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Pop-up: Michele Filgate

Sat, Nov 9, 2019 from 3:00 pm - 3:15 pm
1219 SW Park Ave Portland, OR 97205

Michele Filgate pops-up in the Portland Art Museum galleries with the essay collection, What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About

Filgate is paired with the artwork Kama Mama, Kama Binti (Like Mother, Like Daughter) by Hank Willis Thomas; found in the Hank Willis Thomas special exhibit, on the 2nd floor of the Portland Art Museum. Please reference the Portland Art Museum Map to find this location.


Fifteen brilliant writers explore what we don’t talk to our mothers about, and how it affects us, for better or for worse.

As an undergraduate, Michele Filgate started writing an essay about being abused by her stepfather. It took her more than a decade to realize what she was actually trying to write: how this affected her relationship with her mother. When it was finally published, the essay went viral, shared on social media by Anne Lamott, Rebecca Solnit, and many others. The outpouring of responses gave Filgate an idea, and the resulting anthology offers a candid look at our relationships with our mothers.

While some of the writers in this book are estranged from their mothers, others are extremely close. Leslie Jamison writes about trying to discover who her seemingly perfect mother was before ever becoming a mom. In Cathi Hanauer’s hilarious piece, she finally gets a chance to have a conversation with her mother that isn’t interrupted by her domineering (but lovable) father. André Aciman writes about what it was like to have a deaf mother. Melissa Febos uses mythology as a lens to look at her close-knit relationship with her psychotherapist mother. And Julianna Baggott talks about having a mom who tells her everything.

As Filgate writes, “Our mothers are our first homes, and that’s why we’re always trying to return to them.” There’s relief in breaking the silence. Acknowledging what we couldn’t say for so long is one way to heal our relationships with others and, perhaps most important, with ourselves.

Michele Filgate

Michele Filgate is a contributing editor at Literary Hub and the editor of a critically acclaimed anthology based on her Longreads essay, What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About, published by Simon & Schuster. Currently, she is an M.F.A. student at NYU, where she is the recipient of the Stein Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Longreads, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Refinery29, Slice, The Paris Review Daily, Tin House, Gulf Coast, The Rumpus, Salon, Interview Magazine, Buzzfeed, The Barnes & Noble Review, Poets & Writers, CNN.com, Time Out New York, People, The Daily Beast, O, The Oprah Magazine, Men's Journal, Vulture, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Star Tribune, The Quarterly Conversation, The Brooklyn Rail, and other publications. She teaches or has taught creative nonfiction for The Sackett Street Writers' Workshop, Catapult, and Stanford Continuing Studies and is the founder of the Red Ink series. In 2016, Brooklyn Magazine named her one of "The 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture." She’s a former board member of the National Book Critics Circle.
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