Before the readings in the Little Theater at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, there are no introductions. It’s a convention I love, because it leaves more time to listen to the many poems, essays, stories and lectures we’re treated to every day. When it’s time to begin, the lights dim and then brighten, and everyone claps and the reader approaches the podium–a scary and wonderful moment if you’re the reader, as I was on Saturday afternoon with my friends Kim and Nick. The glass-paned doors on either side of the theater stand open so if you’re late or the seats are full you can stand there and listen. The doors also let in the cool Vermont air and certain animals. On the first night of the conference, during Michael Collier’s welcome, there were fireflies above our heads; yesterday, during my friend Millicent’s reading, there was a chipmunk scurrying under the curtain.
The readings and talks will be available for downloading after the conference; I’ll post links to my favorites. Some have been just astonishing. I’m sorry I haven’t written–it’s really busy here–but here are some photos I’ve taken: