News from Rich Gorham of Lawrence, MA:
In the last two weeks, thanks to the work of Bread Loafers, the city of
Lawrence hosted two extraordinary writers.
Last Saturday, January 12, Martin Espada performed a reading at El Taller,
the new cafe and community center opened by Bread Loafer Mary Guerrero.
Espada, originally from Brooklyn, is of Puerto Rican descent and has
written powerfully about Latino, class and other human issues. He has
published many books of poems, including Albanza (my recommedation for
your first Espada collection).
On Friday, January 18, Lawrence High School hosted Junot Diaz, the
Pulitzer-prize and MacArthur genius-grant winning Dominican-American
writer, whose three books (Drown, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,
and This is How You Lose Her) have established him as perhaps the finest
American writer of his generation. It was Diaz's fourth visit to Lawrence
High School, thanks to the work of Bread Loaf alum Sean McCarthy. Diaz
requested that the event not be pulicized, and he spoke with a group of 75
invited students and teachers. To the students, all of whom had read Diaz,
he is an absolute star, a bigger celebrity than any actor, musician or
athlete. For Diaz's part, he came to Lawrence free of charge, and
expressed joy at the chance to meet with Lawrence students. He has, of
course, a standing invitation to return to Lawrence at any time.
Add to this readings in the city over the last ten years by Robert Pinsky,
Julia Alvarez and Seamus Heany, all facilitated by Bread Loafers, as well
as the parade of writers and artists who perform for Lawrence students and
teachers at the Andover Bread Loaf Writer's Workshop each summer.
We believe strongly in Bread Loaf's role in cultivating the literary and
artistic life of a community, and bringing the finest authors and artists
directly to our students.