Creativity flourishes in Writers Block Garden

Aug. 30, 2004 12:01 a.m.

An empty lot in the borough of Princeton has been transformed into a stunning garden filled with inventive structures that pay tribute to several University professors.

The Writers Block Garden is the brainchild of landscape architect Peter Soderman who, while walking by the site one day, lamented the fact that it had been empty for eight years.

As he dreamed about transforming the space into a garden, he thought of the preponderance of writers and architects who live in Princeton and an idea was born: "Let's bring the architectural community and the writer's community together, stir up a serendipitous pot and see what develops," Soderman said.

The lot on Paul Robeson Place, between Chambers and Witherspoon streets, now has structures dedicated to Princeton professors Paul Krugman, James McPherson, Paul Muldoon, Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Sigmund, Peter Singer and Cornel West.

"The Writers Block Garden is a wonderfully imaginative, if not unique addition to Princeton," said Oates.

There also are tributes to Peter Benchley, Fran Lebowitz, Emily Mann and Pablo Neruda. Each writer collaborated with an architect or team of architects to create the pavilions. Many of the architects involved have connections with Princeton's School of Architecture as alumni or faculty members.

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Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601