Reading Series Census: The Eagle and the Wren

By on Monday, October 12th, 2015 at 9:03 am

The New York City Reading Series Census is an ongoing project to catalogue the contemporary literary scene. Any reading series curator in the New York area can take the survey here.

What is the name of the series, and what is the significance or meaning of the series name?
Our name is The Eagle and the Wren. It takes its name in part from Wren’s Day, which takes place in Ireland on Saint Stephen’s Day (December 26th). The history is complex, but apocryphally a wren is supposed to have betrayed Saint Stephen’s hiding place by singing, leading to his martyrdom. Thus, on Wren’s, or “Wran’s”, day, folk go out to “hunt the wren.” This involves “Mumming,” or dressing up to hide your identity, and visiting neighbors. There is also the Irish folktale of the wren that hitched a ride on the Eagle’s tail feather during the birds’ contest to see who could fly the highest. Once the eagle had done its best, the wren hopped off and flew higher, thus the wren is known as “the king of all birds.”

Who founded the series, and who runs it now?
Adrienne Brock and David McLoghlin, a husband and wife team, founded it in September 2013, and have run it ever since. The American eagle and the Irish wren reflect our American / Irish origins.

What genres or mediums does the series include?
Primarily poetry and fiction, but we also welcome nonfiction and sometimes staged readings of plays, and music.

What is the format of the series?
We have five readers every month. Reflecting our name, we pair magazine- or journal-published writers with a poet or fiction writer who is more established. Typically, we will have either three poets each month and two fiction writers; and to balance that, the following month we will have three fiction writers and two poets.

Where does the series take place?
BookCourt bookstore at 163 Court Street, in Brooklyn.

When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?
Our events take place at 7 p.m., on the last Sunday of every month, for an hour and half. We run from September through May, and break for June, July and August.

How long has the series been active?
Since September 2013.

Where can people find information about series on the web?
We don’t have a website or blog. Those interested can find us on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/The-Eagle-and-the-Wren-202984669720250

Or on BookCourt’s events page.

Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
We do a combination of solicitation and submissions. Previous readers introduce us to their friends, or members of the audience ask us if they may submit. We welcome submissions of up to 15 pages of poetry, fiction or nonfiction, at our email address: theeagleandthewren@gmail.com.

Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
Our initial goal was to pair emerging and establish writers, which is something we continue to do. We also wanted to make sure that female writers received a fair representation. Several months into our first season, we made an active policy of including writers of color. We also like, whenever possible, to include writers who do not have an MFA.

What distinguishes the series from others?
What distinguishes The Eagle and the Wren is that although we are interested in quality work, we are also community-oriented, and stress the pairing of the emerging and the established.

The next The Eagle and The Wren reading is scheduled for Sunday, October 18, 2015, at BookCourt and features Rickey Laurentiis (author of “Boy with Thorn”, Pitt Poetry Series 2015), Linda Susan Jackson (author of “What Yellow Sounds Like”, Tia Chucha Press, 2007), and Laura Sims (author of “My god is this a man”, Fence Book, 2014, and “Fare Forward, Letters from David Markson”, powerHouse Books 2014)

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