On Wednesday, December 6 at 6PM, the Penn Book Center—co-sponsored by ICA—presents a reading and discussion with poet, scholar, and educator Eve Ewing. Ewing will read from her debut book Electric Arches and will be joined in conversation by Amber Rose Johnson (Penn Africana Studies).
Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of Black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose.
Blending stark realism with the surreal and fantastic, Eve L. Ewing’s narrative takes us from the streets of 1990s Chicago to an unspecified future, deftly navigating the boundaries of space, time, and reality. Ewing imagines familiar figures in magical circumstances—blues legend Koko Taylor is a tall-tale hero; LeBron James travels through time and encounters his teenage self. She identifies everyday objects—hair moisturizer, a spiral notebook—as precious icons.
Her visual art is spare, playful, and poignant—a cereal box decoder ring that allows the wearer to understand what Black girls are saying; a teacher’s angry, subversive message scrawled on the chalkboard. Electric Arches invites fresh conversations about race, gender, the city, identity, and the joy and pain of growing up.
EVE L. EWING is a writer, scholar, artist, and educator from Chicago. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The New Yorker, New Republic, The Nation, The Atlantic, and many other publications. She is a sociologist at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.