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.
  • Fathering - Greg November

    Greg November’s project for the 2021 Jack Straw Writers Program is a collection of short stories that explore fatherhood and masculinity. In his conversation with curator E.J. Koh, they discuss the conflicts and challenges of being a caregiver and a role model. “At times I feel like I’ve got to . . . be a leader . . . to model ways of carrying through, and being determined . . . But then also being soothers, being comforters, I mean – the kid’s only six years old and he hurt his knee.”

    Music by Andrew Weathers, produced in part through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • What's Left Behind - José Luis Montero

    José Luis Montero’s project for the 2021 Jack Straw Writers Program is a series of short essays about his journey to the United States from Mexico. In his conversation with curator E.J. Koh, they discuss dispelling the myths of Mexican migration, how storytelling has always been integral to his life, and what it means to leave home. “The kind of story I want to talk about is not necessarily . . . all the forms that I have to fill to get my green card for my citizenship, but rather, what drove me to come here? And what I had to leave behind. And kind of like ask myself, in a very rhetorical way, is it worth it?”

    Music by Andrew Weathers, produced in part through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Hoard - S. Erin Batiste

    2021 Jack Straw writer S. Erin Batiste’s full-length poetry collection, Hoard, deals with the complexity of memory and the ways in which we collect possessions and stories. In her conversation with curator E.J. Koh, they discuss confessional poetry, mall culture of the 1980s and ‘90s, and the intersection of privilege and minimalism. “I think for me the minimalism, especially the trendiness of it, reads as whiteness, and erasure . . . and a privilege to be able to strip everything in ways where a lot of us are having to sit with our histories, especially people who . . . are in this country who were othered.”

    Music by Andrew Weathers, produced in part through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Kristie Song portrait

    Meal After Meal - Kristie Song

    Kristie Song’s project for the 2021 Jack Straw Writers Program is a collection of memoir vignettes that explore her family’s history. In her conversation with curator E.J. Koh, they discuss the intersections of queer culture with Northern and Southern Chinese culture, the challenge of not speaking a relative’s first language, and food as a point of connection. “I think of food as a medium, almost, of sharing love, and sharing connection, especially because it’s hard sometimes to talk with language. . . . My dad [will] use a lot of these Chinese proverbs . . . and he’ll try to break it down, but for the most part when we’re able to sit down for dinners, he likes to reach into the past and try to share that with us, through these dishes, and through these fragmented memories.”

    Music by Andrew Weathers, produced in part through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Desire and Devotion – Patrycja Humienik

    2021 Jack Straw writer Patrycja Humienik’s poetry project grapples with the concept of devotion in relation to religion, longing, and naming. In her conversation with curator E.J. Koh, they discuss finding community in writing, how movement impacts the writing process, and the intersection of the creative with the political. “Poetry has always been a way in which I’ve started to learn about the many layers to and limits of language. . . . Growing up speaking another language really quickly oriented me to the limitations and failures, like what gets lost in translation . . . maybe can’t be translated.”

    Music by Andrew Weathers, produced in part through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Paulette Perhach

    Dark Circles - Paulette Perhach

    Paulette Perhach’s project for the 2021 Jack Straw Writers Program is an exploration of mental health, anxiety, and addiction. In her conversation with curator E.J. Koh, they discuss meditation practices, the influence of research and travel on writing, and the vulnerability that writing can demand. “There’s a kind of nudity in writing. . . . I think that that’s when, you know, those moments in a reading where the room holds still. . . . You see that and it’s like, ‘the writer is taking a real risk.’ Hopefully, in the service of deeper truth.”

    Music by Andrew Weathers, produced in part through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Con*cep*tion* - C.R. Glasgow

    2021 Jack Straw writer C.R. Glasgow’s poetry project was born from the desire to be in communication with the stories of West Indies ancestors through an intersectional lens. In C.’s conversation with curator E.J. Koh, they discuss the link between sound and memory, the relationship of time to place and culture, and the transformative power of bearing witness to our stories. “I spent the formative parts of my life where you would just follow an elder around and do mundane things. My mom is from Trinidad, so they would all . . . give some philosophical metaphor of no more than seven words that was profound, about how to live your life, and what you were doing, and so I feel like I harvest that.”

    Music by Andrew Weathers, produced in part through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Abi Pollokoff

    Mythlets - Abi Pollokoff

    Abi Pollokoff’s project for the 2021 Jack Straw Writers Program is “a collection of poems that is a womaning, a reclaiming of agency and voice.” In her conversation with curator E.J. Koh, they discuss reclaiming what it means to be a woman, the relationship between sound and language, and the reckoning occurring within the literary community. “I think, for me, thinking about this musicality or this attention in poems is almost a way for me to practice what I feel like I need to be doing in my own life.”

    Music by Andrew Weathers, produced in part through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Portrait of Troy Osaki

    Mabuhay - Troy Osaki

    Troy Osaki’s project for the 2020 Jack Straw Writers Program is a chapbook manuscript of poems that he began writing after visiting the Philippines for the first time in 2017. In his conversation with curator Anastacia-Renée, they discuss poetry’s ability to create social change, his history with Youth Speaks, and cultural and familial connections. “I really learned that not only is . . . writing a way to get through the complicated things in life and to process, but it really, truly has the power to go beyond that and imagine new ways and what’s possible.”

    Music by SassyBlack, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Portrait of Jose Trejo-Maya

    Iktome - Jose Trejo-Maya

    2020 Jack Straw writer Jose Trejo-Maya’s project is an extract of his poetry that is intended for a three-dimensional museum exhibit based on the Tonalpohualli, a Mesoamerican conception of time. In his conversation with curator Anastacia-Renée, they discuss his organic writing process, his connection to the immigrant experience, and listening to the voices of his ancestors. “It just comes to me from what I know and the experience I have — it’s the people, the elders that have been with me. So, they tell me . . . to speak when you’re spoken to. And it’s just a refraction of where I come from, like the people before me. And I think it is my duty to not to let that the language die. Even now, keep it alive.”