Sparks: Check Out Our New Podcast Series

We are excited to announce the arrival of Sparks, our new podcast series, curated by TLAN Council member Joe Maldonaldo. The podcasts explore the power of the written, spoken, and sung word.

The first podcasts, drawing from interviews and live broadcasts with member Kelly DuMar, are now up and ready for you to listen to as you drive, walk, or putter around the house, including:

  • Grey Grey Joe: A Conversation With Seema Reza: Seema Reza, author of A Constellation of Half Lives and When the World Breaks Open, discusses her TLA work with U.S. military veterans, her latest poetry collection, and finding balance between caring for other and caring for ourselves.
  • Empowering Human-Trafficking Survivors: A Conversation with Jennifer Jean:  Kelly DuMar interviews Jennifer Jean about her transformative language arts work with survivors and asks Jennifer to read some of her own work. This is an opportunity for TLA practitioners to learn and share best practices for working with survivors in writing groups and be introduced to Jennifer’s model for facilitating free2write workshops for survivors.

More podcasts will be added in coming weeks, thanks to Joe’s artful work with past programs and his commitment to create new programs. Tune into Sparks here.

Seema Reza Wins USO Award for “Bringing Down Walls With Words”

Seema Reza with Stevie Nicks, Sebastian Junger, and Peyton Manning at USO Awards

Seema Reza with Stevie Nicks, Sebastian Junger, and Peyton Manning at USO Awards

Seema Reza, a member of the TLA Network governing council and accomplished writer and facilitor, just won a major award from the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore. She was honored at the organization’s 33rd annual awards dinner on March 26 along with Oscar-nominated filmmaker, author and war correspondent Sebastian Junger, singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks, and starting NFL quarterback Peynton Manning.

According to the USO, Seema received the John Gioia award “for her work with wounded, ill and injured service members at military hospitals and USO Warrior and Family Centers

at Fort Belvoir and Bethesda. Reza conducts workshops to help service members recovering from visible and invisible wounds express themselves through art, writing, film and music.” During the ceremony, she read a poem about working with service members while accompanied by Grammy-nominated, progressive hip-hop musician Christylez Bacon.

As one of the transformative language artists featured in Transformative Language Arts in Action, co-edited by Ruth Farmer and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Seema says:

I love most of all witnessing the relationship between participants as they help each other move forward. Writing can be an isolating endeavor. We sit with the page, immersed in our thoughts and experiences, uncertain if our voices are valuable or valid. When we share our work—either through public readings and exhibits or in a workshop setting—we begin to feel a sense of responsibility to contribute to the collective narrative of our time.

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Seema, her son, a member of the service, and Christylez Bacon

Seema is also an accomplished writer with a mixed-genre book coming out from Red Hen press, and she’s a member of the TLA Network.  Read more about Seema’s work here, and see her superb website for more of her writing.

See a short video of the award-winners here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulCA1d0ikJ8