SoundPages

SoundPages is produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. This podcast features interviews and live readings from artists in the Jack Straw Writers Program. Each year a series of twelve episodes is produced featuring the current Jack Straw Writers and curator.
  • I Can’t Wait Any Longer - Brian Dang

    Brian Dang’s project for the 2023 Jack Straw Writers Program is a collection of poems inspired by Brian’s ability to speak their family’s language (Cantonese) but not being able to read or write it. In their conversation with curator Priscilla Long, they talk about how Cantonese has framed the way they think, how realistic writing can limit their ability to write about their whole self, and about one day having their poems translated in a way their family can understand them. “It wouldn’t work right. And so much of the project is also being like this is where I’m at right now, and I can’t wait any longer.”

    Music by Bryan Smith, produced through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Making a Foothold For Peace - Carla Shafer

    Carla Shafer’s project for the 2023 Jack Straw Writers Program is a collection of poems exploring the themes of family, the natural world of the Pacific Northwest, and social justice. In her interview with curator Priscilla Long, she talks about the relationship between political activism and art, the founding of Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater Open Mic in Bellingham, Washington, and the time she’s spent outdoors in the Pacific Northwest. “[My father] would say, ‘Carla, these are really good ideas, but I don’t think people are ready for them yet.’ So I interpreted that to mean it was okay for me to take a stand and to speak out. But then I had to find a way to do that. And poetry seemed like a really good way to do that.”

    Music by Bryan Smith, produced through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Golden Threads - Sumu Tasib

    Sumu Tasib’s project for the 2023 Jack Straw Writers Program is a collection of short fiction covering on themes of gender, relationships, and psychology that uses characters and narratives to create empathy and understanding. In their conversation with curator Priscilla Long, they talk about their 2023 Jack Straw Program, their earliest artistic influences, and the mentors that opened their eyes. “My path to writing new stories . . . a lot of that came from writing about things that did happen but kind of noticing that by telling and retelling these stories I was editing them. And forming them into something to drive a particular point.”

    Music by Bryan Smith, produced through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Time Beautified Is Music - Stephen Reed Griggs

    Stephen Reed Griggs‘s project for the 2023 Jack Straw Writers Program is an essay titled “How Long Should Music Last?” In this essay, Stephen muses on the legacy of recorded music in Seattle. In his conversation with curator Priscilla Long, he reflects on the first time he played music, his first time he was truly interested in writing, and his goals as a writer. “I need to invest the time and the love to establish and nurture those relationships. That’s what’s the most important thing.”

    Music by Bryan Smith, produced through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Hana Choi standing at a lectern and microphone.

    Séance - Hana Choi

    Hana Choi’s project for the 2023 Jack Straw Writers Program is a piece of short fiction that takes place at an immigrant detention center. The piece focuses on a group of detainees who perform a séance to summon the spirits of their fellow inmates who committed suicide. In her conversation with curator Priscilla Long, she speaks about her decision to start writing, her perspective on who she writes for, and her experience working as a pro bono lawyer for detained asylum seekers. “I’m an immigrant, so I often write about immigrants. And my Jack Straw project about detained immigrants, I think their stories need to be told more. More often. More loudly.”

    Music by Bryan Smith, produced through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • David K. Rea wearing headphones and standing at a microphone.

    The Words Were Writing Themselves - David K. Rea

    David K. Rea‘s project for the 2023 Jack Straw Program is a collection of poems and prose writing. In his conversation with curator Priscilla Long, he talks about his life after newspaper work, his daily writing practices, and how he considers himself a lifelong student of poetry. “I’d like to have a few people I’m friends with and close to remember some of my work, things I’ve done, that might help them see a little more how life is.”

    Music by Bryan Smith, produced through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • PK, Cancer & the Tragic Ruts of Time - Geri Gale

    Geri Gale’s project for the 2023 Jack Straw Program is a memoir titled PK, Cancer & the Tragic Ruts of Time that delves into the emotional complexity of breast cancer while also being a love letter to her wife PK and to the world. In her conversation with curator Priscilla Long, she talks about the artistic influences in her life, how PK helped her survive through cancer, and the impact cancer has had on her work. “PK is the rock, the foundation, and she’s the one that helped me survive through this cancer. I don’t think that I would have ever been able to do it without her.”

    Music by Bryan Smith, produced through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Inching Towards Joy - Garfield Hillson

    Garfield Hillson’s project for the 2023 Jack Straw Writers Program is a collection of poems that explore what it means to practice joy in a world that is constantly trying to take it away from marginalized people. In his conversation with curator Priscilla Long, he talks about why he decided to investigate joy in his poems, the ways he is inching towards hope, and where he sees his work in 10 years. “There’s been so many times where I performed sadness and grief and pain. . . . I don’t want that pain in my body to be honest, right? I don’t want that stress that it does to you, no matter how well it performs. I’m like, what would it feel like, to actually like, hold joy in your body?”

    Music by Bryan Smith, produced through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Photo of Ruth Schemmel on a white background.

    Difficult Women - Ruth Schemmel

    Ruth Schemmel’s project for the 2022 Jack Straw Program is a collection of short stories about women who don’t fit in. In her conversation with curator Michael Schmeltzer, she talks about the series of events that led her to take her art seriously, as well as the expectations placed on women in the modern day. “I’m sort of exploring dissatisfactions and frustrations through these stories. Definitely my characters are not role models.”

    Music by Ran Park, produced through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Carrie Beyer, wearing headphones, standing in front of a microphone.

    Windows Into Desire - Carrie Beyer

    Carrie Beyer’s project for the 2022 Jack Straw Program is a collection of poems in which she explores giving voice to church women who would normally be silenced. In her conversation with curator Michael Schmeltzer, they talk about the German-American Anabaptist community which inspired her project, the hidden soundtrack for survival and liberation in her writing, and the idea of “writing into descent.” “I think that type of honesty is something I really try to connect with in my poems. . . . That piece of conveying emotion, no matter how harrowing it may be, I think is an entrance to connecting with other people through art.”

    Music by Ran Park, produced through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.