Wednesday, May 6, 2009

PEN 2009 VS MONTEREY 1969 -- THE MASH-UP

(I wrote this earlier in a comment on Chad Post's blog piece where he respectfully submits some suggestions for future PEN World Voices festivals, and perhaps it fits here as well. I realize posting this will never get me re-invited, but that's fine.)

For a festival about literature, there was achingly little literature on display. We had writers reading other writers, or writers being interviewed, or writers orating on panels. The only writers allowed to read from their own work where the ones we’ve heard before. Younger/unknown folk (like me) need a showcase, and we don’t get it at PEN. Hugely disappointing, may I say. For Pete(the-g*d-of-literature)‘s sake: Have a series of readings, somewhere. Let us hear those weird Hungarians, give them (oh dear) a VOICE.

To me this festival was a bit like Monterey 1969, except that instead of hearing Jimi Hendrix play, we got to hear him debate Pete Townsend in a panel on alternative tunings, and then he had a five minute deejay spot.

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