Electric Arches
Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose. Blending stark realism with the fantastical, Ewing takes us from the streets of Chicago to an alien arrival in an unspecified future, deftly navigating boundaries of space, time, and reality with delight and flexibility.

Electric Arches Details

TitleElectric Arches
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 12th, 2017
PublisherHaymarket Books
ISBN-139781608468560
Rating
GenrePoetry, Nonfiction, Cultural, African American, Race

Electric Arches Review

  • Roxane
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 writing and art offered here. The work in the section “Oil and Water” is by far the strongest and most compelling. In “appletree” she conjures the lyrics of Erykah Badu and the realities of black womanhood in such a moving, eloquent way. I felt so much nostalgia and recognition in “Ode to Luster’s Pink Oil,” and the poetry was so exact and vivid that I could smell the pink oil, feel the texture of it against my fingers. I cannot ask for more from writing. Electric Arches is well worth your time. The writing here will make you think and feel and grow.
    more
  • Vivian
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 and observe. As a non-colored person that is the only role I can have reading this. Ewing addresses the weight of race, of social injustice, of struggle, but also the strength and beauty inherent. I am in the universe and it is my hair.each strand arched electric and perfectly stillbefore my eyes, dancing, crooked,arranged just so in the airlike the last humming chord of a song.-excerpt, 'at the salon' I grew up in the Caribbean. Many of my friends were black, and I was in awe of the intricate hairstyles they would come to school with, Monday mornings were magic. Revealed were the hours they spent with their sisters and mothers braiding and beading. I think it was envy. To never have your hair slip out of a ponytail during basketball, to not have to brush it all the time, and to have people who would want to spend seven hours doing your hair. Definitely envy. A man can be may things: a snare drumor a willow tree with its branches dragging down into the muddy water,the white rind of a watermelon, or a run in your stockings,or the moment that you see our name written on the inside of a desk at schooland it wasn't you who wrote it.But you can be your own ginand your best sip too.You can make him with a nation and still be sovereign,your own gold coin and your own honest trade.You can touch his handand still be your own snapping fingerswhen the snare has gone quiet. -excerpt, 'appletree' Magical realism is a genre borne out of oppression. A way to break reality in unrealistic ways in order to create something magical. It is optimistic by its nature because it provides trapped people modes of escape in the ugly of contemporary times. Not all the poems utilize it, but the ones that do have an extraordinary playfulness. Again, a spectacular and gorgeous cover. The full image is even more amazing.
    more
  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 design/legibility of the ARC, and then fixing it prior to publication. I would love to hear Ewing read her work in person.I would buy her next book of poems.
    more
  • Lucy
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 loves good things.I don't what else to say, man, it's just SO GOOD.
    more
  • Jacob
    January 1, 1970
    "Speak this to yourselfuntil you know it is true."this book is magic
  •  The Black Geek
    January 1, 1970
    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 ( 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 (as advertised).4) The abstract images did not connect with the poems or theme; the images lacked context. 5) The poems read like a series of separate journal entries; there was not a coherent narration.Overall, I wanted more from this work; I expected more. Although there will always be space for experimental poetry and prose, there still must be consideration for more focused artistry and craft.
    more
  • Ellie
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Janani
    January 1, 1970
    Here for the Chicago nostalgia alone.
  • Dionne
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • O'Phylia
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Jherane Patmore
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Glauber Ribeiro
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Jalynn
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Chantal Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Stunning. Masterful. Find a copy to keep forever. To teach your daughters and sons and so forth. This book will and should live forever.
  • Lata
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars.
  • Leah Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    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 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, aloud. Her works include a long-form poem about (and titled), “why you cannot touch my hair” that includes so many devastating lines describing the narrator’s hair that I couldn’t choose just one to list here. It includes a sick science fiction short story in verse, telling of the day the moon people came, “smashing the fare boxes at the train stations into wind chimes / and bowing low to the passengers as they entered,” singing Aretha Franklin, Missy Elliott, and others—“the moon people had been listening all this time”—the story a masterpiece a story about aliens and blackness and strangeness. The poem about biking down the street, creating adventures and worlds, is both full of time and timeless, a microcosm of childhood. Ewing’s voice is strong and complex, and her poetry is all the storytelling of genius—there wasn’t a poem or story in this text that made me feel, deeply, or that at some point make me suck my breath in through my teeth because the words were so good. I received a copy of this book from Haymarket Books in exchange for an honest review. Find Ewing on Twitter as wikipedia brown, and pick up this incredible work of poetry, prose, and more on September 5. It’s a must-read of this year for anyone who reads poetry—or those who don’t.
    more
  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 really did not connect to the themes, and those were the points when the collection was weakest. But there were so many gems, it is easy to overlook the faults. If you ever have the opportunity to see Ewing read her poetry live, don't miss it. She is fabulous in person.
    more
  • Kurt Ostrow
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Jan Priddy
    January 1, 1970
    The entire book is put together by someone having some fun with page design. Fonts shift, text might be Times or script or white on black. It has some really musical poems and some brief stories in two versions, which I particularly appreciated. I wanted more of the story and then the truth of the story (as I thought of them). I confess I bought this book for the cover and a review I read on line. I found a few poems that felt like prose cut into lines, but I will look for more from this author.
    more
  • Lylah
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Kathrina
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Bobbieshiann
    January 1, 1970
    ...... still processing. not what i expected.
  • cmcusack
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Bogi Takács
    January 1, 1970
    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
    more
  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    This book is so good I kept right on reading it at a bus stop in 20 degrees without mittens while the chill wind snapped the pages back against my numb fingers. I know I am just a spectator here and my inherent privilege says this was not written for me. But there are those places in these pieces that speak so deeply to me nonetheless. Here to learn and bear witness and do better.
    more
  • Adam Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    This might sound like hyperbole, but I'm being 100% honest when I say: 'Electric Arches' will go down as one of the best and most iconic poetry books about Chicago...ever. You have never seen Chicago this way before, and regardless of where you live, it'll change your perspective. Can't recommend enough.
    more
  • K
    January 1, 1970
    I started Electric Arches almost a month ago. I read like 75% of it in one sitting, but then I started reading other books, and didn't pick it up again until today. I gave it four stars because it was so nice and refreshing to read a book that I felt myself in. Not just in Blackness, but in politics and the way that Eve views the world. I've been following her on twitter for several years, and it was so great to see this side of her. It didn't get 5 stars from me because honestly I don't enjoy p I started Electric Arches almost a month ago. I read like 75% of it in one sitting, but then I started reading other books, and didn't pick it up again until today. I gave it four stars because it was so nice and refreshing to read a book that I felt myself in. Not just in Blackness, but in politics and the way that Eve views the world. I've been following her on twitter for several years, and it was so great to see this side of her. It didn't get 5 stars from me because honestly I don't enjoy poetry that much, which is why I was surprised I liked this book. Similar to other comments, some of the poems didn't seem to fit the theme of the overall book. I plan on re-reading this, and would def recommend to others.
    more
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the use of language, It's very Chicago centered. I loved the use of place and time. I loved "Origin Story", which likened her parents' love to a comic book, "Ode to Luster's Pink Oil", "Shea Butter Manifesto", and "appletree." Amazing and beautiful poems. I loved the poems/stories that start with a retelling of a racist event and end with a handwritten speculative fiction reframing.Also, "The Device" is a great little speculative/science fiction story. It should be nominated for a lot of I loved the use of language, It's very Chicago centered. I loved the use of place and time. I loved "Origin Story", which likened her parents' love to a comic book, "Ode to Luster's Pink Oil", "Shea Butter Manifesto", and "appletree." Amazing and beautiful poems. I loved the poems/stories that start with a retelling of a racist event and end with a handwritten speculative fiction reframing.Also, "The Device" is a great little speculative/science fiction story. It should be nominated for a lot of awards.
    more
  • KWinks
    January 1, 1970
    I think I found this title through Samantha Irby's Insta. Electric Arches is a very personal collection of poems that explore Eve L. Ewing's life and, partly, a love song to Chicago. I feel privileged to have had a peek into Ewing's world, and partly ashamed because I also felt I did not have permission to be there. Some of the poems were over my head, I'm not going to lie. Some I read multiple times and still just saw a string of words and no meaning. But that is a me problem, I'm learning. Wha I think I found this title through Samantha Irby's Insta. Electric Arches is a very personal collection of poems that explore Eve L. Ewing's life and, partly, a love song to Chicago. I feel privileged to have had a peek into Ewing's world, and partly ashamed because I also felt I did not have permission to be there. Some of the poems were over my head, I'm not going to lie. Some I read multiple times and still just saw a string of words and no meaning. But that is a me problem, I'm learning. What this collection reeks of is power and strength and I envy and respect it.
    more
Write a review