R116. Liberate Literature: Creating an Artistic Culture Outside of Academia

Liberty Salon I, J, & K, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Thursday, February 9, 2017
9:00 am to 10:15 am


Academic affiliation is not an option for many people of color, economically poor, geographically isolated, or traditionally excluded groups. Panelists show how systems used for community organizing can be shifted to grassroots artistic organizing in the form of cultural centers, worker centers, readings, & workshops. Community building around art and literature creates a means of access for under-served communities. Attendees will leave with tangible solutions and plans for action.



Jen Fitzgerald is a poet and essayist. She is a member of New York Writers Workshop, host of New Books in Poetry, and was a Bread Loaf 2014 participant. Her first collection of poetry, The Art of Work, is forthcoming.

Rodrigo Toscano is the author of seven books of poetry, including Explosion Rocks Springfield, Deck of Deeds, and Collapsible Poetics Theater (a 2007 National Poetry Series Selection). His writing has appeared in Best American Poetry. He works for the Labor Institute in New Orleans.

Rosalyn Spencer, educator and advocate, holds a BA in English and MLS in public library, directs Project S.O.U.N.D., (an arts and activism group), directs youth art programs, and teaches ELA to rural children. She is a grantwriter, advocate, and supporter of the arts in education.

Ailish Hopper is the author of Dark~Sky Society and the chapbook, Bird in the Head. Poems have appeared in APR, Ploughshares, Poetry, and Tidal Basin Review; essays on racism in the poetry world in Boston Review and elsewhere. A MacDowell Fellow and Yaddo grantee, she teaches at Goucher College.

Rosebud Ben-Oni received a 2014 NYFA fellowship in poetry and a CantoMundo fellowship in 2013. She is the author of Solecism, a poetry collection, and an editorial advisor for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center