May 3, 2017: Chi Chi Stewart, Elizabeth Carroll Hayden, and Laura Lee Bennett
"I Am Not Cursed"—Persephone Retold
We took the Greek myth of Persephone's abduction. We each took on the persona of one of the three main characters—Demeter, Persephone, and Hades. Not only did we experience the myth in a new way, but we also had our characters and poems interact with each other. So the work is a kind of hybrid. We performed it onstage locally to do some final tuneups to the play of the language as well as the story arc, which changed itself a bit. The work turned out to be about a dysfunctional family that finds a way to get along.
At the age of 10, Chi Chi Stewart hid out in an abandoned chicken house on a near-by farm in South Jersey where she grew up, and wrote stories. She later earned a nursing degree and worked for 14 years in different health care settings both here and abroad. She was an at-home mom starting with the birth of her third child. The third was quickly followed by a fourth. 19 years later, while the nest was emptying out, she spent two bold years at Gage Academy in Seattle learning landscape painting and continued to write. Her poems have been published locally, and people seem to like her art well enough to buy it from time to time. Currently she works as a community instructor training people to be home health care aides. She believes that knowledge can lead to compassion and dearly hopes that no act of creativity is ever wasted.
After nearly entering the Underworld while canoeing around Deadman’s Island near La Connor, Elizabeth Carroll Hayden decided writing was safer. Teacher by day, poet by night, she is currently working on her MFA at the University of British Columbia. She is a past board member of Redmond Association of Spokenword (RASP). She has two poems published in the RASP Anthology Here, There, Everywhere, and for the Redmond Poet Laureate Project for Redmond Centennial Poetry Anthology 10x10, she wrote ekphrastic poems in response to ten historical photos. She loved channeling Hades from the Underground, although she isn’t interested in meeting him anytime too soon. When she isn’t working on her young adult novel in verse, This Red Earth, she can be found Foxtrotting so far, a safer pastime than canoeing.
Over her 15th summer, Laura Lee Bennett took her first ride on a Harley with a lifeguard named Daryl. Persephone, the eternal punk daughter, became her alter ego. She now channels Persephone on a daily basis. Laura Lee received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon. In Seattle, she discovered Red Sky Poetry Theatre, and was embraced by that community. She is a past president of Redmond Association of Spokenword (RASP), and actively supports the written and spoken arts in her community. Recently, she was invited to participate in Ekphrastic Assimilations, an interactive project through VALA Eastside, Pacific Lutheran University, and ryan james fine art, designed to bring together visual artists and poets from China and the United States. Laura Lee has a chapbook forthcoming from nine muses books, a short story called Snake Medicine.
Emcee: Pamela Denchfield
June 7, 2017: Robert Lashley
A 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Trust Fellow, and nominee for a Stranger Genius Award, Robert Lashley has had poems published in such journals as Feminete, Seattle Review Of Books, NAILED, Drunk In a Midnight Choir, and The Cascadia Review. His work was also featured in Many Trails To The Summit, an anthology of Northwest form and Lyric poetry. His full-length book: The Homeboy Songs, was published by Small Doggies press in April 2014. His new book, Up South, will be out in March 2017.