New SAL Staff: Welcome, Alison Stagner!

Welcoming someone new to an organization is always cause for excitement. Here at SAL, it is even more so, given our small but mighty group. We were recently lucky to move from a team of seven (plus one dog) to eight. On the occasion of our intern-turned-event-coordinator Alison Stagner’s new role (who was also kind enough to lend us her mad writing skills for our interview with Tim Griffith last week ), we asked her a few questions about her working, reading and writing lives.

What is your role at SAL? What about it is most exciting to you?

Alison Stagner: I’m the freshly minted Events Coordinator, focusing on SAL’s Words Matter fundraiser. I help out with everything from registration, to table captain communications, sponsor contracts, follow-up pieces and more. My involvement with SAL began last summer as an intern, doing marketing and public programs projects—I had a blast with that, as well!

The most exciting part about Words Matter is connecting people directly with writers and literary experiences they can’t access elsewhere in Seattle through the auction’s unique offerings, despite the tremendous range of literary opportunities we have here. Also, I’ve been enjoying getting to know all the avid readers who make the benefit possible—the one generalization I can’t avoid making is that dedicated readers are the kindest, most interesting people. (Also, in the SAL office, I now have a rolling chair—upgrade!).

What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not here at SAL?

AS: I’m a poet finishing up my first manuscript, so I end up spending most of my free time staring at/pacing near/opening and closing my computer screen, filled with anxiety. I’m very lucky to have a place in the 2016 Jack Straw Writers Fellowship program, so this year, I’ll be in the studio learning a lot about radio equipment and voice performance—plus, I get to workshop and read with a lovely and knowledgeable group of Seattle writers.

Otherwise, I’ve just graduated with an MFA from the University of Washington, and I’m still clinging onto the academic world by tutoring literature, history, and classics at UW and North Seattle College. I also run casually (which seems to surprise everyone), own a dog (that I never shut up about), and paint.

What are you reading these days?

AS: I’ve just finished Ada Limón’s latest book of poems, Bright Dead Things, which traces how the speaker’s sense of self gets jolted by a move from New York City to rural Kentucky, the loss of a parent, and falling in love. Limón’s voice feels more immediate and honest—and celebratory—than a lot of what I’ve read recently, and as someone who has a foot at either side of that city/country divide, there’s a lot to marvel at, image-wise.

Next up, I’m continuing my love affair with Southern poets and plan to read C.D. Wright’s latest—and sadly, last—collection of essays on poetics, which has the most extravagant title ever: The Poet, The Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, A Wedding in St. Roch, The Big Box Store, The Warp in the Mirror, Spring, Midnights, Fire & All. We should’ve had so many more books from her, and I’m still kind of stunned by her death last week.

As for novels, I’m finally getting to Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson and Open City by Teju Cole.

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