Thursday 2/7, 7 p.m.
Dr. DaMaris Hill in conversation with Mandy Carter about A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing. This event will be in partnership with Southerners on New Ground (SONG) and the Black Mama Bail out Project.
A Publishers Weekly Top 10 History Title for the season
A revelatory work in the tradition of Claudia Rankine's Citizen, DaMaris Hill's searing and powerful narrative-in-verse bears witness to American women of color burdened by incarceration.
“It is costly to stay free and appear / sane.”
From Harriet Tubman to Assata Shakur, Ida B. Wells to Sandra Bland and Black Lives Matter, black women freedom fighters have braved violence, scorn, despair, and isolation in order to lodge their protests. In A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, DaMaris Hill honors their experiences with at times harrowing, at times hopeful responses to her heroes, illustrated with black-and-white photographs throughout.
For black American women, the experience of being bound has taken many forms: from the bondage of slavery to the Reconstruction-era criminalization of women; from the brutal constraints of Jim Crow to our own era’s prison industrial complex, where between 1980 and 2014, the number of incarcerated women increased by 700%.* For those women who lived and died resisting the dehumanization of confinement—physical, social, intellectual—the threat of being bound was real, constant, and lethal.
In A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, Hill presents bitter, unflinching history that artfully captures the personas of these captivating, bound yet unbridled African-American women. Hill’s passionate odes to Zora Neale Hurston, Lucille Clifton, Fannie Lou Hamer, Grace Jones, Eartha Kitt, and others also celebrate the modern-day inheritors of their load and light, binding history, author, and reader in an essential legacy of struggle.
*(The Sentencing Project)
DaMaris B. Hill is an assistant professor of creative writing and African American and Africana studies at the University of Kentucky. Her previous works are The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland, and a collection of poetry, \Vi-ze-bel\\Teks-chers\. She has two PhDs, one in English and one in women and gender studies. A former service member of the United States Air Force, she lives in Lexington, Kentucky.
Mandy Carter is a Durham-based Black lesbian activist with a 52-year movement history of social, racial, and LGBTQ justice organizing since 1967. She is one of the six co-founders of Southerners On New Ground (SONG). Founded in 1993, SONG envisions a sustainable South that embodies the best of its freedom traditions and works towards the transformation of our economic, social, spiritual, and political relationships. SONG builds a beloved community of LGBTQ people in the South who are ready and willing to do our part to challenge oppression in order to bring about liberation for ALL people. www.southernersonnewground.org
Tonight, Ms. Carter is here on behalf of SONG'S #End Money Bail in Durham Campaign. SONG aims for an end to cash bail and ultimately, a world without cages. SONG bails out people who have been in jail quite simply because bail is unaffordable and inhumane. SONG believes in the total and complete abolition of systems and institutions of oppression that aim to silence, harm and isolate us from each other! Freedom is our birthright!
Praise for DaMaris B. Hill
“DaMaris B. Hill writes the poetry of the bound black woman across the ages in this haunting, powerful collection. What you will read here is not just poetry, though. This book offers an education. This book bears witness. This book is a reckoning.” – Roxane Gay
“Stunning. It feels as if I have been waiting for this book my whole life. It's a call and response, a poetic dialogue, a deep honoring of all that black women have endured and created and inspired. The voices Hill has found embody the women in her book with heart and allow us to know them in their essence. This is a brave, brilliant, beautiful account of love. Unforgettable.” – Eve Ensler
“Honest, intelligent, brutal, the poems in A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing will not soothe or temper the weight of a violent misogynistic history. Instead, they serve as a much-needed resurrection. DaMaris B. Hill is a brilliant poet historian who has created an important lyrical excavation that's never been more necessary.” – National Book Award Finalist Ada Limón, author of THE CARRYING
“This book challenged me to reconsider what I knew of American history. Hill has crafted an indelible affirmation of the power of women, black women in particular, in rich verse that is at once a history, a reckoning, a balm, and call to empathy and action.” – Mitchell S. Jackson, Whiting Award-winning author of THE RESIDUE YEARS and the forthcoming memoir SURVIVAL MATH