The 2009 Jack Straw Writers Program

Donna Miscolta is the curator of the 2009 Jack Straw Writers Program.  She has received writing awards from 4Culture, Artist Trust, Seattle City Artists and others. She recently won the Bread Loaf/Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholarship in Fiction.  She's been a Hedgebrook resident and was selected for the Jack Straw Writers Program in its inaugural year.  Her poems have appeared on the King County Poetry Bus Project, and the Poetry on Wheels anthology (Floating Bridge Press). Her short fiction has been published in Raven Chronicles, The Americas Review, Seattle Magazine, New Millennium Writings, Calyx, and others, and has been aired on public radio. She makes her living as a project manager for King County.  She was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

The 2009 Jack Straw Writers are Lana Hechtman Ayers, Anna Balint, Rachel Dilworth, Alma Garcia, Laura Hirschfield, Kim-An Lieberman, Priscilla Long, Michael Magee, Angela Martinez Dy, Madeline Ostrander, Kevin Simmonds, and Storme Webber.

Seattle lost a unique voice - and we lost a friend - when 2009 Jack Straw Writer Kim-An Lieberman passed away in December 2013. On May 4, 2014 we gathered to celebrate her life and work, and the publication of In Orbit, her final collection of poems. Please visit this special web page to read more about Kim-An and hear audio from the event.

Lana Hechtman Ayers completed poems and final revisions for a full-length manuscript concerning a woman's serpentine road to discovering the artist within her.  She tells the real story of Little Red Riding Hood -- how a good girl with a traditional upbringing stays the path, sleepwalking through life until she is awakened to who she really is. Lana Ayers is the author of two books and one chapbook of poetry.  She has been nominated for a National Book Award and a Pushcart Prize.

Anna Bálint worked on a series of interlocking stories that explore a mother/daughter relationship in which the Romani mother's need to forget her WWII past is at odds with her daughter's need to know her history and claim her heritage. Spanning sixty years, the novel in stories centers on ways in which the loss of cultural and ethnic identity passes through generations. Anna Balint is the author of Horse Thief (Curbstone Press, 2004), as well as two collections of poems.

Rachel Dilworth worked on a series of poems that explore what happens to a woman - as a person and as an artist - when she loses her nerve in life and her feeling of connection to herself and the motion of her life.  She asks the question, "If voice connects to self, and something breaks the self, how does the new voice finally body forth from that intimate disarray and stultifying, even nullifying chaos?" Rachel Dilworth is the author of The Wild Rose Asylum: Poetry of the Magdalen Laundries of Ireland, winner of the 2008 Akron Poetry Prize. 

Alma Garcia worked on a  novel set in the border city of El Paso, Texas that explores the ramifications of borders, both literal and metaphorical, as well as what happens at the confluence of different worlds.  She is interested in how cultures manifest in the modern world, and in what it means to belong and yet not belong to a place. Alma Garcia is the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, the Narrative Prize in Fiction, the Dana Award in Fiction, and was recently a Bread Loaf Writer's Conference Scholar. Her work has been published in numerous journals. 

Laura Hirschfield worked on a series of poems exploring the themes of memory and kinship, truth and lies. She wants to give voice to what's forgotten as much as to what's remembered, to follow the ways in which spoken and unspoken narratives pass from generation to generation within families.  Laura Hirschfield has been an editor and writer for twenty years of elementary school curriculum materials and non-fiction books for children.  She is currently earning an MFA in poetry from Pacific University in Oregon. 

Kim-An Lieberman worked on a collection of poems using both free verse and fixed forms to explore how popular journalistic media have shaped our historical paradigms and continue to permeate the day-to-day rhythms of contemporary American Life. Kim-An Lieberman is the author of Breaking the Map: Poems (Blue Begonia, 2008). Her poems, essays and articles have appeared in both literary and academic publications.  She teaches poetry writing, Asian American literature and the history of artistic responses to war at Lakeside School. 

Priscilla Long worked on a literary non-fiction collection, Holy Magic: Life in Art; Art in Life, which embraces some aspect of art or artists.  The author believes that art and artmaking are at the center of spiritual practice.  Holy Magic is in part her homage to her muses. Priscilla Long's essays, literary non-fiction works, and poems have been widely published and have garnered several awards, including a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing.  She is Senior Editor for historylink.org. 

Michael Magee assembled a series of poems inspired by art in the fashion of Mussorgsky's "Pictures from an Exhibition," which tells a story as though the listener is moving through an art gallery. His goal is to make his work accessible to both the eye and the ear. Michael Magee's work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and he is the author of several chapbooks of poetry, of which the most recent is 10 Simple Pleasures (Shirtpocket Books, 2005).  He won the Dancing Poetry Festival award in 2008. 

Angela Martinez Dy is a poet, spoken word and hip-hop artist who blends commentary, craft and analysis as she grapples with issues of family, community and social justice from the perspective of a second-generation American. Subject matter includes the immigrant experience, current events, and world history as told by a woman of color. Angela Martinez Dy is a founding member and current director of Youth Speaks Seattle.  She was named one of the 25 Best Emerging Artists Under the Age of 25 by New World Theatre in 2000.  

Madeline Ostrander wrote a literary essay, based on her travels in Uganda, that explores what it means to be American and to feel responsibility for the actions of a country at war. Madeline Ostrander's articles and essays have been widely published. She is on the steering committee of Seattle Writergrrls and is Senior Editor for YES! Magazine. 

Kevin Simmonds's work as a Jack Straw Writer evokes the radio broadcast heyday through poems featuring African-American archetypes mixed with real people, creating a motley crew of historic and made-up figures, including Uncle Tom, Aunt Jemima, Count Basie and Shirley Temple's African-American mammy.  Kevin Simmonds is a musician and writer whose compositions and poems have been widely performed and published. He has been a Fulbright Fellow, a Cave Canem Fellow, and a Pushcart Prize nominee.  

Storme Webber is a writer/poet/performer/visual artist who is working on an experimental memoir that incorporates myth and history to weave the stories of survivors, strong victims, and unsung heroines.  In her work, the author is "re-membering my people and in that, remembering myself so that I may continue to contribute to our troubled Earth and her people."  Storme Webber has performed her work in theater, film, stage and television. Publication in Serious Pleasure by Sheba Feminist Press of London led to years of performance and travel throughout Europe.

The 2009 Jack Straw Writers Anthology

Volume 13 of the Jack Straw Writers Anthology features new work from the twelve 2009 Jack Straw Writers: Lana Hechtman Ayers, Anna Balint, Rachel Dilworth, Alma Garcia, Laura Hirschfield, Kim-An Lieberman, Priscilla Long, Michael Magee, Angela Martinez Dy, Madeline Ostrander, Kevin Simmonds, and Storme Webber.

Copies of the anthology are available for purchase at Elliott Bay Book Co. and the University Book Store. Thank you for supporting Jack Straw's programs with your purchase!

Jack Straw Productions gratefully acknowledges The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, 4Culture King County Lodging Tax Fund, Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, PONCHO, ArtsFund, and individual contributors for their support of the Jack Straw Writers Program.

Copyright 2008 Jack Straw Productions ~ All rights reserved

About the podcasts

Jack Straw Productions produces bi-monthly podcasts featuring excerpts from live readings and interviews highlighting literary artists from the Jack Straw Writers Program.

2009 Podcasts:

Lana Hechtman Ayers
Anna Balint

Priscilla Long

Michael Magee

Rachel Dilworth

Alma García

Laura Hirschfield

Kim-An Lieberman

Angela Martinez Dy

Madeline Ostrander

Kevin Simmonds

Storme Webber

2009 Writers' Links

Lana Ayers
Kim-An Lieberman
Priscilla Long
Madeline Ostrander
Kevin Simmonds

Previous Jack Straw Writers Program

2008 Writers
2007 Writers
2006 Writers
2005 Writers
2004 Writers
List of writers to date