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STORY BEHIND THE BOOK

Tamiko Beyer puts poetry in the hands of activists, organizers, and healers

David Wilson For The Boston Globe

Tamiko Beyer has long combined poetry with work in social justice and corporate accountability nonprofits. But her latest poetry collection, “Last Days,” melds the two in new ways. In addition to participating in the usual virtual events that make up the modern book tour, Beyer is giving away copies to at least 250 people working in the fields of racial, climate, and economic justice.

“I was really thinking about how I wanted to launch this book into the world,” said Beyer, who lives in Dorchester. “A lot of poets are read by other poets, and often don’t get read much more widely than that. And I really wrote this book for the people that I work with on a daily basis: the activists, the organizers, the cultural workers, the healers, who are in the trenches of doing social change work.”

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Beyer and her partner came up with a fundraising plan and raised $15,000 to facilitate giving away her book along with “ghost gestures,” a poetry chapbook by Gabrielle Civil, who will read along with Beyer at her book launch. She’ll be sharing the stage with other poets throughout the dozen or so events on tap for the rest of the spring.

“To me that’s just such a generous gesture,” Civil said. “I’m so thrilled to have an opportunity to read with Tamiko, and to be part of the magic she makes and the community-building that she’s always involved in.”

“I’m very interested in how collaboration and sharing and working together makes things much more expansive,” Beyer said.

As for the people who receive her book, she added, “First, I hope that they feel as if they’ve been seen. I hope that they see themselves and feel honored by it. I hope that the poems offer a way for readers to ground into their power and feel inspired to keep doing the work that they are doing.”

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Beyer and Civil will read at 7 p.m. Wednesday at a virtual event hosted by Harvard Book Store.


Kate Tuttle, a freelance writer and critic, can be reached at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.