“We can train ourselves to respect our feelings, and to discipline (transpose) them into a language that matches those feelings so they can be shared. And where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it. Poetry is not only dream or vision, it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.”
― Audre Lorde, “Poetry is Not a Luxury”
As COVID sweeps across the planet and through our lives, we continue to confront our vulnerabilities, both public and private. Hard truths about our nation are in sharp focus. How do we carve out purpose, chart a meaningful course, through troubling times that don’t seem to end?
Taking care of ourselves and others is one answer, and it can take many forms. Sometimes this means learning to dismantle oppressive systems and interrogate received ideas, as Mary-Frances Winter explores in Black Fatigue. Maggie Smith urges us to Keep Moving. Corey Sobel and Athena Dixon consider expressing one’s authentic self as a means of self-care.
We think you’ll agree that engaging with or making art is a transformational experience that can offer solace, release, self-knowledge, and solidarity. It is in this spirit that you’re invited to join Writers & Books for a year of inspirational and thought-provoking events. During these unpredictable times, please take care.
Athena Dixon Reading - March 4
The Incredible Shrinking Woman
Essayist Athena Dixon unpacks the roles she learned to inhabit to avoid disruption growing up as a Black woman in a small Midwestern town.
Lyz Lenz Reading - March 11
Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women
Journalist Lyz Lenz lays bare the misogynistic logic of cultural narratives about pregnancy, tracing them back to our nation’s cultural soup of religious and historical myths with wit, snark, and raw intimacy.
Facing Systemic Racism
Mary-Frances Winter Reading - March 18
Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit
Mary-Frances Winter explores the intergenerational impact of systemic racism on the physical and psychological health of Black people and explains why and how society needs to collectively do more to combat its pernicious effects.
What Work Is
Hilary Leichter Reading - March 25
Surviving late-stage capitalism is put through the fun-house mirror in this experimental novel.
Holly Wren Spaulding Reading - April 5
Holly Wren Spaulding’s collection of poems about trees, flowers, magic, touch, memory, erasure, power, and her grief over the changing climate.
Craig Morgan Teicher Reading - April 6
Welcome to Sonnetville, New Jersey
A collection of poems about entering middle age, raising a young family, sustaining a marriage, and taking care of a disabled child.
Renewal and Reinvention
Hanif Abdurraquib Reading - April 15
A Fortune For Your Disaster
In his much-anticipated collection, poet, essayist, biographer, and music critic Hanif Abdurraqib has written a book of poems about how one rebuilds oneself after a heartbreak, the kind that renders them a different version of themselves than the one they knew.
Kendra Decolo Reading - April 20
I Am Not Trying to Hide My Hungers from the World
Kendra DeColo reaffirms the action of mothering as heroic, brutal, and hardcore with poems that interrogate patriarchal narratives about childbirth, postpartum healing, and motherhood through the lens of pop culture and the political zeitgeist.
Body and Mind
Using “Literature” of Illness in Writing - April 17
Workshop with Sarah Cedeño
In this generative workshop, we will find new ways to view our individual medical “material” and break out of the narratives we tell ourselves and others about our bodies.
Rachel Mennies Reading - April 27
The Naomi Letters
These letter-poems reveal the struggles, joys, and erasures the speaker endures as she becomes reacquainted with her own body following a long period of anxiety and suicidal ideation, working to recover both physically and emotionally as she grows to understand this long-distance love and its stakes.
Finding Our Place
Patrice Gopo Reading - May 6
All the Colors We Will See
Born in Alaska the child of Jamaican immigrants, Patrice Gopo examines the complexities of identity in our turbulent yet hopeful time of intersecting heritages in this thoughtful memoir.
What Connects Us
E.C. Osondu Reading - May 11
The short stories in Alien Stories break down the concept of foreignness to reveal what unites us all as “aliens” within a complex and interconnected universe.
Thomas J. Mickey Reading - May 13
All About Flowers
Thomas J. Mickey reveals where our enduring love for flowers came from and examines the role flower gardening played in the Victorian era, particularly for women.
Heather Lanier Reading - July 8
Raising a Rare Girl
Award-winning writer Heather Lanier’s memoir about raising a child with a rare syndrome, defying the tyranny of normal, and embracing parenthood as a spiritual practice that breaks us open in the best of ways.