Meeting monthly, our book club welcomes all with selections and conversations that challenge and inspire. We tend to focus on books about race, politics, glimpses into experiences unlike our own. You know, the easy stuff! We invite you to join us (even if you don’t read the book!).
Saturday, September 21, 2019
(174 Oxmoor Rd, Homewood, AL 35209)
H.I.V.E. welcomes author Kwoya Fagin Maples to read and discuss her book Mend: Poems.
About “Mend: Poems”
The inventor of the speculum, J. Marion Sims, is celebrated as the “father of modern gynecology,” and a memorial at his birthplace honors “his service to suffering women, empress and slave alike.” These tributes whitewash the fact that Sims achieved his surgical breakthroughs by experimenting on eleven enslaved African American women. Lent to Sims by their owners, these women were forced to undergo operations without their consent. Today, the names of all but three of these women are lost.
In Mend: Poems, Kwoya Fagin Maples gives voice to the enslaved women named in Sims’s autobiography: Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy. In poems exploring imagined memories and experiences relayed from hospital beds, the speakers challenge Sims’s lies, mourn their trampled dignity, name their suffering in spirit, and speak of their bodies as “bruised fruit.” At the same time, they are more than his victims, and the poems celebrate their humanity, their feelings, their memories, and their selves. A finalist for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Donald Hall Prize for Poetry, this debut collection illuminates a complex and disturbing chapter of the African American experience.
Kwoya Fagin Maples is a writer from Charleston, S.C. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama and is a graduate Cave Canem Fellow. She is the author of Mend (University Press of Kentucky, 2018). In addition to a chapbook publication by Finishing Line Press entitled Something of Yours (2010) her work is published in several journals and anthologies including Blackbird Literary Journal, Obsidian, Berkeley Poetry Review, The African-American Review, Pluck!, Cave Canem Anthology XIII, The Southern Women’s Review, and Sow’s Ear Poetry Review. Her most recent poetry collection, Mend, was finalist for the AWP Prize. Mend tells the story of the birth of gynecology and the role black enslaved women played in that process. This work received a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation.
Maples teaches Creative Writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and directs a three-dimensional poetry exhibit which features poetry and visual art including original paintings, photography, installations and film.
More info at kwoyafaginmaples.com.
PAST H.I.V.E. BOOKS SELECTIONS:
- “Fight Like a Mother: How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the World” by Shannon Watts
- “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi
- “dark // thing” by Ashley M. Jones
- “Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights” by Doug Jones
- “Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet” by Ashlee Piper
“Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger” by Rebecca Traister
- “Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race” by Debby Irving
- “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah
- “Lean In” Sheryl Sandberg
- “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
- “Magic City Gospel” by Ashley M. Jones
- “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine
- “You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain” by Phoebe Robinson
- “What I Told My Daughter” by Nina Tassler
- “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
- “Hope in the Dark” by Rebecca Solnit