Report from the Mountain, part two
There are about a hundred different things one can do an any given day here at Breadloaf but the formal conference events include: lectures (fascinating ones), craft classes (on everything from using the second person point of view to the history of sonnets), workshops (poetry, non-fiction and fiction–I’m in fiction), and readings.
I love living writers. I love to see how differently writers perform/read. Yesterday’s afternoon reading was a spectacular example of brillance. First, Randall Kenan , author of Let the Dead Bury the Dead, read from a great short story in an engaging manner that quickly pulled me into the characters’ lives; his delivery was outstanding despite the fact that it was bloody hot in the theatre and there wasn’t a breeze within fifty miles of here. He was calm, composed and skillfully delivered.
Then, Luis Alberto Urrea got up to read with his newest novel, Into the Beautiful North. First, he acknowledged “the great Julia Alvarez” who was in the front row and then, he said, “Because I love you” and threw the book on the ground and proceeded to perform/recite/enact a long section (25-30 mins) of his novel. It was nothing short of awe-inspiring. He used his eyes, mouth, hands, and body to seduce/charm the audience, shifting around for each different characters’ point of view and voice. Folks, I have been to more than a few readings and I HAVE NEVER seen anyone do what he did yesterday afternoon. He’s my new idol. Calls of “Bravo, Bravo,” (especially from raza) were heard throughout the theatre and people justifiably crowded around him to celebrate his tremendous performance. I am so happy to have been there to witness such a masterful storyteller.