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Reading Queer

RQ Writing Academy: 2014 – 2015

The Reading Queer Writing Academy aims to inspire and prepare members of the queer community to tap into the powerful potential inherent to the act and the art of writing. Consisting of a series of distinct workshops spread out throughout the calendar year, the Academy will serve as a platform for writers of all walks of life to explore, pursue and perfect the craft in its myriad forms. As an expression of our conviction that writing is a right, not a privilege, all workshops are open to the general public regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.

Coming Soon…2016 Reading Queer Writing Academy Course Listing

2015 Reading Queer Writing Academy Course Listing

February 21st, 2015 @ the Hotel Gaythering

THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL: TELLING YOUR STORIES AND MAKING THEM VISIBLEwith Christine Morando will take a close look at work by queer and ally writers sharing their stories of what it means to be queer in the twenty-first century. From a trans man with passport problems to a 23-year-old virgin with no interest in changing that status, we’ll look at multiple examples of sharing personal stories that broaden readers’ understanding not only of what it means to be queer, but also of what it means to be human. The workshop will end with an eye to sharing the work, and we’ll discuss different possibilities for publication online or in print.

“BOOT CAMP FOR QUEER WRITERS” with Jan Becker is an intensive, prompt-driven poetry and flash non-fiction workshop. The term ‘boot camp’ may sound intimidating, but the only real order is, “permission to write freely.” This workshop is designed to help free writers from their individual closets and get their words down on the page. The fast-paced writing prompts are designed to disengage writers from the nagging, negative voice that plagues and prevents us from accessing what poet Maria Mazziotti-Gillan calls “the wise person who lives within our bellies.”

“THE FITTING ROOM” with Laura McDermott Matheric riffs off that old adage, “You never truly know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes”. This workshop will examine the persona poem from the point of view of a speaker— the voice that sings or cries or whispers in the reader’s ear – as a means to find closure in a situation or to understand human nature. Persona poetry allows poets to try on the voices or masks of others in an attempt to understand the individual better. Personas aren’t isolated people delivering soliloquies, but characters immersed in the conflict of the everyday drama of their lives. Patricia Smith once indicated that taking on difficult personas is like solving a puzzle.

FROM ONE SHALL COME MANY: Building Poetic Series from Psalms, Portraits, and Unexpected Points of View” with Julie Marie Wade. This workshop will explore the ways poets can start, shape, enhance, and complete chapbooks and full-length poetry collections by building poetic series. Using examples from recent books by innovative contemporary voices including Denise Duhamel, James Allen Hall, Kiki Petrosino, and Aaron Smith, FIU professor and writer Julie Marie Wade will guide participants through reading and emulation exercises designed with maximum generation in mind.

PLAYWRITING WORKSHOP” with Caridad Svich FUNDarte in collaboration with Reading Queer present an intimate writing workshop with 2012 OBIE Lifetime Achievement Award winning playwright, songwriter, translator, editor and educator Caridad Svich.“This space of writing is a space of tensions and fissures and tectonic plates shifting across fields of time. Reach for the stars, but stay close to the dirt. This is the charge of making theatre. Smell the smoke of language pouring from the mouths of the wild children who play out their salvaged stories one more time. Awake to dreaming anew. Alight the pen. Weigh your words against the spectacle and tyranny of power. Choose freedom. At all costs.” – Caridad Svich. After the workshop, join us for JARMAN (All this Maddening Beauty) by Caridad Svich performed by John Moletress for force/collision.

WORD + IMAGE” with Carol Todaro. In this fast-paced workshop, visual and verbal images will be made, found and combined through word play, chance procedures and other methods. The afternoon will include basic book making, collage and transfer printing, resulting in a small book. Join us after the workshop at the Hotel Gaythering Bar for cocktails. All writers–regardless of sexual identification, gender, race and bookmaking or writing experience are welcome. Todaro’s artists’ books and prints have been collected by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, the Library of Congress and the Jaffe Collection at Florida Atlantic University, among other public institutions. Her poetry chapbook Moonviewing (Floating Wolf Quarterly # 7) was released in 2011. She teaches at New World School of the Arts in Miami.

2014 Reading Queer Academy Course Listing 

MAY 10th & 11th, 2014 @ The Bakehouse Art Complex

“IN DEFENSE OF FORGETTING” with Connie Mae Oliver will motivate writers to interpret and decode the expectations of preservationist traditions, via poetry exercises conducted in a workshop setting. The workshop will briefly incorporate color photography— we will use disposable cameras to photograph at a designated location, such as Wynwood or Mall Of The Americas. Participants will be asked to turn in their cameras in exchange for another’s. The developed prints will serve as a prompt for poems to be examined thereafter, with attention not to the images but to the retrieval of images not theirs. The workshop is loosely (if sleepily) geared towards the production of three complete (complete?) poems, each engaging, in one way or another, the “Past”, ”Present” and “Future”.

WHEN: Saturday & Sunday, May 10th & 11th from 12 pm – 2 pm.
WHERE: Bakehouse Art Complex, 561 NW 32nd Street, Miami, FL 33127. Free street parking.
COST: *Pay what you can.Suggested donation: $20. Donate online here or in person on the day of the workshop.

**Note: Pay what you can means all workshops are open to everyone regardless of one’s ability to pay. If you chose to make a donation, know that your donation pays for RQ Teachers & helps us keep our workshops open to writers who can’t afford the cost of a professional workshop.


“ODDLY ENOUGH (QUEER COMEDY)” with Caro Hernandez is a comedy writing workshop for the queers who like to make jokes and the jokers who like to make queer. You’ll get to think about what you find funny and then create something that makes you laugh. Maybe even perform what made you laugh for the people in your lives that typically laugh at the things that you laugh at. That is to say there may be a performance element to the workshop if you’re up for it! The word performance can seem daunting to some, however I think we can queer what it means to perform comedy and make it an empowering experience for all.


“INSIDE OUT & UPSIDE DOWN” with Vanessa Garcia is writing about the self, one’s past, one’s personal history. This can sometimes be a bumpy road, but it can also prove to be a path brimming with healing and understanding. Autobiography is as much about power as it is about introspection. The idea behind this workshop is to try and look at our lives from new angles — try and see the “self” and the memories we think we know so well through different lenses and perspectives. This workshop is open to anyone who wants to write their story, dance their story, tell their story, perform their story, paint their story, or simply share it with the world.

“TEXTUAL PLEASURES” with Anya Wallace and Jillian Hernandez will collaboratively present a series of four, 2-hour creative writing workshops with young women who participate in programs organized by The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth and Pridelines Youth Services. “Textual Pleasures” will engage participants with the work of queer women of color writers such as Audre Lorde, Myriam Gurba, Cheryl Clarke, Cherrie Moraga, Staceyanne Chin, and others, as a way to foster open, creative dialogue about issues of sexuality and identity that are salient in their lives. Participants will keep journals in which they will write their own poetry, short stories, and personal responses to the work of the writers presented. The instructors will also facilitate participants sharing their work at various open mics. Textual Pleasures aims to investigate self-knowledge, perceptions of sex/sexuality, and pleasure through the arts.



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