Tuesday, November 18, 2014

50 Writers You Need to See Read Live

The hip and influential webzine Flavorwire posted a list yesterday of "50 Writers You Need to See Read Live." Not to sound smug or anything, but 20 of them have appeared at the New York State Writers Institute (although we have a very unfair advantage in that 2 of them are part of our "family").

One them of course is our own Bill Kennedy, NYSWI Founder and Executive Director. Another is Elisa Albert, who lives in Albany, and is married to NYSWI Writing Fellow Ed Schwarzschild.

The rest are regular NYS Summer Writers Institute visitor Paul Harding, as well as Gay Talese, Claire Messud, Colson Whitehead, Gary Shteyngart, Mary Gaitskill, Denis Johnson, Shalom Auslander, J. M. Coetzee, Marilynne Robinson, Sigrid Nunez, Sherman Alexie, Isabel Wilkerson, Charles Simic, Karen Russell, Chang-Rae Lee, James Salter, and Jonathan Ames.

Picture:  Mary Gaitskill.

Full list here:  http://flavorwire.com/487668/50-writers-you-need-to-see-read-live/view-all

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Richard Norton Smith, C-SPAN's "in-house historian"

Richard Norton Smith, who visits us on Thursday, 11/20, talks to the TU's Paul Grondahl about what it was like to wrestle with writing a monumental biography of Nelson Rockefeller for 14 years:

"His long slog on Rockefeller was less a case of writer's block and more of information overload, as he kept uncovering fresh material and boxes of Rocky's previously sealed archives were made available to Smith. Stressed to the max about the ballooning biography, Smith suffered two heart attacks on Nov. 30, 2010. 'I can't remember four or five days. Luckily, a neighbor got concerned and came to my apartment,' he recalled. 'He got me to the hospital right away, and they discovered I'd had a heart attack and there was a blood clot in my heart. I had another heart attack the next day.'"

More in the Times Union:  http://www.timesunion.com/living/article/A-Rocky-story-5891118.php

More about the upcoming events with Smith:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/smith_richard_norton14.html

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Galway Kinnell, 1927-2014

Poet Galway Kinnell, who visited the NYS Writers Institute in the Spring of 1996, is dead at the age
of 87.

Here's the NY Times obit:

Galway Kinnell, who was recognized with both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for a body of poetry that pushed deep into the heart of human experience in the decades after World War II, died on Tuesday at his home in Sheffield, Vt. He was 87.
The cause was leukemia, his wife, Barbara K. Bristol, said.
Mr. Kinnell came of age among a generation of poets who were trying to get past the modernism of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound and write verses that, as he said, could be understood without a graduate degree. He succeeded well enough that all of the volumes of poems he published from 1960 to 2008 — evocations of urban streetscapes, pastoral odes, meditations on mortality and frank explorations of sex — are still in print.
More in the Times:   http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/30/books/galway-kinnell-poet-who-went-his-own-way-dies-at-87.html

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Tiphanie Yanique on the NY Times Op Ed Page

Virgin Islands author Tiphanie Yanique, who visited us last week, explores the unknowns of her grandmother's Puerto Rican childhood on the Op Ed page of Wednesday's  New York Times:

My grandmother was raised in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. She said the name, Vega Baja, meaning the “low plains,” with such romance that it was clear she longed for the place. In her stories she described a big house, and a farm where the children could eat the fruit from the trees and learned to milk a cow. Every Sunday after church they went to the beach. She taught herself to swim because the other children always played in the deep water and she hated being left behind.

More in the NY Times:  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/22/the-other-side-of-the-living-sea/

More about her visit with fellow first-time novelist Jacinda Townsend:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/townsend_yanique14.html

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lemon Andersen on the front page of the TU Preview section

Tony Award-winning hip hop poet Lemon Andersen, who visits UAlbany on Thursday, November 6th, will be the subject of several different events at the University over the course of the next three weeks.

Andersen is profiled on the front page of the Times Union "Preview" section by Connor Kelly:

Brooklyn wordsmith, artist and actor Lemon Andersen, 39, will be visiting the University at Albany next month, but the group he will resonate most with just might be high school students.

That's because Andersen, a high school dropout himself, believes in inspiring young people through his stories, just as stories he read while in prison inspired him. He hopes those in similar situations can escape the life of poverty and crime that he experienced firsthand.

The stories Andersen crafts, typically inspired by his experiences growing up and living in Brooklyn, take the form of performance-based spoken word poetry, with a focus on rhythm and storytelling.

"I don't do anything without teaching," said Andersen. "I'm teaching what I'm learning everywhere I go. For me, it's not a job, it's a lifestyle. I like being a rock star in the classroom; I like showing up with a strong curriculum — hopefully, it inspires alternatives.

More in the Times Union:   http://www.timesunion.com/entertainment/article/Unorthodox-educator-5840311.php

More about our events celebrating Lemon Andersen:  http://www.albany.edu/news/54982.php

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Ed Hirsch Interviewed in the Times Union

Poet Ed Hirsch visits tomorrow (10/21) to have a conversation about poetry with fellow poets Kimiko Hahn and Marie Howe. Hirsch is interviewed by Elizabeth Floyd Mair of the  Times Union about his new reference work on the art of poetry, A Poet's Glossary:

Q: You're a poet. What was it like for you to work for 15 years or so on this project of explaining in a concise yet thorough way such a huge array of poetic traditions?

A: It was a great pleasure, an offshoot of my vocation. I found working on "A Poet's Glossary" utterly absorbing. Of course, I also worked on other things during those 15 years — I had poems to write, a job to go to — but I always seemed to return to the glossary with renewed curiosity. I see the world of poets as a kind of extended family. I was always wondering what other members of the family were doing at different times in different parts of the world. Sometimes I was outraged, sometimes delighted. But I was always interested in what they were up to.

More in the Times Union:  http://www.timesunion.com/living/article/Chapter-and-verse-5827472.php

More about the event:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/poets_hirschhahnhowe14.html

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Contenders for the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature

Nearly 30% of the leading contenders for the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature (according to British betting giant, Ladbrokes, for what that's worth) have visited Albany under the sponsorship of the New York State Writers Institute.

They include frequent frontrunner Philip Roth; upstate New York native and Summer Writers Institute stalwart Joyce Carol Oates; Polish poet Adam Zagajewski; Chinese poet Bei Dao; Somali novelist Nuruddin Farah (who visited twice); Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood; Bronx novelist Don DeLillo (twice); Israeli novelist Amos Oz; American novelist Richard Ford (twice); Irish poet Paul Muldoon; Australian poet Les Murray; and Irish novelist Colm Toibin.

The Wall St. Journal discusses Ladbrokes' oddsmaking regarding the Nobel Prize in Literature here: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/09/30/bookmakers-weigh-in-on-who-will-win-the-nobel-prize-for-literature/

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