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About this double book launch

Join us in this double book launch event for “muted blood” (Black Radish Books, 2018) by mónica teresa ortiz and “The Inheritance of Haunting” (University of Notre Dame Press, 2019) by heidi andrea restrepo rhodes. There will be a reading and conversation with the poets moderated by Ashna Ali, followed by a book signing.

We are incessantly subject to the ghost as an intrusion of histories of conquest and loss, their vociferations coursing in our mouths. Both liberating and terrifying, haunting is a gift, a mirror to our survival, our defiances, and that of generations before us. It is too, a responsibility bestowed, for that which haunts us also entrusts us with what we will make of it all, urging us to labor, to conjure ungovernable life against the hold. The ghost is the bell ringing in the throat, the clamoring signs of existence multiplied in its absence. The ghost is that which we house in our bodies, that which we become to a multitude of tomorrows in the silence of the wound and its volumes. Here, inside “the wreckage of centuries” (rhodes) may “poetry be a bold enemy of fascism” (ortiz): an archive of ferocious evidence, of life otherwise, counterfeited, insisting.

For this event, we will be thinking through and guided by the following quotes:

“To be haunted in the name of a will to heal is to allow the ghost to help you imagine what was lost that never even existed, really. That is its utopian grace: to encourage a steely sorrow laced with delight for what we lost that we never had; to long for the insight of that moment in which we recognize, as in Benjamin’s profane illumination, that it could have been and can be otherwise.”
—Avery Gordon, Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination, 1997, 57.)

“It happens that you exist. Ferocious in your evidence.
It happens that I exist. Counterfeited. Insisting.”
—Maria Elena Cruz Varela, “Love Song for Difficult Times” from Ballad of the Blood, 1996.)

mónica teresa ortiz is a poet born and raised in Texas. Her poetry collection, muted blood is published by Black Radish Books, and examines the mythology of death and grief through the missing body of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca and the material reverberations of violence under racial capitalism in the present. Her forthcoming chapbook of crónicas, malquistar, is published by Host Publications and due Spring 2019.

heidi andrea restrepo rhodes is a queer, Latinx poet, artist, scholar, & activist. Her first full-length collection The Inheritance of Haunting (2019) was chosen by Ada Limón for the 2018 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize for a first book by a Latinx poet, awarded by Letras Latinas, the literary initiative based out of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her poetry has been published in As/Us, Pank, Raspa, Word Riot, Feminist Studies, Huizache, & Nat.Brut among other places. Currently a doctoral candidate in political theory at the Graduate Center, CUNY; she was raised in California and lives in Brooklyn.

Co-sponsored by the Women of Color Network, the Thought Club, and the Postcolonial Studies Group at the Graduate Center, CUNY.