Eat, Drink & Be Literary at BAMcafe
This great event, Eat, Drink & Be Literary presented in partnership with the National Book Foundation which is an yearly event hosted 4 award winning writers Robert A. Caro, John Edgar
Wideman, Sloane Crosley, and Min Jin Lee at the beautiful and majestic BAMcafe.
I was extremely fortunate to attend the event on March 20 when John Edgar Wideman was going to read and be interviewed by Deborah Treisman followe by question answer session.
I love books of all kinds but am extremely moved by writers such as John Edgar Wideman and James Baldwin and many others like them. I have never met James Baldwin and it gives me sorrow but what a delight it was to not only know John Edgar Wideman's work but to finally hear him read his melodious, poetic, personal and painfully poignant words in person.
His work is autobiographical. His focus is on Black experienc in America with the emphasis on Black American men and their sons. His personal history is nevertheless bigger and larger than
intimacy with himself and it engulfs the history of Blacks in Americ. The writing's depth, its grace
and its sensitivity and how the words are strung together in sentenes leave you breathless.
Mr. Wideman himself has such grace, dignity and standing with his cannon of literature that one is just mesmerized. You see, the word creates a sentence, a sentence creates a paragraph, a paragraph creates a chapter and the chapter creates another chapter and another and it becomes a book and gets published if you are lucky but luck has its smallest share in the monumental effort. Something else is needed to have such an effect on the audiences and readers of the world and that is, craft, talent, earnestness, honesty, poetry, history and some kind of personal pain combined with history of
the world you live in and John Edgar Widem has all of it and then some more.
He is one of the most touching orator I have encountered. He moved me to such an extent that I have been thinking of him and his great writing since Wednesday and I am so glad that I bought at least two of his books, American Histories and Fatheralong that very night and can't wait to start reading them.
When he read, Last Day, the writing dealing with the nasty, awful doings in the U.S. prison-criminal
justice culture, (at the moment he has a brother who is serving a rather long incarceration), Widemna
reflected on conditions in the present American society, essentially concluding that things both racial and socioeconomic have a long, long way to go before reaching the land of betterment.
It was a worthy evening. People in the wonderful cafe were so absorbed with the beauty and the
clarity of his words and his speech.
For me just to see him standing tall with his head held high reciting extremely important and truthful
words was an experience I cherished and will cherish. When one see and hear such writers one feel
so brave and so afarid and so sad and so delighted at the same time. Hope to surpass all obstacles seems possible.
John Edgar Wideman is a MacArthur Fellow and two time PEN/Faulkner award winner.
Deborah Treisman did a great job and question answer session went well but the audience including me were hungry for more.
There are two more writers, Sloane Crosley and Min Jin Lee presenting their work on April 9 and May 1st. DO NOT MISS.