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:

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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:

More about her visit with fellow first-time novelist Jacinda Townsend:

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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:

More about our events celebrating Lemon Andersen:

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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:

More about the event:

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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:

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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:

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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.
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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