Posts Tagged ‘2011: The Hungry Muse’


Gopnik, Mones join revamped Audio Archive

06/10/2011  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post

After completing a quiet-but-thorough redesign of our online audio archive, we’re pleased to let you know about the addition of two new recordings.

Adam Gopnik’s “The Rituals of Taste” preserves his keynote address from the 2011 Seminar, “The Hungry Muse.” This tour-de-force lecture examines two ideas of taste: one, the way a thing tastes in the mouth; and two, taste as an indicator of cultural sensibility. Moving from his account of a 37-course meal at elBulli to a primer on Veblenian economic theory, Gopnik concludes that “mouth taste” and “moral taste” are inextricable from one another. Proof, if you still needed it, that we really are what we eat.

In “Chinese Culture through Food,” Nicole Mones explores how the food and culinary customs of a particular country can reveal a larger sense of its culture and history. With examples from the Chinese city of Hangzhou, where traditional dishes are named after poets and poems, Mones discusses the intellectual substructure of Chinese cuisine and elucidates the culinary implications of guanxi, a term that signifies the connectedness between all things.

We hope you like the new look and functionality of the archive. You can now sort recordings by last name or year and we think the overall experience is a whole lot better. Recordings will no longer appear hear on Littoral, but we’ll be sure to post a link when there’s something new. As with any redesign, there are a few odds and ends we plan to fix in the v.1.1. If there’s anything you’d like to see, please let us know.

From the Curt Richter Studio – 2011

02/18/2011  by Arlo Haskell  1 Comment

Curt Richter is an internationally-renowned photographer, the winner of a John Kobal Portrait Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fulbright Grant, among other honors. He may be best known for the landmark collection "A Portrait of Southern Writers," published in 2000 as the culmination of a commission from Louis D. Rubin Jr. to photograph the founding members of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Since 2008, Richter has joined us in Key West each January to continue his larger and ongoing series of portraits of American writers.

The images below are digital outtakes selected by Richter from this year’s portrait sessions in his temporary studio at the Kress Building in Key West.

Adam Gopnik

Brynn Saito

Gael Greene

George Kamide

Harry Mathews

Hungry: The Muse in Black & White

02/02/2011  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post

Discussions at the second session of this year’s Seminar focused on the links between one’s experience of food and one’s urge to write. All agreed on the pleasure-giving merits of eating well, and everyone found something to laugh at. But it soon became clear that there was much more to it than pleasure: food offers a lens into the machinations of repressive government and individual survival; learning to cook offers myriad lessons for learning to write; and food for most of us represents something both intensely personal and boldly communal: a template for the writing life as profound as any.

All photos this post by Nick Doll. Thanks to Shayne Benowitz for her notes.

Novelist Kate Christensen discussed the role food plays in the development of character, and explained how her taste in books often depends on whether or not the main characters are seen eating. “I hate novels that have no food in them. We all eat!”

Michael Ruhlman, well-known writer of cookbooks, surprised his fellow panelists with his disdain for them: “I hate cookbooks. Recipes are not instruction manuals, they’re more like sheet music. They’re incredibly nuanced.”

David ‘Call me Mas’ Masumoto brought some of the wisdom of the farmer to bear as he discussed his parallel passions for peach farming and writing. “Writing is a marvelous act because we are forced to slow down.”

Longtime New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik talked about what writers—prone to over-intellectualizing everything—can learn from professional chefs, who are forced by the timetables of the restaurant to plunge into action: “Take the mental task and transfer it into a physical task.” Simply put: just sit down, put pen to pad or fingertips to keys, and start writing.

Behind the Scenes of “The Hungry Muse”

01/31/2011  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post

As we continue to digest “The Hungry Muse,” we wanted to thank the many volunteers and event staff that allow us to do what we do with style, class, and grace. Herewith, a glance behind the scenes. We’ll continue to post lots of new photos from both sessions this week, and will start to roll out new audio next week.

Margaret Elliot ran the front of the house once again, fielding all questions, delivering all answers, and even delivering frittatas. Christopher Kush’s Voltaire Books expertly served our book-buying public. Photo by Michael Blades.

The sound and light systems at the San Carlos Institute received a major overhaul this year thanks to a significant donation from Disney. Event sound was once again provided by Private Ear, aka Melody Cooper and Dan Simpson, who oversaw the new installation for the San Carlos. Photo by first-time volunteer Nick Doll.

KWLS executive director Miles Frieden, right, invited Embury Cocktails mixmaster Jason Rowan, left, aboard as a full-time player for this year’s festivities. Rowan, burgeoning international tastemaker and hand-crafter of bitters, created custom libations including a rosemary vodka gimlet and a jalapeño-avocado margarita. Rundowns and recipes on these and more at Embury. Photo by Curt Richter.

Florida International University professor and poet Nick Vagnoni (left) has been a KWLS volunteer since he was a student at Key West High School. Jolly Benson (right) has served for three years as our lighting director and emergency fix-it man, generously donating his time at the light board. Thanks again, guys! Photos by Nick Doll.


Thursday Night Gopnik & Airstream-Gimlet

01/14/2011  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post

Adam Gopnik opened Session Two with a keynote address, titled “On Molars and Morals,” that examined the relationship between “mouth taste” and moral taste, while discussing the views of such thinkers as Thorstein Veblen and David Hume.

Adam Gopnik on stage. All photos in this post by Ian Rowan.

Embury Cocktails mixmaster Jason Rowan had a surprise in store for the crowd before they left the San Carlos, as he had commandeered a vintage Airstream mobile home to serve as bar for tonight’s concoction—the rosemary gimlet.



Session Two Begins Tonight

01/13/2011  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post

Adam Gopnik’s keynote address will kick off the second session of the 29th annual Key West Literary Seminar tonight at 7:45. If this second course of the Hungry Muse is half as good as the first, we’re in for a real treat. Here’s a few more pics from Session One:

The San Carlos Institute, 516 Duval St, where the Seminar takes place. Photo by Curt Richter.

Ruth Reichl, Jonathan Gold, and Frank Bruni discuss the art and craft of restaurant criticism. Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Doug Mack and Ilana Schonfield enjoy a creation from mixmaster Jason Rowan of Embury Cocktails. Photo by Michael Blades.

Roy Blount Jr.. Photo by Michael Blades.

More Postcards from Curt Richter

01/13/2011  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post



“The Hungry Muse” – Session One

01/10/2011  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post

The first session of “The Hungry Muse” wrapped up Sunday afternoon. Here’s a few highlights from photographer Curt Richter. Stay tuned for more pics and audio coming soon. Session Two begins Thursday night, January 13, with a keynote address by Adam Gopnik. To register, call Miles at 305-293-9291.

Voltaire Books again set up shop in the José Martí room of the San Carlos Institute.

Molly O’Neill and Calvin Trillin upstairs at the San Carlos.

Judith Miller, Jason Epstein, and Julia Reed on the ground’s of Key West’s Oldest House.

George Kamide, Kim Adrian, and Brynn Saito, winners of this year’s awards for emerging writers, at Sunday’s conch chowder luncheon.

Day Two

01/09/2011  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post

Friday morning’s session featured a talk by Judith Jones, a poetry reading by Billy Collins, and a panel discussion with Diana Abu-Jaber, Jonathan Gold, Darra Goldstein, Madhur Jaffrey, and Julia Reed. Here’s a video recap of the day produced by Marky Pierson.

Key West Literary Seminar 2011- from marky pierson on Vimeo.

Breakfast on the Road

01/07/2011  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post

Life on the go can throw one’s regular practice awry. As we get ready to head out for a proper sit-down at 915, we take a look back at what sufficed for breakfast.

Postcard by the one and only Curt Richter.

There Are More Days Than Sausages

01/05/2011  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post

Our old friend Curt Richter‘s just in from Helsinki. He’ll be continuing his series of portraits of writers during the Seminar these next two weeks; and in the meantime handed in these postcards: cogent reminders for the final behind-the-scenes push, and a little fuel for the fire. More to come from Curt and all soon; until then—





1st Session Sold Out – 2nd Session Still Open

11/29/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post


Session One of this year’s Seminar is now sold out.

There is still time to register for Session Two of our 29th annual Seminar, The Hungry Muse: An Exploration of Food in Literature. Panelists at the second session, January 13-16, 2011, are Elizabeth Berg, Roy Blount Jr., Kate Christensen, Billy Collins, John T. Edge, Adam Gopnik, Gael Greene, Jane Hirshfield, Madhur Jaffrey, Mark Kurlansky, David Mas Masumoto, Nicole Mones, Bich Minh Nguyen, Molly O’Neill, Michael Ruhlman, Patrick Symmes, Calvin Trillin, and Kevin Young.

This will be a mouthwatering investigation not simply of the stuff we eat, but of all the things food stands for in our lives. Click here for the complete schedule of events, here to learn more about our panelists, and here to register.

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