POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Poughkeepsie will become POEkeepsie this October with 40 events presented during the Poughkeepsie Library District’s fourth annual “The Big Read.” During the month of October, Poughkeepsie’s schools, colleges, libraries, book stores and other partners will be reading and discussing the Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Four of these 40 events will take place at Vassar College, including three readings by noted authors - David Means, Amitava Kumar, and Heinz Insu Fenkl - as well as a concert reading of a new musical adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” All events at Vassar College are free and open to the public, with reservations requested for “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
Vassar College’s Drama Department and Powerhouse Theater Training Program will present the concert reading of the new musical adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic story “The Tell-Tale Heart” on Monday, October 11, at 7:00pm in Taylor Hall, room 102. For reservations, please call the Powerhouse Theater administrative office at (845) 437-5907.
In addition, there will be a performance for local middle schools and high schools on Tuesday, October 12, at 10:00am. [For information about the school performance as well as free school group bus transportation, call Jewel Ratzlaff at (845) 485-3445 ext. 3372 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.]
- “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a musical adaptation by James Yates and Jess Glover, will be directed by Tom Pacio, with musical direction by Thomas Hochla ’13. Three Vassar students will be featured - Ben Palacios ’11 as Mortimer, Matt Bourne ’11 as Terrance, and Julia Anrather ’13 as Heart. Yates, a 2007 alumnus of the Powerhouse Apprentice Company, has served as staff member of the Powerhouse Theater Training Program from 2008-10. Pacio just completed his fourth season as the education director of the Powerhouse Theater Training Program. Both Bourne and Anrather are also alumnae/i of the Powerhouse Apprentice Company. “The Tell-Tale Heart” is produced at Vassar by Edward Cheetham, producing director of Powerhouse Theater, and Shona Tucker, assistant professor of drama at Vassar. The concert reading features five original songs, with words by Yates and music by Glover, and was first heard in a spring 2009 reading at New York University.
The Vassar College Bookstore Author Series will present three readings by both noted faculty members and a Vassar alumnus. All three events will begin at 5:00pm in the Vassar College Bookstore, located in the College Center of Vassar’s historic Main Building.
- On Thursday, October 7, Visiting Associate Professor of English David Means will read from The Spot, his newest collection of short stories. In a Chicago Tribune review, Alan Cheuse noted that “Means is more than a conventionally accomplished realistic story writer . . . . his fiction sometimes skitters up to the borderline of legend.” Means’ previous collections were Assorted Fire Events, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction, and The Secret Goldfish,shortlisted for a Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and other publications.
- On Tuesday, October 12, novelist, poet, journalist, and Vassar College Professor of English Amitava Kumar will read from his new book A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb. In the New York Times’ review, Dwight Garner noted that Kumar’s work is a “perceptive and soulful . . . meditation on the global war on terror and its cultural and human repercussions.” He also is the author of Husband of a Fanatic, a New York Times “Editors’ Choice”; Bombay-London-New York, a New Statesman (UK) “Book of the Year”; and Passport Photos. His novel Home Products was short-listed for India’s premier literary award.
- On Thursday, October 28, SUNY New Paltz Associate Professor of English Heinz Insu Fenkl, Vassar class of 1982, will read from his books Korean Folktales and Memories of My Ghost Brother. Fenkl is an author, editor, translator, folklorist, and director of ISIS: The Interstitial Studies Institute at SUNY, New Paltz. Korean Folktales is a collection of stories that draw on storytelling traditions and classics from Fenkl’s homeland of Korea. For his novel Memories of My Ghost Brother, Fenkl was named a Barnes and Noble “Great New Writer” and was a PEN/Hemingway Award finalist. He lectures regularly for the Korea Society on a variety of topics including Korean animation, comics, literature, and folktales.
About “POEkeepsie’s The Big Read”
Was Edgar Allan Poe really influenced by a Poughkeepsie man? Is it true that Poe inspired the creation of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot? How was Poe influenced by his experience as a West Point cadet and why was he court-martialed? Why did he become so fascinated by death and the macabre?
These questions and others will be addressed during the month of October at Poughkeepsie’s schools, colleges, libraries, book stores as residents will be reading and discussing Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe as part of the 2010 Big Read project. Poe was one of the first American writers to become a major figure in world literature, and his influence continues to be evident today in literature and in popular culture. Renowned for his short stories and poems, Poe is also credited as the originator of the modern mystery or detective novel, and as having a significant impact on science fiction, horror, and gothic literature.
The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest. It is designed to encourage literacy and restore reading to the center of American culture. For more information on the 40 public Big Read programs offered around POEkeepsie throughout October, see www.poklib.org.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.