Those who love the spoken word will have an opportunity to listen to and learn from six writers in several genres at an upcoming event, an organizer said Monday.

The fourth annual edition of The New American Writing Festival will take place Thursday and Friday at the Celebration Room at Shineman Chapel House, Hartwick College.

The readings and workshops grew out of the summer Catskill Poetry Workshop of poet and Hartwick Professor Carol Frost, said Professor Robert Bensen, who co-directs the event with Frost.

There was no similar opportunity for writers during the rest of the year, he said.

They wanted to "put together a festival to focus the attention of the college and community at large on the vitality and diversity of writing available to us," he said.

The college has been very generous in its support, Bensen said.

The readings will start with Jeff Friedman, author of four poetry collections, who will have an hour-long reading starting at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Friedman is a faculty member in the Master of Fine Arts program at New England College, N.H.

Friedman, who was invited by Frost, said he was glad to participate.

There is a lot in his work that is comic, but he also has a serious side as a storyteller in verse, he said. During the poetry workshop Friday at 4 p.m., he hopes to "open students up to the discovery process in writing."

The reading on Friday includes fiction writers Naomi Leimsider and Alice Lichtenstein, nonfiction writer Adrienne Martini, who writes a column for the Lifestyles section of The Daily Star, and poets Chris Nealon and Christopher Roberts. All are instructors at various colleges; they will be reading for about 10 to 15 minutes each, Bensen said.

Lichtenstein and Martini teach at Hartwick.

Lichtenstein said she is looking forward to reading from her recently completed novel called "Lost," about a woman whose husband, suffering from Alzheimer's, wanders off on a cold winter's day, and the resulting consequences.

The readings provide a "wonderful opportunity to introduce students and community to contemporary writing," she said.

Participants in the workshops, which include a 3 p.m. poetry session with Leimsider, will be able to get "a fresh perspective on their writing," she said.

Bensen said workshops will use writings selected from Hartwick College students.

Trending Video