Literary Cleveland launches anthology written by unhoused Clevelanders

This Thursday, June 27, Literary Cleveland, the creative writing center that empowers people to explore other voices and discover their own voice, will release its new print anthology, “These Words Are Not My Home: Poems, Stories, and Essays from The Unhoused,” edited by RA Washington.

The anthology features original poems, stories, and essays by unhoused Clevelanders in the Finding Voice Poetry Workshop at the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM) 2100 Lakeside Men's Shelter.

The free launch party reading and open mic will celebrate and amplify the voices of anthology contributors as they share their stories with the community. The event is open to the public.

These Words Are Not My HomeThese Words Are Not My Home“These Words Are Not My Home” was created and curated by Washington as part of his Amplify Fellowship with Literary Cleveland. The four-month paid fellowship is designed to empower, uplift, and celebrate members of underrepresented communities by giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms. 

For Washington’s project, he collaborated with the Finding Voice Poetry Workshop at the LMM shelter—a volunteer program that has been a staple for almost 20 years.

Washington joined the team, lead by LMM instructor and employment specialist Annie Holden and LMM volunteer coordinator Lydia Bailey, to support the writing workshop and collect participant writing for the anthology—the first of a planned quarterly series run by Washington.

“I've always wanted to do a project like this, and so the Amplify Fellowship opportunity was the perfect way to get involved and lend some energy to the incredible poetry exchange spearheaded by Annie Holden at 2100,” Washington says. “I've appreciated the insightful conversations, the camaraderie that occurs on those Wednesday afternoons, and there's really no better way to participate than being able to print a little of the magic going on within the Finding Voices poetry workshop.”

The Cleveland Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council supported Literary Cleveland’s Amplify Fellowship.  “These Words Are Not My Home” was published in collaboration with Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry and Outlandish Press.

 “These Words Are Not My Home: Poems, Stories, and Essays from The Unhoused” launch party and reading is from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry 2100 Lakeside Men's Shelter, 2100 Lakeside Avenue E., Cleveland 44114. The event is free and open to the public.