Exploring the intersection of poetic and bodywork rituals with social activism, poet-in-residence Bhanu Kapil led a participatory meditation as a means to address individual and collective grief as a catalyst for collective imagination. This public ritual was the culminating event after a series of research workshops that investigated physical experience as a source of memory, history, and healing, and the event concluded with a performance of new work by Kapil and workshop participants.
Born in England to Indian parents before later relocating to Colorado, Kapil’s personal history of migration and translation informs her multidisciplinary work. Positioned in St. Louis, where dialogues and actions addressing systemic injustices have recently opened up to national visibility, this project was an invitation to process personal and social griefs in a shared space in order to dream of a possible future for one another as citizens.
Kapil’s residency at the Pulitzer began with two research workshops: one comprised of queer poets, poets of color, and poets who identify as women, and the other including bodyworkers of various disciplines, such as yoga, massage, nursing, acupuncture, and dance. Through writing, drawing, and meditation exercises, as well as the photography of Carly Ann Faye and Kat Reynolds, participants attended to the sensations that arise from the shifting, sharing, and shedding of grief—identifying personal and systemic trauma and moving toward a mode of deeper healing.
Workshop participants included Pacia Lane Anderson, Virginia Assousa, Baba Badji, Laurie Brockhaus, Dail Chambers, Shine Goodie, Jason Kei Lay, Gracie Leavitt, David Marchant, Jee Moon, Mallory Nezam, Maura Pellettieri, Treasure Shields Redmond, Jacob Resch, Alison Rollins, Niel Rosenthalis, Stephanie Ellis Schlaifer, Sahara Scott, and Freeman Word. A special thanks to ceramicist Kahlil Irving and Dan Alexander of Third Degree Glass Factory for creating bowls for the public ritual.