This four-part reading series features acclaimed poets, writers, and comics artists who teach in SAL’s Writers in the Schools program. These resident writers come together to read from their own works-in-progress, inspiring the same craft and performance skills they teach in the classroom.
Join us in this free event at Hugo House to celebrate the brilliance of the WITS writer cohort on November 1, 2022! Featured writers include Meredith Arena, Rachel Kessler, Corinne Manning, and Putsata Reang.
Meredith Arena (she/they) is a queer writer and interdisciplinary human, originally from New York City, now living on the land of the Duwamish people, AKA, Seattle. She is a teaching artist, organizer, gardener, and ambivert. She began working with youth in NYC in 1999 teaching photography and zine making. Now in Seattle, her teaching draws on her roots in theater, visual arts and her current practice as a poet, essay writer, and organizer. Although not a native speaker, she is pretty good in Spanish and throughout her career, has taught bilingually. Her work can be found in various journals including, Poetry NW, Longleaf Review, Peatsmoke, and Blood Orange Review. She was the 2021 Erin Donovan fellow in poetry at Mineral School in Washington. She holds a BFA in photography, a BA in cultural studies, an MFA in creative writing and a Certificate in the Teaching of Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles.
Rachel Kessler is a writer, cartoonist, multi-disciplinary collaborator and educator who explores landscape and community. As a mother of young children with limited resources she experimented with boundary-breaking performance art and video, co-founding interactive poetry collaborations Typing Explosion and Vis-à-Vis Society. Her work is deeply rooted in place: she lives and works on Yesler Way, the Seattle street her ancestors immigrated to, worked on, worshipped on and died on. She is working on a community cartography project called “Profanity Hill: A Tour of Yesler Way.” As Artist-In-Residence at public housing project Yesler Terrace, (where her great grandparents lived) she and community members activated a vacant apartment slated for demolition with live music, poetry and story-telling, potlucks, dancing, and collective murals. She co-founded the collective Wa Na Wari, a residential reclamation project centering Black art and media in Seattle’s Central District. Her latest publication features her illustrations of the Pacific Northwest urban shore, Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry, forthcoming March 2023. Currently, she is working on a children’s book about abortion.
Corinne Manning’s debut story collection We Had No Rules has received starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly, the latter noting it “exquisitely examines queer relationships with equal parts humor, heartache, and titillation.” They are a fiction writer and essayist and a collective member of The Anarchist Review of Books. Corinne has been a WITS writer since 2011.
Putsata Reang is a journalist and author of the debut memoir, Ma and Me (FSG/MCD May 2022). Her writing has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Politico, The Seattle-Times, the San Jose Mercury News, Ms., and the Guardian, as well as anthologized in essay collections highlighting women’s and Khmer voices. She has trained reporters across the globe in conflict and post-conflict nations such as Cambodia, Afghanistan, Thailand and Bangladesh, Putsata is an alum of writers residencies at Hedgebrook, Mineral School and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, as well as the Jack Straw Writing Fellowship program. She has received grants from Washington State Artist Trust and the Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship foundation.