Last Thursday Anne Carson collaborated with sculptor Peter Cole, choreographers Jonah Bokaer and Rashaun Mitchell, and dancers from the Merce Cunnigham company to present “Stacks and Bracko.”
Article Archive: Postcard
Articles from Poet & Writers Magazine include material from the print edition plus exclusive online-only material.
On Monday evening the National Book Foundation kicked off National Book Awards week in lower Manhattan with their annual 5 Under 35 celebration. Five young fiction writers, each selected by a former National Book Award winner or finalist, shared the podium to show an audience of peers and admirers—and a few critics—what American fiction has in store.
On a sultry Friday night, amid the thumping bass notes from cruising cars and the occasional thunder of the elevated J train, a wonderfully distinctive literary event took place in the dim white rooms of a studio space in northeast Brooklyn.
The origin and form of Mayhill Fowler’s Huffington Post report on Barack Obama’s use of the word “bitter” suggest her work is neither blogging nor journalism, but creative nonfiction. That its effect was out of proportion with its intention begs the question: What can the creative nonfiction writer expect in the Information Age?
No two writers write alike, but when two hundred gather for an event—as they did at this year’s Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival, held at Christ Church College in Oxford from March 31 through April 6—some common themes tend to emerge.
The first time my then-fiancée mentioned Shanghai, China, and our future in the same sentence, we were canoodling in our favorite pizza place in Massachusetts. I, wildly in love, responded to the possibility with nothing more than a slight pause. “Move to China?” I asked. “Sure, why not!”
Five years ago, as poets and readers attended the annual StAnza poetry festival, the war began in Iraq. This year’s festival, held from March 12 to March 16, acknowledged that anniversary explicitly with its two themes, “Poetry & Conflict” and “Sea of Tongues.”
Oh that mine enemy were to write a book. It’s a line, paraphrased from the Book of Job, that was uttered last Friday morning at BookExpo America by Christopher Hitchens—author of the recently published book God Is Not Great—as the motto from his earlier book reviewing days. It was an odd sentiment to be heard at a panel called “Ethics in Book Reviewing: The More Things Change…?” but it certainly made the crowd, which was packed in and spilling out of the conference room, laugh out loud. And it set the tone for the rest of the panelists’ comments.
It’s not what most people expect from a book conference. There are no scholars huddled together discussing the latest piece of literary fiction that is keeping them up late at night; no gangs of poets arguing about who will make up the future canon of Western literature. Instead, what people found at this year’s BookExpo America, held last weekend at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, was actress Julianne Moore (really her), America’s Test Kitchen host Christopher Kimball (really him, but not quite as exciting as Moore), the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean (look-alikes, pretty good), Borat (another look-alike, not so good), and the Knight Bus from the Harry Potter series.
It was Saturday morning and Matthew Sharpe was late, but for a good reason. The author of Jamestown was supposed to be signing copies of his book in the autographing room of BookExpo America (BEA), but he’d just been named a finalist for a Quill Book Award, part of a program organized by NBC Universal and Reed Business Information that honors books in nineteen different categories at an awards show televised on NBC. Sharpe was busy being interviewed for MSNBC.
Those lucky enough to have tickets to “A Believer Nighttime Event” on Saturday, part of last week's PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, received program notes that contained a list of the night’s proceedings, complete with short descriptions and estimated times (“Introduction, Eric Bogosian commences the evening in his fashion, seven minutes, thirty-four seconds”), as well as bios of the seven participants.
Fort Tilden is near the end of the Rockaway Peninsula in the borough of Queens, New York, a collection of modest, wind-whipped buildings between playing fields and driveways, not far from the beach. On April 22 it hosted the first Rockaway Literary Festival, organized by Stuart Mirsky. “The Rockaway Literary Festival was something I’d always thought about when I was working,” said Mirsky, who ran for State Assembly of Queens County, New York, in last November’s election. His loss—to Democrat Audrey I. Pheffer—was disppointing, but it freed him up to work on more literary projects.
This year’s annual Story Prize ceremony, held on Wednesday, February 28, at the New School’s Tishman auditorium in New York City, marked the award’s third year and an evening that is fast becoming an established literary event.
Last Thursday evening in Manhattan a hundred or so literary writers and readers gathered inside Cooper Union’s Great Hall, a magnificent venue that has been host to such historical events as Abraham Lincoln's rousing Cooper Union Address, in which he urged the nation to abolish slavery, in 1860. People rushed in from the cold, scanning the auditorium for empty seats. Heavy winter coats took on lives of their own, refusing to stay within the confines of the narrow wooden chairs. Our collective body heat seemed to rise in direct proportion to the noise.
Another day, another strange encounter in an airport. This one with Charles D’Ambrosio, who wound up on the same flight as ours from Portland to Seattle.
Why is Portland, Oregon, my favorite city in which to read? Let me count the ways.