SZA Workshop Series

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Artwork by Dominique James

Today’s lesson is by guest author Dominique James, daughter of Chicago and Southside sweetheart, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Howard University. She has completed research fellowships at the University of California-Riverside and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. After graduation, she was a TRIALS Fellow at Harvard Law School and a University of Chicago HBCU Bridge Scholar. She is a teaching artist at Young Chicago Authors and creates word-based multimedia projects and is a recipient of the 2020 Chicago Artists Coalition Spark Grant and a 2018 Propeller Fund grant from Gallery 400, Threewalls, and The Andy Warhol Foundation. Whether as an event host, performer, or teaching artist, Dominique seeks to inspire celebration and share joy.  
(Photo by Reese Amaru) Visit Dominique’s blog here.

(originally posted on and shared here with author’s permission)

For the project, I used the workshop contents to reimagine the physical album, designing my own versions of the album cover, liner notes, and tracklist. “Happy birthday Sza” collage and prompts inspired by one of my favorite albums — see more ideas like this here. Happy creating!

Artwork by Dominique James

Prompts for each song:

Poem pairings to inspire writing:

Invisible Dreams by Toi Dericotte

Love, I’m Done With You by Ross Gay

The Way We Were Made by Marcus Wicker

The Blue Terrance by Terrance Hayes

on new year’s eve by Evie Shockley

That One Time I Stayed Up All Night Making Excuses to Talk to Danger by Tarfia Faizullah

Gravity by Angel Nafis

Choi Jeong Min by Franny Choi

My Love for Nature by Fatimah Asghar

Tenor by Luther Hughes

I Don’t Miss It by Tracy K. Smith

Wife by Ada Limón

American Smooth by Rita Dove

Ars Poetica by José Olivarez

Thank you for reading! Do you have a story, lesson plan, activity, or something else to share with Be a guest author! Email me at 

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You can follow me on Twitter at @MelAlterSmith and please tweet all the awesome things you are doing in your class with the #TeachLivingPoets hashtag! 

One thought on “SZA Workshop Series

  1. Pingback: Celebrate Black Poets | #TeachLivingPoets

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