Hi! I’m Maisha, the introverted activist behind Inkblot Arts.
I believe in empowering communities to share their stories, use their gifts of resilience to live more fulfilling lives, and tap into their creative powers to change the world around us.
Here at Inkblot Arts, you can read my writing, shop for my books, and get in touch with me for speaking engagements or workshops.
But first, here’s some more official business about who I am:
Maisha is an Oakland-based writer and activist of Trinidadian descent exploring the intersections of the arts, healing, and social change.
She has an MFA degree in Writing from Pacific University, and she studied English with a Creative Writing emphasis at San Francisco State University. She’s the author of a full-length collection of poetry, No Parachutes To Carry Me Home (Punk Hostage Press 2015), as well as Through Your Own Words: 51 Writing Prompts for Healing and Self Care (Inkblot Arts 2014),and three poetry chapbooks, Queer As In (Inkblot Arts 2014), Uprooted (Gorilla Press 2014), and Split Ears (Aggregate Space 2013).
Maisha works as a Digital Content Associate and Staff writer for Everyday Feminism, an editorial intern and writer for Black Girl Dangerous, and a blogger for Pyragraph Magazine. Her writing has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and published widely, with publications including Eleven Eleven, adduna, Blackberry: A Magazine, As/Us Journal, Kalyani Magazine, Samizdat Literary Journal, Fierce Hunger: Writing from the Intersection of Trauma and Desire, Ten Years of Writing Ourselves Whole, sPARKLE & bLINK, and more. Maisha is also an associate poetry editor for Silk Road Review, and has served as a guest poetry editor of The James Franco Review.
She’s a frequent performer who has read her work at events including the Berkeley Poetry Festival, LitQuake, Beast Crawl, Black Futurists Speak, Queer Arts Festival, Harlem’s Poetic Rebellion, and more. And she has won a number of awards, including the Leo Litwak Award in Fiction, and competitions including Literary Death Match, The Lit Slam, and Portuguese Artists’ Colony’s live writing competition.
Inkblot Arts began as a blog about the relationship between art and social change, powered by Maisha’s belief in writing to create connection and make an impact on our world. Some of her most meaningful experiences with the written word have come not through my own writing, but in workshops she’s led. Maisha has facilitated workshops with such powerful groups as LGBTQ survivors of violence and incarcerated youth.
In the past, Maisha has worked as a Wellness Organizer with Community United Against Violence (CUAV), leading arts and healing workshops to help LGBTQ survivors of violence transform trauma into healing; a program coordinator with Fired Up!, a program of California Coalition of Women Prisoners (CCWP), leading empowerment groups with incarcerated women; and a crisis counselor with The Trevor Project, supporting LGBTQ youth onThe Trevor Lifeline. She has also spoken about social change work and the arts as a guest lecturer, panelist, or presenter at events and locations including Sonoma State University’s Queer Lecture Series, UC Hastings, and the African-American Health Advisory Committee.