Poetry Workshop For Incarcerated Writers

Future Present: A Workshop Series is an 8-week program designed to explore the political possibilities of poetry and imagine new ways of telling the stories we carry. By the end of the workshop series, each poet will revise an original piece to be included in an anthology, submitted to Iron City Magazine, and performed at the final celebratory reading.

This is open to formerly incarcerated people and family/friends of current/formerly incarcerated people. There are 30 workshop seats available on a first come, first serve basis.

The workshops are Saturdays April 9-May 7 from 11 am to 12:30 pm MST, 2-3:30pm EST on Zoom. Please register here by April 2 to receive the link for all workshops.

Directed by Assistant Professor Solmaz Sharif, Poetry for the People at ASU is a program modeled after the one founded by late poet, scholar, and activist June Jordan at UC Berkeley. Focused on poetry as a medium for telling the truth and building beloved community, the program offers an introductory poetry course for students at ASU, the opportunity for students to meet and work with established poets, and workshops and readings for the greater Phoenix metro area. For more info, visit here.

Meet the workshop facilitators!

Jade Cho is the author of In the Tongue of Ghosts (First Word Press, 2016). Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net and has appeared in Apogee, BOAAT, The Offing and elsewhere. As an MFA candidate at Arizona State University, she has received the Virginia G. Piper Creative Engagement Fellowship, the Virginia G. Piper Creative Research Fellowship, and two Swarthout Awards. Jade holds a BA in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley, where she studied and taught in June Jordan’s Poetry for the People and learned how to write, perform, and organize in Bay Area spoken word communities. She has been on two nationally-competing slam teams, representing the Bay Area at Brave New Voices 2010 and UC Berkeley at College Unions Poetry Slam 2013, where she and her teammates won “Best Political Poem” and “Best Writing as a Team.” She is a co-founder of Ghostlines, a collective of artists and educators, and The Root Slam, a free poetry venue in her hometown of Oakland, California. The granddaughter of Hoisanese immigrants who settled on Ohlone and Tongva land, she is currently at work on a project tracing memory, grief, and desire through the archive of Chinese Exclusion and the Chinese Confession Program. 

Julián Delacruz is a third year M.F.A Candidate at Arizona State University. He is a June Jordan Teaching Fellow under ASU’s new poetry program, Poetry for the People, a workshop focused on poetry as a medium for telling the truth and building beloved community. While deeply attentive to craft, he loves mentoring writers who want to embrace more reckless and frayed modes of questioning. Having taught creative writing for multiple years, and also having worked a series of editing internships at Roof Books (’11), The Paris Review (’12), PEN American Center (’14), The Iowa Review (’15-’17) and Catapult (’16), he is poised to give insightful editorial feedback to writers of many different persuasions. Julián is also the co-host of Equality Arizona’s Queer Poetry Salon, the largest queer reading series in the southwest. He has had the pleasure to feature such esteemed poets as CA Conrad, Ariana Reines, Richard Siken, Eduardo Corral, and Tommy Pico, alongside queer indie poets across many identities. Delacruz was awarded the 2020 Mabelle A. Lyon award in poetry, and a Glendon & Kathryn Swarthout Award in writing at Arizona State. He lives and writes in Tempe, AZ.

Avery Meinen was born and raised between the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers and Lake Erie. They are a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and former editor of Sampsonia Way Magazine, a publication of City of Asylum Pittsburgh. They have worked as a teaching artist with high school youth, and coached a team of spoken word poets in the Philly Slam League. They were a fellow with Crescendo Literary’s Emerging Poets Incubator in 2017 and a Winter 2021 Tin House Scholar. In their time as an MFA candidate at Arizona State, they have received a Virginia G. Piper Creative Research Fellowship and a Swarthout Award. In addition to their fellowship with Poetry for the People, they are currently a graduate research fellow with the Recovering Truth Project, a project of the Center for the Study of Conflict and Religion at ASU. Their current project examines the intersections of extractive industry and physical and sexual violence, particularly in the bodies and worlds of children. Their work is oriented towards radical queer and trans ecologies, holds survival to be a profoundly creative act, and aims to reconsider ruin, both embodied and ecological, as a site of possibility.

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