When you say the word Kentucky, literary genius typically doesn’t come to mind. Things like horse racing, barbecue, and bluegrass music are more common. But Kentucky has no shortage of great writers. On the stage of Transylvania’s Carrick Theatre between Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, Bobbi Ann Mason, Wendell Berry, and Larkspur Press artist and founder Gray Zeitz, there are 337 years of experience and brilliance. It’s a privilege to be sitting in the auditorium chairs opposite them and an honor to hear them read their own works. A common thread between all of the works was nature and beauty.
Berry read from an untitled poem of his own that depicted “the river of life or death or both” which such vivid imagery that I could feel the water on my skin. I was Achilles, dipped into the river of life and death. His words made me invulnerable. I was Louise, a lonely housewife with a paintbrush in her hand in Mason’s story, and the room around me was filled with still life paintings of watermelons. When I inhaled the scent of oil paints and acrylics, I felt wild, too. Hearing about Zeitz’s work in bookbinding and letter pressing, both in his own words, was enchanting. I felt like I was l hearing a secret, something private, when I listened to the process Zeitz goes through every time he presses ink into a paper to create art. It felt like “conversing with the moon and stars” in Zeitz’s words. God was there in Taylor-Hall’s words, streaming through the stars. There was art in that auditorium, 337 years worth of art, and Berry’s poetry described accurately the experience, “There was no sentence for it.”