This workshop will offer participants innovative approaches and activities to employ narrative, poetry, and storytelling as modes of self-expression. Based on pedagogy from Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, New York, NY, 2011), Quraysh Ali Lansana will present writing exercises and storytelling as vehicles to identify and explore a deeper understanding of the ever-changing world through both reading and writing. Employing sensory prompts, community awareness identifiers, and “verse journalism” techniques created by Pulitzer Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks, participants will develop ways to see their neighborhood and neighbors, locally, nationally and internationally, through a different lens, starting with their block, to show how place and geography inform identity and individual worldview. By examining where story takes place—with natural ties to social justice issues—participants examine together how geography and topography inform self, relations, etc., through both individual and group inquiry. The session will include a walking tour of the Greenwood neighborhood, exploring the histories and people who inhabited the community in the past and making connections to those who live there now.
Please wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather. Bring whatever materials you like to write with – laptop, notebook, pencil, etc.
Quraysh Ali Lansana’s works have been published widely in journals and magazines across the country and internationally, including Callaloo, Gulf Coast, and American Poetry Review, among others. He is currently a Tulsa Artist Fellow and an Adjunct Professor at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa. He is a former faculty member of both the Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Drama Division of The Juilliard School. Quraysh served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002-2011, where he was also Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing. Lansana is a former Reading/Language Arts editor for Scott-Foresman/Pearson Education, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, and Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Quraysh was Lead Consultant/Contributing Poet for the Jamestown Reading Navigator Poetry Slam Online Program. He also served as Poetry Editor for Black Issues Book Review for five years and is currently a Contributing Editor of Oklahoma Today magazine.
Passage, his poetry video collaboration with Kurt Heintz, won the first ever Image Union/Bob Award from WTTW-TV (PBS). He is the recipient of other awards, including the 2006 Securing the Future Award from ETA Creative Arts Foundation, the 2000 Poet of the Year Award present by Chicago’s Black Book Fair, the 1999 Henry Blakely Award presented by Gwendolyn Brooks, and the 1999 Wallace D. Douglas Distinguished Service Award presented by Young Chicago Authors, Inc.
Lansana earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree at the Creative Writing Program at New York University where he was a Departmental Fellow. He has been a literary teaching artist and curriculum developer for over two decades and has led workshops and professional development sessions in prisons, public schools, and universities in over 30 states. He is a member of the Tri-City Collective.
Quraysh is author of the poetry collections The Walmart Republic with Christopher Stewart (Mongrel Empire Press, September 2014), mystic turf (Willow Books, 2012), They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems (Third World Press, 2004), and Southside Rain (Third World Press, 2000). He has also authored two children’s books, A Gift from Greensboro (Penny Candy Books, 2016), and The Big World (Addison-Wesley, 1999), as well as four poetry chapbooks. These include reluctant minivan (Living Arts Press, May 2014), bloodsoil (sooner red) (Center for the American Land, May 2009), Greatest Hits: 1995-2005 (Pudding House Publications, 2006), and cockroach children: corner poems and street psalms (nappyhead press, 1995). Lansana is the editor of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill’s African American Literature Reader (Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2001) and I Represent and dream in yourself, which are two anthologies of literary works from Chicago’s award-winning youth arts employment program, Gallery 37 (Tia Chucha Press, 1996 and 1997, respectively). He is also co-editor of Dream of a Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology (Tia Chucha Press, 2006) and Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art (Third World Press, 2002). Quraysh’s book Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. His most recent books include the skin of dreams: new and collected poems 1995-2018 (The Calliope Group/Purple Basement Poetics, 2019), The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop (Haymarket Books, 2015), A Gift from Greensboro (Penny Candy Books, 2016), The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience and Change Agent (Haymarket Books, 2017), and Revise the Psalm: Writing Inspired by the Work of Gwendolyn Brooks (Curbside Splendor, 2017).
Thanks to the generosity of many donors, ahha Tulsa provides camp, class, and workshop scholarships to currently enrolled K–12 students with demonstrated financial need.
To apply for a scholarship for this program, please complete this form (do not complete registration at the link to the right). A letter of support from a caseworker or school counselor is required for consideration.
In addition to a professional development certificate, certified teachers receive 20% off of select ahha classes and workshops. To see if you qualify, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Programs and dates are subject to change. Ahha Tulsa reserves the right to cancel programs due to low enrollment or other conflicts. If cancellation occurs, registered participants will be contacted by ahha staff and will be refunded the full tuition. If another session is available, we will be more than happy to transfer your enrollment to that session.
With inclement weather always possible, ahha reserves the right to close and cancel any scheduled classes and programs depending on severe weather conditions. If the ahha Hardesty Center is closed, a notice will be posted on our website. You may also call 918-584-3333 to confirm.
Beyond cancellations, no refunds or exchanges.