SAL Welcomes New Executive Director!
Join us in welcoming Ruth E. Dickey as the new Executive Director of SAL. After a national search, we are excited at the expertise and success Ruth will bring to SAL. Ruth returns to the Puget Sound next month after serving five years as the Founding Executive Director of Cincinnati’s Clifton Cultural Arts Center. Named one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2006, her past experience as writer, published poet and non-profit leader will help continue to build and grow SAL’s legacy in new and exciting directions.
Tue 7:30 PM \ Benaroya Hall
Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall
WITS Writers In the News
WITS writers-in-residence are in the news! Daemond Arrindell, who has taught middle and high school students through WITS for five years, was featured in The Seattle Times on Sunday, April 7. Check out the article here: http://ow.ly/kckoJ. Karen Finneyfrock, a local and national slam poetry legend whose first YA novel was released this winter, has an interview published in The Seattle Lesbian: http://ow.ly/kckvj. Karen has taught elementary, middle, and high school students through Writers in the Schools for six years. Congratulations to Daemond and Karen!
Jorie Graham RESCHEDULED
The Poetry Series event with Jorie Graham originally scheduled for May 15 has had to be postponed for health reasons. We have rescheduled this event for Tuesday, September 17 when we hope that Ms. Graham will be in full health and good spirits. If you have tickets for this event and need more information or have any questions, please contact our Box Office by email or phone at (206) 621-2230 x10
On March 15, 2013, over 250 guests attended Seattle Arts & Lectures' 25th Anniversary Words Matter Benefit. The night was enlivened by the alchemy of good words and even better company. We were joined by our founder Sherry Prowda, authors Claire Dederer and Bruce Barcott, Washington State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken, and Writers in the Schools (WITS) student Angel Cielo. Vis-à-Vis Society also made a special appearance collecting data from our guests during the cocktail hour.
Nell Freudenberger Event--Cancelled
Unfortunately, the Nell Freudenberger event has been cancelled. We are working to reschedule for next season, but a date has not been determined at this time. If you have tickets to this event, please email or call the SAL Box Office at 206.621.2230 x10 for your ticket options. Thank you for your understanding!
WITS winners of the Julie Otsuka and Al Gore contests!
Throughout the school year we here at Writers in the Schools provide as many opportunities as we can for students to showcase their work, from a year-end poetry reading at the Seattle Public Library, to a letterpress project in collaboration with Seattle Children’s Hospital and the School of Visual Concepts, to our annual anthology of the best student writing from the year. This January, we further extended our reach with two student poetry contests, featuring topics inspired by author events at Seattle Arts and Lectures. In honor of author Julie Otsuka’s reading on January 29th, the topic of the first contest was “Origins”; and in honor of Al Gore’s talk on February 14th, the topic of the second contest was “The Future”. Students could interpret the prompts broadly and use any subject matter for inspiration, from their own personal experiences to visions that were large in scope. The winners of each contest were chosen based on originality, vivid language, and success of the poem as a whole.
11th grader Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem won the “Origins” contest with her poem, “Where I’m From” – a sweeping piece that weaves between past and present, loss and triumph. Maga read her poem to the audience at Julie Otsuka’s reading at Benaroya Hall, in a moving and poised performance that was met with thunderous applause. As a student in the WITS program at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Maga has been working with writer Sierra Nelson for the past three years, who remembers that she could tell that Maga was a writer right away. “There were many clues that let me see how naturally Maga takes to the medium of words.” Sierra says. “The attentive way she chooses and refines her words to strike just the right stunning image—the way she works her rhythms, saying them under her breath as she writes, and how she sounds her way musically through the lines, swerving in and out of rhyme to underscore the emotions—and last but not least, the fact that she never stops revising.”
When asked to describe her writing process for the Poetry Broadside Project, another place where her work has been featured, Maga said, “When I write, I try to confront my thoughts. I ask, What do I think...really? I ask difficult questions, How do I ever go back to normal? Will my cancer come back? Will my friends who have cancer survive? Sometimes, I find that I know the answers already, it just took writing it out to realize it. I write what I can’t say out loud about my angers, fears, hopes.... I may not be in control of all that happens in my life, but I’m in control of my writing.”
Describing the contest-winning poem, Sierra Nelson says, “Maga’s powerful self-portrait “Where I’m From” gives us vivid images glimpsed from her experiences, including moments from her home community and life in the hospital: some of the highs and lows that she recognizes have helped shape who she is. It’s a triumphant ode to stubbornness and spitfire in the face of adversity—of choosing how you want to define yourself, not just be defined by—combined with the healing power of staying alive to beauty and connecting to the natural world.
“When Maga first set out to write this poem, we talked a bit at the beginning about different ways to approach a self-portrait in words and the power of sensory details. But once she began writing, the rhythms, images, and urgent drive of the poem lead her forward. This one poured out of her. We are so lucky it did!”
16 year-old Baylee Bonagofsky was the winner of the “Futures” contest with her poem “Memories”. Baylee writes a poignant wish for a future that seems uncertain, saying, “I wonder if I will ever be able to step into another batter’s box/and face another pitcher./And I wish more than anything that I will.” Also a student at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Baylee worked with writer Ann Teplick. Ann says, “What I first noticed about Baylee was her posture. She walked tall and confident, with a smile like someone had just handed her a bouquet of sunflowers. My first guess was that she was a soccer player. I'm not sure if soccer is one of her sports, but baseball definitely is. This poem evokes longing, a sadness perhaps, for things to be the way they used to, before she came to Children's. But also hope for the future.”
About Baylee’s winning poem, Ann says, “I love her sense of detail...the batter's box, the freshly-cooked ballpark burgers (they hadn't been sitting on the grill since morning), the tightly-fit baseball pants, the salt from the sunflower seeds (which made me thirsty), the thick red stitching of the ball. These are what illuminated the poem for me, opened the door and allowed me to mosey, settle into each syllable.”
The runners-up of each contest were also honored at the speaker events. 11 year-old Nathaniel Faustino, who was a runner-up with his poem “A Recipe for a Calm Day”, was able to meet Al Gore in person twice – once to have his copy of Mr. Gore’s book signed, and again to have his own poem signed. As he came through the line a second time, Mr. Gore said, “Well, hello again!” Nathaniel, grinning, responded “Did you miss me?”
We’re so proud of the winners and finalists, and of all the WITS students – and we can’t wait to share more of their work with you in the WITS anthology! You can read all of the winning and finalist poems on the WITS blog, at http://salwits.wordpress.com/. Look for more student work coming soon!
A Story about SAL: annual appeal
Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem, a 10th grader, walked to the stage at the annual WITS reading at Benaroya Hall. As she read her poem "Snow Turtle," the audience stilled. A patient at Seattle Children's Hospital, Maga shared the intensity of her experience through the power of her precise words and brought together hundreds of people in a moving poetic moment.*
Maga cultivated her writing through WITS, a Seattle Arts & Lectures program that teaches 5,000 public school students and employs local writers to build the next generation of the literary community. Maga's "Snow Turtle" is inspiration for SAL; as we transform throughout this winter during our 25th anniversary, we find it is good to be "the turtle with fire through the snow." SAL has big plans to burn brightly in 2013 and for another 25 years. You can help us do that.
Now is the perfect time to contribute. $5, $25, $100, $500 or more will fund WITS (Writers in the Schools), allow us to bring excellent speakers like Joan Didion and Nick Flynn, and create vibrant education programs like David Domke's SAL U political courses at the University of Washington.
We couldn't do it without your help, so please consider us as the year draws to a close. From all of us at SAL, we thank you!
Delicate arrival, blazing alarm.
The wind blew through with ice in its arms.
Whispers of sickness, she refused
to be alarmed.
Gone through the city.
She walked slow.
and wondered how
she'd get through.
She realized she'd be the turtle,
this turtle with fire through the snow.
Al Gore brings The Future to SAL!
What could be more romantic than Valentine's Day with Al Gore! He will talk about his new book "The Future" on February 14 at First Hill Baptist Church on Capitol Hill. Tickets go on sale December 17. Moderated by Professor David Domke.
About "The Future": from the former vice president and #1 New York Times bestselling author comes "An Inconvenient Truth" for everything—a frank and clear-eyed assessment of the emerging forces that are reshaping our world and will continue to do so in the decades to come.
Ours is a time of revolutionary change that has no precedent in history. With the same passion he brought to the challenge of climate change, and with his decades of experience on the front lines of global policy, Al Gore surveys our planet’s beclouded horizon and offers a sober, learned, and ultimately hopeful forecast.
SAL receives $25,000 grant from Amazon
Amazon.com will support Seattle Arts & Lectures’ innovative Writers in the Schools (WITS) program for the fourth year with a $25,000 gift, helping to inspire thousands of public school students throughout the region to discover and develop their authentic writing voice through in-school residencies staffed by local professional writers.
The WITS program, founded in 1994, places professional writers-in-residence at public elementary, middle, and high schools around Puget Sound plus Seattle Children’s Hospital, giving young people the opportunity to create, present, and receive feedback on their writing. The program culminates each year in two showcase events: public readings at the Seattle Public Library, and a printed anthology of selected works. The WITS program also offers in-school professional development opportunities for teachers and provides local writers with meaningful employment.
In the 2012-13 school year, the WITS program is serving over 5,000 K-12 students at 24 sites: Seattle Children’s Hospital plus 23 public schools in Seattle, Highline, Port Townsend, and Shoreline School Districts. In addition, the WITS program is providing 22 professional writers with meaningful employment.
About Amazon.com’s Support for the Writing Community
A love of reading and an appreciation for the people who create great books is part of the DNA at Amazon.com. Amazon.com offers grants for nonprofit author and publisher groups that share an obsession with fostering the creation, discussion, and publication of books. Please visit www.amazon.com/authorgiving for more information.
Two New SAL U Courses--Sign Up Today!
This winter SAL U will offer "Winning the White House in 2016: Five Rules for the Road" taught by UW Professor David Domke.
In the spring, SAL U will present "The Life of an English House" in cooperation with Seattle Art Museum and the "Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: Treasures of Kenwood House, London" exhibit. Five scholars will discuss art, architecture, literature, history, and landscape architecture as exemplified by several of England's "stately homes," including Highclere Castle, aka Downton Abbey. Read more.
Interview with the Proprietors of Open Books: A Poem Emporium