What the World Looks Like…

…I do not know. The world seems to fall away and whatever concerns I set out with seem to seep out and leave me empty and ready for something better when I drive up the mountain to Bread Loaf. I would like to write about being here, but it is nearly impossible to convey what this particular place in America means to me, so I probably should cease trying. Here’s a recap of what can be communicated a little more easily.

Today I listened to a series of gifted voices, among them Celeste Ng, who also happens to be in my workshop, who read a lively excerpt on being Chinese, Elena Passarello, who read the most well-turned reflection I’ve ever heard on the call of the Cuckoo bird, and James Arthur, who recited three beautifully articulated poems. Earlier this evening I was able to catch my mentor and friend, Lynn Freed’s reading from her new book, The Servants’ Quarters, and the poet Alan Shapiro read an entire series of poems, some of which he had worked on with Tom Sleigh, among which was a brilliant exposition of the robust desires that exist among the long-term, long-suffering married.

The rains came, they cleared, and the evening all-campus reception went on in what is referred to as loaf-light, a particularly benign glow that descends upon the lawn in front of Treman each evening like a gift from some indulgent, literary minded and happy deity.

I haven’t done much writing – or reading – since I got here, for obvious reasons, but I am posting the link to a short piece I did write about what I was reading just before I left for Bread Loaf. It is on Marshal ‘s Zeringe’s blog, Campaign for the American Reader, and you can read it here.

It is 1.11 and I must be off to bed.

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