This is a free program as part of Literary Cleveland's Amplify Projects series.
Constellations is a series of gatherings both virtually and across unceded Erie, Mississaugua, and Kaskaskia territory [in so-called City of Cleveland, OH]. The purpose of Constellations is to draw together an assembly/assemblage of local creatives, writers, and artists, to trace out their lives and leave a record in the sky for those who are here and those who will come after.
Constellations is exclusive to BIPOC folx at the intersection of queerness, transness, + gender nonconformity. We invite folx across the spectrum of Blackness, Indigeneity, Asiatic, Arab, and Latine/Latinx identity + at the intersection of Queer/Trans/Intersex/Gender Nonconforming identities and embodiments to join.
Constellations is a practice in mundane meaning-making and creation in community designed with the reverence for Blackness and queer and trans embodiments at its center.
Throughout this series, folx who are drawn together will compose records of their thoughts and life history to either be kept for themselves or shared with the larger literary galaxy while discovering some of the unique and bright spots in so-called Cleveland to do the making.
Saturday, March 4th
Archival: Bibliographies, Syllabi, Recipes, and Compilations
Ready Set Coffee Roasters (7306 Detroit Ave Suite 101, Cleveland OH 44102)
The bibliography is a tool used in academia to arrange the work and authors that informed a work of research/scholarship. The syllabus is a tool also used in academia to organize a body of works/texts that inform a particular subject or research inquiry. Join us as we organize our lives and memories into memorable works of art that can be easily shared with others or kept for our own reflection and reverence.
[works for reference: Lemonade Syllabus; In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens by Alice Walker]
Saturday, March 11th
Online via Zoom
It’s time to get delusional and MANIFEST. You know them movies like Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood? Where there’s a narrator but the narrator is a character and it's giving real MCE (Main Character Energy)? Yeah, we’re going to do that. This session is all about writing our story as main characters and creating playlists to match that energy. (Side note: you can also choose to create a playlist for a character who already exists and who you enjoy).
[works for reference: jonjon moore Twitter post; that girl from TikTok with the main character skits]
Saturday, March 18th
Prayers, Hymns, Odes, and Memorials
Algebra Tea House (2136 Murray Hill Rd, Cleveland OH 44106)
We gots to stay prayed up. The most powerful prayers and incantations are community-fortified and simple. Whether it’s Psalm 91 that you learned from your granny who learned from her granny who learned from her granny… or a selection from your favorite writer, this gathering is here to spiritually fortify us.
[works for reference: Black Trans Prayerbook; Sea el Santisimo; dem little saint candles; Emergent Strategy by adrienne marie brown]
Saturday, March 25th
Confessions, Secrets, and Unsolicited Advice
Online via Zoom
What advice has helped you heal, or brought water to a dry well in your life? What obscure knowledge do you hold close to your heart? If you were able to screech final words into a dirt hole in the earth and bury it alive, what would you expect to grow from it? In this gathering, we excavate our dearest humanity and shape it into a medicine for who needs it most.
[works for reference: Gary in Your Pocket; Tonya Ingram, So, Life Wants You Dead podcast; Tonya Ingram, Unsolicited Advice]; Octavia Butler, Earthseed]
Instructor: Willow (she/her, they/them) is a Black transfemme poet, narrativist, and creative hailing from the Black Midwest via unceded Mississauga, Kaskaskia, and Erie territory (Cleveland OH). Her work explores post-apocalyptic intimacies, grief, and networks of kinship and belonging. Prior to working with Literary Cleveland, Willow served as the Programs Manager for Roots. Wounds. Words., where she curated literary arts programs led by renowned BIPOC faculty including Jesmyn Ward, Ryka Aoki, Deesha Philyaw, Xan Phillips, Nisi Shawl, Daniel Jose Older, Elisabet Velasquez, and others. You can find Willow on IG at @qwahniemae.
Details: Constellations takes place Saturdays March 4 (12:00-2:00pm in person at Ready Set Coffee Roasters), 11 (12:00-2:00pm online via Zoom), 18 (6:00-8:00pm in person at Algebra Tea House), and 25 (12:00-2:00pm online remotely via Zoom).
Level: All experience levels welcome.
Format: Craft and generative workshop with reading and writing inside and outside class.
Location: This class takes place in person and online remotely via Zoom.
Size: Limited to 15 participants.