August 2020, preferred pronouns: she/her
Baldwin for the Arts was a transformative experience. It lives in the answer to the rhetorical question Gloria Anzaldúa once posed in the seminal anthology, This Bridge Called My Back: “Who gave us permission to perform the act of writing?” It’s a question I return to often, and at Baldwin the answer was clear. Everything felt more possible; I felt more possible.
I’m forever grateful for the uninterrupted time I was afforded to sit with my creative obsessions. For the time to think, to write, to be. I’ve been working on my debut poetry manuscript for some time, knowing the stories I needed to tell required a different set of tools. At Baldwin, those tools were ignited and alive. I felt courageous enough to write the poems that haunted me and safe enough to ask the harder questions of drafts I was revising.
As I worked on a series of basketball sonnets exploring my own relationship to diaspora, language, queerness, and the colonial relationship between the U.S and Puerto Rico—I’d shoot hoops in the driveway each afternoon and somewhere in that geography, find another breakthrough (another “lane” into the work). The path toward my own eye was made clearer, more available to me, because Baldwin for the Arts intimately understands what feeds the work: it provided a stillness and sense of care that I’ve felt in very few places. To put it plainly, this space put me back in my bones.
It was truly an honor to be welcomed into this vibrant community. I’m incredibly humbled and grateful for Baldwin’s vision and Jacqueline Woodson’s deep generosity. Baldwin for the Arts is a creative harbor, a literary lighthouse, and above all, a place to dream…