A Room of One’s Own welcomes local poet R.B. Simon, author of The Good Truth, and Lambda Literary Award finalist Chris Stark, author of Carnival Lights, for a virtual conversation on Crowdcast!
“The Good Truth, the fiercely validating debut from R.B. Simon, is a blazing manifesto of claiming identities within a gritty world. Summoning Mary Oliver’s reflective beauty and the gut-punching urgency of Andrea Gibson, Simon invites us to hold up any sense of being the “other” as our own good truth we must victoriously sing.” –Lisa Marie Brodsky, Poet, Author of Motherlung and We Nod Our Dark Heads
R.B. Simon is a queer artist and writer of African and European-American descent. She endeavors to create poetry centered in the mosaic of identity, the experiences that make us who we are in totality. Having battled mental health issues, substance use disorder, and trauma throughout her life, she is now in recovery and studying to become an Art Therapist, supporting others on the same journey. She has been published in multiple print and online journals including The Green Light Literary Journal, Blue Literary Journal, Electric Moon, and Literary Mama. Ms. Simon is currently living in Madison, WI with her partner, daughter, and four unruly little dogs.
Set in a summer of hippie war protests and the moon landing, Carnival Lights also spans settler arrival, the creation of the reservation system, and decades of cultural suppression, connecting everything from lumber baron’s mansions to Nazi V-2 rockets to smuggler’s tunnels in stories of Minnesota. In August 1969, two teenage Ojibwe cousins, Sher and Kris, leave their northern Minnesota reservation for the lights of Minneapolis. The girls arrive in the city with only twelve dollars, their grandfather’s WWII pack, two stainless steel cups, some face makeup, gum, and a lighter. But it’s the ancestral connections they are also carrying — to the land and the trees, to their family and culture, to love and to loss — that shapes their journey most.
Chris Stark’s first novel, Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation, was a Lambda Literary Finalist. She has also won awards for her non-fiction and memoir writing and her visual art. She is a co-author of Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota and has published non-fiction, academic articles, and poetry. Chris is a member of the Minnesota Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Taskforce. She is Anishinaabe and Cherokee.