The first of IUSB English Department’s Spring Semester Poetry and Fiction Reading Events kicks off this week with a poetry reading by Benjamin Balthaser.
The event is open to the public and admission is free. Following the reading, there will be a question and answer session, along with a book signing. The book, published by Partisan Press, will be available for purchase.
Besides being an assistant professor in the IUSB English Department, Balthaser is also an accomplished poet. Dedication, his first book, examines the issues surrounding family history, radicalism, and religion through the lens of verse. Balthaser’s exploration into the identity of oneself through familial ties is drawn from various historic experiences and interviews with members of his own family who were Jewish, as well as Communist Party activists in Post-World War II America.
Famed poet and essayist, Martin Espada, has called Balthaser’s pieces “a complex and misunderstood history” that works through “chiseled diction and lightning flashes of imagery.”
Poet and fiction writer Jim Daniels says that “Benjamin Balthaser’s Dedication is necessary reading in any age, but particularly in our current historical moment. These complex, compassionate poems do more than document the oppressive weight of imposed silence; like the best, truest poems they make us feel that silence, experience is erosive effects on these characters’ lives.”