Thank you for your interest in Cave Canem!

Meditation to Manifestation: using mindfulness and community to complete and release your poetry 

Deadline to submit application: Monday, March 4, 2024, 11:59 PM (ET) 

Workshop Period: March 12 - May 7 | Tuesdays, 6 PM - 9 PM (CT) 

Public Reading May 14, 7 PM (CT)

Natasha Ria Art Gallery, 1014 W 39th Street, KCMO 64111


While many religious profits used meditation, it has evolved into what is known as mindfulness. In this ten-week series we will use mindfulness as a lead into where our individual poems can take us. Using mindfulness/meditation techniques to begin and end the writing process will greatly assist in the completion of intimate and major artistic tasks. We will assist each other with bringing clarity and focus to the ambiguity in poems and create practical poetry work by reviewing projects and portfolios in this ten-week course. Drafting new poems in session after mindfulness sessions will bring power and intention to what and why we create. This course is highlighted using the artistic work of African American women poets and writers to guide our meditative practice in addition to original meditations by the workshop leader. 


Natasha Ria El-Scari is a poet, performer, writer, Cave Canem alum, Ragdale Residency recipient and facilitator/educator for nearly two decades. Her poetry, academic papers, and personal essays have been published in anthologies, literary and online journals.  She has opened for and introduced many great writers, singers and activists, and has been featured at a host of universities and venues nationwide. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Natasha has a BA from Jackson State University and an MA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Natasha’s Black Feminist approach is reflected in her writing, poetry and performance pieces. Once asked in an interview what makes her unique she replied, “…most people lie to themselves, but I like to reveal myself.” 

* Please note that all workshop participants are required to take a post-workshop survey after the conclusion of the program

Cave Canem Foundation established the Fellows & Faculty Fund in 2020, originally to help support members of our community during a time of global hardship. The Fund has been expanded to include individual project grants. The grants will underwrite creative ventures by Fellows that are regionally-specific. As Cave Canem continues its mission to foster community across the diaspora, these grants will serve as a resource to help Fellows create and implement programs that make access Black Poetry more equitable for all.

Through its grants, the fund supports projects that further civic and community engagement in poetry, and poetry education that will directly impact people in underserved regions of the United States.


Project Grants

The Fellows & Faculty Fund invites applications for new projects or those in the early stages of development (e.g. poetry reading/reading series; panel discussions relating to poetry; spoken word performance; print /digital poetry publication; or static, poetry-inclusive, public artwork) that have a deep, lasting and positive impact on underserved regions of the United States, with particular emphasis on Black communities.

We welcome applications from a single Fellow or collaborative partnerships between Fellows.



Proposals are considered from Fellows who ensure that a minimum of 50% of the project’s personnel is drawn from the Cave Canem Fellowship (which includes Faculty). International Fellows are eligible to apply but projects must be executed in the US.



Grants of $5000 are for a project to be completed within 2024. If the budget exceeds $5000, recipients are still responsible for completing the program. Requests for multi-year grants cannot be considered.

Cave Canem must be credited for any program that results from the award. 

This grant will not fund:

  • Expenses that have already been incurred
  • For-profit organizations
  • Cave Canem Employees



  • Please submit a personal statement of 500 words and a one-page, single-spaced proposal outlining the scope of the project and its budget.
  • Complete, sign, and date a W-9 form (or W-8BEN for non-U.S. residents)


Successful applicants will be notified by April 1, 2024



A 2,000-word assessment of the project’s outcomes will be required once the program is complete. Recipients must also provide documentation and visual evidence of the project (e.g. digital video of public presentations, printed materials, photographs, etc.).  



Applications are due March 15, 2024.


Review Criteria

Applications will be reviewed fairly and competitively by members of Cave Canem’s Board of Directors and senior staff. Decisions will be made based on where grants can have the largest impact and leverage. Selections are based on the review criteria stated below:


  • Quality: Is the proposal well-conceived? Is it innovative and/or creative?
  • Community Impact: What is the potential impact of the project? How does it engage the community? Does it foster collaborative civic participation and advance Black poetry?
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Priority will be given to projects serving marginalized, underserved and under-resourced populations, including Black communities, low-income, geographically isolated, LGBTQIA+, individuals with disabilities, refugees, and immigrants.


    Questions or concerns should be sent to the Director of Programs, Dante Micheaux:

Cave Canem Foundation established the Fellows & Faculty Fund in 2020, originally to help support members of our community during a time of global hardship. As Cave Canem fulfills its mission to foster community across the diaspora, these $500 grants will continue to serve as a resource for Fellows to use at their discretion (usually for urgent/unexpected expenses or as supplemental support of artistic practice and development). Grantees who receive funds in any given year are eligible to apply again in the following year, with preference given to first-time applicants.

Individuals who wish to donate to the fund may do so here.


  1. Complete, sign, and date a W-9 form (or W-8 BEN for non-U.S. residents)
  2. Complete this online Submittable form, including a brief statement (maximum 250 words) describing what the grant will be used for. (This information will be used solely to improve how Cave Canem serves our Fellowship and Black poets in general.)
  3. Grants are automatically disbursed via Zelle or Paypal. The names of applicants will not be published and all submitted information will be kept confidential.

Questions or concerns should be sent to the Director of Programs, Dante Micheaux:

Cave Canem Foundation, Inc.