Founded by artists in 1984, the Vermont Studio Center (VSC) is the largest international artists' and writers' Residency Program in the United States, hosting 50 visual artists and writers each month from across the country and around the world.
Located in the northern Vermont mill village of Johnson, (pop. 3,450), the Vermont Studio Center resides in the heart of the Green Mountains, a beautiful and pastoral region in the northeastern United States.
The Center’s 30 historic buildings are all situated along the banks of the Gihon River. VSC buildings are within walking distance of each other and the center of the village.
Hsu, Pei-Fen received her master's degree from the Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Tsing Hua University. She has won the Lin Rong San Literature Award, Chou Meng-tieh Poetry Award, and so forth. In 2019, Hsu went to Vermont Studio Center (VSC) in the USA as a resident artist. She has published the poetry books: We should be happier if there are more furniture in the room, I see my own eyes in the black hole, All I fear is nothing but these upcoming rainy days, Flying through the darkness. She also translated a book of T.S.Eilot's poem: Old possum's book of practical cats.
During the residency, I was creating the fiction, The number you dialed to the god does not exist. It is about a female writer who suddenly encountered a cultural shock when she departed from the island she lives. She, therefore, has the chance to examine the anxiety, reflection, and even the awareness of her country's identity.
The pleasant surroundings in VSC support the residents in exploring themselves in the daytime. It helps me concentrate on my creation. Simultaneously, VSC offers an opportunity for us to exchange ideas with artists from various backgrounds at night when having dinner together. It allows me to gather materials from my diverse colleagues for fiction writing. I was really benefited and encouraged by this professional environment.
Every Tuesday and Friday night in VSC, the organization will host a meeting in the Pearl Church to let the artists have a presentation. My cherished 7-minute time is divided into three parts: my creation ideas, a current self-media situation in Taiwan, and my poem reading. The participants were most curious about self-media, which takes power now, and my Chinese and English poem reading. I also improvised two short poems, and the subjects revolve around anyone or anything in the VSC. Engaging most artists to share the same feelings are my creative principles (about life and improvisation) during my residency.
In September, the literature mentor in VSC was Michael Lowenthal. Each person has a 90-minutes mentor hour. I shared my poem "Love is a shy thing" and my experience operating online self-media with Mr. Lowenthal. He advised me to translate my work into English and increase my English readership to a considerable amount. Next, I should contact the college publishers who are willing to promote a new writer. Consequently, I reached Justin Taylor, who is a novelist and a resident in VSC at that time, too. He helped me to send my English work to an independent publisher, Melville House, to discuss the possibility of publishing my creation in the USA.
Because the living style in VSC is very free, all artists are given complete latitude in deciding what they want to do. It is suggested that participants should set a clear goal before going there and have strong self-discipline in creating works during the residency. Furthermore, considering the chances of international exchange, 85% of the residents are English native speakers, writers should prepare works in English version to interact with people worldwide.