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Rochelle Hurt and Leslie Wheeler present THE J GIRLS: A REALITY SHOW & POETRY’S POSSIBLE WORLDS and THE STATE SHE’S IN at Flyleaf Books
September 29 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Jocelyn, Jodie, Jennifer, Jacqui, Joelle. Ignoring the optimistic advice of elders, these five working-class teens in the Rust Belt band together in their embrace of bad behavior and poor taste as they navigate sexuality and identity with loud-mouthed joy and clear-eyed cynicism.
Winner of the 2021 Blue Light Books Prize, Rochelle Hurt’s The J Girls: A Reality Show is a tribute to the grit and glitter of millennial girlhood and a testament to its dangers and traumas. Hurt’s creative, genre-bending mix of poetry, fiction, and screenplay brings the girls to life with campy performances of monologues, soap opera clips, mock interviews, talk shows, commercials, and even burlesque. Vulgar, rhapsodic language serves as costume and shield, allowing the J Girls to script their own images and project glowing, outsized versions of themselves into the safe space of the TV screen.
Playful and poignant, The J Girls is a flashy ode to performance and a nostalgic elegy for adolescent friendships.
Rochelle Hurt is a poet and essayist. Her other books include In Which I Play the Runaway, which won the Barrow Street Book Prize, and The Rusted City: A Novel in Poems. Her work has been included in Poetry magazine and the Best New Poets anthology series, and she’s been awarded prizes and fellowships from Poetry International, Arts & Letters, Vermont Studio Center, Jentel, and Yaddo. Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, she now lives in Orlando and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Central Florida.
Leslie Wheeler is the author of the Poetry’s Possible Worlds, a memoir exploring the restorative power of poetry during a time of crisis. Her other books include the novel Unbecoming and five books of poetry, most recently The State She’s In. Her poems and essays appear in such journals as Poetry, Poets & Writers, American Poetry Review, Ecotone, and Guernica, and she is Poetry Editor of Shenandoah. Her work has received support from the Fulbright Foundation, Bread Loaf, Sewanee Writers Workshop, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Find her online at lesleymwheeler.org and @LesleyMWheeler.