I have been one busy wizard….
Let me count the ways.
This past Tuesday, I was involved in a follow-up meeting to the Cultural Equity Group’s town hall gathering at Riverside Theater. I’m excited to be a part of this advocacy group, as some of the most dynamic leaders in the arts world in New York are involved, and we are all fighting for one common goal: the equitable treatment and funding of arts organizations that contribute to the cultural life of New York City. We can’t simply fund the big institutions and leave our community artists and organizations struggling for survival, certainly not when they contribute to the cultural health of the city, and the nation. This city has been a cradle of world literature, from the Harlem Renaissance to the Nuyorican movement, and then some. We have to fight to make this culture sustainable for artists.
I have been accepted to VONA/Voices! It is the only multi-genre workshop for writers of color in the nation, and its new home is the University of Miami. So I’ll actually have a chance to be there with family, and in fellowship with writers from across the nation. I am working on the most personal series of poems I’ve ever dealt with–the emotional territory of weight and body issues, and how that relates to my manhood. Not easy, but well. I think this workshop, led by Ruth Forman, is exactly where they need to be heard.
And. I’m raising money to get there. Donations are currently being accepted at my GoFundMe page. I’m already halfway to my goal!
I’m teaching at La SoPA NYC, starting this coming Saturday, at our new home: The Loisaida Center on Avenue C and 9th Street. Click here for more details, and to sign up.
Here’s my course description.
Back/Line: Poetry, Sound, Lineation, and the Tools of Cultural Expression
In stagecraft, the backline are the tools and instruments needed to create sound for live performance. Taking full advantage of our surroundings at the Loisaida Center, this workshop will operate under the assumption that writers come to poetry through multiple sources: auditory and literary, page and ear. We will explore the proposition that the poem can be another kind of performance. Without privileging one form of poetic expression over another, we will build poems out of sound cues, story prompts, lineation, and compelling language. We will continue the historical study of the art, explore new forms, and dig into our (sometimes raw) personal histories for new and resonant tools of universal expression. We will discuss the concept of duende in poetry. We will discuss the difference between cultural capital and capitalism, and where they should and should not cross. Finally, we will discuss a few frontline concerns and talk about distribution and presentation of the finished work.
We fancy, yo! I’ll be in the house with Keith Roach, and our co-facilitators Anthony Morales and Jani Rose (doing double Dean duty!), and of course, our boy Papo Swiggity, the other Dean of La SoPA, the chupacabra behind the curtain at Capicu Culture.
In all seriousness: It’s our function as educators and artists to bring what we know to the places that would otherwise not be able to access this knowledge. Our mission is to bring world-class arts education and fellowship to the community, at an affordable price. If you take your calling as poets seriously, then please come join us. We’ll be here Saturdays from May 9th through June 20th.
Bronx Loaf is a conference for teen writers in the Bronx, coming this July to the Bronx Academy of Letters. It is modeled on the Bread Loaf conference, with emphasis on craft, workshopping new work, and learning in assembly together. I am on the faculty! And we are LOOKING FOR STUDENTS: If you know any bookish teens, born writers, and creative young people in New York City, send them to us for a week in July! Click the link above for more info.
Whew! A wizard’s work…and the acronyms that follow it…is never done, people. But I love it!
Find you soon….