Amplify Projects

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In her 2009 TED Talk, "The Danger of a Single Story," Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks of the power of stories. Our lives, our communities, and our cultures are all composed of overlapping stories, but there is a very real danger if we hear only a single reductive story about another person or place. She says, "Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity. ...when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise."

At Literary Cleveland it is our mission to amplify marginalized voices—to place power into the hands of people and communities, giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms. That is why we created Amplify Projects, an ongoing series of programs designed to empower, uplift, and celebrate our many stories.

See the links below for more information on our Amplify Projects.

Spring 2023 Projects

REGISTER HERE!

Constellations

Writing Group

Constellations is a series of free writing group meetings for BIPOC LGBTQIA+ writers led by Willow.

BIPOC folx at the intersection of queerness, transness, + gender nonconformity are invited to join free workshops to build community and create writing outside traditional fiction/nonfiction/poetry categories. In each meeting, participants will connect and create new work, such as archives, annotated bibliographies, recipes, playlists, hymns, prayers, confessions, and unsolicited advice. The purpose of Constellations is to draw together an assembly/assemblage of local creatives, writers, and artists, to trace out their lives and leave a record in the sky for those who are here and those who will come after.

Click here to read Willow's reflection on their experience creating and leading Constellations.

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The Art of the Ghazal

Class

Decentering the Self: The Art of the Ghazal is a free workshop on the ghazal form of poetry taught by Maham Khan.

Learn about the history of the ghazal form of poetry, analyze examples, and learn to write your own in this free virtual class as part of our Amplify Projects series led by Maham Khan. In this workshop, we will first set out to ask ourselves: what is the ghazal? What are some words and ideas we associate with this poetic form? By sifting through the history of the ghazal and its contemporary iterations in English, we can chart a rich tradition that has always been defined by qualities of liberation and subversion. We will read essays and ghazals by Kazim Ali, Agha Shahid Ali, Shadab Zeest Hashmi, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Fatimah Asghar and Adrienne Rich. Through discussions of land and culture, we will embark on the idea that if the ghazal decenters the poet/self, it can also destabilize the anthropocentric.

Click here to read Maham's reflection on creating and leading "Decentering the Self: The Arts of the Ghazal."


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Spring 2022 Projects

REGISTER HERE!

@NahomysLibrary

Video Series

@NahomysLibrary for Literary Cleveland is a series of BookTube/Bookstagram videos promoting reading, writing, and the use of social media to build literacy and furthering the Lit's mission to place power into the hands of marginalized people and communities, giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms.

The video series was created by Nahomy Ortiz, creator of @NahomysLibrary and a participant in the internship program at Literary Cleveland, as a part of our ongoing Amplify Voices series. This series was designed to empower, uplift, and celebrate communities by giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms.

View videos here.

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Reflections of The Land

Anthology

Friday, April 15, 2022, Literary Cleveland published a new online anthology called "Reflections of the Land: Meditations on Environment & Industry." The anthology features original poems, stories, and essays by 15 local writers, highlighting relationships to the natural and built environments of Greater Cleveland.

"Reflections of the Land" was created by Aparna Paul, a participant in the internship program at Literary Cleveland, as a part of the new Amplify Project series. This series was designed to empower, uplift, celebrate, and center marginalized communities by giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms.

"Reflections of the Land" gives Cleveland writers a space to maintain a sense of pride when the place around us is changing so dramatically.

Read anthology here.

This project is presented in partnership with The Land.

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Spring 2021 Projects

REGISTER HERE!

Black Women Coping in Cleveland

Anthology

Friday, April 16, 2021 Literary Cleveland published a new online anthology called “Black Women Coping in Cleveland.” The anthology features original poems and essays by 13 local writers and highlights the experiences and perspectives of Black women in Greater Cleveland.

“Black Women Coping in Cleveland” was created by Dr. Tisha Carter, a participant in the internship program at Literary Cleveland, as a part of the new Amplify Projects series. This series was designed to empower, uplift, celebrate, and center marginalized communities by giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms.  

In January of 2020, City Lab released a study that deemed Cleveland the worst large city in America for Black women. According to the report, Cleveland came in last or second to last for educational outcomes, income, and health outcomes for Black women. This report, along with Dr. Carter’s personal experience, inspired her to create this anthology.  

Read the anthology here.


This project is presented in partnership with National Congress of Black Women Greater Cleveland Chapter, Great Lakes African American Writers Conference, and Enlightened Solutions.

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Breaking the Silence: Queer Life in NE Ohio

Anthology

Friday, April 9, 2021, Literary Cleveland published a new online anthology called "Breaking the Silence: Queer Self, Life, and Love in Northeast Ohio." The anthology features original poems and essays by 14 local writers and highlights the wealth of perspectives in the queer and trans community of Greater Cleveland.

"Breaking the Silence" was designed and led by Literary Cleveland intern and Oberlin student Alexander Saint Franqui as part of Literary Cleveland's new Amplify Projects series, which is designed to empower, uplift, and celebrate communities by giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms.

Franqui was inspired to create this anthology by the national Day of Silence, an annual student protest again the harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ2 students in schools. On this day, usually observed on the second Friday of April, students around the country and the world take a vow of silence to draw attention to the voices we lose when LGBTQ2 individuals are forced to silence themselves. At the end of the day, participants Break the Silence by attending various rallies and events to share their stories. For this reason, Literary Cleveland’s new anthology was published on April 9th, the traditional Day of Silence.

Read the anthology here.

This project is presented in partnership with The Buckeye Flame, The Cleveland Street Chronicle, GLSEN Northeast Ohio, and TransFamily Cleveland.

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The Future Is in Color: Intro to Afrofuturism

Class

As part of Literary Cleveland's new Amplify Projects series, we offered a free class on Afrofuturism taught by writer and spring intern Isaiah Hunt.

In a world where the future is now, Afrofuturism blends black culture and sci-fi themes into one beautiful genre. It has been seen in the works of recent hit movies Get Out and Black Panther, and the popular TV show Lovecraft Country. But where did Afrofuturism begin? How does it differ from science fiction? In this class, we will traverse the history of Afrofuturism and challenge our perception of sci-fi in a new way. From dark dystopias to black utopias, we’ll explore authors such as W.E.B. Dubois, Octavia Butler, Sun Ra, and other black sci-fi writers who’ve taken their stories to the stars and introduced the idea that the future is in color. It’s time for tomorrow’s fiction to celebrate blackness.

The Future Is in Color: Intro to Afrofuturism with Isaiah Hunt was held Monday, March 22. This free class has since been expanded and offered with Cuyahoga County Public Library and Elizabeth's Bookshop and Writing Center.

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In her 2009 TED Talk, "The Danger of a Single Story," Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks of the power of stories. Our lives, our communities, and our cultures are all composed of overlapping stories, but there is a very real danger if we hear only a single reductive story about another person or place. She says, "Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity. ...when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise."

At Literary Cleveland it is our mission to amplify marginalized voices—to place power into the hands of people and communities, giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms. That is why we created Amplify Projects, an ongoing series of programs designed to empower, uplift, and celebrate our many stories.

See the links below for more information on our Amplify Projects.

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