Hardback
February 6, 2024
9780819500984
English
140
14 b&w photos, 4 b&w line drawings
10.00 Inches (US)
7.50 Inches (US)
$26.00 USD, £19.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Room Swept Home

Intimate and sweeping poetry that examines race and lineage

Room Swept Home serves as a gloriously rendered magnifying glass into all that is held in the line between the private and public, the investigative and generative, the self and those who came before us. In a strange twist of kismet, two of Bingham-Risher's ancestors intersect in Petersburg, Virginia, forty years before she herself is born: her paternal great-great-great grandmother, Minnie Lee Fowlkes, is interviewed for the Works Progress Administration Slave Narratives in Petersburg in 1937, and her maternal grandmother, Mary Knight, is sent to Petersburg in 1941, diagnosed with "water on the brain"—postpartum depression being an ongoing mystery—nine days after birthing her first child. Marrying meticulous archival research with Womanist scholarship and her hallmark lyrical precision, Bingham-Risher's latest collection treads the murky waters of race, lineage, faith, mental health, women's rights, and the violent reckoning that inhabits the discrepancy between lived versus textbook history, asking: What do we inherit when trauma is at the core of our fractured living?

[sample poem]

XI. the more ground covered, the more liberated you became

I am scared my mind will turn on me.
I am scared I will be naked in a burning
house. I am scared my children won't outpace me.
I am scared my children (who aren't made by me)
believe I am a sad imitation of the others.
I am scared I will gather in a room
where everyone will ask me to remember
and when I don't lie they'll say I'd hate to be you.
I've lived long enough to be scared my kidneys
will give out on me. I've lived long enough to know just
when they should. I have never shared my fears
with anyone; I am scared they will map the land
and take liberties. Will the women be ashamed?
I'm scared to ask. What will live again? What will die with me?

About the Author

REMICA BINGHAM-RISHER (Norfolk, VA) is director of quality enhancement plan initiatives at Old Dominion University. Her books include Soul Culture: Black Poets, Books, and Questions That Grew Me Up, and What We Ask of Flesh and Starlight & Error.

Endorsements

"You won't leave Room Swept Home without some joyful-noise-making, some weeping, some humming, some wild pride. I leave soothed and startled into recognition. I leave proclaiming my honest-to-God name. Remica Bingham-Risher ushers in the voices of all my kin. Her grandmothers are my own, are yours, are ours."—Courtney Faye Taylor, author of Concentrate

"From the footnotes of history, Remica Bingham-Risher's poems skillfully call forth the ancestors whose blood fills her heart and fuels her poetic mind. Room Swept Home reminds us that our trauma is not the beginning or the end of our story."—Amanda Johnston, 2024 Texas Poet Laureate

"In Remica Bingham-Risher's fearlessly imagined Room Swept Home, the author's paternal great-great-great grandmother and maternal grandmother cross paths. What is made from their proximity is not pure myth, but proof that 'every house with heat got a woman's hand in it.' Room Swept Home is a house with heat, and Remica Bingham-Risher is the woman whose meticulous hand made it so."—Nicole Sealey, author of The Ferguson Report: An Erasure
Wesleyan University Press
Wesleyan Poetry Series

9780819500984 : room-swept-home-bingham-risher
Hardback
February 6, 2024
$26.00 USD

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