introducing readers to writers since 1995

September 23, 2004

Double-Dipping Into the Events Calendar

by Ron Hogan

Last night I went out to the Park Avenue Borders to hear Elise Juska read from her recently released second novel, The Hazards of Sleeping Alone. The publicity folks at Downtown Press set up a little wine and cheese table in the corner of the basement, so I had a chance to chat briefly with Juska before she read from the opening chapter, telling her how the Significant Other had nodded at the back cover copy that described one character as "having just graduated from Wesleyan with a pierced tongue and an arsenal of opinions." And then, after the audience of several dozen fans listened to Juska read about that character telling her mother she was going to move in with her boyfriend, from the mother's perspective, I was introduced to fellow Downtown Press author Heather Swain, who's also got a second novel just out in stores, Luscious Lemon.

Then I took a brisk walk over to the West Side Y for a poetry reading by Sophie Cabot Black. As she took the podium, Black noted that it was fitting that she hold her first reading for The Descent here, as the Y had been the site of her first reading for The Misunderstanding of Nature a decade ago. She then read well over a dozen poems from the collection, including "The Mountain" and "Holy". (See more of her work at Ploughshares.) On my way out afterwards, I stopped briefly to chat with Graywolf Press director Fiona McCrae, who I'd met at the indie publisher's 30th anniversary party last spring, and Tree Swenson, executive director of the Academy of American Poets, joking that she and I would be sure to run into each other at several more readings in the months ahead. I also promised West Side Y literary organizer Glenn Raucher that although I can't make Friday night's reading by Ursula Hegl, I'd give Beatrice readers in NYC a heads-up. So if you don't have plans, swing by; it's just a few blocks north of Columbus Circle on W. 63rd.

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