August 10 Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices

I was asked to guest instruct a class on the art of creating poetry manuscripts this year at Lambda Literary’s The Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. So looking forward to this! Our community has cultivated a publishing landscape and readership that give LGBTQ poets some very special avenues to publication.

I’ll be at the Otis College of Art and Design, tomorrow from 2-4 pm!

The workshop was established in 2007 and is the first of its kind ever offered to LGBTQ writers: a one-week intensive immersion in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, genre fiction and playwriting. The Retreat is an unparalleled opportunity to be mentored by the very best writers in our community, to develop one’s craft, make connections with publishing industry professionals and build a strong community of peers.

So Grateful! A Note from Last Year, Western Illinois University

I am so happy to be able to share like this. I sometimes (not too often) search myself on Google. And I just saw this. 

“Rykas books give LGBTQ individuals a voice; a chance to speak up over their oppression. Rykas ability to articulate her inner feelings shows an in-depth mastery over the written word. The enthusiasm with which she reads suggest a passion for the topics she writes about. There were moments within her readings where members of her audience were moved to tears. There were other moments in which they laughed out loud. In just one hour, Ryka Aoki managed to command the attention of everyone in the room. No one was checking their cell phones. No one was looking at their watch. For a full hour, a room full of college students was fully engaged. This is quite an accomplishment in todays world.”

Thank you again, so much to Western Illinois University, and to Merrill Cole. And to Hali Pace, the writer of this piece.

<3

Ryka

 

 

Matador Review Interview and a bit More

Hi All,

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So, yes, the Matador Review asked me to chat with them, and gosh, we covered so many things! I really enjoyed this interview because it covered some different ground, and I’m in a different place in my life–so it’s neat to see how my answers and thoughts are evolving and refining with time. The interview is here (http://www.matadorreview.com/ryka-aoki), and it there are also other excellent interviews, literature, and images.

I think a big difference between now and previous interviews is that I am a lot more alone than I was before, and am thinking much more on how community functions to cultivate its own artists. Not all artists can do it alone, and though they are admirable, being a self-sufficient warrior should not be a prerequisite to developing and thriving as an artist. There is room for all experiences.

Or there should be.

<3
Ryka

Lambda Lit Fest! March 10

I have been a little behind on the posts. But, Lambda Literary has been working very hard on its first literary festival, right here in Los Angeles. Today, I have the honor of sitting on a panel with Bernard CooperD’LoWendy C. OrtizClaudia Rodríguez and Terry Wolverton.

“In many ways, California has been the leader in the nation for LGBTQ rights, and Los Angeles has been one of the centers for this activism. This Lambda LitFest LA Panel brings together six luminary LA-based writers to express their definition of what is quintessentially LA. Each writer will share some of their work, and then they will discuss what defines the queer literary landscape of LA, how the long-standing history of queer folks in cinema/Hollywood has affected the writing and culture of Los Angeles, and how diversity has shaped our city and the LGBTQ movement. Moderated by Alex Espinoza and followed by a Q/A.”

The interesting thing about poems is one never misses the piece that has never been written. Yet once written, it can seem as it the world could never have existed without it. I think the same thing may go for this festival. It will become a vital, needed part of Los Angeles, and the Queer Literature community. <3 So honored to be part of it.

 

Much love, Ryka

Photos From Big Blue Marble—April 11, 2015

tumblr_nmvux1Mt8F1szf9u8o6_540tumblr_nmvux1Mt8F1szf9u8o2_540-1 tumblr_nmvux1Mt8F1szf9u8o7_400Photos by Julieta Salgado :)

 

Models of Pride 20 Plenary Panel

I was honored to give a plenary speech to an auditorium full of amazing LGBT youth at Models of Pride 20. I was also thrilled to meet and share the stage with Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Reading “To the New World” at Barnard College

My Reading at RADAR, San Francisco, Feb 17, 2015