The New Social Environment#927

A Consistency Towards Godhood: California Poets & Hurricanes: A Rail Reading curated by Mimi Tempestt

Featuring Tempestt, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, Jessica Ke’mani Hairston, Toya Groves, and soledad con carne


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Mimi Tempestt curates our 156th Wednesday Poetry Reading with Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, Jessica Ke’mani Hairston, Toya Groves, and soledad con carne.

In this talk

Ayodele Nzinga

Photo of Ayodele Nzinga
Cultural Architect Dr. Ayodele Nzinga is an arts and culture theoretician/practitioner working at the intersections of cultural production, community development, and community well being to foster transformation in marginalized communities. Nzinga holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Writing and Consciousness and Doctorate of Philosophy in Transformative Education and Change; she resides in Oakland, CA. The author of Incandescent, among other books, and her work can also be found in numerous journals and anthologies. Described as a renaissance woman, Ayodele is a producing director, playwright, poet, dramaturg, actress, performance consultant, arts educator, community advocate, and a culture bearing anchor.

Jessica Ke’mani Hairston

Photo of Jessica Ke’mani
Jessica Ke’mani (pronounced Keh-Mani) is an Oakland-born poet. Ke’mani is the author of the new poetry chapbook, Power of Our Wombs (Nomadic Press, February 2023). Recently, Ke’mani appeared on Susan Ruth’s Hey Human podcast where a wonderful conversation took place on adoption, reunification, and her book. Ke’mani also appeared on Adoptees-on podcast with Haley Radke, which will debut sometime this fall. Although they are no longer pursuing social work in the academic world, supporting children and families in the Placement system is deeply gratifying work. Ke’mani has spent the last few years studying Creative Writing at Northeastern University at Mills College in Oakland and has found purpose and challenge in English tutoring and hopes to pursue more work in this area.

Toya L. Groves

Photo of Toya L. Groves
Toya L. Groves is a lifelong teacher and writer who currently teaches High School English in Oakland, California. She has worked with formerly incarcerated and houseless populations in the Bay Area as teacher and case manager. As the mother of 3 children and who recently became a grandmother and wife, her work tells the story of the transformation of the divine feminine. She holds a BA in African American studies from UC. Berkeley, a MA in Women’s Spirituality from Sofia University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. It is her life’s work to tell the story of Womanhood as she sees and experiences it with hopes to inspire others.

soledad con carne

Graphic of soledad con carne
soledad con carne is a casually queer, intergalactic Oakland/Ohlone-based chicanx punk poet, working/poor multiple high school drop-out bookstore lackey, poet laureate of the San Fernando Valley, and blatant smoker sharing-trauma-with-their-mother.

Mimi Tempestt

A portrait of Mimi Tempestt
Mimi Tempestt (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist, poet, and daughter of California. She has an MA in Literature from Mills College, and is currently a doctoral candidate in the Creative/Critical PhD in Literature at UC Santa Cruz. Her debut collection of poems, the monumental misrememberings, was published by Co-Conspirator Press in 2020. In 2021, she was selected for participation in the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices & writers, and was a Creative Fellow at The Ruby in San Francisco. She is the 2023 recipient of the SFF/Nomadic Press Literary Prize in Poetry. Her second book, the delicacy of embracing spirals, is now available from City Lights. Her works can be found in Foglifter, Interim Poetics, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.