As expected, time has sped up and we are reeling toward the conclusion of the conference. This morning we had readings by scholars Anna Baker, Bill Coyle and Becca Worthington--all marvelous--followed by a panel of magazine editors (Willard Spiegelman of Southwest Review, Bob Wilson of The American Scholar, and David Yezzi of The New Criterion). The only news here was that TAS has begun including fiction, although their preference is for solicited fiction, so opportunities for emerging writers to appear in this fine 25,000 circulation journal are still limited.
Next was a Barry Hannah craft lecture. Barry is charming, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world, but his craft talks are short on substance. Basically he recommends venturing into other art forms, especially those that are tactile, in order to enhance one's writing. He says he has begun drawing primitive story boards on an easel to help illustrate what is happening in his new novel, in part for the help in organization, but in part for the sake of the bad art itself. Maybe.
We had a lively workshop in the afternoon, followed by an amazing reading by Elizabeth Spencer, author of, among other things, The Light in the Piazza (the short story on which the recent Broadway musical is based). She is a charming, genteel southern lady who gives a fine reading and who is, I think, a little embarrased by the attention we showered on her. She's 85 or so.
And then, after dinner, we had an amazing reading by Lee Blessing of a 90 minute one man play. Sensational is the only word to describe it. What a treat!!