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.
  • 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.”

  • Arianne True

    Exhibits - Arianne True

    Arianne True’s project for the 2020 Jack Straw Writers Program is a poetic “museum” that creates a safe space to engage in difficult subjects such as childhood sexual abuse. In her conversation with curator Anastacia-Renée, they discuss the ritual of writing, engaging with experimental forms, and creating visceral experiences with words. “Through poetry, you can put an experience that you had or are having into someone else’s body and not make them think about it, but you can really help them experience it in a way that is safe and contained, and structured.”

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

  • Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II wearing headphones, looking down, with a microphone pop screen to the right

    Uhuru - Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II

    2020 Jack Straw writer Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II’s project is a graphic novel titled Uhuru, a pirate adventure story centering Black characters. In his conversation with curator Anastacia-Renée, they discuss the lack of Black representation in children’s literature, professional wrestling and Archie comics, and creating Black stories that expand beyond a monolithic experience. “One of the big things that really got me into creating my children’s book stories was the fact that every time I would read a story that had a Black protagonist, it always dealt with New York, Harlem, the country, civil rights or slavery. And my mindset was, we can fight dragons and be wizards and warlocks, too.”

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

  • Helen K. Thomas

    Naia - Helen K. Thomas

    2020 Jack Straw writer Helen K. Thomas’s project is a collection of short stories that feature Black girl protagonists from the Pacific Northwest. In her conversation with curator Anastacia-Renée, they discuss Young Adult fiction and expanding representation of young Black girls in those stories. “To be a part of that and to choose to be a part of that is something that I don’t take lightly and is something that I really, really honor because . . . I see how it’s changing the world. And I see how it’s creating compassion. And I see how it’s really moving the dial forward and moving our culture forward.”

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

  • A Resurrection - Rob Arnold

    Rob Arnold’s project for the 2020 Jack Straw Writers Program is a poetic memoir that tackles the complex legacies of familial trauma. In his conversation with curator Anastacia-Renée, they discuss cross-genre writing, the distance and connection created by language, and matching linguistic precision with visual expansion. “I started thinking about these things in a much more in-depth way. Every single noun became like a hyperlink, like I could dive in deep into the history. So, I was able to kind of turn my poems from these tiny, little jewels into much more developed pieces.”

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

  • Ching-In Chen

    Breath - Ching-In Chen

    2020 Jack Straw writer Ching-In Chen’s project is a series of experimental prose poems inspired by their relationship to breath, and the Texas Tax Day Flood of 2016.  In their conversation with curator Anastacia-Renée, they discuss their process of creating in a hybrid genre, representation in art, and creating within community. “What surprised me is I never knew what people would get out of my work. The people who I never would have imagined would respond to my work, would start talking to me and coming up to me . . . it sparked these conversations with other artists or with community members or, you know, folks.”

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

  • Michelle Goodman

    Giant - Michelle Goodman

    Michelle Goodman’s project for the 2020 Jack Straw Writer’s Program is creative nonfiction piece that deals with dying and grief. In her conversation with curator Anastacia-Renée, they discuss navigating the balance between telling the truth and what remains untold, shaping nonfiction, and writing as an act of understanding. “I’ve always liked telling true life stories. I think it helps us make sense of life and the world and helps other people feel less alone when they read and relate to a story that speaks to them.”

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