Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fence Launch !

Since 2007, when Fence Magazine and Fence Books joined forces with the Writers Institute, there has been a launch reading to inaugurate the newest issue. And now, we're all pleased to celebrate Fence's 20th issue.

On December 4, Edward Schwarzschild, Ira Sher, and Shelley Jackson, all contributors to the current issue, will read from their work at 7pm in the University at Albany's Standish Room.

Shelley Jackson, a remarkable artist of diverse talents is best explored through her inimitable website: Have a look at Skin: A Mortal Work of Art, or The Interstitial Library, or The Doll Games. This is all magic in an internet bottle.

Ed Schwarzschild, author of Responsible Men and The Family Diamond, is a Fellow of the Writers Institute, and one of its great talents. Check out his work at

Ira Sher may best be known to NPR This American Life listeners for his haunting story "the Man in the Well," of a man fallen in a well and the children who ignore him. The story has been read many times to great effect. Look it up:

Ira will revisit the Writers Institute in MArch of 2009 to read from his new novel, Singer.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ms Hall Regrets

Due to a medical emergency Courtney Hall was unable to join the Writers Institute for the Nov 14 screening of Frozen River. She assures us she will revisit the Writers Institute in the months to come. We wish her well.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Alice Fulton

Friday, November 7, 2008

“Troy is where love comes to die….”

Alice Fulton takes Irish Times feature writer Anna Mundow on a tour of her hometown, Troy, New York, which is the setting for her critically-acclaimed story collection, The Nightingales of Troy (2008).
“FOR AN ACCLAIMED poet, fiction writer and Cornell University professor, Alice Fulton is surprisingly considerate. She urges me to eat another muffin, drink more iced tea before we set off to explore Troy, New York, her hometown. She thanks me again for coming here even though hers has been the far longer journey. Fulton has returned to show me the sites depicted in her sublime new short-story collection, The Nightingales of Troy , which portrays four generations of the fictional Irish-American Garrahan family.
She responds plainly, modestly, to praise of her fiction which has been compared to that of Alice Munro, Grace Pailey, Annie Proulx. But she prefers to talk about the past; about the Callahan ("Garrahan") women who inspired her short stories, about the dashing father and vivacious mother who was "the first in the family to go astray by marrying a divorced, Protestant bootlegger, 15 years older than she" and who, at 95, is still cared for by her daughters.
We briefly peruse photographs and yellowed newspaper clippings, many depicting her father's entertainment ventures: the Phoenix Hotel, the Rainbow Gardens, the Ship of Joy, names that conjure up the muted wail of a 1930s dance band. Then a surprise. "It's today," Fulton says, handing me a page from the Troy Record for July 3rd, 1919. "It happened ninety-nine years ago today."
That is strange. The day on which we choose to meet is the date on which Fulton's great-grandmother drowned in the city canal. "It was a perfect night: calm and desolate," Fulton writes in Queen Wintergreen, imagining the fictional Peg Flynn's last moments, "she sat down on the bank, dangling her feet over the darkness like a girl . . . easing herself into the state waterway, which at first felt coldly foreign, then as her skirts turned to fetters, warmer, more familiar"….
The full text of the article is available at

Note: Poet and fiction writer Alice Fulton will visit the Writers Institute on Tuesday, November 11, 2008. She will hold an informal workshop at 4:15 PM in Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus, 1400 Washington Ave. In the evening, at 8 PM, Fulton will read from and discuss her new interlinked story collection, The Nightingales of Troy, in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Day

from Bruce:

Spirits above and behind me
Faces gone, black eyes burnin' bright
May their precious blood forever bind me
Lord as I stand before your fiery light

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

I see you Mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
There's holy pictures of our children
Dancin' in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancin' on the end of the line

Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin' wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life (a dream of life)

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

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