Jen Fitzgerald is a poet, essayist, photographer, and a native New Yorker who received her MFA in Poetry at Lesley University and her BA in Writing at The College of Staten Island (CUNY). She is a community activist, organizer, and freelance writer/editor/content creator. She is the host of New Books in Poetry Podcast as part of the New Books Network, a member of New York Writers Workshop, and was a Bread Loaf 2014 Conference participant. She teaches and has taught creative writing workshops she developed to mine personal narrative, interrogate synaptic leaps in our writing, and work in hybrid forms to nurture “voice,” for LitReactor, Split This Rock, New York Writers Workshop, and the New York Public Library. Her first collection of poetry, “The Art of Work” was published by Noemi Press in September of 2016. Her essays, poetry, and photography have appeared in such outlets as PBS Newshour, Boston Review, Tin House, Salon, PEN Anthology, Colorado Review, Harriet: The Poetry Foundation Blog, Best American Poetry Blog, among others. She’s returned to Shaolin after a two and a half year stint in South County Anne Arundel, Maryland (Blue Crab and Old Bay All Day) and is at work on a few exciting projects and collaborations.
Jen Fitzgerald was born on Labor Day into a lawless geography. Her family has been on Staten Island for 200 years and refuses to integrate into normal society. Resourcefulness and endurance mark her lineage. She is most comfortable when observing, so much so that she forgets that she inhabits a body and loses control of her facial muscles. She chases the spaces between synapses, where real connection is made. Vivaldi gives her goosebumps as do some Jay-Z songs. She is proud of her working-class roots, judges a person by their work ethic, and elevates the “everyday” into art.
Black & White Author Photo Credit: Dalia Mousaad