While researching her family ties in Ottawa, Evanston’s poet Ann Hudson “stumbled upon” inspiration for her latest collection of poetry: A Radium Statue of a Girl.
The Radium Girl statue struck a chord with Hudson due to his previous interest in Marie Curie, the scientist who discovered radium and worked to find treatments for cancer, as well as the scientific career of Hudson’s father. Inspired by this encounter and finding the history of radium “disturbing and interesting,” Hudson said she couldn’t help but write about the subject and published her chapbook, a short book of poems, titled “Glow », October 15th.
“Glow,” she said, explores the intricacies and fascinating nature of radium rather than defining the metal as good or bad.
The Radium Girls were factory workers in the 1920s who were part of a larger phenomenon of radiation poisoning taking place at facilities across the United States. and lick their brushes to keep them sharp.
“(‘Glow’) is certainly a heartbreaking story, but I also hope it’s a story full of persistence and hope,” said Hudson. “Hope this is a glimpse into a more complicated world than the kind of binary we often use when evaluating something.”
Radium itself is neither good nor bad, Hudson said. Rather, people should be looking at its applications and uses. In her writings, Hudson said she hoped to reach people from different disciplines – scientists, historians, and poetry lovers.
Hudson also said she recently heard about an upcoming production of the play “Radium Girls” to be held at Loyola University in Chicago.
“Just by chance, these two works of art intersect in our community at the same time,” said Hudson. “I think there is local knowledge and a local interest in the Radium Girls, (and) I hope that piques people’s curiosity as well.”
Publisher Laura Van Prooyen, founder of Next Page Press, met Hudson during a joint book reading at Women & Children First, an independent bookstore in Chicago. Although Van Prooyen now lives and works in San Antonio, she said the two have kept in touch over the past few years through a writing group and have continued to share their work with each other.
Van Prooyen said she enjoys the research-based nature of Hudson’s poems and the way it brings people together with different interests and reasons to read poetry. She said the contents of the chapbook were already being taught in classrooms in Texas, which is exciting for Hudson, who teaches at Chiaravalle Montessori School in Evanston.
“You can look at these poems in so many different ways – from the feminist gaze, from the scientists, from the love of historical value (or) the personal stories behind them,” Van Prooyen said. “But above all, the poems are rendered so well with a very clear voice. There is nothing in there that does not belong to it.
To promote “Glow”, Hudson offers two virtual readings. The premiere, presented by independent bookstore The Book Stall in Winnetka, will take place on Wednesday at 6.30 p.m. The second reading, hosted by Next Page Press, will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Hudson said.
Robert McDonald, event coordinator at The Book Stall, said Hudson will be joined by two other poets during Wednesday night’s reading. Liz Ahl and Joanne Diaz (TGS PhD ’08), who also explore research-based poetry, will also share their work and discuss the research and writing process.
McDonald said the virtual format of the event allows more people to attend, and whether or not attendees are writers, they will receive an appreciation for poetry as a craft, he said. .
“I would encourage (people) to read outside of their comfort zone, and that could include poetry,” McDonald said. “In the same way that I would encourage people who may have never read detective novels to read a mystery, or who have never read non-fiction to take a non-fiction book, it is it’s exciting to know that there is a whole world of thinkers, artists and writers. “
E-mail: [email protected]
– Courtney Cook, native of Winnetka, publishes book on living with borderline personality disorder
– Michael Allen, Director of District 65, writes a book with his brother Gilbert on anti-racism and poverty
– Medill Prof. Ava Greenwell publishes the book “Ladies Leading: The Black Women Who Control Television News”