TSR’s Cara Blue Adams Report from Bread Loaf

Cara Blue Adams and Josh Rivkin at Bread Loaf, Summer 2010

This August, I had the great good luck to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Ripton, Vermont, on a waiter scholarship. In the tiny Burlington airport, a passerby asked if I was going to Bread Loaf, and when I said yes, that I’d be a waiter, he said, “I was a waiter a few years ago. Get ready! You will never have this much fun again!” Us waiters did have a phenomenal time. We donned white aprons and rubber-soled shoes and tried not to spill coffee on famous writers. We stayed up half the night talking about poetry and penning articles for the conference’s daily newspaper, The Crumb, only to wake, sleepy but excited, at six for the breakfast shift. The nights of the waiter readings (part 1, part 2 from Itunes U), we worked the dinner shift in red fezzes and feather boas and hustled to clean up and get to the Little Theater for our three minutes of fame. At those readings, I was awed by the writing talent behind the waiting talent.

Bread Loaf offered the chance to meet many TSR authors, including director Michael Collier and assistant director Jennifer Grotz; faculty members and special guests Marianne Boruch, Jane Hirshfield, Yusef Komunyakka, Andrea Barrett, Kevin McIlvoy, and Stanley Plumly; and headwaiter Jennine Capó Crucet, whose excellent debut collection How to Leave Hialeah won the 2009 Iowa Short Fiction Prize. A story from Jennine’s collection, “The Next Move,” appeared in our Summer 2009 issue.

Among the 2010 Bread Loaf waiter class were two other TSR authors: Joshua Rivkin and Jenny Johnson. Josh’s work has appeared in our pages before; Jenny is a debut TSR poet. Both of these incredible writers’ stunning poems will be featured in our Winter 2011 issue, due out in January.

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