Tsaurah Litzky, Nancy Mercado, Elizabet Velasquez & Patricia Carragon, with an "Anything Goes" Open Reading

Rooms of Our Own & Berl's present Women Read Poetry & Prose: with Tsaurah Litzky, Nancy Mercado, Elizabet Velasquez & Patricia Carragon considering subjects such as Freedoms, Climate Change, the World & More! plus Anything Goes Open Reading — Bring your work to share!

ELISABET VELASQUEZ is Puerto Rican writer, mother, feminist from Bushwick, Brooklyn. She began performing in 2009 under the stage name Ms. Sick Prose, a name she chose to escape an environment surrounded by mental illness. Velasquez's poetry touches on her experiences as a Latinx woman and hopes to garner conversation around womens issues. Velasquez Poetry explores sexism, body positivity, mental illness, and women's choices. Velasquez uses her voice to bring attention and encourage change in a society deeply rooted in patriarchy and the overall systemic oppression of womxn. Velasquez first began performing her poetry at the legendary Nuyorican Poets Café and in 2009 earned a spot on the coveted Nuyorican National Slam Team which achieved 4th place in the Nation. She is a 2016 VONA/Voices Alum. Velasquez has performed at Lincoln Center Out Of Doors, Pregones Theatre, Bushwick Starr Theatre, The Bowery Poetry Club, Brooklyn Museam, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Rutgers University, Williams College, Adelphi University, Pace University and James Madison University and more. Her work has been published by Huffington Post, Latina Magazine, Vibe Magazine, Muzzle Magazine, Centro Voces and Elephant Journal. She is the author of the chapbook PTSD. She is a 2017 Poets House Fellow.

Poet, writer, educator, and activist Nancy Mercado is the author of It Concerns the Madness (2000) and editor of the children’s anthology if the world were mine (2003). She earned a BA from Rutgers University, an MA from New York University, and a PhD in English from SUNY-Binghamton. Latino Leaders Magazine hailed Mercado as “one of the most celebrated members of the Puerto Rican literary movement in the Big Apple.” Mercado’s work has been featured in many literary journals and included in dozens of anthologies, including Looking Out Looking In: Anthology of Latino Poetry, Breaking Ground: Anthology of Puerto Rican Women Writers in New York 1980-2012, Poetry After 911 An Anthology of New York Poets, From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas 1900-2002, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Identity Lessons: Contemporary Writing About Learning to be American, and ALOUD: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café. She authored and directed seven plays that have all been produced in venues such as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). One of these works is co-authored with the writer Pedro Pietri. Mercado also authored a hip-hop educational curriculum for the Mayhem Poets featured at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). Her film, television and radio credits include the documentary film Yari Yari Pamberi: Black Women Writers Dissecting Globalization directed by Jayne Cortez; the PBS NewsHour Special: America Remembers 9/11; Public Television’s Poetry Spots series directed by Bob Holman; National Public Radio’s The Talk of the Nation, among many others. Mercado has toured throughout the US, Canada, Europe as a featured poet and conference panelist. She is an assistant editor and advisory board member of Eco-Poetry.org; a website for “poetry and commentary dealing with climate crisis concerns: ecological literature dedicated to inspiring action against global warming and respect for our biosphere and all human and animal life on our planet.”

Tsaurah Litzky is a widely published poet and writer of fiction, memoir, erotica, creative non-fiction, plays, and commentary Her writing has been included in The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. Her memoir, Flasher, was published by Audible Books and by Long Shot Press as an e-book for Kindle. Author of fifteen chapbooks, including Jerry in the Bardo (NightBallet Press) and two full-length poetry collections, Baby on the Water (Long Shot Press) and Cleaning the Duck (Bowery Books), she considers her favorite poem the one she's just written. She is also a collage artist and Yoga instructor, and lives on the Brooklyn waterfront where she can see the Statue of Liberty from her kitchen window.

Patricia Carragon is an avid writer of short stories, prose, and poetry. Her first book of poems is Journey to the Center of My Mind (Rogue Scholars Press, 2005), followed by Urban Haiku and More (Fierce Grace Press, 2010). Her latest book is Innocence (Finishing Line Press, 2017). The Cupcake Chronicles is forthcoming from Poets Wear Prada. Her publication credits include Allbook Books, The Avocet, BigCityLit, Bear Creek Haiku, Boog City, CLWN WR, Clockwise Cat, Danse Macabre, Drunk Monkeys, Home Planet News, Inertia, Lips, First Literary Review-East, Levure littéraire, Long Island Quarterly, Mad Hatters’ Review, Maintenant, The Mom Egg, Panoply, poeticdiversity, Tribe Magazine, The Toronto Quarterly, Word Salad, Yellow Chair Review, and others. She is a member of brevitas, a group fiercely dedicated to short poems, and is a member of Pen Women's Literary Workshop and Tamarind. She is one of the Executive Editors for Home Planet News Online. She lives in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.