“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” That’s a famous (though loose) translation of a line written in Latin in 1500 by the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus. By time-honored tradition, writers, like other artists, are supposed to live in garrets and get by on very little in the way of sustenance. But low blood sugar makes for grouchy creation; we all need to eat sometimes. Some would even argue that people with refined standards of aesthetics will naturally apply them to cuisine as well, whenever income permits.
Bookworms who subsist on other fodder besides paper and glue may be pleased to hear that the Read & Feed Festival is returning this Sunday to Basilica Hudson: an annual feast for both the mind and the palate that came into being when Basilica co-founder Melissa Auf der Maur made the acquaintance of Jeffrey Lependorf, executive director of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP). “Merging literature with the rich history of artisanal food and agriculture in the Hudson Valley allows Basilica Hudson to serve as a gateway for visitors to discover the talents and commitment of our community, and advances our goal to serve as a platform for the many forms of making and creativity in our region,” says Auf der Maur of the annual Festival.
July 28 will be the 90th birthday of Hudson resident, Pulitzer Prizewinner, retired Bard College professor and former New York State poet laureate John Ashbery. Small presses being the lifeblood of even poets as famous as Ashbery, it’s a natural fit for this weekend’s Read & Feed to pay tribute to the occasion. Luminaries from the poetry world, including Ann Lauterbach, Robert Polito, Joan Retallack and Dara Wier, will give a presentation titled “How to Love Reading Ashbery” and perform a marathon reading of his Girls on the Run.
Also on Sunday afternoon’s menu at Basilica will be Whiting Award-winning poetry superstars Simone White and LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs performing and talking poetry, food and music while cooking up collard greens and salmon cakes; a multimedia talk on poetry and public art by Eric Lorberer; and the return of cookbook author/restaurateur Rozanne Gold, in conversation with literary chefs Rohan Kamicheril, Matt Lee, Susan Simon and Lukas Volger, who will talk food, memory and the senses, while audience members find out if they are supertasters. Kamicheril will demonstrate South Indian cooking techniques; Barbara “Barb the Butcher” Fisher will offer a sausagemaking workshop; and Crybabies podcast presenters Sarah Thyre and Susan Orlean will host a “Weepy Booth” for visitors who could use a bit of emotional catharsis to work up an appetite. There will also be a Community Café and a marketplace of local, independent literary publishers and artisanal food vendors.
The event goes on from 12 noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 23. Tickets cost Tickets $15 general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and can be ordered at http://bit.ly/readfeedpr. Basilica Hudson is located at 110 South Front Street in the City of Hudson. For more info, visit http://basilicahudson.org/read-feed-2.