New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Empire State Center for the Book Dedicates First Literary Landmark

By: Rocco Staino, Director, Empire State Center for the Book

On Saturday, July 13, 2013, The Empire State Center for the Book dedicated its first literary landmark on Long Island on Saturday. The site chosen for the distinction was the Windmill at the Southampton Campus of Stony Brook University.  The site was selected because Tennessee Williams, the famed playwright, spent the summer of 1957 living in the windmill. While there, he wrote the experimental play, The Day on Which a Man Dies, in response to the death of his friend Jackson Pollock the previous summer.   

The Empire State Center for the Book nominated the site to be listed on the United for Libraries national register.  “We are delighted that we can help spread the word that historic literary events often happen in our own backyards,” said Rocco Staino, Director of the Center for the Book.  “The east end of Long Island is a treasure trove of literary sites and the Center will be working with local communities to assist in gaining national recognition.”

The ceremony was marked with a reading by MFA in Creative Writing and faculty member, Frederic Tuten, of the one-act play, At Stanley’s Place. The Stanley of the title is Stanley Kowalski from the Williams classic, A Streetcar Named Desire.  In addition, faculty member Roger Rosenblatt recalled for the audience, Tennessee Williams time on the campus. Grace Schulman, poet, spoke of Williams’s talent as a poet and concluded with the audience listening to recordings of Williams reading his own poems.  In keeping with the theme, cherry soda was served, a symbolic element in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Following the dedication, Mercedes Ruehl, actress and member of the faculty, joined others in a group of readings entitled, Tennessee: A Portrait, The Writings of Tennessee Williams.

Although this was the first Literary Landmark on Long Island, it was actually the sixth for Williams.  Other landmarks include his homes in Key West, FL and New Orleans, LA.

Nick Mangano, Chair of the School’s Theatre Arts program served as master of ceremonies for the event.