Back to All Events

A Third anniversary reading of When The Chant Comes by Kay Ulanday Barrett, also featuring Ashna Ali, Jimena Lucero, Kyle Dacuyan & Aldrin Valdez


Join us to celebrate the 3 year anniversary of the release of poetry book When The Chant Comes by Kay Ulanday Barrett, at Berl's Poetry Shop. Let's celebrate dynamic and sharp Queer and BIPOC poetry in NYC. This first reading will be a stunning event full of tender, thought provoking, vitality of works by Ashna Ali, Jimena Lucero, Kyle Dacuyan, Aldrin Valdez, and Kay Ulanday Barrett.

FEATURES: Jimena Lucero is a poet, artist, and actor from Queens. She is a Pink Door fellow and you can find her writing in EOAGH,, and more. Jimena has performed her work at the Brooklyn Museum, Poetry Project, and Flux Factory. She is currently working on her first poetry manuscript.

Ashna Ali is a queer Bangladeshi American poet and cat lady based in Brooklyn. Their poetry has appeared in Nat. Brut., femmescapes, HeART Online, Bone Bouquet, Ginger Zine, No, Dear, and The Felt. In their other life, they are an English professor teaching postcolonial literature at Bard High School Early College Manhattan.

Kyle Dacuyan is a poet, performer, and translator. His poems appear in DIAGRAM, Lambda Literary, Foundry, and Best New Poets, among other places, and he is the recipient of scholarships from Poets House, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Academy of American Poets. Prior to joining The Poetry Project, he served as Co-Director of National Outreach and Membership at PEN America, where he led the launch of a nationwide community engagement fund for writers. Before that, he served as Associate Director at the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.

Aldrin Valdez is a Pinoy writer & visual artist. They are the author of ESL or You Weren’t Here (Nightboat Books, 2018), which was a finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Poetry.

KAY ULANDAY BARRETT is a poet, performer, and cultural strategist. K. has featured at The Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Princeton University, Tucson Poetry Festival, NY Poetry Festival, The Dodge Poetry Foundation, The Hemispheric Institute, & Brooklyn Museum. They are a 2x Pushcart Prize nominee and received fellowships/residencies from Lambda Literary Review, VONA/Voices, The Home School, and Macondo. They are Guest Editor for Nat.Brut & Guest Faculty for The Poetry Foundation. Their contributions include: Academy of American Poets, The New York Times, Asian American Literary Review, PBS News Hour, F(r)iction, VIDA Review, NYLON, The Huffington Post, Them., Bitch Magazine, Apogee, & more. Their first book, When The Chant Comes was published by Topside Press in 2016. Their second collection More Than Organs, will be published by Sibling Rivalry Press, Spring 2020. See their work at or on social media, @brownroundboi

ABOUT THE NEW BOOK: Kay Ulanday Barrett is a poet, performer, and educator, navigating life as a disabled pilipinx-amerikan transgender queer in the U.S. with struggle, resistance, and laughter. Their book When The Chant Comes was published Fall 2016 by Topside Press received critical acclaim from performance spaces to literary poetry festivals to your cousin's potluck. Since publications, their book has featured in over 35+ cities and 15 conferences/festivals nationwide and to note, still daydreams of the days of livejournal, and now apparently Tumblr. With insight, tenderness, and astute relevance, Barrett has been bringing their unique poetry to audiences for over a decade, unpicking vital political questions around race, sickness and disability and gender, death and grief, and chronicling the everydayness of life in the U.S. Empire with humor, poignancy and inimitable vitality. Each of these poems is a brilliant little story. Taken together, they show a master craftsman at the top of their game.


“When The Chant Comes is fire medicine for the Soul: it calls forth a re-calibration of these rageful times that we are living in. Get this book. Get your healing y’alll.” -- Sharon Bridgforth, Lambda Literary Award winner & author of Bull Jean stories.

“When the chant comes, we arise, relieved that we aren’t alone. When the chant comes, we join in full-throated. When The Chant Comes is pure, queer love that refuses to apologize.” -- Vivek Shreya, author of I'm Afriad of Men, The Subtweet, and She of the Mountains

"These poems are songs–aching, beautiful, necessary songs that transport and transform." -- Eli Clare, author of Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure and Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation