Date & Time
Friday, July 19, 2019
57th Street Books
Free and open to the public.
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
A reading from two debut poetry collections: Erika Sánchez's "Lessons on Explusion" and Emily Skaja's "Brute." A Q&A and signing will follow the reading.
At 57th Street Books
About "Lessons on Expulsion": “What is life but a cross / over rotten water?” Poet, novelist, and essayist Erika L. Sánchez’s powerful debut poetry collection explores what it means to live on both sides of the border—the border between countries, languages, despair and possibility, and the living and the dead. Sánchez tells her own story as the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants and as part of a family steeped in faith, work, grief, and expectations. The poems confront sex, shame, race, and an America roiling with xenophobia, violence, and laws of suspicion and suppression. With candor and urgency, and with the unblinking eyes of a journalist, Sánchez roves from the individual life into the lives of sex workers, narco-traffickers, factory laborers, artists, and lovers. What emerges is a powerful, multifaceted portrait of survival. "Lessons on Expulsion" is the first book by a vibrant, essential new writer now breaking into the national literary landscape.
About Erika L. Sánchez: Erika L. Sánchez is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer, and the author of a young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. She is a 2017–2019 Princeton Arts Fellow.
About "Brute": Emily Skaja’s debut collection is a fiery, hypnotic book that confronts the dark questions and menacing silences around gender, sexuality, and violence. "Brute" arises, brave and furious, from the dissolution of a relationship, showing how such endings necessitate self-discovery and reinvention. The speaker of these poems is a sorceress, a bride, a warrior, a lover, both object and agent, ricocheting among ways of knowing and being known. Each incarnation squares itself up against ideas of feminine virtue and sin, strength and vulnerability, love and rage as it closes in on a hard-won freedom. "Brute" is absolutely sure of its capacity to insist not only on the truth of what it says but the truth of its right to say it. “What am I supposed to say: I’m free?” the first poem asks. The rest of the poems emphatically discover new ways to answer. This is a timely winner of the Walt Whitman Award, and an introduction to an unforgettable voice.
About Emily Skaja: Emily Skaja grew up in rural Illinois. She is a graduate of the creative writing MFA program at Purdue University. Her poems have been published in Best New Poets, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, FIELD, and Gulf Coast. She lives in Memphis.