Cambridge Writers’ Workshop presents Disobedient Futures – A Split This Rock Festival Reading – Friday, April 20, 2018

Disobediant_Futures_Reading-updatedIn honor of the Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation and Witness (April 19-21, 2018), the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop will be hosting its reading Disobedient Futures at the Colony Club in Washington D.C. this Friday, April 20, 2018 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.  Disobedient Futures will feature readings from Rita BanerjeeAlex CarriganMarlena Chertock, and Christina M. Rau .

To get to the reading at the Colony Club, please take the Green line Metro towards Greenbelt and exit at the Columbia Heights Station, then walk to 3118 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC 20010.

Featured Readers:

Rita BanerjeeRitaBanerjee is the editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018) and the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, March 2018), the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in the Academy of American PoetsPoets & Writers, Nat. Brut.The Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. She is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop.   She is the judge for the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest, and she is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.

Alexander Carrigan is the Communications and PR manager for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and has been with the organization since 2014. He is currently an associate editor with the American Correctional Association. He has had fiction, poetry, reviews (film, TV, and literature), and nonfiction work published in Poictesme Literary Journal, Amendment Literary Journal, Quail Bell Magazine, Luna Luna Magazine, Rebels: Comic Anthology at VCU, Realms YA Literary Magazine, and Life in 10 Minutes. He lives in Alexandria, VA. Carrigan is the author of “First Person Perspective Flash Fiction Prompts” in the Exercises section of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018).

Marlena Chertock has two books of poetry, Crumb-sized (Unnamed Press, 2017) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press, 2016). She lives in Washington, D.C. and uses her skeletal dysplasia and chronic pain as a bridge to scientific poetry. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Breath & Shadow, The Deaf Poets Society, Noble/Gas Quarterly, Paper Darts, Rogue Agent, Wordgathering, and more. Marlena often moderates or speaks on panels at literary conferences and festivals. She serves as the Communications Coordinator for the LGBTQ Writers Caucus. Find her on Twitter at @mchertock.

Christina M. Rau is the author of the sci-fi fem poetry collection, Liberating The Astronauts (Aqueduct Press, 2017), and the chapbooks WakeBreatheMove (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and For The Girls, I (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). Her poetry has also appeared on gallery walls in The Ekphrastic Poster Show, on car magnets for The Living Poetry Project, and in various literary journals both online and in print. She is the founder of the Long Island reading circuit, Poets In Nassau, and has read and run workshops for various community groups nationwide. She teaches English and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College where she also serves as Poetry Editor for The Nassau Review. In her non-writing life, she teaches yoga occasionally and line dances on other occasions.

Our readers Rita BanerjeeMarlena Chertock, and Christina M. Rau will also be hosting a panel during Split This Rock, entitled Fantasy As Reality: Activism & Catharsis in Speculative Writing,” which will be held at National Housing Center Room B (1201 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005) on Saturday, April 21 from 9-10:30 am. The Fantasy As Reality is described below:

“This panel will demonstrate how non-realist poems and prose can offer a space for political critique and empowerment. We will ask audience members about their own speculative writing and reading experiences and offer prompts to those who wish to work on similar future writing. Speculative and science fiction are often stereotyped as futuristic, extraterrestrial, and fantastical romps through universes using space travel, time travel, and super-advanced technology centered on white cis males. However, women, non-binary, and activist writers of speculative literature are purposefully subverting this stereotype, diversifying and owning the fantastical worlds that they imagine. Speculative literature, at its core, is about giving voice to ‘The Other.’ Speculative writing, in prose or poetry, focuses on not only imagined realities of the future, past, and present but also gives voice to bodies and individuals who are disabled, alien, marginalized, menial workers, and other traditionally neglected voices. Sci-fi and fantasy characters and voices can—and should—represent the underrepresented to create a sense of community as well as to challenge injustices in our real world.”

We hope to see you at some of our events at Split This Rock !

PEN America Presents: LitCrawl NYC 2016 & CWW’s Literary Vaudeville – Oct 1!

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Join the show at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Literary Vaudeville! The evening will feature tantalizing performances from writers Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Megan Fernandes, Claire Ince, Emily Smith, Christina M. Rau, and Frederick-Douglass Knowles II. Enjoy the dexterity of our word-artists and their poetic & prose literary feats!

Featured Readers:

ritabanerjeeRita Banerjee is the Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and the new Executive Director of Kundiman. She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in The Rumpus, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. Her first collection of poems, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press), received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali (Spider Road Press), is forthcoming in October 2016. Finalist for the 2015 Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award and the 2016 Aquarius Press Willow Books Literature Award, she is currently working on a novel and book of lyric essays.

diananormaDiana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. She is author of the poetry collections Parallel Sparrows (honorable mention for Best Poetry Book in the 2014 Paris Book Festival) and Roses in the Snow (first runner-­up Best Poetry Book at the 2009 DIY Book Festival). She also records her poetry with musicians and has collaborated with several composers. Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause led to their collaboration “Space Mothlight” hitting #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Szokolyai’s work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Fiction Project, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as anthologized in The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering and Teachers as Writers. Szokolyai earned her Ed.M. in Arts in Education from Harvard University and her M.A. in French Literature from the University of Connecticut, while she completed coursework at the Sorbonne and research on Romani writers in Paris. She is currently at work on three books and recording an album of poetry & music.

eb8tc9Emily Smith is a Managing Editing and Communications Intern for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. She is a Contributing Blogger for Ploughshares and holds a B.F.A. in Creative Writing from New Hampshire Institute of ArtHer work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, Brooklyn Magazine, Refinery 29Bustle, Brevity, Luna Luna and others.

 

meganfernandes_newbioimage2015Megan Fernandes is an Assistant Professor of English at Lafayette College and teaches courses on poetry, feminist theory, and science and technology studies. She holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in poetry from Boston University. She is the author of The Kingdom and After (Tightrope Books 2015), the poetry editor of the anthology Strangers in Paris (Tightrope Books 2011), and the author of two poetry chapbooks: Organ Speech (Corrupt Press) and Some Citrus Makes Me Blue (Dancing Girl Press). Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Boston Review, Rattle, The Adroit Journal, Pank Magazine, The Walrus Magazine, Postmodern Culture, Guernica, Memorious, the Academy of American Poets, Redivider, the California Journal of Poetics, among others.

c8yndepvClaire Ince is the writer-producer of the movie musical Bazodee. An MFA graduate of New York University’s Dramatic Writing Program, Tisch School of the Arts, Claire previously produced the reality adventure show Run’bout for AT&T/Cingular Wireless Caribbean and the children’s TV pilot The Baobab Tree (a selection of the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.) Claire won best screenplay for Bazodee (formerly known as Scandalous!) at the Bahamas International Film Festival’s Film Residency Program in 2008.  She is also an alumna of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring 2015 in Newport, RI Writing Retreat.

13924994_1047861051976627_7319760793243653775_nChristina M. Rau is the author of the poetry collection Liberating The Astronauts (forthcoming, 2017), and the poetry chapbooks WakeBreatheMove (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and For The Girls, I (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). Founder of the Long Island reading circuit Poets In Nassau, her poetry has appeared on gallery walls in The Ekphrastic Poster Show, on car magnets for The Living Poetry Project, most recently in the journals Flapperhouse and Golden Walkman Magazine. She edits The Nassau Review at Nassau Community College where she teaches English full time. In her non-writing life, she practices yoga occasionally and line dances on other occasions.  She is also an alumna of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring 2015 in Newport, RI Writing Retreat.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-10-52-49-amFrederick-Douglass Knowles II (Yesod) is a Poet-Educator-Activist involved in Community Education and the Performing Arts. He has competed on three National Poetry Slam Teams (2x Connecticut and Brooklyn, NY). His works have featured in the Martin Luther King Jr. Anthology by Yale University Press, East Haddam Stage Company of Connecticut, The 13th Annual Acacia Group Conference at California State University, Folio– a Southern Connecticut State University literary magazine, Lefoko—a Botswana (Southern Africa) Hip-Hop magazine and Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: AIDS Anthology by Third World Press. Frederick-Douglass is currently an English Professor at Three Rivers Community College where he infuses English Composition with social injustices, such as AIDS, Poverty and War. His debut collection of autobiographical poetry, Black Rose City, was currently released by Author House.

Newport Writing & Yoga Retreat 2015 – April 5, 2015

While some of the participants enjoyed a session of Energizing Yoga with Elissa, Norma slaved away in the kitchen making French toast for the Farewell Brunch. Rita made red pepper scrambled eggs. Mimosas and fresh fruit made the Farewell Brunch a delicious one.

During the meal, the faculty and writers sat around the table and discussed writing goals for the future. We even vowed to stay in touch and have been hosting mini workshops each week on the Cambridge Writer’s Workshop NING member network (learn more about that here).

We were sad to see everyone leave, but can’t wait to see them at our upcoming retreats in Paris and Granada!

– Emily Smith

Newport Writing & Yoga Retreat – April 3, 2015

We started Day 2 bright and early with Energizing Yoga taught by Elissa Lewis. Our belief is that yoga can clear and prepare the mind for writing during the day. Elissa rounded out yoga with aromatherapy using a citrus-scented essential oil.

The first set of workshops began with Rita Banerjee‘s “Literary Taboo.” Each participant drew two pieces of paper from a bowl with a word like “crocodile” or “femme fatale” on each. Each sheet also included a list of taboo words, which each writer was forbidden to use in writing about the words they had selected. For example, a writer who drew “spaceship” wasn’t allowed to use the words “portal,” “fly,” “aliens,” or “planetary.”

In Stephen Aubrey‘s “Weirding the World” workshop, we learned that the script isn’t a flat work of literature or a description in poetry of another world but rather another world passing before us in time and space. While language is part of this world, the rest of it is space. And before we populate space, we must create it.  During the afternoon, some writers stayed at the house to work on their pieces. Others explored Newport’s beaches and enjoyed the warm spring weather.

Executive Art Director Diana Norma Szokolyai taught us to own our voices during “Your Voice: Bringing your Page to Performance” in the evening. We watched performance poets like Anne Waldman (Uh-Oh Plutonium!) and Saul Williams (List of Demands) and then practiced using unusual instruments to add depth to our own work. Participant Claire Ince took to the thumb piano and Saundra Norton used a music box to add mystery to her poem (see Day 3 post for their work).

The final workshop for the day, “Developing Your Manuscript for Publication,” was led by Kathleen Spivack. The participants were asked to read their work out loud. After carefully reviewing each participant’s manuscript and giving individual feedback, Kathleen assigned a revised draft due from everyone for the next day.  After a hard day’s work, the whole group went out to dinner at the Brick Alley Pub in historic downtown Newport!

– Emily Smith