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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Friday, October 3, 2014

Our John Lahr Event in the Times Union

In case you missed it, Paul Grondahl writes about our wonderful event on Wednesday 10/1 with John Lahr in the Times Union:

Biographer John Lahr Dishes on Tennessee Williams at the Writers Institute

Tennessee Williams once drew a pie chart depicting how he divided his time: 90 percent working, 9 percent fighting against lunacy and 1 percent socializing with friends.

The former New Yorker chief drama critic, John Lahr, dissects the workaholic and celebrated playwright in a monumental new biography, "Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh," a 784-page volume published on Sept. 22 by W.W. Norton.

It has received enthusiastic reviews. The Wall Street Journal called it "by far the best book ever written about America's greatest playwright" and literary insiders have already placed it on a list for National Book Award consideration.

More in the TU:   http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Biographer-John-Lahr-dishes-on-Tennessee-Williams-5797788.php

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Photo of the Day on the UAlbany Website



UAlbany students pose with Kirsten Gillibrand at our event in the Campus Center Ballroom on Saturday, September 27, presented by the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza and cosponsored by the NYS Writers Institute.

http://www.albany.edu/gallery/index.php?WT.eml=nc
           
NY Senator Kirstin Gillibrand poses with UAlbany students, Marc Cohen (Vice President of UAlbany’s Student Association), Rose Avellino, Christina Mamone, Raymond Webb, Jr. at her recent visit to the University at Albany sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute to speak and promote her new book. 
                
                   

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Praise for John Lahr's new book

John Lahr, who visits the Writers Institute this Wednesday, Oct. 1st,  receives high praise from some notable admirers for his new biography, Tennessee Williams:  Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh (2014).

More about Lahr's upcoming visit:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/lahr_john14.html

‘Splendid beyond words. It would be hard to imagine a more satisfying biography.’Bill Bryson
 
‘Could this be the best theater book I’ve ever read? It just might be. Tennessee Williams had two great pieces of luck. Elia Kazan to direct his work and now John Lahr to make thrilling sense of his life’John Guare, author of Six Degrees of Separation, House of Blue Leaves, Atlantic City

This is a masterpiece about a genius. Only John Lahr, with his perceptions about the theater, about writers, about poetry and about people could have written this book. What a marvelous read, with brilliantly detailed research.’Helen Mirren

‘John Lahr’s magnificent biography…gathers material from a vast array of sources, including Williams’s diaries, poems, letters and the recollections of countless friends and colleagues,to trace how the personal and the creative lives interweave throughout the whole span of Williams’s oeuvre. The result is at once sensitive and magisterial, and it fulfils the ultimate test for a literary biography by convincing you that the works cannot be understood without it. Once you have read it, it becomes part of their meaning.’John Carey, lead review, Sunday London Times

‘This is by far the best book ever written about America’s greatest playwright. John Lahr, the longtime drama critic for the New Yorker, knows his way around Broadway better than anyone. He is a witty and elegant stylist, a scrupulous researcher, a passionate yet canny advocate… Hebrings us as close to Williams as we are ever likely to get.’J.D. McClatchy,Wall Street Journal

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