Category: Blog

14 St Y Virtual Mic Check

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, April 30, from 7 – 8:30 pm EST.

This open mic event will feature writers from our groups at the 14th Street Y, reading work from their latest publication. Workshop leaders Elena Schwolsky and Rhonda Zangwill will introduce their respective 14th St. Y groups; celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to read our 14 St Y Journal, filled with poetry and prose written by the attendees of 14 St Y workshops for seniors.

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS: 
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

Virtual Mic Check 4/16/21

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, April 16, from 7 – 8 pm EST.

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop attendees and leaders the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in our virtual workshops with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS:
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public. Celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me At All

by Doris Weil

Image by Marjorie Newnham

Sara was eight years old. She read this poem by Maya Angelou, a poet whom she respected and loved.
___But Sara was frightened. Her school had been shut down. Everyone in the street was wearing a mask even though it wasn’t Halloween or Carnival or Purim. They stood apart from one another when they talked. Her parents wouldn’t let her watch the news but she heard the ambulances screaming down the street and she knew something was wrong.
___What would Maya Angelou do in this situation? What advice would she give Sara?
___Maya had a magic charm up her sleeve.
___The only thing up Sara’s sleeve was a skinny arm. Nothing up her other sleeve either. Maybe Maya would suggest that Sara also write a poem.

Sara’s poem
Where is my magic charm?
What will keep me from harm?
Maya, I’m not strong like you.
What do you think I should do?
I know you’re not near me
But can you hear me?

___Just then Sara felt a breeze, smelling of lavender, rub against her cheek. When she looked in the mirror she saw her own face, not Maya’s, but it looked different. It was calmer than it had been for weeks.
___Sara folded up Maya’s poem and put it up her sleeve.

 

Manuel

Manuel was considered small even for a Mexican boy. He was eight years old and lived with his parents and two sisters on an avocado farm.
___He was enrolled in a Catholic school. His family was poor but because he was so serious about his studies he was granted a scholarship. His mother was insistent that he go to school every day and study hard.
___He would wear his uniform; a starched white shirt and navy shorts. When he came home he would change into work clothes to help his father pick the avocados. He only had one uniform, which his mother washed in the evening and ironed in the morning.
___In December, his teacher, a nun, taught the children about the origin of Christmas. It was about a baby whose family was forced to travel to Bethlehem from Nazareth. He was born in a manger surrounded by animals because there was no room at the inn when his mother’s labor started.
The teacher taught that three kings, guided by a star, came with expensive presents. But also, poor people came to see the child. They brought simple gifts; one boy gave the child his drum.
___Manuel wondered what he would have given this wondrous child if he had been in Palestine at the beginning of the first millennium. He couldn’t afford to go to the local tienda to buy a gift.
___Then his whole face lit up as he realized what he would have brought: a basket of ripe avocados which the Holy Family could enjoy that evening for Christmas dinner.

A Bad Diagnosis

Even though she had half expected it, Maria gasped when her doctor gave her a life threatening diagnosis.
___He outlined a plan of treatment but she hardly heard it. “Later” she said to herself, “Later I’ll process this.”
___She went home, got into comfortable clothes and made herself a cup of tea.
___She had always thought about problems by talking out loud. “Okay” she said to her cat which was lurking about. “What does this mean? How does this make my life different?”
___“Of course,” she continued, “I will have to make time for visits to the clinic. But what about the rest of my day-to-day activities?
___Maria knew people who, in this situation, had made frantic plans to do everything on their bucket lists. She knew others who turned inward and basically resigned themselves to the worst outcome.
___She sipped her tea and felt that she didn’t have to make any decisions right away. She would wait and see how she felt after the regimen started.
___But she did make a promise to herself: “I’ll try to figure out what’s important to me to keep doing and which people I want to keep in my life. I won’t radically change my activities. But perhaps I’ll take a few more risks (not medical of course) and plan some adventures I’ve always wanted to do sooner than later.
___Maria felt much calmer as she made herself another cup of tea and cut herself a large piece of the cake on the kitchen counter.

NYWC Virtual Mic Check 3/19/21

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, March 19, from 7 – 8 pm EST.

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop attendees and leaders the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in our virtual workshops with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS:
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public. Celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

NYWC’s Virtual Mic-Check 2/19/21

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, February 19, from 7 – 8 pm EST.

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop attendees and leaders the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in our virtual workshops with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS:
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public. Celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

The Words Between Us Mic Check

We’re hosting a special virtual mic check featuring the participants of The Words Between Us: A Writing Series for Black Womxn on Sunday, January 10th starting at 7pm EST. It will be hosted by workshop leader, Alisha Acquaye. RSVP as a guest and show your support! Best of all it’s free and everyone is invited!

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop participants the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in this writing series with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP AS A GUEST

ABOUT THE WORDS BETWEEN US: The participants wrote to different themes revolving around Black womxnhood, and received readings from Black womxn writers. The readings were meant to inspire, entertain and ignite their imaginations. It’ll be a wonderful event to commemorate this cycle of this writing series and to show support to all of these amazing writers!

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Alisha Acquaye is a writer, artist and event organizer with a passion for mutual empowerment across POC communities, and self-imagination as an instrument for resistance. Her work—ranging from journalism, creative nonfiction and multi-media collaboration—explores the relationships between art, identity, culture and intersectionality. Alisha is particularly inspired by the creative and afrofuturistic methods Black people use to reclaim their narratives, and self-care and community building as formative weapons against oppression.

In addition to documenting and storytelling, Alisha co-founded Sister Circle Brunch, a womxn of color event for sharing food and discussing self-care, and Unblended, a photo and interview series that celebrates the importance of Afro Asian friendships. You can find Alisha at alishaacquaye.com and read her essays in Teen Vogue, GQ, Allure, OkayAfrica, ELLE, The Establishment, Catapult, and more.

Black Writers Program / “Yes, And…”: Craft and Revision for Multidisciplinary Artists

Between the two of them, Donnetta Lavinia Grays and nicHi douglas have careers that span playwriting, screenwriting, acting, dancing, and directing for stage, television, and film. That’s a lot of ground covered—but creative breadth is increasingly common among artists today. Join Grays and douglas on Saturday, December 19 as they speak on a panel moderated by NYWC Interim Program Director Calley Anderson about multidisciplinary art. They’ll share their experiences, processes, and explain how they refine their writing craft and express themselves fully while wearing multiple hats.

CLICK HERE to REGISTER

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Donnetta Lavinia Grays – raised in Columbia, South Carolina – is a Brooklyn based playwright and actor whose writing credits include WHERE WE STAND (Lucille Lortel Nominee, Drama League Nominee, 3X AUDELCO Nominee, World Premiere Co-production – WP Theater and Baltimore Centerstage. O’Neill Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist.), WARRIORS DON’T CRY (Theaterworks USA/Bushnell commission), LAST NIGHT AND THE NIGHT BEFORE (World Premiere – Denver Center for the Performing Arts.  Kilroys List. Colorado New Play Summit. National New Play Network Showcase. Todd McNerney National Playwriting Award Winner.  O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist.), LAID TO REST (O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist.) THE REVIEW OR HOW TO EAT YOUR OPPOSITION (WP Pipeline Festival. O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist.) THE NEW NORMAL and THE COWBOY IS DYING. Donnetta a recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwright Award, Lilly Award, the National Theater Conference Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award, and is the inaugural recipient of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. She is a former Space on Ryder Farm Working Farm Resident, is Time Warner Foundation WP Playwrights Lab alumna, a Civilians R&D Group alumna, an Actors Studio Playwright/Directors Unit alumna, and a terraNova Collective Groundbreakers Playwright group alumna. Currently, she is developing work at Hedgebrook (*Covid Class). Her work has been previously developed with New Harmony Project, Ground Floor Berkeley Rep, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Labyrinth Theater Company, New York Theater Workshop, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Portland Stage Company, Pure Theatre Company, [the claque], Naked Angels, Classical Theater of Harlem, Slant Theater Project, terraNova Collective, Theatre 4 the People, TOSOS, The Group Lab and Coyote REP. Donnetta is currently under commission from Steppenwolf, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and WP Theater. For television she has been staffed on Spectrum Original/Lionsgate’s “Manhunt”, “Y: The Last Man” for FX Network/Color Force and is currently an Executive Story Editor on “Joe Exotic” starring Kate McKinnon for NBC Universal.

Donnetta’s acting credits include Broadway’s IN THE NEXT ROOM OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY and WELL. She has originated numerous roles including the Off-Broadway debut of her solo show WHERE WE STAND, O, EARTH (The Foundry Theatre), MEN ON BOATS (Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb) OF GOVERNMENT, TIN CAT SHOES and 16 WORDS OR LESS (Clubbed Thumb), BE THE DEATH OF ME and IN THE FOOTPRINT (The Civilians- as an Associate Artist), and SHIPWRECKED! AN ENTERTAINMENT (Primary Stages). Regionally, she has enjoyed runs at American Conservatory Theater, Barrington Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, Arena Stage, Hartford Theaterworks, Portland Stage Company, Baltimore Centerstage, Huntington Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and LA Women’s Shakespeare Co. She is a 2-time Connecticut Critic’s Circle Award Winner and a Helen Hayes Award Nominee. Her film and TV credits include THE BOOK OF HENRY (with Naomi Watts), WILD CANARIES, THE ENGLISH TEACHER (with Julianne Moore), THE WRESTLER (opposite Mickey Rourke and Evan Rachel Wood). She’s enjoyed recurring roles on NEW AMSTERDAM, HAPPY, RUBICON, MERCY and Law and Order: SVU. And guest starring roles on HIGH MAINTENANCE, THE NIGHT OF, BLUE BLOODS,THE BLACKLIST, A GIFTED MAN, LAW AND ORDER, L&O:CI and THE SOPRANOS. She is a Civilians Associate Artist and a frequent cast member of many Outside the Wire/Theater of War projects. Donnetta is a Part-Time Lecturer at The New School of Drama. BA: College of Charleston. MFA: University of California, Irvine.

nicHi douglas is a Brooklyn-based performer, choreographer, director, writer and ART-IVIST. she is the Head of Movement in the NYU/Tisch Playwrights Horizons Theater School studio. her sacred offering for Black womxn, (pray), co-composed by Starr Busby & JJJJJerome Ellis, will be produced by Ars Nova when theaters reopen. nicHi’s reparations-based mutual aid fund, nicHi’s SuSu, launched in October 2020. recent stage credits: A Time Like This: Music for Change (Carnegie Hall, Stage Director), Girl From the North Country (Public Theater, Associate Choreographer), where love lies fallow (The Shed, The Public Theater, Playwright/Choreographer/Director), SKiNFoLK: An American Show (The Bushwick Starr/National Black Theater, Choreographer). upcoming: Untitled Mockumentary Project (Ars Nova, Executive Producer/Director), The Harriet Holland Social Club Presents … (The Movement Theatre Company/New Georges, Movement Director). BFA, Tisch/NYU; MFA, The New School. You can find more at www.mynameisnicHi.com

 

NYWC’s Virtual Mic-Check 12/18/20

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, December 18th, from 7 – 8 pm EDT hosted by Jon Sands. Not to mention it’s our last Mic Check of 2020!

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop attendees and leaders the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in our virtual workshops with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS:
NYWC hosts three creative writing workshops per day, six days a week. Participants respond to prompts issued by the workshop leader and write for a designated amount of time. In our Mic Check events, participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public. Each person will read for a max of three minutes.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.
 
ABOUT JON SANDS:
Jon Sands is a winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series, selected for his second book, It’s Not Magic (Beacon Press, 2019). He is the author of The New Clean, the co-host of The Poetry Gods Podcast, and a curator for SupaDupaFresh, a monthly reading series at Ode to Babel in Brooklyn. His work has been featured in the New York Times, as well as anthologized in The Best American Poetry. He teaches at Brooklyn College, Urban Word NYC, and facilitates a weekly writing workshop for adults at Baily House, an HIV/AIDS service center in East Harlem. He tours extensively as a poet but lives in Brooklyn.

Black Writers Program / Capital B “Black”: Writing about Blackness with Hari Ziyad

Learn more about our Black Writers Program.

Capital B “Black”: Writing about Blackness with Hari Ziyad*
Thursday, December 10 from 6-7:30pm

Join Editor-in-Chief of RaceBaitr and author of the upcoming memoir Black Boy Out of Time Hari Ziyad for an interactive lecture on all that it means to center Blackness in your work and professional career, particularly in a world where it can further marginalize the already marginalized. What are the unmistakable rewards? The challenges? How do you learn to be adamant and immoveable in that choice?

*PLEASE NOTE: This event is exclusive to Black writers and artists. We ask that individuals who are not Black abstain from signing up.

Click here to pre-order the memoir Black Boy Out of Time, which is set to be released on March 1, 2021.

CLICK HERE to REGISTER

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Hari Ziyad is a cultural critic, a screenwriter, the editor-in-chief of RaceBaitr, and the author of Black Boy Out of Time. They are a 2021 Lambda Literary Fellow, and their writing has been featured in BuzzFeed, Out, the Guardian, Paste magazine, and the academic journal Critical Ethnic Studies, among other publications. Previously they were the managing editor of the Black Youth Project and a script consultant on the television series David Makes Man. Hari spends their all-too-rare free time trying to get their friends to give the latest generation of R & B starlets a chance and attempting to entertain their always very unbothered pit bull mix, Khione. For more information about the author, visit www.hariziyad.com.

Black Writers Program / Excite Strategies: Craft & Revision for Poets with Angel Nafis

For all the poets out there: Our next Black Writers Program event is just for you!

Excite Strategies: Craft and Revision for Poets with Angel Nafis
Tuesday, November 17th from 7-8:30pm EST

First drafts are the seed of any great piece — but what happens after that initial burst of creativity? How do you revise a poem and know when it’s truly complete? What are the tools that all poets need to have at their disposal to craft a compelling, completed poem? Join poet Angel Nafis as she takes you through an interactive journey that answers all these questions and more!

CLICK HERE to REGISTER

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Angel Nafis is the author of BlackGirl Mansion (Red Beard Press, 2012). She earned her BA at Hunter College and her MFA in poetry at Warren Wilson College. Her work has appeared in BuzzFeed Reader, them, Poetry Magazine, The BreakBeat Poets anthologies series and elsewhere. Nafis is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Millay Colony, the Poetry Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Founder and curator of the Greenlight Bookstore Poetry Salon, she is also half of the ODES FOR YOU Tour with poet, musician, and visual artist Shira Erlichman, and with poet Morgan Parker, she runs The Other Black Girl Collective. Reading poems and facilitating workshops across the country she lives and works in Brooklyn.

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Want to know more about future events, panels, workshops, readings and offerings from our Black Writers Program? Click here.

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