Mar 3rd, 2021
Welcome to Congress of the Spirits: a poetry ritual and performance. We wanted to create a sacred space in the airwaves for us to commune in, focusing on nourishing our depleted spirits with poetry that stimulates the imagination and crosses over into the dreamworld in which we can imagine a better future.
Before this magical reading, Claire and Annar offer a short meditative ritual to enter the virtual and imaginative space of the performance, where we can all share in the experience of poetry.
For the ritual: If you have these things (or some of these things) on hand, please gather: a scented item that brings you comfort, a scrap of paper and a writing utensil, and a candle. If not, you just need your imagination.
Our Magical Readers:
lily someson is a poet and essayist from Chicago. She has obtained a B.A. in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago and is a winner of the 2020 Eileen Lannan poetry prize with the Academy of American Poets, as well as the Spring 2021 Host Publications Chapbook Prize for her chapbook, mistaken for loud comets. She has been published or is forthcoming in Court Green, Queeriosity, and Columbia Poetry Review among others. She is currently a first-year Poetry MFA student at Vanderbilt University and an assistant poetry editor of the Nashville Review.
On Ritual, lily says: Some of her favorite rituals include grocery shopping, antiquing, postcard collecting, and visiting Lake Michigan on warm summer mornings.
Taisia Kitaiskaia is the author of four books: The Nightgown and Other Poems; Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers, a collaboration with artist Katy Horan and an NPR Best Book of 2017; and Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles as well as its follow-up, Poetic Remedies for Troubled Times: From Ask Baba Yaga. She is the recipient of fellowships from the James A. Michener Center for Writers and The Corporation of Yaddo.
On Ritual, Taisia says: "I have a small wooden fairy door against a big bald cypress in the yard. On special occasions, I'll leave a note or talisman behind the door.
Heather Christle is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Heliopause. Her first work of nonfiction, The Crying Book, was published in 2019, with translations now appearing in many languages throughout Europe and Asia. She teaches creative writing at Emory University.
Heather says: My favorite ritual is taking a nap, which I do every day. I do not mean to sound flippant; I cannot imagine how I could maintain waking consciousness and awareness of the world without that intervening rest.
Claude Cardona is a queer poet from San Antonio. Her chapbook What Remains is a collection of poems about longing and loving as a Chicana in Texas. Cardona is also the co-editor of Infrarrealista Review, a publication for Texan writers.
Claude's rituals include: burning letters full of wishes under the full moon, leaving offerings on her altar, and always offering her friends 3 card tarot readings.
Faylita Hicks is an activist, writer, and interdisciplinary artist. They are the former Editor-in-Chief of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and the author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry. They have been awarded fellowships and residencies from Tin House, Lambda Literary, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Broadway Advocacy, and the Right of Return USA. Their work is featured or forthcoming in Adroit, American Poetry Review, the Cincinnati Review, Ecotone, HuffPost, Longreads, Palette Poetry, Poetry Magazine, The Rumpus, Slate, Texas Observer, VIDA Review, Yale Review, and others.
Faylita talks about ritual at the end of their reading, but they say this: “I chose these poems because they have little bits of my rituals inside of them.”
Dorothea Says: My favorite ritual involves taking endless naps and walks, and then spraying new mixes of scents everywhere before writing. This ritual is my greatest luxury and hasn't happened in so many years, but I am hoping it will again one day soon.