We are poets. We believe in the power of poetry. We believe in the power of poetry to tell our stories. We believe in the power of poetry to tell our stories and reveal our deepest feelings. Our feelings are the things we often do not speak. But in not speaking them we simply bury them. We believe poetry can unbury our feelings, our selves, our world.
ALEXIS DE VEAUX, Ph. D., is a poet, playwright, short fiction writer, essayist and biographer whose work is nationally and internationally known. Born and raised in Harlem, New York City, Ms. De Veaux is published in five languages-English, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Serbo-Croatian. Her plays include Circles, (1972), The Tapestry (1975), A Season to Unravel (1979), and Elbow rooms (1986). Ms. De Veaux’s work has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications including Essence Magazine; Ms. Magazine; The New York Village Voice; Home Girls, A Black Feminist Anthology; Confirmation, An Anthology of African American Women; Midnight Birds, Stories by Contemporary Black Women Writers; Children of the Night, The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, 1967 to the Present; Street Lights, Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience; Afrekete, An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing; Memory of Kin, Stories About Family by Black Writers; Circles, Buffalo Women’s Journal of Law and Social Policy; Does Your Mama Know?, An Anthology of Black Lesbian Coming Out Stories; Liberating Memory, Our Work and Working-Class Consciousness; Callaloo: A Journal of Afro-American and African Arts and Letters; Mending the World, Stories About Family by Contemporary Black Writers. Among her works are a fictionalized memoir, Spirits In The Street (Doubleday, 1973); an award-winning children’s book, Na-ni (Harper and Row, 1973); Don’t Explain, a biography of jazz great, Billie Holiday (Harper and Row, 1980); two independently published poetry works, Blue Heat: A Portfolio of Poems and Drawings (1985) and Spirit Talk (1997); a second children’s book, An Enchanted Hair Tale (Harper and Row, 1987), which was a recipient of the 1988 Coretta Scott King Award presented by the American Library Association and the 1991 Lorraine Hansberry Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature. In 1997, one of her poems was selected for the prestigious Christmas Broadside Series published under the auspices of the Friends of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo. She is the author of Warrior Poet, A Biography of Audre Lorde (W. W. Norton, 2004). The first biography of the late poet-activist, Warrior Poet has won several prestigious awards including the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation Legacy Award (Nonfiction), 2005 and the Lambda Literary Foundation Award for Biography (2004). In other media, Ms. De Veaux’s work appears on several recordings, including the highly-acclaimed album, Sisterfire (Olivia Records, 1985); in 1986, she produced the independent video documentary, “Motherlands: From Manhattan to Managua to Africa, Hand to Hand,” in association with the MADRE Video Project (New York City). As an artist and lecturer she has traveled extensively throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, Japan and Europe; and is recognized for her contributions to such organizations as MADRE, an international women’s self-help organizations; SISA (Sisterhood in Support of Sisters in South Africa); the Brooklyn-based performance collective, Flamboyant Ladies Theatre Company (co-founded with actress, Gwendolen Hardwick, 1979-1986); the Buffalo Quarters Historical Society; Just Buffalo Literary Center; the Arts Council of Buffalo and Erie County; the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars (ACWWS). At present she is an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, the Department of Global Gender Studies, at the University at Buffalo. She was named “Best Literary Artist” for 2005 by Buffalo’s premier cultural newspaper, ARTVOICE. In 2007 she was awarded a “Literary Legacy Award” from Just Buffalo Literary Center for her lifetime commitment to literature and literary advocacy. Ms. De Veaux is currently at work on a novel.
KATHY ENGEL is a poet, a teacher, a communications/strategic planning consultant, a producer for social justice, peace and human rights organizations, and the mother of two daughters. She has worked extensively as a bridge between organizations and individuals who may not ordinarily work together or engage in dialogue with the purpose of building multi-racial/cross-class progressive institutions and projects and maximizing the effectiveness and creativity of progressive efforts. Her work is based on a commitment to breaking boundaries, and infusing the imagination and thinking of the artist and the intellectual into the strategic planning for grassroots community, national and international media efforts.
In 1983 she founded the women’s human rights organization MADRE and was the executive director for five years. Before that she worked at the Academy of American Poets, New York Mobilization for Survival and was the executive director of the Fund For Open Information and Accountability. She has co-produced and conceptualized numerous cultural/political projects such as No More Witch Hunts in 1980 (a national day of resistance involving artists and activists to Ronald Reagan’s efforts to implement domestic repression while escalating intervention in Central America), MOVING TOWARDS HOME in 1982, (Palestinian, Israeli, Lebanese and American poets in performance and publication, which was then brought to Washington and Detroit by Congressman John Conyers), “Talking Nicaragua” in 1983,(a dramatization of testimonies and history of the U.S. war against Nicaragua), the cultural component of the massive June 12, 1982 march for disarmament and human needs in NYC. In 1989 she co-founded Riptide Communications, a public relations consulting firm set up to service progressive organizations. Other projects include “Stand with Sisters for Economic Justice” in 2002, and “Who I Will Be,” a performance piece with formerly incarcerated women
She is a co-founder of a progressive, multi-cultural alternative school in Suffolk County, New York, the Hayground School, East End Women in Black, among other organizations. Her work has taken her to Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador and Palestine. She has read her work, given talks and workshops on the relationship between the imagination and social change, throughout the country. Engel’s focus in recent years has been on supporting efforts by young people to make change in their circumstances and communities. She works closely with The Young People’s Project, a math literacy and leadership development group. Her poetry, essays, and reviews have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Nation online, Pleaides, The Iowa Review, The East Hampton Star, Vandal, Poet Lore. She has been widely interviewed, including on Ronnie Eldridge’s and Blanche Wiesen Cook’s television shows on CUNY tv and on Laura Flander’s Grit Tv. Recent publications include “Ruth’s Skirts”, IKON, 2007 and “We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon” co edited with Kamal Boullata, Interlink Books, 2007.
In March 2012, she will be a featured poet in the Split This Rock Poetry Festival, Washington D.C.
She is currently a full time faculty member at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Art & Public Policy Program and also teaches in NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.