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TLA in Action: Connection, Collaboration, & Community

  • 09 December 2020
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Online
  • 59


Join us for an evening of poetry, writing, and storytelling on Zoom showcasing some of the talented artists who make up the transformative Language Arts community.

Featuring: Usha Akella, Taína Asili, Joseph Bruchac, Liz Burke, Ada Cheng, Lisa Chu, Kelly DuMar, Lyn Ford, Dorothy Randall Gray, Callid Keefe-Perry, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Mohsin Mohi Ud Din, Laura Packer.

Moderated by Liz Burke, TLA Network board chair. This event is pay-what-you can. Your generous contribution helps support the artists and the work of the Transformative Language Arts Network. We realize that times are hard for many of us, and we hope you will not let money get in your way of attending!

Please note: this event takes place in Eastern Standard Time.

About the artists

Usha Akella has authored four books of poetry, one chapbook, and scripted/produced two musical dramas. She earned an MSt. In Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge, UK. Her last poetry book, The Waiting was published by Sahitya Akademi, (India’s highest Literary authority) in 2019 followed by the Mantis Editores, Mexico edition in Spanish.

She is the founder of Matwaala the first South Asian Diaspora Poets Festival in the US and the-pov.com, a website of curated interviews along with David Kopacz. She has been invited to prestigious international poetry festivals and was invited as a keynote speaker to TLAN’s Power of Words conference 2019.

Taína Asili is a New York-based Puerto Rican singer, filmmaker and activist carrying on the tradition of her ancestors, fusing past and present struggles into one soulful and defiant voice. Her music combines powerful vocals carrying themes of hope and liberation with an energetic fusion of Afro-Latin, reggae and rock. Asili’s music offers a sound that spans continents, exuding strength of Spirit, inspiring audiences at venues across the globe – From Carnegie Hall to the Women’s March on Washington to the main stage of San Francisco Pride. With an energetic horn section and infectious rhythms, Asili’s music urges people to get on their feet and dance to the rhythm of rebellion.

Joseph Bruchac is a writer and traditional storyteller who lives in the Adirondack Mountains Region of northern New York in the house where he was raised by his grandparents. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Greenfield Review Literary Center and The Greenfield Review Press. 

An enrolled member of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation, his experiences include running a college program in a maximum security prison, and teaching in Ghana, West Africa. Author of over 160 books in several genres for young readers and adults, much of his writing draws on his Native ancestry.

He and his sons, James and Jesse, who are also storytellers and writers, work together in projects involving the preservation of Native culture, Native language renewal, teaching traditional Native skills, and environmental education at their Ndakinna Education Center

Liz Burke is a poet, interdisciplinary educator, and writing coach passionate about narrative and arts-based approaches to personal and social transformation. She works with adult students, working-class identified groups, university faculty, LGBTQIA+ communities, women living with the aftermath of sexual assault and harassment, feminist activists, and poets/writers of all kinds. She serves as the TLA Network's Board Chair. 

Ada Cheng is a professor-turned-storyteller, solo performer, and storytelling show producer. Ada is the producer and the host of five storytelling shows, including Pour One Out, Am I Man Enough?, Talk Stories: An Asian American/Asian Diaspora Storytelling Show, Speaking Truths Series, and This Is America: Truths through My Body. She creates platforms for people to tell difficult and vulnerable stories as well as for communities who may not have opportunities otherwise. Her motto: Make your life the best story you tell.

Lisa Chu is a multidisciplinary artist and SoulBodyMind coach based in northern California. She is passionate about encouraging people of all ages to recognize and explore their own creative potential through mixed media. As a performing artist, she has written and performed a solo autobiographical theater show and has performed as both classical and improvisational violinist for many decades. As a visual artist, she has shown her work in group and solo exhibitions and self-published several illustrated books.

Kelly DuMar is a poet, playwright, and engaging workshop leader who guides new and experienced writers to aim for astonishment, reclaim their imaginations, and generate enlivening writing experiences. Her Aim for Astonishing photo-inspired process elicits profound personal awakenings, deepens connection with others, and fosters beautifully crafted writing in poetry and prose. Author of three poetry collections, Kelly is also author of Before You Forget— The Wisdom of Writing Diaries for Your Children. She produces the Our Voices Festival of Boston Area Women Playwrights, held at Wellesley College, now in its 13th year, and she produces the annual Boston Writing Retreat and the weeklong summer Play Lab for the International Women’s Writing Guild, where she serves on the board. Kelly founded the Farm Pond Writers Collective to guide women writers to write from their personal photos, develop their artistic voices and connect deeply with their creative lives. Kelly inspires readers of #NewThisDay - her daily photo-inspired blog - with her mindful reflections on a writing life.

Lyn Ford is a fourth-generation Affrilachian storyteller, Ohio teaching artist, and award-winning author who has shared programs and workshops on creatively writing, joyfully playing,  and developing and sharing narratives for more than thirty years. Lyn’s work is published in several storytelling-in-education resources, and her own books—Affrilachian Tales: Folktales from the African-American Appalachian Tradition; Beyond the Briar Patch: Affrilachian Folktales, Food and Folklore; Hot Wind, Boiling Rain: Scary Stories for Strong Hearts—as well as collaborations with friend and fellow storyteller Sherry Norfolk: Boo-Tickle Tales: Not-So-Scary Stories for Ages 4-9; Speak Peace: Words of Wisdom, Work & Wonder, and Supporting Diversity and Inclusion with Story. Lyn is also a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, and a great-grandmother.  

Dorothy Randall Gray is the author of bestseller Soul Between The Lines (Avon/HarperCollins), inspirational teacher, award-winning visual artist, and LA Poet-in-Residence. Her publications include  Muse Blues, Passion Collection, Woman, Fierce With Reality, Family, Tamarinda, Sharing The Same Sky, and numerous anthologies and literary journals. She is E.D. of Women Writers & Artists Matrix, former NYU faculty, and Hunter College Poet-in-Residence. Her writing and healing workshops have served seasoned writers, incarcerated and homeless populations, veterans, at-risk youth and post graduate students. Her creative services have been commissioned by many organizations including PEN America, the United Nations, National Association for Poetry Therapy, Carnegie-Mellon Institute, and Columbia University. A global activist, Dorothy believes in changing the world one word at a time. 

Callid Keefe-Perry is one of the two Co-Executive Directors of ARC: Arts | Religion | Culture, a traveling minister in the Quaker tradition, and an advocate for the arts as a way of deepening spiritual practice. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Theology at Boston University’s School of Theology and works on the importance of creativity and imagination in spirituality. He has been a public school teacher, was the co-founder of a community theater, and is a former Coordinator of the TLA Network. He thinks it is OK for people to laugh a lot, that power cedes nothing without demands, and that creativity is a vital quality of adaptive and effective leadership. 

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the founder of Transformative Language Arts and author of 24 books, including How Time Moves: New & Selected Poems; Miriam's Well, a novel; and The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community. She leads writing workshops widely, coaches people on writing and right livelihood, and consults on creativity. She leads Your Right Livelihood, a training on doing the work you love, with Laura Packer, and Brave Voice: Writing & Singing for Your Life retreats with Kelley Hunt.  

Mohsin Mohi Ud Din is an artist, activist, and founder of #MeWe International Inc. (#MeWeIntl), a global non-profit that builds communications and storytelling interventions for psychological wellbeing, leadership development, and community engagement for youth, caregivers, and community building organizations. His work has received honors from the United Nations, SOLVE MIT and Open Ideo. Mohsin’s innovative work has reached more than 5,000 people across more than 12 countries, beginning with his Fulbright Scholarship in 2010. He has been a featured speaker at the World Economic Forum, United Nations, MIT, TedX, and his work on #MeWeSyria has been published on UNHCR Innovation, VICE, and Al Jazeera. For a video and short film about #MeWeIntl click here.

Laura Packer is a storyteller, writer, coach, keynote speaker, and consultant who knows the best way to the truth is through a good story. She is the author of From Audience to Zeal: The ABCs of Finding, Crafting, and Telling a Great Story, co-facilitates Your Right Livelihood with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, and has won multiple awards for her performance, coaching, writing, and leadership. Laura has published, told, taught, ranted, raved, consulted and considered storytelling around the world. 

The TLA Network exists to support and promote individuals and organizations that use the spoken, written, or sung word as a tool for personal and community transformation.

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