Some of the greatest works of literature have emerged from times of crisis, and with most of the world in lockdown, we have more time to write than ever before. But where can we find inspiration?

Look no further than PEN to Paper, a video series of original writing exercises from authors of the PEN America World Voices Festival. Writers we love share short prompts to stir the imagination in these home videos. Our online audiences gain intimate insights into their favorite writers and their unique approaches to craft while putting their own pens to paper.

Porsha OlayiwolaIn our third lesson, poet and performer Porsha Olayiwola guides us through a brief but intensive workshop about memory and omission. In the course of a game, some stories, a vocabulary lesson, and a writing prompt, she shows us how to tap into our intuition and write from what we know.

Check out her video now, and order her debut poetry collection, i shimmer sometimes, too, on Bookshop or Amazon.

About Porsha Olayiwola

Porsha Olayiwola is from the future! Black, poet, queer-dyke, hip-hop feminist, womanist: Olayiwola is a native of Chicago who now resides in Boston. Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator, and curator who uses Afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diasporas. She is an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and the artistic director at MassLEAP, a youth literary organization. Currently the Poet Laureate for the City of Boston and an MFA candidate at Emerson College, Olayiwola is the author of i shimmer sometimes, too, published by Button Poetry.