The Life & Times of Goya at the Brattleboro Museum
July 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
Very much looking forward to giving this illustrated talk on one of my favorite Spanish artists and the times that produced him. The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries encompass a fascinating era in Spanish history, well into the decline of the great Empire, with plenty of corruption and chaos to go around, culminating in the Napoleonic invasion of the Iberian Peninsula and the dark times that followed.
Among other things, we’ll be tracing Goya’s evolution from a designer of light-hearted tapestry cartoons to First Court Painter to an artist who captured his age with a darkness and power that sent western civilization’s understanding of what creative art is and can be hurtling into the future.
We’ll also be serving tapas and summer wine. So if you’re in the area on Thursday, July 21, at 5:30 PM, stop by BMAC in downtown Brattleboro!
Northern Spain by Rail with National Geographic
September 15, 2015 § 3 Comments
What a privilege it is to be heading back to Spain, the country that I’ve long considered my home away from home. This is a special trip, too, my first time on National Geographic’s fascinating Northern Spain by Private Rail. We’ll be starting in Santiago de Compostela and making our way across the northern breadth of the Iberian peninsula to San Sebastián, all aboard the extremely well appointed Transcantábrico Gran Lujo.
Of course we’ll be stopping quite a bit along the way, to explore Romanesque chapels, mountain villages, and prehistoric cave art. I’ll be giving a series of lectures focusing on Spanish history, the life and times of Francisco de Goya, and Ernest Hemingway’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War, and of course I’m hoping to be able to get a bit of good writing done too. All in all, much to look forward to!
Follow me on Instagram or Facebook if you’d like to see photos from the experience!
Star Island lecture series
July 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
Looking forward to discovering a brand new corner of the world next week: Star Island, one of the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire. I’ll have a chance to get some creative work done and explore the Atlantic waters around the island, and, as the theme speaker for participants in the All-Star 2 Family Conference, I’ll be delivering a five part lecture series: “Life Stories: Creative Adventurers, Adventurous Creators.” I’ve had a lot of fun planning and researching these lectures, which focus on figures who have engaged in a deep and life-changing way with some of the parts of the world that are important to me from life and work. Here are the subjects:
The Life and Times of Francisco de Goya
Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle
Ernest Hemingway in Spain and Cuba
Georgia O’Keeffe: American Visionary
In my final talk I’ll discuss how my own engagement with place influenced the writing of Will Poole’s Island.
If you or an organization you belong to is interested in booking me for one of these talks or something new, send me a note. My schedule is busy but flexible, and I love doing this kind of thing. It’s quite possible that we can work it out!
Back to Iberia with National Geographic
September 8, 2014 § 3 Comments
As always, it’s a thrill to be heading back to Portugal and Spain in my capacity as a featured expert with National Geographic Expeditions. We’ll be starting out in Lisbon and making our way east through Evora, Mérida, Sevilla, Ronda, Granada, and Madrid. We will of course hit the major historical landmarks, and quite a few of the lesser known sights as well. We’ll have a chance to hear some of the world’s great fado and flamenco artists, learn how to make ceramic tiles Portuguese style, taste freshly pressed olive oil, and sample some of the best cuisine and wine the Iberian Peninsula has to offer.
I’ll be giving talks about the sweep of Spanish history from Iberian origins to the Roman Empire, the Moors and the Reconquest, the Habsburgs and the rise of the Spanish Empire, Goya and the Bourbons, and, of course, Ernest Hemingway and the Spanish Civil War. I always look forward to these trips as a chance to revisit a region I know and love with fresh eyes, and to learn as well from my fellow travelers and the outstanding local experts we encounter throughout the program. Over all, not a bad way to spend eleven days in September. ¡Viva!
Spain and Portugal with National Geographic
September 15, 2013 Comments Off on Spain and Portugal with National Geographic
Very much looking forward to heading back to the Iberian Peninsula! This time it’s in my continuing capacity as a featured expert for National Geographic Expeditions: On September 30 I’ll be flying to Lisbon for a journey through Portugal and Andalucía, finishing up in Madrid on October 11. I’ll be giving talks on history, art, Goya, and Hemingway, and generally trying to be as helpful as I can both with trip logistics and in terms of helping travelers make personal connections with the fabulous life and culture of one of my favorite parts of the world. Coincidentally, I’ve just posted a craft analysis on For Whom the Bell Tolls, which may be of interest if you’re a writer or a close reader of Hemingway’s fiction.
Back in the U.S. on October 12.