Friday, August 26, 2005

Bread Loaf: Day Nine

Nearing the end. That's both a good thing and a bad thing, because this is such an exhausting but wonderful experience.

On Thursday, the first event was Arthur's Sze's lecture, "Truth's Arrow: The Art of Translating Chinese Poetry." Since I have done some translations from Chinese (posted on this blog), I was particularly interested in this topic. Arthur did a wonderful job of introducing the non-Chinese speaking audience to characters and the complexities of translation, but I also liked his discussion of the literature and of his own process. Specifically, he carefully writes each character first to get a sense of the energy of each word before he begins to consider the meaning.

We had our workshop next, and we worked on one story and one novel excerpt. Except that the story also turned out to be from a linked collection of stories. It was a good discussion with some points that I'll be considering further for my own linked collection.

After that, I joined naturalist John elder for a walk on the Frost trail, an easy stroll through the woods and wetlands close to Frost's cabin. Elder tells the story of his escorting the Dalai Lama on the same walk, except that they were followed by a gaggle of photographers. Eventually the photographers got bored and left. John and the DL came to a bridge over a lovely creek and bumped into a rabbi whom John knew. Introductions were made and the rabbi offered to bless the DL and he placed his hands on the DL's head and intoned the blessing in Hebrew. After which the DL placed his hands on the rabbi's head and intoned a blessing in Tibetan. And the photographers missed the whole thing.

I went to a session with Hannah Tinti, the editor of One Story, talking about "How to Get Out of the Slush Pile." I can't say that I heard anything I didn't know, but it was nice to have it boiled down.

In the afternoon there was a reading by Andrea Barrett and Gerald Stern. Andrea read from a new novel that she is working on, one that she has started and abandoned a few times, echoing the talk Lynn Freed gave on False Starts. Geral Stern read some wonderful poetry, cracked some jokes, and called George Bush a war criminal. That was fun.

There was then a panel discussion with Ted Genoways from VQR and two editors from New England Review. I can't say I got a whole lot out of it except a free back copy of NER and the promise from Ted that VQR's online submission system (what he calls the Kahuna System because it will do everything) will be up and running in a few months.

After dinner we had a performance of the Vermont Symphony Trio: clarinet, cello and flute. The organizers seem to have offered this diversion for the masses while faculty and fellows were off somewhere else doing something. I have no problem with that, but it feels as though they were keeping it secret--for reasons that I can't quite come up with.


Benoit Lapierre said...

Hi from Canada.
Your Blog is very interesting!

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Jilly said...

cool Cliff. Jealous about Gerald Stern. :)

Laughlin said...

This is great stuff, Cliff. Thank you for sharing!