Boston Book Festival - Poets In the Asylum

Poets In the Asylum @ The Boston Book Festival
Saturday, October 25
1 pm, First Church Chapel, Berkeley & Marlborough St.

“McLean Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, has been declared a national literary landmark because of the many creative geniuses who have been treated in its wards. This panel will discuss three noted McLean Hospital associated poets—Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton, and Sylvia Plath—through a poet’s and clinician’s perspective. Panelists Kathleen Spivack, author of With Robert Lowell and His Circle; Bob Clawson, Anne Sexton’s confidante and manager of her band; Wendy Ranan, a psychotherapist and author of the poetry collection The Quiet Room; and Alex Beam, author of Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America’s Premier Mental Hospital, will discuss each of these poets, their experiences as patients at McLean, how their experience is reflected in their work, and how and what they managed to create with such a heavy burden of psychiatric illness. The discussion will be moderated by Doug Holder, who has facilitated poetry groups at McLean for more than three decades.”

Hope to see you there!

Developing Your Poetry Manuscript at the Cape Cod Writers Center Summer Conference, August 7-10 in Hyannis

Developing Your Poetry Manuscript 

with Kathleen Spivack
at the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference
August 7-10, 2014, in Hyannis

Personalized attention to developing your poetry manuscript. Intensive class and individual conferences devoted to you and your work. Small, personal, supportive and concentrated. Best for advanced writers, limited to twelve. Poets who work with Kathleen work hard, present and publish widely, win prizes. You will too!

This is a wonderful, intense summer conference in a beautiful location. My course is already filling, so don't wait to register!

For more information on the conference, go here.
To register, go here.

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival is this weekend!

I just want to make sure you all know about the Massachusetts Poetry Festival coming up this weekend in Salem. The Festival looks absolutely wonderful this year, and here’s the link:

It’s going to be a wonderful weekend! The workshop I’m teaching, “Conceal/Reveal: Writing About Relationships” on Friday, May 2, at 2:15 in the Essex Room of the Hawthorne Hotel, is already full with a waitlist, but I hope some of you got in. On Saturday at 12:15, in the Library Room of the Hawthorne Hotel, I’m part of a panel discussion, “Poets in the Asylum,” on Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and their time at McLean Hospital and how it influenced their work; other panelists are Doug Holder and Bob Clawson. I hope to see you there!

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!