Poetry Will Save Your Life: Jill Bialosky and Will Schwalbe

Tuesday October 10, 2017
07:00 pm

Tags: Event


Jill Bialosky’s memoir Poetry Will Save Your Life draws on poems by Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, Sylvia Plath, and more to explore formative life experiences—births, deaths, loves, and losses—to demonstrate the capacity for poetry to be a “blueprint for living.” Masterfully achieving a sense of universality while creating an intimate connection between author and reader, poet and novelist Bialosky uniquely celebrates poetry as a means of validation, celebration, and meditation. Joining her in conversation is Will Schwalbe, author of Books for Living and the New York Times bestseller The End of Your Life Book Club.



About Poetry Will Save Your Life

For Jill Bialosky, certain poems stand out like signposts at pivotal moments in a life: the death of a father, adolescence, first love, leaving home, the suicide of a sister, marriage, the birth of a child, the day in New York City the Twin Towers fell. As Bialosky narrates these moments, she illuminates the ways in which particular poems offered insight, compassion, and connection, and shows how poetry can be a blueprint for living. In Poetry Will Save Your Life, Bialosky recalls when she encountered each formative poem, and how its importance and meaning evolved over time, allowing new insights and perceptions to emerge.

While Bialosky’s personal stories animate each poem, they touch on many universal experiences, from the awkwardness of girlhood, to crises of faith and identity, from braving a new life in a foreign city to enduring the loss of a loved one, from becoming a parent to growing creatively as a poet and artist.

In Poetry Will Save Your Life, Bialosky has crafted an engaging and entirely original examination of a life while celebrating the enduring value of poetry, not as a purely cerebral activity, but as a means of conveying personal experience and as a source of comfort and intimacy. In doing so she brilliantly illustrates the ways in which poetry can be an integral part of life itself and can, in fact, save your life.



Jill Bialosky is the author of four acclaimed collections of poetry, most recently The Players. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Kenyon Review, and The Atlantic, among others. She is the author of three novels, most recently The Prize, and a New York Times bestselling memoir History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life. She is an editor at W. W. Norton & Company where she oversees the Norton poetry list and lives in New York City. In 2014 she was honored by the Poetry Society of America for her distinguished contribution to poetry.


Will Schwalbe has worked in publishing; digital media, as the founder and CEO of; and as a journalist, writing for various publications, including The New York Times and the South China Morning Post. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller The End of Your Life Book Club, Books for Living, and coauthor, with David Shipley, of Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better.