The New York State Writers Institute is one of the great literary resources here in the NYS Capital Region, bringing an A-list writers to the University at Albany, & to the community-at-large, for no charge for their readings, seminars, lectures, even movies. This was all seeded by a “genius award” from the MacArthur Foundation in 1983 to Albany Pulitzer Prize winning author William Kennedy, who continues to serve as Chair, ex officio. Each semester there is an extensive schedule of writers & programs & over the years I have seen/heard/met such writers as Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Ken Kesey, Lawrence Ferglinghetti, Ed Sanders, Nadime Gordimer, Derek Walcott, Jean Valentine, Carolyn Forché, I can go on & on. But the City of Albany & the surrounding area is also the home of other active, dynamic literary & arts organizations that also present events on a weekly, monthly schedule. So there are frequent conflicts among events & I tend to go to the community events where the numbers are smaller.
However, sometimes there is a perfect storm of poets at the Writers Institute & I’ve just got to be there. Such a conjunction included a visit from my 3 Guys from Albany buddy Charlie Rossiter; the celebration of the new New York State Writer & Poet; a poet who had read at my Poets in the Park series; & poet another poet I felt I just wanted to hear, all within a week — whoo - ho!
|(left to right) Edmund White, Yusef Komunyakaa, Marie Howe,|
William Kennedy, UAlbany President Robert Jones
Thank you Writers Institute for bringing these (& other) writers here — & thanks for being here.