Event Recap: New Books and Persistent Dreams

The Persistence of Dreams

May 1, 2011

The Sunday Best Reading Series closed its Winter/Spring 2011 season on May 1 with “The Persistence of Dreams,” a celebration of new books and literary dreams.  Readers included Northern Manhattan residents Elisabeth Frost and Carol Wallace, as well as the highly regarded poet Elaine Terranova.  As emcee Patricia Eakins noted, it has become a spring  tradition for the Sunday Best Reading Series to showcase new books and acknowledge “intrepid publishers of literary books.”  All three writers featured in the afternoon’s program read recently published work.  If you missed the reading, you can listen to the entire event on the Sunday Best Reading Series Program page at Washington Heights Free Radio (www.whfr.org).

Elisabeth Frost

Elisabeth Frost kicked off “The Persistence of Dreams,” reading poetry and prose poems from All of Us, her first full-length poetry collection, published by White Pine Press as part of its Marie Alexander series. Frost read poems inspired by the sayings enclosed in fortune cookies, as well as prose poetry that exposed manipulative family dynamics and touched upon themes related illness and caretaking.  Her poetry was moving and thought-provoking but also included splashes of humor in pieces that recalled a discussion of sexual fetishes at an artist’s colony and a dream in which the poet tells Derek Bok, president of Harvard University, exactly what she thinks of him.

Elaine Terranova

Elaine Terranova traveled from Philadelphia to participate in The Persistence of Dreams.  She read work from her newly published chapbook Elegiac: Footnotes to Rilke’s Duino Elegies, issued by Cervena Barva Press.  These poems place Terranova in direct conversation and dialogue with Rilke and have been described by author Kevin Prufer as “beautiful, impressionistic poems distinguished especially for their shifting, subtle intelligence and their emotional force.”

Carol Wallace

In her introductory remarks, Carol Wallace spoke directly to the afternoon’s theme of dreams, declaring: “It is a persistent dream that puts me in front of you today.”  Wallace recalled a childhood surrounded by typewriters with a father who works as a sports writer.  After writing numerous “ephemeral” books, Wallace returned to school in 2003 to earn a Master’s degree in art history.  Her studies and her research at Columbia provided the inspiration and material for Leaving Van Gogh, her first novel which is receiving acclaim from reviewers and readers alike. Told from the point of view of Van Gogh’s doctor, Paul Gachet, Leaving Van Gogh imagines Gachet’s complicated relationship with his troubled but transcendently gifted patient.

Carol Wallace, Elaine Terranova, and Patricia Eakins at the after-reception

Following the readings, the writers and audience members mingled, enjoying wines provided by Vines on Pine along with other refreshments. All involved with the Sunday Best Reading Series looked forward to the summer break, which, like all breaks, was refreshing but brief.

Elisabeth Frost talks with an audience member at the after-reception

The Sunday Best Reading Series thanks everyone who made the Winter/Spring 2011 season a success, including the performers and the audience members.  And a special thank you to those who staff the Sunday Best events and work behind the scenes: the success of each event rests upon the efforts and dedication of these trustworthy volunteers.

Sound technician Sig Rosen and event manager Peter Martin

A special shout-out to volunteer Joan Greenbaum who staffed the front desk and provided support for “The Persistence of Dreams” despite recent surgery which required her to use wheelchair and crutches.  That’s dedication!

Joan Greenbaum with fellow volunteers Gordon Gilbert and Peter Martin

The series returns on Sunday, September 11 with a program of memoir.  We hope you will join us for our first program of the 2011-2012 season.


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