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    Virtual Book Release: Taking Off My Black & White Saddle Shoes by Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamer

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    Event description

    Join us for the virtual release ofย Taking Off My Black & White Saddle Shoes!

    Sunday, May 19th, 6pm PT / 9pm ET on Zoomย 


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    Featuring Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamer


    Hosted by

    Andrรฉs Sรกnchez

    with Guest Poets

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    Ashanti Webster

    Camari Carter Hawkins

    Marissa Forbes

    Estela Victoria-Cordero

    Includes Open Mic in collaboration with Community Literature Initiative's National Chapter

    Click button above to RSVP & pre-order your copy.


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    Aboutย Taking Off My Black & White Saddle Shoes

    Set mainly across the backdrop of Cleveland, Ohio, this debut poetry collection is a memoir-in-verse which spans Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamerโ€™s life from her birth to the present. Through authentic, vivid storytelling, she voices the dual challenges of growing up being Black and a Woman. Confronting that intersectionality, she bravely tackles several compelling topics including misogynoir, marriage, miscarriage, and menopause. Uplifting, amusing, and poignant, this collection reminds readers that we all must keep walking, often redefining ourselves. Embracing our bare feet should be part of our journeys.

    About Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamer

    Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamer is an award-winning poet, writer, performer, public speaker, educator, and volunteer/activist. She has a BA in English and an MEd in Curriculum & Instruction. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in various anthologies, includingย Dimepiece: Ten Years of CLI Poetry,ย Sandcutters 2023, and Say It Loud!: Poems about James Brown. A Clevelander, Marlana-Patrice caught the open mic bug before relocating to the Phoenix area. A Project Humanities 101ยฎ Founder (ASU), she also volunteers for groups like Mission for Arizona and Save Our Schools Arizona. Marlana-Patrice enjoys photography, walking, hiking, yoga, decorating, cooking, and gardening.


    Praise forย Taking Off My Black & White Saddle Shoes

    Marlana's writing carries with it the super power to transport the reader to any time and place. A master of narrative poetry, Marlana's vignettes take the reader on a journey and allow the readerย to experience step by step her journey from a Black girl growing up in mid-century Cleveland, Ohio to finding her place in the world as an adult.ย And I truly mean "step by step" as she sectioned her collection by shoe style until the finale, "Bare Feet.โ€ย Taking Off My Black & White Saddle Shoesย is a must-read for those who love stories, who love peeking through the window and witnessing what life is like for another, forย those who love walking a mile in someone else's shoes.
    ๐‘‹Anne Marie Wells,ย author ofย Survived Byย andย Mother

    Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamerโ€™s debut poetry book is a beautiful collection of stories about her experiences growing up in Cleveland. Her poetic imagery is explicit. As we read, we are carried in and out of her reflections and social commentary. We actually get to watch as she steps out of her black & white saddle shoes into her high heels. Kudos to this bookโ€™s originality and sophistication. Her poetry has substance and style. There is texture, beauty and variety in her writing about not only her life, but her family, her birth city and what it was like being a Black girl, teen and young woman in America years ago.ย 

    ๐‘‹Antoinette Vella Payne, author of That's What Happens When You Live on Haight Street

    Ohio is rich with storytellers, keepers of memory, and of course, poets. Enter Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamerโ€™s memoir in verse, Taking Off My Black & White Saddle Shoes, a testament to a Black familyโ€™s love and deep faith firmly rooted in dignity and the aspiration to see the next generation not just survive, but thrive in segregated Cleveland. It cannot be easy to straddle the line between integration and self-determination, but through these poems the reader begins to understand the trials and triumphs of one Black girlโ€™s journey in the crucible that is America beginning in the 1950s and stretching into her present-day life as a woman fully realized. Hamerโ€™s attention to the details of her childhood, โ€œGot blue, patent-leather shoes from Sears on Carnegieโ€ฆโ€ plant us in the rich soil of her beautiful Black life filled with loving people who encouraged her to be her most authentic self. In โ€œSmileโ€ she writes, โ€œEvery day, I catch myself smiling, especially when I look into my mirror.โ€ This poet knows who she is and brings the receipts - long and itemized. The love for her father, โ€œTony the Greatโ€ is as deep as it is for her mother who โ€œ...made sure we loved.โ€ There is no shortage of truth, innocence, reflection and reverence in this tender collection gifted to the reader. Every poem is a testament to love and community. Every photo, interspersed with Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamerโ€™s delightful and insightful poems, is a reflection and inspiration of using oneโ€™s personal story as a tool of familial preservation and inspiration for the reader. May we all pay as close attention and give sincere appreciation as this poet does.

    ๐‘‹Benin Lemus, author of Dreaming in Mourning ย 


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