The Diasporic Peoples Writing Collective (DPWC) is hosting a fantastic line-up of poets, writers, and an afrofuturistic answer to our connective tissue: the Blackbook Platform feat. its team and its founder, Ibrahim Baldé. If you are not yet a DPWC member, then by all means, contact us. DPWC2020.COM/contact
September 13, 2021, 6PM PST
Tureeda Mikell is an educator and a visionary poet, performer, and story medicine woman. She will read from Synchronicity: The Oracle of Sun Medicine (Nomadic Press), a poetic-prose journey into sun medicine, filled with a plethora of questions for elitist patriarchs, political satirists, and those interested in interspecies communication—from “son” to “sun” or “joule” to “jewel,” as in the poem, “Spell’s Labyrinth.”
Synchronicity connects scenes seen and unseen spheres with greater journeys from the profane to the mysterious that contracts taboos often interwoven with society’s relationships to our winged cousins, stars, and ancestors trying to heal us all from the great beyond.
Daniel B. Summerhill
September 27, 2021, 6PM PST
Daniel B. Summerhill is Professor of Poetry/Social Action and Composition Studies at California State University Monterey. He is an award winning author and will read us a little something from his book of poetry, Divine, Divine, Divine (Nomadic Press). Summerhill has another book forthcoming and might include in his talk, the journey that is seeing him on his way to another literary hit.
Along with Summerhill’s literary accomplishments, he is an accomplished performance artist, performing in over 25 states in the U.S. He has performed in Canada, co-headlined a European tour, and was invited to guest lecture and perform in Durban South Africa sponsored by the U.S Embassy. He has shared stages with The Last Poets, Def Jam Poetry Reunion, Jasmine Mans and others.
Vernon Keeve III
November 8, 2021, 6PM PST
Vernon Keeve III, aka, Trey, is a Virginia born writer, living and teaching in Oakland. They hold an MFA from CCA and a teaching MA in literature from Bard College. Their full-length collection of poetry, Southern Migrant Mixtape (Nomadic Press), received the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award.
Keeve’s Southern Migrant Mixtape is a collection that relays the experiences and observations of a Black, queer man from Virginia who thought they were leaving racism and sexual intolerance behind in the regions where they initially experienced them.
Keeve will take you heart first into their journey of growth. Their art is both transformative and the perfect entrée to conversations about intersectionality, claiming space, and making art. And they’ll engage roundtable participants in a discussion on how art can free us. Keeve will talk about how race/gender/and sexuality are focal to their lived experience and activism, and craft is bedrock to their work’s accessibility.
The Blackbook Team
Co-founder, project director, and recent grad, Ibrahim Baldé helped create Blackbook, a university app that improves Black student connectedness. Baldé’s founding team, Chase Ali-Watkins, Nahom Solomon, Nicholas Brathwaite, and Kyle Parkman have partnered with Mobile Developers of Berkeley to ready the app for Android and iOS.
“Racial inequity has maintained itself as one of the biggest institutional problems in both education and employment and a lot of the times this is due to a lack of access and support,” Baldé said in an email. “However, this wasn’t always the case.”
In the 1980s, the African American Student Handbook, or the “Black Book,” a guide of Black faculty, organizations and resources on campus, was an important resource for “peer-to-peer connection” for Black students, wrote Baldé.
The Blackbook app serves as a digital revival of the handbook for today’s Black students and to act as a diversity, equity and inclusion ecosystem for Black students on college campuses.
Baldé continued. “With over 30 Black-led student organizations on Berkeley’s campus and the rich legacy of student activism, we see tremendous opportunity in creating a platform for the Black student experience, starting here in our community.”
“We believe that Black students deserve a technology created for them!” Baldé wrote. “We really want to work to challenge the perceptions of innovation and fundamentally design something with the sole purpose of promoting Black student success.”
December 13, 2021, 6PM PST
Oakland-based writer, MK Chavez, is a champion for public health and social justice. She is the author of several chapbooks, including Mothermorphosis (Nomadic Press, 2016). And Dear Animal, is her first full-length collection of poetry.
Chavez is co-founder and co-curator of the reading series Lyrics & Dirges, curator of the Fruitvale Friday readings at Nomadic Press, co-director of the Berkeley Poetry Festival, and recipient of a 2016 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award. She believes in literary confrontation and its capacity to challenge all forms of oppression.
She is a recipient of a 2017 Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award and her poem “The New Whitehouse, Finding Myself Among the Ruins” was selected by Eileen Myles for the Cosmonauts Avenue 2017 Poetry Award. She is a co-founder/curator of the reading series Lyrics & Dirges and co-director of the Berkeley Poetry Festival, a fellow with CantoMundo, and guest curator of the reading series at UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in the Fall of 2018.
February 3, 2022, 6PM PST
Keenan Norris is a novelist, essayist and short story writer. His latest novel is The Confession of Copeland Cane. Keenan was a 2017 Marin Headlands Artist-in-Residence and has garnered a Public Voices fellowship (2020), a Callaloo fellowship (2016) and two Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellowships (2017, 2015). He serves as a guest editor for the Oxford African-American Studies Center.
He is the editor of the seminal Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape. Keenan’s short work has appeared in numerous forums, including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, LitHub, Alta, Remezcla, popmatters.com and several anthologies of California literature. He teaches at San Jose State University.