CBAW’s annual winter solstice reading. Please bring a candle to light with us.

Wednesday, December 20th at 7 pm ET!

Join CBAW for Glowing in the Dark, our annual winter solstice reading. Hosted by Hari Alluri and Seema Reza, and featuring readings from writers whose work sustains us, helps us to balance the light and darkness in both bright and difficult times. Featuring readings by Anne Barlieb, Chen Chen, Tarfia Faizullah, Aracelis Girmay, Brionne Janae, Arthur Kayzakian, Jon Sands, and more. Please bring a candle to light with us.

Stay after the reading for our Visual Art Program with Veteran and Artist, Shaun Smith. Bring your medium of choice to learn how to paint a flame.

About the Authors

Hari Alluri (he/him/siya) is author of The Flayed City (Kaya Press) and chapbooks The Promise of Rust (Mouthfeel Press) and Our Echo of Sudden Mercy (Next Page Press). He is co-editor of We Were Not Alone (Community Building Art Works) and co-founding editor at Locked Horn Press. Recipient of the Vera Manuel Prize for Poetry, siya has received grants, fellowships, and residencies from the BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, The Capilano Review, Deer Lake, Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, and others. His work appears through these venues and elsewhere: AALR, Apogee, Four Way Review, Marías at Sampaguitas, Poetry, ti-TCR, and—via Split This Rock—Best of the Net 2022. @harialluri |

Anne Barlieb medically retired from the Army in 2018 after 14 years of active duty service as a helicopter pilot, psychological operations officer, and strategic planner. Her autobiographical, ekphrastically-based writing contains intimate portraits of life survived and well lived in the face of great adversity, overwhelming uncertainty, and cascading redemptive synchronicities. Eventually, philosophies, doctrine, and archetypes hug to death the ego’s vulnerable sense of self. When we find the mind knee deep in a field of its own venomous snakes, Anne’s body of work is the reticulated python slowly, quietly, repeatedly reminding us of what is inherently ours to know: life’s sweetest juice is worth its tightest squeeze. Even in the most fragile, unexpected, devastatingly conflict-ridden or war torn moments, given a courageous psyche and its eternally delicate human heart, we don’t get to play dead to our deepest, trembling desires, ever.

Chen Chen’s second book, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency (BOA Editions, 2022), was a finalist for the Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize and a best book of 2022 according to the Boston Globe, Electric Lit, NPR, and others. His debut, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. He has received two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from Kundiman, the National Endowment for the Arts, and United States Artists. He edits Underblong and the lickety~split. He teaches for the low-residency MFA programs at New England College, Stonecoast, and Antioch.

Tarfia Faizullah is the author of two poetry collections, REGISTERS OF ILLUMINATED VILLAGES (Graywolf, 2018) and SEAM (SIU, 2014). Tarfia’s writing appears widely in the U.S. and abroad in the Daily Star, Hindu Business Line, BuzzFeed, PBS News Hour, Huffington Post, Poetry Magazine, Ms. Magazine, the Academy of American Poets, Oxford American, the New Republic, the Nation, Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket, 2019), and has been displayed at the Smithsonian, the Rubin Museum of Art, and elsewhere.

The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, three Pushcart prizes, and other honors, Tarfia presents work at institutions and organizations worldwide, and has been featured at the the Liberation War Museum of Bangladesh, the Library of Congress, the Fulbright Conference, the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, the Radcliffe Seminars, NYU, Barnard, UC Berkeley, the Poetry Foundation, the Clinton School of Public Service, Brac University, and elsewhere.

Tarfia’s writing is translated into Bengali, Persian, Chinese, and Tamil, and is part of the theater production Birangona: Women of War. Tarfia’s collaborations include photographers, producers, composers, filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists, resulting in several interdisciplinary projects, including an EP, Eat More Mango. In 2016, Tarfia was recognized by Harvard Law School as one of 50 Women Inspiring Change, and is a 2019 USA Artists Fellow. Born in Brooklyn, NY to Bangladeshi immigrants and raised in Texas, Tarfia currently lives in Dallas.

Aracelis Girmay is the author of the poetry collections Teeth, Kingdom Animalia, and the black maria. She is also the author/collagist of the picture book changing, changing, and with her sister collaborated on the recently published What Do You Know? Girmay is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund and recently curated How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton.

Brionne Janae is a poet and teaching artist living in Brooklyn. They are the author of Blessed are the Peacemakers (2021) which won the 2020 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize, and After Jubilee (2017) published by Boat Press. Brionne has received fellowships to Cave Canem, Sewanee Writers Conference, Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook. Their poetry has been published in Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The Sun Magazine, jubilat, and Waxwing among others. Off the page they go by Breezy.

Arthur Kayzakian  Arthur Kayzakian is the winner of the 2021 inaugural Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series for his collection, The Book of Redacted Paintings, which was also selected as a finalist for the 2021 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. He is the recipient of the 2023 creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is also the winner of the PS Straosse award for poems in Prairie Schooner and winner of the Open Chapbook Competition for his chapbook, My Burning City. He serves as the Poetry Chair for the International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA). His work has appeared in several publications, including The Adroit Journal, Portland Review, Chicago Review, Cincinnati Review, The Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Witness Magazine.

Seema Reza is the author of A Constellation of Half-Lives & When the World Breaks Open. Her writing has appeared in print and on-line in McSweeney’s, The Washington Post, The Feminist Wire, Bellevue Literary Review, The Offing, Full Grown People, and The Nervous Breakdown among others, and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has taught poetry in classrooms, jails, hospitals, and universities, and has performed across the country at universities, theaters, festivals, bookstores, conferences, & one fine mattress shop.

Jon Sands is a winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series, selected for his second collection of poems, It’s Not Magic (Beacon Press, 2019). He is a co-host of The Poetry Gods podcast, and a curator for SupaDupaFresh, a monthly poetry series at Ode to Babel in Brooklyn. His work has been featured in The New York Times, as well as anthologized in The Best American Poetry. He has received residencies and fellowships from the Blue Mountain Center, the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, and the Jerome Foundation. He facilitates a weekly writing workshop for adults at Baily House, an HIV/AIDS service center in East Harlem, and also facilitates the digital workshop, Emotional Historians, which is open to the public. He tours extensively as a poet, but lives in Brooklyn. Learn more on Instagram @iAmJonSands.


About our Facilitator

Shaun Smith is a Retired U.S. Army Veteran and Fine Artist based in Northern Maine. Shaun served 10 years as a Combat Medic with a tour in Afghanistan. During that time, he was awarded The Combat Medic Badge for providing care under fire and a Purple Heart for injuries sustained from a VBIED. Shaun found comfort in art therapy as a way to express his experiences, leading him to enroll into an art university. Shaun graduated from The Academy of Art University of San Francisco with a Bachelors in Fine art Painting in 2021. Shaun dedicates his time to painting landscapes, wildlife, and peaceful moments. SGHS Studios Facebook Group