Moor Mother: Anthropology of Consciousness, with local guest poet/artists

  • Masks are requested for those attending in person. 

7:00 pm Presentation (Workshop)
8:00 pm Performance / Talk (Moor Mother)

Join us for the opening night of this highly anticipated 3-day Moor Mother Residency at The Lab, in San Francisco's Mission District (one half-block east of 16th-Mission BART station — map).

This evening's events, co-presented by The Lab and The Poetry Center, are free and open to the public; SOLD OUT.

Camae Ayewa (a.k.a. Moor Mother) works with local guest poet/artists alex cruse, Jemma Decristo, Kevin CK Lo, Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta, Leila Weefur, and Zêdan Xelef on a voice and sound workshop. They create a new work together and perform it — workshopping the anthropology of consciousness, and developing the sixth sense. Audiences are welcome to observe the workshop in advance of the performance. Moor Mother also performs a solo set.

Moor Mother. The songwriter, composer, vocalist, poet, and educator Camae Ayewa spent years organizing and performing in Philadelphia's underground music community before moving to Los Angeles to teach composition at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. In 2016, she released Fetish Bones, her debut album as Moor Mother (alongside a book of poetry sharing that title), and has since put out an abundance of acclaimed music, both as a solo artist and in collaboration with other musicians who share her drive to dig up the untold. Jazz Codes, her latest album, follows Black Encyclopedia of the Air, along with multiple releases with the bands Irreversible Entanglements (free jazz ensemble) and 700 Bliss (duo, with dj haram), among a host of artists in conspiracy.


Moor Mother Bandcamp

Black Quantum Futurism Bandcamp

Irreversible Entanglements Bandcamp

700 Bliss Bandcamp

Moor Mother Residency at The Lab:

Tickets for Irreversible Entanglements & 700 Bliss (December 16)

Tickets for Moor Mother Ensemble (December 17)

Drum Listens to Heart exhibition at The Wattis Institute

Black Quantum Futurism website

Kiki Petrosino and Tongo Eisen-Martin, Poetry Center Book Award Reading

Kiki Petrosino’s book of poetry White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia (Sarabande Books, 2020) was selected for The Poetry Center Book Award by Tongo Eisen-Martin. Join us for this remote-access event, as both poets read from their work and engage in conversation with one another and their online audience. London Pinkney kindly joins the poets as emcee for this online-only event. 

Kiki Petrosino is the author of White Blood: a Lyric of Virginia (2020), three other poetry books, and most recently Bright: A Memoir (2022), all from Sarabande Books. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. Her memoir, Bright, is forthcoming from Sarabande in 2022. She directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Virginia, where she is a Professor of Poetry. Petrosino is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Fellowship in Creative Writing from the National Endowment for the Arts, the UNT Rilke Prize, & the Spalding Prize, among other honors. More here.

Tongo Eisen-Martin was born in 1980 in San Francisco, California, to a revolutionary mother, Arlene Eisen. His parents named him after Josiah Tongogara. Muralist Miranda Bergman is his godmother. He earned a bachelor's and master's degree in African-American Studies, all from Columbia University where he taught at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, creating the 2012 curriculum We Charge Genocide Again! He has also taught at detention centers, including San Quentin and Rikers Island. He is the co-founder of Black Freighter Press. Eisen-Martin’s books of poetry include someone’s dead already (Bootstrap Press), Heaven Is All Goodbyes, Blood on the Fog (the latter two in City Lights Books Pocket Poets series), and Waiting Behind Tornados For Food (Materials), a UK volume including poems and a selection of prose works. The poetry LP I go to the railroad tracks and follow them to the station of my enemies came out from Rocks In Your Head Records. He was the inaugural Mazza Writer in Residence for The Poetry Center at SF State, and is currently Poet Laureate of San Francisco.


Video from recent Poetry Center Book Award readings:

jayy dodd and Lourdes Figueroa: October 28, 2021

Ashley Toliver and Jason Bayani: September 17, 2020

Lauren Levin and Melissa Mack: February 21, 2019

Bao Phi and Sarah Menefee: November 14, 2019

Orlando White and Patrick James Dunagan: April 27, 2017

Nathalie Khankan, Saretta Morgan, and Sarah Riggs, at Medicine for Nightmares

  • This program also available via live-stream and at the same link after the event.

Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts

Join us for this in-person event in San Francisco's Mission district, with poets Nathalie Khankan, Saretta Morgan, and Sarah Riggs, reading their work then engaging in conversation with one another and the audience. 

  • Please note: proof of vaccination and mask are required in order to attend in person.


Nathalie Khankan is the author of QUIET ORIENT RIOT published by Omnidawn, recipient of the 2021 California Book Award in poetry. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, she was founding director of The Danish House in Palestine, and is now a lecturer, teaching Arabic language and literature, in the Middle East Languages and Cultures Department at UC Berkeley. Straddling Syrian, Finnish, Danish, and Palestinian homes and hemispheres, she now lives in San Francisco.

Saretta Morgan is a writer and artist. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she teaches Creative Writing at Arizona State University and contributes to the humanitarian aid efforts of No More Deaths Phoenix. She is the author of the chapbooks room for a counter interior (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs, 2017) and Feeling Upon Arrival (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018). Currently her work addresses Black migration to the United States Southwest and its relationship to contemporary migration and border politics. Saretta holds degrees in writing from Columbia University and Pratt Institute. Most recently she has received grants and fellowships from Arizona Commission on the Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation and the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. She is at work on Alt-Nature, her first full-length collection. 

Sarah Riggs is a poet, author most recently of a collection of letter poems, The Nerve Epistle (Roof Books, 2021, New York) and of Murmurations (Apic, 2021, Algeria) a bilingual book composed of parts of her two Chax Press Books, her first collection Waterwork and her political Eavesdrop, translated into French by Jérémy Robert with Marie Borel. Riggs received a 1913 Poetry Prize for her poetry book Pomme & Granite, as well as a Griffin International Poetry Prize with Etel Adnan for Adnan’s Time (Nightboat Books, 2019), which Riggs translated from the French. Riggs’ drawings, paintings and films have shown internationally, including in France and the U.S., where she has lived, in Montreal where her mother is from, and in Morocco, where her life partner Omar Berrada is from. Together in 2004, Riggs and Berrada founded Tamaas, which means “contact” in Arabic, an international arts organization with a focus on earth arts justice which runs an annual poetry translation seminar and publication, as well as the podcast Invitation to the Species,  projects through art, dance, and poetry, and is currently producing Alystyre Julian’s film Outrider on and with poet and performer Anne Waldman. Find out more at tamaas.org and at sarahriggs.org

Mazza Writer in Residence erica lewis and Christine No, reading and in conversation

  • This program also available via live-stream and at the same link after the event.

Supported by the Sam Mazza Foundation

We've moved to an in-person reading—audience welcome!—at The Poetry Center, though you can still attend by webinar (or watch via live-stream), for the concluding event in erica lewis's weeklong Mazza Writer in Residence program for Spring 2022. She'll be joined by Oakland-based poet Christine No, each reading from their work and engaging in conversation with one another and the audience. 

  • Please note: proof of vaccination and mask are required in order to attend in person.
  • This book [mary wants to be a superwoman, erica lewis] made me suck my teeth and say goddamn, and yes, and thank you. This book hit me right in the ancestors, spoke to me like a sister. erica lewis is aware that time is fiction, in a way that only black women know. A collage of music and memories, language that’s lived before, people we carry and people we try to forget, causes and effects, the proverb that “everything is everything.” This work is both archival and built from scratch. It’s a stunning altar to the past, a balm for the present, and a prayer for what will be.
    —Morgan Parker
  • Whatever Love Means is a searing ode to abandonment. The poems collected here detail a woman’s pursuit of survival despite the psyche’s cruelest intentions. “Woke up still,” Christine No writes, “a woman hell-bent on her own fantastic demise.” Where one is most vulnerable, one is most resilient, and No’s excavation of exactly that erupts amid these pages. Here, “even the dead are dancing.”
    —Jeanann Verlee


erica lewis lives in San Francisco where she runs lil’ homie apothecary. Her books include the precipice of jupiter (2009) and camera obscura (2010, both with artist Mark Stephen Finein); murmur in the inventory (2013); the first two books of the box set trilogy: daryl hall is my boyfriend (2015) and mary wants to be a superwoman (2017); and all the real tears (2017). Her work has appeared in various anthologies, journals, and in numerous chapbooks (Afterhours Editions/The Song Cave, Belladonna, Lame House). She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Christine No is a Korean American poet, filmmaker and daughter of immigrants. She is a Sundance Alum, VONA Fellow, Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee, and has served as Assistant Features Editor for The Rumpus, a Program Coordinator for VONA; and currently serves on the board of Quiet Lightning, a literary nonprofit in the Bay Area. Christine is interested in the power of storytelling at the intersection of healing and social justice. You can find her work online and in print; and, her first full length poetry collection Whatever Love Means is available via Barrelhouse Books.

Related event

Mazza Writer in Residence erica lewis and Divya Victor, reading and in conversation

Mazza Writer in Residence erica lewis and Divya Victor, reading and in conversation

  • This program also available via live-stream and at the same link after the event.

Supported by the Sam Mazza Foundation

Join us online as erica lewis, Poetry Center Mazza Writer in Residence for Spring 2022, is joined by Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and Pen American Open Book Award poet Divya Victor. They'll each be reading from their poetry then joining in conversation with emcee, Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta

  • mary wants to be a superwoman [erica lewis] is a tapestry of woven continuums. Its images contain a methodical new naturalism where one’s past is the frontier, alternating with the brutal urgency of a witness who would save your life. erica lewis’ poems investigate the practice of identity and the sums of nonlinear biographies. Like a relaxed musician, she has the small secrets of the day at her fingertips.
    —Tongo Eisen-Martin
  • Divya Victor’s Curb is extraordinary: it is a sobering poetic look at how white supremacy “curbs” the brown civilian who can slip between Muslim and Black, between terrorist and illegal. If they’re not targeted for what they are, they’re mistaken for what they’re not—with sometimes fatal consequences. Victor explores the murders of South Asians in America with piercing acumen, re-arranging historical documents into wholly original compositional strategies that draws me in but also pushes me back. I can never know what happened, only perceive the disquieting absence of lives annihilated by structural violence. Layered, rich, and epic, Curb is an incredible collection that must be read and re-read.
    —Cathy Park Hong


erica lewis lives in San Francisco where she runs lil’ homie apothecary. Her books include the precipice of jupiter (2009) and camera obscura (2010, both with artist Mark Stephen Finein); murmur in the inventory (2013); the first two books of the box set trilogy: daryl hall is my boyfriend (2015) and mary wants to be a superwoman (2017); and all the real tears (2017). Her work has appeared in various anthologies, journals, and in numerous chapbooks (Afterhours Editions/The Song Cave, Belladonna, Lame House). She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Divya Victor is the author of CURB (Nightboat Books); KITH (Fence Books/ Book*hug); Scheingleichheit: Drei Essays  (Merve Verlag); NATURAL SUBJECTS (Trembling Pillow, Winner of the Bob Kaufman Award), UNSUB (Insert Blanc), and THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR MOUTH (Les Figues). Her work has been translated into French, German, Spanish, and Czech. She has been a Mark Diamond Research Fellow at the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum, a Riverrun Fellow at the Archive for New Poetry at University of California San Diego, and a Writer in Residence at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibit (L.A.C.E.), and her work has been performed and installed at Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) Los Angeles, The National Gallery of Singapore, the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibition (L.A.C.E.) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Victor has been an editor at Jacket2 (United States), Ethos Books (Singapore), Invisible Publishing (Canada) and Book*hug Press (Canada). She is currently Associate Professor of English at Michigan State University.

Related event

Mazza Writer in Residence erica lewis and Christine No, reading and in conversation

Gabrielle Daniels and Hung Q. Tu, a celebration of new works from Dogpark Collective

  • This program also available via live-stream and at the same link after the event.

Co-presented by The Poetry Center and Dogpark Collective

Join us in person (or via live-stream) at our friends' place in the Mission, Medicine for Nightmares, as we celebrate two new works from Oakland publisher Dogpark Collective, with readings by Gabrielle Daniels and Hung Q. Tu

  • Please note: proof of vaccination and mask are required in order to attend in person.

Gabrielle Daniels was born in New Orleans in 1954 and moved to California at the age of seven. Her grandmother, the late Rev. Ruth Matthews Taylor, was a Spiritualist Minister. Daniels’ essays, stories and poems have appeared in the print and online magazines Big Scream, Equinox: Writing for a New Culture, Kenyon Review, Love You Madly, Mango, Open Space, Poets Reading the News, Rigorous, San Jose Studies, Silver Birch Press, Sinister Wisdom, and Soup, and the anthologies This Bridge Called my Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cheríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Sister Fire: Black Womanist Fiction and Poetry, edited by Charlotte Watson Sherman, Another Wilderness: New Outdoor Writing by Women, edited by Susan Fox Rogers, and Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative Writing 1977-1997, edited by Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian. Her reviews have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, American Book Review, Off Our Backs, and Women’s Book Review. Gabrielle’s book Something Else Again: Poetry and Prose, 1975-2019 has been published in its US edition by Dogpark Collective. Photo credit Ron Kuka.

Hung Q. Tu lives in San Diego, California. He is the author of Verisimilitude (Atelos) and Structures of Feeling (Krupskaya). The New Boma is out now from Dogpark Collective. And do check out Hung Q. Tu in Conversation with Caleb Beckwith, of Dogpark Collective, at Small Press Traffic's latest Traffic Report. 

  • Hung Q. Tu's poems push the mind into a nest of steel rods all hitting the surface of an unknown shape at the same moment: political and quotidian, in language demotic and arcane they acutely render the beauty of scorn.
    —Tom Raworth, on Structures of Feeling

Note: Maryam Gunja, also previously scheduled for this event, is unable to attend. 

Visit Dogpark Collective

Poetry Center Book Award Reading: jayy dodd and Lourdes Figueroa

With emcee Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta

  • Video live-streamed to our YouTube channel. Media captioning available there after the event.

Join us as jayy dodd, whose book The Black Condition ft. Narcissus (Nightboat Books, 2019) — "an irreverently tender profile of Black trans life surviving and thriving during contemporary political turmoil" — was selected to receive the Poetry Center Book Award, reads from her work. She’ll be joined by award judge Lourdes Figueroa, in Oakland, who will read from her own work and engage in conversation. With emcee, Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta.

  • ...far more than a critical mirror or melancholy echo, dodd’s Narcissus emerges as a generative principle, birthing the most vulnerable of possibilities, and deftly intimate, if joyously irreverent, a critique. Their book is beautiful, voluptuous, daring, and demanding of new shapes for becoming, loving, and where necessary, destroying. jayy dodd is a genius and I will say that again. —Trish Salah
  • If Amiri Baraka the poet, the pure technician, musician, chronicler of all that is black, blue, purple, and lyric, were to metamorphosize and return as a blxk trans femme in spirit they would be jayy dodd. dodd’s poetry captures the magic and the ‘tude, the swing, swagger, and tender hands of their experience. It’s an epic, a record, recording, A&B side, CD with a bonus track, most importantly it is gospel bristling with raw and tender truths and yearning. —Pamela Sneed

jayy dodd is a blxk trans womxn from Los Angeles, California– now based in Portland, OR. she is a literary & performance artist. her work has appeared / will appear in Broadly, The Establishment, Entropy, LitHub, BOAAT Press, Duende, and The Poetry Foundation among others. she is the Executive Director for Dovesong Labs (a development of Winter Tangerine), editor of A Portrait in Blues (Platypus Press 2017), author of Mannish Tongues (Platypus Press 2017) and The Black Condition ft. Narcissus (Nightboat Books 2019). she has been a Pushcart Prize nominee and co-editor of Bettering American Poetry. her visual & written work has been featured in West Hollywood, Portland’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Teen Vogue, and Entropy. she is also a volunteer gender terrorist & artificial intellectual. find her talking trash online or taking a selfie.

Lourdes Figueroa is the author of ​Ruidoso = To Learn Speak (Alley Cat Books Resident Writers Collection, December 2019) and yolotl (Spooky Actions, October 2012). Her artistic work involves "a series of poems, images & collaborations that are a dialogue of my lived experience when my family worked as migrant farmworkers in Yolo County, California... Overall, this is the writer that I am. My work tastes of pesticides, love, sweat, blood, and llanto. It relates to everything that we eat and are, it is about the stink of el azadón, the queer & brown in el azadón, everything to do with la x on our bodies, the femicides around us, the femicide of our earth & the nopal on my forehead. Quite honestly it is a life of migration = love. The poems are in constant conversation with each other. As the descendants of the nopal, they are the ancient un/remembered human heart. What inspired me to write was and is, survival." More at lourdesfigueroa.net

Event contact: 

The Poetry Center

Event phone: 


Event sponsor: 

The Poetry Center

Mark Nowak and Worker Writers School: Coronavirus Haiku, a reading and conversation

With emcee, Tanya Hollis

Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts

Copresented by The Poetry Center and the Labor Archives and Research Center

  • Video live-streamed to our YouTube channel. Media captioning available there after the event.

Join us as Mark Nowak and Worker Writers School poets Lorraine Garnett, Davidson Garrett, Seth Goldman, Christine Lewis, Alando McIntyre, and Kele Nkhereanye present Coronavirus Haiku, new from Kenning Editions, and talk about their life as “frontline workers” during the Covid 19 crisis and their engagement with the Worker Writers School. Copresented by SF State's Labor Archive and Research Center and The Poetry Center. With emcee Tanya Hollis, Interim Director, LARC.

     Stimulus package     
     Can't buy the acre nor the mule.
     Oh, our pow'r wanes.
                                          —Alando McIntyre

     ok, key, wallet, mask
     stay away, too close, hold that train!
     S*** I forgot the milk
                                         —Paloma Zapata

     Covid 19 took
     A mother away, her kid
     Waits for her return

     No way to explain
     No more hugs and no more kisses
     Now: just ashes
                                     —Nimfa Despabiladeras, two haiku in memory of Arlena Juanico

The Worker Writers School supports writers from one of New York City’s most ubiquitous yet least-heard populations: low-wage workers. Mark Nowak, a writer and founding director of the school, presents a selection of haiku written by “frontline workers” during the Covid 19 crisis. The poets included here had already been studying examples of the form and its connection to political resistance from seventeenth-century Japan to the Black Arts Movement of the twentieth century, as well as it's capacity to amplify voices of everyday life. These “coronavirus haiku” convey moments of protest, solace, wonder, certainty, love, and strife. The writers in this anthology hail from the school’s worker center partners in New York City including Domestic Workers United, New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Damayan Migrant Workers Association, Street Vendor Project, and Retail Action Project: Thomas Barzey, Kerl Brooks, Estabon Chimilio, Nimfa Despabiladeras, Lorraine Garnett, Davidson Garrett, Seth Goldman, Christine Lewis, Doreen McGill, Alando McIntyre, Kelebohile Nkhereanye, Alfreda Small, and Paloma Zapata.

Mark Nowak is a poet, cultural critic, playwright and essayist, from Buffalo, New York. Nowak is the author of three poetry collections: Coal Mountain Elementary (Coffee House Press, 2009), Shut Up Shut Down (Coffee House Press, 2004), and Revenants (Coffee House Press, 2000). A portion of his critical book, Social Poetics (Coffee House Press, 2020), chronicles his work with the Worker Writers School.

  • “Whether unpacking Mikhail Bakhtin’s ‘unity of the emerging idea,’ demonstrating the practical application of alliteration, or recalling his daughter teaching youth prison poets origami, Mark Nowak testifies to the urgency and intimacy of poetry in our prisons, union halls, and workers’ centers. Social Poetics tracks what happens when people gather around poems: conjunctions, dialogues, imaginative militancy, solidarities. This supple, comprehensive book is a study in the poetics of bearing witness, bearing tools, and bearing possibilities.” —Terrance Hayes
  • Social Poetics materializes imaginative militancy. With a litany of the social as pervasive and intimate, and political memories of life-and-death struggles for justice, Nowak crafts a transformative workshop for the collective. This is an important record of how the people’s power, poetry, and history maintain us and the beauty of our world(s).” —Joy James

Worker Writers School

Labor Archives and Research Center

Image: Mark Nowak and Workers Writer School poets at PEN America

Event contact: 

The Poetry Center

Event phone: 


Event sponsor: 

The Poetry Center and the Labor Archives and Research Cente

Mazza Writer in Residence Brontez Purnell and Friends: Cisco Guzman, Mason J., and Melissa Merin


Watch the unedited video at YouTube before the finished program gets posted at Poetry Center Digital Archive

With emcee, TreVaughn Malik Roach-Carter

Supported by the Sam Mazza Foundation

This remote-access event starts promptly at 7:00 pm Pacific Time and is free and open to the public. Media Captioning provided after the event, at our YouTube channel, and at Poetry Center Digital Archive. For other reasonable accommodations please contact poetry@sfsu.edu.

The Poetry Center welcomes Brontez Purnell, as Mazza Writer in Residence for Spring 2021. For this sixth iteration of the twice-annual Mazza Residency, this prolific and astoundingly versatile writer and artist will be visiting as a guest in classes across the SF State campus through the week of April 5, and offering two public performances: a solo reading and conversation, with emcee TreVaughn Malik Roach-Carter, on Wednesday April 7 at 4:00 pm Pacific Time, and on Thursday April 8 at 7:00 pm Pacific, a queer writers of color reading and round table with Bay Area friends Cisco GuzmanMason J., and Melissa Merin, also with emcee TreVaughn Malik Roach-Carter.

Brontez Purnell is a writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. He is the author of a graphic novel, a novella, a children’s book, and two novels. Purnell is also frontman for the band the Younger Lovers, the co-founder of the experimental dance group the Brontez Purnell Dance Company, the creator of the renowned cult zine Fag School, and the director of several short films, music videos, and most recently the documentary Unstoppable Feat: Dances of Ed Mock. Two books of fiction, Since I Laid My Burden Down, and Johnny Would You Love Me If My Dick Were Bigger, were published by The Feminist Press at CUNY. His short film 100 Boyfriends Mixtape is screening at the Criterion Channel, and his new novel 100 Boyfriends is out now on MCD Books from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Born in Triana, Alabama, he’s lived in Oakland, California, for over 18 years.

Cisco Guzman was born in LA long before it was cool, imagining himself the love child of David Bowie and Patti Smith and entrusted to the loving but hilariously dysfunctional care of Mexican immigrants—whose job it was to toughen him up for the cosmic battles ahead. In an effort to outrun what felt like fated suffering, he went to Stanford University where he majored in Feminist Studies, though his resume says he majored in Interdisciplinary Studies because he is a pragmatic revolutionary who would rather dismantle the master’s house than have a conversation about it. Poetic status updates on whether this Trojan horse approach to social change is working can be gleaned via printed word, collage, song, and should hopefully be evidenced by his everyday actions to design humane software that helps people to hate their lives less.

Mason J. is a Black & Indigenous SF-born artist, historiographer, media strategist, and community organizer with varied interests ranging from Klaus Nomi to Keeping up with The Kardashians. Their focused passions include land use, youth empowerment, LGBTQ senior services, disability justice, intersex rights, gender/sexuality. In addition to previously working with the SFPL James C. Hormel Center and Transgender Cultural District, Mason currently acts as Program Manager and Co-Founder of RADAR Productions Show Us Your Spines BIPoC queer archives residency. They are the author of Crossbones on My Life (Nomadic Press, 2021) and co-editor of Still Here SF: An Anthology of Queer and Trans People Raised in San Francisco (Foglifter, 2019), and additionally take great pride in their Public Health Nerd, Two-Spirit, Jewish, Nightlifer, Ballroom, Leather, Punk, and Soul Boy identities.

Melissa Merin is a queer Black woman, parent, and educator who has been living on Ohlone Land/SF Bay Area since 1999. She plays music—as Suspect, Suspect—and has self-published a handful of chapbooks and blogs. She participates in advocating and facilitating work toward accountability from transformative and restorative perspectives. Check out her writings and recordings on these activities here. Melissa is actively working for the destruction of white power and dreams of bankrolling Antifa.


Brontez Purnell's New Book 100 Boyfriends Feels Right at Home in 2021, by Quinn Roberts, Interview magazine, February 17, 2021

Related event:

Brontez Purnell, Mazza Writer in Residence, a solo reading and conversation
with emcee, TreVaughn Malik Roach-Carter
Wednesday April 7, 4:00 pm Pacific Time
remote access event, free and open to the public


Event contact: 

The Poetry Center

Event email: 


Event sponsor: 

The Poetry Center, Mazza Writer in Residence

Tripwire Cross-Cultural Poetics Series: Momtaza Mehri and Zoé Samudzi, reading and in conversation

Watch the unedited video at YouTube before the finished program gets posted at Poetry Center Digital Archive

With emcee, alex cruse

This remote-access event starts promptly at 12:00 pm Pacific Time, and is free and open to the public. Real-Time Captioning link will be provided at the event. Media Captioning provided after the event, at our YouTube channel and at Poetry Center Digital Archive. For other reasonable accommodations please contact poetry@sfsu.edu

Please note early start-time, to accommodate our guest and audience in the UK, and elsewhere.

For our third program in the Tripwire Cross-Cultural Poetics Series, we are delighted to welcome two of the more outstanding young Black writers and intellectuals at work in the US and UK. Momtaza Mehri, in London, and Zoé Samudzi, here in the Bay Area, will each read from their work, engage in conversation with one another and with emcee alex cruse, and respond to questions from the audience. We welcome this rare opportunity to bring these two Afro-diasporan writers and thinkers together across continents.

  • “...A poet is drenched in a singularity, sodden with its viscous specificity. A poem speaks for itself exactly when it declares it speaks for others. The Black poet is an isotope of both hope & despair. The Black poet is both a reluctant & enthusiastic interlocutor of what is known as the Black condition, which conditions & structures the World that invented it. The Black poem asks you where it hurts & demands no particular answer. The Black poet knows this is a question one can spend a life trying to answer....”
    —Momtaza Mehri, "Harlem Is Hijaz Is Havana Is Harar, Or: The Whole Point of the Black Arts Movement Is That They Were Moving"
  • “We [Afro-]diasporans joke often about the genre of poetry and prose born out of a longing for a motherland animated only by hungry verses. There’s a cowardice to this: nostalgic memory, a narrativized nostalgia for memories and experiences and beauty that never belonged to you, is easy. But situating oneself in the wake and afterlife of those traumas and beautiful/beautified struggles is far harder still.”
    —Zoé Samudzi on Momtaza Mehri, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Summer 2020

Momtaza Mehri is a poet and independent researcher. Her work has been widely anthologised and has appeared in Granta, Artforum, The Guardian, BOMB, and Real Life Mag. She is the former Young People’s Laureate for London. Her latest pamphlet, Doing the Most with the Least, was published in 2019 by Goldsmiths Press. Her sugah. lump. prayer was included in the chapbook box set New-Generation African Poets, edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani (African Poetry Book Fund/Akashic Books, 2017). More here.

  • As Black as Resistance [by Zoé Samudzi and William C. Anderson] is an urgently needed book…a call to action through an embrace of the anarchy of blackness as a recognition and a refusal of the deathly logics of liberalism and consumption. In the face of the ever expanding carceral state, levels of inequality, environmental degradation, and resurgent fascism, this book offers a map to imagining the liberated futures that we can and mus and do make.”
    —Christina Sharpe, author of In the Wake: On Blackness and Being

Zoé Samudzi is a writer, photographer, and a doctoral candidate in Medical Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco. Her writing has appeared in The New InquiryWarscapesTruthoutROAR MagazineTeen VogueBGDBitch MediaOpen Space, and Verso, among others. With William C. Anderson, Samudzi is coauthor of As Black as Resistance: Finding the Conditions for Liberation (foreword by Mariame Kaba, AK Press, 2018). More here.



Tripwire: a journal of poetics

Tripwire Pamphlet Series

Momtaza Mehri, Granta Podcast, Ep. 94, October 7, 2020

Momtaza Mehri, "Poets Should Ride the Bus: On Diane di Prima (1934–2020)," at Verso Books, November 3, 2020

Momtaza Mehri at Open Space, 2018

"Blackness As a State of Matter: A Conversation with Zoé Samudzi," by Will Furtado, at Contemporary And, C&'s Top Articles of 2019

Zoé Samudzi at Open Space, 2018–2019


View earlier events in the Tripwire Cross-Cultural Poetics Series