A reading by exceptional queer writers Autumn Barksdale, Esprit Boyd, Houston Cypress, Nik Rye, Farah Diba, and Julie Maria Wade. Literary lineup curated by poet Cathleen Chambless, showing some of the best of who is living and writing in Miami’s outstanding queer literary scene.
Cathleen Chambless is from Miami, Florida. She graduated with her MFA in poetry from FIU. She is also a visual artist and activist. Her work has appeared in The Electronic Encyclopedia of Experimental Literature, Fjords, Grief Diaries, Jai-Alai, Literary Orphans, Storm Cycle 2014 & 2015, and Wussy Mag. Cathleen Chambless is currently celebrating the debut of her poetry collection, Nec(Romantic).
Born in Seattle in 1979, Julie Marie Wade completed a Master of Arts in English at Western Washington University in 2003, a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh in 2006, and a PhD in Humanities at the University of Louisville in 2012. She has received the Chicago Literary Award in Poetry (2004), the Gulf Coast Nonfiction Prize (2004), the Oscar Wilde Poetry Prize (2005), the Literal Latte Nonfiction Award (2006), two Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prizes (2006, 2010), the AWP Intro Journals Award for Nonfiction (2009), the American Literary Review Nonfiction Prize (2010), the Arts & Letters Nonfiction Prize (2010), an Al Smith Artist Grant from the Kentucky Arts Council (2010), the Thomas J. Hruska Nonfiction Prize (2011), the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir (2011), the Bloom Nonfiction Chapbook Prize (2012), and seven Pushcart Prize nominations. Julie is the author of two collections of lyric nonfiction, Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures (Colgate University Press, 2010) and Small Fires (Sarabande Books, 2011), and two collections of poetry, Without (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and Postage Due (White Pine Press, 2013) as well as the forthcoming Tremolo: An Essay (Bloom Press, 2013). She lives with her partner Angie Griffin in the Sunshine State and teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University in Miami. She can be reached at www.juliemariewade.com.
Esprit Boyd is a spoken word poet who began writing as a therapeutic release. Her poetic words have the power to positively influence others. Esprit performs at a few local spoken word events including Ink Therapy hosted by the amazing poet May Reign, and Thou Art Woman. Esprit was also the winner of the We Rise Poetry Slam. Esprit writes about various topics including social justice, positive self esteem, love, suicide, and addiction. When Esprit is not writing she is doing her best to help populations society might have otherwise given up on thrive. Whether it be canvassing for LGBTQ rights, helping abused or abandoned kids, or sitting with victims of domestic violence, Esprit is a true advocate at heart and is now using the power of words to assist in the fight.
Farah Diba says ¡Viva la revolución! to everything from poetry and queerdom to breathing. They are an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at FIU, an Aqua scholar with the Aqua Foundation for Lesbian, Bisexual, and Trans Women, and a sometimes yogi, sometimes dancer, sometimes thespian who is constantly scheming to queerify the South Florida literary scene.
Autumn Rose Barksdale is a trans woman writer, poet, and public speaker based out of Lake Worth Florida. Her poetry has been featured in The Offing, The Jabbercat, Crab Fat, and in an upcoming issue of THEM.
Nik Rye is a pansexual feminist artist and writer. Formerly homeless, she’s worked with Food Not Bombs for several years fighting for homeless people’s rights. During that time, she has been to jail five times. Nik also joined the puppet troupe in that period, Autonomous Playhouse, which performs politically educational shows. She’s traveled the United States a few times in several different ways, from bicycle touring to train-hopping. Currently, she has intentions on communicating through her art, holding firm to the words, “emancipation through creation”.
HOUSTON R. CYPRESS – YAHALÉTKE grew up in the swamps of the Florida Everglades. The endangered beauty of the natural environment made such an impression on him during his childhood – being a refuge for his ancestors and the source of traditional plant medicines – that today he articulates strategies for preserving this World Heritage Site.
Houston Cypress is a Two-Spirit Poet, Artist, and Activist from the Otter Clan of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. He resides on the Miccosukee Reservation located west of Miami, Florida; and he maintains a number of traditional villages located on tree islands scattered throughout Water Conservation Area 3A – the area known as the historic River of Grass, and called by his community: KAHAYATLE, which can be translated as “Shimmering Waters.” He combines art, conflict management, communications, and spirituality through an organization that he helped to create, known as the LOVE THE EVERGLADES MOVEMENT.