The Gathering 2018 – The Myth of Truth

The Myth of Truth

The Myth of Truth” will be a three-day discussion of the nature of truth. At The Gathering 2018, we will examine truth from the perspective of building “proof” in questions of mathematics, science, philosophy, art, and politics. The question of the value of truth has lain dormant for the most part until fairly recently, when policy makers and journalists have raised questions about who should determine truth. Some have offered “alternative facts” so that truth has come to seem to a divided nation to be more myth than reality to one side or the other. It is perhaps the most important question for our time.


Tracy K. Smith is Poet Laureate of the United States. Her many other awards and honors include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, a 2004 Rona Jaffe Writers Award, a 2008 Essence Literary Award, a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, a 2005 Whiting Award, the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her newest book Wade in the Water will be available in April, 2018. She is the director of Princeton University’s creative writing program and lives in New Jersey.

Academy of American Poets Chancellor Toi Derricotte said of her poems: “The surfaces of a Tracy K. Smith poem are beautiful and serene, but underneath, there is always a sense of an unknown vastness. Her poems take the risk of inviting us to imagine, as the poet does, what it is to travel in another person’s shoes. The Academy is fortunate to be able to confer this fitting recognition on one of the most important poets of our time.”


A Poetry Reading


William Dunham is a historian of mathematics who has spoken on the subject at over a hundred campuses around the U.S. Now retired from Muhlenberg College, he has held visiting positions at Harvard, Princeton, Penn, and Cornell, and he is presently a Research Associate in Mathematics at Bryn Mawr College.


Theorems as Masterpieces


Giorgia Lupi is an award winning information designer. She co-founded Accurat, a data-driven firm with offices in Milan and New York, where she is the design Director of the firm. She earned a PhD in design at Politecnico di Milano. She is co-author of Dear Data, an aspirational hand-drawn data visualization book based on postcards that have been acquired recently as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art


Data Humanism

​Information ​designer, artist, and author Giorgia Lupi wants to change the way you think about data. Far from being cold facts and numbers, data can be warm and often flawed. Giorgia will guide you through how to design more meaningful experiences with data, including how we approach human qualities like empathy — how we approach and represent it with data — to ultimately reconnect numbers to what they stand for: our lives, our stories, and ideas.

The Scranton Shakespeare Festival creates and produces free, professional theatre to the public. Founded by a board of community members and theatre professionals from Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond, the SSF is a not-for-profit organization entering its seventh season. Festival’s programming emphasizes Shakespeare, and also presents a variety of classical and contemporary musicals, plays, operettas, melodramas, and Broadway-bound new works. The SSF fosters artists and company members developing original works.

The SSF is made possible by generous support from local businesses and institutions, both state and national grants, and the dedication of its talented company of actors and technicians from NEPA, New York City, Philadelphia, and beyond. Most of all, the festival owes its success to the patronage and donations of its community. This year also marks the second, consecutive year the Festival has been recognized and sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Truth is truth to the end of reckoning” – an exploration of Shakespeare’s many references to “truth” in scenes from the Scranton Shakespeare Festival repertoire.

Daniel Klein and Thomas Cathcart

Dan went to school at Harvard College where he received a B.A. in philosophy. After a brief career in television comedy, which included writing for people like Lily Tomlin and Flip Wilson, he began writing books, ranging from thrillers and mysteries to humorous books about philosophy, including the New York Times bestseller, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes (with Thomas Cathcart). He lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and is married to journalist Freke Vuijst.

Tom graduated from Harvard with a degree in philosophy, studied theology at the University of Chicago, and then embarked on a “checkered career” (his words) from college teaching to hospice management until, at the age of 67, he started his writing life, linking up with his best friend to write Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington, and Heidegger and a Hippo Walk through Those Pearly Gates. He is also the author of The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge? an entertaining philosophical look at a tricky ethical conundrum. He and his wife, Eloise Cathcart, a professor of nursing administration, live in Red Hook, New York.

Finding Truth in Punchlines

Margaret Wertheim is an internationally noted writer, artist, and curator whose work focuses on relations between science and the wider cultural landscape. The author of six books, including The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace, and Physics on the Fringe, she has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and many others. Wertheim is the founder, with her twin sister Christine, of the Institute For Figuring, a Los Angeles-based practice devoted to the aesthetic dimensions of science and mathematics. The sisters are co-creators of the Crochet Coral Reef, the largest participatory art & science project in the world, which has been shown internationally at the Andy Warhol Museum, the Smithsonian, and elsewhere. Margaret’s Reef TED talk has been viewed more than a million times and translated into 22 languages. 
Emirhan Tunca

Emirhan Tunca was born into a family of musicians in Istanbul, Turkey. He began studying the cello at age eight at Istanbul State Conservatory. In 2011, he was accepted into the studio of Professor Marion Feldman at the New York University Steinhardt School, where he received both his Master’s and Artist Diploma in Cello Performance in 2015. Since his debut at age eleven with the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra, Emirhan has appeared in numerous concerts and recitals in Europe and the United States, as well as national and international competitions. He recently made his debut at Carnegie Hall, performing Elgar’s Cello Concerto as a soloist with the New York Concerti Sinfonietta. His awards and honors include: NYU String Competition, New York, 1st Prize; Associated Music Teachers League, New York, Grand Prize Winner; and International Young Musicians Classical Music Competition, Edirne, Turkey, 1st Prize; International Young Musicians Competition, Bari, Italy, 1st Prize; International Young Virtuosos Competition, Sofia, Bulgaria, 1st Prize. İn 2017 he earned his PhD at the Manhattan School for Music, where he has been asked to join the faculty.

Tim Grimm is an actor, musician, and song writer. After earning an MFA in theater at The University of Michigan, he worked in regional theater in Chicago. He began to write and perform folk songs, and after releasing two cds embarked on an acting career in Los Angeles. He co-starred in the NBC drama Reasonable Doubts, performed with Harrison Ford in A Clear and Present Danger, and in several other productions before returning home to Indiana where he lives on 80 acres with his wife Jan and family. Tim Grimm and The Family Band perform and tour in the United States and Europe. The band includes Tim, Jan, and two sons, all of whom are professional musicians. Tim’s album, THE BACK FIELDS, was named Americana Album of the Year by the Just Plain Folks Music Awards– the world’s largest independent music awards.



Hyperbolic Space

Making Hyperbolic Space – Margaret Wertheim 

A hands-on workshop in which we’ll learn about hyperbolic geometry by making paper models of the shapes that were thought for hundreds of years to be impossible to make.

The workshop I’ll give can be seen on my website – its loads of fun: we learn about hyperbolic geometry through making the space with paper models, while we discuss what kinds of geometries are possible and how mathematicians spend hundreds of years trying to prove hyperbolic space was impossible. I’ll supply the paper materials and you’ll need to bring scissors and clear cellophane tape. Its suitable for anyone over 12 (grownups, academics, artists, teenagers)


Poetry – Gail Carson Levine has written twenty-three books for children.  Her latest—May, 2017–is The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre. Both Writing Magic and Writer to Writer are middle-grade nonfiction about writing stories. Her first book for adults, Transient, a poetry collection, was published by Nightshade Press, an imprint of Keystone College Press


Trebbe Johnson is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty, and the forthcoming Radical Joy for Hard Times. She is the founder of Radical Joy for Hard Times, a global network devoted to finding and making beauty in wounded places. A lifelong adventurer in inner and outer worlds, Trebbe speaks four languages; has camped alone in the Arctic; led a vigil in a clear-cut forest; and worked as an artist’s model, a street sweeper in an English village, and an award-winning multimedia producer. She lives in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Workshop: The Truth of Myth

Although the word myth is often used to mean “falsehood,” themes from the myths of many cultures can have a profound relevance to our modern lives. In this workshop, we’ll explore how some of the patterns, allies, monsters, and pathways of universal myths can guide us through complex personal and even cultural dilemmas. You’ll construct a myth for a particular challenge in your own life and have an opportunity to share it orally with another person, in the way of the ancient bards.

 Radical Joy for Hard Times


Finding the Song
Tim Grimm songwriting workshop

Songwriting is often a mysterious process that defies explanation, and in some ways can’t be “taught”. Inspiration is more important than technique. As writers, we draw from experience, observation, prompts (or “assignments”), dreams and literature. We don’t create in a vacuum, we write based on all that we’ve taken in to this point. We must be historians, actors, editors, listeners and directors. Tim will explore these sources of inspiration — and others– as well as the roles we play in writing a song- in this workshop, FINDING THE SONG.

Reading List