Grief Speak: Poetry on Loss & Healing

Beyond Baroque presents Grief Speak, a poetry reading with authors of Southern California who share their perspectives on this broad and important topic that resonated with multiple communities over the last few years.

The Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than 25 independent poetry organizations across the United States, has devoted March through May 2023 to explore the theme “and so much lost you’d think / beauty had left a lesson: Poetry & Grief." The line “and so much lost you’d think / beauty had left a lesson” is from Ed Roberson's poem "once the magnolia has blossomed."

Inspired by this poetic line, invited authors Diana Khoi Nguyen, Crystal AC Salas, Nicholas Reiner, and Cynthia Guardado, will collectively touch on how poetry can invite and inspire conversations about loss and resilience in the midst of tragedy; from losing loved ones due to mental health crises, the COVID-19 pandemic, or the harsh realities of the current political climate and the disruption of natural environments leading to displacement and exile of communities all over the world.

In this in-person program we invite audiences to come and hear poetry that inspires transformation in the multiple phases of grief as well as share in community the profound spirit of hope to continue living, understanding the process of loss, and what can be done to heal the human spirit through the spoken word. After the readings, a brief Q&A will follow with authors and audience members present. Come and enjoy in community a potluck-style reception with light refreshments before and after the program!

Doors open: 7:00 pm, Readings: 7:30 pm.

To learn more about the wide range of programming done by literary organizations of the Poetry Coalition and previous themes, please click here.

Crystal AC Salas is a Xicanx poet, essayist, educator, and community organizer. Her poetry chapbook Grief Logic is co-winner of the inaugural Alta California Prize, from Gunpowder Press. She has work in Omnium Gatherum Quarterly, Alta Journal, Northwest Review, [PANK] Magazine, World Literature Today, Chaparral Poetry, Acentos Review, and others. A founding member of the BreakBread Literacy Project, which elevates the voices of young creatives under 25, she serves as poetry editor for BreakBread Magazine. She holds an M.F.A. from University of California, Riverside and is the recipient of a 2021-2022 California Arts Council Established Individual Artist Fellowship.

Cynthia Guardado is a Los Angeles–born Salvadoran poet and professor. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Cenizas and ENDEAVOR. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, U.S. Latinx Voices in Poetry, and The Wandering Song. Guardado won the Concurso Binacional De Poesía Pellicer-Frost in 2017, and Cenizas was a finalist for the National Poetry Series in 2019.

A poet and multimedia artist, Diana Khoi Nguyen is the author of Ghost Of (Omnidawn 2018) which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and forthcoming collection, Root Fractures (Scribner 2024). Nguyen is a Kundiman fellow, recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and winner of the 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest, and 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Currently, she is core faculty in the Randolph College Low-Residency MFA and an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Nicholas Tino Reiner is an American poet of Mexican heritage. His debut poetry chapbook Levitations is co-winner of the inaugural Alta California Chapbook Prize, available in a bilingual edition from Gunpowder Press. His poems appear in Spillway, Aquifer: The Florida Review Online, Western Humanities Review, Zocalo Public Square, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and elsewhere.

Nicholas is Senior Press Strategist at the ACLU of Southern California, where he works to protect the liberty of all people. He holds degrees in English from Stanford University and University of California, Irvine, where he completed an M.F.A. He lives in Southern California with his wife and two daughters.


This event is Free & In-Person at Beyond Baroque. Masks are encouraged while inside our center.

Event attendees are expected to behave in a respectful and considerate manner while in our space. Beyond Baroque reserves the right to remove individuals from our events, virtual or otherwise, if they are not respecting the space, fellow attendees, or performers.

If you can’t join us in-person the event will be livestreamed on Beyond Baroque’s YouTube channel at the scheduled time of the event.