Poetry Reading w/ Irène Mathieu, Trapeta Mayson, & Raquel Salas Rivera

Please join us as we celebrate Irène Mathieu's new book
w/ a poetry reading featuring
Irène Mathieu, Trapeta Mayson, & Raquel Salas Rivera!


In Louisiana and other parts of the American South, the Caribbean, and South America, escaped African and Native peoples formed "maroon communities" deep in swamps and mountains. Historians refer to the permanent establishment of these free settlements as "grand marronage." Similarly, Creole communities in New Orleans resisted Jim Crow—but at whose expense? This book examines the lives of New Orleans' Creole women of color, told through multiple generations. The women of GRAND MARRONAGE find ways to diminish the impacts of racism and sexism, but not without cost. What must be given up for safety? How is the chain of familial trauma broken? What does inclusive liberation demand from us? The unspoken—in both family history and the historical record—is given breath in this multigenerational lyric. GRAND MARRONAGE is a map of the spiritual maroon community created by Creole foremothers, and a beginning of the work still to be done for this marronage to be complete.

"Irène Mathieu brings us a vision across generations of black womanhood, one that crosses ocean, myth and language. This is a solemn, sweet bite of poetry that reminds us how the past is only a skin away from our present."
—Tyehimba Jess

"Grand marronage—the practice of enslaved folks running away and creating their own communities—is a tradition of freedom making. Mathieu taps into this tradition, highlighting the creativity and resilience found within her family history. Grand Marronage tells a story that cannot be found in history books. It is the story of Louisiana—and America—that lives in bodies, bones, and the earth. The images she creates will stay with me."
—LaKisha Michelle Simmons

Dr. IRÈNE P. MATHIEU is a pediatrician and writer. She is the author of Grand Marronage (Switchback Books, 2019), which won Editor's Choice in the Gatewood Prize, orogeny (Trembling Pillow Press, 2017), which won the Bob Kaufman Prize, and the galaxy of origins (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry ReviewNarrativeBoston ReviewSouthern Humanities ReviewLos Angeles ReviewCallalooTriQuarterly, and elsewhere. Irène is on the editorial boards of Muzzle Magazine and the Journal of General Internal Medicine's humanities section. A member of the Jack Jones Literary Arts speakers’ bureau, she has received Fulbright and Callaloo fellowships.

TRAPETA B. MAYSON reads her poetry widely and works extensively conducting poetry and creative writing workshops. Her work sheds light on and honors the immigrant experience as well as amplifies the stories of everyday people. She is a recipient of a Pew Fellowship in Literature, Leeway Transformation Award, Leeway Art and Change Grant and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grants. Her work was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the author of two books, She Was Once Herself and Mocha Melodies and she recently released a poetry and music album, This Is How Get Through, with Guitarist and composer Monnette Sudler. Her other publications include submissions in The American Poetry Review, Epiphany Literary Journal, Aesthetica Magazine, Margie: The American Journal of Poetry among others. Trapeta is a native of Liberia. Her family immigrated to the United States when she was in elementary school and she has lived in North Philadelphia and Germantown most of her life. Currently working in the mental health field, Trapeta is a graduate of Temple University, Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and Villanova University School of Business.

RAQUEL SALAS RIVERA is the 2018-19 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. They are the author of while they sleep (under the bed is another country) from Birds, LLC and the inaugural recipient of the Ambroggio Prize from the Academy of American Poets for their book x/ex/exis. They are also the author of six chapbooks and four other full-length poetry books. Their fourth book, lo terciario/the tertiary, was on the 2018 National Book Award Longlist, and was selected by RemezclaEntropyLiterary HubmitúBook Riot, and Publishers Weekly as one of the best poetry books of 2018. It is a Finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry. From 2016-2018, they were co-editor of The Wanderer and co-editor of Puerto Rico en mi corazón, a collection of bilingual broadsides of contemporary Puerto Rican poets. They have received fellowships and residencies from the Sundance Institute, the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, the Arizona Poetry Center, and CantoMundo. They love and live for Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, and a world free of white supremacy.

Event date: 
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Event address: 
Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Grand Marronage Cover Image
ISBN: 9780986187667
Availability: Available to Ship
Published: Switchback Books - March 27th, 2019

Lo Terciario / The Tertiary Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781937421274
Availability: Currently not available to order
Published: Timeless, Infinite Light - April 14th, 2018