The new Hotel Vermont has been winning praise from all quarters for its architecture and décor, cuisine and use of local resources and products, from granite to soap to original art (including the found-wood "painting" by Duncan Johnson pictured at right).
In an announcement today, BWW organizer Peter Biello said, "Our writers get a wider audience, and Hotel Vermont's guests get a pleasurable reading experience. It's a win-win."
It would be especially winning, Biello added, if one of those guests had the power to advance any of the writers' careers.
Regardless of serendipitous "discovery" by a visiting publisher, the writers can at least hope hotel visitors will choose their poetry, stories or essays for bedtime reading.
These pieces — I'm calling them "locavore lit" — will be chosen by staff at Hotel Vermont and and compiled into a modest publication on a quarterly basis, said the announcement.
Hotel Vermont marketing coordinator Tori Carton added, "The arts are an integral part of the Hotel Vermont experience and we hope that our partnership with Burlington Writers Workshop will continue to advance the arts in our community, and give our guests a well-rounded and unique stay in Burlington.”
By the way, a member of the BWW, Michael Freed-Thall, has a fiction story in this week's Winter Reading Issue of Seven Days. You can read "Fort Stockton Blues" here. And here's a glimpse at a past BWW workshop.
Waterbury photographer Peter Miller has had many well-deserved accolades in his long career. His latest is another honor that few artists can claim: Vermont's senior senator, Patrick Leahy — no slouch behind the lens himself — read a tribute to Miller on November 20 on the Senate floor.
Leahy's speech, printed here in full, says it all:
Mr. President, for generations, Vermonters have contributed to our national culture, through art, music, film and prose. Peter Miller is one such artist whose impressive work throughout his life as both a photographer and author has showcased Vermont and its residents and enriching us all.
As an amateur photographer, I have followed Peter's work for decades with admiration. From his early beginnings as a U.S. Army photographer to his travels across Europe with Yousuf Karsh, he has channeled his passion and energy into a remarkable art. Over the past 20 years, his unique ability to capture the Vermont spirit has been well documented and his consistent approach to producing authentic depictions of the Vermont way of life is unparalleled. He shuns the commercialization of art and instead creates his work solely to share and promote the values of our small and community-based State. This attitude was evident more than ever when, being honored as the Burlington Free Press' "Vermonter of the Year" in 2006 for his book "Vermont Gathering Places," he frankly said, "I don't shoot for galleries. I shoot for myself and the people I photograph."
Ben Aleshire, the former Burlington "poet for hire" who could often be spotted at the downtown Farmers Market, moved to New Orleans last year. He's set up shop at a busy intersection in the French Quarter, selling poems to passersby, and has attracted the attention of that city's press.
The Gambit, New Orleans' alt-weekly, focuses on Aleshire and several other local poets for hire in a recent cover article. Here's a quote from it:
Both [Aleshire] and [fellow poet Tristan] Bennett say they can come up with meaningful work in 10 to 15 minutes. "When people stand there and hug me and weep and tell me they're going to frame it, I think the evidence is there," Aleshire says. "That keeps me doing it. It fuels me when people tell me that this is real."
Gambit photo of Ben Aleshire by Cheryl Gerber.
Charlotte photographer P. Brian Machanic has produced an 82-page volume titled This Book Is for the Birds, but of course the book is really for bird lovers.
Machanic notes in a preface that there are some "50-60 million" birders in the United States, that is, obsessed individuals "whose affliction for monitoring things avian is all consumptive, leading to forays afield at ungodly hours, while being viciously attacked by the biting insects which birds are supposed to eat." The author admits he is not one of these people:
I'm more of a bird-watcher sort, which means that I enjoy sleeping in once a month, and stop looking for nighthawks when the thunder and lightning starts. I have only a couple of well-worn bird field guides, the second of which was purchased when I thought I'd lost the first.
What Machanic is afflicted with, however, is "a penchant for spending hours and hours at a time waiting for that perfect shot" — that is, with his camera. (The detail at right is from "House Wren.") The right photograph, he imagines, might catapult him into "the Bird Watchers' Hall of Fame and allow me to generously dip into the multi-billion-dollar industry devoted to supplying every imaginable need of the birding world."
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