About Amber DiPietra

In 2011, the body poetik (originally, Write to Connect) began to grow out of my work in San Francisco social service agencies. It was initially intended to be a creative writing/communications class for socially-isolated or stigmatized people. I brought the body poetik to vocational centers for the blind, nursing homes, schools for teenage moms, juvenile detention centers, libraries, disability resource offices, and substance abase recovery centers. the body poetk borrowed from arts practices and from holistic health modalities (such as guided meditation or sound healing) to inspire participants to speak or create authentically and with vitality from their lives.
The photo of the hands above was taken at Rose Manor, a residential treatment facility for women in Tampa, Florida. This group was truly magical--on their way to many healing transformations. Read more about it hereTo learn more about the body poetik's previous classes, scroll to the bottom of the sidebar and read through the archives.

As part of the body poetik, I create interactive performance art installations at museums, conferences, and universities across the country, using my own disabled body as catalyst. This as a kind of body work that puts viewers/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. Gallery visitors, not necessarily aware of what was going on, were directed to "interact" with my limbs, in response to a narrative that was being read aloud. The narrative combined original poetry and quoted investigative reporting on chronically ill or disabled adults under the age of 50 forced to live in nursing homes due to lack of resources. I had been asked to develop this piece as a response to a photo of Iwamoto Scott's sustainable architectural work, Jellyfish House.

A large part of the body poetik now unfolds through one-on-one consults and body work sessions I do with adults, towards transforming body-shame, the trauma of societal oppression on the physical body, and ij particular, on reclaiming sensual vitality. In 2014, I completed my certification as a somatic sex educator from the Institute of Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality in San Francisco and that has shaped my current practice.  My consults with individuals--while focusing on people with chronic pain, illness or disability-- also extends to anyone experiencing body acceptance issues, blocks to their sensual self-esteem, sexual health, or in creating intimacy in their lives. I believe that the frontier of avant-garde art, holistic health, and social change lie at the intersection of disability, radical body difference, and sexuality.






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


Woodhull Foundation, Sexual Freedom Summit, Washington DC. A performance about people with disabilities reshaping the ex industry. August, 2016.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Women's and gender studies class visit and interactive performance. March, 2016

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 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.



Arts employment, contract teaching gigs

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.


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.

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 and Certifications