AAWW Fam: Matwaala 2018
Meena Alexander, Ralph Nazareth, Usha Akella, Zilka Joseph, Abhay K, Vikas Menon, Varsha Saraiya-Shah, Pramila Venkateswaran, and more
AAWW Fam: Matwaala 2018

Share your lyric voice at Matwaala, an annual South Asian Diaspora Poetry Festival. Joining us will be Matwaala’s Poet of Honor Ralph Nazareth, the author of Ferrying Secrets, published in Hyderabad, India in 2005. Foster community and sign up to read with over half a dozen featured poets such as Guggenheim Fellow Meena Alexander, Usha Akella, Zilka Joseph, Abhay K, Vikas Menon, Varsha Saraiya-Shah, Pramila Venkateswaran, and more.


Matwaala is a South Asian Diaspora Poetry Festival first launched in Austin in 2015. This is the third edition of the festival. The mission of the festival is to promote, foster and support South Asian Diaspora Poetry.

Usha Akella is the founder of The Poetry Caravan in Austin TX and Greenburg, NY. The Caravan offers readings and workshops to the disadvantaged in women’s shelters, senior homes and hospitals. Usha has read at international poetry festivals and reputed organizations such as the Omega Institute, Sahitya Academy, and Rothko Chapel. A recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize and the Maryland Poetry Review’s Egan Memorial Contest, her work has appeared in the Harper Collins Anthology of Poets and has both appeared and is upcoming in many US and Indian based journals.

Zilka Joseph teaches creative writing and is an independent editor and manuscript coach. Her first chapbook Lands I Live In (Mayapple Press, 2007) was nominated for a PEN America Beyond Margins award, and her second chapbook What Dread (2011) which was a semi finalist in Finishing Line Press’ New Women’s Voices contest, was nominated for a Pushcart. Her first full-length collection of poems Sharp Blue Search of Flame was published by Wayne State University Press (2016) and was a finalist for the Foreword Indie Book Awards.

Abhay K. is the author of eight poetry collections including The Seduction Of Delhi (Bloomsbury), The Eight-Eyed Lord of Kathmandu (Bloomsbury India |The Onslaught Press, UK) & The Prophecy of Brasilia (Coletivo Editorial, Brazil) and the editor of CAPITALS : A Poetry Anthology the capital cities of the world. (Bloomsbury); 100 Great Indian Poems (Bloomsbury) and 100 More Great Indian Poems (Bloomsbury).

Vikas K. Menon is a poet, playwright and songwriter. He was a 2015 Emerging Poets Fellow at Poets’ House and his poems have been featured in numerous publications, including Indivisible: An Anthology of South Asian American Poetry and The Harper Collins Book of English Poetry. He was co-writer of the augmented reality comic book, Priya’s Shakti, an innovative social impact multimedia project that helps illuminate attitudes towards gender-based violence (GBV). The project has gone viral with over 400 news stories and the character of Priya was designated a “Gender Equality Champion” by U.N. Women. He was also a co-writer of the shadowplay “Feathers if Fire” which premiered at BAM in February 2016 and is currently touring the country. His other plays have received readings at or been produced by Pratidhwani Theatre, Ruffled Feathers Theater Company, Ingenue Theatre and the Classical Theatre of Harlem. He is an Advisory Board Member of Kundiman, which is dedicated to the creation and cultivation of Asian American literature. He received his M.F.A (Poetry) from Brooklyn College and his M.A. in Literature from St. Louis University.

Ralph Nazareth is a professor of English at Nassau Community College. His poetry and prose have appeared in books and journals here and abroad. His collection of poems Ferrying Secrets was published in 2005 in Hyderabad, India.

Varsha Saraiya-Shah is a first-generation Indian American poet and financial professional who lives and works in Houston, Texas. Her work has appeared in Borderlands, Texas Observer, Mutabilis Press anthologies including Five Inprint Poets, Convergence, and elsewhere. She reads her new work regularly among multi-genre writers at Archway Gallery and ekphrastic poetry at Rice Gallery, invited and inspired by new installations. She has studied with poets in various summer and fall workshops including Houston’s Inprint House, New York’s Sarah Lawrence College, Squaw Valley Community of Writers in California and Reed College, Oregon.

Pramila Venkateswaran is a poet laureate of Suffolk County, Long Island (2013-15), and author of Thirtha (Yuganta Press, 2002) Behind Dark Waters (Plain View Press, 2008), Draw Me Inmost (Stockport Flats, 2009), Trace (Finishing Line Press, 2011), Thirteen Days to Let Go (Aldrich Press, 2015), and Slow Ripening (Local Gems, 2016). An award winning poet who teaches English and Women’s Studies at Nassau Community College, New York. Author of numerous essays on poetics as well as creative non-fiction, she is also the 2011 Walt Whitman Birthplace Association Long Island Poet of the Year.

*The space is wheelchair accessible. No stairs. Direct elevator from ground floor to 6th floor.
*We strongly encourage all participants of the space/event to be scent-free.
If you all have any other specific questions about accessibility, please email Tiffany Le at tle@aaww.org with any questions on reserving priority seating.

/\ /\ \/\/ \/\/

AAWW Fam: Matwaala 2018

Meena Alexander, Ralph Nazareth, Usha Akella, Zilka Joseph, Abhay K, Vikas Menon, Varsha Saraiya-Shah, Pramila Venkateswaran, and more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
7:00 PM
Asian American Writers’ Workshop
112 W 27th St Suite 600
New York NY 10001
Upcoming Events
April 22 7:00 PM
Crying in H Mart
Michelle Zauner and Hrishikesh Hirway
RSVP HERE! This April, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop will partner with indie bookstore Books Are Magic to celebrate musician Michelle Zauner’s debut memoir, Crying In H Mart. Best known for her work as the musician Japanese Breakfast, Zauner’s memoir is an astonishing debut: a rich, intimate, and lyrical story...
April 26 7:00 PM
Radical Thinkers: Kadji Amin and Rajiv Mohabir
Kadji Amin, Rajiv Mohabir
RSVP HERE!  Our series Radical Thinkers places radical academics directly in conversation with trailblazing writers, poets, and artists, creating and nurturing two-way dialogues that will interrogate some of the most pressing issues facing Asian and Asian diasporic communities today. Featuring an interdisciplinary lineup of scholars and creatives, these unexpected pairings...
April 27 7:00 PM
Mouth to Mouth: Open Mic + Showcase
Kay Ulanday Barrett, Jaden Fields, J Mase III, and Demian DinéYazhi'
RSVP HERE! *We will call for open mic performers closer to the date of this event. This event takes place in a Zoom Meeting-- RSVP to receive the link to the Zoom room shortly before the event. Captions provided. ASL Interpretation provided by Pro Bono ASL. Mic Check! Are you...