From Tribe and Fire: A Poetry Benefit in Celebration of the Students of the S.H.E. Fund

from tribe and fire

Join us for an inspirational event to uplift women's voices and support the students of the Safe House Education (S.H.E.) Fund. This virtual event will feature poets Ellen Bass, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jane Hirshfield, Marie Howe, Danusha Laméris; musicians Jami Sieber, Agu, and Muthoni Drummer Queen; and the S.H.E. students themselves. Read more about the poets and musicians below.

This event will benefit the S.H.E. students, young women from the Maasai tribe who have escaped Female Genital Mutilation and early childhood marriage. The donations will be 100% tax deductible within the United States. Read more about the S.H.E. Fund here.

If you are unable to attend the event live, but would like to view a recording of the event and/or support the S.H.E. students, please still register for the event. A private link to view the recording will be emailed to all who have registered following the event.

"I've supported the S.H.E. Fund since I first learned it existed. How often can you help to bring such essential and lasting good to young women across the world whose courage and stories and hopes you can know directly, whose faces and families you can see, whose graduations you can celebrate? To add my poems and voice to this benefit along with my own donation -- and with such an amazing company of poets this year -- is a pure happiness: together, we weave the fabric of changed existence." - Jane Hirshfield, poet

Ellen Bass is currently serving as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches in the low-residency MFA program in writing at Pacific University. Her most recent book is Indigo. With Florence Howe, she co-edited the first major anthology of women’s poetry, No More Masks!, published in 1973 and she is coauthor of The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse.

Naomi Shihab Nye is the young People's Poet Laureate of the United States (Poetry Foundation). Her most recent books are Everything Comes Next, Collected & New Poems, Cast Away (poems about trash), The Tiny Journalist, and Voices in the Air - Poems for Listeners.

Jane Hirshfield, in poems described by The Washington Post as belonging among the modern masters and by The New York Times as passionate and radiant, praises the radiance of particularity and honors the consequence of the daily. Her nine much-honored books of poems (most recently, LEDGER, published March 2020) and two now-classic collections of essays address the urgent immediacies of our time -- the crises of climate, biosphere, and social justice -- as well the abiding human perplexities of desire and loss; beauty and impermanence; the schooling of the heart in permeability to the difficult questions every life asks. A former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, the founder of Poets for Science, and recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, in 2019 Hirshfield was elected into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Marie Howe is the author of four books of poetry, the latest  Magdalene, WW Norton.   She was NY State poet from 20212 - 2014, is  a Chancellor of the Academy of American poets, teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, and is the poet in residence at The Cathedral Church of St John the Divine in New York City.

Danusha Laméris’ first book, The Moons of August (2014), was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award. Some of her work has been published in: The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, Orion, The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner. The 2020 recipient of the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award, her second book is Bonfire Opera (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series). She teaches poetry independently, and was the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California.

Electric cellist and vocalist Jami Sieber reaches inside the soul with compositions that are contemporary, timeless, lush, and powerfully evocative. Her style of performance has been recognized internationally. An innovative musician, Jami’s music moves beyond the surface, seeking and re-seeking her truth by creating musical bridges and connections, committed to doing what moves her and inspiring listeners with her honesty, musical prowess, and humanity. Her life-long commitment to the environment, social justice, and the healing arts is at the heart of her music, reflecting a deep dedication to the arts as a medium to express the interconnectedness of all beings. Jami will be performing with Agu.

Muthoni Drummer Queen is a singer, rapper and drummer from Nairobi, Kenya. Since 2008, Muthoni has been juggling her creative hats between making music and running Blankets & Wine, a festival she founded to increase access for African artists to live audiences. In its 11th year now, the festival runs quarterly editions in Uganda and Rwanda. In addition, Muthoni is involved in developing the skills within the Kenyan music industry through perFORM music incubator. Muthoni is the embodiment of “Think Global, Act Local” and her sheer existence allows others the courage to imagine their own global vision executed right here in Africa, and everywhere they choose to be. Muthoni’s music often finds itself musing on the state of Kenya and Africans at large, the human condition/ experience and the state of women. The underlying purpose of the works is to awaken the listener to their inherent purpose and ignite their longing for greatness and freedom.

The S.H.E. Students are young women from the Maasai tribe who have escaped Female Genital Mutilation, early childhood marriage, and their culture's refusal to educate women. By fulfilling their dreams for education and professional success, they are transforming generations of oppression. Each of them, between the ages of 8-14, fled these cultural practices to the V-Day Safe House, a refuge was created in 2002 by Agnes Pareyio, a Maasai visionary, in collaboration with V-Day. The rescue center provides them with primary and secondary education. Becoming a S.H.E. student is the next step, as we support the students who choose to continue with their education in college or university. They will emerge from these programs with the skills and maturity to make their way in the world, and, by their example, break the cycle of oppression in their communities.

Kim Rosen is the author of Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words as well as the founder and director of the S.H.E. College Fund. She has inspired listeners worldwide with the power of poetry as a transformative agent for individuals and communities. A culminating moment of her life mission to melt defenses, transcend definitions, and foster connection with self and others through poetry came in 2007 when she recited a poem to a group of Maasai girls at the Tasaru Rescue Center. In that moment of cross-cultural, trans-generational communion, a deep bond was formed that eventually inspired her to create the S.H.E. Fund to serve the girls who had won her heart. Now she travels the world not only to give workshops and trainings on self revelation through poetry and soul-inquiry, but also in the service of the courageous students of the S.H.E. team. Kim spends time in Kenya each year to develop personal relationships with the S.H.E. students.