Canceled: Shmuel's Bridge: Following the Tracks to Auschwitz with My Survivor Father A Reading and Discussion with Author Jason Sommer

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This event has been canceled at the request of the author. The author hopes to reschedule for a future date.

About Shmuel's Bridge:

A moving memoir of a son’s relationship with his survivor father and of their Eastern European journey through a family history of incalculable loss.

Jason Sommer’s father, Jay, is ninety-eight years old and losing his memory. More than seventy years after arriving in New York from WWII-torn Europe, he is forgetting the stories that defined his life, the life of his family, and the lives of millions of Jews who were affected by Nazi terror. Observing this loss, Jason vividly recalls the trip to Eastern Europe the two took together in 2001.
As father and son travel from the town of Jay’s birth to the labor camp from which he escaped, and to Auschwitz, where many in his family were lost, the stories Jason’s father has told all his life come alive. So too do Jason’s own memories of the way his father’s past complicated and impacted Jason's own inner life.  
Shmuel's Bridge shows history through a double lens: the memories of a growing son’s complex relationship with his father and the meditations of that son who, now grown, finds himself caring for a man losing all connection to a past that must not be forgotten.

Author bio:

Jason Sommer has just published a memoir, titled Shmuel’s Bridge: Following the Tracks to Auschwitz with My Survivor Father, with Imagine!, a Charlesbridge adult imprint.

He is author of five poetry collections: most recently, Portulans in the University of Chicago’s Phoenix Poets Series. His two other Phoenix books are Other People’s Troubles, which won the Society of Midland Authors Award and was a finalist for the PEN/USA West Award, and The Man Who Sleeps in My Office, finalist for Kansas City Star’s William Rockhill Nelson Award. The Laughter of Adam and Eve was published by Southern Illinois University as winner of the Crab Orchard Review Competition.  Poems from his first collection, Lifting the Stone, from Forest Books, London, have been broadcast on the BBC World Service.

Sommer has been recognized with an Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award for poems about the Jewish experience and read from his work at the National Holocaust Memorial Museum’s program, “Speech and Silence: Poetry and the Holocaust.”  A former Stanford University Stegner Fellow, he has held a Whiting Foundation Writers’ Fellowship, fellowships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writer’s conferences as well as a residency with the YMCA’s National Writer’s Voice project.  

He has published translations of Irish language poems and, with Hongling Zhang, collaborative book-length translations of Chinese fiction: Wang in Love and Bondage: Three Novellas by Wang Xiaobo and The Bathing Women by Tie Ning, which was long-listed for the Man Asian Prize.

He lives in Saint Louis, Missouri.