“As I said in my letter to Columbia,” Winter Tangerine Review editor-in-chief Yasmin Belkhyr shared with me, “how many women of color have not been able to enter writing competitions because of reading fees? How many are not able to pursue writing because of the high cost of workshops? One is too many.”
Founded in March 2013, Winter Tangerine Review is Belkhyr’s response to these questions that plague the predominantly white literary world, from publications to the MFA and beyond. As WTR approaches its third year, editors are accepting applications for the journal’s fourth flash workshop, Sing That Like Dovesong.
Titled after a line from poet Julian Randall’s “Ode to the Spontaneous Dance Party,” Belkhyr says writers can expect to “dig into their own personal history and explore how that relates to the history of their cultures, countries, religions, languages, etc, etc. We’ll talk about,” she continues, “cultural icons, the power and importance of names, and what the word ‘home’ means for people of color in a diaspora who can often claim several places as their homeland and yet not feel fully comfortable in any of them.”
The workshop features hour long Google Hangout seminars with poets Angel Nafis and Fatimah Asghar, who will explore their respective writing processes and what it means to write as women of color. Participants will also read and discuss work by Morgan Parker, Ocean Vuong, Franny Choi, Junot Diaz and more.
“One of the greatest benefits of our workshops,”Belkhyr says, “is that they are incredibly accessible. Our workshops don’t require students to travel long distances, worry about missing school or work, or dropping loads on tuition and boarding costs. All you need to participate is an internet connection and an open mind. For marginalized people (queer, POC, poor, dis/abled, etc) who cannot attend expensive MFA programs or take a summer off of work to go and write, our workshops are an opportunity that they may not otherwise have. I think the opportunity to work with other writers, to receive thorough feedback, to speak with established writers, and to be connected with a larger literary community is so important to the growth of any young writer, and I think (and hope!) our workshops are bringing that to people.”
Sing That Like Dovesong will be held online March 12-20, 2016. Applications can be found here, and the deadline is February 20, 2016.
(Photo: Angel Nafis, photo by Niqui Carter)