By the Way Looking ahead May 3 to 10

“I imagine it / as it was that morning: drizzle needling / the surface, mist at the banks like a net / settling around us …” the narrator of Natasha Trethewey’s Elegy feels the current around her hip waders on a summer day as she tries to fish with her father, who left her years ago.

In Thrall, her newest book, Trethewey’s poems gather in her family, her childhood, her country, and her thoughts about the painful words that have described people whose blood and backgrounds blend … African, or Spanish, or Caribbean, or British … for 400 years. She is a National Poet Laureate and Pulitzer prizewinner, and she will come to Bennington College on May 10 read from her work.

I’m in awe. There is always — always more happening here than I can reach.

This weekend, as Northshire Bookstore prepares for Booktopia, with novelists and nonfiction writers from Jim Shepard to Lisa Ko and a free celebration of writers on Saturday evening, May is coming in with storytellers.

Lenox writer Laird White grew up standing in her kitchen singing off-color songs her minister father had collected. She looks back Saturday afternoon at The Bookstore, reading from a memoir facing her mother, bats in a barn, meanness in her medieval boarding school and the roaring ’60s.

Novelist and playwright Wesley Brown will talk about “Dance of the Infidels” at the Chatham Bookstore on Sunday: his collection of stories set in jazz era New York City before and after World War II, with Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Coleman Hawkins, Cab Calloway.

And last night Williams College hosted New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen, to read from The Sympathizer, his debut novel about a mole in the South Vietnamese army who becomes embedded in a community in exile in the United States.

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