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Jennifer K. Sweeney's "Adolescence"

On August 1st, this past Sunday, there was a poetry reading at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, curated by Nina Corwin and in partnership with WBEZ's Chicago Amplified Series. Participating readers included Robin Behn, Lucia Blinn, Kimberly Dixon, Simone Muench, Jennifer K. Sweeney, and Connie Voisine. During the reading, Jennifer K. Sweeney read her poem "Adolescence," part of which contains a story about a middle school student jumping from a second-story window. At 22, I accepted a job teaching junior high. Not far enough away from the hollow years of my own shifting body, the seventh and eighth-grade girls, slight and doe-sprung, drifted down wide industrial hallways, bones jutting sideways from their skin. One girl chose my second-story classroom from where we’d see her fall past the window The audience was mesmerized. It's rare to feel the audience holding its collective breath at a poetry reading, but . . . there you go. James Cihlar recently reviewed HOW TO LIVE ON BREAD AND MUSIC (Perugia Press, 2009). Read the review here. BIO: Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of two poetry collections, most recently, How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), winner of the 2009 James Laughlin Award[1] and the 2009 Perugia Press Prize. Her first collection, Salt Memory (Main Street Rag, 2006) won the 2006 Main Street Rag Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines including Southern Review, Hunger Mountain, Crab Orchard, Spoon River and Passages North, where she won the 2009 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize. Her honors include a Cultural Equities Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission and a residency from Hedgebrook. Sweeney holds an M.F.A. from Vermont College of Fine Arts and serves as assistant editor for DMQ Review. Born in 1973, she grew up in Tolland, Connecticut. After teaching in San Francisco for twelve years, she currently lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with her husband, poet Chad Sweeney.[2]

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