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.
  • Shankar Narayan reading at Jack Straw

    Robo-Poet – Shankar Narayan

    Jack Straw Writer Shankar Narayan’s manuscript “Circuit Breaker” grapples with the impact of technology on society and the body. In his conversation with 2019 Writers Program curator Kathleen Flenniken, they explore themes of bias in technology, how his writing is influenced by with his work as a lawyer for the ACLU, and the intersection of artificial intelligence and humanity. “Every technology is a set of assumptions of the builders, right? And there are always winners and losers when a given technology is rolled out into the world . . . a lot of what I’m doing is surfacing assumptions about who’s impacted and who’s not impacted and making these connections among the rollouts of technology.”

    SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. Music by The Bird Tribe Orchestra, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Dianne Aprile at Jack Straw

    Eenie - Dianne Aprile

    2019 Jack Straw writer Dianne Aprile spoke with curator Kathleen Flenniken about her memoir-in-progress on the story of her aunt’s long-held secret of rape and subsequent lobotomy. They discuss how Aprile’s background as a journalist helped her to uncover the truth of the story, the evolution of mental health, and where her aunt’s story fits into the #MeToo movement. “It began to make more sense to me, too, why she never wanted to tell and why nobody wanted to talk about it. It seemed just to be a part of what the society demanded at that time—There was no other way for her to deal with it.”

  • Home[sic] - Rachel Trignano

    Rachel Trignano’s project for the 2018 Jack Straw Writers Program is a collection of essays called Home[sic] that deals with family, memory, and the changing of truth over time. In her conversation with curator Daemond Arrindell, they discuss the intersections of storytelling, intimacy, and perspective. “You can have an intimacy and familiarity with your family and know them your entire life—I liken it [to] having your favorite mailman or something. . . . I’ve known you since I was x years old, I see you all the time, I enjoy you . . . I have no idea who you are.”

    Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Daniel Atkinson at Jack Straw

    Beyond February – Daniel Atkinson

    Jack Straw Writer Daniel Atkinson’s contribution to the 2018 Jack Straw Writers Anthology, “To Know Your People Is to Know Yourself,” deals with the complicated interracial history of his Southern family. He spoke with curator Daemond Arrindell about George Walker, a founding father of the Harlem Renaissance; being “hired to ‘be diversity’ as opposed to ‘do diversity’”; and the Black history that goes beyond the month of February. “People, when they read what I write, they always say it’s got this anger to it . . . but . . . I am the Credible Hulk. I have matched my vocabulary with my rage. . . . Though it’s discomforting for you, that doesn’t make it wrong.”

    Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Rhapsody – Sarah María Medina

    Sarah María Medina’s contribution to the 2018 Jack Straw Writers Anthology is a collection of poems from her poetry manuscript Oshun’s Daughter. In her conversation with curator Daemond Arrindell, they discuss the decolonization of art and its form, responding to music, and spontaneity on the page. “I’m not knocking the sonnet, but for me I feel like it’s a bit constricting,” she says. “I end up feeling like I can’t breathe by the end of it. So, I like to think about . . . my brother . . . he’s really into rumba, that is a more open-ended form where you can have the beat change and break and you can go in to bembé. . . . And I like to think about how we can do that on the page.”

    Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Cicada – Jalayna Carter

    Jalayna Carter’s poems in the 2018 Jack Straw Writer’s Anthology are both a “report on human behavior” and a “love story to how humans cope.” In her conversation with Daemond Arrindell, they discuss being Southern, legacies, and exploring fear. “It’s great to be someone who people can look up to and say, ‘Oh, that person can handle it. That person is strong. That person is everything that I want to be.’ But it, ultimately, is a disservice to ourselves. I see people who are not able to admit that they are afraid and how that . . . tears apart their lives. I would love for people, black people and people of color who read this book, to know that it’s OK to be afraid.”

    Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Body – Danielle Bero

    2018 Jack Straw writer Danielle Bero is working on a chapbook of poetry about her relationship to her body and queer identity. She and curator Daemond Arrindell talk about finding passion and connection with an audience, the rhythm of her writing, and working in schools. “Even my own students, you know, I want to get them excited. In a land of Twitter age, where it’s like, ‘I got a hundred and forty characters to make me kind of shine,’ I want them to start thinking about language that pops, thinking about wordplay, thinking about how things play off of each other, and how language can be really like . . . how everything is poetry.”

    Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Grief - Dujie Tahat

    Dujie Tahat‘s project as a 2018 Jack Straw Writer is a chapbook length manuscript about grief in relationships and the political sphere. In his conversation with curator Daemond Arrindell, they discuss what grief teaches, the grief within immigrant experience, and fatherhood. “I think the relationship between turning and facing yourself—I think that’s what teaches you empathy. I don’t think you need empathy to do that. The core thing is being able to look at yourself.”

    Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • Belonging - Natasha Kochicheril Moni

    Jack Straw writer Natasha Kochicheril Moni spoke with curator Daemond Arrindell about her collection of poetry and creative non-fiction, As a Dark Bird in a Light Egg. Their conversation covers the duality of being biracial, the idea of home, and her experiences as a naturopathic doctor. “It’s this feeling of belonging: How do I belong inside myself? And then how, depending on what your belief system is, how do we belong to one another—whether it’s a country or whether it’s just us, humanity.”

    Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

  • SYG - Juan Carlos Reyes

    Juan Carlos Reyes’s project for the 2018 Jack Straw Writers Program is a collection of stories that investigates father-son relationships. In his conversation with curator Daemond Arrindell he discusses cultural norms, contradictions, and the celebrations of group and individual identity. “Every story, eventually, is about that little place and about our moving away from that place, but always having to return to it to negotiate.”

    Music by Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.