The New Jersey City University (NJCU) Center for the Arts Presents

A Conversation with Emily Bernard

Author of Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine

Moderated by Edvige Giunta and Meilli Ellis-Tingle

Tuesday, April 20, 6 p.m.

Emily Bernard is the author of Black is the Body: Stories from My Mother’s Time and Mine, which was named one of the best books of 2019 by Kirkus Reviews and National Public Radio. Black is the Body won the 2020 Los Angeles Times Christopher Isherwood Prize for autobiographical prose. Emily’s previous works include: Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Interracial Friendship, which was chosen by the New York Public Library as a Book for the Teen Age; and, with Deborah Willis, Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs, which received a 2010 NAACP Image Award. Her work has appeared in: O the Oprah Magazine, Harper’s, The New Republic, newyorker.com, Best American Essays, Best African American Essays, and Best of Creative Nonfiction. She has received fellowships from the Alphonse A. Fletcher Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Arts Council, and the W. E. B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. Emily was the James Weldon Johnson Senior Research Fellow in African American Studies at Yale University. She is the Julian Lindsay Green and Gold Professor of English at the University of Vermont, and a 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Emily lives in South Burlington, Vermont with her husband and twin daughters.

Free with RSVP.

Day 4: BRIGHT SQUARES

More about the theme for April: Bright Squares

Self will attempt to post squares every day through April.

This installment (#4) is all about BRIGHT BOOK COVERS.

  • Caroline Kim’s collection won the Drue Heinze Literature Prize.
  • Horacio de la Costa was a great historian. Self thinks his books are classics.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Life in Colour Photo Challenge

Yippee, another photo challenge! This one’s by Travel Words, and it’s called Life in Colour.

Each month will have a new colour. This month’s is GREEN.

Prompt: Where can you find HIDDEN SHADES OF GREEN?

Here are a couple of self’s pictures of hidden shades of green:

  • Self’s avatar is a turtle, because she does everything so slooooowly. Naturally, she collects turtle objects. Here’s one with a little green on its back:
  • Here is one of her bookshelves, with one green book and one green magazine spine:
  • And, for the final picture, a walkway in the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, CA. Of course, gardens are all greenery. But the trellises, look! Don’t you love the deep green? This was from a visit in November:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Flashback Monday

Kathleen Burkhalter was a member of Dear Departed Sister’s barkada at Wharton. When Kathleen passed away a few years ago, self lost more than just a friend: she lost a member of her squad. And one of the few people self stayed regularly in touch with, over the decades. With Kathleen, self never had to explain how she was feeling at a particular time of her life, she always understood.

She wrote and self-published a series of books about her life. Her daughter, Mercedes Bell, is now a singer. Here’s a link to her FB page.

And here’s a post self wrote about Kathleen, four years ago.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Poetry Saturday: John O’ Donohue

Fluent

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

— from Conamara Blues, which Dear Departed Father Richard Haslam gave to me on my first visit to Ireland, 2014

Poetry Wednesday: Csilla Toldy

Because it is Saint Patrick’s Day, the poet is from NI: Csilla Toldy came over from Hungary, when there was still a Wall. We met in 2014, at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. The picture is of the lake.

Csilla was kind enough to allow me to post the whole poem. It’s from her collection Red Roots – Orange Sky (Belfast: Lapwing Publications, 2013)

Love in Paris

Arriving late at the wrong address
a stranger in the street,
Ali, offered her a bed. He lovingly
treated her wounded knee —
that she had fallen on
when searching the sky for the guiding star
at the green borders to Italy.

Her nerves frazzled
by the long march through the Alps
on pills of caffeine and amphetamine,
taken by the echoes of her throbbing heart
when face-searched
and feeling so lucky for not looking like any
one of the Red Brigade.

So grateful for a clean sheet
after a week in ditches with crows and crickets,
yet fearing horror dreams of her misconceptions
she fell into a black hole
to be woken up by sunlight
glinting on a tray of golden croissants
brought up by Ali.

Recently, Csilla has been focusing on films.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: Doreen G. Fernandez

Every year for the last seven years or so, I have written one piece in March or April — the beginning of its traditional season — on the mango, feeling that it is one of the best fruits in the world, and that all of the folklore, songs, sarswelas and recipes do not even begin to do it justice.

— from Fruits of Memory, the Introduction to Fruits of the Philippines, by Doreen G. Fernandez

Personal Bookshelf: Eman Lacaba

He was from my school.

A poet.

Took to the mountains, joined the rebels.

Was shot — “salvaged” is what they called it back then.

The military says they did it in self-defense.

I still remember the whispers: “Did you hear? Eman Lacaba was shot!”

His funeral mass was held in my school.

Legend.

Sentence of the Day: from a Letter by Don Pedro de Acuña, Governor General of the Philippines, Manila, 1608

Apologies, dear blog readers, self’s veering between the Philippines in 1600 and Grimdark must be causing whiplash!

Anyhoo, here is the Sentence of the Day, from Blair & Robertson’s A History of the Philippine Islands, vol. 14:

Letter from Governor General Don Pedro de Acuña to the Viceroy of Nueva España:

  • Since the Spaniards are a sensible and prudent people, we must therefore be grieved for having slain so many people, and repent thereof.

After reading which, self can only say, Hell’s Bells. The “so many people” slain — indios, right?

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Re-Reading, Re-Discovering Angela Narciso Torres

Angela Narciso Torres is the author of Blood Orange (Willow Books) and What Happens Is Neither (Four Way Books); and winner of the 2019 Yeats Poetry Prize. Her recent work appears in Poetry, Missouri Review, and PANK.

Angela and two other Four Way Books poets, Andrea Cohen and Rodney Terich, are reading tonight online at an event hosted by Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor, NY. Reading starts at 7 p.m. EST (that’s 4 p.m. PST) You can find out more from the Canio’s Books Calendar of Events.

SUNDOWNING (An excerpt)

for my mother, Carmen

The sweetest meat clings to the bone,
my mother says, knifing her steak.
Carmen. Silver spade on my tongue.

Mahjong nights, her father and mother gone,
she cried herself to sleep. Blamed in the morning
for her mother’s losing hand. Unlucky tears!

The sweetest meat — she begins
at dinner, tearing off a chicken leg.
What will she recall by morning?

Named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
she pinned brown scapulars under our shirts,
wet stamps that cleaved to our skin.

— from To The Bone, by Angela Narciso Torres (Sundress Publications, 2019)

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