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).
Her essays, poetry, and photography has been featured widely, over the past decade, in venues such as PBS Newshour, Tin House, Boston Review, NER, Colorado Review among others.
Her first collection of poetry, “The Art of Work” was published by Noemi Press in September of 2016. It follows the working realities of New York City’s Butcher’s Union, UFCW Local 342, through job sites on all five boroughs and upstate–intermingling her family’s working-class lineage and current lives with those of the documented and undocumented members populating our grocery stores, processing plants, slaughter houses, and agri-farms.
As a community activist and organizer, she has hosted free-for-the-community Grassroots Workshops, created spaces for the literary community to organize outside of academia, hosted podcasts and readings, such as the Trump inauguration “Day One” poetry reading at Poet’s House NYC, and has organized the literary community around issues of representation in publishing as Count Director for The VIDA Count, working in tandem with the National Writer’s Union to organize at AWP, and started the campaign for Staten Island to name its first ever Poet Laureate.
She works with the organizations “Prison Writes” and “The Kite” to bring writing & literacy workshops to incarcerated youth and adults on Rikers Island and other jails/institutions around NYC. She also teaches public creative writing workshops for NYWW, LitReactor, Split This Rock, and the New York Public Library.
Her new work seeks to bridge the connective gaps left in language while engaging larger concepts of solidarity, singularity, and ascension.
Jen Fitzgerald was born on Labor Day into a lawless geography. Her 150 year Staten Island lineage is marked in her by resourcefulness and endurance. She is most comfortable when observing, she chases the spaces between synapses where real connection is made, and does all the weird, mystic stuff. She is proud of her working-class roots and still judges a person by their work ethic. The most important thing any of us can do right now is elevate the “everyday” into art.