In conjunction with BAM’s presentation of Arrivals + Departures, a piece by British social practice artist duo Yara El-Sherbini and Davina Drummond, we share some further reading for exploring birth and death. During a period of incredible loss, as we enter a more hopeful spring, this public art installation pays tribute to people—both those entering the world and leaving it. Taking the recognizable form of a train station or airport arrivals and departures board, the public are invited to share names of people to the boards as a way of celebrating a birth (arrivals), honoring someone living, or commemorating a death (departures). Visit BAM’s webpage for more information about Arrivals + Departures or to submit a name of your own.
Birth Work as Care Work presents a vibrant collection of stories and insights from the front lines of birth activist communities. The personal has once more becomes political, and birth workers, supporters, and doulas now find themselves at the fore of collective struggles for freedom and dignity. Articulating a politics of care work in and through the reproductive process, the book brings diverse voices into conversation to explore multiple possibilities and avenues for change.
One of Japan's most important and best-selling writers, Mieko Kawakami mixes stylistic inventiveness, wry humor, and riveting emotional depth to tell a story of contemporary womanhood in Japan. Breasts and Eggs recounts the intimate journeys of three women on the path to finding peace and futures they can call their own.
The More Extravagant Feast focuses on the trophic exchanges of a human body with the world via pregnancy, motherhood, and interconnection—the acts of making and sustaining other bodies from one’s own, and one’s own from the larger world. Lyrically and spiritually rich, striving toward honesty and understanding, The More Extravagant Feast is an extraordinary book of awareness of our dependency on ecological systems—seen and unseen.
Louise Erdrich, the New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-winning author, paints a startling portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event. A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.
Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. It binds an account of Nelson's relationship with her partner and a journey to and through a pregnancy to a rigorous exploration of sexuality, gender, and "family." An insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry for this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.
After her mother died, poet Victoria Chang refused to write elegies. Rather, she distilled her grief during a feverish two weeks by writing scores of poetic obituaries for all she lost in the world. Whereas elegy attempts to immortalize the dead, an obituary expresses loss, and the love for the dead becomes a conduit for self-expression. In this unflinching and lyrical book, Chang meets her grief and creates a powerful testament for the living
When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
In The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Channeling her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid price, Alexander tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. As she reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband's death, and the solace found in caring for her two teenage sons, Alexander universalizes a very personal quest for meaning and acceptance in the wake of loss.
Alison Bechdel’s groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir that charts her fraught relationship with her late father. Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the "Fun Home." It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve. In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion, and heartbreaking detail.
What does it mean to mourn today, in a culture that has largely set aside rituals that acknowledge grief? After her mother died of cancer at the age of fifty-five, Meghan O'Rourke found that nothing had prepared her for the intensity of her sorrow. With lyricism and unswerving candor, The Long Goodbye conveys the fleeting moments of joy that make up a life, and the way memory can lead us out of the jagged darkness of loss.