Black Lawrence Press

Give Over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt

Give Over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt

Give over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt, winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award, investigates the relationship between tragedy and comedy by attending to the humor of everyday, American reality: the droll, satirical, ironic, and absurd. Comprised mainly of short lyrics, which emerged from cross-country travels and residences in rural New England, this book depicts struggles of people and place with the ever-present potential for laughter.


  • "Tandon's keen eye and idiosyncratic ear—he picks up shards of language and refashions them, making new wholes from fragments of everyday speech—combine to create a poetry with its own quiet urgency. There is a music that plays beautifully from poem to poem, as the language in subtle ways probes the underlying beauties of casual syntax. I look forward to Tandon's future work with considerable anticipation, although glad to have what he has given us already."
    —Jay Parini
  • "Jason Tandon is loyal to one of the poet's primary obligations: to make us see the world fresh, as if for the first time. The life his poems record is the quotidian one we recognize of dogs, donuts, cigarettes, traffic jams, short order cooks, and "whatever animal is scratching inside [the] air conditioner." That nameless animal is a compelling emblem of a truth these poems reveal over and over: that the closer we look at the world, the more unknowable and troubling it is—and beautiful."
    —Chris Forhan
  • "In this book you can find the fingerprints of the trickster, the pilgrim, the lover, the philosopher. I urge you to buy it. You'll be reading it for years."
    —Mekeel McBride
  • "Each of Tandon's poems lure you in with a careful bemusement, then deliver a quivering ache that'll follow you around all day—an 'I'm-happy-to-be-alive' ache, an 'I'm-glad-writing-like -this-exists' ache."
    —Todd Zuniga
  • "Jason Tandon is the Heckler, the patron saint of diners, bowling alleys and the American garden gnome—a reliable witness in an unreliable world. At a 'frenetic pitch and toss' where the hilarious convulses alongside the sacred, the poems in this collection chase fires, put a hypnotist on trial, and for the sake of us all 'break this eternity into instants.' This is the news that matters. 'Drunk and imagining tattoos,' Tandon delivers a casual grace, striking at sincerity through irony and wonder through dailiness, where 'Rachel sits dangling her blistered feet,' and 'the snowman at my window laughs.' Tandon’s poems glow the way wood glows at night—darkly—in tragicomic relief from the calculated violence that makes empire possible.
    —Chad Sweeney

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Jason Tandon

Jason Tandon was born in Hartford, CT in 1975. He is the author of three collections of poetry, Quality of Life (Black Lawrence Press, 2013), Give over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt (Black Lawrence Press, 2009), winner of the 2006 St. Lawrence Book Award, and Wee Hour Martyrdom (sunnyoutside, 2008). His work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in AGNI Online, Boston Review, Esquire, Harvard Review Online, Mid-American Review, Prairie Schooner, Spoon River Poetry Review, and on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from Middlebury College and an M.F.A. in Writing from the University of New Hampshire, and teaches in the Arts & Sciences Writing Program at Boston University.

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