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Philip Schultz + Edward Hirsch: Comforts of the Abyss

Jul 21 | Thu |
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Join us for an in-person event with Pulitzer Prize winning poet and founder of The Writers Studio Philip Schultz for a discussion of his new book "Comforts of the Abyss: The Art of Persona Writing." Joining Philip in conversation is MacArthur Fellow and poet Edward Hirsch. This event will be hosted in the Strand Book Store's 3rd floor Rare Book Room at 828 Broadway on 12th Street.

Can’t make the event? Purchase a signed copy of Comforts of the Abyss here.


In-person events will be presented to a fully vaccinated and masked audience. All patrons over the age of five will be required to show proof* of having completed the COVID-19 vaccination series at least 14 days prior to the date of the event.

*Proof of vaccination will be defined as either an original vaccination card, Excelsior Pass or its equivalent. We will be checking to ensure compliance with the 14 day waiting period post-vaccination.

Registration will be required online. No tickets for entry will be sold at the door. -------------------------------------------------------------------- A vivid, intimate, and inspiring exploration of how to write through persona, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning founder of an influential writing school.

Throughout his growth as a writer, acclaimed poet Philip Schultz has battled with the dark voice in his head—the “shitbird,” as his late friend the poet Ralph Dickey termed it—that whispers his insecurities and questions his ability to create. Persona writing, a method of borrowing the voice and temperament of accomplished writers, offers him imaginative distance and perspective on his own negative inclinations.

In this candid and generous book, Schultz reflects on his early life in an immigrant neighborhood of upstate New York, his first writing experiments inspired by Ernest Hemingway and John Keats, his struggles with dyslexia, and the failures he witnessed in his father’s life and his own. Through surprising, sometimes humorous, and encouraging encounters with the writers who influence him—including Elizabeth Bishop, Joan Didion, and Norman Mailer—as well as moving experiences of loss, Schultz learns how to fashion personas out of pain.

Perceptive, enlightening, and profound, Comforts of the Abyss reveals how persona writing can be used as a tool for unlocking a writer’s own story, the philosophy on which Schultz founded The Writers Studio in 1987.

Venue: Strand Book Store

828 Broadway, 3rd Floor, Rare Book Room Map