Pre-registering helps us order enough books for our guests and helps us set up the room for safety and comfort. We will allow pre-registrants to be seated first. No one will be turned away, but please note that seating is limited. Please contact the store ahead of time if you need assistance with mobility or other concerns - we are happy to help!
Featuring readings by essayists Mera Cossey Corlett, Jamar Wattley, Susanne Howe, Jacqueline Woodward.
We also thank participating contributors Catherine Flores, Katie Keene, and Diane Hawkins for their presence at this event.
"Who We Lost is a contemporary document in the ancient, ceremonious, vernacular tradition that links grief and language, in ordinary details: A recipe for pork shoulder. An electric scooter. Intubations and respirators. A specific tune, a specific ice cream shop. Death at home, in a hospital, on Zoom. In the words of an old lyric, it is a precious jewel to be plain. That is what the writers here do for our contemporary disaster of the COVID pandemic: on a personal scale, they make it plain."
—Robert Pinsky, former U.S. Poet Laureate
Who We Lost is the first book that directly acknowledges the free-floating grief of the COVID-bereaved, affirms that it must be addressed, and offers a purposeful activity that respects mourners as well as the mourned. Early in the pandemic, Martha Greenwald invited mourners to write memories of loved ones lost to COVID on the Who We Lost website (WhoWeLost.org). The site has been growing ever since, as the bereaved continue to write and publish stories, and the writer's toolbox section of the website offers guidance for anyone wishing to contribute a story about who they lost to this grassroots public memorial. The resultant book, Who We Lost: A Portable COVID Memorial, contains dozens of essays as well as writing prompts to help others write remembrances. It is a community-generated tribute, an elegy, a handbook, and a collective memorial.
As featured in Publisher's Weekly.
Martha Greenwald is the founding director and curator of The WhoWeLost Project, and editor of Who We Lost: A Portable COVID Memorial. Her book, Other Prohibited Items, was the winner of the Mississippi Review Poetry Series. She is the winner of the 2020 Yeats Prize. Her work has appeared in many journals including New World Writing, The Threepenny Review, Slate, Poetry, and Best New Poets. She has held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford and been awarded fellowships from the Breadloaf and Sewanee Writer’s Conferences, Yaddo, and elsewhere. A New Jersey native, she lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
"Few of the countless books written about death are written with such brilliance, imagination, and grace. An exemplary collection of attentive, intelligent and generous readings, Sister Death offers a rethinking of much of the history of the Christian West’s affective and reflective, martial and spiritual—and violent—rapport with death." -Gil Anidjar, author of Blood: A Critique of Christianity
"Embracing finitude, facing but never glorifying that most difficult sibling, Sister Death guides us on a darkly mesmerizing journey. Beatrice Marovich rethinks unthinkables of routine loss and existential horror, of mass death and ecological extinction. Exposing a long political theology of death, she reveals—lucidly, beautifully—the enlivening alternative." -Catherine Keller, author of Cloud of the Impossible: Negative Theology and Planetary Entanglement
"With an intimate, probing voice, Beatrice Marovich invites us to meditate with her on death. Marovich is versed in but not constrained by Continental philosophy, versed in but not constrained by Christian theology. With these tools, she crafts a smart, subtle, and at times moving narrative, elevated to the next level by its gorgeous illustrations." -Vincent W. Lloyd, author of Black Dignity: The Struggle Against Domination
Life and death are commonly seen as representing the starkest of binaries: Death is the ultimate adversary of all that lives. Beatrice Marovich argues that such understandings of mortality have been deeply influenced by a strain of Christian political theology that has left its mark on both religious and secular narratives. Adapting the figure of “Sister Death” from Saint Francis of Assisi, she calls for recognizing that life and death are family.
Drawing on a wide range of sources—from Toni Morrison to Jacques Derrida, psychoanalysis to grassroots “death positive” movements—Marovich critiques a racialized political theology that pits life and death against each other in a state of endless war. In a time of extinctions, it is necessary to disrupt this dominant story in order to apprehend death as a collective, multispecies event. Sister Death proposes an alternative view in which life and death are not mortal enemies destined for mutual destruction. Instead, they are engaged in a contested, tense, and sometimes mutually empowering form of connection—a sisterhood.
Eloquent and approachable, this book deftly integrates the insights of a number of disciplines to provide a profound reconsideration of the relations between life and death. Sister Death also features a series of original works by the artist Krista Dragomer that stage an ongoing conceptual conversation with the text.
Beatrice Marovich is associate professor of theological studies at Hanover College.
Who We Lost is the first book that directly acknowledges the free-floating grief of the COVID-bereaved, affirms that it must be addressed, and offers a purposeful activity that respects mourners as well as the mourned.
Life and death are commonly seen as representing the starkest of binaries: Death is the ultimate adversary of all that lives. Beatrice Marovich argues that such understandings of mortality have been deeply influenced by a strain of Christian political theology that has left its mark on both religious and secular narratives.