The son of an African-American father and a Mexican mother, poet and playwright John Murillo grew up in Los Angeles. He was educated at Howard University and New York University, where he earned an MFA. Murillo makes use of both formal and free verse as he engages themes of family history and personal identity. In a Q&A with the Poetry Society of America, Murillo states, “I write, first of all, in the tradition of the witness.”
Murillo’s debut poetry collection, Up Jump the Boogie (2010) was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the PEN Open Book Award, and was also named one of Huffington Post’s “Ten Recent Books of Poetry You Should Read Right Now.” Murillo’s poetry has also been included in Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of African American Poetry (2013, edited by Charles Henry Rowell). His choreo-playTrigger premiered with the Edgeworks Dance Theater in 2011.
Caits Meissner is a poet and transformative facilitator invested in the rehabilitative capacity of art. Caits’ poetry has been awarded first place prizes and residencies from the Pan-African Literary Forum, the Ja-Nai Foundation, Turkey Land Cove Residency and City College’s The Jerome Lowell DeJur Prize in Creative Writing for a significant manuscript in poetry. Her poems haveen published in various journals and anthologies including Drunken Boat, Duende, The Offing, Radius, The Feminist Wire, Amazon.com‘s Day One and The Literary Review, and her poetry/music album, the wolf & me, was released in 2010 to online acclaim on platforms such as Okayplayer. In 2012, The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You, Caits’ collaborative poetry book with poet Tishon, arrived on the Well&Often imprint. Caits is a Founding Editor of The Wide Shore: A Global Journal of Women’s Poetry. For over ten years, Caits has extensively facilitated youth and adults in poetry and multi-media expression in prisons, schools, needle exchanges and community centers, and has worked long-term instituting innovative arts education programming at cultural hubs such as Tribeca Film Institute, Urban Arts Partnership, The Facing History School and the Lower Eastside Girls Club. Caits developed and creatively directs the #GrowFierce community, centered around Digging Deep, Facing Self – a 30 day online intensive writing course designed to uplift, heal & transform women into their boldest selves. Widening access, Caits has facilitated the powerful curriculum in live spaces to reach women in need, including incarcerated women, adolescents and on tour in Malaysia, sponsored by the US Embassy. Currently, Caits serves as Writer-In-Residence at the Bronx Academy of Letters, a rehabilitative creative writing facilitator in a women’s prison, and as an adjunct professor at The New School University. She is also thrilled to be a student herself, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at City College of New York.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
7:30 pm (Doors 7:15 pm)
Celebration of Whimsy
(21-A Clinton Street, just south of Houston)