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2024 Poetry Residency

at Bethany Arts Community

During their time on site, these poets will develop new works while engaging with the local community.

2024 BAC Poetry Residents

Bleah Patterson, Ulyses Razo, Christa Fairbrother, Theta Pavis, Jessica Doe, Savannah Lucas, Kathy Z. Price, Robin Clarke,
Kevelis Matthews-Alvarado, Milica Mijatovic

Bethany Arts Community presents our 4th Annual Poetry Residency. Honoring the artistry of poetry and the art that poets create, we are pleased to welcome our 2024 Poetry Residents!

Bleah Patterson (she/her)

Bleah Patterson (she/her)

About Residency

Residency Plan:
I plan on continuing work revising and adding new work to my manuscript: I’m a Millennial Do They Told Me I Was Special, Fat, & Going to Hell and reflect more closely on some of the themes of deconstruction, fatphobia, generational trauma, and queerness as I compile my final manuscript. I am excited for my time to meet and connect with other artists and the community, which I know will also inspire and enhance my personal work.

Bio:
Bleah Patterson (she/her) is a southern, queer writer born and raised in Texas. A current MFA candidate and writing professor. She was a winter 2024 SAFTA resident and Spring 2024 BAC Resident. She is a Pushcart nominee and her various genres of work are featured or forthcoming in The Brazos River Review, Write or Die, The Texas Review, Across the Margins, Queerlings, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Beaver Magazine, and elsewhere.

Social Media/Website:
Instagram & Blue Sky: @littlemissbleah / https://bleahbpatterson.weebly.com/

Ulyses Razo (he/him)

Ulyses Razo (he/him)

About Residency

Residency Plan:
During my time at Bethany Arts, I plan to produce a series of new poems composed from material accumulated over this past fall and winter. I will consider, explore, and categorize the types of poems I have written in the past year, and will conceive of potential arcs and/or styles through which to begin to construct a chapbook, a full length collection, or both. I am hopeful that conversations with the rest of my cohort will enlighten and broaden my thoughts on the possibilities of how to construct a book of poems. Questions on the value and nature of narrative and plot, the ways in which poems converse, argue, and/or confer with one another, as well as sequencing, pacing, and structural weirdness will be at the forefront of my thinking.

Bio:
Ulyses Razo’s poems have appeared in Spectra Poets, shitwonder, the lickety~split, dream boy book club, Die Quieter Please, and elsewhere. He was a 2023 fellow at Paul Smith’s College and lives in London, England.

Artist’s Social Media: 
Instagram – @ulysesrazo

Christa Fairbrother (she/her)

Christa Fairbrother (she/her)

About Residency

Residency Plan:
Christa Fairbrother intends to spend her time during the Bethany Arts Center residency finishing her first collection of poems focused on life with chronic illness. She has published individual poems on this theme but needs the dedicated time of a residency to work on organization and editing. The collection would also benefit from a few more pieces, so a new location and the quiet space will be the perfect prompt to fill the holes in the book. Also, Christa’s looking forward to the collegial aspect of her time at Bethany to engage with other poets as well as the community.

Bio:
Christa Fairbrother, MA, is the current poet laureate of Gulfport, Florida. Her poetry has appeared in DMQ Review, Medical Literary Messenger, Orca, and The Sunlight Press, among others. She’s been a resident with the Sundress Academy for the Arts, a participant in Writers in Paradise, and her chapbook, Chronically Walking, was a finalist for the Kari Ann Flickinger Memorial Prize. Her book Water Yoga (Singing Dragon, 2022) won medals from the Nautilus Book Awards and the Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Awards. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in the pool with a big jug of iced tea.

Social Media/Website:
https://christafairbrotherwrites.com / Instagram – @christafairbrotherwrites

 

Theta Pavis (she/her)

Theta Pavis (she/her)

About Residency

Residency Plan:
“Live Here Now,” centers around a collection of poems about gentrification and the working-class history of Jersey City. This new project is informed by the past and future of Jersey City, where my family has lived for many years. I am particularly interested in the untold story of the factory laborers and other working class people who were the backbone of this area prior to the current wave of gentrification. Many beautiful buildings have been turned into high end condos, including: the Dixon Mils (a pencil manufacturing factory), the American Can Company (also now condos), the city’s main hospital (an art deco masterpiece) and even my first primary school — all are now high-end apartments that the city’s long-time residents, for the most part, cannot afford. This project seeks to also connect with the fight for affordable housing.

Bio:
Theta Pavis is a poet and editor. Her writing has appeared in The Journal of New Jersey Poets, The Red Wheelbarrow, Mom Egg Review, Spillwords Press, Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers (HeyDay Books) and many others. A collection of her poems was shortlisted in 2022 by Yellow Arrow Publishing. Her chapbook The Red Strobe is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Her poems have been performed onstage by Poetry Well in New York and she received a residency from Arts By The People in New Jersey. She works in university communications.

Artist’s Social Media: 

Instagram – @thetapavis

Jessica Doe (she/her)

Jessica Doe (she/her)

About Residency

Residency Plan:
I will be completing my collection, “[sp]RED,” which Indigenizes the tarot deck. It is under contract with Red Planet Books, an Indigenous-owned press, for a late 2024 release date. “[sp]RED” aims to decolonize what is typically considered a “white” tool, and I will be imbuing it with the teaching from my mother (my first tarot teacher) and my Aniyunwiya lineage, background, and teachings.

Bio:
Jessica Mehta, PhD is a multi-award winning Aniyunwiya inter/multi/anti-disciplinary poet, artist, and scholar. As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, space, place, Indigenization, and de-colonization are the driving forces behind her work, which includes several books and exhibitions. Her doctoral work addressed the meeting point of eating disorders and female poetics. During her post as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Bengaluru, India, she curated a poetry anthology in the colonizer’s tongue. She is the current Bayard Rustin artist-in-residence in Manhattan, a 2023/24 Peace Studio Fellow, the Lead Poet-in-Residence at New York’s Kristine Mann Jung Library, a forthcoming Laundromat Project Create Change fellow in Brooklyn, and the forthcoming 2024 BigCi Environmental Award fellow in Australia. Visit www.thischerokeerose.com for more information.

Artist’s Social Media: 

www.thischerokeerose.com

Savannah Lucas (she/her)

Savannah Lucas (she/her)

About Residency

Residency Plan:
In this residency, I plan to unplug and allow myself to be completely consumed by my artistry. I will be working on my first collection of poems, and immersing myself so deep into the creative possibilities in my mind that I will be able to see what my capabilities can amount to. This book requires a lot of work and dedication, I hope to be reminded of the reasons I believe writing is my purpose in life. I want to be able to learn from others. I think there’s something special about writers, and the way we see the world. I want to be a sponge, soak in everything I can from any knowledge being offered to me. I plan to dedicate myself in ways I’ve never had the ability to before.

Bio:
Savannah Lucas is a 22-year-old Puerto Rican Spoken Word Poet from East Harlem. Savannah discovered poetry in elementary school and instantly fell in love with the art form. Spoken word has served as a vessel of self-empowerment for Savannah, allowing her a platform to express the life, love, and loss experienced by a young Latina growing up in New York City. Savannah’s poetry has also served to inspire others and this reality drives her to continue to create content despite the many demands and distractions of her everyday life as a working full-time student. Savannah is currently in her second year of college at BMCC and is majoring in Finance. She chose this major, not only because Math has always been one of her favorite subjects in school but most importantly because she realized at a young age the importance of financial literacy for young women of color as a vital life-skill. Savannah also works as a server at Tavern on the Green, an iconic restaurant located in Central Park known for its elegant setting and many high-end clients. During her free time Savannah likes to spend quality time with her friends and family, especially her three little sisters Eva and Delilah, age 9 and Lucia 16 months as well as explore the city in search of good eats.

Artist’s Social Media: 

Instagram – @savannahs.words

Kathy Z. Price (she/her)

Kathy Z. Price (she/her)

About Residency

Residency Plan:
In the collection of poetry, that I will be working on at Bethany Arts Community, the poems focus on the abuse of power, and an examination of slavery from Americans, who freed themselves. Rewritten from the point of view of the self-freed African American, the concept is to juxtapose the notices of 18th century with updated narratives from the self-freed people in response and with voices of Black Lives Matters. With the North Star, as guide, then and now, this will also intersect with personal experiences as an African American woman travelr, directly confronting racial profiling reflecting on a spiritual journey inward and external, of finding peace and even joy, as a political act and birthright even while in the turmoil of bigotry intolerance, and prejudice.

Bio:
Kathy Z. Price is an author, poet, and musician. Her literary poetic book, MARDI GRAS ALMOST DIDN’T COME THIS YEAR (2022 Simon & Schuster Atheneum), received starred reviews from Horn Books, ALA Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly. An earlier book received favorable reviews in the NYT. She is a MacDowell Fellow, Hedgebrook and Cave Canem Fellow, and recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. She is also a Rona Jaffe Fellow and Bread Loaf Scholar. Her poetry is included in Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poet’s Café, Henry Holt, Pleiades, Triquarterly, Cincinnati Review and others. She’s a Pushcart nominee, Winner of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize and represented by Rena Rossner with The Deborah Harris Agency. At Bethany Arts Community, she will be crafting a collection of narrative poems, a hybrid work, in the voice of 18th century self-freed African Americans and Black Live Matters.

Artist’s Social Media: 

www.kathyzprice.com

Robin Clarke (she/her)

Robin Clarke (she/her)

About Residency

Residency Plan:
I will be revising and generating new work for a chapbook that explores the difficulty of narrating trauma when one has learned to cope by suppressing feeling.

Bio:
Robin Clarke is a writer, teacher, and psychotherapist. Her first book of poems, Lines The Quarry (Omnidawn, 2013), won the Omnidawn 1st/2nd book prize for poetry, judged by Brenda Hillman. With the poet Sten Carlson, she co-authored a chapbook of poems entitled Lives of the Czars (nonpolygon, 2011). An excerpt from her memoir-in-progress, Those Little Anodynes, won the 2016 Tupelo Open Prose award, judged by Nick Flynn. Her poems and prose have been published in Conduit, Denver Quarterly, Fence, jubilat, LABOR, Tupelo Quarterly, Verse, and elsewhere. Robin lives in an intentional co-housing community with her partner and their two children.

Artist’s Social Media: 

https://robin-clarke.com/ 

Kevelis Matthews-Alvarado (they/he/she)

Kevelis Matthews-Alvarado (they/he/she)

About Residency

Residency Plan:
My primary two goals during my residency time at BAC are the expansion of a current growing body of work called “I build new worlds for you” and the continued development of a new series of work tentatively called “in the corners of my (r)evolution”. The “i build new worlds for you” is an afrofuturist project which rememorializes portraits of sharecroppers, farmers, and other ancestors in newly imagined spaces of liberation and abundance. During my residency, I will expand this project by writing a series of poems that linguistically embody the essence of the visual project and the draft of a prose piece that frames the project within a broader historical context. Lastly, the “in the corners of my (r)evolution” is about (re)/engaging with the writing of various understudied revolutionary thinkers, many of which have helped shape the sociopolitical and cultural lens with which I approach my work. I have already done the project mapping for this, so I plan to spend my residency time writing some work inspired by 1-2 of these radical artists.

Bio:
KEVELIS MATTHEWS-ALVARADO is a queer nonbinary afro-latine multimedia artist, interdisciplinary thinker, and poet currently based on occupied Lenape Land (Philadelphia, PA). Kevelis’s mixed media creative practices are inextricably invested in collective liberation and located along a continuum of other radical black queer artists who use their work as catalysts for imagining freedom. Kevelis draws inspiration from current and historical political and artistic movements by exploring the ways artists have participated in these organized resistance efforts across time and space. Often their artistic process is a direct response to harsh realities; a cathartic release and an emotional exhale operating within Audre Lorde’s framework that “this poetry is not a luxury but is a vital necessity of our existence. [poetry] forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.”

Artist’s Social Media: 

www.kevelis.art / Instagram – @kevelis

Milica Mijatović (she/her)

Milica Mijatović (she/her)

About Residency

Residency Plan:
During the residency, I plan to work on two related projects: my first poetry collection and my second chapbook, titled Laundry Room Royalty. My poems tell stories of people I knew and didn’t know, recurring dreams I’ve had, places I’ve seen and others I haven’t. They explore war’s aftermath, its human consequences, and its narratives. To be more specific, my second chapbook takes me to early 2000s America, where the poems examine life in my first living arrangement, in the Kings Apartment Complex, which was filled with ex-Yugoslavian immigrants. This chapbook would be the second section of my first collection. Mainly, I want to spend my time at the residency revisiting these poems, editing them, writing what I haven’t said or discovered yet, and connecting with the community through nature and discussion.

Bio:

Milica Mijatović is a Serb poet, translator, and author of War Food (Southword Editions), winner of the 2022 Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition. Born in Brčko, Bosnia and Hercegovina, she relocated to the United States where she earned a BA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Capital University. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University and is a recipient of a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Rattle, Salamander, Plume, The Louisville Review, Collateral, Santa Clara Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and she serves as Poetry Editor for Consequence.

Artist’s Social Media: 

https://www.milicamijatovic.com/poetry

National Endowment for the Arts
The New York State Council on the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts

Residencies and programs at Bethany Arts Community are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor’s office and the New York State Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Westchester, Humanities NY, Westchester Community Foundation and numerous individual donors.

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