The Creative Writing department at SOTA has taken excellent advantage of its San Francisco location, drawing artists-in-residence and guest speakers of both local and national renown. Below are biographical notes on most, if not all, of the instructors, interns, and artists-in-residence who have worked in CW over the years. It is followed by a list of writers and editors who have appeared as guest speakers.
Heather Woodward, Creative Writing Program Director, is from a family of Cal Bears, a Bay Area native, and the daughter of public school educators. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Film Studies from U.C. Berkeley, where she studied writing with Ishmael Reed, Floyd Salas, Charles Muscatine, and Gary Soto. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Ms. Woodward has been teaching at SOTA since 1997; she has never taught anywhere else—nor has any desire to do so. In 2001 she was awarded a Golden Apple Fellowship from the San Francisco Ed Fund to return to the film department at UC Berkeley full-time for one semester, where she developed a six-week film course to be taught as part of the 10th or 11th grade English curriculum. She started the SOTA Creative Writing Program in 2002, and in 2007 received National Board Certification. An ardent supporter of Ronald Chase’s Art & Film program, she is co-moderator with Ronald at the Friday evening Cinéclub screenings. She has been involved with 826 Valencia for many years, and in May, 2009 received their Teacher of the Month award. She has a twenty-five-year old daughter, Hadley. Ms. Woodward loves reading, writing, film, backpacking, traveling, and her students—not necessarily in that order.
Isaiah Dufort is a San Francisco-based playwright and screenwriter. His plays include Absolute Pure Happiness,produced by Three Wise Monkeys Theater Company in San Francisco, and The Pheasant, winner of The Little Theater of Alexandria 2007 National One-Act Competition. His films include Silent Anna, directed by Max Sokoloff, and Tests I Love to Take, directed by Ronald Chase. Isaiah is the assistant director of the San Francisco Art & Film Program, an arts education non-profit making the arts accessible to students. He is also the screenwriting mentor for the SF Art & Film’s Film Workshop. With his spare time, he contributes to the 2xHR art society.
Maia Ipp is a poet, translator and editor who has had the great pleasure of working with amazing young writers in New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. She is a proud member of the occasionally outrageous and radical City Lights team as Assistant Editor, and her poetry has been published in several journals. Maia studied creative writing at UC Santa Cruz, and lived in Paris, France, where she studied and worked in a bookshop, and began translating her first book from French.
Tony Bravo, Artistic Director for the Creative Writing Department, graduated from School of the Arts in 2002 and has been directing CW productions since 2004. He has attended the writing program at Bennington College, the James Joyce summer School at University College, Dublin, and holds a BA from New College of California in literature and experimental theater. First published abroad at age sixteen, Tony is a San Francisco Youth Arts Award recipient and received the Kennedy Center Scholastic Medal of Honor for his writing portfolio (with special presentation by Laura Bush in Washington, D.C.) Tony’s performance art work includes Mary Bell in Hell (Bennington College, 2003); The Art Fag: A Musical Comedy (premiered San Francisco, 2006); dramaturg for choreographer Theresa Dickinson’s fiber-aerial ballet The Former World (San Francisco, 2008); The Professional Mourner (final New College performance, 2008); and Tia Frida (2008, for SFMOMA’s MAPP performance exhibition in collaboration with Red Poppy Art House.) Tony is currently a program assistant at the Museum of Performance & Design, where he manages the Museum’s Rendezvous young professional’s group. His next play, appropriately premiering this election season, is a celebration of American life titled Red, White and Bravo!
Adrian Kane is a former SOTA student who graduated in 2008 from the Creative Writing department. She has returned to SOTA to provide instruction to the creative writing students in world mythology. Adrian is currently a fourth year history student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Rochelle Eldredge is the adviser for SOTA’s literary journal, umläut.
Less Current Artists-In-Residence
Lisa Blenis, who spent two years as an intern with CW, graduated from San Francisco State University in May 2005 with her MA in English and Fiction. A San Diego native, Lisa received her BA in Literature and Writing from UC-San Diego. Her short stories and poetry have been published in Community Voices.
Michael Braithwaite, a Creative Writing artist-in-residence from 2007-2009, currently curates art and culture events for the San Francisco Zen Center. Her focus is on promoting truly interdisciplinary conversations that challenge audiences and viewers to reconsider the “inherent,” and that engage individuals in the act of empathetic deep thinking. She has co-curated and co-organized the multidisciplinary San Francisco arts event series “Go,” and has curated for galleries in Boston, L.A., and San Francisco. Michael has been published in the San Francisco Arts Quarterly, “Plastic Antinomy,” and serves as the internal fashion police you wish you had on the Ironing Board Collective blog. She holds a degree in Visual Studies from California College of the Arts.
Nicole Bratt was the advisor for umläut, the department’s literary journal, in its first six years of existence. She earned her Bachelor’s in Graphic Design from Drake University in 1996, and has been striving for design excellence ever since. In 2003 she voluntarily uprooted herself and drove across the country to San Francisco. She teamed up with her cousin, Laura Johnston Bratt, immediately upon arrival. In April 2004, Laura and Nicole formed the partnership DesignAura, a graphic design agency specializing in print, packaging, identity, and signage. In 2008, they changed their company name to Rock + Feather (www.rockandfeather.com). Nicole currently lives happily among the faded flower children in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco with her dog, her cat, her camera, and her extensive collection of Sharpies.
James Brook is a poet and translator with abiding interests in Surrealism, film noir, and “the city.” He is the principal editor of two anthologies, Resisting the Virtual Life and Reclaiming San Francisco; his translations include Resistance by Victor Serge, My Tired Father by Gellu Naum, The Prone Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette, and Panegyric by Guy Debord. His poems can be found in many journals, including Big Bridge, Exquisite Corpse, and City Lights Review.
Patty Cachapero received her MFA in Playwriting from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 2003. At CalArts, Patty was mentored for three years by Suzan-Lori Parks, and she also studied playwriting with Erik Ehn, puppetry with Janie Geiser, and theatre design with Chris Barreca. Patty received her BFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University in 1999, where she studied with several accomplished literary artists including Brighide Mullins, Toni Mirosevich and Jaime Jacinto. In the Spring of 2004, as a guest artist for the Kearny Street Workshop’s Intergenerational Writers Lab, Patty taught a workshop in the craft of playwriting, and her play “MacArthur’s Querida,” loosely based on the life of Isabel Cooper (mistress of General Douglas MacArthur), was presented as a staged reading. Patty was a principal writer, director, and actor with Tongue in a Mood, the former resident theatre company of Bindlestiff Studio, the Bay Area’s epicenter for Philipino-American performing arts.
Victor Cartagena, Salvadoran-born, is based in San Francisco and works in the media of printmaking, painting, drawing and mixed media on canvas and paper, installation and set-design. As a member of Tamoanchán, a collective of Latin American printmakers, Cartagena studied and worked at Berkeley’s distinguished KALA Art Institute from 1990-1996, sponsored by the California Arts Council. Cartagena has exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions in the US and internationally. His many grants and awards include a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation 2001 Visual Arts Purchase Award, the competitive Art Council award in the year 2000, and 1996 and 2000 Pacific Prints Awards. Cartagena’s work is in numerous private and institutional collections, including the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Contemporary Art Museum in Honolulu, and the Oxbow School of Art in Napa, CA. Cartagena is represented by Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and TinT Gallery in Thessaloniki, Greece. His website can be found at http://www.victorcartagena.net.
Emily Cavanagh interned with CW in 2004-2005, while pursuing her MA in English and Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. Her stories have been published in Transfer and Grain.
Erin Christy, CW’s graphic design advisor for umläut beginning in the 2009-10 school year, graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2008. While at Emerson she hosted six radio shows at WECB and wrote and designed a 30-page book of poetry for her thesis. In the fall of 2008 she moved from Boston to explore all of the wonderful literary offerings of the West Coast. Most recently she spent seven months as an intern at 826 Valencia, where she taught poetry to students, conducted workshops, published student books, and was on the design team.
Marisa Crawford is a poet and writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY. She grew up on the East Coast, received her BA from UMass Amherst where she studied Creative Writing, Women’s Studies and Spanish, and received her MFA in Poetry from San Francisco State. Marisa’s first collection of poems, The Haunted House,was the winner of the 2008 Gatewood Prize and published by the feminist press Switchback Books in April of 2010. Her writing has recently appeared in Shampoo and ActionYes, and is forthcoming in an anthology of poetry for teenage girls. Marisa is Senior Editor of the nonprofit book publisher Small Desk Press and volunteers as a writing mentor and workshop leader for teenage girls with Girls Write Now.
Lily Robert-Foley is a doctoral student in comparative literature at Université of Paris 8, and teaches English at Université d’Angers in France. In 2009, she transcribed and annotated The North Georgia Gazette (Green Lantern Press). She is also the author of two forthcoming books, m (Corrupt Press) and graphemachines (Atelier de l’Agneau). She is co-editor of the Omnia Vanitas Review, a journal of literary erotica.
Jeff Gardiner is a poet and scholar of 20th Century American poetry. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, writing his dissertation on the works of Charles Olson. He was a Fulbright lecturer on American literature in Germany. He has published poems in Pavement and Luna Tack and essays on Olson, H.D., and George Butterick in American Poetry, intent, the H.D. Newsletter, The North Dakota Quarterly, and the essay collection Olson’s Prose from Cambridge Scholars Press. He edited and published the 2009 ALA talks on Charles Olson as Olson and Music, Olson and Place. While working on his dissertation in Iowa City, he hosted a radio segment on contemporary poets, organized a lecture series on Mondernist and Post-Modernist novelists and poets, and worked as a typesetter on Philip Levine’s The Names of the Lost for the Windhover Press. He is currently preparing the manuscript of Charles Olson’s Black Mountain College lectures The Chiasma: Lectures on the New Sciences of Man and working on a poem series on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice — complete with their fictional correspondence.
Joan Gelfand is an award-winning writer whose poetry, fiction, reviews and essays have appeared in national and international magazines, anthologies and literary journals including Rattle, Kalliope, The Toronto Quarterly, The Huffington Post, Eclipse, Ambush #1, and The DuPage Valley Review. President of the Women’s National Book Association, Joan is also the Fiction Editor for Zeek Magazine and teaches in the California Poets in the Schools program. In June 2010 she was awarded a Poets & Writers grant for a reading in Detroit, Michigan; earlier that year, she won the 2010 Fiction Award (and chapbook publication) from Cervena Barva Press in Boston, and had three poems selected for the 2010 anthology of Poets 11, a collection of San Francisco poetry edited by Jack Hirschman. Joan’s website is http://joangelfand.com
Sam Hamm turned to screenwriting when it became apparent he would never make a living as a cartoonist. His screen credits include Never Cry Wolf, Batman, Batman Returns, and Monkeybone, and he co-created, with Sam Raimi, the television series M.A.N.T.I.S. At the moment he is working on an untitled comedy for DreamWorks, a two-part Batman comic for DC, and an episode of the cable anthology series Masters of Horror, to be directed by Joe Dante. Mr. Hamm lives in San Francisco with one wife, one son, and one beagle. His favorite hobby is missing deadlines.
Israel Haros is currently a graduate student at California College of the Arts, where he will receive an MFA in Writing in Spring 2008. His work ranges from poetry for the page, to short fiction, to performative poems, stories, and monologues. He is also extremely invested in painting and music. Currently he is working on a series of name poems exploring the history of naming and renaming within the Latino community of East Los Angeles. Israel has been a youth mentor, tutor, and teacher to students in the Bay Area and Southern California. Ultimately, he is concerned with creating new curriculum for a generation of inner city youth who need to see, hear, and read works by/for/from their communities as a means to appreciating writers and worlds further afield.
Donn Harris, former SOTA Principal, also served as guest director for the CW department’s playwriting performances during his final four years at SOTA. He holds an MA in Acting and Directing from Cal State L.A. Donn has directed numerous productions, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Awake and Sing, as well as many original works by student playwrights. He is now entering his second year as executive director of the Oakland School for the Arts.
Benjamin Hollander is a poet and essayist whose books include Vigilance (Beyond Baroque, 2005), Rituals of Truce and the Other Israeli (Parrhesia Press, 2004), The Book of Who Are Was (Sun & Moon, 1997), How to Read, too (Leech Books, 1992), and, as editor, Translating Tradition: Paul Celan in France (ACTS, 1988). He teaches at Chabot College in Hayward, CA.
Dan Hoyle is an actor and writer based in San Francisco. Tings Dey Happen, his third solo show, directed by Charlie Varon, premiered at The Marsh in San Francisco and won the 2007 Will Glickman Award for Best New Play before running five months Off-Broadway in New York at The Culture Project, where it was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show. Hoyle’s previous solo shows,Circumnavigator and Florida 2004: The Big Bummer had extended runs in SF before touring colleges throughout the country. Hoyle has been commissioned by The Aurora Theatre Company and has served as an artist-in-residence teacher at San Francisco’s School of the Arts. His essays have been featured in The San Francisco Chronicle, SportsIllustrated.com, and Salon. He alsoperforms with his father, actor and comedian Geoff Hoyle, and holds a double degree in Performance Studies and History from Northwestern University. Tings Dey Happen received rave reviews from the Chronicle’s theater critic Robert Hurwitt during its SF run. You can read the review (January 8, 2007) online at SF Gate, here. Dan Hoyle’s website, www.danhoyle.com, keeps up to date with his adventures, shows, and reviews.
Andrew Joron was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1955, and grew up in Stuttgart, Germany; Lowell, Massachusetts; and Missoula, Montana. He attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he majored in History and Philosophy of Science. After a decade and a half spent writing science-fiction poetry, culminating in his volume Science Fiction (Pantograph Press, 1992), he began to elaborate other forms of lyric speculation. This work has been collected in The Removes (Hard Press, 1999), and in Fathom (Black Square Editions, 2003). The Cry at Zero, a selection of his prose poems and critical essays, was published by Counterpath Press in 2007. Joron is also the translator, from the German, of the Marxist-Utopian philosopher Ernst Bloch’s Literary Essays (Stanford University Press, 1998). Andrew Joron lives in Berkeley, where he works as a part-time proofreader and indexer.
Rocco Kayaiatos (aka Katastrophe) is a poet and underground hip hop MC/producer. Winner of the 1998 Youth Speaks Poetry slam, he went on to compete nationally and was a featured youth slam performer in the acclaimed documentary Poetic License, which aired on PBS in 2000. Ultimately, Kayiatos’ love for words led him to hip hop. He began producing and performing hip hop in 2001. He has since released two solo cd’s and been featured on five compilations. He was crowned producer of the year by Out Music Awards for his debut album. Kayiatos is also a prominent artist in the feature-length documentary Pick Up the Mic: the (r)evolution of queer hip hop, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and has since been picked up by LOGO. His video for the single “The Life” premiered on LOGO’s NewNowNext in mid-2007 and had a long run on the top ten countdown. His music has also been featured on season four of The L Word and its soundtrack. The subject of a forthcoming biopic, The State of Katastrophe, Rocco has toured nationally and internationally as well as performing in dozens of colleges.
Chad Lawson, originally from the St. Louis, Missouri area, is currently a second-year MFA student in fiction at San Francisco State University. He received his undergraduate degree in English Literature from St. Louis University and studied music and video production at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Chad is currently working on a collection of stories pertaining to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda; other work focuses on the issues of identity and race in America. Chad is also an editor for the forthcoming literary journal, Alligatorhorse.
Carol LeMaitre began her career performing and touring with a dance company at the age of 16. Eight years later she discovered the world of new music and performance art and has never gone back. LeMaitre has collaborated with numerous cutting edge musicians and theater artists, developing a style that is has been described as ritualistic and stunningly expressive as well as witty and entertaining. By abstracting pedestrian movement and working primarily with non-dancers LeMaitre is able to create work that is accessible to a wide audience and often wickedly funny.
Beth Lisick is a writer, performer, and arts organizer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her books include the New York Times bestselling comic memoir Everybody Into the Pool and the gonzo self-help manifesto Helping Me Help Myself. Lisick has toured the U.S. and Europe as a solo spoken word performer, front person for the band the Beth Lisick Ordeal, and member of the groundbreaking female roadshow Sister Spit. Her other projects include comedic performance for the stage and screen with Tara Jepsen, curating the monthly Porchlight Storytelling Series with Arline Klatte, and teaching creative writing to young adults. She recently played the female lead in Frazer Bradshaw’s award-winning feature film Everything Strange and New.
Claire Light is a Bay Area fiction writer, blogger, critic, and cultural worker. She has worked for twelve years in nonprofit administration, particularly arts in the Asian American community. Her MFA in fiction came from San Francisco State University, and some of her fiction is published in McSweeney’s, Hyphen,Farthing, and The Encyclopedia Project. A chapbook of her short stories, called SLIGHTLY BEHIND AND TO THE LEFT, was published by Aqueduct Press last December. She has taught writing to teens, college students, and adults, and is currently coordinating free writing classes for teens through the Oakland Book Project. She blogs at Hyphen and her personal blog “SeeLight.”
Dana Teen Lomax is the author of Disclosure (Black Radish Books), Rx (Dusie), Curren¢y (Palm Press), Room (a+bend), and co-editor of Letters to Poets (Saturnalia Books). She’s writing Shhh! Lullabies for a Tired Nation and editing Kindergarde, an anthology of avant-garde work for children. She teaches at San Francisco State University and Downtown High School.
Kara Maria is a visual artist whose work is inspired by current events. A wide variety of issues — from environmental crisis to international politics and war — feed into her paintings and works on paper. Sometimes the figurative elements in the work are very clearly presented, and other times they are abstracted to the point that they become nearly illegible. Although many issues are referenced, the work itself remains non-linear, seeking to raise questions rather than to give answers. Raised in Binghamton, New York, Maria moved to San Francisco in 1990 to attend UC-Berkeley. There she earned a BA in Art Practice in 1993, followed by an MFA in 1998. Maria’s work can be found in public collections including the diRosa Preserve, Napa CA; the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, CA: and the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV, among others. She has been the recipient of awards such as a Masterminds Grant from SF Weekly; a grant from Artadia, New York, NY; and an Eisner Prize from the University of California, Berkeley. She is represented by Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; and Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles. Her prints have been published by presses including Gallery 16, San Francisco; Shark’s Ink, Lyons, CO; and Smith Andersen Editions, Palo Alto, CA. For more information, and to see her work, visit www.karamaria.com.
Thomas McBee is the 2009 recipient of the Mary Tanenbaum Literary Award for Nonfiction from The San Francisco Foundation, and was a 2010 fellow at Intersection for the Art’s Intergenerational Writers’ Lab. Page has been published most recently in Big Bell and the anthology, Baby, Remember My Name, and has recently been a guest blogger exploring representations of the body for Bitch magazine. Page was selected to attend RADAR Production’s writers’ retreat, RADAR Lab, in 2009. Page holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State, and a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. For more information and to read more work, visit www.pagemcbee.com.
Gail Mitchell is a poet and artist living in San Francisco. She’s the author of Bone Songs, a poetry collection that is in its second printing. She received her MFA from San Francisco State University and is putting the finishing touches on her Blues Opera. She writes: “In the beginning was the word and I’ve drawn on it, to map the internal terrain, to make sense of the external world, to investigate life and death, to traverse a language that leaves me spellbound. Word as element for alchemy, word as a cradle for the heart, word as staff and staff as always something to lean on, to get one from darkness to light.”
Jeffrey Alphonsus Mooney is a performer, teacher, and “cultureworker.” He has taught and performed around the U.S. and Canada for almost twenty years. He just finished a successful run as musician/composer with Kirk Readin in This Is The Thing, and was this year nominated for an IZZY award for his music with Sean Dorsey inBully.
Katia Noyes’s debut novel, Crashing America, was a Book Sense Notable Book and was chosen as one of the Ten Best Gay/Lesbian Books of 2005 by Amazon.com and the United Kingdom’s Rainbow Network. It was also nominated for the Northern California Book Award, Publishing Triangle Award, and Lambda Literary Award. Her short stories have been published by Cleis Press. She lives in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco.
Marisela Treviño Orta is a Poet and Playwright living in San Francisco. Her first play Braided Sorrow won UC Irvine’s Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in drama and will be the season opener for Denver’s El Centro Su Theatre. Her short play Woman on Fire was read at the 2007 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and at the Latino Playwrights Initiative’s 2006 playfest. Marisela is currently developing Woman on Fire into a full-length play as part of a commission from LPI corrdinators Austin Script Works and Teatro Vivo. Marisela is Marin Theatre Company’s resident playwright and is currently writing a commissioned play for MTC’s Nu Works workshop productions. This fall she has been slated to work with Just Theatre as part of their New Plays Lab. Marisela’s poetry has been published in BorderSenses, Double Room, Pomona Valley Review, 26: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics, andTraverse. Her literary blog can be found at http://xanga.com/mtorta.
Liz Perle spent more than twenty-five years in the publishing business as an editor, marketer, and ultimately, publisher of several New York publishing concerns. She is the author of numerous non-fiction works. Her most recent book, Money, A Memoir, will be published in the spring of 2006 by Henry Holt.
Kirk Read is the author of How I Learned to Snap, a memoir about being openly gay in a small southern high school. He has recently been raising money to donate 1300 copies of this book to queer youth groups, high school libraries, and LGBT campus resource centers. His second book, This is the Thing, is a collection of performance essays which will be published in 2008. How I Learned to Snap has been translated into German and was named an American Library Association Honor Book. Read co-curates the two longest-running queer open mic events in San Francisco, Smack Dab and K’vetsh. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. He has worked at the St. James Infirmary, a free health care clinic for sex workers. At St. James, has has been volunteer coordinator, an HIV/STD counselor, a phlebotomist, a shift manager and a food and clothing donations coordinator. He was part of the Gay Men’s Health Summit collective, which produced two national conferences to broaden conversations and movements around gay men’s health. He has toured the United States extensively as a solo performer and as part of a collective. He was part of the Neo-Dandy Cabaret, directed by Keith Hennessy, which ran for six weeks at the New Conservatory Theater. He is a frequent performer at the Porchlight storytelling series and many other Bay Area venues. He is currently at work on a third book and is editing two anthologies.
Lily Robert-Foley is a doctoral student in comparative literature at Université of Paris 8, and teaches English at Université d’Angers in France. In 2009, she transcribed and annotated The North Georgia Gazette (Green Lantern Press). She is also the author of two forthcoming books, m (Corrupt Press) and graphemachines (Atelier de l’Agneau). She is co-editor of the Omnia Vanitas Review, a journal of literary erotica.
Daniella Salzman is a teacher of mindfulness and meditation with kids, teens, and families. She has been deeply inspired by her work in the Teen and Family Program at Spirit Rock and her studies in dance expressive arts therapy at the Tamalpa Institute. As a practitioner, Daniella is influenced by her teachers in the Buddhist, Jewish, and non-dual lineages. As a teacher, Daniella brings creative expression, communication, and meditation techniques to students to develop attention and awareness.
Marcus Shelby is an award-winning composer, arranger, educator and bassist working and residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. He studied under James Newton and Charlie Haden and his credits include original scoring for film, theater, and dance, as well as jazz composition for his own groups, the 15-piece Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, the Marcus Shelby Trio and the Marcus Shelby Septet. He is nationally recognized for his innovative and collaborative approach to composing and arranging for text, the visual arts, dance and theater. In 2000, Marcus’ interest in composing for jazz orchestra, and his work in collaboration with the Bay Area multidisciplinary arts organization Intersection for the Arts, led him to form the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra. The MSJO is comprised of some of the Bay Area’s most respected and sought-after young musicians. Marcus has been awarded two residencies with Intersection for the Arts, through Theater Communications Group and Meet the Composer, and in 2000 was awarded the Creative Work Fund grant to compose for the MSJO. The project resulted in the recording, “The Light.” In 2002, Shelby was commissioned by the Equal Justice Society to compose a suite for jazz ballet in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Port Chicago Mutiny. At present, in addition to composing and performing, Shelby is on the faculty at San Francisco State University, and on the UC Berkeley faculty for the Young Musicians Program. CityFlight named him one of the ten most influential African-Americans in the Bay Area for 2005.
Erika Shuch is a choreographer, director, and teacher living in San Francisco. In 2007-2008, CW is excited to have her returning for a second guest artist stint in its “Writing Through the Arts” unit. Ms. Shuch is the artistic director of the Erika Shuch Performance Project (ESP Project), a resident performance company of Intersection for the Arts. Her work incorporates movement, text, music, and imagery. The ESP Project has performed and been given residencies at theaters such as Intersection, ODC, the Magic Theatre, and Theater Artaud (SF International Arts Festival). She has received a Goldie Award from the SF Bay Guardian and been granted a CHIME award (Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange). Erika is a co-director and co-founder of the Experimental Performance Institute, an interdisciplinary BA, MA, and MFA program in residence at New College of California, and also teaches through Intersection’s Alternative Theater Institute and Dancers’ Group’s 2005 Summer Dance Intensive. A San Francisco Chronicle review (September 15, 2007) of her show 51802 can be found at this SF Gate link.
Giovanni Singleton received an MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics from The New College of California. She is a recipient of a New Langton Bay Area Award Show for Literature, and founding editor of nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts. Her work has appeared in a number of publications including Chain, Fence, Five Fingers Review,Callaloo, The Breast: An Anthology (Global City Press; New York, 1994), Beyond the Frontier: African American Poets for the Millenium (Black Classics Press; MD, 2002), and on the building of Yerba Buena Center for Arts. In 2002, she was featured guest on NPR’s “Fresh Air” hosted by Michael Krasny. She has taught poetry in the San Francisco Unified School District and at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA.
Octavio Solis is a playwright and director living in San Francisco. His works Man of the Flesh, Prospect, El Paso Blue, Santos & Santos, La Posada Mágica, El Otro, Dreamlandia, The 7 Visions of Encarnacion, Bethlehem, The Ballad of Pancho and Lucy, Gibralter, Lethe, and Marfa Lightshave been mounted at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the New York Summer Play Festival, the Dallas Theater Center, the Magic Theater, Intersection for the Arts, South Coast Repertory Theatre, the San Diego Repertory Theatre, the San Jose Repertory Theatre, Shadowlight in San Francisco, the Venture Theatre in Philadelphia, Latino Chicago Theatre Company, Teatro Vista in Chicago, Thick Description, Artattack, Campo Santo, the Imua Theatre Company in New York, and Cornerstone Theatre. Most recently, Lydiagained great acclaim in its 2008 opening at the Denver Center Theatre Company, and has been nominated for the 2009 Steinberg/ATCA Award. Solis has received an NEA Playwriting Fellowship, the Will Glickman Playwright Award, a production grant from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, the 1998 TCG/NEA Theatre Artists in Residence Grant, the 1998 McKnight Fellowship from the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, and the National Latino Playwriting Award for 2003. He is the recipient of the 2000-2001 National Theatre Artists Residency Grant from TCG and the Pew Charitable Trust for Gibralter at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His new anthology, Plays by Octavio Solis, is published by Broadway Play Publishing.
Chad Sweeney is the author of two full-length poetry collections, An Architecture (Blaze VOX, Buffalo 2007) andArranging the Blaze (Anhinga, Tallahaassee 2008/9) as well as four chapbooks, most recently A Mirror to Shatter the Hammer (Tarpaulin Sky, VT 2006). His poems and translations have lived recently in New American Writing,Colorado Review, Slope, Denver Qtly, Poetry Flash, American Letters & Commentary, Indiana Review, Poetry International, 5fr, Runes and Verse, where he was nominated for “New Best Poets 2007.” With David Holler, he edits and publishes Parthenon West Review, a journal of contemporary poetry, translation and essays. He has taught creative writing and literature in San Francisco for thirteen years, the past seven years with WritersCorps, where he led creative writing workshops, events and publications with San Francisco youth, especially newly-arrived teenagers from Latin America and Asia. With Mojdeh Marashi, Sweeney is translating a book of Farsi poetry, Arghavaan, the Selected Poems of H.E. Sayeh, for which he was awarded a Cultural Equities Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission. He holds an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University and lives on Potrero Hill with his wife, poet Jennifer K. Sweeney.
Sunaura Taylor is an artist, writer and activist living in Oakland, CA. She is disabled due to U.S military pollution, a legacy that has affected all aspects of her work. Her artworks have been exhibited at venues across the country, including the CUE Art Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution and the Berkeley Art Museum. She is the recipient of a Sacatar Foundation Fellowship, winner of VSA’s Driving Force award, an Eisner Award, a Wynn Newhouse Award, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008), and an Animals and Culture Grant (2010). She has been nominated for numerous awards including a McColl Center residency and a Dedalus Foundation Award. Her published work includes “The Right Not to Work: Disability and Capitalism” (Monthly Review, 2004), “Military Waste In Our Drinking Water” (With Astra Taylor, 2006- nominated for a Project Censored Award 2007) and “Is It Possible to Be a Conscientious Meat Eater?” (Alternet, February 18th, 2009 with Alexander Taylor). Taylor has forthcoming articles in Triple Canopy and Qui Parle (both 2010). She recently worked with philosopher Judith Butler, on Astra Taylor’s film Examined Life (Zeitgeist 2008). Taylor is also an artist contributor to Rebecca Solnit’s newest book, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in the department of Art Practice with her MFA in May, 2008. Her work can be viewed at www.sunaurataylor.org.
Michelle Tea is the author of four memoirs, a collection of poetry and the novel Rose of No Man’s Land. Her first YA book, A Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, will be published January 2013 on McSweeneys. She is the founder and Executive Director of the RADAR Reading Series, which hosts the monthly RADAR Reading Series, the annual Radar LAB Writers Retreat, and the international Sister Spit performance tours. She is Editor of Sister Spit Books, an imprint of City Lights.
Niloufar Talebi is an award-winning translator, born in London to Iranian parents. She received a BA in Comparative Literature from UC Irvine, and an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College. She studied theater with Jean Shelton and Cyril Clayton and has produced and performed nationally. In 2003 she founded The Translation Project (www.thetranslationproject.org), a literary organization and production company with innovative multimedia projects that bring contemporary Iranian literature to wide audiences. She edited and translated Belonging: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World (North Atlantic Books, August 2008). Niloufar has presented at numerous venues including the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature in New York City, The New School, The National Arts Club, St. Mark’s Poetry Project, Asia Society, the New York Public Library, Litquake, SF Public Library, ODC Theater, Theater Artaud, Berkeley Reportory Theater, Actor’s Theater, and Intersection for the Arts. She created “Midnight Approaches,” a DVD of short videos based on new Iranian poetry, as well as “Four Springs” and “ICARUS/RISE,” multimedia theatrical pieces also based on new Iranian poetry. She is the recipient of translation prizes from the International Center for Writing and Translation (2004), the American Literary Translators Association (2005), the PEN/New York State Council on the Arts (2006) and the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize (2006). Visit her at www.niloufartalebi.com.
Brian Thorstenson is a playwright whose works include: Wakefield; or, Hello Sophia and Shadow Crossing(Central Works Theater Ensemble), Drop (Alternative Theater Ensemble), Tuesday (Stephen Pelton Dance Theater), Heading South (The Studio at Theater Rhinoceros, The 450 Geary Theater), Summerland (Alternative Theater Ensemble, 2000 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Wings Theatre Co., NYC) and Over The Mountain (2003 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, 2007 Global Age Project, opening 2009 at Brava Center for Women in the Arts). Brian is an associate artist at The Z Space Studio, a member of the Dramatists Guild, and a 2008 Resident Playwright at the Playwrights Foundation. He currently teaches at San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University. Brian received a B.A. in Theater from Willamette University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. He lives in San Francisco.
Amy Trachtenberg is a visual artist whose practice explores contexts of space, light, materiality and history. Projects and collaborations with poets, architects, and composers include permanent and temporary public artworks: Groundwork, for a San Jose, CA library and The Atrium Project at Children’s Hospital-Oakland. The Natural History of Market Street was commissioned by Art in Transit of the San Francisco Art Commission andIlluminance was installed for the inauguration of Pixar’s Emeryville campus. She is currently designing artwork for the BART extension between Oakland and San Jose. Visual design for theater has been performed at venues including The Magic Theater, ODC, the LAB, Intersection for the Arts, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Trachtenberg’s work is exhibited and collected nationally and internationally and represented by Brian Gross Fine Art. She received a BA in French and Liberal Studies from California State University-Sonoma and the Diplôme d’Art Plastique from L’école Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. She lives and works in San Francisco. Her website: www.amytrachtenberg.com
Truong Tran is a working poet and assemblage artist. He obtained his MFA from San Francisco State University and has received many honors including the Fund for Poetry Grant (2007) a San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grant (2003) and Intersection Writer in Residence (2003). He has shown his work locally at Intersection, APAture, Kearny Street Workshop, and Muse Gallery. In 2010 Truong had his first solo show at Mina Dresden Gallery and was part of (re)CLAIM at SOMARTS. Truong has published many volumes of poetry, most recently Four Letter Words (Apogee Press, 2008).
Antigone Trimis is known for her distinguished work in arts and education, most recently as art consultant and curriculum specialist for the federal Arts-in-the-City grant. Antigone has a strong background in both arts and education, having worked extensively with the Magic Theatre, World Arts West (producer of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and People Like Me), the Playwrights Foundation, and the Engineers Alliance for the Arts in artistic and administrative positions. She has served as Board President for Intersection for the Arts (2001-2002) and the Playwrights Foundation (2003 & 2004), and took on the role of SOTA’s Director of Outreach and Recruitment in Fall 2004. Antigone has a background in music, has curated visual arts exhibits, and has directed and dramaturged for the theatre. She holds a BA in Classics from Aristotle University (Greece) and an MA in Theatre from Brown University (RI).
Howard Wiley is a jazz musician who first found his talents nurtured, to quote his website, “in the most nurturing of all environments for young African American musicians: the church.” He has recorded and performed with the likes of Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Lauryn Hill, and Lavay Smith, as well as receiving numerous awards and accolades from the Thelonious Monk Institute, including MVP honors for the Grammy All-American Jazz Band and the Berklee College of Music Scholarship Award. At the age of 15, Wiley released his first CD as a leader, signaling the arrival of the San Francisco Bay Area’s newest diamond in the rough. In 2007 he released his third album, The Angola Project, comprising ensemble pieces inspired by 1950s recordings from Angola State Prison. According to jazz critic Daniel King of the San Francisco Chronicle, “What makes Wiley’s album a great artifact (and great listen) is his textural range, his less-is-more compositional approach, and his patience as a soloist.” Wiley was born in Berkeley, California. He attended SF School of the Arts, and enjoyed coming back to teach a Creative Writing unit on Writing Through Music. To read more about him, and see a YouTube video, check out his website, www.howardwiley.com.
Tom Zito is an experienced media professional and serial entrepreneur who, after an award-winning career as a critic and writer for The Washington Post and New Yorker, traveled west to create a series of companies at the intersection of media and technology: Isix, the first company to develop an interactive set-top cable box; Digital Pictures, the originator of full-motion video games; garagebad.com, now owned by myspace.com and the most popular social-netowrking site for independent musicians and their fans; and Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI), the industry’s leading source of cross-platform measurement data, acquired in 2010 by Arbitron. Zito attended the NYU School of Film and Television, and graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University with a degree in Philosophy. He was a writer on the ABC TV series Capital News, oversaw the creation of fourteen low-budget feature films, including the martial-arts titleSupreme Warrior produced in association with the Hong-Kong-based Shaw Brothers Studio, taught aesthetics and critical writing at George Washington University, and sits on the Board of Directors of Project Avary (Alternative Ventures for At-Risk Youth), a Bay Area charity that works with the children of incarcerated parents.
An asterisk (*) denotes staff, artists-in-residence, and thesis advisors in the 2009-2010 school year.
Thanks both to its San Francisco location and its increasing visibility in the literary community, SOTA Creative Writing has hosted a variety of guest speakers of regional, national, and international reputation. These include, in alphabetical order:
Dorothy Allison (novelist and essayist; Bastard Out of Carolina, Skin, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure)
Summer Brenner (young adult lit author)
Maxine Chernoff (author, poet, chair of SFSU Creative Writing department)
Judith Coburn (war reporter in Vietnam, Central America, and Middle East for the Village Voice and others)
Paul Cox (Veterans for Peace)
Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; founder of 826 Valencia)
Landis Everson (“Berkeley Renaissance” poet)
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
David Ford (playwright and director)
Robert Gluck (fiction, poetry; San Francisco State Creative Writing faculty)
Samara Halperin (filmmaker)
Robby Hecht (songwriter)
Paul Hoover (poet)
Lewis MacAdams (activist poet and journalist; Birth of the Cool)
Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior, The Journeys of Socrates)
Katia Noyes (freelance writer, novelist; Crashing America)
Hoa Nguyen (poet)
Liz Perle (editor, publisher, non-fiction author)
Tennessee Reed (poet)
Donald Revell (poet and editor)
Robert Rosenthal (Vice-President and Managing Editor, SF Chronicle)
Lorin Stein (Editor of the Paris Review)
James Tracy (Molotov Mouths Outspoken Word Troupe)
Marianne Villanueva (Filipina writer and teacher)