Electric Arches

"Eve Ewing has written a book I thought was un-write-able."

- Kiese Laymon, author of Long Division and How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

"This book is a gift, a visual and lyrical offering to be treasured as gospel."

- Morgan Parker, author of Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night and There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé

"This book is one of the maps to our survival."

- Ross Gay, author of Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude, National Book Critics Circle award winner 

"A born storyteller... You won't believe this is Eve Ewing's first book. It's that assured, that crafted."

- Patricia Smith, author of Incendiary Art and other volumes, winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

"Ewing’s work is honest, evocative, surprising, and somehow all the more real for its escapes into the magical."

- Tananarive Due, author of My Soul to Keep, winner of the NAACP Image Award

Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose. Blending stark realism with the surreal and fantastic, Eve L. Ewing’s narrative takes us from the streets of 1990s Chicago to the story of an alien arrival in an unspecified future, deftly navigating the boundaries of space, time, and reality with delight and flexibility. Ewing imagines familiar figures in magical or surreal circumstances—blues legend Koko Taylor is a tall-tale hero; LeBron James travels through time and encounters his teenage self. She identifies everyday objects—hair moisturizer, a spiral notebook—as precious icons. Her visual art is spare, playful, and poignant—a cereal box decoder ring that allows the wearer to understand what black girls are saying; a teacher's angry, subversive message scrawled on the chalkboard.  Electric Arches invites fresh conversations about race, gender, the city, identity, and the joy and pain of growing up, through a distinctive new voice. 

For review copies, contact jim [at] haymarketbooks [dot] org.




In the spring of 2013, approximately 12,000 children in Chicago received notice that their last day of school would be not only the final day of the year, but also the final day of their school’s very existence. The nation’s third largest school district would eventually shutter 53 schools, citing budget limitations, building underutilization, and concerns about academic performance. Of the thousands of displaced students, 94% were low-income and 88% were African-American, leading critics to accuse district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Mayor Rahm Emanuel of racism. “[The mayor] says that he wants to turn around the city of Chicago, make a new Chicago,” one activist told a reporter. “Does that new Chicago mean no black folks? Where are people going to go?”

When the Bell Stops Ringing tells the story of these school closings, from their unfolding to their aftermath, in Bronzeville, a historically significant African-American community on the South Side of Chicago. The book details the resistance efforts of the residents of Bronzeville, inspired by the legacy of a storied past and driven to fight back against the malfeasance and disregard of city political leaders. But at its core, this is a book about what schools really mean to Americans and to African-Americans in particular, beyond the brick and mortar that compose them or the test scores and graduation rates that garner the most public attention. The book tells a story of love and loss, and the ongoing struggle of black people in America toward thriving livelihoods and self-determination.