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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In the latest issue of Buffalo Spree, Maria Scrivani chats with Min Jin Lee about Pachinko, her writing heroes, and her next book. Come be inspired by one of today's best loved authors on March 20th!

Meet Writing Center Youth Ambassador Sage Enderton. The first picture is from 2014, when she first started coming to the center.  And here's Sage this past week, leading a poetry and collage workshop as a Teaching Artist! She's the first young writer to become a Teaching Artist and we couldn't be more proud of her. Watching her change from being too shy to share her work to realizing that "I have a voice and it's loud and it's powerful and I have a lot to say" has been an honor and a privilege. For the workshop, Sage explored the idea of collage in poetry and visual art. Participants wrote centos* and then created collages inspired by their poems. *From the Latin word for “patchwork," the cento (or collage poem) is a poetic form made up of lines from poems by other poets.Thank you for supporting the Just Buffalo Writing Center; this transformation wouldn't have been possible without you.

Education Director Noah Falck was able to sneak back into town before the storm. He spent a few days at the NYSCA offices for a conversation on professional development opportunities for arts educators.  It is always a great occasion to meet our colleagues at other organizations; we're all stronger together! back row:Elizabeth Bennett of Staten Island ArtsEd Friedman & Maura O'Malley of Lifetime Arts, Inc.Helaya de Barros of Association of Teaching ArtistsStephen Butler of CNY ArtsBryant 'Drew' Andrews of Center for Creative EducationAlex Sarian of Lincoln Center EducationRosemary Williams of Western New York Book Arts CenterNoah Falck of Just Buffalo Literary CenterAnnette Ramos of The Rochester Latino Theatre Company- RLTCNelle Stockes of Magic Box Productions front row (kneeling / sitting)Katie Rainey of Community-Word ProjectSusan Perlstein of Elders Share the ArtsChristine Leahy & Kavie Barnes of NYSCA

The first days of January tempt us to pivot between past and future. As we begin to come back to our routines and think about where we want to go to, we also pause to recall where we’ve been. At the end of 2018 we lost Amos Oz. Thankfully, WBFO took the time to sit down with him in 2011 when Oz was a guest at BABEL.

A Recipe For Horror STEP ONE: Everyone writes the title of horror movie that doesn’t exist. You’ll Need Your Rubber Gloves In 1922, on a lonely hike to a waterfall, William Kobialski encountered a carefully woven basket. In a flash of black, the raven carrying it urgently flew off as if it were a man running away after lighting on old-fashioned bomb. Inside the basket were two blood-red rubber gloves and an orange bowtie. As he touched the basket, the clothing rapidly flew onto him, nearly cutting off the circulation in his hands and strangling him at the neck. His blood pressure dropped and he blacked out. Azazel spoke to him. Not in words. In feelings, in fires in the skins of tortured, sin-laden goats. He saw the skin of the goat change and coalesce, eventually into a human form--his own form. He felt his skin, and it felt soft--too soft. It stuck to his glove, to his hand, to his entire body. He wished so badly for it to be gone--and it was gone. Everything but the gloves, the bowtie, and his own senses. He awoke in a cold sweat but the sweat slowly fell down into nothingness, until it landed on a single rubber glove. The only remnant of his past body was a smell that was just a little too chocolaty, just a little too sweet, just a little too much of a good smell--until it grew to be absolutely unbearable, and the bow tie and gloves were bloody instead of blood-red, and the bowtie was fire instead of just a hellish, deep orange. But by that time, I doubt one would notice… Written by Theo STEP TWO: Costume closet -Can use the horror title you got as inspiration. -Create a character by getting into their costume using the costume closet. This character will end up being in a scary story you are going write. They could be the person/thing to be feared in your story, or they could be someone who encounters the person to be feared. All the Brains Were Kept in the Attic Ms. Louis kept 10 brains in her attic. Each brain represented something: 1 - when she was younger, her favorite memory 2 - when she had her worst dream 3 - when she got in trouble in school 4 - when she turned a certain age 5 - her first day of high school 6 - her first day of college 7 - when she began to be an adult 8 - when her old black cat died 9 - brain 10 - when she had a funny nightmare All of the brains had glitter and pink and black diamonds on them. Ms. Louis was very old and miserable. She didn’t like nobody. She wanted everyone to leave her alone. She was 87 years old. She had 2 grandchildren. They were 10 and 7. The boy’s name was Alex, and Max, Max is the girl. When Ms. Louis was 15 she broke her leg and left arm at the gym. Ms. Louis always drunk hot lemonade water with little tea bag particles in there that

On October 3rd, Just Buffalo Literary Center played host to Mohsin Hamid, the first author in the 2018-2019 BABEL speaker series lineup. Arriving in Buffalo, Hamid said, felt in a way like coming home. Upon taking the stage he made note of the parallels between Buffalo and his native Lahore, cities whose best days are thought to be behind them and yet suddenly seem to have more to look forward to than others proclaimed. From the beginning, Hamid established himself as a “familiar stranger”, and the rest of his talk he spent telling that we all share that identity. For almost two hours, Hamid engaged the audience with anecdotes of his own personal history, the rationale behind the use of portals in his novel, the portals we use in real life, and the commitment to the use of imagination in adult life. There are several ways in which Exit West can be construed and analyzed as a piece of fiction, but Hamid clarifies this is a story about first love. It’s important to make the distinction: first love, because by definition, there must be a second or third. Otherwise, it would just be called love. “We find [meaning] in the context of things that end. Of first loves. I thought it would be important to reconnect the idea of transits. Of the fact that everything changes, and that actually a human life consists of having enough courage in the face of the fact that we lose everything, to still live as well as we can imagine.” Hamid’s own life served as a lens through which to write the novel, having roots in Pakistan, California and Princeton throughout his early childhood and young adulthood. It was a jarring experience at times, according to Hamid, which left him moments of insecurity. He shared with the audience that as a young child he did not utter a word for an entire month. After arriving in California and hearing another young child asked: “Why does he speak like that?”, terrifying his parents. Thankfully, for his family, and for us, Hamid spoke again. By the end of that month he was speaking complete English sentences, and found a voice in his silence. Yet despite this victory, language itself was a journey for Hamid. Upon his return to Pakistan as a nine-year-old he realized his fluency in Urdu suffered through his adoption of English. Once again his authenticity as someone who “belonged” was questioned. Hamid came off as a cultural enigma to some, a hybrid of language and places that were difficult, if not impossible, to separate. Yet feeling out of place was not an experience that was unique to him, he realized, and for that, there must be a good reason. Hamid argued that the sensation of strangeness, of being estranged from oneself and one’s surroundings, is universal. It is a bridge between the experiences of those forced from their native lands and those who have lived in the same house their entire lives. We are all migrants

It may have been Annette Daniel Taylor’s booming voice introducing poets coming up to the mic, it may have been the warm red light shining on Julian Montague’s mural (painted by James Moffit), or it may have been the ephemeral poems from Adam Drury’s POEMATIC 900, but if you walked by Washington St. on October 11th, you definitely witnessed some type of magic that transformed an early fall Thursday. Attendees of Just Buffalo’s Words on the Street Block Party were treated to twelve seemingly different but inextricably connected performances by spoken word poets, musicians, authors, performers, and artists. Taylor, whose unending list of accolades should include Professional Hype-Woman (if it doesn’t already), started off the evening reading from her book, “Dreams on Fire,” recently out from West 44 Books. Set in Buffalo, her novel in verse focuses on a young girl with an incarcerated father. “Good behavior lessens time, not Mama’s tears,” Taylor writes. Following Taylor, we were graced by Richie Willis who shared two poems with the audience about coming out, about having a body, about being a human among other humans. “I did not choose the shape of the constellation that I am,” his voice echoed off the walls and somehow warmed the night around us. Magic. Robin Jordan, Writing Center Coordinator, brought to the stage several Young Writers from the center, names you might not know now but surely you will soon, Jahton, Theo, Hanna, and Angel. These writers aren’t great writers for their ages, they’re just great writers. Addressing issues in their work such as identity, immigration, instability, and the hearts insurmountable ability to heal, these young writers are half reason Mayor Byron Brown designated Washington Street as the literary corridor of Buffalo. Ten Thousand, a member of Buffalo’s Pure Ink Poetry team, delivered another type of magic to the block party by freestyling a poem based on words suggested by the audience. From “puppies,” “obsolete,” “transaction,” and “chicken,” he brought forth a piece about a Grandmother’s love. “Heaven is right here on this plate,” he said. And how right he was. Following Ten Thousand, Curtis Lovell showed us just how many looping harmonies can swirl within one human with songs such as “Tender” and “Bruja.” Lovell’s debut album comes out November 1st, with a show at the 9th Ward. Closing out the night were readings from Laritza Salazar, Julie Valentine, and Dayatra Hassan. Salazar hails from downstate and is currently interning at Just Buffalo. Her magic was found in the line, “a lesson learned from being a childless mother,” which was heard visibly by the audience. Valentine warmed up the chilling night with his blood poems, “sangre para mi” and his joyful descriptions of his Poetry Bus, an on-going project to bring his poems around the country. Lastly, Hassan read her work to us with the voice of a woman who is going to tell you exactly what you need to hear even when you don’t want to hear it. “How it hurts when the truth