Cover Photo: This black and white photograph looks upward at a statue of two angels entangled in a delicate embrace.
Photograph by Luigi Boccardo/Unsplash

The Uses of Tenderness

In this exercise from instructor Ariana Brown, try crafting a poem that honors the truth of what it means to be in deep relation with others, in the hope of recovering tenderness.

tendernessgentleness and kindness, feelings of deep affection, sensitivity to paincare, fondness, warmth, compassion, love


’s upcoming Catapult class, which begins this January.

Ariana Brown is a queer Black Mexican American poet from San Antonio, TX. She holds a B.A. in African Diaspora Studies and Mexican American Studies, an M.F.A. in Poetry, and is pursuing an M.L.S. in Library Science. Ariana is a 2014 national collegiate poetry slam champion. She is the author of We Are Owed. (Grieveland, 2021) and Sana Sana (Game Over Books, 2020). She has been writing, performing, and teaching poetry for over 10 years. Find her work online at and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ArianaThePoet.