Yaddo

Photo Credit: Yaddo Website
Photo Credit: Yaddo Website

Sometimes I daydream about founding an artist's colony in the rural Ozarks where I live. Why would I want to do this? Haven't I chosen a life of seclusion away from the urban landscape? Yes, I have. But sometimes I think it might be nice to have other writers around. People who share my interests. People who might be open to the idea of forming a writer's workshop or just reading each other's works in progress.

Attempts in this direction have always failed. When I suggest to friends that they might like to move here, they invariably answer that they can't. They can't, because they have a job in the big city. Or they're retired, but they want to stay close to their family. Or for medical reasons, they need to stay close to civilization.

I even tried to offer an internship at the Inverted-A Horn, but there were no takers.

However, there are existing artists colonies founded by other people. One of the most famous is Yaddo.

Yaddo Gardens

Photo Credit: Yaddo Website
Photo Credit: Yaddo Website

Katrina Trask, a poet, and the wife of financier Spencer Trask, founded Yaddo together with her husband in 1900. It is still a writer's colony today, over a century later. In fact, Yaddo's next application deadline is August 1st. I'm intrigued by the possibility of sending in an application, but deterred by the idea that even if I were accepted, I couldn't actually go.

The name "Yaddo" was a word made up by the Trask children, all four of whom died in childhood. The word is meant to rhyme with "shadow".

The purpose of Yaddo is to give writers the opportunity to get away from it all and concentrate on their writing for the duration of the residency. But the real opportunity, as I see it, is to meet with other writers and artists, to share ideas, experience a sense of community and make lasting friendships.

These are things that we can do here on Hubpages, too, but at Yaddo artists and writers meet in person. There is a selection process. And let's face it: there is a certain amount of prestige associated with these residencies.

Here is a list of famous writers, artists and composers who have stayed at Yaddo over the years: Milton Avery, James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Leonard Bernstein, Truman Capote, John Cheever, Aaron Copland, Philip Guston, Patricia Highsmith, Langston Hughes, Ted Hughes, Alfred Kazin, Ulysses Kay, Jacob Lawrence, Sylvia Plath, Katherine Anne Porter, Mario Puzo, Clyfford Still, and Virgil Thomson.

What do some of the guests of Yaddo have in common? Well. collectively they have won 64 Pulitzer Prizes, 25 MacArthur Fellowships, 60 National Book Awards, 23 National Book Circles and one Nobel Prize in Literature.

This is a great track record, and I'm drawn to it. But ... what else do most of them have in common? They're liberals.

Does somebody like me have a chance?

Yaddo has a non-discrimination policy that runs as follows: "Yaddo does not discriminate in its programs and activities against anyone on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, ancestry, disability, HIV status, or veteran status."

I would feel more comfortable if they also did not discriminate based on political orientation or financial circumstances.

Here is a quote from Katrrina Trask that I found in the blurb on the Yaddo book put out by Columbia University Press:

"Is it right for one person to own vast property whilst another has nowhere to lay his head? Should the fortunate few possess so much more than the unfortunate many who do the work? The wretched inequality of life staggers me. What right have I to an income that enables me to live a life of ease and luxury, whilst my fellow-men can wrest by their toil only the merest pittance. It is all wrong. The time will come when the distribution of wealth will be very different. In the meantime, however, no one alone can change the established order: we can only go on working and doing our best to make new laws and to help on a new order: and during the waiting for the coming of these economic changes great homes and great houses will still have their place; and our first individual duty is to make, in that waiting time, at least a new spiritual order."—Katrina Trask , 1918

When I read a statement like that, my blood runs cold. It's the sort of thing that when I was younger might have made me turn away from this opportunity in scorn. But there is just one Yaddo. Should those of us who disagree with Katrina Trask's politics count ourselves out of the race?

When was the last time an advocate of the free market won a Nobel Prize in Literature? Isn't it about time?

Yaddo may not be a realistic goal for me right now. After all, they have no accommodations for chimpanzees. But it could be an opportunity for you! I encourage all my literary friends to apply. If you are chosen, and you make it big, all I ask is that you put in a good word for me!


Yaddo- Making American Culture

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Comments 15 comments

nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 7 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

Aya,

Could you elaborate a little on the distinction between "Creed" and "Political Orientation?"

Nets


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nets, it did occur to me that perhaps "creed" could be interpreted as including one's political beliefs. And in a way, people's religious beliefs and their beliefs about the economy are not completely separable. (E.g. some of Jesus of Nazareth's remarks concerning the poor.) 

Nevertheless, most organizations like this, I think, take "creed" to have more to do with religious beliefs concerning the existence or non-existence of various deities, and not about moral issues directly related to the operation of the marketplace.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Here is a link to a wiki on "creed":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creed


Ef El Light profile image

Ef El Light 7 years ago from New York State

Rand outsells them all.They gave her intensely bad reviews. Her own group nurtured and promoted Greenspan, Rothbard (while he was there), the Brandens, Peikoff and George Reisman, who is the leading free market economist.

Ted Hughes was not a leftist, which is why the slanderers assailed him in the '80s and '90s.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

F.L. Light, thanks for your comment. Rand did indeed outsell them all -- and still does!

However, if she were just a young person starting out today, I don't know if she could have had the same success. It is really hard to find an agent, much less get a contract with a major publisher.

I'm not really familiar with Ted Hughes and his politics. I'll have to look into it.


Ef El Light profile image

Ef El Light 7 years ago from New York State

The author of this novel http://www.wingedvictorypress.com/ has distributed review copies to the free market galaxy. I know not how many copies she has sold, but the reviews must have caused most of the sales. She used a print on demand printer. If she now submitted it to an agent, an acceptance might ensue.

I recently heard "Her Husband," by Diane Middlebrook. She says that Hughes made profit in buying and selling land. He and Prince Charles would often hunt together.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

F.L. Light, thanks for the input. Have you read Gen LaGreca's book NOBLE VISION and do you recommend it?

I must confess that almost everything I've heard about Ted Hughes was in reference to his relationship with Sylvia Plath. Do you recommend his poetry?


Ef El Light profile image

Ef El Light 7 years ago from New York State

I ordered her book today after reading the first six pages on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Noble-Vision-Gen-LaGreca/dp/...

I tried to like CROW but do not remember relishing it very much.Now that I know much more about him, I should try some of his books again. He pondered much upon animals, since he hunted often.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

F.L. Light, it does look the sort of book I might enjoy. I haven't decided yet whether to buy it. If you get a chance, after you've read it, let me know if it is worth getting.

I was under the impression that Ted Hughes wrote "modern" poetry, but to be honest, I can't say that I've read any of it. I may have gotten that impression from what I read of Plath.


Ef El Light profile image

Ef El Light 7 years ago from New York State

In some of his poems the slanted rhyme is hard to discern. But here http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/ted_hughes/po... the rhyme is manifest.

Before I tell you about Noble Vision, Aya, I will advertise my own book, FREE MEN ORIGINATE PROSPERITY, which is now in its 3rd proof. It may go to a fourth.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

F.L. Light, thanks for providing the link to Hughes' poem. I am not so concerned about rhyme, but I had difficulty finding a consistent meter in "The Harvest Moon." To me, rhyme is optional but meter is not.

I look forward to hearing more about your book.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 7 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

Interesting article. A comment was made, however that Rand encouraged Greenspan. I am quite sure that Rand, and the liberals from Yaddo would not have approved of the off balance sheet banking that allowed the banker class to scam the people of the United States. Something tells me that all those authors aspired to greater ethics and would have seen that which is going on in the credit crisis as being totally unethical and a perversion of their beliefs.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Bgmall, I'm sure that Rand would not have approved of the banking scam. I also doubt that she approved of most of what Greenspan did. As for the liberals at Yaddo, I think they would have approved of the policies that allowed unreliable borrowers to get easy credit with government backing.


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 7 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

Aya,

While you're right that the liberals at Yaddo, would have approved of policies allowing and even requiring banks to lend to unreliable borrowers, what they would not have approved of are negotiable securities. They would have wanted the banks to take losses on the loans rather than selling securities backed by them to the municipal government of Narvik.

This is what people on the left mean when they say that the banking crisis was caused by deregulation.

Nets


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nets, thanks for the clarification. So those who rail against the money lenders are really only upset that bad debts are negotiable?

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