Leading as a Collective

Leading as a Collective

On November 19, the intensity of the semester could be felt from the CUNY Peer Leaders, which is usual at this time. Prior to the meet-up, facilitator Chinyere Okafor recommended that we invite Leader Malachi Davidson (Baruch College) to facilitate a section. Malachi introduced the exquisite corpse, a collaborate method which writers write one by one on a sheet of paper, fold to conceal what they have written, and pass it on to the next writer. In the end, the story or poem is a unique collaborative composition. Since our meet-ups have been on Zoom, Malachi provided prompts for what would be the “next line” of a poem.  We had to give it some thought and then Malachi would tell us when to type it in the chat and hit enter at once. The prompts were short and provoked thought.

Poem #1
15:32:01 From Malachi Davidson to Everyone:
I want to live forever, but:
15:33:46 From Kashema Hutchinson to Everyone:
My body needs rest
15:33:46 From Kaysi Holman (she/her) to Everyone:
the fleeting nature of life is precious
15:33:46 From Tabiya Springer to Everyone:
I know that energy never dies
15:33:46 From Ian Fernandez (He/Him/His) to Everyone:
my morality will impact my mortality
15:33:47 From chinyere okafor (she/her/dey/dem) to Everyone:
as a god, forever exhausts me.
15:33:47 From dawn ressy to Everyone:
Time won’t let me but I’ll keep on one way or another around you through you I will prevail
15:33:47 From Ayah Djelil to Everyone:
my kittens have to be eternal too
15:33:47 From Asma Nisa to Everyone:
Want to achieve my wildest dream content with myself
15:33:47 From Sujung Kim to Everyone:
My soul just wants to dance.
15:33:47 From Jasmaine to Everyone:
I already did
15:33:47 From Shanell Goring to Everyone:
My heart wouldn’t be able to survive the abuse from the world
15:33:47 From Sayquan Wooden to Everyone:
the ending is part of human life
15:33:47 From Moses Matos to Everyone:
I don’t want to grow old
15:33:48 From Vaishali Patra to Everyone:
the sky turns purple at the break of dawn
15:33:51 From Tori Caserta to Everyone:
I ain’t got that much time
15:33:55 From Avii V (they/them) to Everyone:
To live seems worse than to die
15:33:56 From Jaddia Price to Everyone:
What is forever
15:33:59 From Haunter Ascencio to Everyone:
They almost crashed
15:35:28 From Ayah Djelil to Everyone:
that was GREAT !
15:35:31 From Jaddia Price to Everyone:
Love this
15:35:35 From Asma Nisa to Everyone:
it was interesting
15:35:41 From Haunter Ascencio to Everyone:
twas fun
15:35:43 From dawn ressy to Everyone:
The kittens thing was hilarious
15:35:52 From Jaddia Price to Everyone:
Ive never heard of this soo good!

Poem #2
15:38:03 From Malachi Davidson to Everyone:
If not today, then when?
15:38:51 From favour Anyalewechi to Everyone:
never
15:38:52 From Avii V (they/them) to Everyone:
Stuck in linear space-time, no room for regrets
15:38:52 From Ayah Djelil to Everyone:
when procrastination does not rule thy soul
15:38:52 From Tabiya Springer to Everyone:
Our time won’t last forever
15:38:52 From Vaishali Patra to Everyone:
when will we let go of this pain?
15:38:52 From Kaysi Holman (she/her) to Everyone:
when the flowers bloom and my energy rises
15:38:52 From Asma Nisa to Everyone:
In the future maybe
15:38:52 From Shanell Goring to Everyone:
Now is our only reality
15:38:52 From Tori Caserta to Everyone:
When the sun rises again
15:38:52 From Ian Fernandez (He/Him/His) to Everyone:
Oh who knows?
15:38:52 From chinyere okafor (she/her/dey/dem) to Everyone:
being present in this reality
15:38:53 From Nina Hogan to Everyone:
Hopefully as soon as I can
15:38:53 From Jasmaine to Everyone:
not today will repeat until it becomes today
15:38:53 From Sujung Kim to Everyone:
Please, don’t ask me. I just want to be here and now.
15:38:53 From Haunter Ascencio to Everyone:
If not tomorrow, then how?
15:38:54 From Moses Matos to Everyone:
Better late than never
15:38:59 From Jaddia Price to Everyone:
I wont wait until the sky turns black
15:39:01 From bobby rivera to Everyone:
When i feel like it
15:39:07 From Sayquan Wooden to Everyone:
when is now for now is current
15:39:33 From dawn ressy to Everyone:
Now now now
15:40:22 From Tabiya Springer to Everyone:
me 3! this was funn
15:40:23 From dawn ressy to Everyone:
Fire!
15:40:30 From Jaddia Price to Everyone:
Goshh love this

After Malachi did three prompts and read the poems aloud, he invited other Leaders to provide a prompt for the group. Two observations were made. First the room, was much more upbeat and interactive. The Leaders mentioned how much they enjoyed the activity. Secondly, the CUNY Peer Leaders program is big on letting the Leaders lead! However, this time it wasn’t just him, because he handed it off to his fellow Leaders for them to create their own exquisite corpse.

That Friday afternoon, the Leaders facilitated and provided a space to hear all their voices with one line. It allowed them to engage in a way that didn’t require a grade or a deadline and was fun! This was supposed to be a shorter facilitation by Malachi, however, due to the Leaders response of the exercise, we decided to let it go a little longer. As a pedagogical tool, the directors and facilitator did not know about exquisite corpse, but Malachi did. Having a Leader (student) bring what they know into a (traditional or non-traditional) educational space can allow for a rewarding outcome. We highly recommend it!

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