Five exhibitions now on view
December 13, 2021

Community Voices: Poets Speak 2021

Elizabeth Gessel

In this weekly series, six Bay Area poets share new poems created in response to the current exhibitions. They will also describe the processes they employ in writing ekphrastic work. Come and listen, and experience art that moves your spirit to consider power and liberation. All of the individual readings will take place on Thursdays from 5-5:30pm, January 6 - February 17 in the MoAD Galleries.

These readings and discussions culminate in the MoAD Salon with an evening of performances by the participating poets from 6-8pm on Thursday, February 24.

The exhibitions on view are Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks and Billie Zangewa: Thread for a Web Begun.

Participating Poets

January 13, 2022 | 5-5:30pm

Mical Asefaw is an Eritrean-American poet, activist, and blogger. She was born in Khartoum, Sudan in a refugee camp and came to the U.S. as an infant Eritrean refugee. She grew up in the Fillmore, San Francisco’s Harlem of the West, in the African American and Eritrean communities. Mical draws on her history to create spoken word pieces that inspire others to think critically about race, gender roles, and identity. Mical uses her voice to shine light on the truth and generate more love in the world.

January 20, 2022 | 5-5:30pm

Yeva Johnson, a poet and musician whose previous work appeared or is forthcoming in the Bellingham Review and Sinister Wisdom, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Her poems explore interlocking caste systems and the possibilities for human connection.  A past Artist-in-Residence for Show Us Your Spines sponsored by RADAR Productions and the SF Public Library and part of QTPOC4SHO, a small and sustaining artists’ collective, Yeva is a Board Member of the Marin Poetry Center.

January 27, 2022 | 5-5:30pm

Michal ‘MJ’ Jones is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet & parent in Oakland, CA. Their poems have appeared in Anomaly, Borderlands Texas Poetry Review, & TriQuarterly Review. They are the Managing Poetry Editor at Foglifter Press, a journal for queer & trans writers, and have received fellowships from Hurston/Wright Foundation, VONA/Voices, & Kearny Street Workshop. They received their MFA in Creative Writing – Poetry from Mills College. Their debut poetry collection HOOD VACATIONS is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2023.

February 3, 2022 | 5-5:30pm

Award-winning and widely published poet, author, journalist, & artivist Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross uses poetry as a catalyst for healing. Her performative narrative pedagogy is centered around themes ranging from personal topics, religion, identity, women’s empowerment, and social justice. In her decades-spanning practice, Aqueila has explored the power of sharing personal stories towards overcoming trauma. Using her poetry collection, Stop Hurting and Dance, and her performance art workshop, “From a Victim to a Thriving Survivor: Learning How to Revive the Soul”; she honors what it means to live with resilience, love and prosperity. Aqueila has studied and performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan, and is a graduate of Napa Valley College and University of California, Berkeley. Most recently, she anticipates receiving a Trauma Prevention and Recovery Certificate of Achievement in preparation [for work] within the field of violence prevention and trauma response.

February 10, 2022 | 5-5:30pm

shah noor is a writer, visual artist, and scholar crafting narratives at the nexus of Black feminist thought, Queer diaspora studies, and liberatory pedagogies. shah’s poetry has been featured in the LA Review of Books (2020), Umber (2019), and CUNJUH (2017) as well as performed at the Museum of the African Diaspora (2020), Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (2018), and the African American Arts & Culture Complex (2018), to name a few. shah has taught courses and led writing workshops at Stanford University (2020), Laney College (2019), and UC Berkeley (2018). They have served as a Writing Fellow at the California Institute of Integral Studies (2016 – 2017), a Teaching Fellow for the Peralta Community College System in Oakland (2018 – 2019), and a Pedagogy Fellow with the Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning (2020 – 2021) at UC Santa Cruz. shah’s cultural work aims to (re)center marginalized voices in dialogues on alternative epistemologies and cultural reproduction through a multimedia study of popular culture and women’s music in their home country, Sudan. In their leisure, shah enjoys talking to their plants, doing yoga, and finding the best mocha lattes in Oakland.

February 17, 2022 | 5-5:30pm

Interdisciplinary artist, poet and scholar Ronaldo V. Wilson, PhD is the author of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man (University of Pittsburgh 2008), Poems of the Black Object(Futurepoem Books 2009), Farther Traveler: Poetry, Prose, Other (Counterpath Press, 2015), and Lucy 72 (1913 Press, 2018). Wilson’s Carmelina: Figures (Wendy’s Subway, 2021) and Virgil Kills: Stories(Nightboat Books, 2022) are forthcoming. Wilson is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Kundiman, MacDowell, the Center for Art and Thought, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. He is Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at UC Santa Cruz, serving on the core faculty of the Creative Critical PhD Program, and principal faculty of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies.

These readings and discussions culminate in the MoAD Salon with an evening of performances by the participating poets from 6-8pm on Thursday, February 24.

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