My daughter, 8, is sitting next to me at Trax on a beautiful Sunday morning reading “McMummy” by Betsy Byars for a book report and it’s really pretty deep. I’m feeling the sweet and sad parallels between the vegetable mummy disintegrating into green scraps and the main character’s feelings of loss around the inherited box he has of his dad’s things. Deep!
I’m reading a new book of poetry I special ordered from Binnacle Books. It’s called “Pecking Order” by Nicole Homer and it’s about race and motherhood and I’m loving it. The book is published by Write Bloody which seems like a pretty rad, scrappy press and I’d like to read more of their authors.
Also, her poem “Underbelly” is deeply affecting and totally worth a read on poets.org:
“Let me say it
another way: I like to call myself wound
but I will answer to knife. “
So – here’s to super lovely Hudson Valley blue skies full of wispy clouds and crisp breezes that keep the sun from being too hot and some stupendous upcoming events to make it all come together this fall like caramel and apples.
Safe Harbor’s Newburgh Literary Festival
This edition of Writerly Happenings is going to mostly focus on the Safe Harbor’s Newburgh Literary Festival this coming weekend, October 18-20th!
This is an amazing new festival coming to our area, and there’s so much to celebrate! The festival is organized by Safe Harbors board member Hannah Brooks and novelist and memoirist Danielle Trussoni - 2 Newburgh neighbors who wanted to build an event around all of the writers that have been more recently drawn to our neck of the woods, and draw some talent up from the city as well.
“The word was in the air,” said Hannah when I recently asked her about their motivation for creating this event. They reached out to Atlas Studios, who had recently started the Spring Street Reading Series with Ruth Danon, as well as the Newburgh Free Library, and the organic process moved very quickly from there. Always a good sign you are on the right track!
So – what does the literary festival have in store for us?
Friday night at 6:30pm at Atlas (11 Spring Street in Newburgh) there’s a reading and reception featuring author Mitchell Jackson, winner of the Whiting Award and the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction.
Poet Gretchen Primack will be reading, whose work has been published in The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, The Antioch Review and many others. I’m going to miss this and I’m so sad about it I could cry. Please go in my steed, sweet readers.
Safe Harbors will host the Festival’s Main Event on Saturday October 19th from 2-6pm at the Ritz (107 Broadway in Newburgh), with a robust, full-day program of readings, interviews, podcasts, film clips and Q&A with nationally-recognized authors and poets.
Among them will be Maria Dahvana Headley, creator of the celebrated and politically topical adaptation of Beowulf The Mere Wife; Molly Ringwald (!!!), actor, and author of the critically acclaimed story collection When it Happens to You; Bettina “Poet Gold” Wilkerson, Dutchess County poet laureate; Edwin Torres of Nuyorican Poets Café; and award-winning novelists Panio Gianopoulos, Danielle Trussoni, Crystal Hana Kim, and Elizabeth (Betsy) Crane.
Saturday Night Cocktail Reception & Local Authors Fair
A cocktail reception and Local Authors Fair from 6-8pm will follow the day’s events. Tickets are $20 available online and at the door the day of the event. Students, $10 at the door with valid ID.
Sunday, October 20th will feature two, live writing workshops that are almost sold out already, How to Tell the Story of Your Life, led by novelist and memoirist, Danielle Trussoni at Safe Harbors Ann Street Gallery, 104 Ann St., Newburgh, 10am-12pm; and Surprise Yourself; Surprise Your Reader, with poet Ruth Danon at Atlas Studios Gallery, 11 Spring St., Newburgh, 1pm-3pm. Tickets are $25 per person, per workshop.
Special Note For Friday and Saturday
Also on Friday and Saturday from 11am – 5pm the Ann Street Gallery at 104 Ann Street, will present TEXT, a group exhibition of text-based art.
Safe Harbors is all about community engagement and blocks of tickets have been provided to area high school and college students. This is an inspiring program on so many levels.
AND if you didn’t need any more motivation, local merchants and restaurants will be offering discounts throughout the weekend for Festival attendees .
So I’ll see you there babies, with bell jars on. Let’s support this inaugural event in the hopes that not only does it become a regular thing, but the ongoing smaller and inclusive projects that the organizers hope to be able to fund throughout the year can come to fruition.
Speaking of fruition, let’s see these other notable Happenings blossom!
Happening At This Side Of The River
Photo Book Works and No. 3 Reading Room 3 in Beacon has a pretty special exhibit up this month: “Hatched In The Drift” features works on paper by Mariam Aziza Stephan and poetry by Julia Johnson.
Local author Virginia Sole-Smith will be conversating with Nicki Sizemore on October 25th at Split Rock Books in Cold Spring about Sizemore’s new cookbook “Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker.” My crock pot saves my family from scurvy on a fairly regular basis so this seems not to miss.
On Saturday October 26th, the Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison has the Hudson Highlands Poetry Reading Series from 1:30-2:30pm.
Coming In November!
And just in case we don’t get back here before November 9th, from 3-5pm the Beahive on Main Street in Beacon will present writers Ken Holland and Maceo J. Whitaker to celebrate the book launch of Maceo's debut collection of poems, Narco Farm.