Has the past year been an absolute sh!t show for you? You are not alone!
“Laugh to Keep From Crying (Or Not)” — led by award-winning Michigan performance poets, teaching artists of youth non-profit The Diatribe, and resident BFF goofs KFG and Jocelyn — is a writing workshop to learn how to reframe hardships in light-heartedness and use laughter to gain insight from your tragedies. Bring your stories — the heart-breaking, the frustrating, the ridiculous — and get ready to uncover the delight in the absurdity of life.
A potpourri-of-queerness, Pisces poet, born in the mythical land of Kalamazoo;
A published writer, nationally award-winning performer, recovering musical theatre kid, youth teaching artist, Grand Rapids’ slammaster and slam team coach, and aspiring cartoon character.
KFG goes by “they/them” pronouns because gender is Mystique from X-Men: both a shape-shifter and a villain made up in a white guy’s head.
Jocelyn Barnes grew up in Grand Rapids, MI. In her lifetime, she has lived through a pandemic, two impeachment trials, the legalization of gay marriage, and the devastating realities of white supremacy in America. She’d like to stop living through historical events for a while, and focus on the simpler things in life, like TikTok. As she’s been through some stuff, her lived experiences inspire her poetry. She tends to focus on topics ranging from the power in lifting others as you climb, finding hope through struggle, coping with trauma and mental illness, and finding love for herself and her community, despite colonizer standards of living in her hometown! Jocelyn is the host of the Drunken Retort, an open mic hosted in Grand Rapids, MI, she is the Communication Lead & a Teaching Artist with the Diatribe, and she was Retort United Grand Slam Champion of 2020. She says she’s proof that art saves lives, and double dog dares you to Venmo $25 to a black woman you know today!