My Beloved

JR Rhodes’s song “My Beloved” written after one of my rhapsodies in the Jack Straw Anthology is now up on Bandcamp. It was beautiful to have these exchanges with JR over the past months, and to watch as my poem transformed into her song. A true form of alchemy.

JR Rhodes @jrrecordingco

JR Rhodes @jrrecordingco

Bushwick Book Club

The crescendo of the Jack Straw Writers fellowship is that JR Rhodes wrote a song, My Beloved, after one of my rhapsodies in the Jack Straw anthology. The Bushwick Book Club Event will be held on December 15th at Jack Straw Cultural Center. Tickets available through The Stranger Events.

On December 15, see some of Seattle’s freshest voices on the page join forces with some of the most inventive musicians on the stage. This annual show is one of the Emerald City’s hidden gems – get in on the secret.
— The Bushwick Book Club Seattle
JR Rhodes @jrrecordingco

JR Rhodes @jrrecordingco

Prelude Vol. 4

Thank you to editor, Stu Watson. My piece “When There’s No Breadfruit” is out in print. Subscriptions to Prelude Vol. 4.

you with your past procession/ of voluptuous/ didn’t have time for ish/ you prayed/ inside/ a pyramid/ shaped sky/ took my gold/ palm/ & said come/ we didn’t speak/ the same/ language/ alone/
— When There's No Breadfruit. Sarah Maria Medina

Black Warrior Review

Thank you to Jack Straw Cultural Center, and Bryan Angeles for recording my poem “From a Poet to her Rumbero” in their studios. The audio is now up on Black Warrior Review.

At the center of “From a Poet to her Rumbero” is a bucking heart, grappling with its fanged history & unbreaking fever. You sense its luminous pulse from the opening scene: i’m a dying sky of eagles / i’m arrowed into it. The poem’s language is unbridled yet moves with a sinuous grace, cinematic in scope–you can almost hear the trumpets blaring as each new line unfurls its glittering tapestry of Spanish and english: grey mirada turned ice y todo / i’m blessed with ancestor names / i’m protected by light / tú cantas y cantas y cantas / until i know all your harmony / but i won’t beg you to see me. I will always treasure the full-body, heart throttle of a poem that refuses to simplify love-grief & its many heads. “From a Poet to her Rumbero” is adventurous and much larger than its page, the form barely able to hold steady the text’s orchestral muscle, providing a gorgeous collision of ferocity & song.
— Poetry Judge, Rachel McKibbens

Jack Straw Arts May Reading Series

I'll be reading for the Jack Straw Art's May reading series to celebrate the release of the 2018 anthology, alongside Jalayna Carter, Daniel Atkinson & Rachel Trignano. The night will be hosted by Daemond Arrindell. Friday, May 18th. 7 PM at the Jack Straw Cultural Center. 4261 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle

Poetry Workshop: Obsessions & Prose Poems

I am teaching an all-level poetry workshop at Hugo House on Sunday, May 6th from 1 to 4 pm.     

What are your obsessions? How do they drive your writing? Using prose poems as our chosen form, we will generate new work. We will read work from contemporary poets of color known for prose poetry, including Yasmin Belkhyr and Khadijah Queen, among others. We will use ekphrasis to generate our own prose poems, drawing from a well of art, both visual and musical. We will expand the prose poem form, generate new work, and discuss redrafting techniques.

Register here. 

Margin Shift at Common Area Maintenance

I'll be reading some new pieces for Margin Shift at Common Area Maintenance (2125 2nd Ave). Thursday, April, 19th at 7pm. Along with fellow Jack Straw Arts writer, Jalayna Carter, Robert Lashley, and more.

Come THRU

XO Maria

Margin Shift is a poetry reading series that emphasizes the contributions of anyone who might normally be at the margins of the mainstream literary scene—“poets of color, LGBTQI poets, poets from out of town, poets who are new to town, women poets, undocumented poets, experimental writers (whatever that might mean!), and brand new writers.”
— The Stranger

Caldera Arts Center

Thank you to Tambi Lane who came up to Caldera Arts Center for Open Studios. We had a beautiful snowfall and she captured some of the magic. 

Open Studios

 

I've been blessed to spend this month as a Caldera Artist in Residence. This coming Sunday is Open Studios. For folks in the PDX + (T.33 S., R. 21 E), I'll be sharing some new work alongside the other artists in residence. March 24th. 12:30 to 3:30. 

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Open Books Reading

 

Join us in celebrating the release of Xandria Phillips's chapbook, Reasons for Smoking. I will be reading alongside Phillips and Quenton Baker at at Open Books on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. & look out for Xandria's workshop on Sunday. 

 
Cave Canem and Callalloo fellow Xandria Phillips reads from her new chapbook “Reasons for Smoking,” selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the 2016 Seattle Review chapbook contest. She’ll be reading in the excellent company of Quenton Baker (author of This Glittering Republic) and Winter Tangerine editor Sarah Maria Medina.
— Sarah Galvin, City Arts
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Winter Tangerine, Issue 3

 

I am filled with joy as we release Winter Tangerine, Issue 3. Working alongside editors Xandria Phillips and Jake Stone, and Editor-in-Chief, Yasmin Belkhyr, along with our crew of poetry readers has brought so much light into this winter. The poets in this issue sing, sing, sing: Lena Tuffaha, Destiny Hemphill, Joseph Capehart, Imani Davis, Inam Kang, Dave Harris, Mick Powell, henry 7 reneau jr., Alan Chazaro, Ariana Brown, and Jake Skeets. Also, visual art editor, Daniella Clayton, and prose editor, Francesca Ekwuyasi, have brought some gorgeously important pieces. Visual art by Shadi Ghadirian, Gerardo Castro, Simone Quiles, Tamara Stoffers & mas.

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Bettering American Poetry, Volume 2

 

I am very grateful to have had my piece selected for Bettering American Poetry, Volume 2. Thank you to the editors, Kaveh Akbar, Sarah Clark, jayy dodd, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Amy King, Muriel Leung, Camille Rankine, Héctor Ramírez, and Michael Wassonfor their dedication in editing this anthology. 

 
This anthology and its squad of editors better American poetry by gathering a diverse formation of poets who inspire us to read across difference, speak against power, and breathe through struggle.
— Craig Santos Perez, author of from unincorporated territory [lukao]
Bettering American Poetry is an explosive revelation of the arriving generation of American poets—arriving from every part of the landscape, bringing energies, gifts, and ways of seeing and saying of every kind. Plunge into its pages. See/hear the news of who we are.
— Jane Hirshfield, author of The Beauty and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World
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VIDA Interview

 

Thank you to VIDA and Bettering American Poetry editors for this interview. 

 
I don’t like it when someone writes to me and says how sorry they are to read that some detail happened to me. I much prefer it when someone writes to me and says, darling you have done it—you have turned it all into art. Because what we know, as artists, is that we turn our trauma and heartbreak into art and that is a kind of alchemy. It not only heals us, but it also converts energy from the past into something new. And I think, as our family astrologer recently told me, that we are doing real work on many astral planes when we use art as alchemy.
— Medina, VIDA with Bettering American Poetry
 

Read the full interview with Voices of Bettering American Poetry. 

Photo by Cisco Dietz

Photo by Cisco Dietz

Black Warrior Review

 

Thank you to Black Warrior Review and Rachel McKibbens for selecting my poem, "From a Poet to her Rumbero," for the 2017 Poetry Award. Black Warrior Review is a dream journal, and it is a true honor. 

At the center of “From a Poet to her Rumbero” is a bucking heart, grappling with its fanged history & unbreaking fever. You sense its luminous pulse from the opening scene: i’m a dying sky of eagles / i’m arrowed into it. The poem’s language is unbridled yet moves with a sinuous grace, cinematic in scope–you can almost hear the trumpets blaring as each new line unfurls its glittering tapestry of Spanish and english: grey mirada turned ice y todo / i’m blessed with ancestor names / i’m protected by light / tú cantas y cantas y cantas / until i know all your harmony / but i won’t beg you to see me. I will always treasure the full-body, heart throttle of a poem that refuses to simplify love-grief & its many heads. From a Poet to her Rumbero is adventurous and much larger than its page, the form barely able to hold steady the text’s orchestral muscle, providing a gorgeous collision of ferocity & song.
— Rachel McKibbens
 

Chicago Review of Books

 

Thank you to Chicago Review of Books and Ruben Quesada for this interview.

 
We can’t speak about writing poetry without also speaking about colonization, because the English language is a colonizer language, just like Spanish. I myself claim Spanish as my heart language over English— maybe because I’ve experienced more violence within English. I like looking for Yorùbá or Taíno words that survive within Spanish. They try to say that Taínos are dead and that our language is too, but neither are true.
— Medina, Chicago Review of Books
 

Read the full interview on February’s edition of “Dear Poetry Editor” at the Chicago Review of Books.

Photo by Cisco Dietz

Photo by Cisco Dietz

Winter Tangerine Issue 2

 

Nehanda Abiodun once said, in response to how we could raise a good fight, that if you're an artist make art, if you're a writer then write & if you're a poet then poem. Honored to create space for some incredible artists to do just that in Winter Tangerine 2: Alfredo Aguilar, John Manuel Abreu-Arias, Jade Matias Bell, Francesca Ekwuyasi, William Evans, Roy Guzmán, Adam Hamze, Omotara James, Mary Lambert, Tsoku Maela, Nkosi Nkululeko, Kip Omolade, Mónica Teresa Ortiz, Joy Priest, Paige Quiñones, Meirav Sher, Malcolm H. Tariq, & Vickie Vertiz. It has been a blessing to work alongside editors Xandria Phillips, Jake Stone, Francesca Ekwuyasi, Jennifer Huang & Yasmin Belkhyr to bring this gorgeous, important, lit issue into the world. (Ups to poetry readers: Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah, Anuradha Bhowmik, Brad Trumpfheller, Alexis Smithers, Lexi Covalsen Lilian Ha & Elena Senechal-Becker.) Read the full issue here. 

 

ARTISTS UP Grant LAB Awardee

 

It is a true honor to be named an awardee for a Grant LAB by ARTISTS UP (provided by Artist Trust, 4Culture & Seattle Arts & Culture). This grant is in support of my poetry manuscript in progress "Ochun's Daughter." Two poems from my manuscript are recently out in Apogee Journal. As part of the grant, I will be offering a poetry workshop to the public. Xo Maria