Two women standing together

Deana Lawson, 'Barbara and Mother,' (detail) 2017, inkjet print, courtesy of the artist

From Body to Flesh: Intersections of Photography, Poetry, and Dance

Free, registration required

Join poet Rickey Laurentiis and choreographer Maree ReMalia for a writing and movement workshop among Deana Lawson’s photographs. Organized in collaboration with the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.

“The idea that there is such a thing as a discrete, individuated body is a fiction that we seem to live by,” offered poet and theorist Fred Moten, “But I don’t really believe in it. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a physical and material fleshly life and presence… My sense is that [art] is working right if the flesh is everywhere in it, all the time, irreducible.”

Laurentiis and ReMalia take these ideas to heart through braided exercises in poetry and dance, all in conversation with the photography of Deana Lawson. In this experiential workshop, participants will explore how the lyric and authentic movement address “fictions of the body” versus “poetics of the flesh.” Attendees will consider how notions of the gaze intersect with injury and with care, and how all of this plays out in contemporary understandings of identity, representation, and agency. Can we look upon one another with care? Can we touch and move safely? How might we write out the meanings of our lives? From Body to Flesh poses these, and other questions.

Participants should arrive in comfortable clothing suitable for basic movement and with an excitement to write and share in dialogue. All bodies are welcome. No experience necessary. This workshop takes place in CMOA’s Forum Gallery, which is adjacent to the main lobby space.

Founded in 2016, the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP) at the University of Pittsburgh is a creative think tank for African American and African diasporic poetries and poetics whose mission is to highlight, promote, and share the poetry and poetic work of African American writers. The center's programming aims to present exciting live poetry and conversation, contextualize the meaning of that work, and archive it for future generations.

CAAPP is also a space for innovative collaboration between writers, scholars, and other artists thinking through poetics as a unique and contemporary movement. In an effort to highlight, promote, archive, research, and generally advance the practices and epistemologies of African American and African diasporic poetry and poetics, CAAPP supports individual writers, artists, scholars, and others, nationally and at a range of career stages and academic ranks. The center also prioritizes providing opportunities for poets and artists outside of academia, in the Pittsburgh community and beyond.

Rickey Laurentiis was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Boy with Thorn, his debut book, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the Levis Reading Prize, and was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His other honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation’s Literary Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and he was recently named one of ten winners of the Whiting Award. Currently he lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he is the inaugural Fellow in Creative Writing at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh. Learn more at, and @rckylrnts.

Maree ReMalia is a choreographer, performer, and teacher. Born in South Korea and raised in the Midwest, she celebrates diversity through her work by welcoming individuals across identities, abilities, and backgrounds to dance together. merrygogo is her platform for creating project-based performance works in collaboration with dancers, theater directors, visual artists, musicians, writers, bodyworkers, students and professors across disciplines, administrators, and folks just interested in moving. Her choreography has been commissioned by Gibney Dance DoublePlus Festival in New York, and has been presented in the US and abroad at venues such as Dance Place in Washington, DC; Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Daegu International Dance Festival in South Korea. From 2015 to 2017, she was selected as the Andrew W. Mellon Interdisciplinary Choreographer for the Movement Matters Residency at Middlebury College. Maree earned her MFA at The Ohio State University and is a certified Gaga instructor. She is currently an adjunct instructor at Point Park University and a performer in Lida Winfield’s Imaginary. Learn more at