A Creative Writing Retreat Series by Alexis Pauline Gumbs*
This set of 6 one-day community writing retreats over a six month period is designed to offer writers at all levels an opportunity to find the poems speaking to them everywhere and to deepen their poetic practice by drawing inspiration from black feminist poets. Each retreat will be all day on a Saturday and will include meals, inspiration, nerdy contextualization and loving support from an exuberant educator who has been creating transformative writing space for over 15 years. The retreats will occur on a Saturday at the end of the month. Save the dates:- 6/29
1. The Lorde Concordance and Oracle Building
(inspired by Audre Lorde) Saturday, June 29th
This first retreat is about queerly finding poems in the alphabet. Drawing on Alexis’s Lorde Concordance practice, this retreat consists of activities that re-alphabetize poems in order to find new messages, and sometimes the same messages and some times silliness. Every poem we love is a possible oracle. Each participant should bring a favorite poem.
2. A Thousand Words
(inspired by Evie Shockley) Saturday, July 27th
In her Half-Red Sea Evie Shockley has a powerful thousand word poem that performs the never equal relationship between words and imagery. In this retreat drawing on our own photographs and some chosen by the facilitator we will make our own thousand word poems in conversation with an image that we find meaningful, impossible, sacred or something.
3. Walking Into Poems
(inspired by Alice Walker) Saturday August 31st
Alice Walker writes everyday planetary poems. As one of the most explicitly political nature poets ever, the simplicity of her poems has a lot to teach any poet about the relationship between writing about nature, as such, and writing about the healing potential “human nature.” This retreat will consist of a series of guided walks searching for everyday poems offered by the planet.
4. Poems as Architecture
(inspired by June Jordan) Saturday September 28th
you know that acclaimed black feminist poet June Jordan was an
architect? Not only that, she won the Prix de Rome in architecture in
the 1970s. This retreat asks us to find the poems in the built
environment around us in conversation with the poems that June Jordan
wrote while in Rome (some of her less studied work). For more by Alexis
on June Jordan and the poetics of architecture see: http://pluraletantum.com/2012/
5. Lucille Clifton and the Poems of our Past Lives
Saturday October 26th
Many people do not know that the great poet Lucille Clifton was also in communication with other worlds. In her archived papers there are several proposed manuscripts of books that talk about her communication with the dead. Based on Lucille Clifton’s dream poems and past life poems this retreat is about looking for the poems in our own dreams, memories and inklings and maybe even our conversations with folks who are no longer on this plane.
6. Finding Poems Underwater
(inspired by Marlene Nourbese Philip) Saturday November 23rd
Drawing on excerpts from Marlene Nourbese Philip’s epic, orchestral, heteroglossaic book length poem Zong, written in honor of captured Africans who were intentionally drowned off the coast of Jamaica so a slaver could collect insurance money for their deaths, this retreat is about finding poems underwater, in deep inner space, behind trauma and the unsayable.
In order to make this rare and priceless opportunity accessible and sustainable it will be community funded. All workshops will take place in Durham, NC. Community members interested in participating can help with a process through which Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind gains new monthly sustainers of 750 per month (15 sustainers at $50 each, 150 sustainers at $5 or any combination). People who participate in the sustainer-raiser have first priority in any or all of the 6 retreats. Dates will be set after the success of the community sustainer raiser. If there is space in any of the retreats community members who have not participated in that process can sign up with a deposit two weeks in advance of the retreat and an offering of something they can afford. If you would like to be part of the sustainer/raiser project or if you would like to donate a scholarship please email writerwk1 at mac dot com.
ALEXIS PAULINE GUMBS is a queer black troublemaker, a black feminist love evangelist, a prayer poet priestess and has a PhD in English, African and African-American Studies and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University. Alexis was the first scholar to research in the Audre Lorde Papers at Spelman College, the June Jordan Papers at Harvard University and the Lucille Clifton Papers at Emory University and is currently on tour with her interactive oracle project "The Lorde Concordance" a series of ritual mobilizing the life and work of Audre Lorde as a dynamic sacred text. Alexis has also published widely on Caribbean Women's Literature with a special interest in Dionne Brand.
Her scholarly work is published in Obsidian, Symbiosis, Macomere, The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Literature, SIGNS, Feminist Collections, The Black Imagination, Mothering and Hip Hop Culture, The Business of Black Power and more. Alexis is the author of an acclaimed collection of poems 101 Things That Are Not True About the Most Famous Black Women Alive and poetic work published in Kweli, Vinyl, Backbone, Everyday Genius, Turning Wheel, UNFold, Makeshift and more. She has several books in progress including a book of poems Good Hair Gone Forever, a scholarly monograph on diaspora and the maternal and an educational resource called the School of Our Lorde. She is also the co-editor of a forthcoming edited collection on legacies of radical mothering called This Bridge Called My Baby.
Alexis has been living in Durham, NC for almost a decade and has been transformed and enriched by holistic organizing to end gendered violence and to replace it with sustaining transformative love. Locally she is a founding member of UBUNTU a women of color and survivor-led coalition to end sexual violence, of the Earthseed Collective a black and brown land and spirit reclamation project and the Warrior Healers Organizing Trust, a community accountable foundation practicing organic reparations and transforming blood money into blood relations. Nationally Alexis is co-founder of the Mobile Homecoming Project, an experiential archive project amplifying generations of black LGBTQ brilliance, and intergalactically she is the instigator of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind, a multi-media all ages community school based in the wisdom of black feminist literary practice.
Alexis is also a literary scholar with a PhD in English, Africana Studies and Women's Studies from Duke University and a widely published poet and essayist. Alexis likes to pray by walking, dancing, remembering poems and talking and playing with loved ones.
Alexis was named one of UTNE Reader's 50 Visionaries Transforming the World in 2009, was awarded a Too Sexy for 501-C3 trophy in 2011 and is one of the Advocate's top 40 under 40 features in 2012.
*This idea was made possible by conversations with two of my favorite poets: Samiya Bashir and Faith Holseart.
- - -
Rescheduled - Been There Lecture #2: Anjail Ahmad
The Been There Online Lecture Series is a series of inspired interactive conversations with experienced community accountable scholars offering their lessons learned while navigating multiple institutions and putting their brilliance to work with and in honor of oppressed communities. These lectures are open to scholars, writers, activists and folks in all walks of life ready to be inspired!
Been There Lecture #2 Dr. Anjail Ahmad
Dr. Ahmad is a poet, educator and activist writing, speaking and teaching in venues throughout the United States. She received her PhD in African American Literature and 20th Century American Poetry from the University of Missouri-Columbia, her MA in Creative Writing from New York University and her BA in Creative Writing from Agnes Scott College.
She is also a blind woman advocating for disability justice in collaboration with a diverse community of disabled activists in Greensboro, NC and a Mobile Homecoming superstar.
Her areas of interest include: African American Literature and Oral Traditions; Twentieth Century American Poetry; The Poetics of Resistance in African American Poetry; Spoken Word and the poetics of Performance; Poetic Entrepreneurship; E-Texts and Publication; Women’s Voices; Social Justice and Disability Rights Advocacy.
She has written two books of poetry, is published widely in journals and has won numerous awards. She teaches writing classes at North Carolina A&T State University where she is also Director of Creative Writing. In 2010, she has used her depth of writing knowledge and experience in working with writers to found The Fractured Writer: A Creative Resource for Writers (http://www.thefracturedwriter.com). She also leads writing and publishing workshops and sees clients in her home office in Greensboro, North Carolina where she offers training, coaching, consulting, and mentorship to groups and individuals of all ages.
As Artistic Director of The Fractured Writer aka The Loving Boot Camp for Writers, she leads writers through the Sunday 5-Week Writing Intensives, a year-long, workshop series designed to support writers through the completion of a writing project. In her unique approach to creative writing, she offers a blend of spirituality and creative pragmatism to writers seeking to transform their creative ideas and aspirations into work suitable for publication and performance.
This workshop is free for one-on-one and cohort coaching clients. Other geniuses are free to sign up for the lecture with an email about your interests to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 14th and a donation of $20-50 to Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.
- - - -
April 2013 Events
April 26, 2013- 6:30pm
Alexis Pauline Gumbs presents: Can You Read?: Finding the Poetry in Toni Morrison
In a letter to the poet June Jordan, then Random House editor Toni Morrison explains that she is not a poet. Decades later black feminist poet priestess retrostalker and researcher (aka Alexis Pauline Gumbs) disagrees. Over the past year Alexis has been finding the poems in Morrison's body of novels and is excited to share them with the Charis family. Right now Alexis and her partner musician and filmmaker Julia Roxanne Wallace are collaborating on a series of audio pieces and short films based on these poems. Bluest, the first collection in the Can You Read? series based on Morrison's first novel The Bluest Eye will be available for sale as will Alexis's new chapbook Good Hair Gone Forever. We are excited to create an audio-visual poetic space to celebrate the closeted poetry in the work of one of the most important writers of our time. :)
For more info. check out The Charis Event Page - LINK
April 26, 2013 6:30pm - Charis in Atlanta, GA
Alexis Pauline Gumbs presents: Can You Read?: Finding the Poetry in Toni Morrison For more info. check out The Charis Event Page - LINK
February to May 2013
February 4-6 2013
Kennesaw State University mini-residency
Pressed for Knowledge workshop
Litany for Survival workshop
In Your Hands workshop
February 12, 2013
Lecture at Temple University - Women's Studies Department
Lecture - Daughter Dreams: Critical Reflection and Audre Lorde's Dream Journals
Class Visit: Professor Aishah Simmons - Audre Lorde: The Life and Work of a Silence Breaker
February 13, 2013
Elixher's Radical Love twitter conversation #radluv - 9-10pm
Mobile Homecoming founders @alexispauline & @JRoxWallace discuss strategies 4 lasting love
NYU - Tisch School of the Arts
Class Visit: Professor Kathy Engel - June Jordan: Language as Action
The Worlds of Ntozake Shange Conference
Barnard College-Africana Studies Program
Lecture (Ritual): Indigo Generations: Consorting With Spirits, Interpreting Dreams and Accessing the Moon
Mother Tongue: MONOLOGUES Schomburg Library, Harlem NY
FOR LESBIAN ANCESTRAL WIVES & REVOLUTIONARY WOMEN SPEAKING THE UNSPEAKABLE:
A Benefit Performance to Support Collaboration and Prevention Programs on Sexual Assault In Communities Of African Descendants. (Honorary Co-chair)
Black Women's Blueprint - http://www.blackwomensblueprint.org/
Inaugural Audre Lorde Week, Tulane University
Keynote Lecture: The Lorde Concordance: Brazen Black Feminist Life as Sacred Text
Workshop: The Edge of Each Other's Battle's: Cultivating Fierce Allies
Workshop: Backyard Politics: From Community Service to Community Accountability
Body as Battleground Conference, UNC Law School
Panel Presentation/Closing Ritual:
Actual Need: A Lordean Ritual for Ending the War on Women
Conversation on Community Care and Self Care with angel Kyodo williams, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and Claudia Horowitz - 6pm
The Stonehouse in Mebane, NC (30 minutes South of Durham)
Event Details: http://www.stonecircles.org/event/community-care-care/
Stone Circles Homepage: http://www.stonecircles.org
Need: A Cyber Performance Ritual
for Community Accountable Intellectuals
Webinar nightly at 9pm - DETAILS
March 9Black Feminist Film School Production Workshop
The Blueprint: Script Reading and Writing
Black Feminist trip to Dominican Republic
Mobile Homecoming Residency
at University of Florida, Gainesville
Public Mobile Homecoming Installation - all week
Documentary in progress screening and Interactive Lecture
Community: Where Have You Been All My Life
Sassafrass Survival Salon - 6pm in Durham, NC
April 26Charis Circle Toni Morrison Poetry Event
Charis Books and More
May to December 2013
Combahee Pilgrimage - May 31 to June 3
click here for more info.
Alexis's Birthday - June 12
Rest and Realness
August 4- Keynote at Pedagogy of Privilege ConferenceRest and Realness
Julia Roxanne Wallace's Birthday
Cheryl Clarke Futureretrospective
January 1, 2013
Queer Kwanzaa Culmination - Durham, NC
January 23 -27
Creating Change - Atlanta, GA
9am to 4pm on Thursday
Just Sex Track: Desire Mapping Workshop, Faculty
9:30am on Sunday
Just Sex Track: Communicating Desire Workshop, Co-Facilitator (MBHC)
January 30 - Wednesday
Black Feminist Film School Screening - Litany for Survival
6:30 pm at Duke University FHI Garage Smith Warehouse Bay 4
114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Durham, NC 27708-0403
January to March 2012
Launch Brilliance Remastered visit site
Workshop at Creating Change in Baltimore, MD
Continue Indigo Afterschool Program
Attend Zelda Lockhart's writing workshop
Featured poet -
African American Read-In YMCA Chapel Hill
Appear on the Richard Brown show - Durham
Nikky Finney comes to Duke/Durham
Indigo Night School begins
- Audre Lorde's Birthday - February 18th!
Continue Zelda Lockhart writing workshop - Durham
Present @ UT Austin: Poet and Scholars Roundtable Texas Institue of Literary and Textual Studies(TILTS)
Present at Mothertongue by Black Women's Blueprint - NYC
Facilitate conversation at Collective Sun performance by Spirithouse - Durham
Present on Extra Academic panel @ Duke
Co-facilitate Lover Overflow: Marvelous Menstruating Moments with Pauline McKenzie Day - Durham, NC
Host concert and music video Screening of "The People's War" by Laila Nur
Indigo After School continues
Meeting & Brainstorm with Suzanne Pharr
Indigo Night School continues
Women's Herstory month workshop at Holton Community & Resource Center - Durham
Present and Attend Split This Rock Poetry festival in honor ofJune Jordan - Washington D.C.
Mobile Homecoming Event at the DC Center - Washington, D.C.
Perform To You Who Understand (My People)at USC with Makeshift Reclaimation - Los Ageles, CA
April to June 2012
Present and attend Blackthought 2.0 at Duke
Indigo After School continues
Indigo Night School continues
Keynote for Take Back the Night @ UNC Chapel Hill
Brilliance Remastered Workshop (The first) - Ithaca, NY
Potluck and Discussion at Laila Nur's - Greensboro, NC
Launch Black Feminist Film School with Julia Roxanne Wallace at Duke: Screening The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye
Moderate "Out In the South" panel at the Durham Public Library
Keynote at Queerly Speaking Lecture Series- Dallas, TX
Visit Pop-Up Museum with Filmmakers Aishah Shahidah Simmons and Luce Lincoln - Philadelphia, PN
13-14 - UPenn, Wharton School of Business Graduation - Philly
15 - Launch Black Feminist Film School Website
Indigo Afterschool continues
18 - Indigo Night School continues
20 - Interviewed by Partiba Parmar for Alice Walker documentary
27 - Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Potluck Series begins
1 - Museum of Sisterhood Launch curated by Indigo Afterschool geniuses
10 - ALEXIS's Birthday BBQ - Durham, NC
12 - ALEXIS turns 30
16 - Keynote for Broken Beautiful Conference @ Boston
17 - Eternal Summer Potluck Series continues - Durham, NC
Summer Camp at Sam's
19 to 27 - Workshops for Mellon Week @ Barnard College/Columbia University - NYC
28 to July 2 - Allied Media Conference (AMC) - Detroit, Michigan
July to September 2012
June 28 to July 2 - Allied Media Conference (AMC) - Detroit, MI
6 - Facilitate poetrty workshop, Do the Write Thing - Washington, D.C.
15 - Facilitate workshop at Women's Life and Balance Conference - Atlanta, GA
22 - Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Potluck Series conitnues - Durham, NC
Retreat Denver, Colorado
Retreat - Denver, Colorado
7 to 12 - Alternate Roots - Arden, NC
6 - Facilitate poetrty workshop, Do the Write Thing - Washington, D.C.
15 to 22 - QUEER BLACK AUGUST!
24 - Facilitate sexual assault prevention at Reed College Orientation - Portland, Oregon
26 - Pocket Poem Prayer Meeting - Durham, NC
1 - Sassafrasss Salon Launch
14 to 16 - BLU Retreat! (Black Lesbians United) - California
28 - SHE Circle
30 - Pocket Poem Prayer Meeting
October to December 2012
6 - Sassafrass Salon
12 - Lesbian Living Roomm Tour - Durham, NC
19 - Speak at UCLA (with Kai Green) - Los Angeles
26 to 28 - Queer Your Mind Conference at San Francisco State
29 - Pocket Poetry Prayer Meeting
3 - Sassafrass Salon
25 - Pocket Prayer Meeting
1 - Sassafrass Salon
26 to Jan 1 Queer Black Kwanzaa
Birthday Theme: Spiritual Upgrade
June 10th, 2012 at 2:00pm
Our Home in Durham, NC
Food, Drinks, Gifts to share
Gifts & Wishlist:
2. 30 Mobile Homecoming Monthly Sustainers
- donate online at http://www.mobilehomecoming.org/donate/
3. Birthday Cake
Thank you Holly Hardin and Alba for volunteering to make a birthday cake!
4. Trips & Invitations to the Ocean
5. Wooden Card Catalogue
6. Holy Basil (aka Tulsi) Tea, Seeds and/or Plants
- Thank you Kate Shapiro!