In a 2017 NPR interview, award-winning author Jesmyn Ward, who grew up in a tiny town Gulf Coast town in Mississippi, said, “There’s a feeling of belonging and of ease and of knowing who I am that I feel [there] that I don’t feel anywhere else. There’s this entire web of people I’m connected with...a way of understanding myself: who I am, and where I come from, and who I come from.”
Ward has taken her deep love and knowledge of this geographical region and woven it into the pages of her acclaimed Bois Sauvage trilogy of novels: Where the Line Bleeds; Salvage the Bones; and Sing, Unburied, Sing.
These books tell the stories of African American families whose lives are “pinioned beneath history, poverty, and racism,” according to Ward
In this class, we will reflect on how the depictions of landscape, lineage, lifestyle, liminality, and love in Jesmyn Ward's writing not only make it fresh and affecting, but also give readers insight into the legacy of Jim Crow and the lives of the families dispossessed by Hurricane Katrina.
February 27 - Where the Line Bleeds (2008)
March 27 - Salvage the Bones (2011)
April 24 - Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017)
This class takes place remotely online via Zoom. Register to receive the zoom link and class instructions.
Michelle R. Smith is a writer, educator, cultural facilitator, and native Clevelander. She is the author of the poetry collections Ariel in Black (2015) and The Vagina Analogues (2020), and the creator of BLAX MUSEUM, an annual performance showcase dedicated to honoring notable black figures in American history and culture. Michelle’s favorite writers include Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, Sylvia Plath, Terrance Hayes, and Saeed Jones.