Charis welcomes Destiny Hemphill in conversation with Ra Malika Imhotep for a celebration of Motherworld: A Devotional for the Alter-Life. “Destiny Hemphill summons us to poetry as ritual, and ritual as reminder. Reminder: ‘you are not alone.’ Reminder: ‘we bonded to each other.’ Reminder: ‘made boundless and bountiful with each other.’ We are reminded that ‘this earth will outlive this world,’ and that our abolitionist task is ‘to make the world come undone.’ In this undoing, we are reminded ‘that when it / is not easy, this makes it even / more necessary to be sweet.’ For this gift of poetry as sacred work, I am incredibly grateful.” — k'eguro macharia. This event is co-hosted by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.
“‘mama say this earth will outlive this world,’ Destiny Hemphill writes, and in this gleaming collection she gathers what of this life might bloom into another. Through rituals, hymns, memories, murmurings, chants, and psalms, motherworld convenes the women and waters whose routes mark an otherwise from the brutal arrangements of the here and now. This transformative practice is not for the faint of heart. Toni Cade Bambara asks: ‘Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well? . . . cause wholeness is no trifling matter.’ And here is a poet who answers with a resounding yes—her affirmation a root system, fortified by all the nourishment of blood and earth. Hemphill’s motherworld shimmers with that brightdark joy that is grief’s marrow. What luck and work to carry the instruction of these poems. I will be holding them close and pressing them into many hands.” — Claire Schwartz
“motherworld transforms language into something map-like, topographical, somatic. A vast heredity speaks out in this beautiful collection of poetry—it is the multifarious self and all those that came before. A hymn of “we bury ourselves like cicadas upon the unearthing, the first instruction is to weep” continuous death and rebirth is here. It is prophesy in a voice that is arresting and fierce. ‘i am trying to remold my mouth to speak more bravely,’ Hemphill writes. She examines the past, but is not mired by it. Grief and love are emotions that are processed through the body, which is painful, but a means towards tangibility and revolution. This language-driven reality gives us something living to hold in our very mouths, and transform. These poems feel godly. And shared. This book shares a secret with the reader: ‘the earth will outlive this world.’ And I for one needed very much to hear it.” — Bianca Stone
Destiny Hemphill (she/her) is a chronically ill ritual worker and poet based in Durham, NC. A recipient of fellowships from Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, Callaloo, Tin House, and Kenyon’s Writers Workshop, she is the author of the poetry chapbook Oracle: a Cosmology (Honeysuckle Press, 2018).
Ra Malika Imhotep, ph.d (Ra/They) is a Black feminist writer and performance artist and cultural worker from Atlanta, GA. They are co-convenor of a spiritual-political education project called The Church of Black Feminist Thought and a member of The Black Aesthetic curatorial collective. Their work has been published in Scalawag Mag, Burnaway, Arrow Journal, The Guggenheim Museum, Poets.org, Southern Cultures, and elsewhere. Their debut poetry collection, gossypiin, was published by Red Hen Press in 2022.
This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-524-0304 if you would like ASL interpretation at this event. If you would like to watch the event with live AI captions, you may do so by watching it in Google Chrome and enabling captions: Instructions here. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to email@example.com. We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.
By attending our virtual event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.
Email or call for price.
"'mama say this earth will outlive this world, ' Destiny Hemphill writes, and in this gleaming collection she gathers what of this life might bloom into another. Through rituals, hymns, memories, murmurings, chants, and psalms, motherworld convenes the women and waters whose routes mark an otherwise from the brutal arrangements of the here and now.
This harvest of poems is inspired by the plant medicine latent in Gossypium Herbeceum, or Cotton Root Bark, which was used by enslaved Black women to induce labor, cure reproductive ailments and end unwanted pregnancies.