Jen Ashburn's Book Launch Reading 1/28/17

On the evening of January 28th, alumna Jennifer Ashburn released her new poetry book, The Light on the Wall. At Irma Freeman Center, Ashburn read with special guests Daniela Buccilli, Brittany Hailer, and Scott Silsbe. Emcee Paula Levin led the book launch.

First, Ashburn read multiple pieces from the new publication. Buccilli and Silsbe read poetry, while Hailer shared nonfiction.

“I had it in mind to write about my travels, but the family poems kept creeping in. For a while it seemed like I was writing two different collections. In the end, the family and travel poems worked together to essentially tell the story of my life thus far,” Ashburn said.

With themes of family dysfunction, mental illness, and the “uncomfortableness, escapism, and wonder of travel,” The Light on the Wall is her first full-length poetry book.

At the event, Ashburn also started a collection for a local community organization, Bethlehem Haven, which supports women who are homeless or mentally ill. “By the time it’s finally out, you’re ready to move on creatively. I was really pleased we were able to raise some money for Bethlehem Haven. Also, it felt really good to have my friends and colleagues there.”

Attendees enjoyed a book signing, wine, lemonade, and light hors d'oeuvres. An after party occurred at Mixtape for writers and readers to converse more and celebrate the book’s release.

“I think it went well. I’m grateful to my fellow readers, the emcee Paula Levin, and everyone who attended,” said Ashburn.

For more information about Ashburn, The Light on the Wall, and her other work, please visit