Saturday, August 07, 2004

in the flesh

It's always interesting to find out what authors look and sound like, apart from their words. This past wednesday, I attended "State of Emergency:Unconventional Readings" held by PEN, which included readings by 15 literary and arty luminaries -- among them Don DeLillo, Ariel Dorfman, Eve Ensler, Francine Prose -- of works by other writers, commenting leftily on the current state of the state.

I had expected Don DeLillo to look much beefier. But anyways, Salman Rushdie, the current president of PEN, was charming and funny. I hear from people who have attended his readings/appearances that this happens even if you think Rushdie is a bit of an ass. So, the event was a tiny bit of "The Rushdie Show" but you totally went along with it. Cuz he's so charmant. And he is the president. (Tangent: This fall, you will be able to hear Haroun and the Sea of Stories opera based on Rushdie's children's book by the same title at the New York City Opera.)

It was kind of cool to see all these great people all in one place. A bit inspiring, even if it was all preaching-to-the-choir. I haven't read much poetry at all, but I really do love hearing it. Poetry-readings have a much too hippie reputation, but most of it is written to be heard. Look, there's Captain Obvious again. So that's another project to add to my ever-growing list, to get familiar with more poetry...

Village Voice coverage of the reading

Check here for coverage, digital video, and transcripts of the readings.

Learn about PEN's Campaign for Core Freedoms, and sign the statement to restore reader privacy and call for a review of the USA Patriot Act.

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