’re writing screenplays, short stories, reviews, novels, a memoir or indeed anything else, come along and find us. We meet every Wednesday morning in Cafe Maqiuavelo, Paseo la Plaza, Corrientes 1660, at 11.00.

FIVE YEARS and going strong!

•June 27, 2013 • 2 Comments
Recently our group has grown in size, which is fantastic; we’re delighted to meet new people with new stories. Having said that, a group that has doubled its number of regular attendees in the last three months brings some logistical problems. Several members have been worrying that if it continues to grow exponentially, we will end up with a group that’s simply too big to function without splitting into two. We think the structure of the meeting works well and everyone benefits from hearing what the entire group has to say, so that doesn’t seem like an attractive prospect.
After some discussion over the last few days, a consensus has emerged that the best solution is to temporarily close the group to new members. With so many of us recommending it to our friends and acquaintances, it has reached a sort of tipping point. In order to make sure that it remains a focussed environment in which everyone who is serious about their writing can read and critique each other’s work, we need to come up with a way to ensure we don’t end up with a mega group in which there’s no time for anyone to really be heard. Hence the collective decision, which seems to us the simplest and fairest thing to do.
The Buenos Aires English Writers Group has supported so many people on the path from total novices to regular writing. It’s given a lot of us a great deal of joy, as we discover or nurture our creative lives. Over the past five years there have been countless successful bloggers, memoirists, poets, short story writers and novelists who’ve learned from each other and most of all from the weekly discipline of working at the craft. Several books have been published. We love the group and want it to continue to thrive and we very much hope that everyone feels this is the right measure to take. KEEP WRITING!

Our Fourth Anniversary!

•May 31, 2012 • Leave a Comment

In May, 2008, I was sitting in my apartment alone in Buenos Aires, having just turned 50 and run away from home (Canada), and I decided two things: I needed a tango partner and, I needed to start a writers’ group. I wanted a weekly ‘injection’, a place to go where I could network with other writers, share ideas, practice FreeFall writing and other exercises, and get feedback on my work in progress. I immediately went on-line to Craigslist and saw an ad by a writer looking for a Spanish conversation group (which I also needed). Brett Brune and I met for lunch at Clásica y Moderna to discuss our mutual interest and Karla Freeman joined us. Karla led us to (what continues to be) the perfect location for our group meetings on Avenida Corrientes.  Two hundred meetings later, The Buenos Aires English Writers Group continues to meet weekly at Cafe Variete at the back of Centro Cultural de la Cooperación every Wednesday from 11:00 – 1:00PM.

The three of us have since scattered: Brett to Washington and beyond: Karla to Cuenca and beyond: and I returned to Calgary. Each of us became involved in other writers groups in our respective locations. The Buenos Aires Group remains strong with permanent ex-pats at the helm like Sally, Henry, and Helen (sorry if I missed anybody). Members have come and gone – some checking the group out for one meeting as they passed through the city and others attending more regularly when they could over the course of the four years.

Four books have been birthed by members over as many years: Street Logic by Steve Sundberg; Touching the Rainbow Ground by Paul Weiss; Happy Tango by Sally Blake; and, The Church of Tango by Cherie Magnus. Those authors now have their own page on this website. I’m very grateful to, and proud of, all of you who have helped keep this group together. I am especially proud of those of you who have published, and those of you still doggedly pursuing that goal. What started out being just a (selfish!) place for me to get some work done and have some fun has turned into a going concern and I hope it keeps on going for a very long time. Thank you to all!

Till There Is No Night: W.S. Merwin’s Writing Prompt For You

•November 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Here is how a tongue becomes a bell.

Below is the text of a post post-script in a letter W.S. Merwin set to John Crowe Ransom in 1953.  The occasion for the letter was both disappointment and business; Merwin was responding to the news that he had not received a fellowship from KR (he would receive it when he reapplied for the fellowship in 1954, along with a fiction writer named Flannery O’Connor.)

The business was about a poem that Ransom had accepted for The Kenyon Reviewentitled “Canso.”  You can find the published version in Autumn 1953 issue of KR, which has been scanned and is available via the KR archives on JSTOR.

But enough factual context.  Here’s another truth: Below, in an ancient script, on brittle parchment, W.S. Merwin had given a writing prompt FOR YOU!  Could you make a poem that follows the changes he’s specified here?  Permission granted to skip the page/strophe/line directions he makes,  but bonus points if you can make a poem that follows these changes exactly.

Post results!–either full poems, or just bits that could collaboratively complete the task with other’s help.

(Materials reprinted with permission of the Greenslade Special Collections and Archives at Kenyon College.  Special thanks to Ethan Henderson.)


a quote..for monday

•October 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

“Put down everything that comes into your head, then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, & destroy most of it.” – Colette

Cinthia P.

Carry a Notebook, or a Journal Wherever you go

•September 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

0511-0707-3113-3503Carry a notebook or a journal wherever you go. Wherever!!! When you have ideas or inspiration, make notes and/or write out first drafts. Never show anyone this journal. It is only for you. Keep this for yourself, that way you will be honest in your use of language and description.

Osvaldo Sees, Osvaldo Says

•July 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This writers group has been meeting at the same table in the Cafe Variete Osvaldo Pugliese for over a year now. July 25 is the 14th anniversary of the death of this 90 year old tango musician. The writing exercise was to give a summary of the year of meetings (in some form) from the perspective of the drawing of Osvaldo observing us from the wall beside our table.


They come and go – like words on a page hanging together for over a year now – sitting around the table at the back where I can keep a good eye on them – hear their words. There’s a glue yet periodically a character will appear and shortly thereafter spin off into another world like an oddly inserted word in a story that hangs in your memory, disturbing the equilibrium for a time until the dust settles and the foundation is left standing. A place to spring from, a place to come back to. This table holds them down and together, like the page, the words imprinted, pages inserted, held in place, bound, closed book.



Thin lipped, sly smile, Pugliese stared out of the picture frame at the group of foreigners gathered for their writers group. Brits, Australians, Irish, Americans, Canadians. They sat weekly with pens, hearts, minds, and sometimes smiles. He watched as they read stories, articles, poetry, bits and pieces of ideas. All wanting something, wanting, waiting, wondering, “What next?” The look was in their eyes.

“I’ve lived 90 years, a dancer, a man, a lover of life and there’s one thing I would say to these foreigners.”

Take off, rise up.
Listen, I hear the words of the tango song. Mucho amor, mas amor, quiero vivir la vida. Y vos? (much love, more love, I want to live life, and you?)

One sits with infiniteness at the ready, feet that want to move with the rhythm.

He observed the group and heard their questions.
“But how does it work?” they asked.
“I hear you asking before you get a chance to see for yourself,” he answered.




I imagine Osvaldo  smile knowingly down at us as we gather around the table every Wednesday. He would say “just like tango, each person has his own story” and that the people in our writers group, dance to a difference beat. Then at 1 PM he would applauded at the end our are weekly performance, waiting till the next time, the next improvisation, the next act.



adverbial strife
positioning the editorial knife
the million medialuna novel
word stuffed empanada dream
coffee humming critics
striving for caffeine perfection
i don’t understand a word
it’s all english to me