Remembrance of Events Past
For those of us fortunate enough to take a few days off for the holidays, coming face-to-face with the reality of work and other obligations can be the first challenge of the new year. Fortunately there’s plenty of literary events on the horizon to lift our spirits and keep us inspired.
But before we say a final good-bye to 2014 here are a few highlights of the season just past. West Side Words may be the new kid on the block, but we’ve already enjoyed this sampling of what our part of the city has to offer.
Poetry Meets Finance
The time: 7 p.m., a night in late September
The event: A poetry reading
The players: Poets Benjamin Miller, Cynthia Cruz, Gregory Pardlo
The place: The First Republic Bank, Broadway and 76th Street
A free poetry reading in a bank? Even better than free pens and lollipops! This lively event was the third in a series of readings co-sponsored by the Verdi Square Festival of the Arts and First Republic Bank.
Afghanistan and North Korea in the Spotlight:
An Evening of Journalism and Memoir
In an evening that focused on feminism, politics, education and opportunity, Jenny Nordberg read from The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan, a fascinating account of girls being raised as boys in that country, a custom that is tacitly tolerated under a “don’t ask, don’t tell”-style social contract. Ms Nordberg was followed by Suki Kim, who read from Without You There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite, which is about her somewhat Orwellian experience teaching young men in a faith-based college. Katha Pollitt (most recently the author of Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights) led a discussion following the readings and also participated in a group signing. The event was held at the Macauley Honors College as part of their @Macaulay Author Fall Series. The series resumes this Spring.
First Ladies at St. Agnes Library
Upper West Side educator and author Mildred Speiser presented “The Secret Lives of Presidents’ Wives” in October. An engaging speaker with a fascinating history of her own, Ms. Speiser entertained her audience with anecdotes about the First Ladies, from the fashionistas to the activists. (Look for a longer profile of Ms. Speiser coming soon to West Side Words.)
Flannery O’Connor Honored at St. John the Divine
Flannery O’Connor joined the ranks of authors honored at the American Poets Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine with an evening of music, talk, and performance. Among those present for the celebration of her life and work was one of Ms. O’Connor’s cousins.
* * *
From all of us at West Side Words, best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015.
We hope you’ll check West Side Words for new articles posted every Tuesday and Friday–and the Events link anytime for frequent updates on literary events around the neighborhood.