This past weekend, in collaboration with poet laureate Joss Barton and Trans Metro Umbrella Group, Heartspark Press held its first writing workshop for trans writers of color by trans writers of color, CICADAS AND CONEFLOWERS. For five days, we descended into the heart of the Midwest to create a safer space for our black and brown trans artists to write, explore, and connect with one another. Led by Joss Barton and Heartspark Board Chair Luna Merbruja, eight emerging writers journeyed through the existing canon of trans literature to create new poetry and prose across multiple genres. The results were nothing short of amazing, and we are so proud of what was accomplished in such a short amount of time.
On the last day, there was a small reading held at Pride STL featuring our resident writers. You can check out some of the performances via our YouTube channel.
While there were definitely trials and tribulations we had to overcome (thanks to the intersectionality of racism, transmisogyny, and ableism), Cicadas and Coneflowers was a life changing experience for both our organization and our resident writers. Thank you so much to RESIST, Trans Metro Umbrella Group, and the Borealis Philanthropy for making this workshop financially possible. We also want to give a giant shoutout to our instructors, Joss and Luna, for the unbelievable work they did over the last six months to make this workshop happen. Onward!