Healing Futures: The Marvel of Grief

Ama Codjoe and Aurora Masum-Javed
Color photograph of a woman with medium length dark brown hair, wearing a blueish grey tank, seated in a outdoor setting, staring at the camera with a simile.
Purvi Shah, 2021, shot by Neha Gautam
Broadside of Becoming A Forest by Ama Codjoe, designed and produced by Rowan Renee
Broadside of We Gentle Beasts by Aurora Masum-Javed, designed and produced by Keith Graham

Event Info

Curated by Purvi Shah, this event featured readings by poets Ama Codjoe and Aurora Masum-Javed. CBA artists Rowan Renee and Keith Graham also discussed their concepts for the broadsides they created for the respective poets. Codjoe’s broadside Becoming, a Forest was designed & printed by Renee, and Masum-Javed’s broadside, We Gentle Beasts, was designed & printed by Graham.

Through their writing, poets Ama Codjoe and Aurora Masum-Javed explore harms as if they were excavations of soil—as if in turning over hurt earth, transformations are possible and imminent. How do we feel – and even hold – the traumas of racism, intimate violence, sexual violence, the violences of our own living?

Codjoe and Masum-Javed’s writing invites us to nurture a kinship with grief, to join in not as a witness but rather as a sharer. We find here: an invitation to listen, to re-mother, to marvel in loss, to insist not on one story but many, to insist on living, to insist on living in fullness even when we keep with grief.


This event was funded in part by Poets & Writers through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts.

About the Healing Futures Series

Healing Futures, curated by Purvi Shah, is a series of three readings featuring six writers in collaboration with six artists. Each event presents the poetry of two writers around the theme of Healing Futures and unveils two new limited edition broadsides. The poet/artist collaboration explores the relationship of text, image, and design, incorporating the artists’ visual conveyance of writers’ poetry and prose in broadside form.

“In January 2020, as I was supporting the development of a restorative justice collaborative to address intimate violence, Sevonna Brown from Black Women’s Blueprint observed that we have to heal the past to heal the future. In Healing Futures, I draw together poets who heed Brown’s call to attend to the wounds of the past for the sake of present & future liberations.

In my curation of Healing Futures, I gather writers who tend lineages while facing harms, while holding close the life-blood of harm, who marvel even when there are not answers – for living is marvelous. The poet pairings are prisms, light shared, light refracted, light pooled. The poet pairings are histories & futures unfolding. The poet pairings are braids that at times come together, at times come apart, come always as they are. Collectively, they are wonders of attention, a praxis of futures, a healing. Collectively, they are an invitation to be an accomplice in awe and liberation.” – Purvi Shah

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