Trace Howard DePass is the author of Self-portrait as the space between us (PANK Books, 2018) and editor of Scholastic’s Best Teen Writing of 2017. He served as the 2016 Teen Poet Laureate for the Borough of Queens. His work has been featured on television and radio—BET Next Level, Billboard, Blavity, and NPR’s The Takeaway—and in print—Anomalous Press, Entropy Magazine, Platypus Press, Split This Rock!, The Other Side of Violet, [SAND] Journal, & Bettering American Poetry (Volume 3). DePass is a 2018 NYC Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador as well as Federal Hall, Teaching Artist Project, & Poets House Fellow.
Most Memorable TAP Moments:
"TAP has taught me so many things. But one of the most beautiful things I've learned alongside my cohort is the translation one medium of expression to another. TAP has helped me to polish a layered lesson & is a space of infectious, perpetual care & caring. I feel so much more confident in allowing play in the classroom drive the written work, which could live in the body as a choreographed message to the world of the wholeness of our individual person or in portraits, like a mural, of our communities.
Teaching alongside my dear friend Thiahera, I was given space to really understand & apply new, collaborative ways to teach poetry forms in relation to the content. A lesson of ours, which I cherish, begins with a game of vulnerability: the first person starts by passing around (popcorn-style) unfinished statement from a given prompt "so, a time where you where loved or need love is..." & another participant would decide if they consent to finishing that statement in order to choose the next person. This is a poem. This could be a game of dependent & independent clauses, such as "if's" & "then" of logical or geometric framework, between yourself & a partner. But, imagine if the work were completely focused on love & respecting boundaries or bodies with language. These could live as individual selves & statements or, if you consent, we will have created a poem together. The form of poetry I derive this from is the contrapuntal. Shout outs to Tyehimba Jess!
Currently, I work as a program coordinator & teaching artist with the Climate Museum, developing a program (and pushing poems) on how the climate crisis is going to amplify socioeconomic disparities & injustices marginalized people face daily."
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More poems by Trace