Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Newburyport Literary Festival

It's confirmed—my first ever book event will be at the Newburyport Literary Festival. I'll be speaking at the Book Rack on State Street on Saturday, April 25, at 10 am. Check me out on the festival's Authors et al. page, where my bio pales in comparison to everyone else's. I could stand a few more notches in my "real writer" belt, but I'm sure I can take on any of them in roller derby.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's printed!

Just received my copies of The North Shore Literary Trail today and they look fantastic. It's available for pre-order on Amazon (to be released March 30) and I'll have Paypal ordering info posted here soon. Yay! I need to re-read it myself to refresh my brain...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Charlotte Forten: On this day...

...in 1855, Charlotte Forten passed the entrance examination for the Salem Normal School, one of four colleges recently established in Massachusetts to train teachers. She was the school's first black student. Eighteen months later, she would be its first black graduate.

Read on at Mass Moments, which features a Massachusetts-related bite sized history lesson every day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

March 14-15: Judith Sargent Murray symposium

From the Gloucester Daily Times. Lots of background here.

On March 14 and 15, Sargent House Museum will host a weekend-long symposium on Judith Sargent Murray, noted 18th century philosopher, writer and early advocate of women's equality. On Saturday, March 14, 3 p.m., at the Sawyer Free Library, noted scholars Therese Dykeman, Sharon Harris and Sheila Skemp will explore such questions as: Who was Judith Sargent Murray? What did freedom and justice mean to her? Why does her work resonate with us today? The event is free and open to the public. On Sunday, March 15, 2 p.m., in the Kyrouz Auditorium, City Hall, author Sheila Skemp will present a lecture on her new biography, "First Lady of Letters: Judith Sargent Murray and the Struggle for Female Independence." Signed copies of her book will be available for purchase. Admission is $15 per person, $5 for students with a valid ID. All proceeds benefit the Sargent House Museum.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Newly published Kerouac novel on the horizon

HarperCollins recently announced that they'll be publishing Jack Kerouac's "lost" 1942 novel, The Sea is My Brother. (Penguin published the Kerouac and William Burroughs collaboration And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks for the first time in 2008.) It is about, in Kerouac's words, "man's simple revolt from society as it is, with the inequalities, frustration, and self-inflicted agonies." Oh, right, That Guy.

Jessa Crispin of Bookslut writes, with no little sarcasm, "If it's taken this long to publish Kerouac's first book, you know it has to be good." I have to agree with the skepticism, but then I've always been put off by the amount of uncritical adoration Kerouac gets from some corners. Looking forward to Jack Kerouac: The Annotated Shopping Lists.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Charles Olson reads

Still frequently discussed by the internet literati, Charles Olson tidbits turn up on blogs and websites often. Since I have yet to do more than casually dip into his massive body of work, here are a few YouTube clips of Olson and others reading his work that have turned up recently.

As a teenager, I went to many an open mic night at the coffee shop downtown and loved the Nuyorican poets, but most of the time the slam poetry cadence sounds like a silly affectation to me now—easy to parody, hard to make it feel like it is The Right Way to perform a piece. It's nice to hear a poet read his work without feeling shouted at, or jerked along from comma to comma waiting for the punchline to drop.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Those Telling Lines: The Art of Virginia Lee Burton

The excellent Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA, is featuring an exhibition on the art and design of Gloucester's Virginia Lee Burton this March 24–June 21, 2009. It includes not just her picture book art, but also designs she produced with the Folly Cove Artists.

The Carle Museum is a really nice, bite-sized museum—not surprisingly it's super kid friendly, but the child-free won't feel weird or talked down to.

Related events include a talk by the composer of the recent Katy and the Big Snow symphony and a screening of the performance. Not that I want to think about any more Big Snows this year.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Poetry workshop with Rhina Espaillat today

Newburyport poet Rhina Espaillat—founder of the Powow River Poets and winner of the 1998 T. S. Eliot prize for her volume Where Horizons Go—leads a free poetry workshop tonight at the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library.

Wednesday, March 4, 7-9 pm
14 Union Street
South Hamilton, MA 01982
978-468-5577 (pre-registration is required)

March 8 is John Updike Day

March 8, 2009 was unanimously declared John Updike Day in Ipswich, the writer's home for more than 20 years before moving to Beverly Farms in 1982.
On Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m. at the Ipswich Performing Arts Center, Ipswich students and residents will present a dramatic reading of John Updike's pageant, "Three Texts from Early Ipswich."

Written in 1968 for that year's 17th Century Day, Updike's work draws upon the work of Ipswich historians Thomas Franklin Waters and Joseph B. Felt and the early literary works of residents Nathaniel Ward and Anne Bradstreet.
More talks, a remembrance of Updike, and a patriotic sing-along are all also on the bill in what is the first of several events celebrating of Ipswich's 375th anniversary. Tickets are available at essexheritage.org.

PS: Did you know that ABC is developing a pilot based on the Witches of Eastwick?