ESSAY IN SUMMER 2017 ISSUE OF NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

“A Banquet of Lilacs: An Essay Enacted” is the title of the essay.

To learn more about the journal, follow this link

http://www.nereview.com

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LILACS IN WINTER

WinterLilac1

In 2015 I received the gift of two baby lilacs–Syringa x hyacinthiflora ‘Betsy Ross’ (white) and Syringa vulgaris President Lincoln (blue)–from Arnold Arboretum propagator Jack Alexander. At the moment Betsy and Abe sleep swaddled in blue light and snow in our front yard in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

 

A LAST 2015 HIGHLIGHT

Hooksett

At the International Lilac Society’s Fall Festival in Hooksett, New Hampshire, I presented a selection from my work-in-progress about lilacs, accompanied by four stellar Harvard research partners. After the event we communed with the edge of a New England forest, and looking at the image again, a quote from lilac-lover Boris Pasternak comes to mind: “One must live and write restlessly, with the help of the new reserves that life offers.”

 

RADCLIFFE ALBUM: FOLLOW THAT FRAGRANCE!

On May 3rd I presented an excerpt of my book-length lyric essay on lilacs at Arnold Arboretum with the aid of four fabulous research partners a.k.a. Team Lilac. (We are sporting iris boutonnieres—the lilac variety being unavailable.) From left to right: Teddy Delwiche, Christine Legros, Sarah Blatt-Herold, Ian Van Wye.

On May 3rd I presented an excerpt of my book-length lyric essay on lilacs at Arnold Arboretum with the aid of four fabulous research partners a.k.a. Team Lilac. (We are sporting iris boutonnieres—the lilac variety being unavailable.) From left to right: Teddy Delwiche, Christine Legros, Sarah Blatt-Herold, Ian Van Wye.

GOOD LUCK, 2015-16 RADCLIFFE INSTITUTE FELLOWS!

Exactly a year ago, the adventure of a Radcliffe Fellowship began when we arrived at 83 Brattle Street in a U-Haul van packed full of books, papers, records, the salt cellar and some favorite cast iron pans. I’ll never forget that four hour drive from 149th Street in New York to Cambridge. What would happen next? In days to follow I will be posting a series of photographs of some favorite moments from those nine months, avoiding the annoying issue of snow. There was snow, yes.

For now, here’s a link to a page detailing the arc of activity that carried me from September to May, and another rattling U-Haul rental:

https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/people/ben-miller

UPCOMING HARVARD APPEARANCES INVOLVING WHEELBARROWS AND LILACS

On April 14th MURAL SPEAKS! rolls into Harvard Square:

https://www.facebook.com/muralspeaksharvard

On May 3rd I will be shaking the branches at Arnold Arboretum:

Follow that Fragrance! Chasing Lilac History

Ben Miller, Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Team Lilac

Location: Hunnewell Building

White lilacs and Rachmaninov are connected how? What villainous role did lilac blooms play on the old “Batman” TV show? Can you name the Walt Whitman lilac poem not addressing President Lincoln’s assassination? This year at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, fellow Ben Miller and four Harvard College research partners (Theodore Delwiche ‘17, Sarah Blatt-Herold ‘18, Christine Legros ‘17, Ian Van Wye ‘17) have been harvesting material for a book-length lyric essay about the lilac aura, and ways it has filtered through their own lives and cultures around the globe. In this lively program, “Team Lilac” will present an array of poems, songs, monologues and visual art celebrating the lavish, mysterious, and ever-enduring charisma of Syringa vulgaris.

CAMBRIDGE BOUND!

I recently learned I have been awarded a fellowship for 2014-15 at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Follow this link to learn more about an exciting opportunity:

http://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/news/in-news/50-fellows-30-disciplines-and-1-year

At the Radcliffe Institute I’ll be developing new nonfiction, as well as pursuing a number of side projects, including research on the cultural significance of lilacs and the live recording of monologues.