On March 11, 7-9 pm, Second Saturdays features a pair of poets from Pittsburgh, Jason Irwin and Jen Ashburn, who look at life with an unflinching yet compassionate gaze. They will read from their new books A Blister of Stars and The Light on the Wall. Potluck and open-mic as usual. Please RSVP Jee at email@example.com for directions.
Jason Irwin was born with a litany of birth defects. A Blister of Stars (Low Ghost Press, 2016) is Irwin's interrogation of his own biography. His poems reveal the terror felt by a child confused about what is happening to his body; the endless surgeries and difficult recoveries, the strain it all puts on his parents both emotionally and financially. Irwin's luminous, reflective poems strive for solace in the face of horror, hold fast to faith while staring into the void. Jason is also the author of Watering the Dead (Pavement Saw Press, 2008), winner of the Transcontinental Poetry Award, and the chapbooks Where You Are (Night Ballet Press, 2014), & Some Days It's A Love Story (Slipstream Press, 2005). He grew up in Dunkirk, NY, and received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2004.
"In The Light on the Wall, Jen Ashburn powerfully depicts the fragility and complexities of childhood alongside the wonder of exploring and observing the world around us. This is a poetry of memory but also of awakening—written with great musicality, a precise eye for image, and a spirited tenderness. “I need the dark to see the starlight,” Ashburn says. She captures both darkness and light elegantly in this stunning debut collection of poems." -Scott Silsbe. Jen holds an MFA in creative writing from Chatham University, where she taught creative writing to inmates in the Allegheny County Jail through Chatham’s Words Without Walls program. Originally from southern Indiana, she spent four years in Japan and greater Asia.
Date and Time: Saturday, March 11, 7 pm Venue: Private home in Lower East Side, NY, NY RSVP: Jee at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Second Saturdays Reading Series The Second Saturdays Reading Series is a monthly literary gathering in New York City for the reading of Singaporean and American literatures. Typically we have 20 - 30 people assembling in a private home. The two-hour event begins with a potluck, followed by an open reading and the featured author. For our fourth season (October 2016 - June 2017), we have a terrific line-up, including Naomi Novik, Chinelo Okparanta, Jason Irwin, Sohrab Homi Fracis, George Kalogeris, and a recital-talk by Singaporean singer and conductor Phillip Cheah. If you'd like to be added to the mailing list or to host an event, please contact Jee at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook.
I've long been a fan of Jason Irwin's work, ever since his first chapbook, Some Days It's a Love Story, which absolutely blew me away. It actually beat a collection of mine out for a prize, and it deserved to. All of his books have been solid. Irwin tends to write personal poems about his life experiences, which, on the surface, sounds pretty straight-forward. But Irwin has had quite a life. He has seen truly hard times, and he's chosen to share with us the lessons he's learned, dealing with profound issues like trauma and death, while avoiding navel gazing.
A Blister of Stars does not disappoint. Irwin writes about his childhood, deeply personal poems about illness and poverty, with the underlying theme of economic instability brought about by the dying of the rust belt, a common theme in Irwin's writing. As a reader, you are present with Irwin as he faces life-threatening sickness and terrifying operations, while across the street, the neighbors are shooting …