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Sarah Maria MedinaSarah María Medina’s contribution to the 2018 Jack Straw Writers Anthology is a collection of poems from her poetry manuscript Oshun’s Daughter. In her conversation with curator Daemond Arrindell, they discuss the decolonization of art and its form, responding to music, and spontaneity on the page. “I’m not knocking the sonnet, but for me I feel like it’s a bit constricting,” she says. “I end up feeling like I can’t breathe by the end of it. So, I like to think about . . . my brother . . . he’s really into rumba, that is a more open-ended form where you can have the beat change and break and you can go in to bembé. . . . And I like to think about how we can do that on the page.”

Sarah María is a poet and a fiction/creative non-fiction writer from the American Northwest. Her writing has been published in Black Warrior Review, Prelude, Poetry NW, Raspa Literary Journal, and elsewhere. Her work appears in two anthologies: Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat Books, 2018), and Bettering American Poetry Vol. 2. She is an ARTIST UP Grant LAB recipient, a Caldera artist in residence, a Hugo House teaching artist, and the poetry editor at Winter Tangerine.

SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. All of the writers heard in this series are published in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, and featured online at www.jackstraw.org.

Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

Jalayna CarterJalayna Carter’s poems in the 2018 Jack Straw Writer’s Anthology are both a “report on human behavior” and a “love story to how humans cope.” In her conversation with Daemond Arrindell, they discuss being Southern, legacies, and exploring fear. “It’s great to be someone who people can look up to and say, ‘Oh, that person can handle it. That person is strong. That person is everything that I want to be.’ But it, ultimately, is a disservice to ourselves. I see people who are not able to admit that they are afraid and how that . . . tears apart their lives. I would love for people, black people and people of color who read this book, to know that it’s OK to be afraid.”

Jalaynais a storyteller with pieces published in a handful of journals including Puerto Del Sol, Third Point Press, and Reality Beach, as well as an anthology by 2Leaf Press: Black Lives Have Always Mattered. Originally from St. Louis, MO, she studied literature and journalism in the Midwest before pursuing nonprofit communications. Her work primarily focuses on fear, the taboo, and dysfunction, particularly within the body and as a learned behavior.

SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. All of the writers heard in this series are published in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, and featured online at www.jackstraw.org.

Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

Danielle Bero2018 Jack Straw writer Danielle Bero is working on a chapbook of poetry about her relationship to her body and queer identity. She and curator Daemond Arrindell talk about finding passion and connection with an audience, the rhythm of her writing, and working in schools. “Even my own students, you know, I want to get them excited. In a land of Twitter age, where it’s like, ‘I got a hundred and forty characters to make me kind of shine,’ I want them to start thinking about language that pops, thinking about wordplay, thinking about how things play off of each other, and how language can be really like . . . how everything is poetry.”

Danielle was born in Queens to hippie parents, given a dose of Shel Silverstein, Tupac, Jazz and classic rock. She was the recipient of a Posse Scholarship, and nominated for the Daily News Unsung Hero in Education. Danielle taught in Indonesia on a Fulbright scholarship, the Bronx through Teach for America and co-founded a school for students in foster care. She received a master’s in English Education, Educational Leadership and completed her MFA at the University of San Francisco. She’s won slam competitions at Nuyorican’s Poets Café, Bowery Poetry Club and Ubud Writer’s festival. She’s published in New American Writing, Sinister Wisdom, Lavender Review, Quiet Lightning, and Juked.

SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. All of the writers heard in this series are published in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, and featured online at www.jackstraw.org.

Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

Dujie TahatDujie Tahat’s project as a 2018 Jack Straw Writer’s is a chapbook length manuscript about grief in relationships and the political sphere. In his conversation with curator Daemond Arrindell, they discuss what grief teaches, the grief within immigrant experience, and fatherhood. “I think the relationship between turning and facing yourself—I think that’s what teaches you empathy. I don’t think you need empathy to do that. The core thing is being able to look at yourself.”

Dujieis a writer and political hack from Washington State. His essays on poetry and politics have been published in the Seattle Review of Books and Civic Skunk Works. Dujie serves as a contributing poetry editor for Pacific Northwest literary magazine Moss. He’s been a Seattle Poetry Slam finalist, a collegiate grand slam champion, and a Youth Speaks grand slam champion, representing Seattle at HBO’s Brave New Voices. You can find him @dujietahat on all social media.

SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. All of the writers heard in this series are published in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, and featured online at www.jackstraw.org.

Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

Natasha Kochicheril MoniJack Straw writer Natasha Kochicheril Moni spoke with curator Daemond Arrindell about her collection of poetry and creative non-fiction, As a Dark Bird in a Light Egg. Their conversation covers the duality of being biracial, the idea of home, and her experiences as a naturopathic doctor. “It’s this feeling of belonging: How do I belong inside myself? And then how, depending on what your belief system is, how do we belong to one another—whether it’s a country or whether it’s just us, humanity.”

Natasha, a first-generation American of Dutch and Indian heritage, is a licensed naturopathic doctor in WA State. Her publication credits include sixty journals such as Magma, Entropy, and The Rumpus; one full-length poetry collection (The Cardiologist’s Daughter, Two Sylvias Press, 2014); and two poetry chapbooks (Lay Down Your Fleece, Shirt Pocket Press, 2017, and Nearly, Dancing Girl Press, 2018).

SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. All of the writers heard in this series are published in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, and featured online at www.jackstraw.org.

Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

Juan Carlos ReyesJuan Carlos Reyes’s project for the 2018 Jack Straw Writers Program is a collection of stories that investigates father-son relationships. In his conversation with curator Daemond Arrindell he discusses cultural norms, contradictions, and the celebrations of group and individual identity. “Every story, eventually, is about that little place and about our moving away from that place, but always having to return to it to negotiate.”

Juanwas born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He’s the product of a math degree, though only words hold his attention anymore. His book A Summer’s Lynching won the Quarterly West 2016 novella prize. His chapbook Elements of a Bystander won the 2016 Chapbook Prize and is forthcoming with Arcadia Press. His stories, poems, and essays have appeared in Ascentos Review, KGB Lit, and Hawai’i Review, among others. He is an Assistant Professor of creative writing at Seattle University.

SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. All of the writers heard in this series are published in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, and featured online at www.jackstraw.org.

Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

Meredith Clark2018 Jack Straw writer Meredith Clark writes about the experiences of the body, both known and unknown. In her conversation with curator Daemond Arrindell, they discuss queer identity, the difficulty of embodiment, and documenting experiences before perspective unfolds. “I think embodiment is, at least for me, and I think for a lot of people, not necessarily a natural state because the body holds so much, and the body encounters so much, and the body is a site of so much held experience.”

Meredith is a poet and writer who has received Black Warrior Review‘s nonfiction prize and been named a finalist for both the 2017 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize and the 2017 Noemi Press Book Award. Her poetry has appeared in the Dusie Kollektiv and Poetry Northwest. These days, she writes about trees, bodies, fragments, and the uncategorizable.

SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. All of the writers heard in this series are published in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, and featured online at www.jackstraw.org.

Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

Corbin LouisCorbin Louis’s zine poetry project “Hypomania” investigates mental illness, addiction, and chronic pain. In his conversation with curator Daemond Arrindell, he discusses his subversive approach to poetry, the toxicity of American culture, and the Via Dolorosa. “In the land of commercials, in the land of big studio movies, in factory-made clothes . . . anything that speaks authentically against that is an effort toward subversion. Me, specifically, I try to have this approach of, like, radical honesty. I think it’s the artist’s job to say crazy, fucked-up shit and keep people on their toes, you know what I mean?”

Corbin is a poet and performer from Seattle. At age 13 Corbin found his voice in rap and spoken word. By 2008 he became the Seattle Youth Slam Champion in a citywide competition. He is a recording artist and MFA graduate of University of Washington Bothell. Corbin’s work has been featured in BAX, Atticus Review, and The Visible Verse Film Festival and more. He seeks to extend stage performance through design mediums and visual rhythm. The person people know as Corbin is a ghost bridge between things that do and do not exist. Waves and whispers of the night. The poet lives.

SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. All of the writers heard in this series are published in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, and featured online at www.jackstraw.org.

Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

Kamari Bright2018 Jack Straw writer Kamari Bright spoke with curator Daemond Arrindell about her poetic film project “Respek” and the myth of a post-racial America, the visibility of black female writers, and the methodical nature of her work. “A lot of what I do focuses on understanding of yourself and of your surroundings. I think there are a lot of distractions and misinformation in our society. And, for me, it’s important to kind of strip those things away and to show the truth of the situation.”

Operating with the belief that everything she creates is intended to foster understanding of self and surroundings, Kamari is a poet whose work heavily reflects those themes. Recently she has been focused on introspection from a personal and societal standpoint, brought on by observations of societal shifts, losses of loved ones, and assimilation pressures. The St. Louis-born creative has had work displayed in exhibits, featured in publications, and released her first poetry book, Emergence, in 2016.

SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. All of the writers heard in this series are published in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, and featured online at www.jackstraw.org.

Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

Bryan Edenfield2018 Jack Straw Writer Bryan Edenfield’s contribution to the 2018 Jack Straw Writers Anthology is a collection of opening paragraphs to books that have never been written to create a literary history of a fictional community that reflects the history of America. In his conversation with curator Daemond Arrindell, he discusses the inspiration behind this project, the fragmentary nature of writing, and getting at the truth of American history. “I was worried that I was getting too negative and critical, rather than imagining beautiful, fanciful. . . . If you can dream it, often it can inspire people, so I think that I wanted to do that. There’s a strong tendency towards people who are trying to make the world a better place in the book.”

Bryan was born in Arizona but has lived in Seattle since 2007. As the founder and director of the literary arts organization Babel/Salvage, he hosted and curated the Glossophonic Showcase and the Ogopogo Performance Series. His work has been published in Construction Magazine, Meekling Review, Dryland, Plinth, and Vanilla Sex Magazine, among others. He has a degree in philosophy and history from a mediocre university, so don’t worry.

SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. All of the writers heard in this series are published in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, and featured online at www.jackstraw.org.

Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

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