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Reading Hart Island: The Message of the City
Mar 26, 2016 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm| Free
Bushwick, NY – On Saturday March 26, 2016, The Hart Island Project will celebrate the recent nomination of Hart Island as a literary landmark by the Empire Center for the Book with readings by Katrine Øgaard Jensen, Alex Zucker, and Patricia Palermo at Molasses Books Bushwick. The event is free and open to the public; donations welcome.
“The dead do not remain long dead in big cities, or perhaps they become deader….Not just twice dead like the relics beneath Washington Square, they become triply annihilated: the prisoners won’t let them rest….” William Styron in Lie Down in Darkness
Since 1869, prison inmates have buried over one million unclaimed and unidentified New Yorkers in mass graves on Hart Island. The stories of those interred were largely forgotten until 2014 when The Hart Island Project launched the Traveling Cloud Museum, assigning clocks of anonymity to a database of recent burials and storytelling software.
This new technology was too late for Dawn Powell, a celebrated novelist, satirist, and socialite in the mid-20th century burgeoning New York arts scene. Her burial record was lost in a 1977 fire and her gravesite now unknown. Recently, there has been a revival of her work however. In 2015 she was posthumously honored with the New York State Writer’s Hall of Fame. Dr. Patricia E. Palermo, a scholar of Powell’s, has written a forthcoming critical biography of her life, “The Message of the City,” which simultaneously examines Dawn Powell’s New York novels and her compelling social life.
Dr. Palermo, alongside Alex Zucker, an award winning translator of Czech literature, and Katrine Øgaard Jensen, a writer, translator, and fiction teacher at Columbia University, will read to honor and add visibility to the life and writings of Dawn Powell and the others buried in anonymity on Hart Island.
More information about The Hart Island Project: http://www.hartisland.net