2021 Fall Convergence

Memory and Memorial

Thursday, September 306-7:30 pm (via Zoom).
Register to attend Thursday's event

Friday, October 1, 6-8 pm (via Zoom).
Register to attend Friday's event

Saturday, October 2, 11am - 7:30 pm (via Zoom).
Register to attend Saturday's events

All events listed in Pacific Time. 

Events are free: registration is required. Participants agree to abide by the event Code of Conduct.

This year’s theme, Memory and Memorial, invites us to consider where and how memories are made: written into our very DNA, constructed and imposed by power systems, and collectively authored with others, whose memories may converge or diverge from our own.

Memory is fallible, even as it anchors our sense of self. In pairing memory and memorial, we seek to explore how writers and artists draw on memory in creative acts of resistance that constitute new kinds of memorial to acknowledge both individual and communal loss. Rather than using writing and performance to retrieve and document stored memory, these modes can be investigative, dialogic, permeable, and circular.

Drawing on public and private documents, individual memory, and collaboration, these artists situate memory with respect to the body and to lived experience, revealing each memory as a kind of memorial, and each memorial as a contested site where meanings may proliferate and new possibilities for future-building might arise.


Amaranth Borsuk and Ching-In Chen

Questions? Please contact poetics@uw.edu.

All times are Pacific. 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

6:00-7:30 p.m. - Opening Keynote with Prageeta Sharma

Register to attend Thursday's event

Friday, October 1, 2021

6:00-9:00 p.m. - Commissioned Performances

Register to attend Friday's event

Performances by:

  • Anida Yoeu Ali
  • Naomi Macalalad Bragin
  • Malkia Devich Cyril
  • Khadijah Queen
  • Larissa Lai
  • Stephanie Segura 
  • Jake Skeets
  • Aisha Sabatini Sloan
  • Divya Victor
  • L. Lamar Wilson

Saturday, October 2, 2021

11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. - Conversations and Presentations

Register to attend Saturday's events

  • 11:00 -11:30 am: Opening and Welcome
  • 11:30 am - 12:30 pm: Ritual: Weaving Ancestral & Collective Memory
    Tamiko Beyer + Purvi Shah
  • 1:00 - 2:00 pm: Documents: Witness & Absence
    Jordan Abel + Philip Metres
  • 2:30 - 3:30 pm: Queer Excavations: Embodiment & Communal Possibility
    Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore +  Kai Cheng Thom
  • 4:00 - 5:00 pm: Fabricating Memory: Ekphrasis & Materiality
    Krista Franklin +  Deborah A. Miranda
  • 6:00 - 7:30 pm: Closing Ritual with CAConrad


Jordan Abel

Jordan AbelJordan Abel is a Nisga’a writer from Vancouver. He is the author of The Place of Scraps, Un/inhabited, Injun, and NISHGA. Abel recently completed a PhD at Simon Fraser University, and is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta where he teaches Indigenous Literatures and Creative Writing.

Image description: Nisga’a writer Jordan Abel, in a black button-up shirt with a tropical flamingo pattern, spiked hair, and black-framed glasses, leans against a fence on a city street and looks off into the distance.
[Photo credit: Sweetmoon Photo]

Anida Yoeu Ali

Anida Yoeu AliAnida Yoeu Ali is an artist, educator and global agitator born in Cambodia, raised in Chicago and transplanted to Tacoma. Ali’s multi-disciplinary practices include performance, installation, videos, images, public encounters, and political agitation. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to artmaking, her installation and performance works investigate the artistic, spiritual and political collisions of a hybrid transnational identity. Ali has performed and exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo, Musée d'art Contemporain Lyon, Malay Heritage Centre, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Shangri-La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design, and Queensland Art Gallery. She has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Art Matters Foundation and the U.S. Fulbright Fellowship. Ali, a founding partner of Studio Revolt, spends much of her time traveling and working between the Asia-Pacific region and the US!

Image description: Bio headshot of Anida Yoeu Ali against orange backdrop.
[Photo credit: Sam Leong]

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Mattilda Bernstein SycamoreMattilda Bernstein Sycamore (mattildabernsteinsycamore.com) is the author, most recently, of The Freezer Door, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, one of Oprah Magazine’s Best LGBTQ Books of 2020, and a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. Her previous nonfiction title, The End of San Francisco, won a Lambda Literary Award, and her novel Sketchtasy was one of NPR’s Best Books of 2018. Sycamore is the author of two nonfiction titles and three novels, as well as the editor of five nonfiction anthologies. Her sixth anthology, Between Certain Death and a Possible Future: Queer Writing on Growing up with the AIDS Crisis, will be out on October 5, 2021.

Image description: Wearing a purple wool fedora with pink flower, a blue scarf, and a multicolor coat, Mattilda looks softly to the side.
[Photo credit: Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut]

Tamiko Beyer

Tamiko BeyerTamiko Beyer is the author of the poetry collections Last Days (Alice James Books) and We Come Elemental (Alice James Books), and chapbooks Dovetail (co-authored with Kimiko Hahn, Slapering Hol Press) and bough breaks (Meritage Press). Her poetry and articles have been published widely, including by Denver Quarterly, Idaho Review, Dusie, Black Warrior Review, Georgia Review, Lit Hub, and the Rumpus. She has received awards from PEN America and the Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund, and fellowships and residencies from Kundiman, Hedgebrook, and VONA, among others. She publishes Starlight and Strategy, a monthly newsletter for living life wide awake and shaping change. She is a queer, multiracial (Japanese and white), cisgender woman and femme, living and writing in/on Massachusett, Wampanoag, and Pawtucket land. A social justice communications writer and strategist, she spends her days writing truth to power. More at tamikobeyer.com.

Image description: A mixed-race, light-skinned woman sits on a rock, surrounded by yellow and purple flowers. She wears a silver necklace and earrings, a black tank top, a long skirt with multi-colored circles on it, and has bare feet. She is looking up at the camera and smiling.
[Photo credit: Susi Franco]

Naomi Macalalad Bragin

Naomi Macalalad BraginNaomi Macalalad Bragin teaches dance, performance-making and cultural theory at UW Bothell and co-organizes the spring Alive! Performance Festival with Anida Ali. Their book Black Power of Hip Hop Dance: On Kinethic Politics tells stories of extraordinary dances invented by everyday youth living in 1970s California and is forthcoming with the Dance Studies Association's Studies in Dance History. 

Image description: A dancer warrior squats on a glistening white platform, fist planted on hip. Their back faces the upward-angled camera, head turned slightly to reveal a side mohawk. The downward glare of stagelights casts shadows, sharpening their muscled pose. Their netted white blouse sparkles rhinestones. The dirty sole of one foot peeks from the white cloud of their skirt.
[Photo credit: Jonathan Vanderweit]


CAConradCAConrad has been working with the ancient technologies of poetry and ritual since 1975. They are the author of AMANDA PARADISE: Resurrect Extinct Vibration (Wave Books, 2021). Other titles include While Standing in Line for Death and Ecodeviance. The Book of Frank is now available in 9 different languages. They received a Creative Capital grant, a Pew Fellowship, a Lambda Literary Award, and a Believer Magazine Book Award. They teach at Columbia University in New York City and Sandberg Art Institute in Amsterdam. Please visit their website https://linktr.ee/CAConrad88

Image description: This photo of CAConrad was taken in Seattle during covid lockdown. They are whispering into a Lemurian crystal that was later used to write a poem.

Malkia Devich Cyril

Malkia Devich CyrilMalkia Devich Cyril is a writer, public speaker and award winning activist on issues of digital rights, narrative power, Black liberation and collective grief; as well as the founding and former executive director of MediaJustice — a national hub boldly advancing racial justice, rights and dignity in a digital age. After more than 20 years of media justice leadership, Devich Cyril now serves as a Senior Fellow at Media Justice and at Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.

Image description: A headshot of Malkia Devich Cyril. It shows a Black person with eyeglasses and a black hat and a blue plaid shirt who is looking straight into the camera.

Krista Franklin

Krista FranklinKrista Franklin is a writer and visual artist, the author Too Much Midnight (Haymarket Books, 2020), the artist book Under the Knife (Candor Arts, 2018), and the chapbook Study of Love & Black Body (Willow Books, 2012). She is a Helen and Tim Meier Foundation for the Arts Achievement Awardee, and a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Her visual art has been exhibited at Poetry Foundation, Konsthall C, Rootwork Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Studio Museum in Harlem, Chicago Cultural Center, and National Museum of Mexican Art. She has been published in Poetry, Black Camera, The Offing, Vinyl, and a number of anthologies and artist books. 

Image description: Black and white close-up image of African-American writer and artist Krista Franklin gazing directly into the camera. She stands beneath an Angel's Trumpet tree, one flower resting lightly beside her right ear. She wears a short buzzed hairstyle, a floral strappy dress, and two delicate gold necklaces.

Larissa Lai​

Larissa LaiLarissa Lai is the author two previous poetry books: Sybil Unrest (with Rita Wong) and Automaton Biographies and a chapbook Eggs in the Basement. Winner of the Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists' Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, and an Astraea Award, she is also the author of three novels, most recently The Tiger Flu.  

Image description: This is a photo of me taken in my backyard in Calgary. It shows a Chinese woman with chin length black hair (with a bit of white in it). I'm wearing a black tunic embroidered with large blue and white flowers, with an abstract design in orange and blue in the middle. I'm seated, and looking straight into the camera. 

Philip Metres

Philip MetresPhilip Metres has written numerous books, including Shrapnel Maps (Copper Canyon 2020). Winner of Guggenheim, Lannan, and NEA fellowships, he is professor of English and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at John Carroll University, and Core Faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts. 

Image description: Philip Metres is wearing a patterned dark blue shirt with his arms crossed. He's wearing glasses and smiling, his face framed by receding black hair.
[Photo credit: Heidi Rolf]

Deborah A. Miranda

Deborah MirandaDeborah A. Miranda is an enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay Area in California, with Chumash ancestry.  Her mixed-genre book Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir (Heyday 2013), received the 2015 PEN-Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, a Gold Medal from the Independent Publishers Association, was short-listed for the William Saroyan Literary Award.  She is also the author of four poetry collections: Altar for Broken Things (2020), Raised by Humans (2015), The Zen of La Llorona (2005), and Indian Cartography (1999). She is coeditor of Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature, and her work has appeared in many anthologies, most recently When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: An Anthology of Native Nations Poetry (2020). Deborah lives in Lexington, Virginia with her wife Margo Solod.  She was the Thomas H. Broadus, Jr. Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, where she taught literature of the margins and creative writing until her retirement in June 2021.

Image description: A woman with long black hair stands in front of a light blue wall, arms folded, smiling.

Khadijah Queen

Khadijah QueenKhadijah Queen is the author of six books, most recently Anodyne (Tin House 2020), winner of the William Carlos Williams award from the Poetry Society of America and a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Her fifth book is I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On (YesYes Books, 2017), praised in O Magazine, The New Yorker, Rain Taxi, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere as “quietly devastating” and “a portrait of defiance that turns the male gaze inside out.” Her verse play Non-Sequitur (Litmus Press 2015) won the Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women's Performance Writing, which included a staged production at Theaterlab NYC. Individual works appear in Fence, Poetry, American Poetry Review and widely elsewhere. She is weathering the pandemic with her young adult son and niece, working on new books in every genre, drawing and collaging, trying new gluten-free/low fodmap recipes, and watching cooking shows. She is an associate professor of creative writing at Virginia Tech, and holds a PhD in English from University of Denver. 

Image description: Image of Khadijah Queen in 3/4 profile, smiling close-mouthed. She is a brown-skinned Black woman with dark brown eyes and salt & pepper hair, worn straight with bangs. She's wearing a black turtleneck, gold hoop earrings and red lipstick.

Stephanie Segura

Stephanie SeguraStephanie Segura is a poet from Fontana, CA currently based in Duwamish Territory (otherwise known as Seattle). Her poetry explores a lineage of displacement through speculative testimony, audio transcriptions, and written recollections. As Stephanie retraces the connections to her Central American heritage through the eyes of her predecessors, she grapples with the pursuit of what it means to inherit trauma and the ways in which it affects memory and the histories we pass down. Stephanie is a former Hugo House Fellow and LitFuse scholar. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics from the University of Washington Bothell.

Image description: Picture of a person sitting on a maroon chair. They are looking straight at the camera, and are smiling slightly. Their hair is brown, their face is leaned to the left. They are wearing an apricot-colored shirt with black and white spotted patterns. Behind them is a white wall, framed image, and green foliage.

Purvi Shah

Purvi ShahPurvi Shah’s favorite art practices are her sparkly eyeshadow, raucous laughter, and seeking justice. She won the inaugural SONY South Asian Social Service Excellence Award for her leadership fighting violence against women. Her new book, Miracle Marks, explores women, the sacred, and gender & racial equity. With artist Anjali Deshmukh, she creates interactive art at https://circlefor.com/. Their participatory project, Missed Fortunes, documented experiences, celebrations, and pandemic rituals to create poetry and visual art, connection, and a community archive for healing. You can see and purchase the art prints at https://tiny.one/circlefor. Find more @PurviPoets. 

Image description: Purvi Shah identifies as a brown, South Asian woman. In this image, she is in front of trees and rocks in Central Park. She has bobbed black hair. She wears a cloudy sky blue textured top with a blue and brown double strand necklace. Her right shoulder has fresh mehndi. She is smiling with mischief and joy.
[Photo credit: Neha Guatam]

Prageeta Sharma

Prageeta SharmaPrageeta Sharma's recent poetry collection is Grief Sequence out from Wave Books. She is the founder of the conference Thinking Its Presence, an interdisciplinary conference on race, creative writing, and artistic and aesthetic practices. She is a recipient of the 2010 Howard Foundation Award and a finalist for the 2020 Four Quartets Prize. She taught in the creative writing program at the University of Montana and is now at Pomona College where she is the Henry G. Lee '37 Professor of English.

Image description: Prageeta Sharma is in a blue striped shirt, with a blue blazer. She has brown, long, highlighted hair and is smiling while looking at the camera.
[Photo credit: Mike Stussy]

Jake Skeets

Jake SkeetsJake Skeets is Tsi’naajínii born for Tábąąhá; his maternal grandparents are the Táchii’nii and his paternal grandparents are the Tódík’ózhí. Skeets is from Vanderwagen, New Mexico. He is the author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers, winner of the National Poetry Series, American Book Award, and Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He holds an MFA. in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. His honors include a 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize, Mellon Projecting All Voices Fellowship, and Whiting Award. Skeets is an Assistant Professor and teaches at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona. 

Image description: Black and white photo of Jake standing in front of a wall.

Aisha Sabatini Sloan

​​Aisha Sabatini SloanAisha Sabatini Sloan is the author of the essay collections,The Fluency of Light and Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit, as well as the forthcoming book-length essay, Borealis, and an image + text collaboration with her father, Captioning the Archives. A 2020 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a 2021 National Magazine Award, she is an assistant professor of creative writing at University of Michigan. (See https://aishasloan.com/)

Image description: Black woman with a side shave and curly brown hair down to her shoulders wears silver hoop earrings and a gray tank top. She is standing in front of a yellow wall, gazing off to her left.

Kai Cheng Thom

Kai Cheng ThomKai Cheng Thom, MSW, MSc is a writer, performer, somatic coach, healer and conflict consultant based in Toronto/tkaronto.  Her work supports individual and collective transformation for social justice and spiritual growth. She is the author of five award-winning books in multiple genres, and the winner of the Publishing Triangle Award and the Stonewall Honor Book Award, among others.  She also writes the advice column Ask Kai: Advice for the Apocalypse for Xtra magazine.  

Image description: Close-up photograph of an East Asian trans woman with long dark hair and dressed in black posing beside a window. 

Divya Victor

Divya VictorDivya Victor is the author of CURB (Nightboat Books); KITH, a book of verse, prose memoir, lyric essay and visual objects (Fence Books/ Book*hug); Scheingleichheit: Drei Essays (Merve Verlag); NATURAL SUBJECTS (Trembling Pillow, Winner of the Bob Kaufman Award), UNSUB (Insert Blanc), THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR MOUTH (Les Figues). Her work has been collected in numerous venues, including BOMB, the New Museum’s The Animated Reader, Crux: Journal of Conceptual Writing, The Best American Experimental Writing, POETRY, and boundary2. 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.). 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). She 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.

Image description: The image shows a woman of South Asian descent with medium brown skin, dark brown eyes, and curly black hair worn pulled up. Her face wears a calm and focused expression.
[Photo credit: H Ensor]

L. Lamar Wilson

L. Lamar WilsonL. Lamar Wilson is the author of Sacrilegion (Carolina Wren Press, 2013), a Thom Gunn Award finalist; co-author of Prime: Poetry and Conversation (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014); and associate producer of The Changing Same (POV Shorts, 2019), which streams at American Documentary and airs on PBS. Recent poems and essays have been widely anthologized and have appeared at PoetryPoem-a-DayThe New York TimesInterimTriQuarterlyNPROxford American, The Root, southThe Washington Post, and elsewhere. Wilson, who spent nearly two decades in the nation’s top newsrooms, including the Times and the Post, has received fellowships from the Cave Canem, Ragdale, and Hurston-Wright foundations, is an Affrilachian Poet, and teaches creative writing, African American poetics, and film studies at Florida State University and The Mississippi University for Women.

Image description: This black-and-white photo features a cisgender man with thick black eyebrows, rounded brown eyes, shadowy Van Dyke beard with thick soul patch, and shoulder-length interlocked black, brown, and maroon hair. He stares intently and directly at the camera. He is not smiling. His mien has features and complexion that reflect that he’s descended from enslaved West African Fula, Mende, and Temne people trafficked from present-day Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone to North Carolina and Florida, where he was born and raised, as well as Latinx and European immigrants from present-day Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, and Scandavia and indigenous Creek and Seminole Americans with whom they and their progeny procreated. Because he embraces Two-Spirit and genderquare identities that emanate from his African and indigenous ancestries, he chooses the pronoun “We,” rather than “they,” in addition to “he.”
[Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths]

Access and Accommodation

This event will take advantage of auto-generated live captioning in Zoom. CART and ASL interpretation are available by request at least ten days in advance.

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206.543.6450/V, 206.543.6452/TTY, 206.685.7264 (FAX), or e-mail at dso@uw.edu.