For Eva Geertz, Laurie Colwn’s Home Cooking had been a game changer. Local filmmaker Karyl Evans thought Boyhood was unbeatable. Mike van Buren put a good word in for Michael Chabon’s The Wonder Boys. If you asked Alexis Zanghi, it didn’t get more artistic than Law & Order (SVU, obviously). Martha Lewis voted for Solaris — the film and the book.
And for beacon of literary light Debby Applegate, The Wire was, unquestionably, a work of genius.
The names the crowd of close to 150, including the Elm City’s literary elite, shared at the Institute Library weren’t quite happenstance. They were the works they shouted out to New Haven Review Editor Mark Oppenheimer, as writers, poets, book nerds, and general proseheads gathered to celebrate the Review itself — a locally produced literary magazine now on its eighth year and 15th issue — and its recent decision to fuse organizationally with the Institute Library.
“One of the things I love about this place and one of the reasons the Review became part of it is ... an underground culture. I like a little edge, I like a little funk. This place is one of those edgy, funky, undergroundy kind of places, and you really are doing a disservice if you are not inviting your edgy, funky, undergroundy friends and relatives to this place to join, to participate, and to meet awesomely cool people,” Bennett Lovett-Graff, publisher of the New Haven Review, said at the Saturday evening gathering at the library upstairs at 847 Chapel St.
“We’re so thrilled to be merging with the Institute Library. Lots of literary journals are under the auspices of universities; I don’t know another one that’s under the auspices of a weird, steampunk, lending library, so that’s great,” added Oppenheimer.
Which was when attendees were asked to share their favorite work of fiction, music, or visual art –– and listen to those around them share theirs.
The result, buttressed by about an hour of socializing, nibbling, and listening to Norman and the Rockwellians (with members of Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps) on each end, channeled the same kind of collective, community spirit that the Review offers through its mélange of critical reviews, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. As attendees shared their favorite works of art — Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, Seurat’s two small pointillist plums at the Yale University Art Gallery, anything by A.A. Milne — others gathered nearby would murmur or express approving sighs of aaaah, adding a title to an ever-growing mental reading list.
There was eating and drinking …
... socializing with very live people and dead authors alike …
... and even a little training time for the future readers, writers, and contributors to the New Haven Review.