>UTV Day 7

>Thursday gets its own post because of the special event we had in the afternoon. First, we had our regular workshop session in which we discussed the stories of two of the participants. Then there was lunch (tacos con queso, for those keeping track) and afternoon work–preparation for the final workshop session.

But in the late afternoon we gathered in Tepoztlan’s only real bookstore, La Sombra de Sobrino, which is more cafe than bookstore but no less wonderful for that. There were chairs set up on the lawn, people carried wine or coffee from the cafe, and we settled in for a reading. First up was Chuck Wachtel. Chuck read some short pieces from Because We Are Here and also a couple of poems from The Coriolis Effect. This was great except that there are a couple of festivals going on this week in Tepoztlan so there were occasionaly blasts of fireworks (huge rockets) and, more intrusively, just as he was about to begin, a marching band took up on the street outside the store and made it laughably hard to hear. But Chuck was a trooper and when the music subsided he began again. Then Grace Paley read–with borrowed glasses–and even though she is not well, she was superb. She started with two stories from Enormous Changes and her delivery was, as always, excellent. These stories were even funnier and sadder than I remembered. Then she read two poems from her Collected Poems, one of which was about her husband, Bob, who is also with us this week. Grace was followed by Breyten Breytenbach who stuck to prose (we’re going to hear poetry from him later in the week), including a couple of fascinating excerpts from The Confessions of an Albino Terrorist and a section of the book he wrote while in prison in South Africa.

Wow. This was an amazing reading and it was attended by maybe 50 people–a major literary event in a small town in Mexico.

[Dinner and tequilla at La Luna Mextli after . . . also very nice.]

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