A wonderful local poetry festival

For those who are interested, I’m reading on Friday, April 11, at 3 pm in the Commonwealth Avenue Salon room at the Boston Public Library, with Richard Hoffman and Fred Marchant. The Boston National Poetry Month Festival includes four days of events at the Boston Public Library, April 10 through 13. I’m going to attend. Four days of poetry readings, along with open mic, a workshop, and an evening of poetry set to music and dance. For further information, go here.

Some Recent News & Events

I'm really happy that my novel, Unspeakable Things, is being published by Alfred A. Knopf in the forthcoming year! It's about European intellectual refugees in New York during the second World War. More on that later.

In other news, my essay, "The Tundra," won a gold medal in the Solas Awards for Best Travel Writing. It's available online here if you want to look at it. As far as other recent publications, an excerpt from Unspeakable Things, "The Rat," just came out in The Chattahoochee Review. And I've had poems out too: "Missile Silos" in America, "Neon Rest Stop" in The I-70 Review, and "The Story of Herself" in Constellations.

In terms of events, I'll be speaking this Friday at BOLLI at Brandeis University! Friday, March 21, 10:30 am, in their meeting space at 60 Turner Street in Waltham, MA. I'll be doing a presentation on Puritanism and Madness: An American Love Affair? Starting with reading from my recent book, With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz and Others, I'll add my own insights on what I, as a young writer in Boston, personally observed in my long-term friendships with these poets. I’ll talk about the American literary milieu, the pressures on American writers including those I knew personally, and the connections between American Puritanism, “madness” i.e. mental illness, and the creative flowering that is so much a part of American literature. There’ll be lots of time for discussion.

We're also coming into poetry festival season! I want to call your attention to the Boston National Poetry Month Festival, a wonderful free festival that's running from April 10-13 at the Boston Public Library, Copley Square, and the Old South Church. I'm reading with Richard Hoffman and Fred Marchant on Friday the 11th, 3-4 pm, in the Commonwealth Avenue Salon Room at the library. And there's plenty else going on, of course.

On Friday, May 2, I'm giving a workshop, Conceal/Reveal: Writing About Relationships, at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. It'll be from 2:15 to 3:15 pm, in the Essex Room at the Hawthorne Hotel. It's open to all levels and ages, and I encourage you to bring works in progress or to write about whatever relationship themes that interest you. (They'll have their full website up in a few days, you'll need to sign up in advance there when they do.) People have loved my workshops in the past, and I look forward to seeing you there! Also I'll be reading with Doug Holder and other poets at 12:30 pm on Saturday, May 3.

Looking ahead, I'm going to be teaching at the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference, August 7-10 in Hyannis, MA. I'll be teaching a four-day master-class on Developing Your Poetry Manuscript, with intensive classes and individual conferences devoted purely to you and your work. All levels welcome, limited to twelve. It'll be a lovely working vacation conference, and I hope to see you there.

Reading in Paris is a delight

I'm finally back in Paris, and I've had some wonderful opportunities. Thanks to all my friends who were able to come to Shakespeare and Co. on October 10th when I presented from With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz and Others. It was so wonderful to see you all again, and to be able finally to present a work that has taken years in the making at a bookstore that's special to me, with such a delightful audience. Thank you, thank you!

I'll be reading again soon, for those who can make it, as part of Adrian Leeds' Après Midi series, on Tuesday, November 12th. (More information at the link.) I'll be focusing on the American literary milieu, social pressures, and mental illness. There will be plenty of time for discussion, and books available. The Après Midi series is so wonderful, and I'm honored to be a part of it. Looking forward to seeing you there!


Two upcoming readings on Cape Cod

It's July in New England, and I'm delighted to be doing two book readings on Cape Cod, at two of my favorite local libraries. I'll be reading from my recent memoir, With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz and Others, and signing too of course.

Here are the dates and times...

Monday, July 15, 8 pm, at the Wellfleet Public Library, 55 West Main St., Wellfleet, MA. More information here.

Tuesday, July 23, 4 pm, at the Brewster Ladies' Library, 1822 Main St., Brewster, MA. More information here.

Hope to see you there!

Writers and New England: a Many-Sided Mad Affair

Porter Square Books, Tuesday, April 23rd, 7 p.m.

"Writers and New England: a Many-Sided Mad Affair"

A presentation from With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz and Others
by Kathleen Spivack

This presentation is going to be fun--and relevant. I’m going to focus on New England (a major character in the book) and of course on Lowell, Bishop, Plath, Sexton, Rich, as well as some of the other poets around the time and place. What is it about our wonderful--and maddening--region that has had such an influence on writers? There'll be time for questions and comments.


PS: My two forthcoming workshops are already filling up, "Excellence" and "Publish (Before) You Perish." All genres and levels welcome; just bring whatever project you're working on, and writing materials. For more information, visit the Massachusetts Poetry Festival or the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.

Upcoming events: March - June

With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz and Others
Full schedule of readings, conferences, and workshops: March - June, 2013
(along with some other upcoming readings that might interest you!)

Thursday, March 28: "Great Poets at Boston University," 7 PM, Barnes & Noble @ Boston University, Boston, MA. "In 1959 I came to Boston to study with poet Robert Lowell, and attended his workshop along with Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and others. Boston University has hosted some of the great poets of our time..."

* Thursday, April 4: Megan Marshall reads from her new book, Margaret Fuller: A New American Life. 7 PM, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA.

April 5-7: Featured poet along with Sam Cornish, Judith Steinbergh, Richard Hoffman, Afaa Weaver, David Ferry and others, at the Boston National Poetry Month Festival, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA. Reading at 3 PM Friday, April 5. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 13: Reading & signing, Hingham Public Library, Hingham, MA, 3 PM. Co-sponsored by Buttonwood Books.

Tuesday, April 23: "Writers and New England: a Many-Sided Mad Affair." 7 PM, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA. "Robert Lowell's circle existed in a pre-MFA time, 1957 on. It was a golden age of American letters, and New England was an epicenter. Its traditions, its pressures and repressions, contributed to an outstanding creative flowering among the Lowell circle."

* Thursday, April 25: Joe Cohen reads at the Cervena Barva Press Studio, Somerville, MA.

May 3-5: Teaching the workshop "Excellence, Completion and Publication of Your Work" (filling now!) and reading "Dead Poets Among the Living," at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, Salem, MA. Open to the public.

May 23-26: "Robert Lowell as Mentor: Encouragement and Reprimand. Plath, Sexton, Rich." American Literature Association National Conference, Boston, MA. Open to the public.

Sunday, June 2: One-day intensive: "Publish (Before You Perish): An Advanced Workshop." Filling now! 10 AM - 4 PM, Cambridge Center for Adult Education, Cambridge, MA.

Also coming up in the summer: readings at Brookline Booksmith, Wellfleet Library, the Brewster Ladies' Library, and others.

Reviews for With Robert Lowell and His Circle

Here are the various mentions and reviews over the past six months for With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz and Others...

The Providence Journal also just published a lovely review, but unfortunately it isn't available online.