STUDIO: Iijima, Vega-Westhoff, Lowinger
Thursday 28th Sep, 2017

Just Buffalo Writing Center
468 Washington St, upper Buffalo, NY 14203
Time: 7:30pm
Cost: FREE
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Just Buffalo Literary Center’s STUDIO series returns on Thursday, September 28th at 7:30pm at the Just Buffalo Writing Center (468 Washington St, 2nd floor). Visiting from Brooklyn, Brenda Iijima will be the featured poet with Buffalo’s own Christina Vega-Westhoff and Aaron Lowinger rounding out the bill. As always, STUDIO is free and open to the public.

Iijima and Vega-Westhoff are connected through Nightboat Books. Nightboat Books was founded in 2003 by Kazim Ali and Jennifer Chapis, with Ali serving as the press first publisher. From the press, “The name Nightboat signifies travel, passage, and possibility—of mind and body, and of language. The night boat maneuvers in darkness at the mercy of changing currents and weather, always immersed in forces beyond itself.” This is an apt metaphor for the work that will be presented on the 28th.

Iijima’s work focuses on ecology, gender, and history (but not necessarily in that order). Publisher’s Weekly said of the titular poem of her 2010 collection If Not Metamorphic (Ahsahta Press) is “composed entirely of questions, sifts and settles across its pages like sediment”, a fitting image for Iijima who edited the eco language reader (2010, Nightboat Books). In addition to being a poet and editor, Iijima also makes beautiful books through her Portable Press@Yo-yo Labs, publishing the work of such authors as Alan Davies, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Akilah Oliver, and Tyrone Williams amongst others.

Vega-Westhoff is a poet, translator, and aerialist living in Buffalo, NY. Her first book, Suelo Tide Cement, won the 2016 Nightboat Books Poetry Prize and will be published in 2018. In it, she glides seamlessly from subject to subject, poems almost falling apart like free jazz, but always coming back to a shifting center with lines such as “pony tied to the tree / next to its mother / expat teenagers out of  / range of chickens”. She teaches writing and movement with The Bird's Nest Circus Arts, the Geneseo Migrant Center, Just Buffalo Literary Center, and Young Audiences of Western New York. 

Lowinger, one of the editors at The Public, has been active in the Buffalo poetry scene for over 15 years. Through numerous chapbooks, Lowinger has built a reputation as a poet with a big heart. His work as a social worker has informed his poetic subject matter, his presentation of the poems on the page reminds one of Charles Reznikoff. Additionally, as a birdwatcher, his love of nature is also present in his poems. 

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