MoAD Poets-in-Residence 2018

September 1 – December 31, 2018

We are excited to announce the start of our program Poets in Residence 2018 with two talented poets, Raina J. León and Tongo Eisen-Martin. The program is a 4-month writing residency from September – December for two poets of African descent who will immerse themselves in the current exhibitions and will be provided space to write using the museum as their muse. They will partner with Arise High School in Oakland to teach students creative writing poetry workshops at the high school.

Each poet-in-residence will develop curriculum for classroom visits and a trip to MoAD. The classes will receive a tour of MoAD’s exhibitions and then will have a chance to create their own poetry in response to the art in our exhibitions. The program will end with a closing reception at MoAD with the students and their families for a reading of the original poetry created by the students. By the end of the program we hope that each student finds a voice to express themselves through the connection between creative writing and visual art.

Poets in Residence 2018 will culminate with a public event designed to share Raina & Tongo’s work throughout the residency.

Meet Raina J. León & Tongo Eisen-Martin

Raina J. León is the author of three collections of poetry, Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, sombra: (dis)locate (2016) and the chapbook, profeta without refuge (2016).  She has received fellowships and residencies with Macondo, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Montana Artists Refuge, the Macdowell Colony, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, among others.  She is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latinx arts. 


Originally from San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin is a movement worker and educator who has organized against mass incarceration and extra-judicial killing of Black people throughout the United States. His latest curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people, We Charge Genocide Again, has been used as an educational and organizing tool throughout the country. His book of poems titled, Someone’s Dead Already was nominated for a California Book Award. His latest book Heaven Is All Goodbyes was published by the City Lights Pocket Poets series and received the California Book Award for Poetry in 2018.

This program is made possible by generous support from the Jordan D. Schnitzer Family Foundation