Charis and Haymarket present: So We Can Know: Writers of Color on Pregnancy, Loss, Abortion, and Birth, a reading and panel discussion featuring: aracelis girmay (Editor), LeConté Dill (contributor), Keeonna Harris (contributor), Maya Marshall (All the Blood Involved in Love), Mendi Lewis Obadike (contributor), Tiphanie Yanique (contributor), and moderated by Dartricia Rollins (Charis Circle). In this brave and devastatingly beautiful anthology, the illustrious poet and editor Aracelis Girmay gathers complex and intimate pieces that illuminate the nuances of personal and collective histories, analyses, practices, and choices surrounding pregnancy. Haymarket Books is a radical, independent, nonprofit book publisher based in Chicago. This event is co-hosted by Sister Song. Sister Song’s mission is to strengthen and amplify the collective voices of indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice by eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights.
In So We Can Know: Writers of Color on Pregnancy, Loss, Abortion, and Birth, pieces range from essays to poems to interviews, with a broad entanglement of various themes, from many different perspectives including Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, and more. At a time when people are becoming more and more limited in their choices surrounding pregnancy and abortion, this record is increasingly urgent and indispensable.
aracelis girmay is a poet, editor, and teacher. Her most recent poetry collection is the black maria (BOA Editions, 2016). Her essays and poems have been published, most recently, in The Paris Review, Astra, Black Renaissance Noire, and The New Yorker. Girmay is the Editor-at-Large of the Blessing the Boats Selections and is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund. She is the editor of So We Can Know: Writers of Color on Pregnancy, Loss, Abortion, and Birth.
Dr. LeConté Dill was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, California. She is a scholar, educator, and a poet in and out of classroom and community spaces. Dr. Dill holds degrees from Spelman College, UCLA, and UC Berkeley, has participated in VONA Voices and Cave Canem writing workshops, and was a 2016 Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop Fellow. Currently, she is an Associate Professor in the Department of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University.
Keeonna Harris is a storyteller, abolitionist, organizer, and mother-of-five. She received her PhD in Justice Studies from Arizona State University, where her dissertation research analyzed the experiences of Black Women navigating motherhood and mass incarceration. Her forthcoming memoir, Mainline Mama (Amistad, 2025), draws from her experiences as a Black woman, teen mother, and twenty years of raising children with an incarcerated partner while building community in the borderlands of the prison.
Maya Marshall is the author of All the Blood Involved in Love. She is cofounder of underbelly, the journal on the practical magic of poetic revision. Marshall has taught at Emory University and Northwestern University. She holds fellowships from MacDowell, Cave Canem, Vermont Studio Center and elsewhere. Her writing has been published in Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. She works as an editor at Haymarket Books and she is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Adelphi University.
Mendi Lewis Obadike makes literature, art, and music. Her publications include: Armor and Flesh (2004), and with Keith Obadike: Phonotype (2012), Four Electric Ghosts (2014), and Big House / Disclosure (2014). Mendi+Keith’s albums include: The Sour Thunder: An Internet Opera (2004), Crosstalk: American Speech Music (2008), and Big House / Disclosure (2014). With her partner, Keith Obadike, Mendi has made a series of large-scale sound art works, including: Blues Speaker (for James Baldwin) at The New School in New York, Free/Phase at the Chicago Cultural Center, Sonic Migration at Scribe Video Center and Tindley Temple in Philadelphia, Fit (the Battle of Jericho) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the 8 hour overnight work lull, a sleep temple.
Tiphanie Yanique is a novelist, poet, essayist and short story writer. Her most recent work is a novel and short story collection entitled Monster in the Middle, selections of which were published in The Harvard Review and The New Yorker. She is the author of the poetry collection, Wife. Tiphanie is also the author of the novel, Land of Love and Drowningand a collection of stories, How to Escape from a Leper Colony. Tiphanie is from the Virgin Islands. She grew up in the Hospital Ground neighborhood in St. Thomas. She lives now with her family in Atlanta where she is a tenured associate professor at Emory University.