By John Mathews, Special To The Standard
Vermont: its beauty, its people, its architecture, its causes, its difference — is a prominent theme of the Bookstock Literary Festival coming to Woodstock July 25, 26 and 27.
At this sixth annual festival, experts and authors in many fields will discuss varied aspects of Vermont, while other presenters will cover a wide range of topics over three days of author readings, discussions, panels and workshops.
In addition, the festival presents an art show, a new film, activities for children, music, food and two special book sales — rare and vintage books said.
on sale at Norman Williams Public Library and a tentful of used books on the Green.
A new book copublished by the Vermont Historical Society and the Woodstock Foundation, “ The Vermont Difference: Perspectives from the Green Mountain State,” provides an overview of what makes Vermont special and what the state offers to the nation. The book is a collection of 18 essays by leaders of the state’s economic, political, cultural and environmental sectors. Two of the authors, retired University of Vermont history professor H. Nicholas Muller III, and David Donath, Woodstock Foundation president, will discuss the book at Bookstock.
Another side of Vermont is chronicled by an historian and photographer who scoured the state to document what they call the “architectural richness” of the state. In “ Buildings of Vermont,” Glenn M. Andres, a professor of the history of art and architecture at Middlebury College, and Curtis B. Johnson, a professional photographer, go beyond the usual pictures of barns, churches and village greens to record the “range, quality, humanity and persistence of a built landscape that has a compelling appeal to visitor and residents and legal battles that took place in the buildings of Vermont, its courthouses and town meeting venues, are entertainingly recounted in another new book, “ Uncommon Law, Ancient Roads, and Other Ruminations on Vermont Legal History.”
Paul Gillies, a prominent lawyer and historian, tells the tales of many colorful Vermont characters – judges, lawyers and litigants — who helped fashion a system of justice and equity to punish transgressors, restore rights and settle disputes.
A vanishing species of Vermonters, rural people with deep roots in the state, is the subject of Peter Miller’s book, “ A Lifetime of Vermont People.” Representing 63 years of photography in the state, Miller’s book contains 60 black and white portraits and profiles of rural Vermonters.
Miller is a distinguished photographer who has received four national awards and was honored by the Vermont Legislature for his documentary work. At age 80, he spent seven days a week for a year compiling the valuable record for this self-published book, his ninth.
Two Vermonters with deep roots of their own in the state, John Elder, teacher, writer, environmentalist, musician, and Anne Macksoud, prolific documentary filmmaker, are both presenters at Bookstock.
For 37 years, Elder taught English and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and the Bread Loaf School of English. He specialized in American nature writing, English Romantic poetry, the haiku tradition and service learning. Elder will lead a two-hour experimental workshop on exploring how descriptive writing may enhance powers of observation and contribute to creation of longer, reflective pieces.
In a separate presentation, Elder will read from his musical memoir, “ Picking Up the Flute,” describing how he learned to play the wooden flute and demonstrating musical parallels between western Ireland and Vermont.
Anne Macksoud, a full-time Woodstock resident, is a nationally recognized documentary filmmaker. At Bookstock, she will present her latest film, “ The Wisdom to Survive: Climate Change, Capitalism & Community,” a clarion call for citizen action in the face of climate disruption. The film provides a sharp analysis of the forces and factors preventing change.
Notable activists, experts and advocates are featured in the film, including Bill McKibben, Joanna Macy, Roger Payne, Richard Heinberg and Gus Spaeth. The film will be shown on Sunday, July 27, at 1 p.m. at the Town Hall Theater.
SPECIAL EVENT ON THURSDAY, JULY 24
Young Writers Workshop at Billings Farm. Young people ages 13-19 are welcome. To register, call 802457-3368, ext. 44. For complete information on BOOKSTOCK 2014 go to www.bookstockvt.org Click on “2014 Events” for full descriptions of each presentation.
The overall schedule can be accessed from the home page.
Please note that no more tickets are left for Billy Collins’s reading.