Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of Black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose. 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―blues legend Koko Taylor is a tall-tale hero; LeBron James travels through time and encounters his teenage self. She identifies everyday objects―hair moisturizer, a spiral notebook―as precious icons. Her visual art is spare, playful, and poignant―a cereal box decoder ring that allows the wearer to understand what Black girls are saying; a teacher’s angry, subversive message scrawled on the chalkboard. Electric Arches invites fresh conversations about race, gender, the city, identity, and the joy and pain of growing up.
Eve L. Ewing is a writer and scholar from Chicago. She is the author of Electric Arches and Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side. She also co-wrote the multimedia performance No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. Her work has been published in Poetry magazine, The New York Times, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and many other venues. She is a sociologist of education at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. She also co-directs Crescendo Literary (a partnership that develops community-engaged arts events and educational resources) and is one-half of the writing collective Echo Hotel, alongside Hanif Abdurraqib.