Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams, MA-TLA, is a poet and essayist and runs Narratives for Change, an “all things narrative” project-based business. Her current projects focus on teaching creative writing, facilitating personal leadership development programs, teaching scholar-practitioners autoethnography, and leading cultural activism as Southeast Regional Envoy for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC). Yvette has a rich history as a top executive in banking, CEO of two organizations, and as a multidisciplinary artist. Yvette earned an MA in Transformative Language Arts studying Creative Writing for Personal and Social Change at Goddard College and a Graduate Certificate studying Creative Writing at the University of Denver. Recent published work includes: “Kitchen Table Discussion on Transformative Language Arts” in Teaching Transformation (2017); “OD Consultants and Friends: A Narrative About Women and Race,” in The OD Practitioner Journal (2016); “Female Leadership: Girl Scouts and Girlhood Dreams,” in Anchor Magazine (2016); “Women’s Self-Leadership Through Transformative Narratives,” in Changing the World With Words: A Transformative Language Arts Reader (2014), and a Haiku poem in Sonia Sanchez’s anthology, Peace is a Haiku Song (2013). In 2016, Yvette received The ArtsVentures award from the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida acknowledging her work as an essayist and poet and a grant toward her book project, and The Graduate Institute at Goddard College selected Yvette as Visiting Scholar where she presented her transformative narratives model and autoethnography writing-research method. Fuse Literary Agency in San Francisco represents Yvette’s work.
Plaits and Weaves: The Braided Personal, Place, and Social Justice Essay
Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, reminds us of a fresh way to have an old conversation—the every-day-ness of racism written in a hodgepodge of literary forms. She braids prose poems, lyrical essays, and a series of short descriptive vignettes, showing us how it feels to live in marginalized racial identity. Using the second person point of view throughout her book, we also hear Rankine’s internal musing, just what we expect out of a good personal essay. Rankine’s poetic storytelling offers an example to writers how to abandon the traditional personal essay that can sometimes strangle creativity. For this workshop, I envision a big thick plait that shows human complexity. We will build an essay with three strands of narrative—to weave in our personal experience, to connect with a sense of place, and to blend in an external voice of social justice. Strands of narrative can come from any genre the writer chooses to write: poetry, essay, spoken word rant, reflective letter writing, etc. Together, let’s play and push the boundaries of the personal essay. We will construct something revolutionary because each story strand reveals the complexity of our human existence. Not required, but strongly urged: Participants taking time to read Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, will enjoy the form and might spark some writing ideas.