Online | Open-Genre | Workshop

6-Week Online Poetry Workshop: Queer Poetics/Reinventing Forms

In this six-week course, we’ll examine how throughout the ages, queer poets of color have broken traditional poetic forms as a vehicle for revolution and change. Each week we'll read work that explores reinvented styles and techniques as a path for resistance. Our goal will be to create work that is in conversation and communion with those pieces. To that end, we’ll be looking at poems and essays from contemporary queer writers that live at many intersections such as Faylita Hicks, Safia Ehillo, Jacqui Germain, Jose Ortiz, Jericho Brown, Dorothy Chan, Tiana Clark, Franny Choi, and many others.

Each week, students will craft a poem in response to prompts that emerge from our reading. The goal of these poems should be to excite, inspire, and push the boundaries of our traditional writing styles. Classes will consist of half discussion half generating new work. This course is open to all experience levels, those new to writing and those with previous workshop experience.

In an effort to center underrepresented BIPOC participants, we'd love to offer a scholarship for two participants who are unable to cover the class fees at this time. Our goal is to eliminate barriers and make our classes as accessible and equitable as possible. If you find that you are interested in this class, but would need a scholarship to enroll, please send a brief (100-word) statement on why taking this class is important to you to [email protected] with the subject line "Khalisa Rae Class Scholarship." 

Please refer to our FAQ and Scholarship Information page if you have any questions about setting up a payment plan. 

Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.


- Inspiration and a new portfolio of work that engages and communicates with writing across identities and intersections- The ability to recognize and evaluate technical forms of poetry and the ability to break traditional forms—not only to challenge social constructs/norms, but to make a powerful social statement

- A new understanding and appreciation for the impact of queer poetry and a new lens from which to view its place in and outside the literary cannon

- A new appreciation for poetry and prose by queer writers of color

- Critical feedback from honest and authentic peers

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Students will craft poetry and prose inspired by weekly prompts and reading. Students will be asked to thoughtfully engage with new work and let it drive invention, play, and creation.

Each class we will engage in a fun discussion and share session about queer works of art that inspires us—an image, a video, a song, a poem, or paragraph—


Week 1: Broken Sestina for Cardi B & Meg Thee Stallion; Ghazals Just Wanna Have Fun; Texts by Khalisa Rae, Angel Nafis, and Jose Luis Pablo

Week 2: Audre Lorde Does A DM Slide; I Solemnly Swear I Am; Texts by Franny Choi, Ocean Vuong, June Jordan, and Chen Chen

Week 3: Hearing Voices & Reimagining Persona; Sonnets Are for Simps; Texts by Shelley Wong, Jericho Brown, Donika Kelly, Dorothy Chan, and Marilyn Nelson

Week 4: Un-Slay The Syntax; Monet or Moneyy: Daring the Broken Ekphrasis; Texts by Danez Smith, Faylita Hicks, Paige Quiñones, and Tiana Clark

Week 5: Gender is a Riotous Construct; Aubade, Above, and Aboard; Texts by Saeed Jones, Christopher Soto, Joshua Nguyen, and ire'ne lara silva

Week 6: Sup-Prose We Forget Form; Ending workshop; Texts by Jacqui Germain, Tommy Pico, Nikki Giovanni, Rickey Laurentiis, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

Khalisa Rae

Khalisa Rae is a poet and journalist in Durham, NC that speaks with furious rebellion. She is the author of Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat.  Her essays are featured in Autostraddle, Catapult, LitHub, and others. Her poetry appears in Frontier Poetry, Florida Review, Rust & Moth, PANK, Hellebore, Sundog Lit, and HOBART. Currently, she serves as Assistant Editor for Glass Poetry and co-founder of Think in Ink and the Women of Color Speak reading series. Her second collection Unlearning Eden is forthcoming from White Stag Publishing. Follow at @k_lisarae on Twitter. Her website is


"GHOST IN A BLACK GIRL'S THROAT pursues agency, selfhood, and disturbing meditations on inhumanity. These poems deliver truth and rage with the precision of a visionary heart and the rancid tears of a poisoned ghost. This powerful collection bears witness to the fraught overlap between women’s bodies and minds. GHOST IN A BLACK GIRL'S THROAT reframes the Black body politic as sacrament, benediction, delicacy, and tenderness."


"These verses are timeless refrains sizzling on parched tongues. All praises for the testament of these poems that bring a full communion of blessed assurances to wise women daring oceans to erase our footprints and to wild girls chasing winds that steal the scent of herstory."

Jaki Shelton Green author of I WANT TO UNDIE YOU

" Khalisa is a remarkable writer and educator with great character. I have had the pleasure of mentoring Khalisa and I know she is a passionate and dedicated worker that I think will make a wonderful addition to the roster of instructors. In addition to the experience gained from getting her poetry and essays published and securing her book deal, she has done great work in partnership with teaching at community arts organizations. She has been commissioned to do workshops and has developed curricula for residencies and schools across the region. Khalisa has used her background as a performer and her MFA studies to bring out the best in the writers she has worked with."

Dasan Ahanu Nasir Jones Fellow with the Hip Hop Archive at Harvard University + Rothwell Mellon Program Director for Creative Futures

"Rae considers the intersection of history and modernity in the American South in her provocative debut. Readers will be taken by the sometimes dangerous world Rae conjures."


"In the buoyant writings of Khalisa Rae, you will sense many influences. You can hear the loneliness and the husky crunch of Morrison’s Southern Gothic. You’ll find the graceful oratory of Maya Angelou woven with earthy visuals that call Zora Neale Hurston to mind. As such, GIABGT firmly plants itself in a longstanding tradition of outstanding Black women’s writing. Both spellbinding and spell-breaking, Rae’s earnest cries are calls to both action and freedom."

Rita R.

"This book and workshop was a gorgeous journey, poems that bear testimony to beauty, pain, healing, and haunting. A celebration of Black womanhood and an unearthing of family history as rebirth and renewal. Grateful to learn from these poems, too, in style and form, and how to meaningfully put together wide-ranging poems into a cohesive full-length collection. Rae deserves her flowers for this brilliant book"

Carla Ferreira

"Hi I just wanted to say a big thank you for the workshop just now - it was absolutely amazing and got me out of a rut I’ve been in for the past week! Loved finding so many great new poets to read too."

Genuinely Genevieve

"I really enjoyed your workshop with Luminaries the other day. I learned so much and would definitely take it again. "

Keagan Wheat