– Poet and essayist David Lehman will hold a lecture and discussion about the exhibit “A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, 1910-1965” on Wednesday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pt. Pleasant Borough Branch of the Ocean County Library.
Lehman is the exhibit’s curator and his book, also titled A Fine Romance, is the inspiration for the nationally-touring exhibit. The exhibit will be on display at the Pt. Pleasant Borough branch through October 21.
The exhibit looks at the enormously popular collection of songs and songwriters who entertained and inspired America during the early 20th century. Its songwriters combined a genius for developing a melody, pairing it with the perfect words and connecting with their audience on an emotional level. A high percentage of those writers were Jewish, coming from families that immigrated to America in the 1800s or fleeing from pogroms and persecutions in Europe at the turn of the century. The songwriters included such well-known composers as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin and Harold Arlen.
The exhibit was developed by Nextbook, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Jewish literature, culture and ideas, and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The national tour of the exhibit has been made possible by grants from the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the Righteous Persons Foundation, the David Berg Foundation, and an anonymous donor, with additional support from “Tablet Magazine: A New Read on Jewish Life.”
David Lehman was born in New York City. He is the author of seven books of poems, most recently Yeshiva Boys (Scribner, 2009). Among his nonfiction books are A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs (Nextbook / Schocken, 2009) and The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets (Anchor, 1999). He initiated The Best American Poetry series in 1988 and continues as the annual anthology’s general editor. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989 and an Academy Award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1990.
This program is sponsored in part by the Friends of the Pt. Pleasant Library and is free and open to the public. Please register in-person, by phone at 732-295-1555, or online at http://www.theoceancountylibrary.org. The Pt. Pleasant Borough branch is located at 834 Beaver Dam Rd. in Pt. Pleasant.