5 Questions: Alexandra Chase, SAL’s Donor Relations Associate

Meet Alexandra Chase, SAL’s brand new Donor Relations Associate! Alexandra, who goes by Alex, is passionate about relationship building in the Seattle arts community, and she’s worked locally with AmeriCorps and nonprofit radio.

To introduce Alex to the SAL community, we asked her five questions about her new role on SAL’s development team, her hobbies – including ceramics! – plus, what’s on her nightstand . . . 


Tell us a little about your career, pre-SAL. What have you been up to?

I originally moved to Seattle to serve as an AmeriCorps member and help run an after-school program in White Center. I fell in love with the city and really enjoyed working with youth and went on to become a full-time professional mentor to young girls. What I loved most about working with youth was the opportunity to build meaningful and authentic relationships. It was my passion for relationship-building that steered me in the direction of development work, as so much of working with donors is building relationships and creating community. Just before SAL, I was working in development at a local nonprofit radio station where I re-discovered my love for the arts.

 

What’s your new role with us? What about it is most exciting to you?

I’ve been brought on as the new Donor Relations Associate to assist with SAL’s development efforts. I’m most excited that my work here will combine my passion for relationship-building and supporting programs for youth, with my love of literature and the arts community. I really enjoy centering my work around the community-building aspect of fundraising, and I’m excited to see how we can build the SAL community even more and to find new and exciting ways to show our donors just how much we appreciate them and their support.

 

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

Outside of work, I love practicing yoga (I am about to embark on a two-week yoga retreat in India), creating pottery pieces on the wheel, hiking and climbing, and reading! I also enjoy walking around different Seattle neighborhoods and exploring all that the city has to offer.

Read more…

Like Sand, and Solid Ground

This season, our friends over at Poetry Northwest are partnering with us to present reflections on visiting writers from the SAL Poetry Series. Below, read an excerpt of Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s review of Advice from the Lights, Steph Burt’s latest collection.

Steph will open SAL’s Poetry Series at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 9 at McCaw Hall, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall. Tickets are still available here!


By Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

 

In Advice from the Lights, Steph Burt’s new poetry collection (Graywolf, 2017), we hear from a variety of unlikely speakers: a hermit crab, a betta fish, a roly-poly bug, a herring gull, a water strider, a pair of ferrets, a secondhand flashlight, white lobelia flowers, kites, the Egyptian god Anubis, and even a “Fuzzy Golem Doll with 6” Keychain” at a Prague synagogue.

The Golem doll says, “I want to be chosen.”

The roly-poly bug says, “I answer the most banal // questions by quoting the questioner.” The herring gull adds, “I want to persuade myself that I don’t care.”

Anubis, the god of the afterlife, often pictured with the head of a dog, waxes philosophically: “Dog lovers, I have learned, have feline souls, requiring / companionship they cannot ‘find within.’ ”

The ferrets, in captivity, make circular arguments into circular shapes. And white lobelia hangs out, or hangs, in the garden store, gossiping with the petunias.

Personification plays an active role in Advice from the Lights, starting with the first poem, where a chunk of ice tells us, “I grew up in the human world,” and immediately becomes human, or feels human, or humanly. There is humor in these poems; pathos, insight, and charm; rhyme with and without reason; a sense of place and a place for sense. There is order, but also, at times, a slipperiness to the “I” that opens into a doubling of character and intent. Read more…

2016-17 WITS Anthology Launch: Closing Remarks

Ronica Hairston, the mother of 2016-17 Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador Joseph Hairston–whose poetry you can find here and here–generously made these warm remarks in support of Writers in the Schools at our 2016-17 WITS Anthology Launch. At this celebration, over 60 K-12 students shared the poetry, stories, comics, and memoir from the brand new WITS anthology, Pulling the Secret Out of the Flames, in a powerful evening of youth voice; the whole crowd was moved by Ronica’s words.

Read on to find out how Ronica and her son have found their lives touched by the WITS Program, and to hear her important reminders to writers–and the parents of writers–everywhere. . .


By Ronica Hairston, WITS Parent & Friend of SAL

“We grab pens hoping to write the next big piece. Countless hours with our handshaking, brain is racing, never knowing what’s to come before the period. I never erase, I never erase because my hands have more truth then the brain that overthinks the insecurities, that tries to take control of the pen and paper.”

That is a short selection from a poem written by my son, Joseph Hairston.

My name is Ronica Hairston, and I am the parent of a former WITS participant. Just two years ago, his poem was selected for the 2015 WITS Anthology, No One Except the Hundred-Handed Trees. I remember watching him read his poem and thinking what a great accomplishment it was. I had no idea that this was just the beginning of a growing list of great achievements with the WITS program. Through various workshops, he has not only gained skill and confidence, but a remarkable love for poetry.

A co-worker once asked me if I though it was realistic to encourage my son to work in the field of arts. Would there really be any opportunities for him to be heard? I informed her that my son was not only a published poet, but was also given the title of Seattle Youth Poet Ambassador for the 2016-2017 school year as part of the Youth Poet Laureate Program of Seattle. He participated in the Capitol Hill Lit Crawl and was a featured reader at the Elliot Bay Book Store and Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards. That he was the opening reader for Mr. Ta-Nehisi Coates, and for the Seattle Arts & Lectures event Rest In Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin with Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, to which he received his first standing ovation. Great opportunities that all started with his participation in the WITS Program.

But WITS also prepared him for events outside of Seattle Arts & Lectures: working with United Way, The Hip-Hop Residency Program at the Museum of Pop Culture and being asked to read his poetry at Paul Allen’s Founders Day Awards in front of an audience of musical greats, including Joe Walsh and Ringo Starr. So, to go back to the original question as to if I thought it was realistic to encourage my son to work in the field of arts, the answer, quite simply, is yes. Read more…

Shop sandylew Today to Support SAL!

Up for a SAL shopping spree? Now you can support SAL and have fun getting dressed by joining us at sandylew today, Thursday, September 7, from 6-8 PM—enjoy light bites, bubbles, and fashionable clothes and accessories to jazz up your fall wardrobe. Exclusive items and looks will be unveiled, and Sandy will generously donate 25% of the evening’s sales to support SAL’s ongoing work!

In anticipation of this evening’s festivities, Sandy has also given Sonder readers a book recommendation to end their summer reading on a romantic note—Paris: A Love Story by Kati Marton. This New York Times bestselling memoir is for anyone who has ever fallen in love with Paris, detailing the NPR and ABC news correspondent’s path down widowhood in the City of Lights following the death of her husband, diplomatic prodigy Richard Holbrooke.

“When I read and was moved by this lovely memoir,” Sandy told us, “I had not an inkling it would resonate with me and remind me to be sturdy all these years later.”

 

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This is what Sandy had to say about how she’s felt this expansive memoir’s presence in her life:

I am saving this book to re-read it at summer’s end. I am saving it the way some people save dessert for last. I am saving it because it will make my heart ache and know that I am in the company of many women who understand loss. I am saving it because I know it will remind me to keep loving on my new path.

Kati loves Paris. Kati feels joy in Paris. And I love my work. I feel joy in my little shop.

Read more…

Summer Book Bingo: Six Summer Reads from Savitha Reddy Pathi

Summer Book Bingo is designed to provide free summer reading fun for both adults and kids. Last summer, participants read a total of 8717 books, and we received a whopping 248 blackout cards and 227 bingo cards—let’s do it again! There’s still time to swing by one of SAL’s partner bookstores this year to grab an Adult or Kid Bingo Card or download it here and wrap up the summer of ’17 reading great books. 

In this post, Savitha Reddy Pathi, the Development Director at Climate Solutions and Board member of the Wing Luke Museum and Mize Family Foundation, let us peek into her backpack as she journeyed across the world on a recent sabbatical. Read on to find out Savitha’s picks for the summer (plus her pro-tip for how to travel with Ron Chernow’s massive 817-page Hamilton biography) . . .


Read more…

Summer Book Bingo: Ross Baker’s Pick

Summer Book Bingo is designed to provide free summer reading fun for both adults and kids. Last summer, participants read a total of 8717 books, and we received a whopping 248 blackout cards and 227 bingo cards—let’s do it again! Swing by one of SAL’s partner bookstores this year to grab an Adult or Kid Bingo Card or download it here and spend the summer of ’17 reading great books.


Ross Baker, the Public Policy Director for Virginia Mason and the Board President for the Seattle Public Library Foundation, has shared with us one of his top bingo picks this summer—the collection The Moth: 50 Tales Told Live, fifty excellent selections from The Moth’s storytelling archive—and what he finds inspiring about the summer reading program.

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Adult Summer Book Bingo has opened up my typical reading experience to some  intriguing new genres, introduced wonderful authors who were unknown to me and sparked some great book discussions with friends and with librarians at the Seattle, King County and Timberland libraries, as well as many friendly, knowledgeable, well-read independent booksellers!


Thanks, Ross!

 

Summer Book Bingo: Recommended by an Independent Bookseller (Part 2)

Summer Book Bingo is designed to provide free summer reading fun for both adults and kids. Last summer, participants read a total of 8717 books, and we received a whopping 248 blackout cards and 227 bingo cards—let’s do it again! Swing by one of SAL’s partner bookstores this year to grab an Adult or Kid Bingo Card or download it here and spend the summer of ’17 reading great books.

Still need your “recommended by an independent bookstore square”? As with Part 1 of our bookseller series, SAL spoke with many of our independent bookstore partners around town to ask them for their summer favorites. In this installment, we hear from the dedicated book-lovers that make Edmonds Bookshop, Elliott Bay Book Company, University Book Store, Island Books, and Queen Anne Book Company possible.


Mary Kay Sneeringer, Owner, Edmonds Bookshop

813iRIOpkrL.jpgWar of the Foxes by Richard Siken

War of the Foxes is especially fun to read aloud. My husband and I took turns, thinking we’d share one or two, but ended up reading the whole book in one evening.

 

 

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Americanah
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This main character, Ifemelu, doesn’t look like me. An eye-opening look at the U.S. through the experiences of a young Nigerian woman. I especially enjoyed the protagonist’s blog entries.

 

 

canada_cover-680.jpgBefore the Wind by Jim Lynch

A tight-knit family of sailors comes unraveled as the children grow up and scatter to the four winds; the father hopes to entice them all back to Seattle for one last boat race. This novel with serious themes will make you laugh out loud.

 


Karen Maeda Allman, celebrating her 18th year of bookselling at the 44-year-old Elliott Bay Book Company

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Inheritance from Mother 
by Minae Mizumura

Changing roles and opportunities for Japanese women in this era and as they age are at the heart of this novel, which is set in one woman’s tumultuous midlife “annus horribilis.” So refreshingly blunt.

 

Read more…

Summer Book Bingo: The Expatriate Packing List

Summer Book Bingo is designed to provide free summer reading fun for both adults and kids. Last summer, participants read a total of 8717 books, and we received a whopping 248 blackout cards and 227 bingo cards—let’s do it again! Swing by one of SAL’s partner bookstores this year to grab an Adult or Kid Bingo Card or download it here and spend the summer of ’17 reading great books.

In this guest post from Julia Cook, local writer and long-time bingo savant, she encourages us to pack our bags and head to another country—mentally, at least—with five recommendations for your “Set in Another Country” square. Julia told us: “All of them either made me cry or think, ‘This writer’s a genius.’ I’ll let you guess which was which”. . .


By Julia Cook

No one sees you clearer than a stranger in a strange land. That’s the hope, at least, when a writer packs his bags, secures the visa, and memorizes a new set of metro stations. It’s the hope that among others one can come closer to his or her truest self. Each of these novels follows an expatriate who’s embraced the unfamiliar, for better or for worse, and shared a little that they’ve learned. With the Set in Another Country square, you too can cross boundaries without ever checking Google Flights. Just make sure you’ve packed an open mind.

 

716031.jpgThe American by Henry James

Decades before Fitzgeralds and Hemingways buzzed along the Riviera, Henry James was watching his country embarrass herself from across the pond. Financial panic, Manifest Destiny, and one ill-fated conquest of Cuba all passed through his periphery, unfolding on the page in characters designed to draw empathy, even as they gravely failed themselves. Christopher Newman is a textbook Yankee: a strapping, successful businessman, somewhat aloof to politics, he tours Europe thinking he might as well find some culture, since he has everything else already. He drifts in and out of museums, not sure what he wants to find, until he meets a woman who shatters all perceptions. As he stumbles through hoops to earn her hand, Newman will discover that respect cannot be owed or earned, it must be freely given.

 

Read more…