Wednesday, July 7, 2010

greetings from writers camp

Posting this from New York State Summer Writers Institute in Saratoga where I come every summer to work on my writing that isn't for sale. (Or more accurately, my writing for which buyers aren't clamoring.) It's a gathering of writers from all over the world, started in the 80s by William Kennedy (Ironweed) and now run by editors of legendary litmag Salmagundi. Every day there are classes and seminars with writers I admire. Every night, writers take turns sharing their work, much of which is new and not yet in publication. A few years ago, I had the breathtaking experience of hearing Marilynne Robinson read the opening chapter of her then forthcoming novel, Gilead. (Readings are open to all, check out impressive lineup if you're in the area.)

Last night was a double-header by Allan Gurganus (Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All) and by one of my favorite poets: Franz Wright. Here is Franz (left) (ha) at the after-party, with another of my favorite poets: Frank Bidart. If you don't know their work, treat yourself to the pleasure. Even people who aren't poetry fans are taken in by Bidart's "Old Man at the Wheel". (If you like it, you'll love the rest of the book.) Wright has garnished many distinctions, including the distinction of publishing the first dot com poem, at the turn of the century when most people thinking about dot coms weren't poets.

Address Search

And you will find me
any night
now, try
at the motherless sky.

How dare you

I'm sorry
I was ever

No doubt
you can always find
me any
time, any

in the damned world

--Franz Wright
The New Yorker, June 5, 2000


Howie said...

That sounds lots of fun. I attended a few meetings in Venice Beach of a group that were translating James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake 2 pages per month. When I went the first time they were on page 283-84 after 14 years at it. The first hour was spent on media and Marshal McCluhan (this was b4 I got into advertising/media). Then an hour trying to translate. I am a voracious reader but not a great writer (outside of a sales pitch). So I could definitely learn to improve.

I love Saratoga. Best coffee is at Saratoga Coffee Traders who I really want as a client! How long are you up here for?

Howie said...

Just realized after reading about the workshop it was not just a writers gathering. That is very cool what you have going on there. I am sure the attendees enjoy what you have to share with them immensely!

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Funny--and appropriate-- you use the word translating, Howie. Joyce certainly has a language all his own. Thanks for the coffee tip. Only here another day or two, natch.