— Gwendolyn Brooks “The Field of the Fever, The Time of the Tall-Walkers”
Saturday, June 29th
Durham, NC (directions given to registered participants)
This first retreat is about queerly finding poems in the alphabet. Drawing on Alexis’s Lorde Concordance practice, this retreat will start with a site-specific enactment of an oracle based in Audre Lorde’s poetry and consist of activities that re-alphabetize poems in order to find new messages, and sometimes the same messages and some times silliness. Every poem we love is a possible oracle. Each participant should bring a favorite poem by one of their favorite poets. And guess what? Thanks to the hard work of the sustainer-raisers and my abundant love for you in the month of my 31st birthday you can register for this all day retreat for $31! (But of course you can donate more if you want!)
Register here to share your intentions and needs:
Reserve your spot by dedicating your deposit of $31 (or more!) here:
This is one of set of 6 one-day community writing retreats over a six month period is designed to offer writers at all levels an opportunity to find the poems speaking to them everywhere and to deepen their poetic practice by drawing inspiration from black feminist poets. Each retreat will be all day on a Saturday and will include meals, inspiration, nerdy contextualization and loving support from an exuberant educator who has been creating transformative writing space for over 15 years. The retreats will occur on a Saturday at the end of the month. Save the dates for future retreats and email email@example.com to sign up for future retreats. More info here: http://bit.ly/13zcAWR
ALEXIS PAULINE GUMBS is a queer black troublemaker, a black feminist love evangelist, a prayer poet priestess and has a PhD in English, African and African-American Studies and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University. Alexis was the first scholar to research in the Audre Lorde Papers at Spelman College, the June Jordan Papers at Harvard University and the Lucille Clifton Papers at Emory University and is currently on tour with her interactive oracle project “The Lorde Concordance” a series of ritual mobilizing the life and work of Audre Lorde as a dynamic sacred text. Alexis has also published widely on Caribbean Women’s Literature with a special interest in Dionne Brand. Her scholarly work is published in Obsidian, Symbiosis, Macomere, The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Literature, SIGNS, Feminist Collections, The Black Imagination, Mothering and Hip Hop Culture, The Business of Black Power and more. Alexis is the author of an acclaimed collection of poems 101 Things That Are Not True About the Most Famous Black Women Alive and poetic work published in Kweli, Vinyl, Backbone, Everyday Genius, Turning Wheel, UNFold, Makeshift and more. She has several books in progress including a book of poems Good Hair Gone Forever, a scholarly monograph on diaspora and the maternal and an educational resource called the School of Our Lorde. She is also the co-editor of a forthcoming edited collection on legacies of radical mothering called This Bridge Called My Baby.
Alexis has been living in Durham, NC for almost a decade and has been transformed and enriched by holistic organizing to end gendered violence and to replace it with sustaining transformative love. Locally she is a founding member of UBUNTU a women of color and survivor-led coalition to end sexual violence, of the Earthseed Collective a black and brown land and spirit reclamation project and the Warrior Healers Organizing Trust, a community accountable foundation practicing organic reparations and transforming blood money into blood relations. Nationally Alexis is co-founder of the Mobile Homecoming Project, an experiential archive project amplifying generations of black LGBTQ brilliance, and intergalactically she is the instigator of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind, a multi-media all ages community school based in the wisdom of black feminist literary practice. Alexis is also a literary scholar with a PhD in English, Africana Studies and Women’s Studies from Duke University and a widely published poet and essayist. Alexis likes to pray by walking, dancing, remembering poems and talking and playing with loved ones.
Alexis was named one of UTNE Reader’s 50 Visionaries Transforming the World in 2009, was awarded a Too Sexy for 501-C3 trophy in 2011 and is one of the Advocate’s top 40 under 40 features in 2012.
*This idea was made possible by conversations with two of my favorite poets: Samiya Bashir and Faith Holseart.
“The Combahee River Collective was a Black feminist group in Boston whose name came from the guerrilla action conceptualized and led by Harriet Tubman on June 2, 1863, in the Port Royal region of South Carolina. This action freed more than 750 slaves and is the only military campaign in American history planned and led by a woman.”
-Combahee River Collective Statement 177
June 2, 2013 will be the 150th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s successful uprising where 750 enslaved Africans freed themselves and each other at the Combahee River. This uprising was also the inspiration for the Combahee River Collective a Black lesbian feminist socialist collective founded in Boston in 1977 who created an analysis of interconnected liberation centered on the lived experiences of Black women and designed to free us all.
In the spirit of the Combahee River Collective, Harriet Tubman and all the people who stood for their freedom that day the Mobile Homecoming Project and Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind will be coordinating a pilgrimage to the Harriet Tubman Bridge on the Combahee River for a weekend of celebration, clarification, community building and ritual.
Registration is closed and 21 black feminist pilgrims are packing their bags to converge at the river as we speak!!! But we know there are so many of you who wanted to come in person and who wherever you are in the world will be joining us for this liberation moment in spirit!
So TODAY only!!! Anyone who makes a donation of any size to the Mobile Homecoming Project and includes the word “podcast” in the notes will receive a downloadable copy of the special hour long Combahee meditation mixtape, travel music compilation that Lex made for the participants!!! And spread the word to your friends so we can all meet at the water!