Grackle painting by Ernest Thompson Seton.
Embracing our own softness can feel impossible in a world which tells us we must develop thick skin in order to survive. This class asks: “How can we allow ourselves to find the power in tenderness, in softness?” Together, we will explore the capabilities of tenderness, focusing on self-care and communal care, through weekly writing exercises and group dialogue.
We will study poems by Black queer and trans authors such as Alan Pelaez Lopez, Sasha Banks, Claudia Wilson, and Venus Di’Khadijah Selenite. Ariana will facilitate group discussion about our relationships with tenderness based on our positions within capitalism and empire. Writing prompts will help participants understand their own tenderness and offer ways to practice it more intentionally in the future (with ourselves and others).
Participants are invited to create new work in any form, especially creative nonfiction, memoir, personal essay, journaling, song lyrics, and of course, poetry. Each session includes dedicated time to write, discuss, and share new work, as well as a lesson on creating visual poems. Writers of all experience levels ages 18 and up are encouraged to attend. This class holds a maximum of 35 students.
Ariana Brown (she/they) is a queer Black Mexican American poet based in Houston, TX. She is the author of We Are Owed. (Grieveland, 2021) and Sana Sana (Game Over Books, 2020); a 2014 national collegiate poetry slam champion; and the recipient of two Academy of American Poets Prizes. Brown holds a BA in African and African Diaspora Studies, an MFA in Poetry, and is pursuing an MLS in Library and Information Science. Her work explores Black relationality, queer kinship, and imagining a world where Black girls are free. She has been writing, performing, and teaching creative writing for 13 years. Follow Ariana’s work online at arianabrown.com and @ArianaThePoet.