PEN WORLD VOICES
New York City – Parade of Illuminations:
Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
(Editor’s Note: From April 30 – May 6, 2012, 100 writers from 25 countries will convene from around the world in New York City for one of the world’s premier literary festivals to celebrate the power of the written word in action. Now in his second year, Jakab Orsos, the Festival’s luminous and playfully intellectual director, took time from a hectic schedule to give us a preview. For a longer interview with Orsos, click here.)
WRR: This is your second World Voices Festival. What have you learned about organizing a Festival with an ambitious agenda in a major city like New York?
Laszlo Jakab Orsos: That it’s a hard job, but the city is very receptive to a literary festival. I’ve also learned that New York City is sadly lacking an affordable venue where a festival like this should take place. This forces us to work with different venues, which is a curse and a blessing at the same time. But more importantly I’ve learned that people like to engage in important matters and they show up at even the most unusual settings to be able to hear disturbing and inspiring ideas.
WRR: What role does “place” play in the events of the PEN World Voices Festival? Many events are featured at famous venues (the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Highline). What’s your philosophy on choosing the perfect venue?
Orsos: Place is our major ally. It helps us to position an event. The venue itself marks the content. We’re doing programs juxtaposing or counteracting with the given venue. In other words the venue is part of the curatoria concept. It’s part of the message what we’re trying to send with the event. For instance, last year we co-hosted and event with the Rubin Museum and Friends of the Highline to create a Karma Chain presided over by PEN President Salman Rushdie. (To read Wild River Review’s coverage of the Karma Chain on the Highline, click here.)
WRR: You’ve been very clear that one of your goals as director is to bring literature literally to the streets. In other words, to begin with the written word and expand it into theater, film, music and performance. How have audiences responded?
Orsos: So far what I can tell is that the audience is very receptive to outdoor events. Especially to the ones what conveys an unexpected idea. People like to be part of an experience; where they’re generating the final result. It’s all about participation in creation. With this the Festival is trying to express one of its most important ideas namely that literature (and art) is (or should be) the most democratic tools to deal with our most disturbing and most engaging issues: life. Doing events on the street and at public places helps us to emphasize that there’s no such thing as difficult art.
WRR: You mix entertainment with more sobering topics and events, in which people can witness how others live. Can you talk about the intersection of entertainment and presenting more serious issues?
Orsos: Entertainment is not light. It’s just makes things more appealing. The best is when a seemingly light idea surprises you and makes you think about unexpected and surprisingly ‘serious’ issues. And vice versa: seemingly serious events can imply humor and irony. This is the biggest challenge in New York; bringing irony to a culture which traditionally is lacking the sense of humor. Irony is an amazing tool. It reveals hidden layers and helps to convey a more complex picture. Watch Gary Shteyngart interrogating Salman Rushdie in ten questions on his notion of freedom.
WRR: Anything else you’d like to mention? What do you see as new and innovative this year?
Orsos: There are so many worthwile events, but here are a few…
The commissioned piece by the Kronos Quartet with Marjane Satrapi, Rula Jebreal and Tony Kushner:
|Opening Night—The Kronos Quartet: Exit Strategies*|
|When: Wednesday, May 2
Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave., New York City
What time: 7 p.m.With Rula Jebreal, Kronos Quartet, Tony Kushner, and Marjane SatrapiTickets: $30/$20 PEN Members and students with valid ID. Call (212)570-3949 or visit metmuseum.org. Please note that the only way PEN Members can get a discount is by purchasing tickets via the phone (not through the internet).Presented in collaboration with Fritt Ord, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Open Society Institute. This event is made possible in part by the Cheswatyr Foundation Inc.*With thanks to Granta for lending us the title of their issue #118
The workshop and the reading with the Domestic Workers United, the guild of New York nannies and housekeepers:
|Writings from the Domestic Workers United Workshop|
|When: Saturday, May 5
Where: The School of Writing at The New School, Wollman Hall, 65 West 11th St., New York City
What time: 3–4:30 p.m.With Domestic Workers United and Mark NowakFree and open to the publicCo-sponsored by The New School and Domestic Workers United
Unified by the motto, “We have a dream that one day, all work will be valued equally,” Domestic Workers United is a guild of New York nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers, organizing for power, respect, and fair labor standards. Join them as they emerge from a five-month writing workshop led by documentary poet, global labor activist, and 2010 Guggenheim Fellow Mark Nowak. The event includes a brief discussion followed by a reading of work generated in class.
The series on What to Do With Literature? With Margaret Atwood, Jennifer Egan and Tony Kushner:
Dialogue Series: Margaret Atwood on the Writers’ Mind and the Digital Otherworld
|When: Thursday, May 3
Where: The School of Writing at The New School, Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th St., New York City
What time: 6–7:30 p.m.With Margaret Atwood and Amy Grace LoydTickets: $15/$10 PEN Members and students with valid ID. Buy tickets to all three Dialogue Series events for $30/$25 PEN Members.Co-sponsored by The New School for Social ResearchWhat does it mean to write with the Web? How does our constant access to information and ideas affect the landscape of imagination? What are the ramifications on the craft? In “What to Do With Literature,” the first installment of our Dialogue Series, Margaret Atwood will delve into these questions and many more, offering her unique perspective as an online activist, prolific voice on Twitter, and early champion of the Internet. She will be joined in conversation with long-time editor and friend, Amy Grace Loyd.
The film with Diane Arbus reveling her surprisingly rich literary talent:
|An Evening with Doon Arbus, Francine Prose, and Michael Cunningham—and Diane Arbus|
|When: Saturday, May 5
Where: The Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St., New York City
What time: 5–6:30 p.m.With Doon Arbus, Michael Cunningham, and Francine ProseFilm ticket only: $12/$10 seniors/$8 students, tickets can be purchased through MOMA’s box office only, one week prior to the event.Co-sponsored by The Museum of Modern ArtHow might a photographer’s precise use of language illuminate and expand the perception of her pictures and the singular nature of the mind behind them? Join PEN and MoMA for a presentation of A Slide Show and Talk by Diane Arbus, an original recording of a 1970 slide presentation, in which the artist speaks about photography, using her own work and other photographs, snapshots, and clippings from her collection. The film, a recreation using the original soundtrack, first screened at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2005, has been shown publically fewer than a dozen times.Following the screening, Francine Prose, Michael Cunningham, and Doon Arbus will read from the recently released book, Diane Arbus: A Chronology, a biography of the photographer primarily composed of excerpts from her letters, notebooks, writings, and journals. They will converse about the nature of observation, metaphor, and imagery as it appears in all aspects of her work. Come celebrate the life of Diane Arbus, one of the 20th century’s most influential artists.
In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy, an outgrowth of the literary magazine, The Bucks County Writer, of which Stocke was Editor in Chief. In 2009, as their editorial practice grew, Stocke and Nagy founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.
With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
In addition, Stocke has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.
In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.
She is president of the Board of Directors at the Cabo Pulmo Learning Center, Cabo Pulmo, Baja Sur, Mexico; and is a member of the Turkish Women’s International Network.
In addition, Stocke has written extensively about her travels in Greece and Turkey. Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Her cookbook, Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking will be published in March, 2017 by Quarto Books under the Burgess Lea Press imprint . Stocke and Brenner are currently testing recipes for a companion book, which will feature Anatolian-inspired mezes from around the world.
Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013). The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.
She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently researching a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Peninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School where she also received a minor of Food Science, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.
Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
COLUMNS – THE MYSTIC PEN
FOOD & DRINK – ANATOLIAN KITCHEN
FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir
LITERATURE – BOOK REVIEWS
LITERATURE – ESSAYS
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
The Euphoria of Ignorance: Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish, The Paradox of Being Carlo Ginzburg
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
Paul Holdengraber – The Afterlife of Conversation
2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..
Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson
WRR@LARGE: From the Editors – UP THE CREEK
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Blind Faith, July 2009
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Candle in a Long Street
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
Up the Creek: What It Means to Yearn
WRR@LARGE – WILD COVERAGE
UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul