Eve L. Ewing

Book cover

Much like “Electric Arches,” this was a poetry book that I enjoyed reading cover to cover. I love the diversity of styles Ewing employs, and the through-line connection to a historical report on racial violence in 1919 Chicago is a very compelling organizing framework. (Not to mention that it makes the book feel much more timely than I’m sure Ewing expected when she published the book in 2019, sadly.) As I said in my review of “Electric Arches,” I don’t really think of myself as a “poetry person,” but Professor Ewing may be bringing me around! My partner is very knowledgeable about poetry and we’ve started talking about it and listening to Tracy K. Smith’s poetry podcast together since reading “1919” as a mini book-club.

I think Ewing’s roots in the spoken word world may account for part of the appeal of her work to me–I find her poems to have an immediacy and a conversational quality that is maybe associated with that influence. My favorite poem in this collection was absolutely “upon seeing a picture of a car in a school book.” Other favorites included “I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store” and the three “Exodus” poems. Also, the cover art is so good!

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars