Warm Greetings: A Letter from Yaddo’s President

March 19, 2020

Dear Friends:

You would think this strange period of social distancing would be a no-brainer for those of us at Yaddo. After all, we’re a retreat—a place consciously designed to allow for quiet, for deep-thinking, reflection and solitude. But as we closed our program this week with the heaviest of hearts, knowing that we won’t be re-enlivened with the bustle of guests before June at the soonest, I found myself thinking a lot about the other side of the retreat coin: community. As we all know from our own lives—whether from meditation or prayer, solitary walks or an unplugged phone—the point of retreat is to gather strength and then advance. For Yaddo’s artists, the form that re-entry takes is a lucky one for each of us—it’s the thousands of books, films, symphonies and artworks that delight, challenge and comfort us throughout the years. It turns out that Yaddo is not just a collection of buildings and truly beautiful grounds, it’s connection through friendships, the exchange of ideas, and the drawing together of us all.

And so, with the modest hope that we can be of some use to our artists and to all of you during these fretful days, we’re springing into action to enhance community and share a few pleasures. We’ve set up a Yaddo Authors Bookshop, which features recently-published titles from our writers; we’ll be posting frequent updates on resources for artists; and we invite you to join us via social media each day for #CheersAtFive, a moment to clink a virtual glass and enjoy a poem, or story, or an image of surpassing beauty.

We may be inside, but we are not alone. Let’s come together to explore the cultural landscape Yaddo helps create and all of you support and nurture. I think we’ll find there are many paths to wander down and a lot of laughs and insights to be had along the way.

Sending love and good wishes to you all. Stay well.

Elaina H. Richardson,

President, Yaddo