Last year, Franklin Aboott and I were kicking around the idea of offering free writing workshops as part of an LGBTQ literary festival here in Atlanta. His periodic reading series, Atlanta Rainbow Muse, and the continued presence of Outwrite and Charis have created a sustainable local audience. Now, after today’s productive board meeting, I’m beating the bushes for donors, big-name gay poets, and every queer student in every graduate creative writing program in metro Atlanta.
The event will take place at various mobility-friendly venues, on or close to public transportation, between Outwrite and Charis. We have almost no money to speak of, and the 501(c)3 process takes a few years, so we aren’t able to apply for many grants. The best we can do at this point is to secure as many corporate sponsors and private donors as possible, as well as urge authors to apply for the Poets and Writers $50 honorarium.
I’m fully aware of how slim the chances are of having major writers show up pro bono–and I am passionately opposed to asking writers to work for free, even if it is for the community. However, I have a sense that we can pull off this event, possibly even with an angel or two to get the featured guests paid. I’m asking various poets I know exactly what it would take to get them here. More as it develops.
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Meantime, you can drop by Outwrite on Tax Night (Tuesday, April 15, 8 pm) and decompress at the next Franklin Abbott and Friends production, “Celebrating Spring.” I’ll be reading along with Reginald Jackson and Collin Kelley. Just don’t call me Karen.
I’ll also be reading at the Gulf Coast Association of Creative Writing Teachers on April 12 in Fairhope, Alabama. It’ll be nice because that was where Robert Phillips solicited my poem “New Breast” for Texas Review; now, it’s in Letters to the World. That GCACWT reading back around 2000 was an important boost. It’ll also be good to touch base with some of the writers I studied with at UNO.