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Our next gathering will happen on Monday, January 16th at 6pm where the Poetry Book Club will be discussing the 2022 National Book Award-nominated debut collection Mummy Eaters, by Sherry Shenoda.
We will be meeting inside the bookstore on the College St. level (upstairs). Part of the meeting will be devoted to reading selected poems that we find meaningful from the text along with a dialogue around those and other themes that flow through the book.
Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, Sherry Shenoda’s collection Mummy Eaters follows in the footsteps of an imagined ancestor, one of the daughters of the house of Akhenaten in the Eighteenth Dynasty, Egypt. Shenoda forges an imagined path through her ancestor’s mummification and journey to the afterlife. Parallel to this exploration run the implications of colonialism on her passage.
The mythology of the ancient Egyptians was oriented toward resurrection through the preservation of the human body in mummification. Shenoda juxtaposes this reverence for the human body as sacred matter and a pathway to eternal life with the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European fascination with ingesting Egyptian human remains as medicine and using exhumed Egyptian mummies as paper, paint, and fertilizer. Today Egyptian human remains are displayed in museums. Much of Mummy Eaters is written as a call and response, in the Coptic tradition, between the imagined ancestor and the author as descendant.
Sherry Shenoda is a Coptic poet and pediatrician, born in Cairo, living near Los Angeles. Working at the intersection of human rights and child health, she serves as a pediatrician in a nonprofit health center. She is the author of The Lightkeeper: A Novel.
Book club books may be purchased at a 20% discount. Ask for details in the bookshop or at the meeting.