Author Archive

Lopez | Tran | Hamzeh | Suarez | Romero

VICTORIA LOPEZ | ANNIE TRAN | SHAHRZAD HAMZEH | PRISCILLA SUAREZ |LINDA ROMERO | HOSTED BY OPALINA SALAS

When and Where: 7-9 pm | Saturday July 30 | Top Ten Records (Oak Cliff)

Victoria Lopez is an author and the 2022 City of McAllen Poet Laureate. In 2015, she began to introduce herself as a writer and built her confidence by engaging with the community. Her first novel, Fire in May, was published in 2016, the same year she was selected as a tenant of the McAllen Creative Incubator. Victoria writes “Poetry on Demand,” a performative demonstration of spontaneous writing. Using her typewriter, you may give her a word, topic, phrase, question, feeling, or thought and she’ll write you a poem to either keep or share with someone you love! “The most important thing about being a writer is identifying who you are and what you represent, what is your mission? What are you putting into the world? Spend time with yourself and be gentle, the words will come, and when they do, let them be authentic.” You can join Victoria for “Unfolded: Poetry Project” workshops at the McAllen Creative Incubator. 

Annie Tran is Assistant Editor of Reunion Literary Magazine at University of Texas at Dallas. She is a second-year M.A. Literature student with a B.A. in Literary Studies, and a minor in Creative Writing from UTD. She is a cisgender asexual writer, train enthusiast, lover of Greek mythology, and she experiments with the concept of“word butter” in her writing. Her work appears in Oddball MagazineWingless DreamerDrunk Monkeys, and more.

Shahrzad Hamzeh is a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Dallas majoring in Visual and Performance studies with a focus on dance. She hopes to influence the inclusion of Persian dance and other Iranian performances to the dance curriculum. She is an Iranian Researcher, Dancer, Choreographer, Model, Actress, Producer, Director, Dramaturge, Poet, Writer, Photographer, and Artist. Hamzeh’s current research interests are dance and religion, dance and sexuality, dances of Silk Road, ritualistic dance, and healing by dance. She left her home country to pursue her passion for dance due to the illegality of dance in Iran. She first started dancing when she was five years old with her sister’s guidance and continued to self-train through instructional CDs and movies, classes on aerobics and rhythmic movements at the local gyms and trained to be a Zumba instructor by the time she was 20 years old. Her love of dance lead her to Arezou Zare, who taught her the intricacies of Bollywood and some amateur Russian dancing. While she was getting her BA in Urdu Language & Literature at the University of Tehran she studied Kurdish dancing with Vria Boojar and Asu Naderi. This led to her appearance in Aziz-E Shahngal directed by Qodbeddin Sadeghi. She simultaneously trained in Classical and Modern Persian dances, Azeri, Turkish, Spanish Belly Dancing, and Sevianna with Mina Moradi for four years. She felt the need to know more about the history of what she was being taught. This decision led to her graduation with a MA in Theatre Studies from Illinois State University. While a student at Illinois State University she presented papers on dance and performance in Iran, and taught classes on Persian dances, Belly dancing, Kurdish, and Azeri, lectures and movement. 

Priscilla Celina “Lina” Suarez is a Mexican American author who was the 2015-17 McAllen Poet Laureate. She is co-founder of the Gloria Anzaldúa Legacy Project (GAL) which was formed to honor the legacy of Anzaldúa and share her work with a broader public. During her childhood, she lived surrounded by the farmlands of the then small colonia of Las Milpas, TX, where she first heard many of the cuentos she shares in Cuentos Wela Told Me. Her poetry collection, La La Landia: A Journey Through my Frontera CD Shuffle, was released in April 2022 from FlowerSong Press.

Linda Feliciana Romero is from Harlingen, Texas and has been published in Boundless, the anthology for the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival, Along the River 2: More Voices from the Rio Grande (VAO Publishing), Twenty: In Memoriam (El Zarape Press), and La Bloga. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2018 for her poem, “In the Passenger Seat” by El Zarape Press which appeared in Boundless 2017. She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and has a private practice providing dyslexia therapy. Photo by: Anaia Irish Funtanilla.

Opalina Salas is a Dallas-based poet queen of the Oak Cliff poetry scene, where she hosts the Poets on X+ Open Mic at MFA Gallery and popular host for many WordSpace events. She has performed in venues and lit fests all over the U.S. and regularly contributes to the Mad Swirl Open Mic. She and her poet husband, Carlos Salas also founded an electronica/spoken word duo, Your Loving Son. Salas is included in the Beatest State in the Union, and multiple lit zines. Her book Black Sparrow Dress. The title simultaneously puns and tributes one of the great historic poetry presses and publishers of many of her favorite books. In her own words, her poetry collection is “about recalling the past and letting go. It’s about the town I call home and the poets I call friends. It’s about love and remorse, outrage and abandonment, but also hope. It’s about a woman’s journey through changes; aging, addictions, laments, misgivings, to eventual empowerment.”


Vicki Meek |Sara Cardona

When and Where: 7-9 pm | Saturday August 27 | Mighty Fine Arts (Oak Cliff)

Vicki Meek is recognized as an artist, curator, writer, organizer and arts advocate, Meek’s career embodies the ethos of the Texas Artist of the Year award she received from Art League Houston in 2021. Meek’s multimedia, interdisciplinary practice focuses on cultural memory, identity, and social issues in relation to the African diaspora, underscored by an underlying hope and emphasis on collective healing. This sense of hopefulness is highlighted throughout much of Meek’s practice, which prioritizes and supports forgotten, left behind histories and identities. Meek’s singular aesthetic and artistic practice are related to the late Elizabeth Catlett (Meek’s mentor) and African cosmology and spiritual practices. “As an artist obtaining a Master of Fine Arts at the height of the Black Power Movement, it is not surprising that my work embraces a political outlook, especially given that my artistic idols are Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden. The aesthetic I developed both the notion of utilizing text and symbolism derived from West Africa and other parts of the African diaspora, while striving to educate the viewer on lost history and social issues.  Born and raised in Philadelphia, Meek is a nationally recognized artist who has exhibited widely and represented by Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas, Texas. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the African American Museum of Dallas; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Fort Wayne Museum of Art; Paul Quinn College; Serie Project; and Norwalk Community College. Meek was selected as one of ten national artists to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Nasher Sculpture Center with the commissioning of a site-specific installation that was part of Nasher XChange (October 2013 through February 2014). Meek’s retrospective, Vicki Meek: 3 Decades of Social Commentary, opened in November 2019 at the Houston Museum of African American Culture. In January 2020, she premiered an art video at Denton Black Film Festival, signaling a new period of creating work using video as the primary medium. Meek is the recipient of numerous grants and honors including the National Endowment for the Arts NFRIG Grant; the Dallas Observer MasterMind Award; the Dallas Museum of Art Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant; Texas Black Filmmakers Mission Award; Women of Visionary Influence Mentor Award; and the Dallas Women’s Foundation Maura Award. She received the African American Museum of Dallas A. Maceo Smith Award for Cultural Achievement. In 2016, Meek retired as the Manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center. She has served on the board of the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network, a Fellow in the Intercultural Leadership Institute, Voting Member of Alternate Roots, and as Chief Operating Officer of USEKRA: Center for Creative Investigation, a retreat for creatives in Costa Rica founded by internationally acclaimed performance artist Elia Arce. She is also Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s at-large appointment to the Arts and Culture Commission and the Public Art Committee. Meek is also writes cultural criticism for Dallas Weekly with her blog Art & Racenotes. (WordSpace also claims Vicki Meek as a valued Advisor collaborator on numerous programming partnerships. Thank you!)  www.vickimeekart.com

Sara Cardona was born in Mexico City and grew up in Texas. Her art has been exhibited all over the United States and Mexico. She holds an MFA in Fine Arts from Temple University and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in the honors program, Plan II, where she specialized in the Latin American Studies Program. Sara was formerly a cultural program coordinator for the Latino Arts Initiative for the Office of Arts and Culture for the City of Dallas, a Humanities instructor at Richland Community College where she initiated the Mexican-American/Latin American Studies program and was chair, and as an independent researcher in the area of Latin American art for leading universities and museums such as UT Dallas, The Amon Carter Museum, and The Meadows Museum. A former board member of Teatro Dallas, she stepped into the position of executive director in 2018. Cardona’s elegant visual art has been widely exhibited and acclaimed. “Using the analog process of cut-and-paste collage, Sara Cardona’s works on paper are a nod to the tradition of assemblage and the pre-digital editing process of film. The forms created are based on the detritus of human movement across space and time, evolving and devolving into baroque and poetic forms.” Take a look: www.saracardona.com 
(WS is also proud to claim Cardona as former board member—Thank you for your service, Sara!


Celia Munoz | Nancy Real

When and Where: 7-9 pm | Wednesday August 10 | Bathhouse Cultural Center (East Dallas)

Celia Alvarez Munoz was born in El Paso, Texas in 1937, Álvarez Muñoz is a conceptual multimedia artist currently living and working in Arlington, Texas. She is recognized internationally for her diverse and multifaceted body of work including artist books, photography, painting, written text, installation and public art. Álvarez Muñoz states that the mission driving her artistic practice has always been one of an “Artivist”: an artist and activist. This ideology and philosophy underscores much of her career and work. As a child, her father was deployed to Alaska and Germany, leaving Álvarez Muñoz in the care of her mother, aunt and maternal grandmother in El Paso. Her childhood experiences and youth living in the borderlands inspired much of her later creative practice, referencing dichotomous cultures, values and language complexities found along the U.S.-Mexico border, along with the physical, psychological and socio-political issues of life along the border zone. In college she studied art of all levels, receiving her BA in Art from Texas Western University (now University of Texas, El Paso), and started a career in teaching art to children upon graduation. She also worked in advertising as a fashion illustrator prior to graduating from college. Álvarez Muñoz, her husband, and their two small children relocated throughout the U.S. several times before finally moving to Arlington. Álvarez Muñoz enrolled in graduate school at North Texas State University (now University of North Texas, Denton) in 1977, where she studied with known Texas artists Vernon Fisher and Al Souza. During her studies, she began work on her well-known Enlightenment series, a multimedia, conceptual visual book and language project including a total of ten works she created over a span of about five years. Enlightenment visually portrays the confusing and often erroneous misunderstandings caused by language barriers, cognitive development, and language acquisition. Throughout the series, the artist plays with text, puns, and double meanings she experienced growing up along the Mexican border. The dominant themes of her bilingual and bicultural heritage, as well as an emphasis on education and educational principles (referencing her work as a teacher throughout much of her career), are seen throughout the Enlightenment project, as well as her oeuvre, with later photographs and works addressing these still current and poignant experiences. Álvarez Muñoz recalls numerous moments of both a personal and historical importance as key landmarks in her practice and development as an artist. The following are key historical and personal moments that have impacted and continue to influence my career: 1)A dramatic demographic shift in El Paso with the settlement of The Chamizal Treaty. 2) Installations/collaborations with retirement communities remembering Snugg Harbor in New York’s Staten Island, and Cerveceria Carta Blanca in Monterrey, Mexico. 3) An airport in Phoenix, Arizona’s connection to WW II. 4) Protest to unfair women’s labor practice in the manufacturing industry in the USA and Manchester, England. 5) Roswell, New Mexico’s attitude towards its “aliens.” 6) A coming-out GBL Texas community’s move to San Francisco, California.  7) San Antonio’s convention center expansion hinge honoring regional music.  8) San Antonio River links a park to the history and function of its river.  9)San Antonio’s main plaza reveals a multitude of its stories.  10) A protest installation with SMU/West Dallas due to the Calatrava Bridge and the gentrification in the once segregated Hispanic demographic. 11) A protest to the feminicides in Mexico’s Cuidad Juárez NAFTA maquiladoras.  12) An Austin, Texas library’s acknowledgement to its power and water treatment plants. 13) Participation in “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985” at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California (2017), followed by travel to The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, and Pinacoteca de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2018).  My mission in art making has always been one of an Artivist – I am an artist and an activist.”These experiences and accomplishments as an Artivist have left an indelible impact on Álvarez Muñoz’s laudable and prolific career, who is recognized by numerous awards and achievements. In 1995, she received the Honors Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts from the Women’s Caucus for Art. Prior to this award, Álvarez Muñoz received two National Endowment for the Arts grants for both Photography and New Genres (1988 and 1991); she is also the recipient of the CAA Committee on Women in the Arts Recognition Award, and the Outstanding Centennial Alumnus award by the University of North Texas College of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, Roberto Tejada (the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor at the University of Houston) published a book on Álvarez Muñoz and her work (Celia Álvarez Muñoz, (UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press; University of Minnesota Press.) Álvarez Muñoz’s work has been featured in numerous national and international solo and group exhibitions of note, including: University of Texas at El Paso; Whitney Biennial; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Dallas Museum of Fine Art; Capp Street Project; University of Texas at Arlington; Station Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-85, at the Hammer Museum and Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, followed by the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, 2018), among others. She is represented in numerous public and private collections throughout the states, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Getty Research Institute; Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts; and Texas Commission on the Arts 2021 Artist of the Year.

Nancy Rebalreceived her BA from American University in Washington DC, studied design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA and earned a MA and MFA from the University of Dallas. She was granted a residency at RockyMountain Women’s Institute and two from Vermont Studio Center. She is a co-creator of the interactive public art- workSTATIONS: creating the Collective Voice of Forgiveness which has traveled through the US, Ireland and Africa. NancyRebal’s artist-career spans over forty-five years in a wide variety of ap- plications. She spent years managing a design studio in Los Angeles after a stint as a graphic de- signer for The Hollywood Reporter. When she moved to Denver, she returned to painting and was represented by Kyle Belding Gallery and taught art at the University of Colorado. After moving to Texas she was represented by Edith Baker Gallery then Craighead Green Gallery. She resigned from galleryrepresentation in 2007. She taught art at the University of Dallas. Since 1995 she has painted major crucifixes, stations of the cross and shrines for Catholic churches, also designing numerous stained-glass programs for Foster-Stained Glass of Bryan, Texas. Rebal is a founding artist of Corsicana Artist & Writer Residency. Painting and sculpture are now herprimary concerns. She works in a 5000 sq.ft. studio, originally the 1924 L T Davis grocery store, across the street from the100W building of the Corsicana Residency. Recently, she became business partners with Jean Searcy in co-foundingArtTown Corsicana, LLC, restoring historic buildings in Corsicana to be used as studio spaces for visiting artists and writers. She lives in both Corsicana and Dallas with her husband David Searcy.

Karen Minzer (aka with an X) is a beat up beat down phoenixed neo beat still tripping poet performer and recent humanities abd phd primarily mentored by the great Fred Curchack, Dr. Shilyh Warren and Dr. Kimberly Hill at University of Texas at Dallas, where she also enjoys the privilege of teaching rhetoric and u.s. history. She has six chapbooks of poetry–all published by either historic Paris Records label or the legendary Roxy and Judy Gordon’s Wowapi. She’s included in Christopher Carmona and Chuck Taylor’s edited anthology, Beatest State in the Union and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University where in the ’70s she began a long-term mentorship with Allen Ginsberg. Mairead Case was influential and integral to the more recent Naropa certification adventure. Minzer’s most recent manuscript resides in the Allen Ginsberg Library. Subsequently, Joe Milazzo recently lent a helping hand to re-sequence the pieces. Since then, it’s been kind of dead in the water publishing-wise due to the time-consuming rigors of doctoral process. But an excerpt appears in a cool lit mag, Entropy: “What Kind of Person—A Playlist.” The full manuscript has the same title and can be described as a sui generis collection of subjective, sometimes gossipy biographical sketches, essays and a few contemplative poems mostly influenced by Sei Shonagon, Michel de Montaigne, and Harry Matthews—and beat confessional tendencies. Minzer has worn many hats for WordSpace—as producer and performer in multiply-staged iterations of Dharma Broads; assisting Robert Trammell and later Ben Fountain as a series coordinator and event dishwasher—evolving into a nine-year tenure as director of this awesome literary organization started by The Trammells and Jerry Kelley–and pushed through by other brilliant and talented writers and thinkers. You should check out the list of former WordSpace board members on the website to get an idea of the history of influences on WordSpace. Minzer is currently compiling a creative nonfiction storytelling project of Dallas lit arts comprising oral interviews and gossip, archival research, and Dallas socio/political history.

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Sophia Dembling | Debbie Scally

When and Where: 2-4 pm |Saturday, July 16 | Lucky Dog Books (East Dallas)

Sophia Dembling is author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy Worldand Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After. Sophia also is the author of 100 Places in the USA Every Woman Must GoThe Yankee Chick’s Survival Guide to Texas and co-author ofThe Making of Dr. Phil: The Straight-Talking True Story of Everyone’s Favorite Therapist and I Can Still Laugh: Stories of Inspiration and Hope from Individuals Living with Alzheimer’s.Her essays and articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide, including regularly penned articles in Psychology Today.She is a native of New York City who transplanted to Dallas to work as a staff writer for the Dallas Morning News. She is widely traveled and was married for thirty years to Dallas musician Tom Battles, who passed away in 2020. She is a political activist and focuses much energy on voter registration and women’s rights, placing herself in active protests and support of political candidates that advocate on behalf of equal rights. www.sophisdembling.com

Deborah Scally is an assistant professor of humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. She writes mostly about anime and manga. This book explores anime auteur Hayao Miyazaki’s films through the lens of the monomyth of the Heroic Quest Cycle. According to Joseph Campbell and other mythology researchers, the Quest is for boys and men, with women acting as either the Hero’s mother or the Prize at the end of the journey. Miyazaki nearly exclusively portrays girls and young women as heroes, arguing that we must reassess Campbell’s archetype. The text begins with a brief history of animation and anime, followed by Miyazaki’s background and rise to prominence. The following chapters look at each of Miyazaki’s films from the perspective of the Heroic Quest Cycle, with the last section outlining where Miyazaki and other animators can lead the archetype of the Hero in the future.


Karen Minzer (aka with an X) is a beat up beat down phoenixed neo beat still tripping poet performer and recent humanities abd phd primarily mentored by the great Fred Curchack, Dr. Shilyh Warren and Dr. Kimberly Hill at University of Texas at Dallas, where she also enjoys the privilege of teaching rhetoric and u.s. history. She has six chapbooks of poetry–all published by either historic Paris Records label or the legendary Roxy and Judy Gordon’s Wowapi. She’s included in Christopher Carmona and Chuck Taylor’s edited anthology, Beatest State in the Union and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University where in the ’70s she began a long-term mentorship with Allen Ginsberg. Mairead Case was influential and integral to the more recent Naropa certification adventure. Minzer’s most recent manuscript resides in the Allen Ginsberg Library. Subsequently, Joe Milazzo recently lent a helping hand to re-sequence the pieces. Since then, it’s been kind of dead in the water publishing-wise due to the time-consuming rigors of doctoral process. But an excerpt appears in a cool lit mag, Entropy: “What Kind of Person—A Playlist.” The full manuscript has the same title and can be described as a sui generis collection of subjective, sometimes gossipy biographical sketches, essays and a few contemplative poems mostly influenced by Sei Shonagon, Michel de Montaigne, and Harry Matthews—and beat confessional tendencies. Minzer has worn many hats for WordSpace—as producer and performer in multiply-staged iterations of Dharma Broads; assisting Robert Trammell and later Ben Fountain as a series coordinator and event dishwasher—evolving into a nine-year tenure as director of this awesome literary organization started by The Trammells and Jerry Kelley–and pushed through by other brilliant and talented writers and thinkers. You should check out the list of former WordSpace board members on the website to get an idea of the history of influences on WordSpace. Minzer is currently compiling a creative nonfiction storytelling project of Dallas lit arts comprising oral interviews and gossip, archival research, and Dallas socio/political history.


Lit Hop 22 Artist Bios

SOPHIA DEMBLING | DEBBIE SCALLY 
Hosted by Karen Minzer

When and Where: 2-4 pm |Saturday, July 16 | Lucky Dog Books (East Dallas

Sophia Dembling is author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World and Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After. Sophia also is the author of 100 Places in the USA Every Woman Must GoThe Yankee Chick’s Survival Guide to Texas and co-author ofThe Making of Dr. Phil: The Straight-Talking True Story of Everyone’s Favorite Therapist and I Can Still Laugh: Stories of Inspiration and Hope from Individuals Living with Alzheimer’s.Her essays and articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide, including regularly penned articles in Psychology Today.She is a native of New York City who transplanted to Dallas to work as a staff writer for the Dallas Morning News. She is widely traveled and was married for thirty years to Dallas musician Tom Battles, who passed away in 2020. She is a political activist and focuses much energy on voter registration and women’s rights, placing herself in active protests and support of political candidates that advocate on behalf of equal rights. www.sophisdembling.com

Deborah Scally is an assistant professor of humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. She writes mostly about anime and manga. This book explores anime auteur Hayao Miyazaki’s films through the lens of the monomyth of the Heroic Quest Cycle. According to Joseph Campbell and other mythology researchers, the Quest is for boys and men, with women acting as either the Hero’s mother or the Prize at the end of the journey. Miyazaki nearly exclusively portrays girls and young women as heroes, arguing that we must reassess Campbell’s archetype. The text begins with a brief history of animation and anime, followed by Miyazaki’s background and rise to prominence. The following chapters look at each of Miyazaki’s films from the perspective of the Heroic Quest Cycle, with the last section outlining where Miyazaki and other animators can lead the archetype of the Hero in the future.

VICTORIA LOPEZ | ANNIE TRAN | SHAHRZAD HAMZEH | PRISCILLA SUAREZ |LINDA ROMERO | HOSTED BY OPALINA SALAS

When and Where: 7-9 pm | Saturday July 30 | Top Ten Records (Oak Cliff)

Victoria Lopez is an author and the 2022 City of McAllen Poet Laureate. In 2015, she began to introduce herself as a writer and built her confidence by engaging with the community. Her first novel, Fire in May, was published in 2016, the same year she was selected as a tenant of the McAllen Creative Incubator. Victoria writes “Poetry on Demand,” a performative demonstration of spontaneous writing. Using her typewriter, you may give her a word, topic, phrase, question, feeling, or thought and she’ll write you a poem to either keep or share with someone you love! “The most important thing about being a writer is identifying who you are and what you represent, what is your mission? What are you putting into the world? Spend time with yourself and be gentle, the words will come, and when they do, let them be authentic.” You can join Victoria for “Unfolded: Poetry Project” workshops at the McAllen Creative Incubator. 

Annie Tran is Assistant Editor of Reunion Literary Magazine at University of Texas at Dallas. She is a second-year M.A. Literature student with a B.A. in Literary Studies, and a minor in Creative Writing from UTD. She is a cisgender asexual writer, train enthusiast, lover of Greek mythology, and she experiments with the concept of“word butter” in her writing. Her work appears in Oddball MagazineWingless DreamerDrunk Monkeys, and more.

Shahrzad Hamzeh is a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Dallas majoring in Visual and Performance studies with a focus on dance. She hopes to influence the inclusion of Persian dance and other Iranian performances to the dance curriculum. She is an Iranian Researcher, Dancer, Choreographer, Model, Actress, Producer, Director, Dramaturge, Poet, Writer, Photographer, and Artist. Hamzeh’s current research interests are dance and religion, dance and sexuality, dances of Silk Road, ritualistic dance, and healing by dance. She left her home country to pursue her passion for dance due to the illegality of dance in Iran. She first started dancing when she was five years old with her sister’s guidance and continued to self-train through instructional CDs and movies, classes on aerobics and rhythmic movements at the local gyms and trained to be a Zumba instructor by the time she was 20 years old. Her love of dance lead her to Arezou Zare, who taught her the intricacies of Bollywood and some amateur Russian dancing. While she was getting her BA in Urdu Language & Literature at the University of Tehran she studied Kurdish dancing with Vria Boojar and Asu Naderi. This led to her appearance in Aziz-E Shahngal directed by Qodbeddin Sadeghi. She simultaneously trained in Classical and Modern Persian dances, Azeri, Turkish, Spanish Belly Dancing, and Sevianna with Mina Moradi for four years. She felt the need to know more about the history of what she was being taught. This decision led to her graduation with a MA in Theatre Studies from Illinois State University. While a student at Illinois State University she presented papers on dance and performance in Iran, and taught classes on Persian dances, Belly dancing, Kurdish, and Azeri, lectures and movement. 

Priscilla Celina “Lina” Suarez is a Mexican American author who was the 2015-17 McAllen Poet Laureate. She is co-founder of the Gloria Anzaldúa Legacy Project (GAL) which was formed to honor the legacy of Anzaldúa and share her work with a broader public. During her childhood, she lived surrounded by the farmlands of the then small colonia of Las Milpas, TX, where she first heard many of the cuentos she shares in Cuentos Wela Told Me. Her poetry collection, La La Landia: A Journey Through my Frontera CD Shuffle, was released in April 2022 from FlowerSong Press.

Linda Feliciana Romero is from Harlingen, Texas and has been published in Boundless, the anthology for the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival, Along the River 2: More Voices from the Rio Grande (VAO Publishing), Twenty: In Memoriam (El Zarape Press), and La Bloga. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2018 for her poem, “In the Passenger Seat” by El Zarape Press which appeared in Boundless 2017. She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and has a private practice providing dyslexia therapy. Photo by: Anaia Irish Funtanilla.

Opalina Salas is a Dallas-based poet queen of the Oak Cliff poetry scene, where she hosts the Poets on X+ Open Mic at MFA Gallery and popular host for many WordSpace events. She has performed in venues and lit fests all over the U.S. and regularly contributes to the Mad Swirl Open Mic. She and her poet husband, Carlos Salas also founded an electronica/spoken word duo, Your Loving Son. Salas is included in the Beatest State in the Union, and multiple lit zines. Her book Black Sparrow Dress. The title simultaneously puns and tributes one of the great historic poetry presses and publishers of many of her favorite books. In her own words, her poetry collection is “about recalling the past and letting go. It’s about the town I call home and the poets I call friends. It’s about love and remorse, outrage and abandonment, but also hope. It’s about a woman’s journey through changes; aging, addictions, laments, misgivings, to eventual empowerment.”

CELIA ALVAREZ MUNOZ | NANCY REBAL
Hosted by Karen Minzer

When and Where: 7-9 pm | Wednesday August 10 | Bathhouse Cultural Center (East Dallas)
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Celia Alvarez Munoz was born in El Paso, Texas in 1937, Álvarez Muñoz is a conceptual multimedia artist currently living and working in Arlington, Texas. She is recognized internationally for her diverse and multifaceted body of work including artist books, photography, painting, written text, installation and public art. Álvarez Muñoz states that the mission driving her artistic practice has always been one of an “Artivist”: an artist and activist. This ideology and philosophy underscores much of her career and work. As a child, her father was deployed to Alaska and Germany, leaving Álvarez Muñoz in the care of her mother, aunt and maternal grandmother in El Paso. Her childhood experiences and youth living in the borderlands inspired much of her later creative practice, referencing dichotomous cultures, values and language complexities found along the U.S.-Mexico border, along with the physical, psychological and socio-political issues of life along the border zone. In college she studied art of all levels, receiving her BA in Art from Texas Western University (now University of Texas, El Paso), and started a career in teaching art to children upon graduation. She also worked in advertising as a fashion illustrator prior to graduating from college. Álvarez Muñoz, her husband, and their two small children relocated throughout the U.S. several times before finally moving to Arlington. Álvarez Muñoz enrolled in graduate school at North Texas State University (now University of North Texas, Denton) in 1977, where she studied with known Texas artists Vernon Fisher and Al Souza. During her studies, she began work on her well-known Enlightenment series, a multimedia, conceptual visual book and language project including a total of ten works she created over a span of about five years. Enlightenment visually portrays the confusing and often erroneous misunderstandings caused by language barriers, cognitive development, and language acquisition. Throughout the series, the artist plays with text, puns, and double meanings she experienced growing up along the Mexican border. The dominant themes of her bilingual and bicultural heritage, as well as an emphasis on education and educational principles (referencing her work as a teacher throughout much of her career), are seen throughout the Enlightenment project, as well as her oeuvre, with later photographs and works addressing these still current and poignant experiences. Álvarez Muñoz recalls numerous moments of both a personal and historical importance as key landmarks in her practice and development as an artist. The following are key historical and personal moments that have impacted and continue to influence my career: 1)A dramatic demographic shift in El Paso with the settlement of The Chamizal Treaty. 2) Installations/collaborations with retirement communities remembering Snugg Harbor in New York’s Staten Island, and Cerveceria Carta Blanca in Monterrey, Mexico. 3) An airport in Phoenix, Arizona’s connection to WW II. 4) Protest to unfair women’s labor practice in the manufacturing industry in the USA and Manchester, England. 5) Roswell, New Mexico’s attitude towards its “aliens.” 6) A coming-out GBL Texas community’s move to San Francisco, California.  7) San Antonio’s convention center expansion hinge honoring regional music.  8) San Antonio River links a park to the history and function of its river.  9)San Antonio’s main plaza reveals a multitude of its stories.  10) A protest installation with SMU/West Dallas due to the Calatrava Bridge and the gentrification in the once segregated Hispanic demographic. 11) A protest to the feminicides in Mexico’s Cuidad Juárez NAFTA maquiladoras.  12) An Austin, Texas library’s acknowledgement to its power and water treatment plants. 13) Participation in “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985” at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California (2017), followed by travel to The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, and Pinacoteca de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2018).  My mission in art making has always been one of an Artivist – I am an artist and an activist.”These experiences and accomplishments as an Artivist have left an indelible impact on Álvarez Muñoz’s laudable and prolific career, who is recognized by numerous awards and achievements. In 1995, she received the Honors Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts from the Women’s Caucus for Art. Prior to this award, Álvarez Muñoz received two National Endowment for the Arts grants for both Photography and New Genres (1988 and 1991); she is also the recipient of the CAA Committee on Women in the Arts Recognition Award, and the Outstanding Centennial Alumnus award by the University of North Texas College of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, Roberto Tejada (the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor at the University of Houston) published a book on Álvarez Muñoz and her work (Celia Álvarez Muñoz, (UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press; University of Minnesota Press.) Álvarez Muñoz’s work has been featured in numerous national and international solo and group exhibitions of note, including: University of Texas at El Paso; Whitney Biennial; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Dallas Museum of Fine Art; Capp Street Project; University of Texas at Arlington; Station Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-85, at the Hammer Museum and Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, followed by the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, 2018), among others. She is represented in numerous public and private collections throughout the states, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Getty Research Institute; Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts; and Texas Commission on the Arts 2021 Artist of the Year.

Nancy Rebal  received her BA from American University in Washington DC, studied design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA and earned a MA and MFA from the University of Dallas. She was granted a residency at Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute and two from Vermont Studio Center. She is a co-creator of the interactive public art- work STATIONS: creating the Collective Voice of Forgiveness which has traveled through the US, Ireland and Africa. NancyRebal’s artist-career spans over forty-five years in a wide variety of ap- plications. She spent years managing a design studio in Los Angeles after a stint as a graphic de- signer for The Hollywood Reporter. When she moved to Denver, she returned to painting and was represented by Kyle Belding Gallery and taught art at the University of Colorado. After moving to Texas she was represented by Edith Baker Gallery then Craighead Green Gallery. She resigned from galleryrepresentation in 2007. She taught art at the University of Dallas. Since 1995 she has painted major crucifixes, stations of the cross and shrines for Catholic churches, also designing numerous stained-glass programs for Foster-Stained Glass of Bryan, Texas. Rebal is a founding artist of Corsicana Artist & Writer Residency. Painting and sculpture are now herprimary concerns. She works in a 5000 sq.ft. studio, originally the 1924 L T Davis grocery store, across the street from the100W building of the Corsicana Residency. Recently, she became business partners with Jean Searcy in co-foundingArtTown Corsicana, LLC, restoring historic buildings in Corsicana to be used as studio spaces for visiting artists and writers. She lives in both Corsicana and Dallas with her husband David Searcy.

VICKI MEEK | SARA CARDONA

When and Where: 7-9 pm | Saturday August 27 | Mighty Fine Arts (Oak Cliff)

Vicki Meek is recognized as an artist, curator, writer, organizer and arts advocate, Meek’s career embodies the ethos of the Texas Artist of the Year award she received from Art League Houston in 2021. Meek’s multimedia, interdisciplinary practice focuses on cultural memory, identity, and social issues in relation to the African diaspora, underscored by an underlying hope and emphasis on collective healing. This sense of hopefulness is highlighted throughout much of Meek’s practice, which prioritizes and supports forgotten, left behind histories and identities. Meek’s singular aesthetic and artistic practice are related to the late Elizabeth Catlett (Meek’s mentor) and African cosmology and spiritual practices. “As an artist obtaining a Master of Fine Arts at the height of the Black Power Movement, it is not surprising that my work embraces a political outlook, especially given that my artistic idols are Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden. The aesthetic I developed both the notion of utilizing text and symbolism derived from West Africa and other parts of the African diaspora, while striving to educate the viewer on lost history and social issues.  Born and raised in Philadelphia, Meek is a nationally recognized artist who has exhibited widely and represented by Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas, Texas. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the African American Museum of Dallas; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Fort Wayne Museum of Art; Paul Quinn College; Serie Project; and Norwalk Community College. Meek was selected as one of ten national artists to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Nasher Sculpture Center with the commissioning of a site-specific installation that was part of Nasher XChange (October 2013 through February 2014). Meek’s retrospective, Vicki Meek: 3 Decades of Social Commentary, opened in November 2019 at the Houston Museum of African American Culture. In January 2020, she premiered an art video at Denton Black Film Festival, signaling a new period of creating work using video as the primary medium. Meek is the recipient of numerous grants and honors including the National Endowment for the Arts NFRIG Grant; the Dallas Observer MasterMind Award; the Dallas Museum of Art Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant; Texas Black Filmmakers Mission Award; Women of Visionary Influence Mentor Award; and the Dallas Women’s Foundation Maura Award. She received the African American Museum of Dallas A. Maceo Smith Award for Cultural Achievement. In 2016, Meek retired as the Manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center. She has served on the board of the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network, a Fellow in the Intercultural Leadership Institute, Voting Member of Alternate Roots, and as Chief Operating Officer of USEKRA: Center for Creative Investigation, a retreat for creatives in Costa Rica founded by internationally acclaimed performance artist Elia Arce. She is also Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s at-large appointment to the Arts and Culture Commission and the Public Art Committee. Meek is also writes cultural criticism for Dallas Weekly with her blog Art & Racenotes. (WordSpace also claims Vicki Meek as a valued Advisor collaborator on numerous programming partnerships. Thank you!) www.vickimeekart.com

Sara Cardona was born in Mexico City and grew up in Texas. Her art has been exhibited all over the United States and Mexico. She holds an MFA in Fine Arts from Temple University and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in the honors program, Plan II, where she specialized in the Latin American Studies Program. Sara was formerly a cultural program coordinator for the Latino Arts Initiative for the Office of Arts and Culture for the City of Dallas, a Humanities instructor at Richland Community College where she initiated the Mexican-American/Latin American Studies program and was chair, and as an independent researcher in the area of Latin American art for leading universities and museums such as UT Dallas, The Amon Carter Museum, and The Meadows Museum. A former board member of Teatro Dallas, she stepped into the position of executive director in 2018. Cardona’s elegant visual art has been widely exhibited and acclaimed. “Using the analog process of cut-and-paste collage, Sara Cardona’s works on paper are a nod to the tradition of assemblage and the pre-digital editing process of film. The forms created are based on the detritus of human movement across space and time, evolving and devolving into baroque and poetic forms.” Take a look: www.saracardona.com
(WS is also proud to claim Cardona as former board member—Thank you for your service, Sara!

Former WS Director will host two events for the 2021 Lit Hop: Karen Minzer (aka with an X) is a beat up beat down phoenixed neo beat still tripping poet performer and recent humanities abd phd primarily mentored by the great Fred Curchack, Dr. Shilyh Warren and Dr. Kimberly Hill at University of Texas at Dallas, where she also enjoys the privilege of teaching rhetoric and u.s. history. She has six chapbooks of poetry–all published by either historic Paris Records label or the legendary Roxy and Judy Gordon’s Wowapi. She’s included in Christopher Carmona and Chuck Taylor’s edited anthology, Beatest State in the Union and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University where in the ’70s she began a long-term mentorship with Allen Ginsberg. Mairead Case was influential and integral to the more recent Naropa certification adventure. Minzer’s most recent manuscript resides in the Allen Ginsberg Library. Subsequently, Joe Milazzo recently lent a helping hand to re-sequence the pieces. Since then, it’s been kind of dead in the water publishing-wise due to the time-consuming rigors of doctoral process. But an excerpt appears in a cool lit mag, Entropy: “What Kind of Person—A Playlist.” The full manuscript has the same title and can be described as a sui generis collection of subjective, sometimes gossipy biographical sketches, essays and a few contemplative poems mostly influenced by Sei Shonagon, Michel de Montaigne, and Harry Matthews—and beat confessional tendencies. Minzer has worn many hats for WordSpace—as producer and performer in multiply-staged iterations of Dharma Broads; assisting Robert Trammell and later Ben Fountain as a series coordinator and event dishwasher—evolving into a nine-year tenure as director of this awesome literary organization started by The Trammells and Jerry Kelley–and pushed through by other brilliant and talented writers and thinkers. You should check out the list of former WordSpace board members on the website to get an idea of the history of influences on WordSpace. Minzer is currently compiling a creative nonfiction storytelling project of Dallas lit arts comprising oral interviews and gossip, archival research, and Dallas socio/political history.

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Ekphrastic Writing Winners

First Prize: Griselda Castillo

Second Prize: Michael Hatcher

Third Prize: Layne Calabro

Honorable Mention: Leslie Soule

-Juried by Mairead Case-

Griselda Castillo:

how is a cypress like a peace officer?

neighborhood trap 

turns into neighborhood traps 

when the cops can’t tell 

the goodies from the baddies

the world’s turned to ammunition

caught the new american condition 

the transition is a warning to us all

WARNING: flashing lights

are closer than they appear

authentic violence now comes

as silence

in this life cannibals and children

link up online

let me tell you about

the sick and the sad

wrists cuffed

infected lungs

our kindred can’t breathe anymore

across america 

zen gardens fill up with baddies

their dark bodies strangled

by a cypress tree

i ask you simply

how is a cypress like a peace officer?

they both have knees that will

fuck you up

neighborhood trap

turned neighborhood traps

a traffic stop is a coffin

with my face on it

the TV shows pandemic or pandemonium

suggests a jab in the arm

can save the day

it’s been over a year

 we’ve been beading the chain

with a pellet of suggested drug use

dots of daily walks

stone offerings to the dead

killed by cops

confusing the goodies and the baddies 

Michael Hatcher

Open Mouth for Baddies

Most midnights are born black and without music, 

Until lips and teeth make them whole,                     

Until words give them life. 

So go to work.

Let the baddest women 

Empty out the monastery 

Wearing whatever they want.

Bedazzle the bustier 

Turn the volume loud 

Enough to make all make up run.

Bring them out banging!

Be them all bad. Be them,  the entire background.  

Be… smoke and mirrors. Be Special effects. 

Sound is the spell caster’s briefcase 

go to work. 

Hair wherever they want it to be 

Hips swinging like a pendulum

The night is not done 

Until every patron goes to the hospital 

At least once. 

That’s what happens when salacious meets satisfaction

You have no choice but tp, bring them out!

Before the city is overrun 

Before The holy Sun makes hordes of shadows 

And covers them in black and red background. 

Covers them in sand and emeralds,

And Here we go. A table full of bloody body parts 

And a table full of women using the severed hands of men

To put themselves back together 

all baddies,

All, breathing space and oxygen 

Until the drums come back. 

Until heartbeats are replaced by strobe lights, 

And it takes a miracle to keep the blood flowing. 

But the badies just keep dancing. 

There’s nothing new or forgiving about this place  

it’s a lectern for the unsettling,

Everyone that watches is going to be sick and turned on,

At the same time

That’s the way they measure it. 

If she’s really a badie there will be no drugs and no life left

If she’s a badie that body will be dancing in the same place tomorrow

Whether her eyes work or not. 

Shadows are born that way, 

the blood is in the music  

It’s the exit stage right, 

And reincarnate center stage,

It’s all the spirts in the room with their Hands up.

Chained to the wall if need be, 

It’s a movie 

Where everyone walks out 

But not the same way they walked in, 

It’s a take your jaw and leave your teeth 

Kind of event. 

Under no circumstances 

Should there be any hesitation

When the floor caves in and the trap door opens,

Just keep looking.  

She’s a badie and

The turn is coming. 

Layne Calabro

Beauty’s Path

Searching for home

In tongue-leaked lips,

Regal Beauty roams in

thigh-high silk and

rebounding brown skin

Relegated by signatures

an orifice of pleasure,

she clings to the 

cover page. A definitive

denim-bleached success

still grasping

among vampires

to reclaim esteem

Angry Ancestral

drops

build

drops

that eventually

flood a knife’s edge

ready to dissect nature’s

inconvenience

Blood smears

soul and skin-split

Lights flicker and shadows open her eyes

unleashing the impressions of her oppression.

Rage finds a home and

she finds the freedom –

that only death can bring.

Leslie Soule

Baddie Flair

baddie baddie baddie, flair

eyeliner lipstick eyeshield jewelwear

90s MTV denim moves

red light flashfilm horrovibe grooves

hypnotic carnival demonic twerk

it’s madness blood sex trance work

flashes of fangs in dark despair

green ribbons flailing pigtail hair

Puppet controlled by the Illumi-naughty

Cashcam held steady instafilm hottie

Eye-candy, drug-candy, entertainment player

Blood-covered, nightmare-making innocence slayer


World Calls: Micaela Gutierrez Tillet and Brenda Randall

Micaela Gutierrez-Tillet

We love this excerpt from Micaela Gutierrez Tillet’s interview on the Voyage Dallas website. It’s a cool site, with profiling interviews of Dallas Culture Trailblazers, and more. Click here to read the full interview and visit more Voyage Dallascontent.

Micaela Guiterrez Tillet: After moving to Dallas from Chicago in 2005, I was quickly moved to create a program to unite, educate & uplift for the greater good of Texas through the power of Music, Dance & Wellness. Personal background: dancer 35 years, teacher 26 years, choreographer 24 years, artist director 18 years, independent contractor 15 years, nurse 12 years, event coordinator ten years and short film director eight years.

Anything worth achieving in life is never easy but if you choose to ride the waves or climb the mountains of personal growth it will definitely change your life moving forward. A few of my personal experiences are as follows: 1. Standing alone with courage when truth is called for, 2. Being firm with expectations while also being flexible with modifications when necessary, 3. Failures isn’t a bad term… failing is an opportunity to sit back to debrief in Pros/Cons & if given the opportunity to do it again what would you do different, 4. Preparation is Key in knowing continuing education is everything, 5. Never allow yourself to be viewed as a Master because there’s always room for higher learning, 6. Sleeping in my car while auditioning for the 1997 NBA Chicago Bulls season was a reality in showing up & giving 100% no matter where you lay your head down at night, 7. There’s no such thing as balance when you’re a single mom it’s called sacrifice, 8. There’s no simple road in achieving success because challenges (obstacles) comes in all different forms and 9. Know your humble beginnings is your personal story as a survivor, not a victim.

Having the opportunity to mentor young women in business, the 1st thing I let them know is to write down 3 things that makes them happy, surround yourself with people who will ignite your vision and find that 1 quote by an Author who will spark your creativity every morning before you leave your home.

In the past 14 years with ORIZON, I’ve worn many hats: Artistic Director of a Performing Arts Company, choreographer, short film director, dancer, primary contractor for the United States Air Force, sports conditioning coach, dance teacher, event coordinator, higher learning educator in anthropology, youth to adult programs, traveled to 14 countries & 58 USA cities teaching, Bless Up Festival, creator of Dancehall Texas (alliance), public speaker, building confidence in one’s truth and an ongoing Afro-Caribbean dance class in Texas.

My proudest experience is knowing the positive impact the ORIZON program has made in other peoples lives, What makes Orizon different? Orizon is an umbrella to many outstanding present programs: Afro-Caribbean, Dancehall Texas, Female empowerment workshops + short films, Sports Conditioning, Bless Up Festival and mentoring aspiring teachers.

Speak your truth with grace and choose to attend different workshops to understand the road you want to walk or lead. Don’t be afraid to travel out of your comfort zone. Lean into intrigue & adventure when meeting new people or experiences. Be prepared to work odd jobs so that you can achieve the next level, stay open-minded in the meantime. Allow yourself to have the full experience without guilt. If you want something in this World you must get off your a** & work for it. And challenge yourself to read many different kinds of leadership books inorder to instill different perspectives as well as to help you build confidence in knowing by fact… no matter a person’s title in life we are ALL connected as human beings.

What has worked for me: Research, a lot of reading, writing out a plan or idea, traveling abroad to experience truth, choosing to have a voice, to walk through a challenge with my chin up knowing my struggle as a woman is nothing compared to the generation before me of strong women & minority men, allowing myself to marinate in each stage of life, giving back, acknowledging the southside spirit resides in me no matter the task at hand, tuning out the naysayers, finding peace with choices, God’s plan (not religious view) is bigger than my initial plan and diving completely in (100%) towards what I love. (Tillett’s responses were excerpted from interview with Voyage Dallas)


Brenda Randall

B Randall

Brenda Randall is a poet and organizational leader for the longest running showcase of women’s poetry in Dallas at South Dallas Cultural Center. She is co-host of “Verse and Rhythm” at Oak Cliff Cultural Center, “In the Words of a Sista” at Dallas Black Academy of Arts and Letters and numerous other readings.  She studied at Texas Women’s University.  

The video uses her poem and narration to present her perspectives of truth and beauty as tolerance and love. Micaela creates a multi-cultural visualization response, incorporating Brenda, dancers and other cast to invoke these components of truth and beauty.

Did You Hear Me Scream

By B Randall  7-12-17© All Rights Reserved Property of Brenda Randall

i feel hollow inside raw at the core 

Don’t stand too close 

i don’t know if i will implode or explode 

Now i am dancing to some side beat and it has me coming apart at the seams 

It is not My Beat

       But I am Still dancing

i can’t seem to find My Strength, My Shield and My Fortress

Did you know sometimes my smile 

pierces what could become my joy 

and i emotionally bleed out 

My Strength, My Shield and Fortress, Please!

Did you hear me scream?

                  i am getting tired

There are days when the snoring of the demons in my head 

frighten the monsters under my bed 

into the arms of the skeletons in my closet

and i can’t find the Holy Ghost anywhere 

Because This Is My War

My Personal Battle

Can somebody stop my tears and save me from drowning? 

There are no superheroes 

searching for the light within me 

it is to dim for them to see 

Maybe if i could take the crumbled glass from my throat you could hear me scream

Where is My Strength, My Shield and Fortress?

Can somebody see me slipping away?

                   If not

It is because i am so good at what i do

Wanna see my scars, my hurt?

You can’t because i have been hiding them underneath smiles and the big roar of laughter and pretense of tears of joy

Can anybody hear me scream?

If i am not here anymore 

Tell them i cut my skin to let the light in

Maybe the Superheroes 

Maybe…The Holy Ghost can find me now

Words of a Sista: B Randall

Micaela Gutierrez-Tillet: Dancer, Choreographer, Film Maker, Educator
Artiste Extraordinaire

Ekphrastic Writing Contest

And the winners are: Click here

Areola Eyes – I’m a Baddie by Carolina Reyes: View and get started!

Guest Juror: Mairead Case 

submit

Submission Fee: $5 for contest entry. You may enter more than once. One submission per entry.

Feedback/Critique from Mairead Case: $25 (Total payment: $30)

Deadline: April 15, 2021.

Contest: 

1st Prize $100 plus interview & recording of your work on our website. 

2nd Prize $75 plus video recording of your work on our website.

3rd Prize $50 plus video recording of your work on our website.

Honorable Mention: Video recording of your work on our website.

The winners will also be announced and promoted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Press Release and Mass Mail. 

General Guidelines:

Submit one written work, in any genre that responds, reacts, bounces off  Areola Eyes / I’m a Baddie.  Maximum of 500 words. 

Please format your submission double-spaced and include a word count. 

In the top header, please add the title and page numbers. 

Include the title AND your last name in the document name.

In the cover letter: Include a short bio

Selecting the critique option for your submission does not guarantee your submission will be selected as a winner or for publication online, but it does guarantee a summary of insights, and recommendations on your work.  

About Mairead Case

MAIREAD CASE (rhymes with parade; she her hers) is a writer, teacher, and editor. Mairead learns about and works in radical anti-racist pedagogy, embodied queer theory, narrative, poetry, the US prison industrial complex, and the public.

Currently, Mairead teaches English in Denver Public Schools, the Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, the Colorado School of Mines and at the Denver women’s jail. She is also Associate Editor at Maggot Brain, a magazine edited by Mike McGonigal and published by Third Man Records. Mairead has been a Legal Observer for the National Lawyers Guild for over a decade, and keeps equity, diversity, and inclusion at the forefront of all her work.

Mairead is the author of the novels Tiny and See You In the Morning(featherproof), the poetry chapbook TENDERNESS (Meekling Press), the TO THE TEETH column at Entropy, and, with David Lasky, the forthcoming Georgetown Steam Plant Graphic Novel.

Mairead earned degrees from the University of Notre Dame (BA, Great Books and French) the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA-W), and the University of Denver (PhD, English and Creative Writing; AHSS Fellow) as well as anti-racism trainings from the Chicago Freedom School and the Highlander Center. She has an RYT-200 through Courageous Yoga.

Mairead teaches, reads, and organizes widely, at places including the Poetry Foundation Library, the Naropa Summer Writing Program, the Public Media Institute, the Pitchfork Book Fort, the Bronx Museum, Neighborhood Public Radio at the Whitney Biennial, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Young Chicago Authors, the Chicago Public Library, and Lighthouse Writers’ Workshop. She was awarded residencies and fellowships from Ragdale, ACRE, the Wassaic Project, Seattle Arts and Culture, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; presents regularly at AWP and the Museum of Pop Culture; and has published in POETRYJSTOR DailyLos Angeles Review of BooksThe New InquiryPitchforkBest American Comics, and other places.

WordSpace and The Dharma Beauty Pageant are honored to have Mairead Case “all-in” as Guest Juror and Feedback professional. We love this recent interview with Mairead on the Largehearted Boy website. Mairead’s talks about her writing process for her recently release book, Tiny, and includes her playlist during the process.

Mairead Case’s Playlist for Her Novel “Tiny”

January 5, 2021

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn WardLauren GroffBret Easton EllisCeleste NgT.C. BoyleDana SpiottaAmy BloomAimee BenderRoxane Gay, and many others.

Mairead Case’s novel Tiny is an immersive modern retelling of Antigone set in the Pacific Northwest, a poignant exploration of grief and mourning.


In her words, here is Mairead Case’s Book Notes music playlist for her novel Tiny:

When I wrote the first drafts of Tiny, I was in my head, all of the time. I wanted to understand my attraction to death, and at the same time, to stop myself from haunting myself. I was terribly sincere about it, and so I embarrassed myself sometimes. (I also figured a lot out; all embarrassment means is that you’re blocked.) When I wrote the last drafts, I moved just as much as I sat, and my loneliness was no longer sucking the air out of the room. This process was awful, bewildering, joyful, and necessary, and I was never completely alone in it. As a result, but also because of the pandemic, I don’t remember writing all of the sentences in Tiny, though I do recognize them all as me, and I can tell which came from the Head Drafts and which ones came after. Each one needs the others to work. Recognizing this made me a better listener.

The key line was always songs. When I play this mix, which I built during all drafts, I feel it in my fists, my hips, and nowhere at all (in which case, I’m listening to the lyrics). I am not Tiny, but I think she’d hear these songs like I did, and do. In that sense this is also a mix for her. The Frankie Knuckles song is actually in the book, and so are X, Le Tigre, and Iggy Pop and David Bowie, though they aren’t on this playlist. The songs I listened to most while writing were Magnolia Electric Company’s “Farewell Transmission”; Destroyer’s “This Just Doesn’t Happen”; Julius Eastman’s “Stay On It,” which is a new medicine for me; and most of all, the Velvet Underground’s “Temptation Inside Your Heart.” “I can listen to myself.” My cat Hero now chirps at the swirling sounds in that one. I think she thinks they’re our friends, and so now they are.

Tracklist:

1. “Untitled #1,” Pretty Girls Make Graves
2. “Young Lions,” Constantines
3. “Temptation Inside Your Heart,” Velvet Underground
4. “No One,” Jenn Champion
5. “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On,” Talking Heads
6. “Here’s Your Future,” The Thermals
7. “Yesterday’s News,” Gossip
8. “Learning the Game,” Buddy Holly
9. “Ashes to Ashes,” Jenny Hval
10. “bury a friend,” Billie Eilish
11. “Sock It to Me,” Colleen Green
12. “That’s Us / Wild Combination,” Arthur Russell
13. “The True Wheel,” Brian Eno
14. “Demons,” Fatboy Slim, feat. Macy Gray 
15. “When I Was Done Dying,” Dan Deacon
16. “Ceremony,” New Order
17. “Shark Smile,” Big Thief
18. “The Source of Uncertainty,” Tortoise
19. “Down by the Water (demo),” PJ Harvey
20. “Ha Ha Ha Armageddon,” The Julie Ruin
21. “What Part of Me,” Low
22. “I Am a Scientist,” Guided By Voices
23. “He War,” Cat Power
24. “Turned to String,” No Age
25. “Your Love,” Frankie Knuckles, feat. Jamie Principle
26. “Sketch for Summer,” The Durutti Column
27. “I Want More,” CAN
28. “Atlantic City,” Bruce Springsteen
29. “Farewell Transmission,” Songs: Ohia
30. “Real Death,” Mount Eerie
31. “Loner,” Dehd
32. “It Just Doesn’t Happen,” Destroyer
33. “French Disko,” Stereolab
34. “Fall Asleep,” Big Joanie
35. “Drone Bomb Me,” ANOHNI
36. “Slip Away,” Perfume Genius
37. “Tugboat,” Galaxie 500
38. “Unfucktheworld,” Angel Olsen
39. “Don’t Lie to Me,” Big Star
40. “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore,” Lucy Dacus
41. “The Truth,” Handsome Boy Modeling School
42. “Les Fleurs,” Minnie Riperton
43. “Stay On It,” Julius EastmanM


Monika Bowman Bell

Monika Bowman Bell : In your sleep by black sheet curtains hung with tacks

Monika Bowman uses imagery of the natural world to reflect riddles of the human mind within her visual, performative, musical and written works. She has showcased and performed all over Dallas since 2009. Camping, meditation, ocean waves on warm days, and writing achy songs for her band, Mad Mother Goblin, gives her the ultimate joy. Her story, Born Hearts Upside Down has been published by HerStry Blog. @madmothergoblin | monivisual.com

in your sleep by black sheet curtains hung with tacks

My breasts are

dunes of sand

relaxed and moving

wild is the wind on 

horizon’s heated chorus

I sing, cling to me

oasis, you glisten

lowly rambling for 

strike of boons

infinite span of desert miles

shifting mountain ranges

paths afloat, stifled 

swollen forces of

the dunes groan in

trepidation of parting

wavering voices

defensive banshees

violent humming sears

consumed and consuming

Surrounding and surrounded 

one by one and all at once

swift rippling waves

a dry ocean, a top

once the bottom

static limbs beneath 

rumbling blankets

await atomic effleurage

coiled drums shatter

nourished hearts 

a mirage of plenty

trickling shivers 

down the incline

keening within

release with solicitude

I fly away scathed

grain by grain

like dew to foggy vapor.


About Dharma Broads

A brief summary of past DB productions and participants: Past shows took place over 3 day weekends of Augusts, 2004-7, to soldout audiences at Katherine Owens’s Undermain Theatre. Each artist contributed multiple vignettes, stitched into the fabric of the whole; and all relating to a central theme. The original production featured a core cast of Karen Minzer, Tammy Gomez, Laney Yarber, Isabella-Russell Ides, with each subsequent show incorporating new artists selected to fit the moment and overarching themes

Dharma Broads I: Yoga Fusion Theater: Alice Lee, Isabella Russell-Ides, Rod Russell-Ides, Laney Yarber, Tammy Gomez, Karen Minzer, Adrian Bronough, Tex Venturous, Emily Aberg and Anna Minzer. Anne Waldman and Jello Biafra appeared via Dial-a-Poet Television videos and ambient video provided by Suze Riddle, Dave Hynds, and Ira Cohen. Maria Golia introduced the show, live, from Cairo. Technical support: Scott Means. Stage manager: Suze Riddle.

Dharma Broads II: The Arc of Awareness: Letitia Eldredge, John Fullingwider, Isabella Russell-Ides, Tammy Gomez, Chinook Wusduh, Karen Minzer, Laney Yarber, call-in reading by Ed Sanders, who described the Dharma Broads Productions as a “fear of Fall” project. Technical support: Cesar Herrera. Stage manager: Debs Phillips.

Dharma Broads III: Zenphrastic: Tammy Gomez, Laney Yarber, Karen Minzer, Ricardo Garza, Lisa Huffaker, April Bartos, Eileen Maxey, and Isabella Russell-Ides debuting a full-cast trailer of Chalk Temple, which later became an award winning play length production. Ira Cohen appears via Dial-in reading. Technical support: Mark Ridlen. Stage manager: Tim Cloward


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