To kick off our new partnership with Silverwood Park, “Art on Foot,” in style we’re jointly hosting Field Trip, a day-long arts festival in late September.
With this joint venture, we aim to incorporate art and literature into the park’s sylvan setting. One of the central projects of “Art on Foot,” Poetry in the Park, allows visitors to access poems and stories by phone as they hike through the trails.
With Poetry in the Park, you simply dial up a phone number and listen to a handpicked selection of little literary gems read aloud by some of our favorite Minnesota poets and flash fiction writers. We’ve got three stops up and ready for you already, featuring poems by Tim Nolan, Gary Dop, our 2010 mnLIT flash fiction winner, Hillary Wentworth, and poet Connie Wanek; an additional “cell stop” highlighting stories or poems by a new Minnesota writer will go live in the park each week until the festival in late September.
Look for Q & As here on the blog each week in the meantime, introducing you to the program’s featured writers as their “stops” go live. Also, you can meet the “Art on Foot” participating artists and hear the “Poetry in the Park” authors read their pieces live on writer-led hiking tours through the trails during the Field Trip festival.
Find details on the upcoming Field Trip festival and participating projects over the coming weeks on mnartists.org/field_trip
Meet the ‘Art on Foot’ folks: Hillary Wentworth
When do you write? Do you work according to a set routine, or is your schedule more whimsical, or catch-as-catch can, depending on how the mood strikes you or opportunity presents itself?
Really no set time at all; I tend to write better in the morning, though. A cup of coffee, a blank screen, and me = blissful Saturday morning.
What items are sitting on your desktop right now?
If you mean my computer’s desktop: Everything from cover for jobs years ago to various versions of the memoir I’m currently writing. I’m not very good at organizing and saying goodbye. However, if you mean my actual desk:
- tintypes that I bought at antique stores
- a constellation map
- a worry stone
- stickers for Peace Coffee and the Soap Factory (actually affixed to desk)
Are you a monogamous or a promiscuous reader?
I used to read multiple books at once, like two novels and one essay collection at a time. Now that I’m older I have to be more monogamous to really slip into a world. I tend to abandon books a lot, though, because I don’t have the patience. If it doesn’t catch me in the first 10 pages, it’s done and gone.
What books do you return to again and again, and if so, under what circumstance do you pick up each one? (i.e. for solace, for escape, to get the creative juices flowing, etc)
Hmm… I’m not a big re-reader, so this is a tough question. I do love Annie Dillard, so I return to her nonfiction in its many forms (For the Time Being is my favorite). I’ve also spent time with Nick Flynn‘s Another Bullshit Night in Suck City to figure out why it works.
What reading material is on your night stand?
I’m currently reading Joshua Foer’s Moonwalking with Einstein so that I can learn some memory strategies (I won’t be competing in any championships, though). Also: a book of crosswords. I used to gauge my worth as a person by how many I could solve; now I’ve toned that down a bit. I do my best.
Do you have an unfinished story that still haunts you?
I have a lot of scraps right now that need to be formed into a whole to have the greatest power. These scraps do haunt me; it’s like a puzzle you can’t quite finish because the border pieces are missing.
Name a local writer whose work you’re into lately.
I enjoy John Jodzio‘s stories, particularly “Willem and Trudy, Deuce and Me,” which he read at the miniStories gathering last year. It’s magic when a story can be so funny and so heartbreaking at the same time. Last year I also attended the Poetry Slam Championships, and I think the St. Paul Soap Boxing team is awesome.
Favorite bookstore/bookseller in town, and why?
Magers and Quinn: Best vibe, best events, located close by!
I was captivated by stories early on, so I’m going to say Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad collection when I was a preschooler. My mom and I would read the books, and then I’d recite them later on in bed, so that I could stay in that world.
I’m willing to bet everyone enjoys a bit of trashy stuff from time to time. What’s the best god-awful piece of writing you ever read?
I have to say I got into the Twilight series when it first came out. Don’t try to read them aloud, though, or the flaws are just too obvious to continue. (I was trying to get my husband into the books, so i was reading to him.) Instead: skim and grin. I also love to read trashy pop culture mags like People and US Weekly.
Hillary Wentworth studied creative writing at the University of New Hampshire, the Salt Institute, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she received her MFA. As a recent grand-prize winner of the miniStories competition, she was featured on mnartists.org. Her writing has also appeared in Black Warrior Review, caesura, and the Fourth River and is displayed in the current issue of Twin Cities Metro. She is at work on a memoir.
Poetry in the Park is part of Silverwood Park’s new “Art on Foot” program, created in collaboration with mnartists.org, which allows you to enjoy work from Minnesota artists and authors along the trails. Bring the family back to the park on September 24, and meet all of the “Art on Foot” artists in person during Field Trip, a day-long festival with live music and theater, poet-led hikes with readings along the trails, and much more. The festival is a joint effort of mnartists.org and Silverwood Park. Find additional links, work, and information from the “Art on Foot” artists and writers, and get all the details about the line-up for Field Trip online at www.mnartists.org/field_trip.
Listen to the following stories by Hillary Wentworth, right now, as you walk Silverwood Park’s trails:
“146.9 Volts” – mnartists.org’s 2010 mnLIT grand prize-winning flash fiction entry