"Ewing’s stunning debut collides an array of forms as she questions what the imagination can make possible in the realm of social justice." -PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"A precision that is both beautiful and deeply uncomfortable....[A] profound act of love for family, a city and its children." - NPR
"Eve Ewing has written a book I thought was un-write-able." - Kiese Laymon
"This book is a gift, a visual and lyrical offering to be treasured as gospel."
- Morgan Parker
"While reading, I found myself continually thinking, I had no idea you could make poetry do that, followed by, Thank God she has done this."
- TRACY K. Smith
"This book is one of the maps to our survival." - Ross Gay
"A born storyteller... You won't believe this is Eve Ewing's first book. It's that assured, that crafted."- Patricia Smith
"Ewing’s work is honest, evocative, surprising, and somehow all the more real for its escapes into the magical."
- Tananarive Due
"Utterly gorgeous, razor sharp, unapologetically ferocious."
- Daniel José Older
"a one-of-a-kind book."
- Studio 360
Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose. Blending stark realism with the surreal and fantastic, Eve L. Ewing’s narrative takes us from the streets of 1990s Chicago to the story of an alien arrival in an unspecified future, deftly navigating the boundaries of space, time, and reality with delight and flexibility. Ewing imagines familiar figures in magical or surreal circumstances—blues legend Koko Taylor is a tall-tale hero; LeBron James travels through time and encounters his teenage self. She identifies everyday objects—hair moisturizer, a spiral notebook—as precious icons. Her visual art is spare, playful, and poignant—a cereal box decoder ring that allows the wearer to understand what black girls are saying; a teacher's angry, subversive message scrawled on the chalkboard. Electric Arches invites fresh conversations about race, gender, the city, identity, and the joy and pain of growing up, through a distinctive new voice.
"This remarkable debut begins with the clearest reminders of what African Americans have endured, then takes a running leap into rapturous possibility—not as mere escape, but rather as a way of summoning up the miraculous web of hope, knowledge, love, and belief that has sustained black life in this country through unforgiving centuries. While reading, I found myself continually thinking, I had no idea you could make poetry do that, followed by, Thank God she has done this." - National Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith
Winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award, Poetry Society of America
Alex Award Winner 2018, American Library Association
Best Books of 2017, NPR
Top Ten Books of 2017, Chicago Tribune
Best Poetry Book of 2017, Chicago Review of Books
Featured Poetry Debut, Poets & Writers Magazine
Earphones Award Winner, AudioFile
Publisher's Weekly Starred Review
Paris Review Staff Pick
Top Ten Books of 2017, Chicago Public Library
Finalist, Goodreads Best Poetry 2017