Loss is a normal part of lived experience.

The Grammar of Grief Handbook is a living online resource for people seeking performance practices which can help them work through losses in their lives.

Memorials are typically thought of as stone structures rising above eye level in a public square. The Handbook reimagines bereavement through writing, audio, or physical movement that can be created at home and come out of the body’s unique relationship to grief.

Indira Allegra would like to acknowledge the contribution of Temple Contemporary at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University with participants from the Fabric Workshop Museum and engagements with the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design at Indiana University, and Oxbow School of Art and Artists Residency in 2020 and 2021.

The Grammar of Grief Series began as a commission from the San Francisco Chronicle and is generously hosted by Temple Contemporary at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Invaluable support for the online Handbook from the Minnesota Street Project Adjacent Virtual Residency in San Francisco, California.

Indira Allegra

Indira Allegra’s work explores memorial as a genre and a vital part of the human experience. Allegra re-imagines what a memorial can feel like and how it can function through the practices of performance, sculpture, and installation.

They are the 2019/2020 Burke Prize winner, Fleishhacker Eureka Fellow, and a triennial 2019-2022 Montalvo Art Center Sally and Don Lucas Artist Fellow.


Minnesota Street Project Adjacent

Adjacent is a space where art happens online. Collaborating with galleries, creators, and partners around the world, the site showcases virtual talks, live performances, and more.

Adjacent is a direct response to the 2020 pandemic, re-imagining and re-contextualizing the Arts in this new reality. The site is an extension of the Minnesota Street Project’s physical space in San Francisco — breaking boundaries, inspiring curiosity, and championing conversations about the Arts.


Design and development by @paperbeatsscissors
Handbook maintenance by Shanna Sordahl


Your loss is worthy of memorial. Your practice of memorial can be a resource for others experiencing the same kind of loss. Look to the website for inspiration, then create your own sound-based, movement or written practice or practice in your environment which comes out of your own experience of grief for others to try.

Submit your own practices and prompts anytime. The Grammar of Grief Handbook selects and publishes new submissions four times a year. The first publication period is November 6 — December 31, 2020. Submit here.

Write a letter to your body, expressing gratitude to each specific part for housing your spirit and for allowing you to have an earthly experience during this time, for as long as it is able to do so.

Now write a letter to the body of a loved one, conveying appreciation for affording you the opportunity to experience the person, specifying all of the qualities and gifts you received as a result of the body’s work and presence. Send gratitude, acknowledging that the body’s work for that person is now complete and deserves rest.

Image Description: Behind the text is a blurred video that slowly moves along a shoreline of blue water with the sky reflected in it. The shore is covered in orange and green brush. Mountains outline the landscape in the background.

It occurred to me that my heart has been beating steadily every day, for years, without ceasing, and that my father’s heart had done so as well for more than eight decades, until its job on this earthly plane was complete and its time for rest had arrived. The generous spirit it supported during that time had now rightfully returned to its Source. This comforted me and continues to comfort me.

Kimberly Lee left the practice of law some years ago to focus on motherhood, community work, and creative pursuits. Her work has appeared in Literary Mama, Fresh Ink, Thread,Toyon, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and three children

Try this writing practice and notice how you feel. Submit a writing practice which comes out of your own experience of grieving loss that other people can try.