For 3 local poets, 'sanctuary' means activism, community and having their voices heard - Generocity Philly

Results

Apr. 19, 2017 10:02 am

For 3 local poets, ‘sanctuary’ means activism, community and having their voices heard

A Leeway Foundation-funded migrant poetry workshop culminated in a public reading of the poems created by participants at Asian Arts Initiative. Here are three of them.

The migrant poets.

(Courtesy photo)

“Sanctuary” can mean many things.

For Katherine Antarikso, a project architect based in Philly, the value of her time with a recent five-session, migrant poetry workshop called “Sanctuary” was just as much about being in a place of sanctuary as it was writing poems about the topic.

“Just to be in the same room with other women of color, trying to do the same thing, learning and working with each other, it was transformative,” Antarikso said in an email. “It gave me a chance to explore ideas that I have been grappling with for some time: identity, belonging, home.”

Her poem, titled “Homeland,” was one of many that came out of Cynthia Dewi Oka’s Leeway Foundation-funded workshop for those who identified as “members of (im)migrant, refugee, nondocumented and/or displaced communities, with priority given to women and LGBTQ people of color.”

The politically motivated workshop culminated in a public reading of the participants’ poems on April 7 at Asian Arts Initiative — and three of the poets shared their works with Generocity, below.

###

Just as the November election results and the aftermath affected Oka’s motivation for the workshop, Antarikso felt like she felt an “urgency to create art as a response to political and social injustice.”

“As an American citizen, I’m in a privileged position to be able to speak out, but there are so many others who are afraid and hiding, who can’t speak,” she said. “I wanted to turn the sense of despair and create work that spoke to what it means to be an immigrant in these times, to hopefully invoke a sense of empathy to what people go through when they leave everything behind to start over again to live in a free society.”

Read Antarikso’s poem here.

###

From our Partners

Gemelle John, who’s written poems for Cleaver Magazine’sLife as Activism,” decided to get involved in the workshop to continue her practice of poetry-as-activism.

“Poetry and activism have always existed in a mutual space for me,” John said in an email. “When I saw the listing for the workshop it seemed like the perfect opportunity to practice both and grow.”

Read John’s poem here.

###

Allowing the true, unfiltered voice to be heard was a reason for Karlamaria, another participant, to get involved with the workshop. That motivation is made clear with her poem, “This poem is in no offense to my dog, she did save me after all.” She believes you have to be honest when writing poetry.

“I always lived in fear,” Karlamaria said in an email. “Living in fear sometimes leads to lying for your survival. I was tired of lying and wanted to speak my truth and i felt like this workshop would give me the tools/space to do so.”

Read Karlamaria’s poem here.

Want more richly researched and deeply sourced community reporting?  Become a Generocity member for $10 per month -30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

Haitian migrants at the border: An asylum law scholar explains how US skirts its legal and moral duties

At PAFA not only have women claimed space, they’re making history

Black ancestors take up metaphysical residence at Hatfield House through image and artifact

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Be the leader to bring a 26-year mission into the future in Chester County

Remote

Spotlight PA

Operations Manager

Apply Now
4700 States Drive Philadelphia, PA 19146

Fairmount Park Conservancy

Coalition & Convening Director

Apply Now
Media, PA/Remote

The Foundation for Delaware County

Digital Marketing and Content Manager (Part-Time), The Foundation for Delaware County

Apply Now

Beyond fireworks: Something to do every day in July

Generocity’s 2021 summer reading list

3 important outcomes for young people who are taught critical race theory

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Village of the Arts seeks to deepen and scale its impact as it reflects on its legacy

Philadelphia

Children's Scholarship Fund Philadelphia

Director, School and Family Partnerships

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Children's Scholarship Fund Philadelphia

Major Gifts Officer

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Regional Housing Legal Services

Postgraduate Legal Fellowship Sponsorship (To Start in Fall 2023)2023

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity