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About Amber DiPietra

In 2011, the body poetik (originally, Write to Connect) grew out of my work in San Francisco social service agencies. It was initially intended to be a creative writing/creative communications class for socially-isolated people. This included, but was not limited to: people with disabilities, seniors, people with mental health issues, and people with chronic illness. the body poetk offered these groups opportunities to speak authentically and with vitality about their lives. So often, we lack a language for the experiences of marginalized bodies (disabled, aging, etc) in our busy lives. These early workshops inspired participants to find ways to reach out (either through creative writing, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, or even good old face-to-face  conversations at local coffee shops). the body poetik was an arts-based, community-building effort.

I brought the body poetik to vocational centers for the blind, senior centers, at-risk youth programs, libraries, disability service centers, and substance abase recovery centers. I've provided hundreds of  individual sessions in my home. In addition, I do interactive performance art installations at art centers and universities, using my own disabled body as catalyst. This as a kind of body work that puts participants inside the art and encourages a sensate experience, not just an intellectual one. In the photo to the left, I am lying on the gallery floor of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Passers-by were directed to "interact" with my limbs, in response to a narrative that was being read aloud concerning young adults instutronalzied nursing homes.



The photo of the hands was taken at Rose Manor, a residential treatment facility for young women in Tampa, Florida. This group was truly magical--on their way to many healing transformations. Read more about it hereTo learn about the body poetik's previous classes and projects, scroll to the bottom of the sidebar and read through the archives.

2014 marked a shift in focus for thebodpoe--towards healing indivudal body-shame, cultivating sensual self-expression, and empowering healthy sex lives. I completed my certification as a somatic sex educator from the Institute of Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality in San Francisco. the body poetik now offers intimacy coaching to adults on an individual basis, via creative play, expressive language games, body work practices, guided meditation, and more. In 2016, I also received my certification to be a K-6 grade teacher for the OWL program. Our Whole Lives is a highly esteemed curriculum developed by the Unitarian Universalist church to educate young children about sexuality. It is secular, age-appropriate and can be taught for Boy/Girl Scout troupes, kids' rec centers, or any church that has a children's group.

Besides individual/couple/small group consults on body-image and sexuality, I am still available to teach embodied creative writing classes for any age. Creative writing can be a way to build positive body-image and become more attuned to the outside world. It can be a way to heal or live with illness.  These writing-only classes would not be focused on sexuality. 





Amber DiPietra Curriculum Vitae








This CV lists selected publications, collaborations, and other projects specific to my arts career and my work as a teaching artist/bodyworker. I have a separate resume that details my employment as a disability advocate and service provider. Please ask me for a copy of the latter if you would like to review it.



Performance art, poetry readings, interactive presentations

University of Arizona, Tucson's "Open embodiments; conference. April 2015. 

Naropa University's "Writing, Thinking, Being" conference in Boulder, CO. October 2014

Mills College, Oakland CA "Gender, Feminism, Poetry and Embodiment" panel. May 2014.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Pop-Up Poets Series: interpretive dance and poetry in response to a sculpture installation. This piece was also a commentary on nursing home conditions and the inert body. It invited gallery visitors to interact with my body and words, to actually become part of my ephemeral installation.


Axis Dance, an internationally known troupe of dancers with and without disability: volunteer performer as part of the Yerba Buena Gardens arts festival in San Francisco, CA. This piece was site-based and consisted of more than 50 dancers working with chance, flash mob, and adaptive postmodern dance techniques for differently-abled bodies.


Poetics of Healing Colloquium, a series of talks by doctors, scholars, and artists

Humboldt State University’s Critical, Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies conference

University of California Santa Cruz’s “Emergent Communities” conference

San Francisco State University’s Poetry Center as guest speaker for public practices class 

San Francisco Library for the Blind and Print Disabled as part of Litquake, an annual citywide literary festival

Fundraiser/performance for San Francisco's Center for Sex and Culture

Readings at various multidisciplinary arts venues in San Francisco, CA and the Tampa Bay Area: The Lab, Pegasus Books, The Green Arcade, Canessa Gallery, Books and Bookshelves. Tampa Public Library, Studio 620


Publications

The Force of What's Possible: Accessibility and the Avant-Garde. 2014: essay forthcoming in this anthology.

Waveform, 2011:  book of poetry/performance text, written with collaborator Denise Leto.

Somatic Engagement, 2011:  compilation of essays and poetry from various writers and performers who base their work on issues of embodiment.
 
Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetics of Disability, 2011: anthology of poetry from contemporary writers with disabilities.

Various literary journals: Eleven Eleven, RealPoetik, Wordgathering, Monday Night, Tarpaulin Sky, Dusie.



Teaching

the body poetik as intimacy coaching: sessions with individuals to address erotic self-image, basic sensory awareness, and finding greater love pleasure in one's own body. Using creative writing, journaling, meditation and breathwork in conjunction with self-guided bodywork techniques.


the body poetk as creative writing for sensory awareness: classes and participatory art experiences offered at senior centers, independent living centers, rehabilitation centers for the blind/visually impaired community, as a part of an adaptive yoga class for people with various disabilities, at a prison and rehab center for young women, and most recently, with VSA FL, an agency dedicated to promoting art enrichment for people with disabilities.

Adjunct at New College of Florida: developed and lead a course on contemporary, avant-garde poets of the San Francisco Bay Area. This was an online class which involved close reading and creative writing for undergraduates. I was awarded this fellowship from the New College Alumni Association.

San Francisco School of the Arts: taught a creative writing summer session for junior high students preparing to apply for the arts charter high school.


Runaway with Words: co-created a series of poetry workshops for teenagers in juvenile detention centers, a school for teen mothers, and a preschool program in the inner city.


Other arts and writing -related jobs

VSA Florida: interviewed artists with disabilities across the state of Florida and wrote VSA quarterly newsletter.

Olimpias Collective: a disability culture performance and research group based at the University of Michigan; danced and created original poetry as part of the collective at multiple venues.

Proyecto Vision: a bilingual website for Latino youth with disabilities: wrote several success stories about youth from around the country.

Kelsey Street Press: an avant-garde feminist poetry press established in the 1970s; developmental editing for the publication of new books; blogging about new, experimental women's poetry; collaboration on sound project that collected the voices of women poets. 


Education