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So We Can Know: Writers of Color on Pregnancy, Loss, Abortion, and Birth (Ed. Aracelis Girmay)

Haymarket Books

“Audre Lorde once told Joy Harjo that she imagined her poems being spoken to a circle of women gathered around a fire. In this book we find that gathering, a gathering of those of us who know our stories belong to each other. And the fire that calls us is the very fire of creation moving through us and changing us all. I recommend this book to everyone. Come for the warmth of communion, stay for the miracle of never being the same.”—Alexis Pauline Gumbs, co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines

In this brave and devastatingly beautiful anthology, the illustrious poet and editor Aracelis Girmay gathers complex and intimate pieces that illuminate the nuances of personal and collective histories, analyses, practices, and choices surrounding pregnancy. 

Featuring the brilliant voices of writers such as Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Patricia Smith, Elizabeth Alexander, and more, this book is a lighthouse—a tool and companion—for those navigating pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, birth, loss, grief, and love.

In So We Can Know: Writers of Color on Pregnancy, Loss, Abortion, and Birth, pieces range from essays to poems to interviews, with a broad entanglement of various themes, from many different perspectives including Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, and more. At a time when people are becoming more and more limited in their choices surrounding pregnancy and abortion, this record is increasingly urgent and indispensable.

About the Author

Aracelis Girmay is a poet who makes works across genres. She is the author of the poetry collections the black maria (BOA, 2016), Kingdom Animalia (BOA, 2011), and Teeth (Curbstone, 2007). For this work she was a finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Her books have also been named finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the Connecticut Book Award. She has received fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, Civitella Ranieri, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Cave Canem Foundation, among others. Girmay is the author of the forthcoming chapbook, and was a flower, made in collaboration with book artist Valentina Améstica. Other recent work includes a picture book collaboration with her sister entitled What Do You Know? and the forthcoming picture book collaboration with artist Diana Ejaita entitled Kamau and Zuzu Find A Way, both with Enchanted Lion Books. Recent works (poetry and prose) have been published or are forthcoming in AstraThe Paris Review online, Periphery Journal, Jewish Currents, The New York Times Magazine, and e-flux

Girmay is the editor of How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton (BOA, 2020) and So We Can Know: Writers of Color on Pregnancy, Loss, Abortion, and Birth (Haymarket Books, 2023). She is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund and is the editor-at-large of the Blessing the Boats Selections (BOA Editions).