BIANCA by Eugenia Leigh
@ Women & Children First Bookstore
5233 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
Opening Tuesday, May 16th, at 7PM
Please join us to celebrate the release of BIANCA by Eugenia Leigh! For this event, Eugenia Leigh will be joined by Jameka Williams and C. Russell Price.
Please note: Pre-registration for this event is required. By pre-registering, you are verifying that you are fully vaccinated and will wear a mask throughout the entirety of the event.
“I thought I forgave you,” Eugenia Leigh tells the specter of her father in Bianca. “Then I took root and became / someone’s mother.” Leigh’s gripping second collection introduces us to a woman managing marriage, motherhood, and mental illness as her childhood abuse resurfaces in the light of “this honeyed life.” Leigh strives to reconcile the disconnect between her past and her present as she confronts the inherited violence mired in the body’s history. As she “choose[s] to be tender to [her] child—a choice / [her] mangled brain makes each day,” memories arise, asking the mother in her to tend, also, to the girl she once was. Thus, we meet her manic alter ego, whose history becomes the gospel of Bianca: “We all called her Bianca. My fever, my havoc, my tilt.” These poems recover and reconsider Leigh’s girlhood and young adulthood with the added context of PTSD and Bipolar Disorder. They document the labyrinth of a woman breaking free from the cycle of abuse, moving from anger to grief, from self-doubt to self-acceptance. Bianca is ultimately the testimony of one woman’s daily recommitment to this life. To living. “I expected to die much younger than I am now,” Leigh writes, in awe of the strangeness of now, of “every quiet and colossal joy.”
EUGENIA LEIGH is a Korean American poet and the author of Bianca (Four Way Books, 2023) and Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books, 2014). Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic, The Nation, Poetry, Ploughshares, Waxwing, and the Best of the Net anthology. The recipient of Poetry’s Bess Hokin Prize as well as awards and fellowships from Poets & Writers, Kundiman, and elsewhere, Eugenia received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and serves as a Poetry Editor at The Adroit Journal and as the Valentines Editor at Honey Literary.
Hailing from Chester, PA, JAMEKA WILLIAMS holds a MFA in poetry from Northwestern University. Her poetry has been published in Prelude Magazine, Gulf Coast, Gigantic Sequins, Muzzle Magazine, Yemassee Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she is a Best New Poets 2020 finalist, published annually by the University of Virginia. American Sex Tape™, her first collection, is the winner of the University of Wisconsin Press selection the 2022 Brittingham Prize. She resides in Chicago, IL. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @meka_will_write.
C. RUSSELL PRICE is originally from Glade Spring, Virginia, but now lives in Chicago. They are a Lambda Fellow in Poetry, a Ragdale Fellow, a Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree, an essayist, and a poet. They are the author of a chapbook, Tonight, We Fuck the Trailer Park Out of Each Other (Sibling Rivalry Press) and the full length collection oh, you thought this was a date?!: Apocalypse Poems (Northwestern University Press). Their work has appeared in the Boston Review, Court Green, DIAGRAM, Iron Horse Literary Review, Lambda Literary, Nimrod International, PANK, and elsewhere. They are on the editorial and curatorial boards for the Ragdale Foundation, Story Studio Chicago, and The Anarchist Review of Books.
Accessibility: This event is hosted at the store, which is an accessible space. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. For questions or access requests, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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