Friday Facilitators

Friday | March 11, 2016

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Safe Space: Undoing Racism

PamelaSneed_NYC2016_photoPatriciaSilva_MG_3574.jpgPamela Sneed is a New York based poet, writer and actress. She has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Time Out, Bomb, VIBE, and on the cover of New York Magazine. In 2015, she appeared in Art Forum, Black Book and The Huffington Post. She hosted Queer Art Film at the IFC in New York City. She is author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom Than Slavery, published by Henry Holt in April 1998, KONG & other works, published by Vintage Entity Press (2009) and a chapbook Lincoln.(2014). In 2015, she published the Chaplet Gift with Belladonna. She appears in sold out houses at Lincoln Center, P.S. 122, Ex-Teresa in Mexico City, The ICA London, The CCA in Glasgow Scotland, The Green Room in Manchester England, BAM Cafe, Joes Pub, The Public Theater, Central Park Summer Stage, Bronx Summer Stage and recently Columbia University’s Tribute to James Baldwin, The Whitney Museum and BRIC. At current, she teaches in the department of Journalism and Communication at LIU and is a Visiting Professor at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute teaching Human Rights and Writing Art. She is a mentor for the poet-Linc program at Lincoln Center and will direct a final show at Lincoln Center Atrium. In Summer 2016, she has received residencies at Denniston Hill and School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s MFA low-residency program.

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Safe Space: Sexual Assault Resources


Grace Elizabeth Kendall, Editor, Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books for Young Readers/Macmillan. She works on a wide range of material from picture books to young-adult novels, both fiction and nonfiction. Before joining FSG in the spring, Grace worked at Scholastic where she edited Hot Rod Hamster: Monster Truck Mania! by Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord and New York Times Bestselling Illustrator Derek Anderson; A Bunny in the Ballet by debut author/illustrator Robert Beck; and the middle-grade series Jewel Society by Hope McLean. She also worked on Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by two-time National Book Award Nominee and MacArthur Fellow Edwidge Danticat and illustrated by Alix Delinois.

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Publishing Panel


2016 marks the 17th anniversary of the Belladonna* mission to promote the work of women writers who are adventurous, experimental, politically involved, multi-form, multicultural, multi-gendered, impossible to define, delicious to talk about, unpredictable and dangerous with language. Belladonna* has featured nearly 300 writers of wildly diverse age and origin, writers who work in conversation and collaboration, in and between multiple forms, languages, and critical fields. As performance and as printed text, the work collects, gathers over time and space, forming a conversation about the feminist avant-garde, what it is and how it comes to be. Belladonna* is committed to building publication and literary community between women writers who write off-center—poetry and prose that is political and critical, that is situational rather than plot-driven, that is inter-subjective or performative or witnessing rather than personally revelatory, that reaches across the boundaries and binaries of literary genre and artistic fields, and that questions the gender binary.

Belladonna* is a feminist avant-garde collective, founded in 1999 by Rachel Levitsky. Belladonna* was started as a reading and salon series at Bluestocking’s Women’s Bookstore on New York City’s Lower East Side. In June 2000, in collaboration with Boog Literature, Belladonna* began to publish commemorative ‘chaplets’ of the readers’ work. This series continues today and has reached #188.

Rachel Levitsky is a practitioner of a hybrid form of poetry, one that frequently and freely crosses the boundaries of verse and prose, imagination and critique, story and polemic. In addition to her book length poem Under the Sun, published by Futurepoem in 2003, she is the author of five chapbooks of poetry, Dearly (a+bend, 1999), Dearly 356, Cartographies of Error(Leroy, 1999), The Adventures of Yaya and Grace (PotesPoets, 1999) and  2(1×1)Portraits (Baksun, 1998). Her second full-length volume, another serial work, is called NEIGHBOR, and will be out from Ugly Duckling Presse in 2009. Levitsky writes poetry plays, three of which (one with Camille Roy) have been performed in New York and San Francisco. Her work is published in magazines such as The Recluse, Sentence, Fence, The Brooklyn Rail, Global City, The Hat, Skanky Possum, Lungfull! and the anthologies,  Boog City (vol. I & II), Bowery Women, and 19 Lines: A Drawing Center Writing Anthology. Recently her work was translated into Icelandic for the anthology  131.839 Slög Med Bilum by poet Eiríkur Örn Nordahl and into Japanese for the Tokyo Poetry Festival Anthology by poet Kyung-Mi Park. Online poetry and critical essays can be found on such sites as Narrativity, Duration Press, How2, and  Web Conjunctions. She has taught poetry workshops at Woodland Pattern, Naropa University, Poets House, The Poetry Project and Pratt Institute. Rachel Levitsky is also the founder and co-director of Belladonna* which is an event and publication series she began in 1999 in order to explore and advance feminist avant-garde poetics. Now in its tenth year, Belladonna* has hosted around 150 women and men whose writing is formally adventurous and politically engaged.

Ugly Duckling Presse is a nonprofit publisher for poetry, translation, experimental nonfiction, performance texts, and books by artists. UDP was transformed from a 1990s zine into a Brooklyn-based small press by a volunteer editorial collective that has published more than 200 titles to date. UDP favors emerging, international, and “forgotten” writers, and its books, chapbooks, artist’s books, broadsides, and periodicals often contain handmade elements, calling attention to the labor and history of bookmaking. UDP is committed to keeping its publications in circulation with our online archive of out-of-print chapbooks and our digital proofs program.

Emmalea Russo is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Using sculpture, installation, and text, she makes process-based works about voluntary and involuntary actions, the central nervous system, and repetitive tasks. She is the author of they (Gauss PDF, 2014), CLEAR1NG (Dancing Girl Press, 2014), and book of southern and water (Poor Claudia, 2013). She is pursuing an MFA in visual art at Pratt Institute and is a member of the Ugly Duckling Presse editorial collective.

The Offing is an online literary magazine publishing creative writing in all genres and art in all media.

The Offing publishes work that challenges, experiments, provokes — work that pushes literary and artistic forms and conventions, but understands that to do so requires a rigorous understanding of those forms and conventions.

The Offing is a place for new and emerging writers to test their voices, and for established writers to test their limits. The Offing actively seeks out and supports work by and about those often marginalized in the literary conversation, including people of color, women and gender non-conformists, and members of the LGBTQIA and differently abled communities.

The Offing believes writers and artists deserve to be compensated for their work, and we will pay our contributors. It won’t be much at first — $25, $50 — but we will work diligently, with your help, to raise the funds to increase that amount, and to offer stipends to our editorial staff.​

3f9aac0273e38c63-aboutmephoto.jpgDiamond Janese Sharp is a poet and writer from Chicago. She is an alumna of Wellesley College. She has performed at Chicago’s Stage 773 and her work has been featured on Chicago Public Radio and published in PANK, JoINT Literary, Wellesley Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Say What Magazine, GirlSpeak Webzine, BLACKBERRY, Women in Red [a publication of the University of Wisconsin-Madison], AREA Chicago and Bop, Strut, and Dance: A Post-Blues Form for New Generations, a forthcoming anthology edited by Tara Betts and Afaa Weaver.

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Monologue of the Body

aprilheadshot2(1).jpgA nationally touring poet, April Ranger has performed three times as a member of Boston Cantab’s National Poetry Slam team, and twice as their representative at the Individual World Poetry Slam. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Muzzle Magazine, apt, and Courage: Daring Poems For Gutsy Girls (Writebloody 2014.) April’s first full-length play, Streetsweepers, was the recipient of the Nicole dusFresne Playwriting Award. She directed the premiere of her short play, Civilized Rituals, at the 2013 Dorchester Fringe Festival. April grew up in rural Maine and currently lives in Brooklyn.

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Black Girl Flyy

Falu.jpgFalu’s passion for creative expression through poetry is the foundation of her professional and personal life.  At age fourteen she wrote her first poem and began reciting her poetry at sixteen.

Falu recently wrote and starred in her own one-woman show; LOVE, Above All Things, which was an emotional journey through the first few days, of a three year custody battle. Falu won first place in NBC TV’s Amiri Baraka Poetry Slam and was ranked third internationally in the Women of the World Poetry Slam 2013. She is a celebrated performance artist throughout NYC and across the country and as a member of the 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2014 Nuyorican Poets Café Slam Teams becoming the top female poet of the year in 2006, and ranked 3rd in both 2009 and 2012. She made history as a member of the 2014 slam team, as she was a part of the first All-Woman Slam Team in the Tri-State Area. As a performer, Falu has shared the stage with Jennifer Holliday, Carl Thomas and Patti LaBelle. She makes her film debut in the soon to be released movie, “Mania Days” alongside Katie Holmes.

In addition to being a dynamic and visceral poet, Falu is well known for her teaching, coaching and workshop leadership ability, working with Young Writer’s Academy, Boston Breadloaf, Sports & Arts In Schools Foundation and Achievement First-East New York, just to name a few. Falu is one third of what is known as “The Coaching Trinity.”

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Nerd Slam

avatar.jpgMelissa Newman Evans is a graphic designer, production artist, & print production manager. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, and I have a particular flair for event promotion and book layout and design. I excel at last-minute changes, emergencies, and picking up slack. I have hands-on expertise with offset and digital printing, Articulate Storyline, and the Adobe Design suite.

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TransWriting Workshop


Linette Reeman (they/them) is a poet and hot mess from the Jersey Shore. They’ve represented Loser Slam (Red Bank, NJ) at multiple regional and national slams and this is their second year representing Rowan University at the college national slam (CUPSI), where they are also pursuing a BA in history. Linette’s work has been published in places like Words Dance, great weather for MEDIA, Voicemail Poems, and forthcoming in Drunk in a Midnight Choir. They probably want to high-five you.

12540837_10153898696498817_8368643835439482795_n.jpgAlain Ginsberg is an agender writer and performer from Baltimore City, MD whose work follows narratives of gender, sexuality, and trauma. They’ve been featured in Black Heart Magazine, Words Dance, and elsewhere, as well as performing in the northeast, midatlantic, pacific northwest, and parts of Canada. Alain is usually found in the center of trees, growing, waiting, screaming.

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Page Meets Stage

tumblr_lt30ytJBoX1r4vhsho1_1280.pngAja Monet is a Cuban-Jamaican poet originally from East NY, Brooklyn. At 19 years old, she was the youngest to ever win the Grand Slam Champion title of the Lower East side’s legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café in 2007. Her work is classically surrealist, engaging altogether Hip Hop, Soul, and literary audiences.

She dedicates her time and energy working with inner-city adolescence, providing performance poetry workshops and opportunities. Aja Monet received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Aja Monet’s first book of poems, The Black Unicorn Sings, was independently published with Penmanship books (2010). She recently collaborated with poet/musician Saul Williams to edit a book of poetry due out on MTV Books/Simon & Schuster Publishing in Fall 2012 called, Chorus. She is currently working on a book of science-fiction and new music.

attachment.jpgNatalie Eilbert’s poems “The Rapist Joins AA,” “Black Walnuts,” and “At Ingolstadt” were selected by judge Srikanth Reddy as runners up in the first annual Better Prize in Poetry. Eilbert’s work has been featured in or is forthcoming from The Kenyon Review, Tin House, West Branch, Spinning Jenny, Handsome, and many others. Her chapbooks, Conversation with the Stone Wife (Bloof Books) and And I Shall Again Be Virtuous (Big Lucks Books) are forthcoming later this year. Her full-length, Swan Feast, is forthcoming with Coconut Books in Spring/Summer 2015. She lives and writes in Brooklyn, where she is the founding editor of The Atlas Review.

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Grant Writing for Artists

13_staff_thumbnail_.jpgMorgan Lindsey Tachco is a creative administrator, actor and writer. She joined Brooklyn Arts Council in 2008 and filled several roles in the Grants and Arts in Education Departments prior to becoming the Grants Program Manager in 2013 and is now Grants and Services Director. Morgan oversees BAC’s grantmaking and Creative Coalitions programs, and serves as a general resource and matchmaker for artists and organizations across the city.

As an administrator, she has also worked as a Producing Director for Horse Trade Theater Group, where she co-founded the Frigid NYC Festival; Outreach Manager for New York Innovative Theatre Foundation; and as a freelance indie theatre publicist and event coordinator.  Morgan holds a B.A. from Goddard College in Individualized Studies, with a concentration in Performance and Arts Administration.

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Visible & Invisible Disabilities Reading

12670046_10208659424946767_2771794437728509677_nSaraEve is a performance poet and epilepsy advocate from New Jersey. A 2015 Best of the Net nominee, she has performed for both local and national events, including the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam and for the Greater Los Angeles Epilepsy Foundation 2015 Care and Cure Benefit to End Epilepsy in Children. The Editor in Chief of Wicked Banshee Press, a Contributing Editor for Words Dance Magazine and Book Reviewer for Swimming With Elephants Publications, her work can be found or is forthcoming in GERM Magazine, Words Dance Magazine, Drunk in a Midnight Choir and the University of Hell Anthology We Can Make Your Life Better: A Guidebook to Modern Living,, among others. Her first full length book, View From The Top of the Ferris Wheel, will be published be Emphat!c Press in 2016. She believes in the power of foxes and self publishing.

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Poets Studio

pht.sarah_.about_.pngSarah Kay is a New Yorker. a poetry writer and reader. a spoken word poetry teacher. the founder and co-director of Project VOICE. a witty banter enthusiast. a postcard lover. a documentary filmmaker. a foodie. a playwright. a singer. a songwriter. a photographer. a best-selling author of the book B. the author of No Matter the Wreckage. an editor for Write Bloody Publishing. a Gemini. a mediocre driver at best. a musical theater geek. a smoothie expert. the daughter of a Taoist mother and a Brooklynese father. a hapa. less cool than her little brother. an alum of the United Nations International School and a graduate of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. an alum of Brown University. an alum of Brown University Graduate School’s Masters Program in the Art of Teaching Secondary English. a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Grinnell College.

Sarah Kay was a speaker at the TED 2011 Conference, “The Rediscovery of Wonder” in Long Beach, CA. a speaker at the 2011 Cannes Lions Creativity Festival in France. a speaker at the 2012 Bonnier GRID Conference. on the homepage. on the YouTube homepage. a featured poet on the sixth season of Russell Simmons presents HBO Def Poetry Jam. raised by an unruly family of poets at the Urbana Poetry Slam and the youngest poet competing at the National Poetry Slam in 2006. a featured performer at events and venues like the Tribeca Film Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Nantucket Project, and the United Nations. an education advocate and keynote speaker for education organizations like NAIS, ECIS, AISA, NBTA, and IBO. an international performer in the UK, the Czech Republic, the United Arab Emirates, France, Singapore, Australia, Mexico, the British Virgin Islands, South Africa, Ghana, Sweden, Spain, Nepal, and India. a judge for the Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards for young filmmakers.

mobrowne.jpgFacilitated by Mahogany L. Browne.
The Cave Canem and Poets House alumnae is the author of several books including Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line, recommended by Small Press Distribution &  Best Poetry Books of 2010. She has released five LPs including the live album Sheroshima. As co-founder of the Off Broadway poetry production, Jam On It, and co-producer of NYC’s 1st Performance Poetry Festival: SoundBites Poetry Festival, Mahogany bridges the gap between lyrical poets and literary emcee. Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and recently Australia as 1/3 of the cultural arts exchange project Global Poetics. Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada’s The Word and UK’s MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Manhattanville Review, Muzzle, Union Station Mag, Literary Bohemian, Bestiary, Joint & The Feminist Wire. She is anticipating the release of several poetry collections in 2015: Smudge (Button Poetry), Redbone (Willow Books) & the anthology The Break Beat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket). She is an Urban Word NYC mentor, as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country. Brown is also the publisher of Penmanship Books, the Nuyorican Poets Café Poetry Program Director and Friday Night Slam curator and currently an MFA Candidate for Writing & Activism at Pratt Institute.

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