Dujie Tahat and Daemond Arrindell Kamari Bright Alyssa Keene and Jalayna Carter Juan Carlos Reyes and Danielle Bero

2018 Jack Straw Writers Program

The 2018 Jack Straw Writers, selected by Curator Daemond Arrindell, are Daniel Atkinson, Danielle Bero, Kamari Bright, Jalayna Carter, Meredith Clark, Bryan Edenfield, Corbin Louis, Sarah Maria Medina, Natasha Kochicheril Moni, Juan Carlos Reyes, Dujie Tahat, and Rachel Trignano.

2018 Writers Program Curator Daemond Arrindell is a poet, playwright, performer, and teaching artist. He has performed in venues across the country and has been repeatedly commissioned by both Seattle and Bellevue Art Museums. As teaching artist, he is a faculty member of Freehold Theatre and TAT Lab: the Washington State Teaching Artist Training Lab; Adjunct faculty at Seattle University and Tacoma’s School of the Arts; and Writer-In-Residence through Seattle Arts & Lectures' Writers in the Schools Program and Skagit River Poetry Foundation. As a writer, he is a 2013 Jack Straw Writer, a VONA Voices Writers’ Workshop fellow, and his work has been published by City Arts, Poetry NW, Specter, and Crosscut magazines. He recently co-adapted the novel Welcome To Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson into a play for Book-It Repertory Theater.

Daniel Atkinson received his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2011. His research focus is on Afro-American vernacular expression and its interaction with the global landscape. His dissertation research was conducted at the former slave plantation turned world's largest prison, Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana. The research was designed to serve as a platform to discuss issues of economic disparity and institutional racism as products of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution as well as to preserve some of the remaining a cappella gospel tradition at the prison. That research is now featured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American history and Culture. He is currently working on the first historical biography of Vaudevillian and founding father of the Harlem Renaissance, George W. “Nash” Walker (1872-1911), and is the curator of the Global Rhythms concert series at Town Hall, Seattle.

Danielle Bero 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.

Operating with the belief that everything she creates is intended to foster understanding of self and surroundings, Kamari Bright 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.

Jalayna Carter is 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. You can find her on IG (@just.jalayna) and Twitter (@just_jalayna) and check out more of her work at www.JalaynaCarter.com.

Meredith Clark 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.

Bryan Edenfield 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. Here is his website: wordlessdictionary.wordpress.com

Corbin Louis 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.

Sarah María Medina 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

Natasha Kochicheril Moni, 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). 

Juan Carlos Reyes was 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.

Dujie Tahat is 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.

Rachel Trignano's poetry, fiction, and essays have been featured in NPR affiliate WABE's Storytellers and City Lights series, poet Saul Williams's Chorus: A Literary Mixtape, and the City of Atlanta's Elevate public art program. Since 2010, Rachel has been performing her work in Atlanta and Denver, and is published in the Loose Change Literary Magazine anthology The Best of Loose Change, Write Club Atlanta’s Tender Bloodsport Vol. 1, and numerous other print and digital publications, including What the Hell Have I Done?, her travelogue about driving aimlessly around the United States. She produces and occasionally performs in Write Club Denver, a competitive literary series that raises money for charity. Through her work, Rachel tries to use truth and humor to relate to the reader about the joy and horror living human life can bring.

Jack Straw Cultural Center gratefully acknowledges Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, 4Culture King County Lodging Tax Fund, Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, ArtsFund, and individual contributors for their support of the Jack Straw Writers Program.

Copyright 2018 Jack Straw CulturalCenter ~ All rights reserved

About the podcasts

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

2018 Podcasts

Bryan Edenfield
Kamari Bright
Corbin Louis
Meredith Clark
Juan Carlos Reyes
Natasha Kochicheril Moni
Dujie Tahat
Danielle Bero
Jalayna Carter
Sarah María Medina
Daniel Atkinson
Rachel Trignano


Previous Jack Straw Writers Program

2017 Writers
2016 Writers
2015 Writers
2014 Writers
2012 Writers
2011 Writers

2009 Writers
2008 Writers
2007 Writers
2006 Writers
2005 Writers
2004 Writers
List of writers to date

Jack Straw Writers Program Events

Jack Straw Writers at Open Books
Friday, November 30, 7pm
2414 N 45th St., Seattle

With Kamari Bright, Jalayna Carter, Corbin Louis, Bryan Edenfield, and Dujie Tahat. Hosted by Daemond Arrindell.


Bushwick Book Club Seattle Presents Music Inspired by the 2018 Jack Straw Writers
Saturday, December 15, 2pm
Jack Straw Cultural Center
Advance tickets $10

Musicians from the Bushwick Book Club Seattle present a night of original music inspired by the work of the 2018 Jack Straw Writers