Taking a Chance on Writing

While the Humanities may be in decline as a college major and studies show that a literature-rich education is going the way of Home Economics, the Rye Arts Center is hosting an evening of conversation with four published writers.

Published August 21, 2014 5:00 AM
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While the Humanities may be in decline as a college major and studies show that a literature-rich education is going the way of Home Economics, the Rye Arts Center is hosting an evening of conversation with four published writers.

By Robin Jovanovich

While the Humanities may be in decline as a college major and studies show that a literature-rich education is going the way of Home Economics, the Rye Arts Center is hosting an evening of conversation with four published writers.

 

Campfire
(from “Just Now Alive”)
 

Night: when dusk muddies
into the gathered silence
of the marsh grasses and birch
forest, we collect on the beach.
Huddle and nurse bottles
of warm beer, close thinning
ranks around the family
campfire, we veterans of divorce
wars, childhood tragedy,
untimely death. We poke
at embers and sing the old
songs, remembering
a time before we knew these
heavy robes. But the children
who dangle off the dock
under this bald moon,
they have other plans —
their voices slide
across the lake of black glass.

— Kristina Bicher

Join Annabel Monaghan, Andrea Raynor, Kristina Bicher, and Lisa Jardine for “I’ve Got a Pen & I’m Not Afraid to Use It” on Thursday, September 18 from 7-9. The discussion will include the importance of taking writing seriously and going back to school at any age. The moderator is Camille Rankine, poet and Assistant Director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Manhattanville.

Bicher, who put the program together, used to be Jardine’s neighbor and knew Raynor from Rye Town Park walks; everyone in town knows Monaghan, columnist and author of a thrilling YA series on a young mathematical genius named Digit. Bicher, who like Jardine, has a Master’s in Creative Writing from Manhattanville, said she started out writing fiction but switched to poetry after one of her professors told her, “Maybe we can salvage 40 pages of your novel.”

“Poetry is fascinating — the musicality of vowels, when a word is more than a word,” mused Bicher, whose chapbook of poetry, “Just Now Alive,” was published by Finishing Line Press this month. It was a contest finalist in the “New Women’s Voices” series. One of her poems has been published in the Westchester Review.

According to Bicher, it’s harder to get a poem published than to get into Harvard, but poetry is very much alive because of online poetry classes (at schools including Harvard and U Penn) and workshops. She just came back from one on George Herbert in Provincetown. Among her favorite poets are William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, and Rainer Maria Rilke.

“To understand the puzzle of poetry, read former Poet Laureate Billy Collins poem on poetry,” she recommends.

There are so many local opportunities for people who love language to take classes — the Hudson Valley Writer’s Center, Manhattanville, Sarah Lawrence — so take advantage of one, urged Bicher. “The Rye Arts Center offers chances to examine art and when you do so, you’re examining the world.” 

 

 

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