My new collaboration with Cid Pearlman and Mara Milam: home(Body)–announcing the 4 poets we will be working with and the semifinalsts and honorable mentions

(home)Body Poets

Cid Pearlman Performance is delighted to announce the four poets whose work will be featured in our upcoming dance/video/art installation (home)Body.

(home)Body is an art installation with dance video, poetry, and live performance. It will premiere at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History in January of 2022.  

The (home)Body Poets are:

JJJJJerome Ellis

Willie X. Lin
Naomi Ortiz

Tanaya Winder

Each (home)Body Poet will receive a $500 honorarium. 

Bios & photo credits can be found here.

We have also selected nine Semifinalists and nine Honorable Mentions whose poems will be published on in November of 2021.  


  • Robyn Brooks
  • Dina El Dessouky
  • Meg Frances
  • Tse Hao Guang
  • Stephanie Heit
  • Petra Kuppers
  • Sarah Rosenthal
  • Michael Warr
  • Chun Yu 

Honorable Mentions

  • Rukhsar Ali
  • Mrinalini Harchandrai
  • Elizabeth Hassler
  • Julia Lepe
  • Londeka Mduli
  • Ojo Taiye
  • Elizabeth Upshur
  • Patrice Vecchione
  • Tajinder Virdee 

(home)Body Lead Artists
Denise Leto (Poet/Dramaturge)
Mara Milam (Video Artists/Director of Photography)
Cid Pearlman (Artistic Director/Choreographer)

This project is made possible by the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship at the Community Foundation Santa Cruz.

Cid is honored to have been awarded a Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship at the Community Foundation Santa Cruz for her creative work. This includes $20,000 in unrestricted funds.  Other artists in the 20/21 cohort include Ann AltstattMarc D’Estout and Edward Ramirez. All four fellows will show work together in early 2022. 


JJJJJerome Ellis
Willie X. Lin
Naomi Ortiz
Tanaya Winder

Lead Artists

Cid Pearlman, Artistic Director/Choreographer
Denise Leto, Poet/Dramaturge
Mara Milam, Video Artist/Director of Photography

Some poems of mine in the new journal: Mollyhouse



How long have you lived inside this candle?

I have lived inside this candle since you left.

It was cruel light in her mouth when they kissed.

Touch can be seen or unseen.

I will make you a desktop that looks like the night sky.

Your room will be a greenhouse.

I will keep you constantly under mist.

Feed your hands with my hands.

I will make things for you.

The skin just above your hips.

In your green eyes gathering.

Here are the oil paintings I made for you.

Here is the chair I carved.

And the opera I wrote.

I sewed a blanket for you.

I designed these shoes for you. Soft. Leather. Aubergine.

Black stitching on the tongue. Put them on.

I painted a room-size ocean for you.

I held you when you jumped into the bucket of snails.

I drew a turquoise cave. Your initials in the overlay.

You will never be cold.

I will make things for you.

I will make things for you.

I made this for you.



The time her eyes looked like doorknobs

and once like sand crabs.

Count the poison dandelions,

pretend they are locks of hair.

Take your shoes off, your blouse, your cantilever.

Play the broken part: apart.

Needles, bottles, brother.

Future, tender, liar.

Hello bone urethra.

Hello stellar coroner.

Hello chipped nail polish.

If and if and then.



Bone as an exhalation of form

glass stained by glass

Time as a mirror of negation

no help in the heap of surrender

Home as a parlor of fish

the yard in your world in duress

Words are unfavorable to infinity

we could not have known what leaving would mean.


(home) Body: Poetry call for Submissions

(home)Body is an art installation with dance video, poetry, and live performance.

Submit Poems to our new interdisciplinary project!

Four selected poets will each receive a $500 honorarium for an original work

Five additional poets will each receive honorable mentions and one or more of their poems will appear on the project’s webpage.

This work is a collaboration between artistic director/choreographer Cid Pearlman, video artist Mara Milam, poet/dramaturge Denise Leto, and ten dance artists.

The poems we commission will seek to represent a multiplicity of voices. They will inform the content we create and will function as scaffolding and inspiration for the dance and video.

We are looking for poems that speak to ideas around home and body in personal, experimental, and/or topical ways. The poems can range in metaphorical and embodied complexity. For example, the body in question can be the personal/individual body, the communal/community body, the body politic and/or the synecdochal body.

There is no entry fee.

We welcome all poetic forms and approaches (lyric, experimental, performance poetry, slam poetry, prose poems etc.)

We very much encourage new and emerging artists.

We are particularly interested in seeing submissions from BIPOC poets, poets from the LGBTQIA+ community, young poets, and poets from disability communities across all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.

Submissions open: November 24, 2020

Deadline: February 15, 2021 at midnight PST

Send to:

Please do not submit until you read the complete guidelines and learn more about the project at:

This project is made possible by the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship at the Community Foundation Santa Cruz.

my collaborative article/poem on dance and poetry with Sima Belmar in the December 2019 issue of In Dance

Friends, check out this collaborative article/poem I did with the brilliant Sima Belmar. It is in the December issue of In Dance magazine called “In Practice: A Dancer Poet Creature Conversation.” We sat for hours talking about dance and poetry and then Sima transcribed our conversation and then we made it into a poem.


In Practice: A Dancer Poet Creature Conversation with Denise Leto

Lines: Sawako Nakayasu

Morning Song

Every time, these days, it seems, an equation gets forced. Forged:

far cry

low rise

and every morning sticks, figure A, for alas, stick figures, it
figures that we awaken in the same rectangle at different points on the time
line, these every days the sum of all our

angles, a beyond-complementary
rate, exceeding three hundred sixty, then three hundred sixty-five, three
hundred seventy

days, and angles, a supersaturated moon. Also it is morning
and I am far

from and I cry.

The last ditch grows deeper and I stuff the
world into a quadratic of words, for example:              But-I-love-you.
Place-in-the-box.         Pass-the-god-damn-butter.
That’s four against three.                    Far against which cry.



A new poem “Mythical Map of a Bird” in the gorgeous journal Rogue Agent, Issue #55

Link to Rogue Agent #55

rogue agent 2Collage-55

Denise Leto


She eats her own form.
Spits out an artery of feathers.
The prey spans old powdery drapery.

small hole in the body of a bird through which waste or eggs emerge

origin of coordinates
points in a system of coordinates which serve as a zero point

In the missing of small ponds:
a hat, a phone book, an hourglass,
the lack of a reason.

hard curved or pointed part of a bird’s mouth 

angular distance, in degrees, minutes, and seconds of a point north or south

The police are a mystery in this legend.
They knock loudly on the door.
They come and go, come and go.

sharp nails on the
feet of some birds that kill other animals for food

vertical distance of a point above or below a reference surface

I sweep the broken glass. Put up a plywood board.
The kids huddle. A rope of breath
around each exhalation.

small soft feathers of a bird

horizontal direction clockwise from the meridian

M. lies awake with a flashlight pointed at the door.
I lie awake with a flashlight pointed at her.
We fall asleep without sleep.

point at the
end of a wing

group of natural processes including weathering, dissolution, abrasion, corrosion

A spectral relief in the garden.
I draw inside avium animalia.
I remember something more.

thin layer of skin between the toes of some birds that helps them swim

continuous tone
an image not broken into dots by a photographic screen

The sense of viscera on a wet branch.
We look for our bodies in an infinite line.
I want to thank her for shape.

molted flight feather of a large bird

contour interval
difference in elevation between two adjacent lines

At the café the girls play us a song.
I keep changing my shoes.
They give me amulets.

set of
feathers on the top of the heads of some birds

high water mark
a line or mark left upon tidal flats, beaches, or along the shore of a rivulet