Writing Residency

Berheim Writer-in-Residence: Ann Townsend


Here's Ann Townsend on her experience as the Berheim Writer-in-Residence thus far:

So far in my Kentucky summer there has been much long grass and insect noise; summer is not as quiet and heavy as I expected it to be. I’m a summer intern at both Sarabande and Blackacre Nature Conservancy.  As I drove out of Blackacre the other day, I rolled down my car window and listened to the low, layered sound that rose from the field as I passed; this morning when I walked into Sarabande, a group of morning doves flew away with a shared chirp as I opened the door.

I’ve only been in Louisville for two weeks, but I’m already starting to guess that Kentucky’s wild places seep easily into words.  This was the idea behind the new Writer-in-Residence Program sponsored by Sarabande, The Baltic Writing Residency, and Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.  Poet Ann Townsend will start in August as the first resident.

A small cabin, a big forest, and unlimited writing time? Jealous, I perused Ann Townsend’s website, and read the three poems she’s shared there.  Her writing, although not about Kentucky, feels applicable to this landscape.  She pairs pastoral beauty with the loneliness and darkness to be found in nature.  She captures the gothic, earthly underside of things without compromising the beauty on their surfaces.

Great writers seem to crawl inside nature and understand its rhythms, motivations, and effects.  Going to school in the northeast, where many of my classmates see NYC as the default base for (especially young) creative people, it’s nice to find out about Sarabande and BWR’s partnership with Bernheim: it reaffirms my belief that writers need woods.  Hopefully I’ll get to see Ann Townsend when Sarabande and BWR host her in Louisville! She’ll also be reading at Bernheim: maybe I’ll take a trip out there. Until then, I’ll be reading The Coronary Garden and frolicking around my new summer home before it gets too hot.