A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Get Spooky in Seattle: WITS Writers at Lit Crawl

Like a choice bowl of Halloween candy, this year’s Lit Crawl on October 24 is sprinkled with a healthy dose of our Writers in the Schools (WITS) and Youth Poet Laureate (YPL) programs. But which WITS writers will be where? Here’s a handy guide to help you map it out. But readers be warned—you have some tough choices to make in this spooky repertoire.

The first WITS-related event on the docket: our Youth Poet Laureate reading at The Seattle Public Library’s Capitol Hill Branch from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Enjoy poems from our current YPL, Wei-Wei Lee (catch a preview of her work here), along with YPL Ambassador Maia Pody, and YPL Finalist Marina Chen. All three have been slaying verse for years, leaving us spellbound, inspired, and optimistic about the future.

Speak to the ghosts that brought you here with work from two WITS writers: Sara Brickman and Shelby Handler, along with Anis Gisele and Troy Osaki at Hotel Sorrento from 6 to 6:56 p.m. “Ghost Song” is their theme of the evening. Brickman can be found in the classrooms of Hugo House or sharing her sharp wit on the poetry slam stage. She contributed to the book Ghosts of Seattle Past (2017), a project that focuses on the specters of Seattle’s history and was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards in Nonfiction in 2018. Handler, who used to call Denver home, works for Arts Corps, Youth Speaks Seattle, and Kadima Reconstructionist Synagogue. Their work has been featured in glitterMOB and We Will Be Shelter: Poems for Survival (2014).

Karen Finneyfrock is a poet, young adult fiction writer, and WITS writer. She’ll be reading work with fellow former residents of the Mineral School, Jill Bergantz Carley, JM Wong, and Stephanie Kuehnert at Highline Bar from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Finneyfrock is the author of two young adult novels, Starbird Murphy and the World Outside and The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door. Her poem “The Newer Colossus,” which expresses updated sentiments from the Statue of Liberty, was recently shared on KUOW.

Celebrate how time flies even when you’re having a sad-hot-trash of a time with WITS writer Corinne Manning, who will share work alongside Sarah Galvin, Rich Smith, and Bill Carty at Hugo House from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Their readings will see-saw between current writing and writing pulled from their 18-year-old selves, demonstrating how being a hot mess isn’t always something you grow out of. Manning’s short story collection We Had No Rules is forthcoming from Arsenal Pulp Press in 2020.

Take a break from the WITS world with the Poet Salon Podcast at the Northwest Film Forum from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Cohosts Gabrielle Bates, Luther Hughes, and Dujie Tahat interview poets about concerns, pleasures, and obstacles in their industry. Some of the recent guests will sound familiar from the SAL stage, both past and future. The podcast has featured our upcoming Hinge speaker Hanif Abdurraqib, along with Danez Smith, whose reading with us sold out the Broadway Performance Hall last season, and our beloved repeat-moderator and gifted poet, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha.

End your crawl on a creepier note with Scary Stories to Tell in a Bar, featuring WITS writer Ramon Isao, who will also reading with Jarret Middleton, Chavisa Woods, Christina Montilla at The Pine Box from 9 to 9:45 p.m. Isao’s fiction has been published in The Iowa Review, Hobart, and The American Reader. He’s also a screenwriter who’s known for his movies Dead Body (2017) and Junk (2012), a film he describes as “a raunchy, evil comedy” the kind of work his “parents never need to see.” With his flair for the theatrical, the scary stories he shares are sure to be jump-out-of-your-seat worthy.

Posted in Writers in the SchoolsYouth Poet Laureate2019/20 Season