English as a Second Language and Other Poems (Paperback)
Tues, March 5 at 7:00pm: Join us in welcoming local author Jenny Adams to share her new 1920s-set Mystery novel A DEADLY ENDEAVOR! She'll be in conversation with One More Page favorite Stephen Spotswood.
In Jaswinder Bolina's English as A Second Language and Other Poems, we are asked to imagine the tender and harsh realities of this world within a single breath-- a Steiff monkey resting next to a child in a crib and the tired hands of "a thousand /women in Sidi Bouzid" assembling the stuffed animal. Coated in an armor of wit and humor and steeped in the idiosyncrasies of language, English as a Second Language pits sentimentality against cynicism and the personal against the national. What remains is the kaleidoscopic image of the modern American condition.
From elegy to persona, wide-ranging poems tell the story of a child of immigrants becoming a parent against the tumultuous backdrop of our politics and culture. Where the collection asks, "What chance do any of us have?," the poet finds hope, possibility. Bolina's musical poems zip across time, challenging the fixity of the book. Clues offer the possibility of an alternate reading, where backwards, a new emotional arc appears--dreamlike, the nostalgic origin story of a sleep-deprived parent tracing a path through language and history. Forwards, backwards, English as a Second Language skewers, laments, and celebrates America with intelligence and humility.