Open Door: J K Chukwu, Momo-dono, GoldGrrl & Alia Shahzad (In-Person)

The Open Door series presents work from new and emerging poets and highlights writing instruction and poetic partnerships. Each event features readings by two Midwest writers and two of their current or recent students or artistic partners.

J K Chukwu (she/her/hers) is a writer and visual artist from the Midwest. Chukwu’s debut novel, The Unfortunates, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in August 2022. She holds an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University, and was a 2019 Lambda Fellow. Her work has appeared in Black Warrior Review, DIAGRAM, TAYO, and elsewhere.

Momo-dono (they/them/theirs) is the alias of Nigerian African-American vocalist and former lead singer for The Claudettes, Yana Atim. Their moniker comes from the Japanese deity, Momotarou, who became a demon slayer while bringing peace and peaches to Earth. They are a multi-talented singer with a background in Jazz, French Yé-Yé, and Classical Choral. In addition, they are drawn to a variety of music and sounds. Pulling from their indigenous roots, Momo-dono wants to uplift those with music while reviving classic forms of singing

GoldGrrl (she/her) is a professional pop/rock singer who specializes in metal scream vocals. She has a background in jazz choir and participated in the Georgia District Honor Choir as a teen. As an adult, GoldGrrl led volunteer vocal workshops for G!RLs Rock camp and received an Awesome Foundation award in 2018 to teach adults how to scream safely. She was the lead vocalist for Chicago metal band ERZULIE from 2014-2019, which also raised funds for Chicago Women's Coalition and Puerto Rican Relief Fund. Currently, GoldGrrl pursues a solo career that combines pop, metal and trap music while also acting as a frontwoman for three Chicago bands: psychedelic rock band Electric Mothership, folk rock duo Las Quintanas, and metal music collective Reko & Tha PurseSnatchers. Follow up with her on Instagram @goldgrrlchi and find her and her bands' music on Spotify, Bandcamp, YouTube and SoundCloud.

Alia Ai-Ming Shahzad (she/her/hers) graduated with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Public Policy from the University of Chicago. Her fiction thesis, Bodies on the Boundary, was awarded departmental honors. Her work has appeared in Sliced Bread and is forthcoming from other places. She’s currently working on a collection of short stories about subaltern characters who inhabit defamiliarized worlds.

The Poetry Foundation’s events are completely free of charge and open to the public. This event will include live captioning and ASL interpretation. If you need any other accessibility measures, please contact us by emailing [email protected].

All guests over the age of two must wear a mask inside the Poetry Foundation building. Guests over the age of five must show proof of vaccination and booster up to the level to which they are eligible for their age group. Guests over the age of 18 must show ID alongside their proof of vaccination. If you cannot meet these requirements, you will not be granted entry to the event. All in-person events will be made available online for free at Please note that some performers may choose to perform without a mask.