Second Saturdays Reading Series – May 2015

Text by Jee Leong Koh and Photos by Paul Rozario-Falcone and Philip M. Perry

For the first time ever, Second Saturdays was held in the historic neighborhood of the Village in May. Our host Janice Tan opened her home on Jane Street and welcomed over 25 of us. The usual convivial atmosphere was enhanced by many new attendees, including a Singaporean who has lived in NYC for more than five years, another Singaporean who has just moved to the city from Cornell, and yet another Singaporean visiting from Singapore. We also welcomed many American friends, a number of whom supported the Singapore Lit Fest last year. Since its inception, the Second Saturdays reading series has always been open to all.

Our May feature was James Hannaham, the author of two novels God Says No (McSweeney’s) and Delicious Foods (Little, Brown). James is a longtime contributor to the Village Voice and other publications. He is the co-founder of the performance group Elevator Repair Service and a noted visual artist who has exhibited his text-based works in many galleries. Reading from his novel Delicious Foods that Saturday afternoon, he very quickly drew us into the world of an African American woman who is lured to the South to work for the eponymous industrial farm. Part of her story is told from the unusual perspective of crack cocaine, a voice that is, well, addictive, as we learned from James’s reading. The dialogue after the reading was lively and interesting.

 

James reading with crowd

 

Before the feature, we shared a delicious potluck brunch, Asian-style, with fried bee hoon, egg tarts and many other goodies. We also heard three writers during the open reading. Jeremy Tiang read his translations of three poems by the Macau poet Un Sio San: “Early Morning Note To The Enemy,” “Nude Picnic” and “Anti-Love Poem to the Twenty-first Century.” Christine Chia read from her book Separation: a History and the work of two contributors to the anthology A Luxury We Cannot Afford. Tom March read his poem “The Death Bush.”

Next month’s reading will be our last before the summer hiatus, so do join us for the June blast. The feature is Patricia Park, who will read from her debut novel Re Jane. We will return to our usual starting time of 7 pm. If you’d like to be added to our email list, please email either Jee at jeeleong.koh@gmail.com or Paul at paul.rozario@gmail.com.

 

May Reading Crowd

 

Paul and Girls

 

Girl and EK

 

Victor and Hong Ling

 

Abby and Hallie

 

James with Jee and Paul

 

About Jee Leong Koh

My book of poems Steep Tea (Carcanet) was named a Best Book of 2015 by UK's Financial Times, and a Finalist by Lambda Literary. I also wrote three other books of poems and a book of zuihitsu. My work has been shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, and translated into Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian and Latvian. Originally from Singapore, I live in New York City, where I edit the arts blog Singapore Poetry, and run the Second Saturdays Reading Series and the Singapore Literature Festival in NYC.

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