Community & Collaboration.
After over a decade of working closely with community groups and classrooms, it has become important to me not only to facilitate, but to collaborate within the spaces I inhabit. Seeking a more horizontal engagement, how can mutual learning be highlighted? I am consciously cultivating more opportunities to be in creation and conversation with people, stepping beyond my role as a facilitator and educator and into a place of deeper connection.
The #GrowFierce Community
#GrowFierce was a 30-day intensive writing course supporting a safe community of women in exploring artistic expression and profound self-examination through direct engagement of over 500 women worldwide in an online curriculum that matured into State-sponsored cultural exchange in Malaysia, youth and prison programs and a series of public events. A special aspect of our reading series at Bluestockings Books, which featured graduates of the course, was the opportunity for participants who live outside of New York City to have their work read live by an established NYC-based woman-identified poet, which was also filmed and shared on our website.
View project portfolio here.
The Humans That We Are Prison Poetry Tour
When I envisioned where my new book of poems would land in October 2016, I had trouble imagining a series of celebrations that my fellow writers on the inside would be excluded from. This re-visioned book tour engages over 15 adult and youth detention facilities and reentry programs with free collaborative readings and creative writing workshops over the course of fall 2016-summer 2017. The typical model offers a 2 hour workshop with up to 20 writers to develop new work, subsequently inviting the larger prison population as audience members for an author reading, from both myself as visiting writer, and workshop participants. This project was awarded grants from The Pollination Project and The Puffin Foundation West to create a free book of writing prompts specifically crafted for imprisoned writers. The effort was also noted as an Honorable Mention for Split This Rock's 2017 Freedom Plow Award from Poetry & Activism.
The Lower East Side Girls Clubs'
Saturday Performance Series
I visioned, curated and hosted The Lower Eastside Girls Club Saturday Performance Series from 2006-2008, a weekly afternoon event, open to the public, free-of-charge and featuring line-ups of female-identified musicians, singer-songwriters, MC’s and poets. This project was dedicated to upholding the Girls Club’s mission of offering free and innovative cultural programming to Girls Club members, connecting the Girls Club to the greater community, and supporting women in the arts.
Other Community Collaborations
- Writing with (Re)Emergent Theatre: Co-writing monologues with actors in (Re)Emergent Theatre, a company that collaborates with people emerging from prison.
- Poetry in Unexpected People: A show co-curated with Jon Sands and Samantha Thornhill that invited Brooklyn-based people who do not identify as writers to share a tale unexpected kindness from their own lives - a Jamaican plant shop owner, a graffiti writer, the first man with disabilities to legally adopt and raise a child with disabilities, etc. (shot and edited by Karla Rodriguez). In turn, invited poets wrote a poem inspired by these stories (Aracelis Girmay, Jive Poetic, Cheryl Boyce Taylor, Adam Falkner, Aziza Barnes, Sore Agbaje.) Both video and poem were showcased together in a moving exploration of true human kindness.