Don't miss influential New York Times political columnist Gail Collins tonight at Page Hall, 8PM,
University at Albany downtown campus.
April 30 (Tuesday)
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
One of the most recognizable names in American journalism, Gail Collins served as the first female editor of the New York Times Editorial Page (2001-2007), and has contributed an influential biweekly column to the Times Op-Ed page for most of the past decade. Her column is distinguished by its fondness for humor and storytelling, its attention to political absurdity, and its championing of women’s rights. Her newest book is As Texas Goes... How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda (2012). MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said, “Gail Collins is the funniest serious political commentator in America. Reading As Texas Goes... is pure pleasure from page one.” Publishers Weekly said, “Collins revels in the state’s 10-gallon self-regard, Alamo-inspired cult of suicidal last stands, and eccentric right-wing pols... she slathers plenty of wry humor onto a critique that stings like a red-hot brand.” Her previous books include When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present (2009), and Scorpion Tongues: Gossip, Celebrity, and American Politics (1998).
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Don't miss influential New York Times political columnist Gail Collins tonight at Page Hall, 8PM,
Monday, April 29, 2013
Gail Collins, who visits UAlbany tomorrow, is interviewed and profiled by Leigh Hornbeck in the Times Union:
Early in her newspaper career, Collins founded the Connecticut State News Bureau, in 1972. It was around then she made a choice to write about her subject "in a way that wouldn't make readers want to shoot themselves." The result was a mix of insightful, wry commentary that might zing, but never crushes, its subjects. She seems fully aware of the absurdity of political scandal at the same time she observes how what happens among our elected representatives will ultimately affect ordinary folk. She frequently calls out to the reader directly with a "people," the literary equivalent of a lapel grab.
Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/living/article/Political-observer-4463679.php#ixzz2RsuHySXz
More on Gail's visit: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/collins_gail13.html
Friday, April 26, 2013
Here's a bit of the introduction: "Every writer yearns to create a book that will seize the moment — to perfectly encapsulate the problem of an era before other people even notice the problem exists. Of course, that almost never happens. Mostly we’re happy if we can manage to explain, in an interesting way, something people already know is going on. But Betty Friedan won the gold ring. When “The Feminine Mystique” emerged in 1963, it created a reaction so intense that Friedan could later write another book about the things women said to her about the first one (“It Changed My Life”). If there’s a list of the most important books of the 20th century, “The Feminine Mystique” is on it. It also made one conservative magazine’s exclusive roundup of the “10 most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries,” which if not flattering is at least a testimony to the wallop it packed."
More in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/magazine/the-feminine-mystique-at-50.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
More about Gail Collins' visit: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/collins_gail13.html
Picture: Betty Friedan (UPI).
Leading cultural theorist W.J.T. Mitchell, known for his brilliant analysis of the "language of images" and visual culture, presents a talk, “Seeing Madness: Insanity, Media and Visual Culture,” at RPI, Monday, April 29, 4-6PM, in the Darrin Communications Center, Rm. 330., free and open to the public.
W. J. T. Mitchell, Gaylord Donnelly Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago, is a scholar and theorist of media, visual art, and literature. Editor of the journal Critical Inquiry, Mitchell has been a key figure in developing the field of visual culture and in exploring the relationship of visual and verbal representations of social and political issues. He has written on the politics of space in the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring, as well as the question of landscape in Israel and Palestine. His books include Seeing Through Race, Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present, What do Pictures Want?: The Lives and Loves of Images, The Last Dinosaur Book: The Life and Times of a Cultural Icon, Picture Theory, and Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology. Mitchell has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Morey Prize in art history given by the College Art Association, and the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Gail Collins, New York Times columnist who visits this Tuesday, 4/30, writes about political corruption in New York.
"The charges involve politicians acting in such an insanely stupid way, it shatters our longstanding confidence that taking money was the one thing they know how to do well."
More about her visit: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/collins_gail13.html
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The poems in the book, which also received the UK's T. S. Eliot prize, were written 15 years earlier. Olds delayed publishing them to protect the sensitivities of her children.
In the interview, Bohjalian talks about why he prefers women protagonists in his novels:
I find your gender a lot more interesting than mine — more willing to take emotional risks and more communicative. I think the only reason golf was invented was so that men would talk to each other.
When I write across gender, I begin with the universals — what unites us as human beings, not what makes us different as women and men. Then, as my characters develop, they find their own behavioral idiosyncrasies and quirks. Sometimes they're gender-specific, but not always.
Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/living/article/Sandcastle-Girls-is-a-personal-tale-4445861.php#ixzz2RIfgEYmU
Standish Room, Sci Lib, uptown, is interviewed in The Millions about his new memoir of being stalked by a writing student.
Lasdun, a fellow at the Writers Institute, currently teaches two free, noncredit writing workshops for members of the community-at-large at the Institute.
From The Millions: http://www.themillions.com/2013/02/literature-as-self-defense-an-interview-with-james-lasdun.html
"James Lasdun’s new book, Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked, is a memoir about an experience that is in fact still ongoing. In 2003, he taught a course in creative writing at a college in New York. His most gifted student was an Iranian-born woman in her early 30s, who was writing a novel based on her family’s experiences living in Iran under the shah. In 2005, the woman – whom he calls “Nasreen” – emailed Lasdun to announce that she had finished a draft of her book; although he was too busy to read it at the time, he was confident enough in her talent to recommend her to his agent. They emailed back and forth, and an online friendship began to develop. Nasreen’s correspondence began to intensify, however – to become stranger and more aggressively seductive – and so Lasdun, a happily married man, ceased to respond. The book is an exploration of the effects of this relationship turning sour, as Nasreen continued to hound him online, her emails becoming increasingly hate-filled and anti-Semitic. A major aspect of her psychological guerrilla warfare involved direct attacks on his reputation, accusing him online (in Wikipedia entries, Amazon reviews, in comment sections of his articles) of sexual harassment and plagiarism. Give Me Everything You Have is a harrowing account of what it’s like to have someone expend a great deal of time and energy on the project of damaging your life for no immediately obvious reason. It’s also a beautifully written and digressively essayistic exploration of anti-Semitism, travel, literature, and the mysteriously ramifying effects people have on each other."
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Writing in the Daily Beast, Manil Suri (who visits Albany tomorrow) discusses the creation of his "mathematically impossible" novel, The City of Devi (2013).
"In September, 2009, while on a four-week writing retreat at the Ucross Colony in Clearmont, Wyoming, I came to a startling realization. The novel, The City of Devi, that I’d started nine years ago was hopeless—I needed to abandon it. No matter how I proceeded, I would not be able to tie up its myriad strands. I even had a mathematical proof of this fact!"
Here's an interesting interview with her from last month's New York Times:
"Oddly enough, my favorite genre is not fiction. I’m attracted by primary sources that are relevant to historical questions of interest to me, by famous old books on philosophy or theology that I want to see with my own eyes, by essays on contemporary science, by the literatures of antiquity. Every period is trapped in its own assumptions, ours, too, so I am always trying, without much optimism, to put together a sort of composite of the record we have made that gives a larger sense of the constant at work in it all, that is, ourselves. The project is doomed from the outset, I know. Still."
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
NYS Writers Institute Fellow James Lasdun is the subject of a New Yorker blog piece about the eerie similarities between his new memoir of being stalked, Give Me Everything You Have (2013) and his earlier novel, The Horned Man (2002).
“The fact that I had written a novel, The Horned Man, in which a college instructor believes he is being framed for a series of sex crimes, gave the situation a piquancy that didn’t escape me,” Lasdun writes, “though I was in no condition to enjoy it.”
We, however, are in a condition to “enjoy” such ironies, if only because we have the luxury of observing them from a safe distance. Well, relatively safe. It is a peculiarly arresting aspect of this exquisitely written memoir that much of its horror derives from how easily we can see ourselves (or anyone) falling prey to just the kind of harassment he suffers.
More in the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/04/what-has-he-done-on-james-lasduns-memoir.html
Lasdun currently leads two free community workshops for the Institute, one on fiction and one on memoir:
"Using all the elements and methods at his disposal he creates flights of fiction that culminate finally in a gripping and impressive novel and prove him to be a master storyteller."
More about Suri's visit to Albany on Friday, 4/19: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/suri_manil13.html
Bestselling novelist Manil Suri will deliver a powerpoint presentation about the mathematical thinking behind his new novel, The City of Devi (2013), Friday, 8PM, UAlbany Campus Center.
From a Mumbai-based reviewer:
"The highlight of the programme was Suri’s power point presentation (ppt) on his novel. It was definitely the most entertaining ppt I’ve ever sat through in my life, besides being the first one by an author on his novel."
"Suri had included sound effects, cut-outs of faces to represent his characters, and used visual elements such as a maze and a pomegranate to illustrate the various aspects of his novel. The most fascinating dimension of his writing process was the mingling of the literary and the mathematical."
"He had actually plotted the various narrative arcs, only to end up with ‘mathematical proof’ that The City of Devi could not be written. Just as he was ready to give up, his agent/editor wanted to take a look at whatever he’d written till then. He decided to polish the draft one last time before sending it to her. And that’s when he found a way to approach his material afresh, and eventually managed to ‘balance’ the fictional equation."
Read more in DNA India: http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/1792748/report-third-degree-manil-suri-and-the-mystery-of-the-closed-door-book-launch
More on Suri's visit: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/suri_manil13.html
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Here's a YouTube video of new 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning poet and former New York State Poet Laureate Sharon Olds with poet Edward Hirsch at the Writers Institute in 2004. She confesses: "I tend to write a lot. Most of it's bad. That just how it is for me." But she adds that the fact that she doesn't need to show a poem to anyone gives her a certain freedom to write what she wants.
More about their joint visit:
Olds served as the official State Poet under our sponsorship 1998-2000.
Our reigning State Poet, Marie Howe, comments (officially) on Sharon Olds' winning the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Stag's Leap:
"Sharon olds has been writing life altering poems so deeply and well and so long it's not possible to imagine american poetry without her."
(Sent from her iPhone)
Whether you missed or managed to attend our special advance screening of Central Park Five on April 5 at Page Hall with co-directors Sarah Burns and David McMahon, you may wish to pose your questions to "the five," as well as to David, Sarah and Sarah's father, Ken Burns.
City Room Blog link: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/.
You can still catch the film today-- its official national air date-- April 16 at 9PM, on PBS stations. WMHT will also air the film again today at 11PM, and on Wed. 4/17 at 2AM, Fri. 4/19 at 2AM, Sun. 4/21 at 3AM and Mon. 4/22 at 3AM.
Robinson visits RPI tomorrow: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/robinson_marilynne13.html
"When I say that I love Marilynne Robinson’s work, I’m not talking about half of it; I’m talking about every word of it."
More in the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/05/marilynne-robinson.html
Monday, April 15, 2013
Sharon Olds, who served as New York State Poet Laureate under our sponsorship (1998-2000), has just received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Stag's Leap.
Writers Institute State Poet page for Sharon Olds: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/olds.html
"Like Whitman, Ms. Olds sings the body in celebration of a power stronger than political oppression." --New York Times
Adam Johnson, who visited the Writers Institute in February 2012 has just received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for The Orphan Master's Son.
Here is a YouTube video from his visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZVAtO11X9A
More about Johnson's visit here last year: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/johnson_adam12.html
Nathan Englander, who visited us in March 2013, was one of two Pulitzer finalists.
The evening’s events will include scenes from "A Soldier’s Play", a conversation with Mr. Fuller, and an awards presentation.
A native son of the City of Brotherly Love, Charles Fuller’s distinguished career began with working the Henry Street Settlement and the Negro Ensemble Company. After achieving critical success with "The Village: A Party" and the Obie Winner "Zooman and the Sign," Mr. Fuller received accolades for "A Soldier’s Play" produced by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1981. Mr. Fuller went on to adapt the work into a screenplay for the award winning film A Soldier’s Story, starring Denzel Washington.
For the further information and tickets call 518.227.0154 or e-mail email@example.com
Manil Suri, mathematician and novelist who visits Albany this Friday, is interviewed in the Times Union.
Q: When did you start to write? And did your math colleagues think you were crazy?
A: It began as a hobby, once I started teaching in 1983. I looked around me at all my colleagues busy doing math and nothing else, and decided I needed another dimension in my life. So I started writing — purely as a hobby — maybe a story or so every year. I kept it a secret. I wanted to be taken seriously as a mathematician, get tenure. I even drove all the way to Washington, D.C., to attend writing groups so nobody would know what I was doing.
Read more of Elizabeth Floyd Mair's interview here: http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/Math-figures-into-The-City-of-Devi-4427739.php
Read more about Suri's visit: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/suri_manil13.html
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Destiny, a 1921 German silent film, will be screened on Friday night at Page Hall-- with LIVE MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT by jazz pianist Mike Schiffer.
The film had a profound affect on young filmmakers of its time, including Luis Bunuel and Alfred Hitchcock.
Luis Bunuel said, "When I saw Destiny, I suddenly knew that I wanted too make movies. It wasn’t the three stories themselves that moved me so much, but the main episode – the arrival of the man in the black hat (whom I instantly recognised as Death) in the Flemish village – and the scene in the cemetery. Something about this film spoke to something deep in me; it clarified my life and my vision of the world."
Read more: http://sensesofcinema.com/2001/cteq/destiny/
Our film series: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/cfs.html#destiny
Marguerite Holloway has been teaching at the Journalism School since 1997. She won a Presidential Teaching Award in 2009 and the Distinguished Teacher of the Year award in 2001. Holloway has been a long-time contributor to Scientific American, where she has covered many topics, particularly environmental issues, public health, neuroscience and women in science.
Holloway has a B.A. in comparative literature from Brown University and an M.S. from the Journalism School (class of 1988). Before she joined Scientific American in 1990, she worked as a reporter for the Medical Tribune and freelanced for publications including The Village Voice and Mother Jones. Her work has appeared in many other magazines and newspapers, among them Discover, The New York Times, Natural History and Wired. Her book, The Measure of Manhattan, has just been published by W.W. Norton.
More on her visit: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/vws.html#holloway
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Ghassan Zaqtan and Fady Joudah, who visited the Institute in October 2012, have been shortlisted
for Canada's Griffin Prize ("the world’s largest prize for a first edition single collection of poetry written in, or translated into English, from any country in the world"). Zaqtan's book, translated by Joudah, is Like a Straw Bird it Follows Me (English, 2012).
More about their visit: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/zaqtan_joudah12.html
More from the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry:
Film director Sarah Burns (daughter of leading filmmaker Ken Burns) and her husband and
codirector David McMahon met with an Albany audience of approximately 400 at Page Hall last Friday following a screening of their award-winning documentary, Central Park Five.
Picture: Sarah and David talk with the audience at Page Hall.
Special thanks to our cosponsors, the UAlbany School of Criminal Justice, and PBS station WMHT.
The documentary tells the story of five Harlem teenagers falsely convicted of the rape and attempted murder of a female jogger in Central Park in the 1980s.
Sarah and David has such a great time that they expressed a wish to come back to Albany with the "five," who are seeking damages from the City of New York.
More about the film: http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/centralparkfive/
of New York:
You can still view much of the exhibit online: http://www.mcny.org/exhibitions/past/The-Greatest-Grid.html
Randel is the subject of a new biography by Marguerite Holloway, who visits on Thursday.
More about her visit: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/holloway_marguerite13.html
Marguerite Holloway, who will give a slide show presentation at the State Museum on Thursday, is the author of the new book, The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel Jr.
Here's an excerpt from a review in Slate:
"Randel, who was born in Albany in 1787, grew up during “a surveying boom,” when a large portion of prominent American males—Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and later, Lincoln—served in the profession at some point. “His was the era of laying lines on the land,” Holloway declares. It was “a culture and a period in which reason and measured action were prized and dominion over the natural world—through exploration, experiment, science, cartography, and infrastructure—was celebrated.” Beginning in about 1804, Randel was hired to assist New York State surveyor-general Simeon Dewitt in his plan to grid upstate New York. Dewitt was influenced by the earlier plan to grid the entire United States, outlined in the 1785 “Ordinance for Ascertaining the Mode of Disposing of Lands in the Western Territory”—the reason why flyover country looks like a waffle iron."
Read more in Slate.
Read about Holloway's visit:
Monday, April 8, 2013
The Last Book
James Salter is a revered writer. Can he become a famous one?by Nick Paumgarten April 15, 2013
Marguerite Holloway, who visits us on Thursday, is interviewed in the Times Union about her new book on Albany native and mad genius of the 19th century, John Randel, Jr. The book's title is The Measure of Manhattan.
"Randel's a window into an incredible era in American history.... He's also a fascinating character. He has this precise and careful mathematic rigor, but he's also mercurial and passionate, even irrational — getting involved in all sorts of lawsuits and losing tons of money."
Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/living/article/Manhattan-matrix-4410267.php#ixzz2PtXy0OcF
More about her visit this coming Thursday: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/holloway_marguerite13.html
Thursday, April 4, 2013
"Sarah Burns learned about the case in 2003 while working as an intern for Jonathan Moore, one of the attorneys representing the five young men wrongfully convicted of the jogger’s rape and assault. Burns wrote her undergraduate thesis on the case, and followed it with a book titled “The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding.” But the project wasn’t over.... “I couldn’t let go of this story,” Burns said. “I was so curious about it.”
More in the Gazette: http://www.dailygazette.net/standard/ShowStoryTemplate.asp?Path=SCH/2013/04/04&ID=Ar03301&Section=Life_and_Arts
More about the event: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/cfs.html#central
Alan Cheuse reviews All That Is by James Salter who visits Albany today:
"Reading this novel — and rereading it as I've been doing in preparation for this review — I found myself in a state that Salter's work, as with the finest writers we know, often induces. The writing is not breathtaking, but breath-enhancing. One seems to draw in more oxygen; the pulse races as when viewing some gloriously rugged and fast-paced adventure movie, or when, in a dream, you get caught up in some fabulous situation that you never imagined you had the power to invent. It's not furious action that excites in these pages, however, but rather Salter's clarity, precision and genius at concision. His emotion-packed sentences, often employing sharp and resonant metaphors, reveal the inner sensations and the truth of ordinary human experience as it plays out over time. Often writing only sentence fragments, Salter zeroes in on the absolutely correct details to evoke mood and place — "Night," we hear about a residence in upstate New York, "with the great river silent. Night with bits of rain. The entire house creaked in winter, and in the summer it felt like Bombay."
More about Salter's visit: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/salter_james13.html
Picture: Salter in the cockpit of an Army fighter plane in the 1940s.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Read more about Salter's upcoming visit here: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/salter_james13.html
available on YouTube:
The giant of world literature and Hudson Valley resident passed away on March 21, 2013.