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 to your now dead beloved. Everyday, at the time of your choosing, write a few words, or pages, expressing your grief, happiness, gratitude, loss, love, hurt. Do so in free-verse or a more traditional poetic format. Weep and wail while you write. Let the tears fall on the keyboard. Write until it’s dark night, until dawn says, “Hello.”

Tell them how much you love them, how much you miss them. How grateful you are that they were in your life. Tell them how they, because of their love for you, transformed you. Write.

Listen to music and dance. Dance as though you are dancing with your beloved. Make those moves, hold your arms as though they are in them. Dance. And write.

Image Description: Soft focus of a hand writing with a pen in a spiral bound journal.

Dan Zibman, is a grieving husband of a remarkable woman who died in 2016, father of a wonderful
daughter. He retired in the summer of 2016. Dan has a BA in religion and an MBA from Temple University. He was an amateur and semi-professional soccer player for twenty years and is a veteran of the US Army (1965-1968).

Zibman was born in a working-class neighborhood in Philly called Kensington. Hung on the corner, sang doo-wop, went to dances, played soccer, read books.

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.