The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome poet Erin Hoover back to her hometown of Harrisburg! Hoover will read from her debut collection of poetry, Barnburner. She will be joined on-stage by Harrisburg's own, Jen Hirt, author of Too Many Questions About Strawberries. This event is free and open to the public! Book signing to follow discussion.
About the Book:
The epigraph to Barnburner is a call to burn it all down: “According to an old story, there was once a Dutchman who was so bothered by the rats in his barn that he burned down the barn to get rid of them. Thus a barn burner became one who destroyed all in order to get rid of a nuisance.” There is honesty in this epigraph, raw and brutal, like the narrative voices in Erin Hoover’s poems. But there’s an irony at play here, an irony perhaps borrowing a bit from the ironies of Frost’s “Mending Wall”: these poems don’t burn down the cruelties of a homogeneous, racist patriarchy. Instead, they make a muse of it. A muse that can be objectified, stripped bare, and put on a pedestal for all to scorn.
Hoover fridges that muse so that one speaker of a heroine after another is vaulted by the shock of such violence into a journey of personal discovery. There are mean-spirited, ruthless characters in these poems and, in a kind of reverse Bechdel test, Hoover wipes away their inner lives and never lets them talk to each other about anything except those they have hurt.
Jen Hirt is the author of the poetry chapbook Too Many Questions About Strawberries, the memoir Under Glass: The Girl with a Thousand Christmas Trees, and an essay collection, Hear Me Ohio (forthcoming in 2020). She is the co-editor of Creating Nonfiction: Twenty Essays and Interviews with the Writers and Kept Secret: The Half-Truth in Nonfiction. Her creative writing has won a Pushcart Prize, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant, and has been shortlisted three times in Best American Essays. Originally from Valley City, Ohio, she now lives in midtown, Harrisburg and is the chair of the English department at Penn State Harrisburg.