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Subverting the Motherhood Ideal: Reading and Conversation on International Women’s Day

March 8 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EST

This Women’s History Month, on International Women’s Day, we bring together four prize-winning writers: Perugia board members Jennifer Jabaily-Blackburn and Arya Samuelson, and Perugia poets Gail Thomas and Carolina Hotchandani. They will read about being mothered and mothering (or not), choosing motherhood (or not), the cultural phenomenon glorifying caretaking, and the way we become mothers to our own parents as they age. Conversation with the writers and the opportunity to buy books will follow the reading. Free and open to the public (and held during Arts Night Out in Northampton). A grant from the Northampton Arts Council supports this program.

Participant bios:

Jen Jabaily-Blackburn’s first book of poems, Girl in a Bear Suit, was selected by Christopher Citro as winner of the 2023 Elixir Press Annual Poetry Prize and will be released in April 2024. Her recent work has appeared in or is coming soon from SIR, Arkansas International, Palette Poetry, Salamander, Fugue, Banshee, On the Seawall and Couplet Poetry, and her poems have twice been selected for Best New Poets. She is at work on a series of mixed-media blackout poems, hem, drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Originally from the Boston area, she now lives in Western Massachusetts with her family. In 2024, she joined the board of Perugia Press, and she is an associate editor of Nine Syllables Press, housed at Smith College, where she is the Program & Outreach coordinator for the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center.

Arya Samuelson is a writer, editor, and instructor living in Northampton. She is the winner of New Ohio Review‘s 2023 Nonfiction Prize and CutBank‘s Montana Prize in Nonfiction awarded by Cheryl Strayed. Her work has also been published in Bellevue Literary Review, Columbia Journal, The Millions, and elsewhere. She has lectured at Middlebury College on writing pedagogy and regularly teaches with a wide variety of literary organizations, in addition to offering private developmental editing and creative coaching services. Arya is training to be a somatic practitioner to help people unearth the stories of their bodies and transform them into art. A Perugia Press board member since 2022, she works full-time at an international nonprofit as a grant writer. Otherwise, Arya is probably obsessing over an adorable dog

Gail Thomas has published six books, from Finding the Bear (Perugia Press, 1997) to her most recent, Leaving Paradise. Her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies. Among her awards are the A.V Christie award from Seven Kitchens Press for Trail of Roots, the Charlotte Mew Prize from Headmistress Press for Odd Mercy, the Narrative Poetry Prize from Naugatuck River Review, the Massachusetts Center for the Book’s “Must Read” for Waving Back, and the Quartet Journal’s Editor’s Choice Prize. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and Ucross, and several poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She teaches poetry with Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshops, visits schools and libraries with her therapy dog, and supports immigrant and refugee families in Western Massachusetts.

Carolina Hotchandani is a Latinx/South Asian poet born in Brazil and raised in various parts of the United States. Her debut poetry collection, The Book Eaters, won the 2023 Perugia Press Prize and was released in September 2023. She holds degrees from Brown, Texas State, and Northwestern universities. Her honors include scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Community of Writers, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, and Tin House Writers’ Workshop. Her poetry has appeared in AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Atlantic, Beloit Poetry Journal, Blackbird, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals. She is a Goodrich Assistant Professor of English in Omaha, Nebraska, where she lives with her husband and daughter.



March 8
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EST
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Northampton Center for the Arts
33 Hawley Street
Northampton, MA 01060 United States
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