(Tarpualin Sky Press, 2020)
In 2013, poet Lauren Russell acquired a copy of the diary of her great-great-grandfather, Robert Wallace Hubert, a Captain in the Confederate Army. After his return from the Civil War, he fathered twenty children by three of his former slaves, including the poet’s great-great-grandmother, Peggy. As she transcribed the 225-page diary, Rusell became fascinated by its gaps. Through years of research, she would seek the words to fill the diary’s omissions and to imagine the voice of Peggy Hubert, a Black woman silenced by history. The result is Descent, a book-length reckoning with this part of her family’s history.
Lauren Russell is a poet and writer in hybrid forms. She is the author of Descent (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2020) and What’s Hanging on the Hush (Ahsahta Press, 2017). She is an assistant professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University and is Director of the RCAH Center for Poetry at MSU.