Monday, June 14, 2010



By Doug Holder

Jason Wright, a Somerville resident for the past 5 years is a self-described oddball. This 30 year old writer, waiter, and online magazine founder of "ODDBALL" magazine, like many young Somervillians pines to make his mark in the publishing industry. Wright, works at Bertucci's at Alewife Station to keep food on the table and just finished a certificate program in publishing at Emerson College. He stopped by to chat with me at my usual Saturday morning perch at the Au Bon Pain cafe in Davis Square.

Wright is a productive writer who started ODDBALL magazine when he was 16. It covers many subjects. It includes his own eclectic brand of poetry and prose, as well as profiles of interesting characters he runs across. Wright said the magazine gives a voice to the outsiders, and is in a way therapeutic for him. Wright who has a fondness for the philosopher Nietzsche paraphrases him to explain why he writes: ""Through chaos a star is born."

ODDBALL magazine is in blog format, and Wright traces his progress during his day to day. Wright describes it as as a poetry and graffiti magazine from Boston, Ma, that is dedicated to giving the voiceless a voice. There are accounts of his trial and travails as a writer, poetry that speaks to his unique frame of mind, as well as interesting profile (with YouTube video) of Pat Bartevian, who runs a small consignment shop in Boston. This archaic little store is sandwiched in between tall buildings in downtown Boston. It seems that this charmingly eccentric woman was a member of the long forgotten 40's singing group the " Hickory Sisters." Bartevian has tales of gigs with "old blue eyes" himself Frank Sinatra, and other famed crooners.

Wright has a B.A. in English from U/Mass Boston and studied with such distinguished Somerville writers on faculty like Joe Torra and Lloyd Schwartz. He also attended Bunker Hill Community College where yours truly is currently on faculty.

Living in Somerville is a great deal for Wright. His girlfriend works at Rounder Records, and he loves Johnny D's (he used to work there), and other venues. He told me that Somerville is a small city with a big city mentality.

Wright said he has twelve books of unpublished poetry. He has also written an unpublished work: " Journal of a Mad Man."

To finish his certificate requirements at Emerson College Wright is formulating a business plan for his nascent small press, and he is also penning a mission statement for his magazine. He is working on getting all the paperwork done that is necessary to have a legitimate enterprise.

Wright recently attended a lecture by Gloria Mindock the founder of the Cervena Barva Press at Emerson College. Both Mindock and myself are excited about the prospect of yet another publication playing a part in our rich literary milieu.

Check out ODDBALL Magazine: http://www.

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