After a long absence from the blogosphere (I hope someone will come up with a better term soon), Literary Rapture has returned to active duty. To kick things off, I will start with a couple of events that LR recently attended, inspiring rapture of varying kinds.
To celebrate the December 2007 publication of The Seventh Well by Fred Wander, a panel of literary individuals gathered at the Austrian Cultural Forum on January 24th to discuss the artistic merits and historical significance of this book. Thane Rosenbaum moderated the panel which included Alana Newhouse (arts and culture editor of the Forward), poet Ed Hirsch, and the book’s translator, Michael Hofmann. With a wealth of knowledge on Holocaust studies and literary history, the panel began to debate how to define Wander’s book. Is it a shining example of Holocaust testimonial or should we read it as a work of art for art’s sake? Can the Holocaust be separated enough from the words to simply appreciate the book on its pure literary and poetic merits? Ed Hirsch said yes. Alana Newhouse said no. It was an invigorated discussion that made me want to reread the book and join the debate.
On Saturday, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writers’ Programs to meet and greet my favorite publishers, get a little business done, and to check out all the books that were on sale. Three floors of exhibition halls were packed with publishing pros, literati, and aspiring writers. Conference-goers were laden with bags of books and brochures, enough to rival BEA and Frankfurt! I had no idea this thing was so big.
I have more posts planned for the future, so keep checking back as Literary Rapture returns to regular syndication.