This evening is a chance to welcome both a powerful, recently published poetic debut, and a writer newly moved to Seattle. Rae Paris, a new member of the University of Washington creative writing faculty (as of January), reads here tonight for her beautiful book, The Forgetting Tree: A Rememory (Wayne State University Press).
“The Forgetting Tree: A Rememory is the lyric record of a poet’s journey through sites of historical trauma and personal loss, at once harrowing and elegiac. Through poems, testimonial narratives, memoir, letters and speeches, in the voice of her own courageous imagination and the voices of others, living and dead, Paris convenes the instruments for her symphony of utterance. She guides us on her solitary travels through familial history and the plantation south, from segregation to redlining, and into the streets of our perilous present, mapping the hanging and forgetting trees. This is not a usual first book, and its poet docent has given us fair warning: This is not the regular tour. This is a work well beyond what we might expect, and I stand in deep admiration of it.” —Carolyn Forché.
“Rae Paris moves with courage and vulnerability through a tour of the many painful markers of America's history of racial violence—a history that will continue to dog the present until more of us find the humility and the humanity to speak to its lingering effects. The Forgetting Tree punctures our national reticence around slavery, and offers a measure of necessary healing.” —Tracy K. Smith.