Poetry Reading and Panel Discussion
Convened and moderated by heidi andrea restrepo rhodes
Featuring Diannely Antigua, Jimena Lucero, Aurora Levins Morales, & Naomi Ortíz
A collaboration between Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies and The Writer’s Center in Bethesda MD, this event is part of the Poetry Coalition 2022 initiative themed on “The future lives in our bodies: Poetry & Disability Justice.” This program was made possible in part with funds from the Academy of American Poets provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
RSVP below to receive login information (our virtual events are held via Zoom). FREE and open to the public, all times Eastern. Closed Captioning will be provided.
“What our bodies, my mother’s and yours and mine, require in order to thrive, is what the world requires. If there is a map to get there, it can be found in the atlas of our skin and bone and blood, in the tracks of neurotransmitters and antibodies. We need nourishment, equilibrium, water, connection, justice. When I write about cancer and exhaustion and irritable bowels in the context of the treeless slopes of my homeland, of market-driven famine of xenoestrogens and the possible extinction of bees, I am tracing that map with my fingertips, walking into the heart of the storm that shakes my body and occupies the world.” —Aurora Levins Morales, Disabled, Puerto Rican Writer and Activist. From, “Mountain Moving Day” in Kindling: Writings on the Body (Cambridge: Palabrera Press, 2013.)
Our bodies tell stories, carry historical memory, bear the intergenerational traumas and forms of resilience we’ve inherited from our ancestors. Our bodies share ways of knowing and being, with and as a part of the planet’s vibrant human and more-than-human ecologies. The memory of land and what our bodies carry are deeply intertwined. In the ongoingness of settler colonial violence, our bodies, selves, land, communities, and life itself, are variously entangled with, subjected to, and complicit in its persistence through extractivism, exploitation of land and labor, and racial-carceral systems that both debilitate us and produce ideas about which bodies matter.
This event seeks to address these themes at the intersections of latinidad and disability, to put forth a poetics of black and brown racial and disability justice. Through poetry and reflective discussion, we ask: what storms shake your body and occupy the worlds of you, the worlds you are, and the worlds you live in and move through? What are the relations between geography and corporeal experience that illuminate what is vital and necessary about solidarities between the work of racial justice and disability justice? What stories do you need to tell, about how your body carries the land and how the land has carried your body? What maps to history and to liberatory futures are found in the atlas of your skin, bone, and blood?
About the Participants
Diannely Antigua is a Dominican American poet and educator, born and raised in Massachusetts. Her debut collection Ugly Music (YesYes Books, 2019) was the winner of the Pamet River Prize and a 2020 Whiting Award. She received her BA in English from the University of Massachusetts Lowell where she won the Jack Kerouac Creative Writing Scholarship; and received her MFA at NYU where she was awarded a Global Research Initiative Fellowship to Florence, Italy. She is the recipient of additional fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers, Fine Arts Work Center Summer Program, and was a finalist for the 2021 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and chosen for the Best of the Net Anthology. Her poems can be found in Poem-a-Day, Poetry Magazine, The American Poetry Review, Washington Square Review, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere.
Aurora Levins Morales is a Puerto Rican Ashkenazi essayist, poet and fiction writer, movement elder and liberationist. Her most recent books are Silt: Prose Poems and Medicine Stories: Essays for Radicals. She lives in Indira Alta, Maricao, in the western mountains of Boriken, where she stewards 34 acres of subtropical rainforest and writes. You can support her work and access her unpublished writing at patreon.com/auroralevinsmorales
Jimena Lucero is a poet, actor, & cultural worker. Her short film Silver Femme screened at the 59th Ann Arbor Film festival, Outfest Fusion, and Inside Out Film Festival. Jimena’s work is rooted in trans liberation, disability justice, and future building.
Naomi Ortiz is a Poet, Writer, Facilitator, and Visual Artist whose intersectional work focuses on self-care for activists, disability justice, climate action, and relationship with place. Ortiz is the author of Sustaining Spirit: Self-Care for Social Justice (Reclamation Press), a non-fiction book for diverse communities on dealing with the risks of burnout. They are a 2021-2022 Border Narrative Grant Awardee for their multidisciplinary project, Complicating Conversations. Ortiz is a 2019 Zoeglossia Poetry Fellow whose poems have been nominated for Best of the Internet and listed on Entropy’s “Best of 2020-2021: Favorite Poems Published online.” Their poetry has been published in outlets such as Split This Rock Poem of the Week, About Place literary journal, Poems and Numbers, and VIDA, and performed at events such as the Disability Pride Parade in Chicago as well as shared through performances around the country. Ortiz is a Disabled, Mestiza living in the Arizona U.S./Mexico borderlands. Website: NaomiOrtiz.com
heidi andrea restrepo rhodes is a queer, disabled, brown/Colombian, poet, scholar, educator, and cultural worker. Her poetry collection, The Inheritance of Haunting (University of Notre Dame Press, 2019) won the 2018 Letras Latinas Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. She has received poetry fellowships from CantoMundo, Radar, VONA, and Yale’s Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration. Her poetry has been published in Poetry, Poem-a-Day, Split This Rock’s Quarry, Nat.Brut, Tupelo Quarterly, and Boston Review, among other places. She is currently a Translating Race Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University. Born in Arizona, and raised in California, she lives in Cambridge, MA.