Better Ancestors

photo by Dorean Raye

Tj Sykes is a Richmond CA native. He is a poet author and entrepreneur. He published his first book entitled Section 8 in 2018. He started a candied walnut business by the name of Divine Treats in 2020 and started his guided meditation journey in 2021.

courtesy the artist

SevanKelee Boult (bka Lucky 7) is a well known Bay Area poet. She has been seen on HBO Real Sex since 2000. She has represented several Bay Area slam teams over the past 10 years. In 2014, she became the only person in the Bay to win the honored title Grand Slam Champion of 4 different Bay teams (SF, Berkeley,Oakland and Palo Alto). She has performed all across the country. Gracing such places as The De Young Museum in San Francisco as well as Yerba Buena, and the Marsh Theater. A UC Berkeley graduate with a minor in Theatre Arts, SevanKelee has been crafting her spoken word performance. Sevan Kelee has been writing since childhood. Her most recent artistic venture involves the ukulele and spoken word. She effortlessly blends music and poetry to engage the audience with her soft, raspy voice and mesmerizing stage presence. SevanKelee is currently fiscally sponsored by Independent Arts and Media. Check out her page on their site.

courtesy the artist

Hilary Cruz Mejía is a 20-year old Latinx immigrant from Puerto de Iztapa, Guatemala, a first-generation college student, and a queer poet. She is in her second year at Skyline College, and will be transferring to SFSU in Spring 2021. She has been the president of the Poetry Club at Skyline College since Spring 2020. In order to maintain a connection with her ancestors, and to allow the soul of the newcomers to value the legacy of our ancestors, she is aspiring to become a Professor of Literature of the Americas. Now, Hilary is working on her first poetry book, where she encourages her readers to find the guidance of self-transcendence in their lives, and to connect with their adventurous soul.

+ 2 authors tba soon

meanwhile, enjoy our last show:

About the HOST

Kevin Dublin, courtesy of the author

Kevin Dublin is a writer of poetry, prose, scripts, and code originally from the small town of Smithfield, NC. His words have recently appeared in The Racket, Cincinnati Review, North Carolina Literary Review, Sparkle + Blink, and he is author of the chapbook How to Fall in Love in San Diego (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Kevin holds an MFA from San Diego State, leads workshops all over the bay area, including Litquake’s Elder Writing Project, and enjoys making video adaptations of poetry and developing web apps for writers.

About the series

One of Quiet Lightning’s efforts to diversify and move toward racial equityBetter Ancestors is a new quarterly showcase of writers of color. Developed in partnership with Michael Warr, the series features 5 authors reading or performing whatever they choose. Each author selects one performer for the following show, so the series – and community – is self-generating. All authors are paid and published in an end of the year anthology.

Why Better Ancestors? As one of our initiatives to diversify from a board that has historically been mostly white, this showcase aims to provide a long-term, forward-thinking goal. As a society, we are suffering the consequences of pervasive systemic injustice against people of color, queer and trans people, the poor, disabled, and otherwise disadvantaged. But we are all ancestors of the future. If the planet is to remain inhabitable; if the function of humanity is not to sort and oppress our descendants based on their skin color, accent, or material property, we must be better ancestors. This begins by listening to one another, and by giving each other space to be heard.

Lorenz Mazon Dumuk
Donté Clark
Kevin Madrigal Galindo
Landon Smith
Dr. Allison E. Francis
adrienne danyelle oliver
Christine No
Danny Thien Le
Tez de la Tierra
Jeneé Darden
Karla Brundage
Cinthia Marisol Lozano
Quynh-Mai Nguyen
Youssef Alaoui-Fdili
Valentina De Roca Fuerte
Kelechi Ubozoh
ASHA
Lourdes Figueroa
Teju Adisa-Farrar
Kai Sugioka-Stone
Amanda Muñiz
Isabelle Khoo-Miller
Arlene Biala
Melissa Merin
Nia McAllister
Josiah Luis Alderete by Michelle Kilfeather (cropped)
Josiah Luis Alderete
Brontez Purnell
Greer Nakadegawa-Lee
Aja Couchois Duncan
Aja Couchois Duncan

About Michael Warr

Michael Warr’s books include Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmet Till to Trayvon Martin, edited by Michael Warr (W.W. Norton), and from Tia Chucha Press The Armageddon of FunkWe Are All The Black Boy, and Power Lines: A Decade of Poetry From Chicago’s Guild Complex. In 2017 he was named a San Francisco Library Laureate. Other poetry honors include a Creative Work Fund award for his multimedia project Tracing Poetic Memory in Bayview Hunters Point, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award, Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poets Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry. Michael is the former Deputy Director of the Museum of the African Diaspora and has extensive experience in community-based arts. He became a board member of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library in 2018. In 2020, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Berkeley Poetry Festival. Follow his creative work at https://michaelwarr-creativework.tumblr.com/.

About Quiet Lightning

Now in its 12th year, Quiet Lightning is a literary movement to create and foster community around the written and spoken word. QL aims to democratize public space by offering performances, curation opportunities, and programming with no barriers to entry, providing a launchpad for new and emerging artists, a reliable platform for professional writers, and an inclusive, accessible gathering place for the public. QL is committed to care-taking and progressing the rich threads of literary culture that exist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recognized by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as one of the 100 “people, organizations, and movements who are shaping the future of culture”, Quiet Lightning’s flagship is the literary mixtape, a submission-based series with a blind selection process and different curators for each show. The shows, which are free to attend, are published as books, handed out free to the first 100 people, and all participating artists are paid. QL has now produced 143 shows featuring 1,744 readings by 928 local authors in 91 venues, ranging from dive bars and art galleries to state parks and national landmarks, and has published 116 books and produced two films, all selected by 76 different curators. In 2019, Quiet Lightning pioneered an application process for limited-term board-membership, called Disruptors, to regularly bring new ideas and energy into the organization. QL maintains Litseen.com, a daily calendar of literary events.

Make a one-time donation or support us on patreon

Every tax deductible donation helps Quiet Lightning invest in a sustainable, ethical arts ecosystem, with the goal of building that culture into the fabric of our lives. You can donate by Venmo or PayPal or pledge a recurring donation by becoming one of our supporters on Patreon, which comes with a few additional perks and helps us expand on the work that we do.

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