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Norumbega Collective hosts Peaks Island writer Mira Ptacin

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Norumbega Collective hosts Peaks Island writer Mira Ptacin (photo courtesy of Norumbega Collective)

BANGOR - In cooperation with the University of Maine Humanities Center’s annual Bangor Humanities Day, the Norumbega Collective is hosting a reading by Peaks Island local Mira Ptacin, who will read from her critically acclaimed memoir ““Poor Your Soul”” (Soho 2016). The reading will be held on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rock & Art Shop in downtown Bangor, and is free and open to the public.

Ptacin’s debut memoir, “Poor Your Soul” is a powerful reflection on sexuality, free will and the fierce bonds of family. About the book’s origins, Ptacin writes, “Here’s the story: in 2008, at age twenty-eight, I accidentally got pregnant, despite taking birth control pills and never missing a dose. (I’m that 1 percent.) It wasn’t easy, I wasn’t happy about it, but I embraced it. And even though we’d only known each other for just three months, my boyfriend Andrew and I got engaged. Five months later, during the ultrasound that was to predict the sex of our baby, doctors found instead that our child had a constellation of birth defects and no chance of survival outside my womb. I was given three choices: terminate the pregnancy, induce delivery, or do nothing and inevitably miscarry. “Pour your Soul” simultaneously traces my mother’s immigration from Poland at the age of twenty-eight, the adoption of her son Julian, his tragic death, and her reaction to the grief that followed. Both our stories examine how woman copes with the inevitable but unexpected losses a woman faces in the search for her identity. Why do I want you to read this book? Because I strongly believe that it is important that we don’t generalize the situations or turn away from stories of the lives of women who choose--or are forced to--have an abortion, and I believe my story will add a much needed and meaningful dimension to our understanding of a woman’s sexuality. This is a story less about abortion; “Poor Your Soul” is a memoir about the uterus and the American Dream."

About “Poor Your Soul,” Ms Magazine writes: “This vivid memoir tells of an unexpected pregnancy, ultimately welcomed, then threatened by birth defects that preclude life outside the womb. Far more than her personal story of abortion, Ptacin’s brutally honest account incorporates her own mother’s tragic loss of a child.” Emmy and Tony-nominated actress Martha Plimpton throws the gauntlet: “I defy anyone to read [“Poor Your Soul”] and still believe pols have any right involving themselves in women’s reproductive lives.” The Boston Globe writes: “Ptacin ploughs through this landscape of unbearable sadness with surprising vigor and even more unexpected humor. The portrait of her indomitable mother—who herself had lost a child—shines particularly bright and provides an example of how to survive the unthinkable, how to move forward through sheer force of will, in a world riven by an unfixable wound.”

“Poor Your Soul” was selected Kirkus 2016 Best Book of the Year. Ptacin’s forthcoming book “The In-Betweens” was recently acquired by Liveright, an imprint of W.W.Norton. “The In-Betweens” is a cultural, anthropological, and historical look at Spiritualism in America centered around the peculiar and haunting community of Camp Etna here in Maine. Originally from Battle Creek, Michigan, Ptacin currently lives on Peaks Island with her family.

The Norumbega Collective is a group of poets, writers, teachers and supporters of the literary arts in Bangor. Building on the connections of its members, readers have come from as far as Chicago and as close as Bangor. The Collective was founded to promote the literary arts in Bangor and beyond.


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