Monday, April 20, 2015

Joan Murray in the Times Union

Poet Joan Murray discusses her friendship with poet Alicia Ostriker in the Times Union. The two poets will visit together on Thursday, April 23rd:

"I've known Alicia since we were both young poets in the second wave feminist movement in the '70s. We were attracted to each other's work, because we were both young moms writing about motherhood and war. We've kept up a literary friendship since then, staying in touch and seeing each other now and then. Alicia is fun, but she's also famous and brilliant in a down-to-earth way."

"While our poems are different, we're both dramatic, and we can riff like the old masters when we want to. We both deal with serious social and political issues. We also write about God, though we're not believers. (Alicia has a whole book talking with him.) And we're both risk-takers: I have that book in the voice of the Niagara woman, and Alicia's new book is in the voices of an old woman, a tulip and a dog."

More in the Times Union interview with Elizabeth Floyd Mair:

More about the upcoming visit:

Read More......

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mary Norris, Queen of Proofreaders, in the New York Times

Mary Norris, who visits us on Thursday, April 9, is reviewed in the New York Times:  

Ms. Norris looks not only for errors that have slipped through the many layers of security, but also for subtle dissonances in sense and style — words that are slightly off, imprecise or muddy phrases, anachronistic colloquialisms, technically correct commas that might make a sentence sound better if omitted, or vice versa.
“It’s like those mechanics that only work on cars that go 200 miles an hour,” said David Remnick, The New Yorker’s editor. “They can see every little precise thing that can go wrong that might get you killed.”


More about her upcoming visit:

Read More......

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Writer Richard Russo on Public Funding for Education

“I’m a product of public education, government-backed student loans, and publicly funded institutions like the Gloversville Free Library. If you’ve lost faith in them, you’ve lost faith in basic democratic principles.”

--Richard Russo, Gloversville novelist, quoted in the New York Times in an article by Steven Greenhouse about a campaign to renovate the Gloversville Library, March 24, 2105

More about Richard Russo:

Read More......

The Paris Review: James Lasdun, Lydia Davis

Two NYS Writers Institute Writing Fellows are featured prominently in the Spring 2015 issue of The Paris Review.

James Lasdun has a 70-page novella, Feathered Glory:

Lydia Davis is interviewed:

Other featured authors who have appeared as part of the Institute's Visiting Writers Series include Major Jackson, Charles Simic and Stephen Dunn.

And, incidentally, the Capital Region's own Bernie Conners, former publisher of The Paris Review, has a new memoir, Cruising with Kate: A Parvenu in Xanadu (2015). Read Paul Grondahl's interview in the Times Union:

Read More......

Monday, March 23, 2015

Alice McDermott: Giving Voice to the Unheard

Elizabeth Floyd Mair of the Times Union interviews Alice McDermott who will appear at RPI to discuss her new book Someone on April 15, cosponsored by the NYS Writers Institute's Visiting Writers Series, and who will be the first author featured in the new Times Union Book Club.

Q: How much revision and crafting of the sentences goes into your writing?

A: A great deal. For me, story arises out of the sentences: rhythm, word choice, detail. I don't begin with story and then try to find the words — I begin with words and try to find the story. Strange, right?

More in the Times Union:

More about the Times Union Book Club:

Read More......

Elisa Albert's "After Birth" in the NY Times

Elisa Albert shares the stage with Yelena Akhtiorskaya on Thursday, March 26.

More about their events:

Merritt Tierce reviews Elisa Albert's new novel After Birth in the New York Times Book Review:

"Albert has inherited the house Grace Paley built, with its narrow doorways just wide enough for wit and tragedy and blistering, exasperated love. And no one is better suited to manage that ­estate, to keep it unapologetically going, to keep its rooms of inquiry open. Paley found the seam where the important and the madcap are stitched together on the ­underside of life, and here is Albert working that same territory. Her Ari is bold enough to put motherhood up on a pedestal because its sanctity is as undeniable as it is dangerous. But she also wants to be sure you know the pedestal is made of ­excrement and tears and vomit and breast milk and the very selves of a billion unknown women."

"No doubt After Birth will be ­shunted into one of the lesser subcanons of ­contemporary literature, like 'women’s fiction,' but it ought to be as essential as The Red Badge of Courage. Just ­because so much of mothering happens inside a house doesn’t mean it’s not a war: a battle for sovereignty over your heart, your mind, your life — and one you can’t bear for the other side to lose."

More in the New York Times:

Read More......

Monday, March 16, 2015

Times Union Book Club with NYS Writers Institute!

The Times Union is launching a new book club in partnership with the New York State Writers Institute.

Alice McDermott's novel Someone (2014) will be the first featured book. Someone tells the story of one woman's "ordinary" life across the decades of the 20th century in an Irish-American enclave in Brooklyn. McDermott received the 1998 National Book Award for her novel, Charming Billy.

To register for the Book Club go to

The following events will take place in association with the Book Club:

Book Club discussion hosted by Times Union staff
• When: 7 p.m. April 8
• Where: Times Union, 645 Albany Shaker Road, Colonie
• Note: Copies of "Someone" can be purchased at the Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza in Guilderland or at Market Block Books in Troy.

Reading, Q&A , book- signing and McKinney Writing Contest award ceremony
• When: 8 p.m. April 15
• Where: Biotech Auditorium, Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy.
• Note: The event is free and open to the public, and cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with Rensselaer's 74th Annual McKinney Writing Contest and Reading.

Q&A and meet-and-greet with McDermott
• What: In conjunction with the institute, McDermott will answer questions and sign books at an event for Times Union Plus members (those with print or digital subscriptions). Light refreshments will be served.
• When: 11 a.m. April 16
• Where: Times Union, 645 Albany Shaker Road, Colonie
• Note: The event is free. Register at to attend.

More about the Book Club:

Read More......