NYC Book Launch: Bianca by Eugenia Leigh
Join us for the launch of poet Eugenia Leigh’s second collection of poems, Bianca, on Sunday, March 19, at 144 Montague St and via Zoom! Doors will open for a reception for in-person guests at 6:30 PM and readings will begin at 7 PM. Poets Mahogany L. Browne, K. Iver, and Patrick Rosal will open for Leigh. Book signing to follow.
All in-person attendees are encouraged to wear masks. Note that by attending this event, you agree to abide by our code of conduct below. Brooklyn Poets reserves the right to dismiss from our programs any participant found to be in violation of this policy. Thank you for respecting our community.
“I thought I forgave you,” Eugenia Leigh tells the specter of her father in Bianca. “Then I took root and became / someone’s mother.” Leigh’s gripping second collection introduces us to a woman managing a marriage, motherhood, and mental illness as her childhood abuse resurfaces in the light of “this honeyed life.” Leigh strives to reconcile the disconnect between her past and her present as she confronts the inherited violence mired in the body’s history. As she “choose[s] to be tender to [her] child—a choice / [her] mangled brain makes each day,” memories arise, asking the mother in her to tend, also, to the girl she once was. Thus, we meet her manic alter ego, whose history becomes the gospel of Bianca: “We all called her Bianca. My fever, my havoc, my tilt.” These poems recover and reconsider Leigh’s girlhood and young adulthood with the added context of PTSD and Bipolar Disorder. They document the labyrinth of a woman breaking free from the cycle of abuse, moving from anger to grief, from self-doubt to self-acceptance. Bianca is ultimately the testimony of one woman’s daily recommitment to this life. To living. “I expected to die much younger than I am now,” Leigh writes, in awe of the strangeness of now, of “every quiet and colossal joy.”
About the Author
Eugenia Leigh is a Korean American poet and the author of two poetry collections, Bianca (Four Way Books, 2023) and Blood, Sparrows, and Sparrows (Four Way Books, 2014). Poems from Bianca received Poetry magazine’s Bess Hokin Prize and have appeared in numerous publications including the Atlantic, the Nation, Ploughshares, and the Best of the Net anthology, and they have also received Special Mention in the 2023 Pushcart Prize Anthology. Leigh received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and serves as a poetry editor at the Adroit Journal and as the valentines editor at Honey Literary.
About the Opening Acts
Mahogany L. Browne, selected as Kennedy Center’s Next 50 and Wesleyan’s 2022–23 Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, is the executive director of JustMedia, artistic director of Urban Word, and a writer, playwright, organizer, and educator. Founder of the diverse lit initiative Woke Baby Book Fair, Browne has received fellowships from Arts for Justice, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research, and Rauschenberg. She is the author of Vinyl Moon, Chlorine Sky, Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, and Black Girl Magic. Browne’s latest poetry collection, Chrome Valley, is a promissory note to survival and available from Norton in the spring of 2023. And she readies for her stage debut of Chlorine Sky at Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, Illinois. She is the first-ever poet-in-residence at the Lincoln Center and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
K. Iver is a nonbinary trans poet from Mississippi. Their book Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco won the 2022 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry from Milkweed Editions. Their poems have appeared in Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, TriQuarterly, the Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. Iver is the 2021–2022 Ronald Wallace Fellow for Poetry at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. They have a PhD in poetry from Florida State University.
Patrick Rosal is the author of five full-length poetry collections, including The Last Thing: New and Selected Poems, and winner of the William Carlos Williams Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Brooklyn Antediluvian (2016) won the Academy of American Poets Lenore Marshall Prize for best book of poetry and was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry. Previously, Boneshepherds (2011) was named a small press highlight by the National Book Critics Circle and a notable book by the Academy of American Poets. He is also the author of My American Kundiman (2006) and Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive (2003). He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright Research Scholar program, and the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, and he currently serves as campus co-director of the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers—Camden.
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Time: 7:00 — 9:00 pm EDT