First Tuesdays |||

First Tuesdays Presents Jason Schneiderman

When: November 1, 2022
Where: Espresso 77 Café, 35-57 77th Street, Jackson Heights, NY 11372.
Time: 7:30 — 9:00 PM (open-mic sign up at 7:00)
Cost: $5 minimum purchase at the food counter.
More Information: Richard Jeffrey Newman

Jason Schneiderman is the author of four books of poems: Hold Me Tight (Red Hen Press 2020), Primary Source (Red Hen Press 2016), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Prize; Striking Surface (Ashland Poetry Press 2010), winner of the Richard Snyder Prize, and Sublimation Point (Four Way Books 2004), a Stahlecker Selection. He edited the anthology Queer: A Reader for Writers(Oxford University Press 2015). His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry, Poetry London, Grand Street, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, Story Quarterly, and Tin House. He has received fellowships from Yaddo, The Fine Arts Work Center, The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Hermitage, and The Fulbright Foundation. He was the recipient of the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America in 2004, and the Jerome J. Shestack Prize in 2016. You can hear him on the podcast Painted Bride Quarterly Slush Pile, where he and the other editors discuss and vote on submissions for the magazine. He is Professor of English at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, where he directs the Honors Program. He teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Here’s one of Jason Schneiderman’s poems:

You Can Be the You In this Poem 

and no one else has to know. It can be our secret,
and you can blush when your husband asks, or not,
since the desires we share are not for each other,
but aligned in parallel, which is why we look hot
together in our bathing suits but won’t have sex,
which I’ve never done with a girl by the way,
and is it ok that I called you a girl when we’re both
at the exact midpoint between forty and fifty.
You can be the you in this poem because
you’re so good at letting everyone else be the you
in your poems, at letting so many people be the you
in your life, so take a turn here, where you can not
be the speaker as long as you need to catch your breath,
and I’ll brew you some coffee, put a roast in the oven,
and make us some chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
I still believe that love cuts out the bottom twenty percent
of suffering, though with diminishing returns, and that
it goes both ways, that the lover and beloved both
suffer less, if they’re doing it right, and who says
romantic love gets to go to the front of the line?
At the end of this poem, we’ll go back to our marriages
(mine dissolving), our cozy houses (mine leaking),
and you’ll put your kids to bed, and when you
lie down exhausted at the end of the day,
you can be the you in this poem,
and you won’t have to have typed a thing.

originally published in The Night Heron Barks

This event was funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

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