We (Too) Are Philly: Whose Parks? Our Parks!


We (Too) Are Philly: Whose Parks? Our Parks! featured on Poets.org as #PoetryNearYou Pick of the Week

Come to the final event of the We (Too) Are Philly Summer Festival. In an area that is rapidly being gentrified, in a city that is rapidly being gentrified, join us in saying no to gentrification. We are here to stay. Each reader will bring to the fore their experiences with gentrification. You will also get to hear the organizers of the festival read their work. Bring your blankets (we will have a few), your anger, your joy.

Norris Square Park

7-10 PM

Photos by Ben Felker-Quinn



Feature: Yolanda Wisher


photo taken by Eddie Einbender-Luks


Yolanda Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro (Hanging Loose Press, 2014) and the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song (Philadelphia Mural Arts, 2013). Wisher performs a unique blend of poetry and song with her band The Afroeaters, and her work has been featured in a variety of media including Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First DecadeGOOD MagazineThe Philadelphia InquirerContemporary Black CanvasRadio Times, PoetryNOW, Ploughshares, and CBC Radio. A Pew Fellow & Hedgebrook Writer-in-Residence, Wisher was named the inaugural Poet Laureate of Montgomery County Pennsylvania in 1999 and the third Poet Laureate of Philadelphia in 2016. Wisher taught high school English for a decade, served as Director of Art Education for Philadelphia Mural Arts, and founded and directed the Germantown Poetry and Outbound Poetry Festivals. She has led workshops and curated events in partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Free Library of Philadelphia, and U.S. Department of Arts & Culture. Wisher was the 2017-2018 CPCW Fellow in Poetics and Poetic Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, and she is currently the Curator of Spoken Word at Philadelphia Contemporary.


Hanif Abdurraqib



Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. With Big Lucks, he released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017 (you cannot get it anymore and he is very sorry.) His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow, an interviewer at Union Station Magazine, and a poetry editor at Muzzle  Magazine.  He is a member of the poetry collective Echo Hotel with poet/essayist Eve Ewing.

His next books are Go Ahead In The Rain, a biography of A Tribe Called Quest due out in 2019 by University of Texas Press, and They Don’t Dance No’ Mo’, due out in 2020 by Random House. Yes, he would like to talk to you about your favorite bands and your favorite sneakers.


Cynthia Dewi Oka



Cynthia Dewi Oka is the author of Salvage: Poems (Northwestern University Press, 2017) and Nomad of Salt and Hard Water (Thread Makes Blanket, 2016). Her work has appeared in ESPNW, Hyperallergic, Guernica, Poets.org, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. She is a contributor to the anthologies Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism (OR Books, 2018), Who Will Speak for America (Temple University Press, 2018), and What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump, edited by Martín Espada and forthcoming from Northwestern University Press. As a 2017 Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grantee, she partnered with Asian Arts Initiative to create Sanctuary: A Migrant Poetry Workshop for immigrant poets based in Philadelphia. A three-time Pushcart Prize Nominee, she has received scholarships from VONA and the Vermont Studio Center, the Fifth Wednesday Journal Editor’s Prize in Poetry, and the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award. She is originally from Bali, Indonesia.


Ana Portnoy Brimmer



Ana Portnoy Brimmer is a poet and performer, creative nonfiction writer and ARTivist. She holds a BA and an MA in English from the University of Puerto Rico, and will be an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark in the Fall 2018. Ana is the inaugural recipient of the Sandra Cisneros Fellowship, for a Latinx writer of literary promise and leadership, awarded by Under The Volcano International. She is also a Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation-VONA/VOICES Fellow in Poetry, an Under The Volcano Fellow in Poetry and Journalism, a Las Dos Brujas Writing Workshop Alumna in Poetry, and an inaugural Moko Writers’ Workshop Alumna in Poetry, having worked under the mentorship of poets, such as Willie Perdomo, Chris Abani, Raymond Antrobus, Francisco Segovia, and Loretta Collins Klobah, and of journalists, such as Ginger Thompson and Maritza Stanchich. Ana has presented her work both locally and internationally, having performed in Puerto Rico, Mexico, New York, and The British Virgin Islands. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature, Visual Verse, Kweli Journal, Puerto Rico en mi Corazón, Poets Reading The News, Project Censored, La Respuesta, The Acentos Review, Moko Magazine, Centro Journal, Under The Volcano/Bajo el Volcán: The Best of Our First Fifteen Years, among others. Ana is the daughter of Mexican-Jewish immigrants, she was born in New York, but was raised and based (until her recent move to Newark, NJ to pursue her MFA) in Puerto Rico.


Raena Shirali
co-organizer of We (Too) Are Philly



Raena Shirali is the author of GILT (YesYes Books, 2017), winner of the 2018 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award. She was recently awarded VIDA’s scholarship to attend a Sundress Academy for the Arts Residency, and she has received poetry prizes from Cosmonauts Avenue, Gulf Coast, & Boston Review. Winner of a Pushcart Prize, her poems & reviews have appeared in American Poetry Review, Blackbird, Ninth Letter, Diode, & elsewhere. Raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Raena lives in Philadelphia, where is a Poetry Editor for Muzzle Magazine, and Poetry Reader for Vinyl.


Ashley Davis
co-organizer of We (Too) Are Philly



Ashley Davis is a California native, New York educated, Boston bred, Philly based black bi-racial, queer, femme, poet, educator who writes and collaborates on projects about the intersectionality of those identities, the history of trauma within those communities, and the importance/necessity of healing within those communities. Her work is always personal and performed with the intention to connect to those around her in order to build community and continue healing. Ashley was a part of the VONA 2017 cohort facilitated by Patricia Smith, was a part of the 2016 Finalist team “House Slam” at the National Poetry Slam, and was a finalist for the 2016 National Underground Individual Poetry Competition. She currently lives with her grandmother and great-grandmother in North Philly, connecting to her spirit guides, learning her craft, and protecting her energy.


Kirwyn Sutherland
co-organizer of We (Too) Are Philly



Kirwyn Sutherland is a Poet and Clinical Researcher whose work seeks to interrogate and push up against systems of oppression that subjugate black people while constructing a future blackness which is personal, vulnerable, aware, and ready. Kirwyn is a fellow of The Watering Hole Poetry Retreat and his work has been published in APIARY Magazine, Drunkinamidnightchoir, BlueShift Journal and Bedfellows Magazine.  Kirwyn has served as Poetry editor for APIARY Magazine and is currently serving as Book Reviewer for WusGood Magazine and a reader for Gigantic Sequins Magazine.


Raquel Salas Rivera
co-organizer of We (Too) Are Philly
and Poet Laureate of Philadelphia



Raquel Salas Rivera es la poeta laureada de la ciudad de Filadelfia del 2018-19. Sus poemas han aparecido en revistas tales como la Revista del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Apogee y McSweeney’s. Es la autora de Caneca de anhelos turbios (Editora Educación Emergente), oropel/tinsel (Lark Books), tierra intermitente (Ediciones Alayubia) y lo terciario/the tertiary (Timeless, Infinite Light). En la actualidad, es co-editora Puerto Rico en mi corazón, una colección bilingüe de volantes de poetas puertorriqueños contemporáneos.

Raquel Salas Rivera is the 2018-19 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. Their work has appeared in journals such as the Revista del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Apogee, and McSweeney’s. They are the author of Caneca de anhelos turbios (Editora Educación Emergente), oropel/tinsel (Lark Books), tierra intermitente (Ediciones Alayubia), and lo terciario/the tertiary (Timeless, Infinite Light). Currently, they are Co-editor of Puerto Rico en mi corazón, a collection of bilingual broadsides of contemporary Puerto Rican poets.