Power of Words 2012

The 2012 conference was held at Pendle Hill Retreat Center near Philadelphia. Although Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall right after the conference, affected conference participation on the last day of the event, the conference was warm, welcoming, and rated very highly by participants for how inspiration, informative and helpful it was. Jimmy Santiago Baca was keynoter, a very lively and varied coffee house of wonder took place (including everything from long-form comedy improv to storytelling to singing and poetry), and all the performances and workshops were lively. Here's more details.

PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS:

Scott YoumansWays Toward Right Livelihood

Doug Lipman - The Joy Cycle

Ruth Gendler - Writing from the Heart/The Heart of Writing

Jimmy Santiago Baca – Loosening the Debris: Bringing Real Life to your Writing


WORKSHOPS:

"Anyway You Need Her" : Blues Performance as Empowerment and Transformation – Maria Johnson

The Art of Story Listening and Creating Personal Myth – Raymond Gray

Civil Writes – Wendy Thompson

Compassionate Communication – Jane Connor

The Empowering Struggle: Sisters of Survival Tell Their Stories of Incarceration & Liberation – Iris Wilkinson and Sharon Sullivan

Give Your Wisdom Wings – Doug Lipman

Journaling Through: Awakening the Body's Wisdom – Angela Caughlin

The Joyous Body – Lisa Avnet

The Language of Coaching -Tamara Smiley Hamilton

The Language and Business of Stories — Annette Ramos

Listening for Story: A Decade of Publishing Narrative Medicine — Tom Janisse  

Look for a Sign – Marion Goldstein

Personal Narrative and the Art of Illness: Writing to Create Meaning - Meghan MacNamara

Queering Curriculum: Teaching Theater, Teaching Selves – Jimmy Rose

TLA & People's History – Ezra Berkley Nepon

Using Music in Oral Performance – Rachel Nelson: Storyteller

Wreckage, Wonder and Ways Through the Impossible: The Transformative Power of Fiction – Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

The Write Vitamins – Jan Stanley and Robert "Reb" Rebele

Writing Beyond the Narrative: Toward the Lyric Self – Joy Jacobson

Writing Through Grief – Jessica Handler and Kathryn Rhett

What Will Your Story Be? The Transformative Power of Expressive Writing – Denise VanBriggle

 


PERFORMANCES:

A Healing for the Earth – Regina Ress

Selected Spoken Word- Kao Kue

Music of Rebellion – Taina Asili 

The Soul Quake Experience: A Poetic Memoir – Tamara Smiley Hamilton

 

 

 


 

 

PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS:

Scott Youmans - Ways Toward Right Livelihood

What is this thing called right livelihood? It sounds like a good virtue, but how does it work in practice? In your own life? For your own work and vocation? Spend the morning before the conference with TLA graduate and Starr King seminarian Scott Youmans unpacking the usage of right livelihood through the ages and into your life. You’ll have time to consider your current and future work in relation to the principles of right livelihood, craft your own ethical manifesto, and develop a radical self-care mantra to carry with you into the conference and out into the world.

Scott Youmans, MA-TLA and former TLA Network Council Member, offers monthly writing circles and workshops at the Swarthmore Healing Center and also facilitates Making the Leap into the Work You Love online course offered each spring by the Network. Scot is a seminarian at Starr King School for the Minister and a full-time developer for a web consulting company. 

 

Doug Lipman - The Joy Cycle

What wisdom do you have that others will pay for? "Winged wisdom products" are fueled by your passions, gifts, and abilities. Unlike books, CDs, articles, etc., they escape the gravitational pull of commodity pricing. Learn what winged wisdom products are, why they make a difference, and how to create them for your own business. In this practical, nuts-and-bolts workshop, participants will walk through the most important single process for finding the new customers who are eager for your wisdom: the four steps of the Joy Cycle. In other words, the Joy Cycle gives you the "who" and the "what's their problem." Participants are encouraged to take Doug's shorter "Give your Wisdom Wings" Saturday workshop as well.

Doug Lipman has coached and performed on three continents. He has offered incisive, supportive training to hundreds of organizations and individuals, from oil company executives to elementary school teachers to professional performers in many fields. He has assisted hundreds more in learning true connection marketing. His free email newsletter and many of his instructional articles–as well as information about his books, recordings, and monthly "Storytelling Workshop in a Box™"–are available at www.storydynamics.com.

 

Ruth Gendler - Writing from the Heart/The Heart of Writing

I love how the word heart contains ear and art, hear and earth. Focusing on the heart of writing, we listen to sun and soul, blood and bones, everyday talk and many kinds of silence. Writing from the heart we extend empathy,  befriend our imaginations, illuminate the alphabet, and honor our dreams. This workshop offers time to try new ways of writing and space dedicated to imagination, language and soul. Rooted in the qualities of curiosity, courage, clarity, creativity and courtesy, we follow our images into form. Stories, poems, and essays emerge as we allow what we work on to work on us.

Artist, writer, and teacher J. Ruth Gendler is committed to the transformational potential of the arts. Her experience with the rhythms of creativity is evidenced by a diverse background in art, writing, publishing, teaching, and lecturing. Her first published piece (when she was 8 years old) described how she wanted to go to the Louvre and see the paintings. This was followed the next year by three poems about color. She has been interested in the intersection of art and writing, language and vision ever since then.

Gendler is the author of The Book of Qualities and the editor of Changing Light: The Eternal Cycle of Night and Day. The Book of Qualities, now in its 40th printing, has been adapted as a two act theater piece and translated into German, Japanese, and Chinese, as well as being widely excerpted in literary, psychological and educational publications. In addition to personal essays and poems, Gendler writes about the arts, education, health, and books. Her art work has been exhibited nationally. 


Jimmy Santiago BacaLoosening the Debris: Bringing Real Life into our Writing

Please bring some of your own writing — excerpts from memoir, fiction, or poems or other short pieces. We're going to hash it up, try to loosen up the debris of how we think and feel, break down the filters, work to see deeper, to see the source of emerging birth in things around us– and we'll do this by reading some of our own work, talking about our work, wringing the dirty dish water out of our words and snapping them clean, new and fresh. We'll get into our anger, wonder and technique, and work balance craft and ideas. We're also going to look at how to use our experiences to deepen our writing craft and benefit us in our journeys. We'll write, read and discuss, laugh and cry and embrace all of life.

Born in New Mexico of Indio-Mexican descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was raised first by his grandmother and later sent to an orphanage. A runaway at age 13, it was after Baca was sentenced to five years in a maximum security prison that he began to turn his life around: he learned to read and write and unearthed a voracious passion for poetry.  During a fateful conflict with another inmate, Jimmy was shaken by the voices of Neruda and Lorca, and made a choice that would alter his destiny.  Instead of becoming a hardened criminal, he emerged from prison a writer. Baca sent three of his poems to Denise Levertov, the poetry editor of Mother Jones.  The poems were published and became part of  Immigrants in Our Own Land,  published in 1979, the year he was released from prison. He earned his GED later that same year. He is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, the American Book Award, the International Hispanic Heritage Award and for his memoir A Place to Stand the prestigious International Award. In 2006 he won the Cornelius P. Turner Award. The national award recognizes one GED graduate a year who has made outstanding contributions to society in education, justice, health, public service and social welfare.

 

 

WORKSHOPS:

"Any Way You Need Her" : Blues Performance as Empowerment and Transformation – Maria Johnson

An interactive multimedia presentation-performance interweaving audio, video, and live performance examples with imagery to demonstrate the expressive power of women’s blues & its potential to embrace diversity, challenge the status quo, and bring about personal & social transformation.

Maria is a blues musician/teacher/scholar, ethnomusicologist, and Associate Professor of Music (SIUC) with publications on women’s blues and literature as performance who teaches courses on Diversity & Popular Music and Women’s Blues & Literature. She is working currently to facilitate healing/integration & creativity/empowerment in herself & others through music-making, art, yoga/movement, and writing.

 

The Art of Story Listening and Creating Personal Myth – Raymond Gray

Listening to a story magically transport us to the world of the story. If it is a personal story, we make connections to ourselves, to the personal myth that drives our lives. This workshop will help the participants to be more aware of the stories they tell themselves and the world.

Raymond Gray has earned his living as a professional storyeller for forty years. For the first thirty-five he traveled the mid-Atlantic states telling stories to children in schools, libraries and camps…and he love it! Then, at the age of sixty-five, he had a sort of metanoia considering what to do with the last third of his life. The result is a performance, "Imagining the World of Carl Jung" and a workshop, "The Art of Story Listening and Creating Personal Myth."

 

Civil Writes – Wendy Thompson

Is the pen truly mightier than the sword? Explore how the written, spoken and sung word is used to bring about social justice, education, and transformation to situations of personal or global conflict. You will read and write about issues of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, injustice, and justice.

Wendy Thompson is a poet, educator, singer/dancer, and arts administrator. She has 30 years of teaching experience and studied journal/poetry therapy. Civil Writes began with a poetry workshop for children of undocumented workers in Portland, OR. She has since applied the concept to working with LGBT senior citizens and middle school students working on anti-bullying projects. Ms. Thompson is published in a variety of local and national literary magazines and anthologies

 

Compassionate Communication – Jane Connor

Introduction to Compassionate Communication, also known as Nonviolent Communication, a process that builds connections between people, transforms enemy images of others, and leads to greater self-understanding, freedom and authenticity. Taught on six continents, it is also a foundation for healing, peace-building and conflict resolution.

Jane Connor is a trainer certified by the International Center for Nonviolent Communication and has shared this process on four continents, including at Binghamton University where she taught for many years. She is co-author of Connecting across Differences: A Guide to Compassionate, Nonviolent Communication. She currently does consulting, training and coaching from her based in the Washington, DC area.

 

The Empowering Struggle: Sisters of Survival Tell Their Stories of Incarceration & Liberation – Iris Wilkinson and Sharon Sullivan

Life can change in a minute and anyone can end up in prison. The women in this prison writing group want their stories to inform us that they need rehabilitation , not incarceration. This workshop presents an original play written by participants in a creative writing group the facilitators lead in a women's prison in Topeka, KS.

Sharon Sullivan teaches Theater and coordinates the women/gender studies program at Washburn University. Iris Wilkinson teaches Human Services at Washburn University and facilitates expressive writing groups at a local jail and women's addiction treatment center. They are collaborating on a project at the women's state prison, co-facilitating a writing group which will result in a performance piece.

 

Give Your Wisdom Wings – Doug Lipman

What wisdom do you have that others will pay for? "Winged wisdom products" are fueled by your passions, gifts, and abilities. Unlike books, CDs, articles, etc., they escape the gravitational pull of commodity pricing. Learn what winged wisdom products are, why they make a difference, and how to create them.  Essentially, this workshop, "Give Your Wisdom Wings," is an overview of how to get off the "direct-services treadmill" by re-conceptualizing what you offer and how you offer it, finding ways to articulate what you provide. Give Your Wisdom Wings provides  big picture, including the "why," the "where this is heading," and the "how" of earning a living by selling your wisdom, not your time. People who take Friday's pre-conference with Doug are encouraged to take this as well. 

Doug Lipman has coached and performed on three continents. He has offered incisive, supportive training to hundreds of organizations and individuals, from oil company executives to elementary school teachers to professional performers in many fields. He has assisted hundreds more in learning true connection marketing. His free email newsletter and many of his instructional articles–as well as information about his books, recordings, and monthly "Storytelling Workshop in a Box™"–are available at www.storydynamics.com.

 

Journaling Through: Awakening the Body's Wisdom – Angela Caughlin

 Learn ways that we can use journaling to enhance healing and make changes from the life experiences that affect all of us. This experiential workshop explores recent studies ,which highlight the connections between the new brain science and journaling, that effects the mind, body and spirit. Using journaling, learn how to access deeper wisdom and reach new levels of change and understanding.

Angela H. Caughlin, LCSW, is an author, psychotherapist/coach and speaker. She has worked in the non-profit sector and has also had a private practice for 20 years working with individuals, groups and organizations. Angela is the author of the books, The Only Way Through, Journaling Your Way Through, and Journaling Through: Unleashing the Power of the Authentic Self. Angela currently works at Baylor College of Medicine and maintains a private practice in Houston, Texas. 

 

The Joyous Body – Lisa Avnet

As TLA practitioners our work involves long hours of writing. Our bodies, the ground of our being in the world, are challenged by this repetitive activity. Our bodies will be nurtured by this simple movement routine, based on Tai Chi, and our spirit by the Joyous Body poems (which include work by Mary Oliver, ntozake shange, Elizabeth Cunningham and others).

Lisa Avnet has been a Hoshino Therpist for 18 years. She is also a licensed massage therapist and a certified Health Coach, having received diplomas from the CT Center for Massage Therapy, the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, as well as a BA in English Literature from Emory University. She has spent many years studying storytelling, poetry, and writing, and has been writing with the same circle of women for the past 20 years.

 

The Language of Coaching -Tamara Smiley Hamilton

After a short film by Nic Askew, which brings the voices of coaches into the room as they share the gifts they bring to the human experience, this workshop include a coaching demonstration to help participants experience the "the dance of coaching" in real-time. Everyone will leave with a laminated card of provocative questions to aid in self-reflection after the class ends.

Tamara Smiley Hamilton is an experienced executive, career and life coach. As the former Executive Counsel of the National Education Association, Tamara served as the internal confidential coach to employees at all levels–including the Executive Director and senior leadership. She is a graduate of the Georgetown Leadership Coaching Program and helps clients to live their lives to the fullest. Tamara is a poet and storyteller and uses those gifts to enhance her coaching practice. Her poetry is collected in Soul Quake, poems spanning thirty seven years of living and growing into her best self.

 

Listening for Story: A Decade of Publishing Narrative Medicine

Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive,” (Barry Lopez) lifts up the profound value of storied communication. As in conversation, the group will look through a “Narrative Medicine Anthology,” (handed out to each participant) – a collection of pieces published over ten years in The Permanente Journal.

Tom Janisse, MD, MBA is the founding editor-in-chief of The Permanente Journal. He sponsors Narrative Medicine writing workshops for doctors and nurses and publishes their Quick Writes. His published medical writing includes: a poem, "Dying Distant," in the New England Journal of Medicine; a story, "Bring the Bottles," in the book Emergency Room: Lives Saved and Lost: Doctors Tell Their Stories. He is a past recipient of a literature grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Look for a Sign – Marion Goldstein

This workshop/presentation is about being open to signs after the death of a loved one.  I will be presenting anecdotal stories collected over time from a variety of   people. Each story, experienced as symbolic communication,  contains an event that may be taken as a sign or “just coincidence” in the way it relates to the deceased.  We will explore the difference between  intuitive ways of knowing  and that which is attained through sense experience. In particular we will look at the concrete images through which the sign or coincidence is made manifest to the mourner and we will examine  the very personal, idiosyncratic and often humorous ways that the sign or coincidence  is integrated, causing a change to occur in the person receiving it .  That change has been described as being filled with a momentary sense of peace and well being, and a strengthening of faith in the belief of an existence beyond death. We will look at signs and symbolism in various religious traditions as well as from Jung who wrote,  “we cannot exclude the possibility that there is an existence outside time which runs parallel with existence inside time.”

Marion Goldstein MA, PTR is a psychotherapist and a registered poetry therapist with over thirty years experience. She is past certification chairman for the National Association for Poetry Therapy, received awards from NAPT and the National Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy, and she serves as an associate professor at Caldwell College. She has published numerous professional articles and poetry in various journals, and her memoir, Hard to Place was published by North Star Press

 

Personal Narrative and the Art of Illness: Writing to Create Meaning - Meghan MacNamara

This workshop is geared toward those interested in the use of writing to foster empathy and make sense of life-changing, often chaotic, experiences. I will introduce writing techniques that I have used for personal processing of chronic illness as well as those I employ in the classroom. We will use these exercises to examine the use of writing to explore the art of illness. The ideal audience for this kind of presentation would be those interested in medical humanities, writing, narrative medicine, and personal narrative whether clinicians, educators or patients. The tools that I will cover could be helpful to anyone interested in writing and the art of medicine.

Meghan MacNamara earned her Master of Fine Arts from Vermont College. Her work has appeared Fourth Genre, Spittoon and Mindsprocket Magazine. Her memoir,Never Thought of Losing, is currently making its rounds to agents. Meghan teaches composition and medical humanities at Lancaster General College of Nursing and Health Sciences in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she also volunteers with a hospice organization and co-directs a dog rescue. Her blog, Fighting Fair, explores the art of fighting, of being a patient and all the gray areas in-between.

 

Queering Curriculum: Teaching Theater, Teaching Selves – Jimmy Rose

This experiential workshop offers tools and methods for overcoming pedagogy that reiterates objectification and the marginalization that follows. As a theater teacher in Middle Tennessee I’ve created new ways of teaching theater that include self-reflection, the awareness and interruption of objectifying biases, and an in-depth study and celebration of marginalized theater movements. Queering curriculum means transitioning to a question-oriented learning process wherein students become comfortable navigating subjective experiences by using the ‘self’ as a touchstone for understanding. This workshop draws on a model I developed that includes retelling oral narratives in shadow puppetry.

Jimmy Rose earned a Masters of Individualized Arts from Goddard College in 2008. J teaches theater at Tennessee Technological University in Middle Tennessee. J is also a Steward of Short Mountain Sanctuary, a queer intentional community and non-profit organization that offers healing space for folks in need of a break from the sexually normative status quo. J's work focuses on events of interruption that interrupt cultural inertia and the authority of "answerism."

 

TLA & People's History  - Ezra Berkley Nepon

Let's talk about the connections between TLA and People's History, the ways we can support collective healing and transformation through documenting the stories of our communities using oral histories, archival research, purposeful community gatherings, and more. Nepon will open the group with examples of this work in action: their recent book about a 1980's Jewish activist organization, a 10th anniversary reunion of the Philadelphia Republican Convention protests, and an archiving/documentation process at an intentional queer community in rural TN. Let's talk about how the work of people's history overlaps with TLA, how we can learn from cross-pollination between the two fields, and how we can use TLA principles to document and honor the stories of our communities on a collective level. 

Ezra Berkley Nepon is a West Philadelphian writer, performer, and organizer and recently returned from a book tour for Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue: A History of New Jewish Agenda. Nepon is pursuing an MA in Goddard College's TLA Program.

 

Using Music in Oral Performance – Rachel Nelson: Storyteller

From singing in character to instrumental background, music can add emotional depth to your story.  Storyteller and former theater musician Rachel Nelson offers her experiments with music and story:   Story performance examples with fiddle, guitar, drum, and washtub bass; discussion; and a couple of hands-on experiments we’ll all try together.

Rachel Nelson combines oral story, song, spoken word, and theater with music and movement – languages older than words. Nelson often acts as her own “theater musician,” a role she played in several theater companies in her early career. She has toured her fringe show Living the Questions in the Midwest and to the National Storytelling Network Conference. Her songwriting is featured in two CDs, with her latest, Crazy Bay, soon to be released.

 

What Will Your Story Be? The Transformative Power of Expressive Writing – Denise VanBriggle 

Participants are gently guided in an exercise that begins with art and annotation, moves to storytelling, and ends with a completed piece of expressive writing. Writers often surprise themselves with the way they creatively structure and re-write painful stories from their past in such a short amount of time.

Denise VanBriggle, a National Writing Project Fellow and former Director of the Capital Area Writing Project in Central Pennsylvania, has over forty years of experience as a teacher, literacy coach, curriculum coordinator, presenter, and published writer. She has researched the healing, transformative power of expressive writing and believes everyone has a powerful story to tell. After her retirement, Denise opened Cityscape Communications, a small consulting business supporting local and national literacy efforts.

 

Wreckage, Wonder and Ways Through the Impossible: The Transformative Power of Fiction - Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

These are the materials," Adrienne Rich writes of life's "wreckage, dreck and waste" as well as its wonder. Through fiction, we can engage with these materials to increase our capacity for creativity, courage and joy. I'll start with my own story of living and writing The Divorce Girl, a novel on surviving abuse and becoming an artist. We'll experiment with fiction in short exercises, share our discoveries, and discuss ongoing ways to converse with life's hard stuff through what we read and write.  

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the Poet Laureate of Kansas, author of 14 books, and founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches. Her books include The Divorce Girl (novel, Ice Cube Books), Needle in the Bone: How a Holocaust Survivor and Polish Resistance Fighter Beat the Odd sand Found Each Other (Potomac Press), four collection of poetry and several anthologies. She has been leading community writing workshops for two decades with many populations, and with Kelley Hunt, Brave Voice workshops and performances.

 

The Write Vitamins – Jan Stanley and Robert "Reb" Rebele

The aim of this workshop is to expand participants' conception of narrative "medicine" to include not just those exercises that heal what already ails us, but also those that strengthen and prepare us for the challenges ahead. We will begin by discussing what health is, then explore our "health assets," or mental, physical, and behavioral resources. Next we will introduce recent research on hope and gratitude's effect on health, then practice writing exercises to enhance health as well as share a short daily writing routine that will function like a hope and gratitude writing vitamin.

Jan Stanley is a leader, instructor, facilitator, poet, celebrant and lifelong learner. Jan helps others find meaning in personal and professional milestones, including the design and delivery of celebratory and healing ceremonies. In addition to extensive work in leadership development and learning systems, Jan is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, holds a Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and is a facilitator in Penn’s Resilience Training program. Robert “Reb” Rebele is a writer and educator who, like Anne Lamott, is grateful for writing like he’s grateful for the ocean. After studying writing in college, in workshops and online, Reb earned his Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is becoming more convinced that writing is one of our most versatile tools for improving our lives, a belief that forms the core of his writing and personal development workshops.

 

Writing Beyond the Narrative: Toward the Lyric Self – Joy Jacobson

In this session, participants will read lyric poems — by contemporary poets, as well as greats like Rilke and Dickinson — that might hint at a health-related narrative but don’t overtly tell a story. They'll then be guided through writing exercises designed to elicit a lyric voice, what might be called the self behind the story. The session is for writers wishing to deepen their poetry as well as anyone involved in health care and health promotion — clinicians, faculty, patients, family caregivers.

Joy Jacobson is the poet-in-residence at the Center for Health, Media, and Policy at Hunter College in New York City, where she teaches writing to nurses and nursing students. Joy holds an MFA in poetry from the New School and has been an editor at the American Journal of Nursing.

 

Writing Through Grief – Jessica Handler and Kathryn Rhett

How can writers work effectively with emotionally difficult material, moving through their own trauma or grief to create powerful, effective writing? Two authors who specialize in writing through trauma will guide all levels of writers through craft techniques to help them find and write their story.

Kathryn Rhett is the author of Near Breathing, a memoir, and editor of Survival Stories: Memoirs of Crisis. Her poems and essays appear in Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the New York Times, and elsewhere, and her essays have been selected three times as Notable Essays for Best American Essays. She teaches creative writing at Gettysburg College, the M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte, and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Jessica Handler’s first book, Invisible Sisters: A Memoir (Public Affairs, 2009) is one of the “Twenty Five Books All Georgians Should Read.” Her nonfiction has appeared on NPR, in Tin House, Brevity, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and More Magazine. Honors include a residency at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, a 2010 Emerging Writer Fellowship from The Writers Center, the 2009 Peter Taylor Nonfiction Fellowship, and special mention for a 2008 Pushcart Prize.

 

 

PERFORMANCES:

A Healing for the Earth – Regina Ress

Sometimes we are given assignments. We accept them, not even know why they have been given nor what the outcome will be. This story concerns my city, New York. But it concerns all of us. It is a message to the world from the Cabecar, a group of materially poor but spiritually rich humans living on a remote mountain in Central America. They had heard something terrible had happened in NY the morning of September 11, 2001. They wanted to help heal the earth. My telling you this story of connection and love is part of that healing.

Regina Ress, storyteller, actor, writer, and educator, has performed and taught from Brazil to Broadway, from homeless shelters and prisons to Lincoln Center and the White House. She has appeared in numerous international storytelling festivals, is a recipient of NSN’s Oracle Award for Service and Leadership, and teaches storytelling for NYU’s Educational Theatre and Multilingual/Multicultural Studies Programs. Regina believes that storytelling connects us to each other and to the deepest parts of our Selves.

 

Flower Cloth Stories – Kao Kue

Kao believes that storytelling can cross the boundaries of class, religion, race, gender, etc… that society and people have created to divide the community. In witnessing storytellers from various communities connect many different peoples together through their stories, she has been inspired to continue this tradition of storytelling to build community and speak out against injustices. Kao's storytelling incorporates traditional Hmong storytelling as well as influences from other storytelling traditions, incorporating contemporary American narrative styles, such as spoken word as well as being told in Hmong and English with infusions of poetry and song. 

Her storytelling also follows the Hmong flower cloth (textile) making tradition – where there are layers and layers of stories are stitched together to create an elaborate and complex story. It is the human story that strives to live as well as works to redeem itself after living through devastation. Her hope is that her stories reach and connect with many members of the community, encouraging open dialogues and creating a safe place to help each other live with dignity.

Kao is a second generation Hmong American woman. She is a storyteller and teacher with a strong sense of responsibility to community. Her parents and grandfathers have taught her that storytelling helps us to survive. Whether it is incorporating storytelling in  class lessons or creating storytelling workshops in the Hmong community, she remains true to the belief that stories have a place in our daily lives: stories tell us who we are. 

 

Music of Rebellion – Taina Asili accompanied by Gaetano Vaccaro on guitar

Puerto Rican vocalist Taína Asili fuses powerful vocals and poetic, multilingual lyrics with an energetic fusion of Latin-American, Afro-Caribbean, reggae, and rock sounds. Taína Asili’s voice exudes strength of Spirit, filling its listeners with the fervor of freedom and inspiring audiences to dance to the movement of rebellion.

 Puerto Rican vocalist Taína Asili, fuses powerful vocals and poetic, multilingual lyrics with an energetic fusion of Latin-American, Afro-Caribbean, reggae, and rock sounds. Her art is centered in movements for social justice, and inspired by her work as a community organizer in Philadelphia, PA and Albany, NY for the past 10 years. She has an MA in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College.

 

The Soul Quake Experience: A Poetic Memoir – Tamara Smiley Hamilton

The performance is an poetic memoir spanning 37 years of my life of surviving the Watts Rebellion and using writing as a tool to get from the 'hood to the boardroom. Combining music, poetry and narrative to highlight the resiliency of the human spirit, this perofrmance highlights importance of having community, positive affirmations, and a belief in the power of words.

Tamara Smiley Hamilton is a gifted speaker and writer. In 2011, she won six trophies for speech competitions in Toastmasters International.She is the division champion in humorous speaking and in the international speech categories. She uses her gifts to inspire audiences through stories. She is a former English professor and middle school teacher. She designs workshops that focus on the effective use of self. She is a career and life coach with a goal to help people unleash dynamic energy to power up their lives. Tamara published Soul Quake, a collection of here poetry, so that her children would always have a copy of her creative words.