Our Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

As a precaution to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and care for our community, Just Buffalo Literary Center has postponed a number of events, and we will follow the guidance of Buffalo Public Schools in terms of Just Buffalo Writing Center programming.

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As a way to archive the many writing prompts we use at the Just Buffalo Writing Center, we are going to more frequently post writing prompts created by young writers, teaching artists, and others. This prompt takes inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina. In particular, think about the scene in Alice in Wonderland when Alice shrinks and then grows very large. Notice her transformation of perspective, how she is forced to look at the world in a different way, abruptly! 

Call for Young Writers Calling all young poets, storytellers, songwriters, and citizens (ages 12-19)! What brings you relief—if even for a moment—during these difficult times? Whether in the form of a poem, spoken word piece, speech, essay, or original song, Ujima Company, Just Buffalo Writing Center, and Squeaky Wheel invite you to take part in Water in the Desert, a multimedia exploration of the concept of “hope in a time of despair.”

"Buffalo is often called the 'City of Good Neighbors' because it is a city that's home to a large refugee and immigrant population. As Buffalonians we pride ourselves on this flourishing diversity. But with xenophobia and hate crimes on the rise, sometimes the message behind being a 'City of Good Neighbors' is forgotten. Through this summer fellowship at the Just Buffalo Writing Center I interviewed three different immigrants who call America home, and offer readers a snapshot of their lives. My hope is that by sharing these narratives, we can learn how each of our experiences intertwine and that human empathy ties people from all varying backgrounds together. These profiles act as a response to the question, 'What makes being the “City of Good Neighbors” so wonderful?'"

We were thrilled to spend time catching up with poet & JBWC alum Hannah Nathanson, who recently released her first chapbook, Alternative Universes, with Bone & Ink Press. (Hooray, Hannah!) Hannah graduated from City Honors in 2018; she now studies English, global culture, and creative writing at Binghamton University. She will also be leading a workshop at as a teaching artist at JBWC—later this month, on geography and ghosts.

Poet, founding editor-in-chief of Peach Mag, and Just Buffalo teaching artist Rachelle Toarmino is author of the poetry collection That Ex, recently published by Big Lucks Books. Rachelle took the time to chat with us about That Ex, the experience of releasing a book during a pandemic, and the creative ways she’s connecting with readers despite it all—like hosting Buffalo’s first-ever drive-in poetry reading to launch That Ex on Friday, Aug. 7.