Why Western New England?
The region is resplendent with writers and literary connections. Besides the fact that the Literary Cadences founder is a current resident of western Massachusetts, here are a few of the reasons the Connecticut River Valley area has made the cut as one end of this singular exchange…
What happens here in literary circles gets attention. Recent issues of Poets & Writers Magazine have been generously speckled with references to people and places in the region. – Things noted include Small Beer Press in Easthampton (“All in the Family: Ig Publishing, Two Dollar Radio and Small Beer Press” Nov/Dec 2012 issue), and debut poet Dan Chelotti also of Easthampton (“Breaking through the Noise: Our Ninth Annual Looks at Debut Poets” Jan/Feb 2014). And, as part of that same issue, P&W included among its residency and submission news Dzanc Books out of Northampton and their sponsorship of the Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal – folks looking to “deepen mutual understanding among writers from North America and writers from Portugal.” – chalk it up to another example of a literary bridge. There was also the write up on the unique venue of Flying Object in Hadley (“Inspiration Flies High” Jan/Feb 2013).
Part of the “Five Colleges” area (Smith College, UMass Amherst, Mt Holyoke, Hampshire College and Amherst College), there is a healthy depth of intellect and things literary here that should not go untapped. Then there are the links to historical figures: Amherst produced Emily Dickinson, her house now open as a museum. Smith College in Northampton is Alma mater to Sylvia Plath and home of the Smith Poetry Center and its reading series that hosts some of today’s most vibrant voices in the craft.
Finally, independent bookstores thrive here. The New York Times agrees. What is the formula that makes such a thing work in today’s world? Is it replicable in other places? Questions worth exploring.
Broadside Books, Northampton, MA
White Square Books, Easthampton, MA
The Montague Bookmill, Montague, MA
Grey Matter Books, Hadley, MA
Mocha Maya’s, Shelburne Falls, MA
Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
Flying Object, Hadley, MA
Academy of Music, Northampton, MA
World Eye Bookshop, Greenfield & Florence, MA
The White Rose Bookstore, Holyoke, MA