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Summer Salons with the Brooklyn Museum: Riots in Writing

headshots of participants in the June Summer Salons event at Brooklyn Museum

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Experience an evening of intergenerational poetry in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and the special exhibition Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall at the Brooklyn Museum. Contemporary poets Wo Chan, Denice Frohman, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Meredith Talusan, Pamela Sneed, and Brenda Shaughnessy read poems by queer elders and a selection of original work.


Wo ChanWo Chan (a.k.a. Pearl Harbor) is a queer poet and drag performance artist living in Brooklyn. They are the author of the chaplet ORDER THE WORLD, MOM (Belladonna), and has received fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts, Kundiman, Lambda Literary, and the Asian American Writers Workshop. Wo is standing member of the Brooklyn-based drag/burlesque collective Switch N’ Play, and has performed at venues including The Whitney, MOMA PS1, Joe’s Pub, National Sawdust, New York Live Arts, and the Brooklyn Museum. Wo was born in Macau, China, and is currently an MFA Candidate in Poetry at NYU.

Denice FrohmanDenice Frohman is a poet, performer, and educator from New York City. She is a CantoMundo Fellow, former Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, and National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures grant recipient. Her work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Nepantla: An Anthology for Queer Poets of Color, Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism, and garnered over 10 million views online. She’s featured on national and international stages, including The Apollo, The White House, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, PEN World Voices Festival, and over 200 colleges and universities. She has a Master’s in Education and is co-organizer of #PoetsforPuertoRico. She lives in Philadelphia.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna SamarasinhaLeah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme writer, organizer, performance artist, and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. The author of Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home, BodymapLove Cake, and Consensual Genocide, with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani, she co-edited The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities. Leah’s next two books, Tonguebreaker and Exploring Transformative Justice: A Reader (co-edited with Ejeris Dixonare forthcoming in 2019.

From 2006-2015 Leah co-founded and co-directed Mangos With Chili, a groundbreaking queer and trans people of color performance tour and collective, and she co-founded Toronto’s Asian Arts Freedom School in 2006. She is a VONA Fellow and holds an MFA from Mills College. She is also a rust belt poet, a Sri Lankan with a white mom, a femme over 40, a grassroots intellectual, a survivor who is hard to kill.

Meredith TalusanMeredith Talusan is an award-winning journalist and author.They have written features, essays, and opinion pieces for many publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, VICE, Matter, Backchannel, The Nation, and the American Prospect. She has contributed to several books including The New York Times best-selling Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay. Her memoir, Fairest, is forthcoming from Viking/Penguin Random House.

Pamela SneedPamela Sneed is a New York-based poet, writer, performer, and emerging visual artist. She is author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery, KONG and Other Works, and a chaplet, “Gift” by Belladonna. She has performed at the Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Poetry Project, NYU, and Pratt Universities; Smack Mellon Gallery, The High Line, Performa, Danspace, The Bessies, Performance Space, Joe’s Pub, The Public Theater, SMFA, BRIC; and was an artist-in-residence at Pratt University, Denniston Hill, and Poet-Linc, Lincoln Center Education. Her work is widely anthologized and appears in Nikki Giovanni’s, “The 100 Best African American Poems.” Her short story book Sweet Dreams was published by Belladonna in April 2018.

Brenda ShaughnessyBrenda Shaughnessy is the author of five poetry collections, including The Octopus Museum (2019, Knopf); So Much Synth (2016, Copper Canyon Press); Our Andromeda (2012), which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award, The International Griffin Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Harpers, The New York Times, The New Yorker, O Magazine, Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere. Recent collaborative projects include writing a libretto for a Mass commissioned by Trinity Church Wall Street for composer Paola Prestini, and a poem-essay for the exhibition catalog for Toba Khedoori’s solo retrospective show at LACMA. A 2013 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, she is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark. She lives in Verona, NJ, with her family.

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