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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Missing BABEL? Us, too. If you’re looking for literary inspiration, here’s a roundup of links—videos, articles, podcasts, and more—featuring past BABEL authors. Learn about the books that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie loves, reads while working, and keeps on her nightstand in this “By The Book” interview from The New York Times—a quick, fun Q&A that will leave you with a ton of book recommendations.

Teaching artist Cheryl Quimba, author of the poetry collection Nobody Dancing and the chapbook Scattered Trees Grow in Some Tundra, leads writers into the liminal spaces of prose poetry (and Zoom!) in her upcoming workshop The Prose Poem on May 2. Cheryl took the time to chat with us about the workshop, what it means to be exploring the prose poem at this moment, and more.

Author and teaching artist Janet McNally is the author of two novels, The Looking Glass and Girls In The Moon, and a book of poems, Some Girls. She’s twice been a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in fiction, and she teaches creative writing at Canisius College. On Monday (Feb. 17), Janet’s three-session How to Start Your Novel workshop begins—an opportunity to dive into the novel project you’ve been dreaming up and find community, inspiration, and the push to keep going. Learn more about Janet and her workshop (spots still available!) in this quick Q&A.

Teaching artist Gabriel Bump has a busy 2020 ahead: his debut novel, Everywhere You Don’t Belong, hits bookshelves on February 4, he’s traveling the country on a book tour, and he’s teaching at the University at Buffalo and—lucky us!—Just Buffalo. Gabe took the time to chat with us about his upcoming Just Buffalo workshop for writers of all ages, and what’s inspiring him these days.

herry Robbins is a poet, teaching artist, and long-time yoga instructor. Her publications include the full-length collections Or, the Whale (BlazeVOX Books) and Under World, and the chapbook Snapshots of Paradise. She’s a familiar face at Just Buffalo—she’s been teaching workshops for youth and adults with us for nearly forty years. This spring, Sherry teaches two all-ages writing workshops at Just Buffalo: Tarot Writing and Falling Down, Rising Up. Learn more about Sherry and her workshops in this quick Q&A.

5 Questions with Poet & Artist Sage Enderton Sage Enderton began attending the Just Buffalo Writing Center (JBWC) in 2014, right when the center opened. As a matter of fact, Sage was one of the very first youth participants. She was in 8th grade and continued to attend JBWC workshops nearly every week until she graduated from City Honors. Whether writing made-to-order poems for donations at community events, welcoming new young writers into the JBWC, running writing activities, performing her work, or attending monthly meetings to plan events and programs, Sage became an active member of JBWC community working as Youth Ambassador, which contributed greatly to the center's success. Still a senior in high school, Just Buffalo hired Sage as the first student teaching artist, empowering her to lead her own writing workshops. Now, as a freshman in Buffalo State's College Writing Program, Sage continues to teach and volunteer at the JBWC. With already an impressive publication record, Sage's first chapbook of poetry, WHERE DO DEAD GIRLS WANDER?, was recently published by Bottlecap Press. What led you to be a writer? I started writing very early on in middle school when a creative writing class was introduced into our curriculum. Middle school is a weird point in adolescence - there’s a lot of new emotions to deal with and it’s difficult to find ways to cope. Poetry quickly became my way of processing my feelings, and it became something I genuinely enjoyed and had a passion for. From there, I never stopped writing. Who are some of your influences as a writer? and/or What is a book or piece of writing you find yourself turning back to most often? I enjoy a lot of Sylvia Plath’s writing, as well as some more contemporary poets like Ocean Vuong. Even though I don’t write prose or short stories very often, Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger is a novel I continuously return to; Wittlinger writes very compelling, honest stories that inspire me to improve my own work. Tell us a little about your chapbook. WHERE DO DEAD GIRLS WANDER? is a very personal compilation of my writing from the last year and a half. It’s an eclectic and candid mix of experiences, and contains ghosts, teeth, girls, healing, and hurting. The poems aren’t in chronological order, but they still provide a narrative of personal growth. What is next for your writing/artistic endeavors? It’s a bit ambitious, but I would like to experiment more with writing prose. My next project is to attempt - keyword, attempt - writing a novel, or at least a collection of short stories. I like challenging myself, so I’m hoping to complete it by the end of the year. What is one of your favorite JB memories/experiences? One of my favorite experiences with Just Buffalo was a songwriting workshop with Max Weiss a few years back. I was still fairly new to the writing center, and I was still very, very afraid to share my writing in front of others. It was a big leap for me - I wrote and