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Audre Lorde says that “When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision—then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” In this unprecedented time when there is more and more to be anxious about, what are the poems that strengthen us and our communities? How can we stock up on joy in order to have fuel enough to contribute? What have other poets bartered in order to make more space for joy, even if that joy is all future tense and nothing promised? The writing prompts in this course will parse and delve into these questions as we read the work of survivors, of those who have bartered comfort for honesty, obligation for self-preservation, safety for the possibility of love. The reading list will include Ocean Vuong, Rachel McKibbons, Mary Jean Chan, Jeanann Verlee, and other such brave and powerful poets.
POETRY OF QUEER DIASPORA
Poets Ashna Ali, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, and Arhm Choi Wild present a poetry reading and panel that brings together their voices as queer and transgender poets of diaspora, to consider the role of historical and generational memory, its erasures and forms of persistence, in cultivating diverse practices of QTPOC futurity.
KUNDIMAN QUEER CELEBRATION
Kundiman is hosting our first ever celebration of queer Asian American writers for queer literati and publishing folks in New York. Our hope is to introduce them to Kundiman and our strong affinity with queer writers and literature. We’ve invited luminaries from the queer literary world such as directors of the National Book Foundation, Lambda Literary, and the Academy of American Poets.
POETS & WRITERS READING
Arhm Choi of Brooklyn Community Pride, an organization funded by the Readings & Workshops program, at our sixth annual Connecting Cultures Reading in New York City.
REIMAGINING THE BELOVED: LOVE POEMS TO X
VALENTINE’S DAY IS FOR CONSUMERS. AND LOVE POEMS FOR LOSERS. OR ARE THEY?
Let’s re-claim—and re-conceptualize—LOVE. This is an invitation on that most rosy of holidays and in a dark time to RETHINK the love poem and REIMAGINE the beloved. Have you anti-love poems? Love poems to resistance? To self/self-care? Ghazals for Gaza and lyrics for labor rights? Who is your beloved?
READING | Featured Poets:
Arhm Choi, Kundiman Fellow and Slam Poet
Vikas Menon, a co-writer of the comic Priya’s Shakti and the shadow puppet play Feathers of Fire
Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, 2016 Loft Literary Center Spoken Word Immersion Fellow
Zohra Saed, editor of the chapbook Langston Hughes: Poems, Photos and Notebook from Turkestan
Paul Tran, Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and Poet-In-Residence at Urban Word NYC
GREENLIGHT BOOKSTORE: POETRY READING WITH JON PINEDA AND BONNIE CHAU
Poet, memoirist, and novelist Jon Pineda presents his new book “Let’s No One Get Hurt”, with a night of readings and conversation. With the cinematic and terrifying beauty of the American South humming behind each line, “Let’s No One Get Hurt” is a coming-of-age story set equally between real-world issues of race and socioeconomics, and a magical, Huck Finn-esque universe of community and exploration. Deep in the swamps of the American South, a fifteen-year old squats in an abandoned boathouse with her father, a disgraced college professor, living on the fringe, scavenging what she can. When she meets the leader of a pack of errant, privileged boys, things take a devastating turn. Pineda presents his new Southern Gothic novel with an evening of readings and conversation with his fellow Kundiman fellows including fiction writer Bonnie Chau and poet Arhm Choi Wild. A signing and Q&A follows the presentation.