Tragedians, by Katia D. Ulysse

Poverty is like an engagement ring: expensive but obligatory. Necessary. The world would be bleak without it. Poverty gives birth to thriving institutions that are immune to failure. Poverty is a lottery with the largest payout in history. Poverty is exotic. Poverty, like clean water, is indispensable. The engineers of this flourishing institution will kill to maintain its integrity. Tragedy brings shame and hopelessness to those under its crushing hooves. To others, it brings pleasure and conceit. Tragedy is an insatiable lover that rouses lust like dust in a storm, choking the air, clogging nostrils, and blinding eyes. Tragedy is irresistible. Poverty dances on some tongues like bubbles…

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Au revoir, April! (The month in review)

Poetry month has gone! April was particularly special to me because my play, To Accept, Dial 5 Now, was presented every Thursday at the MicroTheater Miami. To Accept, Dial 5 Now, which got positively reviewed, is a story about violence, jealousy and control, the choices we make, and the limits of love. Last performance is tonight! Actors include Chasity Hart as “Jackie” (left), Jovon Jacobs as “Silas” (top right), and Laura Pons as “Recording” (bottom right). Director Gladys Ramirez and I were interviewed by Neil de la Flor for the Knight Arts blog. * On Sunday, April 12, starting at Soundscape Park, musician Taylor Ho Bynum led a group of free-wheeling…

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Natalie Lux: Oh, my… Empanadas!

As a person with Colombian roots, I consider food very important. There are a variety of delicious foods in this Hispanic culture— ranging from arepas to bandeja paisa. Nonetheless, my absolute favorite food would have to be empanadas. Empanadas are an extremely popular food often sold outside of churches or in the streets of Colombia. Fortunately, there are many restaurants in America that also sell this delicacy. I find empanadas especially delicious because they are sacred in my heritage, there are different types, and they have a unique taste that allows them to be paired with a variety of different foods. Growing up, my grandmother always made empanadas…

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MJ writes a ZIP Ode

Throughout April, WLRN and O, Miami asked locals to write odes to their ZIP codes. A ZIP Ode is five lines, with the number of words in each line determined by the poet’s particular ZIP code. If a ZIP code contained a zero, that line could be left blank or used to put a punctuation mark or symbol. My Zip Ode made it in the Miami Herald! WLRN received more than 3,500 odes to ZIP codes. So many poets in South Florida. Who would’ve thunk? ‪ Presidential Inaugural poet Richard Blanco will select five winners from the project on April 29 (my birthday!) at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

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Jeremy Paden: On this Fault, Let Us Write a Poem

Here is a stand, let us sit for a night or two or three in silence before we speak. I wish it were a copse of blue-flowering lignum, shedding petals that float like butterflies, or the ceibas under whose canopies Anacaona and Guacanagarix held court, or the guayaba and guanábana that fed Guarocuya’s rebels, even the bushes and shrubs Mackandal used for his potions and powders, anything but this grove of felled mahogany. Where is the poem that will not forget that Bolívar forgot Pétion’s aid? The poem that will remind Charles X that Haiti paid for her freedom in blood? The poem that will stand before Monroe…

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Hey, are you done writing that story?

‪#‎TBT‬ that time Dan Jones from The New York Times – Modern Love was on our stage, at Lip Service. Now accepting story submissions for our May 9 show. Deadline is April 17. Give us your best, true, personal story about POWER. A time you felt powerful. A time you felt powerless. A time power was subverted. A time the power went out. Submit 1,200 words to submissions@lipservicestories.com Guidelines at www.lipservicestories.com Deadline: April 17. Showdate: May 9. This show is a collaboration with Aqua Foundation, empowering the lesbian, bi, and trans community in S. Fl. Be a part of the best storytelling show anywhere!

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Miami, mars s’en va! (A recap)

A few years ago, Natalia Maldonado pointed out on The Writer’s Digest, “It’s hard to believe that [Miami], a city associated with oily bronze bodies, million-dollar yachts and a sleepless club scene would have any place for bookworms and writers.” Later, Poets and Writers described Miami as “a city in the throes of cultural enlightenment.” I agree. And I believe that writing workshops help foster the vitality of Miami’s literary community. I was happy to announce some interesting March events, with writers such as John Dufresne (How to Write a Novel in Six Months) and Jan Becker (Boot Camp for Queer Writers). John Dufresne is the author of five novels (Louisiana Power &…

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Suze Baron: Take Vladimir, He’s Good Company

It is biting cold in front of the Family Court.

 A year ago, if you had told me that I would be standing here today, about to petition guardianship for a seven-year old, I would have said, “You’re nuts.” Life is difficult as it is, with my eighty-nine-year-old Mama twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. She forgets where she goes to the bathroom, forgets where she lives, even forgets who I am. Besides Mama, I have my teenagers, Edena and Jimmie, and two dogs. At fifty-two, I yearn to be free. I yearn to be free. I yearn to return to work, to writing classes, to…

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Single. Taken.

(A story by Tatiana Garcia) You might roll your eyes when people say they’re happy just because they’re in a relationship. Many are liars, but not me: I really don’t miss being single. Before Justin “got” me, I was a mess. I showered only when I could take in my own odor (after all, since I work indoors, I didn’t see the point of wasting electricity, water, soap, and especially 15 minutes of my time). Now, I shower twice a day: I happily waste hot and cold water, my skin as smooth as a baby’s buttocks. I didn’t use to wear make-up, even when the dark circles around…

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Haiti, Phoebe, and the Oloffson: At the Crossroad of Race and Nationality and Class: An Interview

Phoebe Rusch: Thank you for featuring me, MJ. It’s an honor. MJ Fievre: You’re welcome, Phoebe. I’m happy to help promote your fundraising campaign. Do you want to say a little about that? Phoebe: Yes! I’m trying to raise money to spend May-September in Port-au-Prince doing research for my novel The Hotel Trianon, which is loosely based off of the history of the Hotel Oloffson. I’m using a crowd-funding platform called Hatchfund, similar to Kickstarter. I’d like to rent a studio apartment at Kay Bartoli in Pacot, close to the Oloffson, and be able to get around safely (i.e. drivers and moto-taxis.) The cost of transportation adds up…

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South Florida, what’s your story? (We want you to send it to us!)

Back in November, in honor of its eight-year-anniversary, Lip Service launched Badass, Lip Service: True Stories, the Double Album (Lominy Books, 2014) edited by Andrea Askowitz.  This anthology is acollection of some of the best of Lip Service’s first eight years. Lip Service is a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation award-winning organization and a Miami institution. Badass recentry got a great review in Florida Book Review.  Bonnie Losak wrote, “The stories in Badass are effective, evocative, and accessible. They cover a wide array of subjects, ranging from an attempt to use Santeria to affect the outcome of a criminal trial in Miami to the rape of a heroin addict in New York City.”…

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Adieu, February! (A recap)

Adieu, February! Together, we paid A Tribute to Maya Angelou and Ruby Dee, “not because they are gone but because their work and words will live on forever.” (Suze Guillaume) Fans of both flash fiction and the noir genre welcomed A Father First, a gripping tale by Hector Duarte Jr. An Angel on the Other Side of the Border, a story by Marylin Laurent, brought us a moving and authentic perspective on the deep-rooted tensions between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Jerry Ambroise said it best: “I thought [this story] to be as nuanced as reality is. The truth is never black or white. It’s those who see…

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An Angel on the Other Side of the Border, by Marylin Laurent

When we met in Caribbean Literature 101, he was the first to smile at me. “Hola, mama!” he said, his eyes searching my face. Then he introduced himself—Angel. As he waved a hand, I replied as politely as I could, yet my tone was annoyed and dry. “I don’t speak Spanish.” Waiting for the teacher, Prof. Ganz, I’d just spent too much time arguing with a Panamanian guy who claimed to know for seguro that I, myself, was also from Panama, as if I did not know or had forgotten where I came from. In my opinion I looked pretty Haitian, with caramel skin and kinky hair, though chemically…

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Katia D. Ulysse reads “Take a Picture”

Listen to Katia D. Ulysse read her story “Take a Picture.” Katia D. Ulysse was born in Haiti, and moved to the United States as a teen. Her writings have been published in numerous literary journals, including the Caribbean Writer, Meridians, Calabash,Peregrine, and Smartish Pace, among others. Her work has also appeared inThe Butterfly’s Way and Haiti Noir. Her first children’s book, Fabiola Can Count, was published in 2013. Ulysse lives in Maryland with her husband and daughter. When she’s not reading, writing fiction, gardening, or teaching, she blogs on VoicesfromHaiti.com. Drifting is her first book of fiction.    

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