Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sunday: James Baldwin Sunday School and Birthday Party!

Join us as we lift praise to Black Queer Genuis...especially the ex-church boy realness variety. Featuring Baldwin Legacy all-stars Yolo Akili and Sendolo Diamanah this will be a spirited celebration, right after Triangle Black Pride to celebrate the impact of Queer Black bravery and creativity in our lives.

August 1 · 5:00pm - 8:30pm

The Eleanor at Rigsbee
204 Rigsbee Ave. #201
Durham, NC

*this event is a fundraiser for the MobileHomeComing Project a queer Black multi-media experiential archive project. Please bring a love offering if you can!

Monday, July 26, 2010

if i should: Lucille Clifton Rebirth Broadcast #5

If I should: Lucille Clifton Rebirth Broadcast #5 from Alexis Gumbs on Vimeo.

Unleash your superpowers at the Lucille Clifton ShapeShitfter Poetry Intensive:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Announcing the Juneteenth Freedom Academy in Durham, NC

Juneteenth Freedom Academy

Apply for Juneteenth Freedom Academy Unit 1: ANGRY LETTERS AND PROTEST POEMS here:

During theJuneteenth Freedom Academyparticipants break bread during weekly night school sessions that deeply engage and build on the work of June Jordan as transmitted through the committed (obsessive) research of Alexis Pauline Gumbs on the angry, letters, protest poems, solidarity politics and teaching practices of the visionary badass June Jordan. Participants will also get coursepacks with some exclusive and unpublished materials on/by Jordan and will apply what they learn of Jordan’s methodology to pressing community issues. Participants can choose to participate in one 3 week semester or the entire process. Everyone who completes an application and can attend each session is admitted!!!

Want to donate to the Juneteenth Freedom Academy? Name a scholarship? Email for details!!!!

Unit 1: Angry Letters and Protest Poems:

6pm-9pm at the Inspiration Station on August 18th, 25th and September 1st

June Jordan is described by many of her editors, publishers and colleagues as “difficult” because of the intense anger at all forms of oppression that she expressed in her writing. This course is based on the belief that our anger can be powerful and poetic when we channel in the service of creating the world that our communities deserve! During this course we will explore some of Jordan’s angriest and most impactful open letters, unpublished letters and poems and write our own protest poetry, and open letters that transform the world!!!!

Apply here:

Unit 2: Free Palestine

6pm-9pm at the Inspiration Station on Thursday November 4th, 11th and 18th

During her lifetime June Jordan worked in solidarity with Arab-American women towards the vision of a free Palestine and in protest of the media mis-representation of the occupation of Palestine and Zionist imperialism. This unit of the Juneteenth Freedom Academy allows participants to engage in indepth study of Jordan’s poems, speeches, writings and letters on occupied Palestine and the 1980′s conflict in Lebanon, and learn about local solidarity efforts against the 60 year occupation of Palestine as part of a local strategy for solidarity towards the end of imperialism and towards the self-determination of all oppressed people.

Unit 3: Dedication

6pm-9pm at the Inspiration Station on Wednesdays Dec 1, 8th and 15th

Poem for the Poet Alexis De Veaux, Poem for Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, Poem for Nana, Poem for Daniel Pretty Moynihan, Poem for All the People in Lebanon. Over and over again June Jordan wrote poems for specific individuals and groups of people, and in her act of dedication modeled a possible revolutionary or critical relationship to love and solidarity. In this unit of the Juneteenth Freedom Academy, just in time for the gifting season for many traditions, we will study Jordan’s “Poems For…” and create our own revolutionary dedicated poems for the people in our lives, our communities and people we stand in solidarity with.

Unit 4: Experimental and Hopeful Society (on Teaching)

Summer 2011: specific dates to be determined with visionary teachers in and around Durham, NC

June Jordan, creator of the Poetry for the People curriculum and facilitator of numerous poetry programs for all ages of children and adults thought of the classroom space as an “Experimental and Hopeful Society.” For those of us teaching in a variety of liberatory and constricted settings this is a space to learn from Jordan’s syllabi, and her philosophies on teaching while supporting each other to develop strategies for an experimental and hopeful approach in our own teaching settings everyday!

A Dream of Foxes: Lucille Clifton Rebirth Broadcast 4

A Dream of Foxes: Lucille Clifton Rebirth Broadcast 4 from Alexis Gumbs on Vimeo.

And don’t forget to sign up for the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Poetry Intensive:

(and let me know if you want to support by cooking a dish, hanging out with the young revolutionaries , or donating photocopies or moola!)

A Dream of Foxes: Lucille Clifton Rebirth Broadcast 4

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Keep Me Brave: On Terror and Transformation

may I never forget
the warning of my woman's flesh
weeping at the new moon
may I never lose that terror
that keeps me brave
May I owe nothing
that I cannot repay.
-from "Solstice" by Audre Lorde

As I write this I am terrified. Early morning clarity has me too present to reality to breathe easily, despite the ocean next to me, despite an hour and a half of attempting deep breaths.

I am terrified because we live in a world where police burst in on little girls and kill them, where juries believe that fearing unarmed Black men is always justified if you are a cop, where cops think tasers and guns can protect them from the karmic weight of their impact on our doom (look what fear does), where the demolition of the Duke Lacrosse Team's house in Durham provides an excuse for racist privileged people must want the right to rape and get away with it to attack survivors of sexual assault for speaking out. I am terrified because a month ago my partner jumped from our moving RV to escape someone desperate enough to threaten her. I am terrified because a week ago friends of ours were attacked by a group of homophobic (look what fear does to us) boys for being "two men laying on a picnic blanket," and held at gunpoint. I am terrified because we don't yet have ways of addressing any of this that don't produce more fear, more desperation and ultimately more violence.

But I am also grateful to each of you who keep me brave. I am grateful to have you as catalysts to turn my panic attacks into poetry. I am grateful to my sisters in UBUNTU for gathering to speak up, speak out and support each other at a moments notice yesterday in Durham. I am grateful for Moya B. and the twitter brigade for bringing the energy of healing and dialogue to the Oscar Grant verdict responses, and for Bea, Allette, Maceo and crew for showing up to realign the energy in person. I am grateful to Ron Scott and the Heal Detroit Coalition for standing for holistic responses to police violence against oppressed communities. I am grateful to Josh, who even after being held at gunpoint maintained an institutional critique and spoke eloquently about the impact of spiritual violence and churchgrown homophobia on all of our lives. I am grateful to Julia for continuing to unstoppably wake up everyday ready to transform the world with me.

How does terror keep us brave? Terror keeps me brave in the priceless form of you, who survive, in my chance to participate in the shape of your survival, in the unabated possibility for loving in these of all circumstances. I would not want to be numb to the horror of violence as it appears in our lives. It is clear to me that all of this violence is unnatural, direct results of systems of oppression. It is clear to me that those who export terror, and try to pretend it comes from outside of the US are using fear to blind themselves and others. Those who war against terror deny its source. Terror is the reverb life of violence in our bodies, hearts and minds, the shouting of our spirits against that which does NOT honor life. I do not want to lose this terror until the oppression that causes it is over and done with and out of our lives. And even then, I will remember how much I love you and keep creating rituals that affirm our worth and our love and our pricelessness beyond fear.

These past three weeks I have been preparing for the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School with Rebirth broadcasts (thanks for the shout out Safire!)
that highlight how Clifton's poetry reminds of key skills for times of terror especially for those of us who are survivors of the many forms of violence that an oppressive society produces (click the links to see the videos)

1. Celebrate Our Survival
2. Bless Ourselves and Each Other
3. Assemble Our Ancestral Amazons

I invite you to explore the bravery of your terror and the transformation it requires. What are the warnings of your flesh? What is the terror that keeps you brave? Join the discussion here:


Visit Quirky Black Girls at:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Amazons: Lucille Clifton Rebirth Broadcast #3

Lucille Clifton Rebirth Broadcast 3: Amazons from Alexis Gumbs on Vimeo.

This broadcast is part of the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School. For more info see

To sign up for the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival Poetry Intensive on August 21, 2010 in Durham, NC click here: