The Quick and the Dead: Audre Lorde Edition
The Quick and the Dead is a yearlong, multi-phase project that highlights the life, work, and legacy of a deceased writer by bridging their work to that of contemporary practitioners. In its inaugural year, the program focuses on the life and work of poet, educator, and activist, Audre Lorde (1934-1992). Beginning with a six-month reading and discussion group in 2018 facilitated by OlaRonke Akinmowo of The Free Black Women’s Library, the Quick and the Dead continues through public programming in Spring 2019. The Quick and the Dead seeks to mobilize the creative and pedagogical potential of focused engagement with a single author through sustained reflection across a variety of public events and opportunities for cross-disciplinary encounters.
Creative Team: Adjua Greaves, Sanjana Iyer, Gabe Kruis, Emily Reilly, Rachel Valinsky
Graphic Design: Studio Ghazaal Vojdani
The Quick and the Dead is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) and Humanities New York with Support from the National Endowment from the Humanities.
Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Slowly less and less. Although Sometimes I Still Long. I want it to become permanent.*
Performance lecture by Ni’Ja Whitson
Followed by discussion with Cleopatra Acquaye-Reynolds and Kade Cahe (The Audre Lorde Project) and Pamela Sneed
Saturday, June 1, 2:30-4pm
647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Shedding skins. There are threads. Between the cursives of death, dying, and desire. Traps and catastrophes. Transitions. Echoes in the filaments of Audre Lorde's writing. In. A dialectic. On ghosts. Resisting silences.
Wendy’s Subway is pleased to present, Slowly less and less. Although Sometimes I Still Long. I want it to become permanent., a newly commissioned performance lecture by Ni’Ja Whitson and the culminating event in the year-long program, The Quick and the Dead, which has focused, in its inaugural year, on the life and work of poet, educator, and activist, Audre Lorde (1934-1992). Following the performance, Whitson will be joined in conversation by poet Pamela Sneed, and Cleopatra Acquaye-Reynolds and Kade Cahe from The Audre Lorde Project.
Drawing particular inspiration from The Cancer Journals (1980), Slowly less and less stages a dialogue with Audre Lorde, through the interplay of movement, original text, and Lorde’s writing, creating a performative litany for survival. In this meditation, Whitson reflects on key texts by Lorde to develop a conversation around survival and death, cancer and loss, and silence and activism, drawing connections between body transformation and modes of survival.
* Excerpts from Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals
- Bios -
Ni’Ja Whitson (LA/NY) is “Bessie” Award winning, gender nonconforming/astral transmogrifying interdisciplinary artist and writer, referred to as “majestic” by The New York Times, and recognized by Brooklyn Magazine as a culture influencer. Through a critical intersection of gender, sexuality, race, and spirit, they engage a nexus of transdisciplinary and African diasporic performance practices in sacred and conceptual performance. Whitson is a 2019 Creative Capital Awardee, 2018-2019 Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Fellow Candidate, 2018 MAP Fund recipient, and featured choreographer of the 2018 Cornell Council for the Arts Biennial. Additional cross-disciplinary residencies and fellowships include Watermill, Jerome/Camargo, Dance in Process (DiP) at Gibney, Hedgebrook Fellowship, LMCC Process Space, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Movement Research, Bogliasco Fellowship, with commissions including EMPAC, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, American Realness and Vision festivals, and ICA Philadelphia. Whitson received an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a second MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, receiving merit and artist awards at both. They are the founder/artistic director of The NWA Project and an assistant professor of experimental choreography at University of California at Riverside.
Cleopatra Acquaye-Reynolds (aka Cleo aka Cleopatra From The Bronx) is a Black Femmeboiant Gender Non-Conforming* Queer who was born, raised, and lived in The Bronx, New York for 28 years. As a first-generation born child of Ghanaian immigrants, education and access has always been a huge focus in Cleopatra’s life and she aims to make both priority issues in all areas of her life. Cleopatra hopes to collapse universes that hold our collective oppression and trauma in effort to make space for truth and new galaxies that build our values of resiliency and abundance. Cleopatra’s pronouns are She, Her, and Sir. She describes her facilitation persona as a Top Femme Daddx. When Cleopatra isn’t organizing, she can be found not finishing her Cosplay for the comic book convention that is two days away (Yes, there is always a comic book convention two days away). Cleopatra is Deputy Director of The Audre Lorde Project.
Kade Cahe is a first-generation Black Dominican Queer GNC person from the Bronx. Kade dreams, schemes, and acts to dismantle anti-blackness, transphobia, ableism, gender-based violence, the prison industrial complex, and capitalism, to start, while creating radical restorative futures within our communities. You can find Kade as the Member Engagement and Leadership Coordinator at the Audre Lorde Project. They also organize through the BYP100 NYC chapter as one of the Healing and Safety co-chairs to bring holistic liberation to all black people. Kade utilizes their background as critical educator, organizer, and leadership trainer, on Swipe it Forward! actions, #SayHerName actions, and when integrating wellness into organizing spaces.
Pamela Sneed is a New York-based poet, writer, performer, and visual artist. She is the author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery; KONG and Other Works; the chaplet, Gift; and a book of short stories, Sweet Dreams, from Belladonna*. She has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and on the cover of New York Magazine. She has performed at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, The Poetry Project, New York University, Pratt Institute, Smack Mellon, The High Line, Performa, Danspace Project, and the Public Theater, among many other places domestically and abroad. Her work is widely anthologized and appears in Nikki Giovanni’s The 100 Best African American Poems. In 2017, she was a visiting critic at Yale and Columbia Universities, and she is currently a professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.
- Partners -
This event was made possible with support from BRIC. BRIC is the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn, and one of the largest in New York City. We present and incubate work by artists and media-makers who reflect the diversity that surrounds us.
The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color center for community organizing, focusing on the New York City area. Through mobilization, education and capacity-building, we work for community wellness and progressive social and economic justice. Committed to struggling across differences, we seek to responsibly reflect, represent and serve our various communities.
Audre Lorde: Your Silence Will Not Protect You!
Reading and Discussion Program
Facilitated by OlaRonke Akinmowo
September 2018-March 2019
Audre Lorde: Your Silence Will Not Protect You!, is a monthly reading and discussion group developed and sponsored by Humanities New York, and facilitated by OlaRonke Akinmowo.
Participants come together over the course of six months to engage with the life and work of Audre Lorde (1934-1992), self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” and foremother of intersectionality and radical thinking around race and gender.
OlaRonke Akinmowo is a Black feminist nerd, scholar, and interdisciplinary artist who primarily works in collage, paper making, printmaking, and installation. She is also a set decorator, yoga teacher, and mom. In 2014 she started The Free Black Women’s Library, a public art project that centers and celebrates Black women writers, artists and activists. This interactive biblio installation currently holds a collection of over one thousand books written by Black women, the library also features workshops, readings, performance, film screenings and critical conversation. The library has been installed at the Studio Museum in Harlem, MOCADA Museum, Weeksville Heritage Center, Concord Baptist Church and Nurture Art Gallery. Ola is a recipient of grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Awesome Foundation, was a Culture Push for Utopian Practice Fellow and an Artist in Residence at the Laundromat Project and The Robert Blackburn Printmaking Studio. Follow her on social media @thefreeblackwomenslibrary to get in touch or stay connected.
Audre Lorde: Your Silence Will Not Protect You! is sponsored by Humanities New York, a private, non-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, receiving federal, state, city, and private funding. It provides leadership and support across the state’s intellectual and cultural sectors through grants, programs, networking, and advocacy, in order to encourage critical thinking and cultural understanding in the public arena. www.humanitiesny.org
More information here.
Omniscient Tape Recorder: Audre Lorde Edition
Monday, February 18 - 8pm
Location: The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church
131 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003
A special edition of the Omniscient Tape Recorder, in honor of Audre Lorde and held on her 85th birthday, showcasing new writing and reflections by an intergenerational pair of writers responding to rare recordings of Lorde’s readings at the Project. Working in pairs, Tracie Morris and Gabrielle Richards, and Harmony Holiday and Meagan Washington, respond to two recordings of Audre Lorde at The Poetry Project: her April 21, 1976 reading with Jean Boudin, and her October 8, 1986 reading with Diane di Prima. A discussion with Monday Night Series Curator Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves will follow.
The Poetry Project’s vast collection, recently processed by the Library of Congress, is a goldmine of potential knowledge and inspiration. Spanning the entirety of the Project’s existence, it includes over 4,000 hours of audio, much of it untapped as a scholarly resource. Participants in Omniscient Tape Recorder choose particularly rich poems and discuss their historical impact, the texture and grain of the work’s recitation, and the impact of these readings, poems, and people on the landscape of poetry and art. The goal of this series is both to showcase The Poetry Project’s history and to encourage engagement with the organization’s archival collection.
The event is also conceived in conjunction with Kore Press’s new publication Letters to the Future: Black WOMEN / Radical WRITING (2018), of which Morris, Holiday, and Greaves are all contributors. Audre Lorde’s writing, like the archival recordings of her readings, irrupt from the past with all the vitality of her voice, like a missive to us, future readers. Letters to the Future celebrates temporal, spatial, formal, and linguistically innovative literature. Because one contextual framework for the collection is “art as a form of epistemology,” the writing in the anthology is the kind of work driven by the writer’s desire to radically present, uncovering what she knows and does not know, as well as critically addressing the future.
- Contributors -
Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves (New Yorker, born 1980) is an artist concerned with post-colonial ethnobotany, the outer reaches of language, and archive as medium. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in late 2018, Greaves has most recently been published in the collections Letters to the Future: Black WOMEN / Radical WRITING (Kore Press, 2018), and Creature/Verdure (Pinsapo, 2018), as well as in her chapbook Close Reading As Forestry (Belladonna*, 2018).
Harmony Holiday is a writer, dancer, archivist, director, and the author of four collections of poetry, Negro League Baseball, Go Find Your Father / A Famous Blues, Hollywood Forever, and A Jazz Funeral for Uncle Tom. She founded and runs Afrosonics, an archive of jazz and everyday diaspora poetics, and Mythscience, a publishing imprint that reissues and reprints works from the archive. She worked on the SOS, the selected poems of Amiri Baraka, transcribing all of his poetry recorded with jazz that has yet to be released in print and exists primarily on out-of-print records. Harmony studied Rhetoric at UC Berkeley and taught for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. She received her MFA from Columbia University and has received the Motherwell Prize from Fence Books, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and a NYFA Fellowship. She is currently completing a book of poems called M a à f a and an accompanying collection of essays and memoir, Love is War for Miles, both to be released this fall, as well as a biography of jazz singer Abbey Lincoln.
Tracie Morris is writer/editor of 7 books and is a sound poet, vocalist, voice teacher and theorist. She holds an MFA in poetry from CUNY Hunter College, a PhD from NYU, and studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She became an Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist in 2018. Ms. Morris is currently the 2018 WPR Fellow at Harvard University.
Gabrielle Richards works at AHR NYC as a Higher Education Support Professional and is finishing up her last semester at Hunter College. She has published poems in Sarah L. Webb’s book Colorism Poems, as well as in Olive Tree Review, Hunter College’s creative writing publication. Gabrielle is twenty-two years old and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Meagan Washington is a poet and Houston native. She received her BA in English from the University of Houston and a MFA from Hunter College. As a NYC transport, Meagan teaches composition and writing about literature at Hunter College.
- Partners -
Kore Press, Inc is a feminist, literary arts and justice organization dedicated to publishing, education, and innovative social justice community programming that keeps the margins in the center. With a focus on writers and artists who span practices, aesthetics, sexualities, races, and ethnicities, for the last 25 years, the Press has been providing a progressive platform for diverse cultural work by women and transgendered writers.
Through its live programming, workshops, publications, website, and special events, The Poetry Project promotes, fosters and inspires the reading and writing of contemporary poetry by (a) presenting contemporary poetry to diverse audiences, (b) increasing public recognition, awareness and appreciation of poetry and other arts, (c) providing a community setting in which poets and artists can exchange ideas and information, and (d) encouraging the participation and development of new poets from a broad range of styles.
Special thanks to Donna Masini, Patricia Spears Jones, Erica Hunt, Dawn Lundy Martin, Lisa Bowden, and Mark Manivong at the Library of Congress.
“I teach myself in outline”: Audre Lorde’s Pedagogy
April 9, 2019 - 8pm
Location: Wendy's Subway
379 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206
“I teach myself in outline” gathers scholars, writers, and educators who have spent time in Audre Lorde's archives and gleaned from it a nuanced picture of her life as a teacher. The wealth of syllabi, lesson plans, course notes and student papers found therein offer an intimate look at this dimension of Lorde's work, which has yet to be studied in greater depth. The event will include readings from the archive as well as an interactive pedagogical activity informed by Lorde's teaching philosophy.
This event draws from Miriam Atkin and Iemanja Brown’s recently published chapbook, “I teach myself in outline,” Notes, Journals, Syllabi & an Excerpt from Deotha, released in 2018 by the Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative. Atkin and Brown are joined in conversation by Erica Cardwell, Christina Olivares, and Conor Tomás Reed.
“I teach myself in outline”: Audre Lorde’s Pedagogy is co-sponsored by Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative and the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY.
- Speakers -
Miriam Atkin is a poet and critic based in the Hudson Valley whose work has been largely concerned with the possibilities of poetry as a medium in conversation with avant-garde film, music, and dance. She is a co-founder of Pinsapo, an international network of people who publish books and organize creative collaborations.
Iemanja Brown is a teacher and sometimes-poet who lives in New York City. She is completing a dissertation on poetry and ecocide at the CUNY Graduate Center and has co-edited three chapbooks with Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative.
Erica Cardwell is a culture critic and educator based in New York. She is a Lambda Literary fellow and received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Erica teaches English and Literature at the Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY and social justice at The New School. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Believer, Hyperallergic, The Brooklyn Rail and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife Zhaleh and their turtle, Smiley Mousa.
Christina Olivares is the author of No Map of the Earth Includes Stars (winner of the 2014 Marsh Hawk Press Prize), Interrupt (Belladonna* Collaborative, 2015), and the forthcoming H-I-J-X (YesYes Books).
Conor Tomás Reed teaches Africana Studies and American Studies at Brooklyn College, is a contributing editor with Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, and is a co-founding participant in the Free University of New York City. Conor’s dissertation-in-progress is called CUNY Will Be Free!: Black, Puerto Rican, and Women’s Compositions, Literatures, and Studies in the City College of New York and New York City, 1960-1980.
- Partners -
Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative publishes unexpected, genre-bending works by important 20th century writers. Unearthed from personal and institutional archives in the United States and abroad, these unique projects are edited by doctoral students at the Graduate Center, CUNY and published by the Center for the Humanities. Aimed at a general readership, these chapbooks expose and provoke new archival research and connections.
The Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY encourages collaborative and creative work in the humanities at CUNY and across the city through seminars, publications, and public events. Free and open to the public, our programs aim to inspire sustained, engaged conversation and to forge an open and diverse intellectual community
Queer Poets of Color: Nepantla Anthology Anniversary
Saturday, April 27, 3-5pm
Artbook @ MoMA PS1 Bookstore
22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
Marking the one-year anniversary of Nepantla Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat Books, 2018), the first major literary anthology of its kind, Wendy’s Subway and Nepantla editor Christopher Soto present an event that considers forms of mentorship, kinship, and lineage. The anthology gathers queer poets of color throughout U.S. history and their contemporaries today. Contributors to the anthology Amber Atiya, Denice Frohman, t’ai freedom ford, and Donika Kelly, share work by a queer poet of color they consider a literary mentor or interlocutor, followed by a reading of their own writing. Readings are followed by a conversation with editor Christopher Soto.
- Readers -
Amber Atiya is a poet, performer, and visual artist from Flatbush, Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, The Boston Review, PEN America, and elsewhere. She is the author of the chapbook the fierce bums of doo-wop (Argos Books, 2014) and a co-founder of Sari-Sari Women of Color Arts Coup. She thinks of her creative practice as homeopathic, both a transcript of illness and a remedy, an attempt to startle the eye out of its desensitized state towards the possibility of emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness.
t’ai freedom ford is a New York City high school English teacher and Cave Canem Fellow. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in The African American Review, Apogee, Bomb Magazine, Calyx, Drunken Boat, Electric Literature, Gulf Coast, Kweli, Tin House, Obsidian, Poetry and others. Her work has also been featured in several anthologies including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color. Winner of the 2015 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize, her first poetry collection, how to get over is available from Red Hen Press. Her second poetry collection, & more black, is from Augury Books. t’ai lives and loves in Brooklyn where she is an editor at No, Dear Magazine.
Denice Frohman is a poet and performer from New York City. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and former Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion. Her poems have appeared in Nepantla: An Anthology for Queer Poets of Color, Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism, and elsewhere. She’s featured on hundreds of stages from The Apollo to the Nuyorican Poets Café, and co-organizes #PoetsforPuertoRico.
Donika Kelly is the author of the chapbook AVIARIUM (500 Places, 2017) and the full-length collection BESTIARY (Graywolf, 2016). She is a winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and was long-listed for the National Book Award. A Cave Canem graduate fellow, Donika holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University. She is an Assistant Professor at Baruch College, where she teaches creative writing.
- Moderator -
Christopher Soto (b. 1991, Los Angeles) is a poet based in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of the chapbook Sad Girl Poems (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016) and the editor of Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat Books, 2018). He co-founded the Undocupoets Campaign and worked with Amazon Literary Partnerships to establish grants for undocumented writers. He is a recipient of the 2017 Split This Rock “Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism” and the 2016 Poets & Writers “Barnes & Nobles Writer for Writers Award.” His poems, reviews, interviews, and articles can be found at Lambda Literary, The Nation, The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tin House, and more. He is currently working˜ on a full-length poetry manuscript about police violence and mass incarceration. He received his MFA in poetry from NYU, where he was a Goldwater Hospital Writing Workshop Fellow.
- Partners -
Lambda Literary nurtures and advocates for LGBTQ writers, elevating the impact of their words to create community, preserve our legacies, and affirm the value of our stories and our lives.
Nightboat Books, a nonprofit organization, seeks to develop audiences for writers whose work resists convention and transcends boundaries, by publishing books rich with poignancy, intelligence and risk.