January 27, 2022 Submitted by Laurie Asmus, Hingham Unity Council
Reading and discussing books can be a powerful way to learn about another's lived experience—and sometimes even our own. In that spirit, the Hingham Unity Council (HUC) is preparing a new book discussion series for 2022 that aims to bring the community together in conversation. The first book has been selected and the HUC is looking for your help to select other books to include this year.
A community book discussion of Call Us What We Carry: Poems by Amanda Gorman is scheduled for Wednesday evening, February 16, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. At this meeting, select poems will be discussed for the first 45-60 minutes and then the discussion will shift to sharing book recommendations and ideas from community members.
Many may remember poet Amanda Gorman from her reading of “The Hill We Climb,” which she delivered at President Biden’s inaugural swearing-in ceremony. Her breakout poetry collection became an instant #1 New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller.
History/English teacher Tim Dempsey will lead the community discussion of select poems on February 16. A long-time teacher at Full Circle, a public alternative high school, in Somerville, Dempsey moved to Hingham in 2017 with his husband and two children, where he became involved in education locally through SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) and currently serves as a Hingham School Committee member. “I am not naturally a ‘poetry person,’” says Dempsey, “but that’s a good thing since it means you don’t have to be one either.”
A handful of poems have been selected for discussion:
“Call Us” and “What We Carry”
“War, What is it, Good?”
“Reports on Migration of Roes”
“The Truth in One Nation”
“The Hill We Climb”
Copies of the book may be found at the local library, Frugal Bookstore, Buttonwood Books and Toys, or wherever you buy books. The poet’s inaugural reading of “The Hill We Climb” may also be found on YouTube.
Taking input received from past participant surveys, book discussions for 2022 are expected to occur every two to three months focusing on a mix of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, and possibly multimedia. But titles have not yet been selected.
“HUC members have been discussing our favorite books and even new ideas like watching a movie based on a book—and having a great time in the process,” says Jo-An Heileman, co-chairman of the Hingham Unity Council book discussion series. “So we thought it might be fun to bring community members in on this discussion too.”
After discussing a few of Gorman’s poems, participants are invited to stay on the line to give and receive book recommendations and help decide what’s next.
To register for the February 16th discussion, please register at hinghamunity.org/event/gorman. Discussions will be held virtually until in-person gatherings can be held safely.
The goal of the Hingham Unity Council book discussion series is to foster a more inclusive community by discussing stories of race, justice, and equity. Previous book selections from 2020-2021 included Waking Up White by Debbie Irving, The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi, Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum, and The Person You Mean to Be, How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh featuring a “fireside chat” with the author herself.
For more information about these and other upcoming events and initiatives, join the Hingham Unity Council’s email list at www.hinghamunity.org and follow www.facebook.com/hinghamunitycouncil. Formed by members of the Hingham community in the fall of 2019, Hingham Unity Council is fiscally sponsored by the South Shore Unity Council, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All are welcome to participate.