Sparks! Library

Sparks!, formerly known as Let's Talk TLA, is a free bi-monthly teleconference moderated by TLA Network Membership Chair, Kelly DuMar, who interviews notable Transformative Language Artists on their work, followed by a poetry open mic. Great food for thought and nourishing poems for the soul.

Gregg Levoy: Finding & Following Your Passion & Calling

September 2017

Gregg Levoy is the author of Vital Signs: The Nature and Nurture of Passion (Penguin), and Callings: Finding and Following An Authentic Life (Random House)—rated among the "Top 20 Career Publications" by the Workforce Information Group. He is also the former "behavioral specialist" at USA Today and a regular blogger for Psychology Today.

True Story Theater

April 2017

True Story Theater is a nonprofit theater company that offers 50-75 improvisational performances and workshops a year for community groups, businesses, and individuals mostly in the greater Boston area. They work with hospitals, universities, corporations, religious communities… with teen leaders, cancer survivors, activists, philanthropists, business leaders…  as well as for weddings, birthdays, and other private events.

Their mission is to build empathy and respect in community through honoring all of our true stories.

Caits Meissner: Poetics of Witness

January 2017

How does one decide it's okay to write beyond these margins? What questions must the author consider in the act of witnessing? How do we write about our lives, which are entangled with the lives of others, in ways that are fair, loving, and ethical?

Caits Meissner's new hybrid poetry book, Let It Die Hungry, uses poetry, prosaic notes, illustrations, and extensive writing prompts to grapple with questions of identity, crossing cultural lines, teaching in public school, a needle exchange, and prison.

Doug Lipman: Creating Experiences of Social Change through Storytelling & The Arts

November 2016

“We don't have to talk about social change to create it,” Doug says. “Instead, if we teach and perform in accordance with our values, the process moves people toward change, without relying purely on the content of what we say. Artistic processes like storytelling, singing, dancing, and poetry help us discover and express our highest values and create experiences for others that open them to their true humanity. TLA artists and activists can inspire each other to discover an enlarging web of activities that help people align themselves with currents that will help move us toward a more just, supportive, and enlightened society. The connection between process and change is helping people experience values necessary to a more just society.”


Z. Hall: Dynamic Dialogue

March 2016

Z. Hall believes in the power of creating what she calls “360 degree public conversations,” -- that true understanding requires examining issues through integrated, public dialogue. In the context of TLA, we’ll explore her thoughts on why open dialogue is important, what we can expect when it does not exist, and how society benefits when it does.

Z. Hall is a poet, mixed media artist, scholar, and the Executive Director of Salon~360, a monthly event that brings together artists, business people, scholars, activists, and community members in dialogue around issues faced by our society.  A rhetorical critic specializing in visual and material rhetoric, Z. produces scholarship on communication and art. Her interests include culture, art, race, identity, media, TV and radio, film, theater performance, rhetoric, and intersections of these. She has blogged about these for nearly five years. Her passion for creating a space for open dialogue stems back to the 2011’s online version of Salon~360, “Shaken Not Stirred: Conversations with Friends” on her blog. Z’s art articulates social and political realism as critique.


Seema Reza: Arts as a Tool for Narration, Self-Care, and Socialization

December, 2015

Poet, essayist, facilitator, and 2016 POW Conference keynote, Seema Reza, talks about her work using TLA to help a military population struggling with emotional and physical injuries.

Seema Reza is the author of “When the World Breaks Open,” a memoir of essays and poetry forthcoming from Red Hen Press in Spring 2016. Based outside of Washington, DC, she coordinates and facilitates a unique multi-hospital arts program that encourages the use of the arts as a tool for narration, self-care and socialization among a population struggling with emotional and physical injuries. In 2015, she was awarded the Col John Goia Patriot award by the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore.She serves as a council member-at-large for the Transformative Language Arts Network.


Callid Keefe-Perry: Imagination and Public Education: Learning Ourselves into Boredom

October, 2015

TLAN Chair & 2016 conference Keynote speaker, Callid Keefe-Perry, talks about how he uses Transformative Language Arts Network in his advocacy for the arts.

Callid Keefe-Perry is a husband, father, and a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers working toward his PhD in Theological Studies at Boston University’s School of Theology. His work focuses on the intersection of imagination, spirituality, and creative practice in education. He is the author of Way to Water: A Theopoetics Primer and one of the founding members of the journal, THEOPOETICS. He currently serves as the Chairperson of the Board for the Transformative Language Arts Network and he is one of the co-hosts of the progressive Christian podcast, Homebrewed Christianity.


Laura Packer: Creating Your Sustainable Story

August, 2015

Storyteller, writer, coach, and communications consultant, Laura Packer, talks about how to establish a creative career and pursue meaningful work as a Transformative Language Artist.

 Laura Packer is a performing storyteller, writer, coach and communications consultant with for- and non-profit businesses. She has been a self-supporting practitioner for almost a decade. She has told stories for adults and families in venues as varied as festivals, universities, hospices, retreats, on the streets, fringe festivals and more. Laura also coaches storytellers, writers, executives, , teenagers, marketers and others in their own stories and for public speaking. She loves applying artistic and creative tools to the practical and prosaic, and thinks solving problems in new ways can actually be a lot of fun.

"The Transformative Language Arts Network" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Kansas, P.O. Box 442633, Lawrence, KS 66044

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