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Posted on: April 9, 2019

Watershed Literary Event: A Reading with Brenda Shaughnessy and Craig Teicher

two Poets

The South Orange Arts Advisory Council welcomes award-winning poets Brenda Shaughnessy and Craig Teicher for an evening of poetry reading. The event marks the launch of Watershed Literary Events, bringing spoken word performances to our community.

Award-winning poets Brenda Shaughnessy and Craig Teicher will launch the first season of Watershed Literary Events, sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs in South Orange, with a reading of their work on Friday, May 17, at 7 pm at the Skate House in South Orange.

Shaughnessy, who was originally born in Japan and grew up in Southern California, is the author of five volumes of poetry, including The Octopus Museum, just released in March by Knopf. Her 2012 collection Our Andromeda was a New York Times’ 100 Notable Book, and a finalist for the Griffin International Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Prize. She’s the recipient of a 2018 Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a 2013 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The Nation, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. She is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark, and lives with her family in Verona.

Teicher is the author of three books of poems, The Trembling Answers (BOA), which won the 2018 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets; To Keep Love Blurry (BOA); and Brenda Is in the Room and Other Poems, (CLP), winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry. His first collection of essays, We Begin in Gladness, was published by Graywolf in 2018. Teicher is also the editor of Once and For All: The Best of Delmore Schwartz, and serves as a poetry editor for The Literary Review. He writes about books for many publications, including The New York Times Book Review, The LA Times, and NPR. He lives in Verona with his wife and children.

Watershed Literary Events will host four readings per year, beginning in 2019, and will feature both established and emerging New Jersey writers working in multiple genres and mediums. A watershed describes an area of land made up of small streams and rivers that all flow into the same larger body of water; it also suggests a turning point.

“Our name reflects South Orange's desire, as part of the Rahway River Watershed, to draw on the rich and diverse sources of literary talent in our communities to create a greater, more exciting shared experience from them,” says Theresa Burns, a local poet and member of the South Orange Arts Advisory Committee.

Adds Sandy Martiny, Director of Cultural Affairs for the township, “We are also undergoing a watershed moment of sorts -- as the Baird Center for Recreational and Cultural Affairs is completely renovated over the next two years, we want to continue to offer our residents, and those of neighboring villages, a variety of arts classes, events, workshops, and exhibitions, including spoken word events like Watershed. We want to create a sort of moveable feast of the arts for our towns.”  

The evening of reading on May 17 will begin at 7 pm and be followed by audience Q&A, light refreshments, and a book signing. Copies of both authors’ titles will be available for purchase. For updated information, check back with the South Orange Village web site, or contact Sandy Martiny: smartiny@southorange.org
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