Festival of Literature and Food Celebrates John Ashbery at Basilica Hudson

John Ashbery

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – READ & FEED, a festival celebrating literature and food, returns to Basilica Hudson on Sunday, July 23, from noon to 5pm. The festival includes a celebration of legendary Hudson-based poet John Ashbery’s 90th birthday; acclaimed food writers and chefs presenting demonstrations and interactive discussions; a superstar collection of authors offering literary performances and novel conversations; a marketplace featuring some of America’s most intriguing small literary publishers and artisanal food makers; plenty of food and more.

Tickets for the event – cosponsored by the Community of Literary Magazines and Pressesare available via Read & Feed’s Eventbrite page for $15 ($10 students/seniors).


Festival programming highlights include:

  • An all-star, 20-person marathon reading of John Ashbery’s “Girls on the Run,” preceded by a gathering of poetry luminaries — including Ann Lauterbach, Robert Polito, Joan Retallack, and Dara Wier — explaining “How to Love Reading Ashbery,” in celebration of Ashbery’s 90th birthday
  • Whiting Award-winning poetry superstars Simone White and LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs performing and talking poetry, food and music, while cooking up collard greens & salmon cakes
  • A multimedia talk on poetry and public art by Eric LorbererRain Taxi publisher and book festival director
  • The READ & FEED return of celebrated cookbook author and restaurateur Rozanne Gold, in conversation with literary chefs Rohan Kamicheril, Matt Lee, Susan Simon, and Lukas Volger, who will talk food, memory and the senses, while audience members find out if they are supertasters.
  • Cooking masterclasses from “Barb the Butcher” (Barbara Fisher), teaching attendees how to make sausages, and Rohan Kamicheril, making a tantalizing South Indian pounded rice delicacy
  • A private Weepy Booth in association with the much-loved Crybabies podcast, in which presenters Sarah Thyre and Susan Orlean and special guests regale listeners with the things that make us teary, presented in the intimate setting of Basilica’s Buddha Booth
  • Delicious and affordable South Indian cuisine created by Rohan Kamicheril of the popular Once Upon a Tiffin food blog in READ & FEED’S brand-new Community Café
  • A marketplace of local, independent literary publishers and artisanal food vendors


Susan Orlean

Melissa Auf der Maur, cofounder and director of Basilica Hudson, says: “Basilica’s programs have been greatly informed by our surroundings, from the history and landscape of the region to the range of artists who make their home here. The abundance of talented writers and innovative presses in the area has slowly revealed itself to us, and upon meeting Jeffrey Lependorf, CLMP’s Executive Director, and realizing our shared vision, READ & FEED naturally followed. Merging literature with the rich history of artisanal food and agriculture in the Hudson Valley allows Basilica Hudson to serve as a gateway for visitors to discover the talents and commitment of our community, and advances our goal to serve as a platform for the many forms of making and creativity in our region.”


About John Ashbery

John Ashbery is recognized as one of the greatest twentieth-century American poets. He has won nearly every major American award for poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Yale Younger Poets Prize, the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Griffin International Award, and a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Ashbery’s poetry challenges its readers to discard all presumptions about the aims, themes, and stylistic scaffolding of verse in favor of a literature that reflects upon the limits of language and the volatility of consciousness. In the New Criterion, William Logan noted: “Few poets have so cleverly manipulated, or just plain tortured, our soiled desire for meaning. [Ashbery] reminds us that most poets who give us meaning don’t know what they’re talking about.” The New York Times Book Review essayist Stephen Koch characterized Ashbery’s voice as “a hushed, simultaneously incomprehensible and intelligent whisper with a weird pulsating rhythm that fluctuates like a wave between peaks of sharp clarity and watery droughts of obscurity and languor.”


Critics have noted how Ashbery’s verse has taken shape under the influence of abstract expressionism, a movement in modern painting stressing nonrepresentational methods of picturing reality. “Modern art was the first and most powerful influence on Ashbery,” Helen McNeil declared in the Times Literary Supplement. “When he began to write in the 1950s, American poetry was constrained and formal while American abstract-expressionist art was vigorously taking over the heroic responsibilities of the European avant garde.” True to this influence, Ashbery’s poems, according to Fred Moramarco in the Journal of Modern Literature, are a “verbal canvas” upon which the poet freely applies the techniques of expressionism. Ashbery’s experience as an art critic in France during the 1950s and ‘60s, and in New York for magazines like New York and the Partisan Review strengthened his ties to abstract expressionism. But Ashbery’s poetry, as critics have observed, has evolved under a variety of influences besides modern art, becoming in the end the expression of a voice unmistakably his own. Ashbery’s influences include the Romantic tradition in American poetry that progressed from Whitman to Wallace Stevens, the so-called “New York School of Poets” featuring contemporaries such as Frank O’Hara and Kenneth Koch, and the French surrealist writers with whom Ashbery has dealt in his work as a critic and translator.


Rozanne Gold



12.30PM – 12.50PM Reading From The Rafters: Latasha N. Nevada Diggs

A featured reading by the Whiting Award-winning poet


1.00PM Cooking Demonstration (Community Café)

Rohan Kamicheril cooks South Indian


1.00PM – 1.50PM Loving Reading Ashbery (North Hall)

Poets Ann Lauterbach, Joan Retallack, Dara Wier and Robert Polito (moderating) provide an instruction manual for reading Hudson’s favorite poet.


2.00PM – 4.00PM Girls on the Run (North Hall)

A complete reading of John Ashbery’s book-length poem

Parts IV – VI: Jeffrey Lependorf, Eric Keenaghan, Charles North, Eric Lorberer;

Part VII – X: Tom DePietro, Michael Leong, Daniel Nester, Ellen Thurston;

Parts XI – XIV: Sara Wintz, Dara Wier, Rosanne Wasserman, Eugene Richie;

Parts XV – XVII: Dave King, Danniel Schoonebeek, Rebecca Wolff, Robert Polito;

Parts XVIII – end: Andrew Durbin, Adam Fitzgerald, Erica Kaufman, and Joan Retallack


2.00PM – 2.50PM Eat, Love, Memory (Main Hall)

Literary chefs Rohan Kamicheril, Matt Lee, Susan Simon, Lukas Volger, and Rozanne Gold (moderating) talk food, memory and the senses.


2.15PM Cooking Demonstration (Community Café)

Barb the Butcher (Barbara Fisher) makes sausages


3.00PM – 3.45PM In the Kitchen with Poets (Main Hall)

Whiting Award-winning poet LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs cooks up greens and salmon cakes for the audience with the help of Whiting Award-winning poet Simone White and moderator Jeffrey Lependorf, while they all chat about poetry, food, and music.


Simone White

3.50PM – 4.10PM Reading from the Rafters: Simone White

A featured reading by the Whiting Award-winning poet


4.15PM – 5.00PM Ashbery on the Bridge (North Hall)

Eric Lorberer presents a multimedia talk on the Ashbery Bridge in Minneapolis, public art, and poetry in public spaces


All Day


Community Cafe

Savor South Indian specialties by Tiffin’s Rohan Kamicheril and local fare by our neighbors at community prices, plus eat and drink delicious things from Barb’s Butchery, Chatham Brewery and Irving Farm Coffee Roasters.


Crybabies Weepy Booth (Lobby)

Enjoy a private moment in this lobby installation featuring Crybabies podcast hosts Sara Thyre and Susan Orlean with special guests on the things that make us cry.


Ashbery and Darger on the Run (Kiln Room)

View images of John Ashbery and work by Henry Darger, whose drawings inspired “Girls on the Run.”


Wish John Ashbery Happy Birthday (CLMP Booth)

Help decorate our sculptural cake with your personal message to John!



2 Bridges Review, Belladonna*, Bellevue Literary Review, Boston Review, Breezy Hill Orchard, Chaseholm Farm, Cool Grove Press, DoubleCross Press, Erizo, Factory Hollow Press, Fence Books, Great Weather for MEDIA, Hudson-Chatham Winery, Indolent Books, Jarry, Jubilat, Litmus Press, The Mantle, McPherson & Company, Mosaic, No, Dear, Olde York Farm: Distillery & Cooperage, Open Letter Books, The Operating System, PEN America, Perugia Press, Pooky Amsterdam, Princeton Architectural Press, Publication Studio Hudson, Rally in the Valley, Siglio, Slope Editions, Spotty Dog Books & Ale



About Basilica Hudson


Basilica Hudson is a non-profit multidisciplinary arts center in Hudson, NY, supporting the creation, production and presentation of arts and culture while fostering sustainable community. Founded in 2010 by musician Melissa Auf der Maur and filmmaker Tony Stone, Basilica Hudson makes its home in a spectacular solar-powered reclaimed 1880s industrial factory on the waterfront of the historic City of Hudson. Weekend destination events comprise the core of Basilica Hudson’s music, performance, film, food and literary programming, alongside regular film screenings series, art exhibitions, and other community gatherings.


Deeply rooted in its community, Basilica Hudson has evolved in tandem with the City of Hudson’s ongoing transformation and has drawn inspiration for its mission and programs from the city’s eclectic and epic history, as well as the regional geography and history. Through its programs, Basilica Hudson invites audiences to discover Hudson and the region, and strives to forge experiences that aspire to the scale, grit and beauty of its surroundings. Historic Hudson serves as a gateway to riches of the Hudson Valley, and reflecting the historical and agricultural spirit of the region, the city is increasingly recognized as a destination for music, food, art, antique, vintage, and history enthusiasts.


Basilica Hudson’s artistic program has taken shape through collaborations with many partners, visiting artists, and friends, supported by adventurous audiences and community members. Drawing inspiration from its location, in addition to its regular arts programs, Basilica Hudson has expanded its roster of programs with each season to include a range of community programs. Annual Farm & Flea markets celebrate the broad regional community of collectors, makers and artisans, and newer food-focused programs, including Read & Feed, reach into the admirable history and resurgence of agriculture and farming in the Hudson Valley. The broad range of programming is presented April to November each year, and welcomes a range of local, regional and national audiences.


About CLMP


CLMP, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, ensures a vibrant, diverse literary landscape by helping small literary publishers work better. We communicate the art of literary publishing to readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, educators, funders and other literary stakeholders, and work to bring all of these communities together. CLMP carries out this mission so that essential literary voices from all corners can make their way from writers to readers.


CLMP exists to serve magazines, presses, Internet publishers, and chapbook and zine publishers mission-driven to publish literature. Independent literary publishers make up an underserved, uniquely vulnerable and essential field that connects the greatest diversity of writers to equally diverse communities of readers. Since 1967, CLMP has worked to bring these literary publishers together to form a mutually supportive community that is often at the vanguard of progress. CLMP provides technical assistance, facilitates peer-to-peer learning and group action, and builds bridges to connect diverse communities of literary stakeholders.


For 50 years, CLMP has been a sustaining lifeline — raising publishers’ organizational capacity, helping them connect their writers to more readers, and serving as a dependable, essential hub for nurturing community support.







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