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Still Life: John Freeman & Meng Jin
General Admission Pass required for entry
Poet John Freeman and short story writer Meng Jin explore the isolation and search for connection of the past few years, through the quarantines of the pandemic and the political division of the previous administration. Moderated by Mindy Nettifee.
In Wind, Trees, John Freeman presents a meditation on power and loss, change and adaptation. What can the trees teach us about inhabiting space together? What might we gain if we admit we do not control the wind, and cannot possibly carry all we’ve been handed? Offering a stark moral critique of pandemic self-preservation, Wind, Trees joins the ranks of politically urgent yet timeless collections like The Lice by W.S. Merwin. Through narrative lyric and metaphysical pulse, meandering thought and punctuating quiet, Freeman studies the devastating failings of humanity and the redemptive possibilities of love.
Written during the turbulent years of the Trump administration and the first year of the pandemic, Meng Jin’s stories explore intimacy and isolation, coming-of-age and coming to terms with the repercussions of past mistakes, fraying relationships and surprising moments of connection. Moving between San Francisco and China, and from unsparing realism to genre-bending delight, Self-Portrait with Ghost considers what it means to live in an age of heightened self-consciousness, seemingly endless access to knowledge, and little actual power.
Portland Book Festival General Admission Passes are required for entry into all events. Passes are $15 in advance and $25 day of Festival. Youth 17 & under, or with a valid high school ID get in FREE. All full-priced General Admission Passes include a $5 book fair voucher and entry into Portland Art Museum. Passes admit attendees to the Festival; individual events are first-come, first-served. More info here.
Meng Jin is the author of the novel Little Gods. she is a Kundiman Fellow, a David TK Wong Fellow, a Steinbeck Fellow, and indebted to many institutions, granting bodies, and kind humans for their support. Her writing has appeared in some journals and magazines, and The Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. she currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she is a visiting lecturer in creative writing at Harvard University. But she left her heart in San Francisco. And elsewhere. Her newest book, Self-Portrait with Ghost, is out from Mariner Books. She is writing a fake memoir, for which she received a 2021 Creative Capital Award.