April 28 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I want to thank Lannan Foundation, and Patrick Lannan, Martha Jessup and Douglas Humble in particular, for the years of dedication to the Lannan Residency Program in Marfa. The program was a gift to writers and also to the community. Its impact can be seen in the publication of thousands of essays, novels, poems, stories and translations; over 300 readings at the Marfa Book Co. and Crowley Theater, and countless nights in long conversations at the local restaurants and bars. It’s my belief, however, the greatest contribution of the program was not a visible one. It wasn’t even self-evidently public in nature. I say this because it is what the writers told me: the greatest contribution of the program was the gift of time to write and read.

We live in a world that demands more and more from artists. We expect them to inspire, console, and even to justify the outrageous claims we’ve made on behalf of creativity and its capacity to solve the most persistent problems of our society. There is generally a lot of fanfare about art’s importance and the support of the arts, and it comes from all corners, but when you look closely at the process, and you strip away the many systems of administration that rely on artists to justify their salaries, there is basically just the individual artist, struggling to find time to focus and a way to pay their bills.

It’s in this sense that we all need some peace and quiet, whatever we make or do. It’s necessary for the development of our work, and for our well being.

With its commitment to cultural freedom and social justice, its support of Indigenous communities, and its involvement in the work of small publishers, translators, poets, novelists and essayists, Lannan Foundation helped to create the most talented and diverse community of writers I know. How movingly beautiful that Lannan Foundation also thought to offer them the space and time in Marfa to simply write and read.

Tim Johnson

Marfa Book Co.


Dear Editor,

I read with interest that the Marfa City Council intends to spend $122,000 of city funds to make improvements to the Marfa Fire Station. I can only assume that this means that the city has by now replaced or repaired every single fire hydrant in town that was discovered to be inoperable or defective after the Judd Building fire. If this has not been done, the city council should explain why not and this $122,000 should immediately be spent to do that instead of to gussy up the fire station building.

Kent C. Anschutz