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Archive for the '2019 Writers' Category

Birmingham/Mars – Gabrielle Bates

2019 Jack Straw writer Gabrielle Bates spoke with curator Kathleen Flenniken about her collection of poems about growing up in the South. In their conversation, they discuss her array of projects, including a poetry comic collection, surrealism in her writing, and finding patience during a project.  “I keep going back, lately, to this great quote […]

Comedy – Josh Axelrad

Josh Axelrad began his storytelling career on The Moth, and his Jack Straw project is a collection of short stories meant to live in the world of prose rather than performance. In his conversation with curator Kathleen Flenniken, they discuss his circuitous path to becoming a writer, the way we present our lives online, and […]

Empathy – Michael Schmeltzer

Jack Straw Writer Michael Schmeltzer spoke with curator Kathleen Flenniken about his poems that explore the line between good and bad, and his own history as a biracial Japanese-American man. In their conversation, they discuss the juxtaposition of tenderness and atrocities, the conflicting narratives about the Japanese during war, and the value of empathy and […]

Wet – Leanne Dunic

Leanne Dunic’s project for the 2019 Jack Straw Writers Program is a book of lyric pose called Wet that takes place in Singapore, inspired by the thick haze of forest fires during a writing residency. In her conversation with curator Kathleen Flenniken, they discuss rolling with the punches, the influence of nature, and the overlap […]

Suzanne – Christianne Balk

2019 Jack Straw writer Christianne Balk spoke with curator Kathleen Flenniken about her series of poems of early 20th century voices inspired by her grandmother’s life as a young nurse serving in France during WWI. They discuss the importance of research in her writing, her background as a biology major, and inspiration taken from naturalists […]

Lena – Samar Abulhassan

2019 Jack Straw Writer Samar Abulhassan’s poetry project unites several different bodies of work: in particular, a project called “Lena,” set near bodies of water. In her conversation with curator Kathleen Flenniken, they discuss the relationship between writing and listening, writing and movement, and the parts of our identity that sometimes stay hidden in the […]

Oblique Sonnets – Rena Priest

Jack Straw writer Rena Priest spoke with curator Kathleen Flenniken about her poetry project Sublime Subliminal, inspired by Jim Simmerman’s “20 Little Poetry Projects.” They discuss the richness of languages, where poems start, and expectations of identity. “In a way, language, using it for poetry or powerful prose that changes a person’s mind or changes […]

Selves – Sylvia Byrne Pollack

Sylvia Byrne Pollack’s project for the 2019 Jack Straw Writers Program is a collection of prose poems written from the perspective of two fictional characters who deal with disability and mental illness. In her conversation with curator Kathleen Flenniken, they discuss Sylvia’s history as a scientist, her return to writing, and personification as a tool […]

Robo-Poet – Shankar Narayan

Jack Straw Writer Shankar Narayan’s manuscript “Circuit Breaker” grapples with the impact of technology on society and the body. In his conversation with 2019 Writers Program curator Kathleen Flenniken, they explore themes of bias in technology, how his writing is influenced by with his work as a lawyer for the ACLU, and the intersection of […]

Eenie – Dianne Aprile

2019 Jack Straw writer Dianne Aprile spoke with curator Kathleen Flenniken about her memoir-in-progress on the story of her aunt’s long-held secret of rape and subsequent lobotomy. They discuss how Aprile’s background as a journalist helped her to uncover the truth of the story, the evolution of mental health, and where her aunt’s story fits […]