Friday, November 21, 2008

Pee Dee Fiction and Poetry Festival

Our annual campus Fiction and Poetry Festival unfolded on a beautiful fall weekend, November 6-8. Tom Perrotta kicked things off on Thursday with a colloquium in the afternoon during which he discussed his novel, Election, an appropriate choice for this year and a book that a number of classes had read. Several classes, including my own composition sections, had read his story collection, Bad Haircut. Perrotta's work went over well, and students turned out in force for his reading and commentary. That night, he read from Little Children and talked about the writing life.

Over the next couple days, Ethan Canin, Valerie Martin, Sara Gran, Robert Wrigley, and Dorianne Laux held sway. Each did a reading/presentation, and each took part in at least one panel discussion or informal session. We combined the two poetry classes for a meeting with Wrigley and Laux, whose work we had read and who were captivating for students. They're good friends, and this was evident in their easy back and forth discussion. A great bonus for the weekend was the presence of Joe Millar, Laux's husband and a wonderful poet in his own right.

Tom Perrotta --- Ethan Canin

Valerie Martin --- Sara Gran
Robert Wrigley --- Dorianne Laux
Wrigley, Laux, and Millar
Finkel Poems from The Cortland Review

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