Chavonn Williams Shen Writes to Heal


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By Matthias Roberts. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Chavonn Williams Shen is a poet, artist, educator, and activist from Minneapolis. ​

Winner of the Still I Rise grant, first runner-up for the Los Angeles Review Flash Fiction Contest, and Best of the Net Award finalist, Chavonn is also a Pushcart Prize nominee, winner of the Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose through the Loft Literary Center, and fellow through the Givens Foundation for African American Literature.

As a Tin House and VONA workshop alum, Chavonn’s poetry and prose have appeared in Yemassee, the Los Angeles Review, Permafrost Magazine, and Cosmonauts Avenue.

Chavonn uses art as a practice of resilience and resistance. By using and teaching poetry, writing becomes an act of healing.

When not teaching with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, Chavonn’s time is spent obsessing over house plants.

Topics Discussed:

  • Faith Forms Identity: One foot in the north, one in the deep south as a storyteller
  • Ancient Text: Remix, adapt, and make stories more malleable
  • Career Path: Cognitive science and psychology versus English and writing
  • Fellowships: Apply for what you want - to be on stage, reading, and writing
  • Poetry and Therapy: Way to help people protest and heal from trauma
  • People’s Hands: Words and colors capture who they are and what they do
  • Reclaim Language: Carve out composition space without marginalized writers
  • Writing Exercises: Name everything and everyone around you that is true
  • Book of Prayer Poems: Writing poetry is spiritual practice for well-being
  • What does rest look like? Meditation and resistance

Links and Resources:

Chavonn Williams ShenChavonn Williams Shen on FacebookChavonn Williams Shenn on TwitterMinnesota Prison Writing Workshop (MPWW)The Nap Ministry - Rest as ResistanceQ Christian Fellowship Virtual Conference (Code: Queerology2021 for $10 off)Queerology Podcast on InstagramQueerology Podcast on Twitter Beyond Shame by Matthias RobertsMatthias Roberts on Patreon

146 episodes