Remica Bingham-Risher, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, is an alumna of Old Dominion University and Bennington College. She is a Cave Canem fellow and Affrilachian Poet. Among other journals, her work has been published in the New York Times, the Writer’s Chronicle, New Letters, Callaloo and Essence. She is the author of Conversion (Lotus, 2006) winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, What We Ask of Flesh (Etruscan, 2013) shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Award and Starlight & Error (Diode, 2017) winner of the Diode Editions Book Award. She is the Director of Quality Enhancement Plan Initiatives at Old Dominion University and resides in Norfolk, VA with her husband and children.
How do we save what’s coming? The love between two people, cut through by error and time, often marks the path for those who follow. In Starlight & Error, the legacies of love between aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers, children and their children’s children is re-told through the lens of imagined memory. In the difficult landscape of the present, is black love revolutionary? Are faith and forgiveness? Here, the history of love—fraught with fear and light, war and hunger, distance and gravity—is always asking: how do we transcend the mistakes of those who made us? Can music save us? Can the stars?
There’s starlight and sunlight—and no error I could find—in this elegant book where the soul shines through every line. Only when we see how richly the poems matter to the poet can they come so close to us—entering with inescapable feeling and authenticity. We believe, and live, what each poem says, because the heart knows truthful detail. Central to our humanistic beliefs are the love of daughter, wife, stepmother, lover. Here, we learn this all over again, and how complex problems like memory become strengths. Only perfect craft can make it all happen, with experience leading the way. Remica Bingham-Risher has written a world class book of poems. It’s the best of the best in American poetry. This is no imitation. This is the real thing.
—Grace Cavalieri, Producer/Host The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress
In Starlight & Error, Remica Bingham-Risher redefines the beat of the heart not only in the adult situations of romantic love but also in the adult decisions within the love of family. The scope of her vision helps us see into our own lives with a sharper focus. At a time in America when we need hope the most, this book offers us an open path; we no longer “wonder what other secrets/ we’ve been keeping/ on this side of the world.” Here—in her songs of forgetfulness and of memory, songs of the closed fist and the open palm, songs of regrets and of gratitude—we clearly see a world worth fighting for.
—A. Van Jordan, author of M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A