Border of Lights, with Dominican Writers and Word Up Community Bookshop Librería Comunitaria, welcome you to a reading of City Without Altar by Jasminne Mendez and a discussion in commemoration of the 85th anniversary of the Haitian Massacre with Edward Paulino, co-founder of the Border of Lights collective. Together they will discuss how poetry, performance, and history can work together to tell stories that are often silenced and oppressed.
This event is a $5 suggested donation ticket. Please register in advance to receive the Zoom link.
Edward Paulino is a native New Yorker, historian/griot, author, and for the last 20 years Associate Professor in the Department of Global History at CUNY's John Jay College where he teaches a variety of humanities courses including The History of Genocide. Prof. Paulino is the author of the 2016 book Dividing Hispaniola and the co-editor of the 2021 and open-source Border of Lights Reader. He is the co-founder of the 2012 Border of Lights collective and since 2014, he has written and performed in U.S. colleges and universities his one-person show: “Eddie's Perejil.” In 2018, he wrote the script for the Ted Ed animation video series “Ugly History: The 1937 Haitian Massacre,” which has received more than one million views. He is currently working on an essay book project entitled Seven Dominican-American Lives: Their Overlooked Influence on the Making of America’s Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Landscape. Prof. Paulino is on the boards of The Coalition for Immigrant Freedom in NYC and The Dream Project in Cabarete, DR. He lives with his partner and two kids in the Republic of Brooklyn and is a life-long Yankee fan but still likes the Mets.
Jasminne Mendez is a Dominican-American poet, educator, translator, playwright and award winning author of several books for children and adults. She has had poetry and essays published in numerous journals and anthologies including The New England Review, The Acentos Review, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, The Rumpus, and others. She is the author of two multi-genre collections Island of Dreams(Floricanto Press, 2013) which won an International Latino Book Award, and Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays and Poetry(Arte Publico Press, 2018). Her debut poetry collection City Without Altar was a finalist for the Noemi Press poetry prize was released in August 2022(Noemi Press) and her debut middle grade novel in verse Aniana del Mar Jumps In (Dial) is forthcoming in 2023. She has translated the work of NYT Best Selling author Amanda Gorman and she is an MFA graduate of the creative writing program at the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University and a University of Houston alumni. She teaches creative writing for Goddard College and she lives and works in Houston, TX.
CITY WITHOUT ALTAR is a poetry collection and play in verse that explores what it means to live, love, heal and experience violence as a Black person in the world. The titular play in verse that sits at the center of the book seeks to amplify the voices and experiences of victims, survivors and living ancestors of the 1937 Haitian Massacre that occurred along the northwest Dominican/Haitian border during the Trujillo Era. Between the scenes of the play are interludes that explore a different kind of cutting and what it means to feel othered because of illness, disability and blackness. Ultimately, Machete is a meditation on being/feeling blacked out by the archive, on the world stage and in one's daily life.
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