Workshop with Aisha Sasha John
Saturday, September 28th, 2019—12:15pm

“The wound returns in ritual guise” is the title of a poem from my second book THOU (Book*hug 2014). This poem’s title and many of its lines I culled from a book about the social and spiritual ecology of Gnawa music and ceremony. I’ll list some of these lines here as they provide context for this workshop: “The wound returns in ritual guise.” “The ceremony gives the wound a voice.” “The need for ceremony, perennial. The initial wound, indelible.” “The wound defines community.”*

This workshop, like every workshop, is a temporary community. It is one in which the wound will be given voice. I hope for it to be an occasion of alchemy. We will bring our voices together in recitation, and in call and response. We’ll speak our own names—simultaneously, and we’ll listen to music together, and move, in unison, closely, wildly even, and we’ll be the version of ourselves that a just togetherness supports, a togetherness in which the grief of Black living is put center, is spoken, is permitted song. I imagine our shoulders touching. I hope for an entranced togetherness.

*Deborah Kapchan, Traveling Spirit Masters: Moroccan Gnawa Trance and Music in the Global Marketplace (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2007): 34.

Space is limited and registration is required. Please email to sign up for this workshop.

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Aisha Sasha John’s medium is energy and her primary methodology is vesselhood: she articulates a listening practice across the fields of dance and poetry. Aisha is interested in choreographing performances that are the occasion for real and multitudinous actions of love—in developing Sasha John technique. Aisha is the 2019-2022 Dancemakers Artist-in-Residence; in 2020 she will remount her solo the aisha of is which premiered at the Whitney Museum in 2017. From 2015-2017, Aisha choreographed and performed as a member of the collective WIVES, presenting Feeled (OFFTA, 2016) and Action Movie (La Chapelle, 2017) and curating two editions of Assemblée as Studio 303 Curators-in-Residence. She is author of the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize nominated collection, I have to live. (M&S 2017), as well as THOU (Book*hug 2014), finalist for the Trillium and Relit Poetry Awards. Aisha’s video work and text art have been exhibited in galleries (Doris McCarthy Gallery, Oakville Galleries) and was commissioned by Art Metropole as part of a performance residency Aisha led: Let’s understand what it means to be here (together). Aisha was the 2018 University of Toronto (Scarborough) Writer-in-Residence.