Remica Bingham-Risher

Room Swept Home

In a strange twist of kismet, Remica Bingham-Risher's paternal great-great-great grandmother, Minnie Lee Fowlkes, is interviewed for the Works Progress Administration Slave Narratives in Petersburg, Virginia in 1937, and her maternal grandmother, Mary Knight, is sent to Petersburg in 1941, diagnosed with "water on the brain"—postpartum depression being an ongoing mystery—nine days after birthing her first child. Braiding meticulous archival research with Womanist scholarship and her hallmark lyrical precision, Bingham-Risher's latest collection of poems treads the murky waters of race, lineage, faith, mental health, women's rights, and the violent reckoning that inhabits the discrepancy between lived versus textbook history, asking: What do we inherit when trauma is at the core of our fractured living? Utilizing primary and secondary sources, Bingham-Risher weaves together a richly textured vision of her foremothers' everyday and exceptional living: two very different women at opposite ends of their lives, converging upon the same space and time. The lives these women inhabit and generations they fostered add infinite layers to the fabric of the American tapestry. Room Swept Home serves as a gloriously rendered portrait of all that is held in the line between the private and public, the investigative and generative, the self and those who came before us.
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