Bennington Writers is a monthly reading series, showcasing the voices of the Bennington Writing Seminars – students, graduates, faculty, staff, and friends. Our readings are on the fourth Tuesday of every month, except for November and December, when the holidays intervene.
We livestream on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/BenningtonWriters
In a moment of clarity, I applied to the Bennington Writing Seminars: no BA and off to graduate school for a Masters degree in Creative Writing. Oh, did it change my life! Suddenly, I was in the company of smart people who were fascinated by the same thing I was – making sentences. My people. The pleasure of creating images out of words, of telling a truth, gave me something to believe in, something to believe in that included myself.
My hero was/is Donald Hall, the Poet Laureate, who wrote poetry and prose, both extraordinarily well. His personal life included misbehavior and fortitude. I heard him read once at Bennington, half-expecting cartoon bluebirds and chipmunks to frolic in his wild hair. My thesis focused on the essays of Donald Hall. In my research, I came across this quote of his: The friendship of writers is the history of literature.
The downside of the pleasures and inspiration of graduate school was graduation. Suddenly, one day I was home, back in my New York apartment without my ‘I’m a writer among writers’ context. Can I write without the fellowship of other writers? I banged out essays and poetry. Occasionally, a piece would be accepted for publication, but the dreary slog of solipsism got me down.
Then, a light went on – I could generate my own community. Start a reading series. Be a center of gravity (and levity). So, I did. First at the Cornelia Street Café, and after it closed, at the KGB bar. I would have held my one hundredth reading in December 2020 had not the pandemic intervened.
After six months of wandering in the COVID wilderness, I screwed up my courage to move the Bennington Writers reading series to Zoom. A couple of false starts and snafus and we’re up and running. The 100th reading will be August 2021.