third man books starts national poetry month with the release of erica lewis' new book of poetry, mary wants to be a superwoman.

Posted by on 3 April 2017

April is national poetry month (!), so to start the month off right, Third Man Books is very happy to release erica lewis' new book of poems mary wants to be a superwoman. The notes are letters, the sounds are words, the rhythm in the breaks, the book is playing music on the page, it's right next to our turntable, Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder shaking the room. Wonder plays a part in every poem, but he sits in the background, providing the groove with his keys, the lead is taken by lewis's mother, mary, lewis' family, her friends, fellow poets, the world around her, all the struggles and triumphs, all in the key of life. lewis will be reading at the legendary city lights bookstore in San Francisco, April 23, 7pm.

Being of black, Native American, and white descent, poet erica lewis’ mary wants to be a superwoman recounts her family’s history, their voices within that history — especially the women on her mother’s side — and her friends’ complex history with race, gender, and class in America — what it means to live with your own history, dealing with a history that has been passed down, and how to move on from that history and its implications.

It is lewis’ take on revising the confessional while taking inspiration from her family’s own oral history. Each poem is also framed by phrases from the lyrics of Stevie Wonder’s Motown records, but the poems are not “about” the actual songs, but what is triggered when listening to or thinking about the music. What happens when you take something like a pop song and turn it in on itself, give it a different frame of reference, juxtapose the work against itself, against other pop music, and bring it into the present. mary wants to be a superwoman is the second book of the box-set trilogy; daryl hall is my boyfriend (Barrelhouse, 2015) is the first.

erica lewis lives in San Francisco where she is a fine arts publicist. In addition to mary wants to be a superwoman, her books include the precipice of jupiter, camera obscura (both collaborations with artist Mark Stephen Finein), murmur in the inventory, and daryl hall is my boyfriend. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"People still sing goddamn it. Praise be to erica lewis." — Sampson Starkweather, author of PAIN: The Board Game

"erica lewis' poems map the relationships among music, memory, place, and the passage of time . . . . By intertwining the public and the personal, lewis's poems become a membrane through which pop culture permeates the most intimate experiences of selfhood" — Publisher's Weekly

"This book made me suck my teeth and say goddamn, and yes, and thank you. This book hit me right in the ancestors, spoke to me like a sister." — Morgan Parker, author of Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night