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Electric Arches

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  2,677 ratings  ·  388 reviews
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, and identifies everyday objects - hair moisturizer, a spiral notebook - as precious icons.

Her visual art i
Paperback, 94 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Haymarket Books (first published August 21st 2017)
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Eve I hope so! I used to be a middle school English Language Arts teacher and I definitely wrote the book with a middle or high school audience in mind. I…moreI hope so! I used to be a middle school English Language Arts teacher and I definitely wrote the book with a middle or high school audience in mind. I think some of the poems require more scaffolding than others, and some are more accessible than others, but I happen to think it's a good book for middle schoolers. (less)

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Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about this book. The poems that were amazing were truly amazing, full of richness and depth about black girlhood and black womanness. The same goes for the amazing prose pieces. There was an interesting strain of afro futurism throughout that I wish was more fully explored. I stumbled with the book’s structure and arrangement because I was looking for more of a connective tissue. But oh, the spirit of this collection soars and Ewing tackles so much across the writ ...more
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, poetry
A whimsical collection of poetry, prose, and art, Electric Arches explores the depths of Black girlhood and womanhood. Ewing writes accessible poems mostly based on her sundry memories of growing up in Chicago. As with her stories, though, her poems often take fantastical turns. The collection is divided into three parts of similar length, and the principles of Afro-futurism and magical realism appear in each. While I enjoyed some of the pieces, especially those in the second section, the collec ...more
There were moments of magic, but too few. There was no discernible theme or context/connection from one work to the next.

Ewing's prose is lilting and magnificent. I loved, "What I talk about When I Talk About Black Jesus."

For several poems where the lines were presented in script, they were nigh unto illegible. The font was too small to read, for those poems printed with white font in a black background. The publisher did her no favors by not having a few readers comment specifically on the desi
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I write this review as an outsider.

Poetry is often intensely personal in ways prose avoids. This is a collection of insights, remembrances, and calls to push forth. It is also an invitation for readers, to bear witness, to reflect.

"What words can you offer us to help us be free black people in a world that does not love us?"

A rating on technique I am not qualified to give, so the rating is strictly subjective. I did enjoy it. I appreciated being invited to step inside a place I'm not allowed an
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everything about this was everything I needed in life, but didn't know. Every word was chosen carefully, and the combination of real life and magic is sincerely beautiful. Multiple times I cried and the poem about Fullerton Ave was amazing. And to the notebook kid, which I've read before to my students, is still SO GOOD.

If you love chicago, if you love being black, if you love magical realism, if you think you like poetry but aren't sure, this book is for you.
So basically, for everyone who love
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This came in the mail today, I sat down to look at it and ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting. Eve Ewing's writing is spectacular, the kind of poetry that makes you hold your breath as you read without even realizing it. Please, get this book.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Speak this to yourself
until you know it is true."

this book is magic
 The Black Geek
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
When I first heard about Electric Arches, I looked forward to reading Ewing's book. I had been impressed by Ewing's scholarly research and academic biography. With this said, I was a bit disappointed in this book for the following reasons:

1) The haphazard organization of the poems made this book difficult to read.

2) The structure of the poems included awkward and abrupt line breaks .

3) The collection included "filler" poems that did not connect to the theme of Black girlhood or Black womanhood (
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018indch, poetry
An interesting mix of poetry, prose, and art. Powerful meditations on growing up as a black female in Chicago. Ewing's poems are both extremely specific yet bloom beyond that, filled with memories of the past and the future.
Here for the Chicago nostalgia alone.
Leah Rachel von Essen
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing is absolutely stunning. With a dash of the tale of an alien invasion, Ewing takes us through black girlhood and womanhood, in a variety of prose, poetic, and artistic styles, all of which are gorgeous.

Ewing’s book is divided into three sections: ‘true stories,’ ‘oil and water,’ and ‘letters from the flatlands.’ Her poems, stories, and works took my breath away. Her words flow easily from page to page, casting visual shadows and best read, like so much poetry, alou
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure the last time I read a book that left me feeling so...human. "Electric Arches" reminded me that being Black is to be human in a way that is deeply rooted in the community, the Earth, and the cosmos. I cried multiple times while reading this, mostly because Ewing's writing style is effortlessly moving, but also because the things she talks about are real, and important. I needed this book as much as I can honestly say you, and everyone else, need this book.
Blending verse with magical realism and a dash of speculative fiction, Ewing's words flow beautifully in a time where ugliness abounds. Electric Arches is what every black girl needs in her arsenal to face a world that hates her virulently. If you read this book, you will feel invincible.
Jherane Patmore
Electric Arches is a great combo of poetry and Afrofuturism. A lot of the poems went over my head, probably because I’m not American, but I loved the ones I liked.
Would recommend for fans of Janelle Monae, Morgan Parker, and Willow Smith.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I am in the universe and it is my hair
each strand arched electric and perfectly still
before my eyes, dancing, crooked
arranged just so in the air
like the last humming chord of a song."
At the Salon
Eve L. Ewing, Electric Arches
Poetry, short prose, and artwork, gathered in this electric debut collection by Ewing.The first half of the book took awhile to warm up. 'The Device' with its scifi/fantasy bent was particularly intriguing and encouraged me to continue. The second half coalesced into somet
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This collection of poems, lyric essays and so on opened up a deeper meaning to shared black experiences, especially as a black woman. It's a work of time travel for me, and disturbing the timeline to go back to a favorite poem space is totally okay here. I'm still floored to have been able to have an ARC of this book, and I hope it really touches other the way it touched me. I also hope that nonblack women find their own sense of comfort and happiness within the pages.
Glauber Ribeiro
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book! Except for the part where it made me cry in a crowded cafeteria. That was not cool. It should come with a warning.

OK, it wasn't crowded. But it was a cafeteria. And i did cry when i read What I Talk About When I Talk About Black Jesus. And there's a lot more deadly stuff in there.

Honestly, buy this book. Give it to your friends and enemies. Then maybe she'll write more.
Chantal Johnson
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2017
Stunning. Masterful. Find a copy to keep forever. To teach your daughters and sons and so forth. This book will and should live forever.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The work of the poet is not unlike the work of being black.
Some days it is not work at all: only ease, cascading victory,
the plenitude of joy and questions and delights and curiosities.
Other days, you wonder if exile would be too lonely
and figure it can't be worse than thinking you won't make it home,
the fear of your own teeth skidding across the ice."
-Sestina with Matthew Henson's Fur suit, Eve L. Ewing
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: chicago
Electric Arches is a sweet love letter to black girlhood and the Chicago of Ewing's youth. The Chicago that Ewing describes is in many ways foreign to me, but her writing was often so evocative I felt like I could see, touch, and hear her Logan Square at night, her bus ride down Fullerton Avenue, or her Saturday afternoon at the salon. In addition, many of the pieces about her family members really shined, and I would love to read more essays from her.

My main criticism is that some of the pieces
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great collection of poems in an era of poems with random line breaks and shallow meaning. I loved the sci-fi elements and some of the turns of phrase made me gasp with how clever they were, literally changing how I view certain concepts. I enjoyed the celebration of blackness and black womanhood, only I wish that perhaps the poems fit together more coherently.
Kurt Ostrow
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved the Afro-futurist first poem about Black revolutionaries dropping from the moon. Loved (and will teach!) the re-tellings poems with hand-written magical endings. Really liked this collection — very accessible and powerful and beautiful.
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
...... still processing. not what i expected.
chantel nouseforaname
Eve L. Ewing manages to jump right into your psyche and merge the realistic with the fantastic. Then she coats it in layers of Chicago-saturated truths that are reflective of so many cities where black and brown girls and boys live, grow and learn on their blocks about what makes them, their families and their circumstances unique.

This book of poetry, prose and art was illuminating and beautiful. When she talked about Luster's Pink, I died and was reborn.

Thanks for this beautiful work Ms. Ewin
Aisha (thatothernigeriangirl)
I have never read a poetry collection that uses magical themes and so I’m grateful that this book does that.
However, there were very few poems that really tug at my heart; majority of them were just words, beautifully strung together, no doubt, but making little or no impact on me.
The black struggle, of course, is well written into the poems; so themes like hair, oppression, police brutality, harassment, etc.
I especially love the poem “What I talk about when I talk about black Jesus”
Harper Miller
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Sifting through some of these ratings, and it’s clear to me a lot of these accounts belong to bots. Holy spamming, Batman! Not cool.

I follow Eve Ewing on Twitter and I also adore her publisher, Haymarket Books. I was thrilled to finally read her poetry so, I purchased a copy of Electric Arches. It took me a minute to figure out why this collection didn’t work for me. It felt disjointed and I felt no connection to the words on the page. I had very high hopes for this book, but I wanted so much m
Chantel DaCosta
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-rc, scribd
I selected this poetry collection because of the cover. The collection is divided in three parts: true stories, oil and water, and letters from the flatlands.

I preferred the poems in oil and water, and my favourite poems from this segment were:
Shea Butter Manifesto
why you cannot touch my hair
Thursday morning, Newsbury street.

It was an interesting reading experience and for a small book it packs in a lot but ultimately the poems were too personal to the writer's lived experiences for me to un
Bogi Takács
I thought this was absolutely wonderful.

No review for now, because I had to take it back to the library in a rush (I have been really unwell and several books became overdue) and I want to quote extensively from it for my review. I want to buy it, because this is definitely a book to have and treasure. Also to gift to people ;)

Disclosures: Source of the book - Lawrence Public Library / I don't know the author at all
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I thought her writing was magical. I kept thinking "this one is my favorite" until I turned the next page and discovered another one that spoke to me or expressed something just so. I loved the last poem addressed to youth in prison. I'm gonna donate copies of this collection to the prisons in Wisconsin. Not all, but some, of my clients are readers. I'd like them to read that last poem, regardless of their age. What a way with words she has.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Knock me out. This is poetry that can change the world, because it isn't trying to. It's only showing us a part of the world we too often ignore or discredit. But with this stunning writing you can't not take notice.
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Dr. Eve Louise Ewing is a writer and a sociologist of education from Chicago. Ewing is a prolific writer across multiple genres. Her 2018 book Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism & School Closings on Chicago's South Side explores the relationship between the closing of public schools and the structural history of race and racism in Chicago's Bronzeville community.

Ewing's first collection of poetry, e

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Before Moses there was Abraham, and ever since black people came to this country we have needed an Abraham. We have always been sending each other away -- for our own good, don't you know it -- and calling each other back, finding kinship where a well springs from tears. We are masters of the art of sacrifice; no one is more skilled at laying their greatest beloveds on the altar and feeling certainty even as we feel sorrow. And when we see the ram, we know how to act fast, and prosper, even as the stone knife warms in our hands.”
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