Strobe lights flashed in a Boston nightclub, illuminating dancing bodies and striking the partiers faces that shone neon in the darkened room. Pounding music made conversation impossible, but that didn't stop patrons from pairing up, whether on the dance floor or at the bar.
It was 1996 and Jason Roush, then a writing, literature and publishing major at Emerson College, was enjoying a night out with his friends.
While other partiers may have been thinking only of the music or how much money was left in their wallets for another round of drinks, Roush was busy taking mental notes about the people who surrounded him.
Watching their movements and interactions with one another, he began to compose stanzas in his head. Ten years later, his observations have been compiled in a book of poetry, which came out last month.
"'After Hours' is a collection of poems that look at the different personas people and cities take on at night," said Roush, who currently teaches writing, literature and cultural theory classes at
Emerson and is the Faculty Assistant to the Director of the Honors Program.
On Feb. 15, Roush will read from his book at Emerson.
The collection of poetry is inspired by his childhood in Cincinnati and from experiences he later had in Boston, New York, London, Paris and Rome.
Now a Cambridge resident, Roush has had music reviews and poems featured in regional publications such as Bay Windows, Cimarron Review and Provincetown Magazine.
Always at ease with the nighttime, Roush's poetry reflects the places he has lived and visited between the hours of twilight and daybreak.
"There's something pedestrian about cities during the daytime," he said. "At night, cities seem to put on sequined costumes that reflect the people that live there. People interact in ways they normally wouldn't during the daytime."
As a gay man, several of Roush's poems recall memories of flirtations with the men he encountered in his past, but he said he draws a line between writing a risqu