Arts, Culture & Media

Eve Ewing, creative queen of Chicago

This story is a part of

Across Women's Lives

This story is a part of

Across Women's Lives

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Eve Ewing

Credit:

Daniel Barlow / Courtesy of Eve Ewing

Eve Ewing defies simple categorization: she’s a writer, an artist, an educator, a Twitter celebrity and a Harvard-trained sociologist. Her new book, “Electric Arches,” showcases all of the above.

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

It’s a collection of poems and illustrations that explore black girlhood and womanhood, firmly rooted in Ewing’s beloved Chicago but universally relatable.

“I think part of the human condition is that we're attracted to specificity of narrative because we're able to fill in our own story,” she explains. “There's something so magical about somebody's ability to accurately describe a place and a set of people.”

Ewing says her influences range from “The Twilight Zone” and Janelle Monae to battle rap and Zora Neale Hurston. She says she’s forged her own path despite the boxes people try to put her in.

“All the time when, like people were talking about, ‘Oh well, are you a spoken word poet or are you literary poet?' I'm like, 'well was Homer a spoken word poet?' You know what do those things even mean?”

Ewing says her writing fits into the increasingly popular genre Afrofuturism. “The way I always define Afrofuturism is the simple premise that black people are going to continue to exist into the future,” she says, “and then once you take that basic premise you can work through all the implications of how and why and what that means."

Electric Arches

Eve Ewing's book, “Electric Arches”

Credit:

Courtesy of Eve Ewing

To hear more of Kurt Andersen's interview with Ewing, listen to the audio, above.