Writers Theatre Teaching Artists
Click the tabs below to find out more about some of the wonderful teaching artists we have working with your children in our residencies and other educational programs.
DANIEL AUBREY is the author of several professional produced plays and a member of the Dramatist Guild of America. He has served as producing director for the non-profit professional Foundation Theatre; spearheaded the development of the first professional theater company in Trenton, NJ; managed productions at La Mama Experimental Theatre Center in New York City; and is a recipient of a New Jersey Governors Award for Distinguished Serve to Arts Education in Theater.
SHELLEY BENAROYA is a published writer and poet who has taught creative writing and composition for 15 years inside and outside the public school system. As a teaching artist, certified English teacher, and college instructor, she has helped students – young and old – discover the joys of writing and the power of language. Her awards include poetry and teaching fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Her work has appeared in such journals as Thirteenth Moon, Diner, Dream International Quarterly, The Edison Literary Review, Maelstrom, Mobius, Mad Poets Review, US 1 Worksheets, New Voices, JBIS (Journal of British Interplanetary Society), and The Village Idiot. In addition to her role as founding director of the Writing Center for Creative Aging, Ms. Benaroya has served these past 15 years as an artist-in-education for the New Jersey Writers Project. She joined the roster of teaching artists at NJPAC in 2005. She has worked as an arts education administrator, writer, editor, and public relations executive for such companies as the AIE Consortium, CES Publishing, Simon & Schuster, Highgate Pictures, The Rowland Company, and NBC news.
GHA’IL RHODES BENJAMIN is an award winning actor, poet / spoken word -recording artist. Via her own production company Talking Poems and Storytelling Productions, Gha’il performs her one-woman show with live musical accompaniment throughout the tri-state area and the country bringing to light the inner complexities of every day characters with raw simplicity and humor. From classrooms to college campuses, nightlife venues to Lincoln Center, The Schomberg, The Knitting Factory and Symphony Space of New York she motivates, uplifts and inspires audiences with words and phrases that stick to your ribs. Talking Poems specializes in creating personalized custom-made poetry (celebrating the greatness within) for every occasion, including weddings, anniversaries and memorial heirlooms for home-going celebrations. Also director and facilitator of various creative workshops and performances, she allows participants of all ages to “project their inner voices”. Gha’il is both the visual image and voice of spoken word in collaboration with filmmaker Al Santana in the WBGH Lab Series film titled Reparation Blues, PBS and WLIW. She is also the voice on radio airwaves with her poem titled She got burned, a PSA promoting domestic violence awareness through Safe Horizons of New York. Her debut CD Spiritual Eclipse/ Sacred Moments on a String of Words is a collage of music and spoken-word, a portrait of self-discovery, self-love and renewal…she is the recipient of the 2010 Soul Purpose Award and currently on the public speaking circuit, raising her voice to ignite “self-empowerment and creativity”.
“She’s authentic, talented, mesmerizing and a breath of fresh air.” — Les Brown author and speaker.
ELOISE BRUCE is the author of Rattle ( CavenKerry Press 2004) and her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. She is a member of Cool Women a performance and critic group and is included in their five anthologies and two CD’s. She has been a featured reader at the Dodge Poetry Festival. She holds an MFA in directing from the University of Alabama, an M Ed in Secondary English from Mercer University, and a BFA in Theater from Wesleyan College. She has attended a Sarah Lawrence College’s Writer’s Workshop and has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Eloise received a NJSCA Fellowship in Poetry for 1998 and been on staff and a member of the advisory broad for the The Frost Place Center for the Arts. During the following theater employment, she adapted over 20 works of children’s literature for the stage: Creative Theater, Artistic Director; Idaho Theater for Youth, Artistic Director; Director , Idaho Shakespeare Festival; and Asolo Theater in Sarasota, Florida, Education Director.
DOMINIQUE CIERI is a playwright, teaching artist, member of the Dramatists Guild, and recipient of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual Playwriting Fellowship 2003 and 2009. She is a graduate of Rose Bruford College in Kent, England, and is the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, SUNY, Albany. Ms. Cieri is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Goddard College, Vermont. Ms. Cieri’s plays include Davie Award winner Pitz & Joe at Geva Theatre, N. Y., also produced in Los Angeles, and Chicago, and optioned for film. Other plays include: For Dear Life, finalist for Charlotte New American Plays Festival, Last Kiss, developed at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, Centenary Stage’s Women Playwrights Series, and North Carolina’s Festival of New Works, in 2004. Count Down was produced in 2005, with Off World Theatre and The Artists Collective for Social Change at the Puffin Cultural Forum, in New Jersey, and in 2006, in New York, at the Bank Street Theatre. Her Essays on Arts and Education have been published in the New York Times, and Teaching Artist Journal with choreographer Catlin Cobb, most recently, “A Soldier of Service: Teaching At-Risk, Juvenile Justice, and the Holocaust.” Dominique teaches the adaptation of nonfiction based on the Holocaust, for the stage at Yavneh Academy. She has been designing and teaching playwriting and theatre workshops the past seventeen years for numerous arts organizations, including, Theatre for a New Audience, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, The Juvenile Justice Commission, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Young Audiences, and Artist Teacher Institute with Arts Horizons.
DARCY CUMMINGS has a B.A. degree in English from Rowan University, an M.A. in literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an M. A. from the Writing Seminars (Poetry) at Johns Hopkins, and is completing an MFA in Prose (Personal Essay, Memoir) at Rutgers University. She has taught writing at area colleges and universities, including Rowan, Stockton, and Penn, and for eighteen years with the New Jersey Writers Project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She currently teaches Creative Writing at Rutgers, Camden. Special teaching interests: the teaching of writing, contemporary poetry, memoir, non-fiction, and detective fiction. Her poems have been published in Poetry Northwest, Carolina Quarterly, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Natural Bridge, Runes, and other periodicals in the U. S. and England and in the anthologies Editors’ Choice, Orpheus & Co (contemporary poems on classical myths), and The Next Parish Over (contemporary Irish-American writing). She has received fellowships from Yaddo, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Geraldine Dodge Foundation for residencies at the Virginia Center For The Creative Arts. Her chapbook, Singing a Mass for the Dead, was published in 1996, and her book, The Artist As Alice: From A Photographer’s Life, which won the Bright Hills Press Book Competition, was published in 2006.
DAVID DANNENFELSER received a BA in Special Education from William Paterson College, an MA in Educational Theatre from New York University, and an MFA in Directing and Playwriting from Sarah Lawrence College. He now teaches Playwriting, Directing and Acting at Wells College and has been an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He has taught acting and improvisation for Rutgers University (Mason Gross School of the Arts), Montclair State University, The Oberlin College Theatre Institute, Theatre For a New Audience in NYC, The Mustard Seed Theatre Lab also in NYC, and The Classic School in NJ. David has also taught courses in playwriting for The NY Shakespeare Festival’s Playwriting program in residence at The Joseph Papp Public Theatre and for Playwright’s Theatre of NJ. He has also been an adjunct professor at Muhlenberg and Morris County College.
David has directed numerous plays and received a Directing Fellowship from The Pennsylvania Stage Company (LORT) for the 1994/95 season, where he directed fully staged productions of Patient A, by Lee Blessing and two one-act plays by Eugene O’Neill, Fog & Thirst. David returned to PA Stage in the 1996/97 season to direct the premiere of Fish or Cut Bait by John Holleman.
David has written, directed and produced his plays: The On Being Series and Sid Berkeley Radio Slave, at Here in NYC, The Keeper, a full-length radio play performed live at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre and broadcast over WBAI in NYC, and The Boy Who Lost His Sock, a full-length children’s play adapted from a story by Patrick Gallagher and produced by The Youth Theatre of NJ in Sparta, NJ & The Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY. He recently produced his new play, The Medicine Show (A Play With Music) at the 2007 NYC Fringe Festival. His play, Gargoyles was selected as a semi-finalist in the 2009 New Play Festival at Centre Stage, a professional theatre in South Carolina. David has had numerous workshops and readings of his one-acts and full-length plays and is presently working on a book of short plays for use in the study of acting. A complete anthology of plays is available upon request. David is a member of The Dramatists Guild, Inc.
PAULA DAVIDOFF is a writer and storyteller who has taught in the New Jersey Writer’s Project since 1997. Her interactive workshops often include storytelling and creative drama as part of the writing process.
Paula has worked extensively in alternative educational settings, teaching residency programs in juvenile detention centers and alternative high schools. She is currently the director of a storytelling-based literacy program in the Morris School District and co-director, with playwright Carolyn Hunt, of Girls Surviving, a troupe of teen girls who tell their own stories through writing and performance.
Legend has it, EMARI DIGIORGIO’s long hair must remain un-cut until she removes the ancient curse placed on her bloodline by aligning her hips in Warrior I while reciting The Inferno from memory. She teaches at The Richard Stockton College of NJ and is a NJ State Council on the Arts Poet-in-the-Schools. Emari is a recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Residency in June 2009, a 2007 NJ State Council on the Arts Poetry Fellowship, and the Ellen LaForge Memorial Poetry Prize in 2006. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Feminist Studies, US 1 Worksheets, The Marlboro Review, So to Speak, The Grolier Poetry Annual, The Georgetown Review, The Edison Literary Review, Buffalo Carp, Whiskey Island, The Barn Owl Review, HerMark 2009, Switched-on Gutenberg, and the Paterson Literary Review. Emari also teaches a monthly creative writing workshop at the South Jersey chapter of Gilda’s Club, a cancer resource center.
Lamont Dixon, from Philadelphia, has been a prominent presence in the poetry scene for many years. As a performance poet and teaching artist, Lamont demonstrates what he describes as “vibepoetics” – the eclectic mixing of multiple artists disciplines to provide dramatic language arts education. His training includes the Philadelphia University of the Arts, Freedom Theater and Temple University’s Full Circle Improv Troupe. His poetry has been published in African Voices, New Poet’s Revolution, and Essence magazine. He also appears on many CDs including: Awaiting the Spirit, the Po-Jazz Connection and African Rhythm Tongues. Lamont was also co-executive producer for the Philadelphia segment of HBOs Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam. His latest book is Come Ride My Poems. His performances include: Turkey Hill Ice Cream Arts Festival, Chrysler National African-American Cultural Expo, Philadelphia Welcome America Poetry Series, New York’s Nuyorican’s Poet’s Cafe, Zanzibar Blue Jazz Club, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Music City’s Jazz & Arts Festival, ’05 W. Oak Lane Jazz Festival, and much more. Lamont is a teaching artist with Perkins Center for the Arts, Rowan University, and NJ & PA State Council for the Arts.
DAHLIA ELSAYED is a writer and visual artist who has been teaching in the tri-state area for over a decade. Her teaching areas include poetry short story, graphic novels, and genres that combine the visual arts with the literary. She received her MFA from Columbia University and her BA from Barnard College. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards most recently a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship grant.
LURAY GROSS, poet and storyteller, is the author of three collections of poetry: Forenoon was published in 1990 by The Attic Press in Westfield, NJ, and Elegant Reprieve won the 1995-96 Still Waters Press Poetry Chapbook Competition. The Perfection of Zeros, was published by Word Press in 2004.
She works as a Writer-in-Residence through the NJ State Council on the Arts and as a Visiting Poet for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and is an Teaching Artist with Storytelling Arts, Inc. of Kingston, NJ. With these organizations and on a free lance basis, she has presented workshops and performances for students K – 12, teachers, and the general public since 1989. Her experience includes four years as a teacher of high school English and ten as Adjunct Instructor of English at The College of New Jersey. She was also employed as a free lance journalist, writing for trade publications for five years.
Ms. Gross received her BA in English from Gettysburg College and her MA in English from Trenton State College. She was the recipient of a Fellowship in Poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. In 2000, she was named a Distinguished Teaching Artist by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and was the recipient of the Robert Fraser Open Poetry Competition Award from Bucks County(PA) Community College. She was the 2002 Poet Laureate of Bucks County and resident faculty at the 2006 Frost Place Festival and Conference on Poetry in Franconia, NH. Her poem “The Perfection of Zero” has been chosen by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book to be one of their four featured poems for the Public Poetry Project in 2008.
THERESE HALSCHEID is the author of four poetry collections: Powertalk (1995), Without Home (Kells, 2001) and Uncommon Geography (Carpenter Gothic, 2006). Uncommon Geography received a 2007 Finalist Award from the Paterson Poetry Book Prize. She also won a chapbook award by Pudding House Publications, as part of their 2007 Greatest Hits series. Like record albums, Greatest Hits is a collection of twelve poems spanning the writing life of the poet, prefaced with a narrative that weaves the poet’s life with the body of work.
Therése was awarded a 2003 Fellowship for poetry from NJ State Council on the Arts. Widely published, she has received awards from literary journals, as well as a Geraldine R. Dodge Fellowship to Vermont Studio Center. Her writings, both poetry and prose, have appeared in magazines such as Natural Bridge, Rhino, Cold Mountain Review, Blueline, The Dos Passos Review.
She has been a visiting writer in schools for NJ State Council on the Arts since 1998 and has taught writing courses in varied settings in NJ and elsewhere. As well as writing experiences in the States, she has taught in England and Russia. In 1998, she led a group of women writers to South Africa to meet South African writers.
For the past decade, the author has been house-sitting, while traveling widely to write. This mobility, along with simple living, has helped her to sustain her writing life. Many poems chronicle travels across varied terrain. She photographs her travels, and her one woman exhibition of poetry and photography, Visual Diaries, has shown in galleries.
GREGORY HALTZ is a writer/actor with an extensive background in theater, film and tv/video. A native of Chester PA, Gregory received a B.F.A from Howard University’s Dept. of Drama in 1977. Among his professional acting credits are Jonin’ (off- Broadway), Michael Jackson’s Bad (music video), America’s Most Wanted (television) and Heavy (feature film). His writing credits include Black Codes from the Underground, (a Lincoln Center Director’s Lab production 1999), Chicken Special (a screenplay) and Lifeline (premiered in New York 2007). In 2008 Gregory was a Cultural Envoy to South Africa teaching playwriting while also developing his new play South Africans-Americans at Johannesburg’s Market Theatre which will go into production in the spring of 2011.
Gregory has served as a Teaching Artist for numerous arts organizations including, New Jersey State Council for the Arts, Playwright’s Theater of New Jersey, NJPAC, the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Playwriting in the Schools Program, Arts Genesis, VSA, Community Works, Mind Builders-Positive Youth Troupe, New York University’s Creative Arts Team, The Children’s Art Carnival, and Theater for the Forgotten’s Changing Scenes. He has also taught Drama in the Newark Public Schools and currently holds a Standard Certification as a Teacher of Theater in New Jersey.
Finally Gregory proudly serves as the Artistic Director of the Real Life Theater Ministries, Inc.
PENNY HARTER has worked as a teaching artist, visiting elementary and secondary schools all over New Jersey for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts AIE program, the New Jersey Writers Project, and the Dodge Foundation. Her poems and short fiction appear in numerous anthologies and magazines worldwide, and her autobiographical essay appears in Contemporary Authors. A teacher of high school English for many years, her essays on teaching writing appear in several volumes published by Teachers & Writers Collaborative. In January, 2009, she moved from Summit (Union County) to Mays Landing (Atlantic County).
Her more recent books include Recycling Starlight (2010), The Night Marsh (2008), Along River Road (2005), Buried in the Sky (2001), and Lizard Light: Poems From the Earth (1998), and she has given readings, talks, and workshops coast-to-coast, as well as in Canada and Japan. Her illustrated children’s alphabestiary, The Beastie Book, was published by Shenanigan Books in December, 2009, and a 25th anniversary edition of The Haiku Handbook, co-written with her late husband, the poet and translator William J. Higginson, also came out from Kodansha International in 2009.
She has received three fellowships in poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a teaching award from the Dodge Foundation, and the Mary Carolyn Davies Memorial Award from Poetry Society of America. She also was named the first recipient of the William O. Douglas Nature Writing Award. A Dodge poet, she was invited to read at the 2010 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, and she recently received a fellowship from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) for a residency there in January, 2011.
ANNDEE HOCHMAN is the author of Anatomies: A Novella and Stories (Picador USA) and Everyday Acts & Small Subversions: Women Reinventing Family, Community and Home (The Eighth Mountain Press). She writes regularly for The Philadelphia Inquirer; her articles, essays, book reviews and short fiction have also appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Health, Working Mother, OUT, Glimmer Train Stories, Boston Review and elsewhere. Since 1992, Hochman has engaged and inspired writers of all ages—both emerging and experienced—through poetry and memoir workshops in schools, after-school programs, community centers and a small village on Mexico’s Pacific coast. She has worked with children, teens, adults and seniors and is comfortable teaching gifted/talented, at-risk, and incarcerated youth. She speaks conversational Spanish and has taught in bilingual settings. Hochman has received grants for fiction and creative non-fiction from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Astraea Foundation and the Leeway Foundation. She lives in Philadelphia.
ROLAINE HOCHSTEIN has been a teaching artist since 1986. She has published two novels and over thirty short stories, including “Don’t Tell the Cuzzins,” which appears in the current issue of Glimmer Train. Her stories have won two O. Henry Prizes, the Pushcart prize and the Seaton Prize of the Kansas Arts Council. Her non-fiction books include The Seventeen Guide to Knowing Yourself and The Seventeen Guide to You and Other People (both written with Daniel A. Sugarman, Ph.D.). She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
STEVEN M. HOLLOW is an accomplished actor and puppeteer has toured from the west coast of Alaska to the east coast of Maine. Mr. Hollow has worked as an artist-in-residence for over 20 years conducting workshops in Acting and Creative Drama, Puppet Building, Story Telling, Creative Writing, Playwriting and Mask Making. Mr. Hollow has lead workshops for students and teachers all across New Jersey. Since 1998 he has been member of the Playwrights Theater teaching staff and always looks forward to the incredible energy and creativity of the Young Playwrights Program. In 2000 Mr. Hollow was selected to the New Jersey State Council on the Arts roster of Teaching Artists and in 2003 was named Distinguished Teaching Artist by New Jersey State Council on the Arts. In 2004 he was awarded the New Jersey Governor’s Medal for Arts in Education. Awarded permanent status to the New Jersey State Council on the Arts roster of Teaching Artists in 2006.
Mr. Hollow has designed and built puppets for many companies and government agencies among them, the New York City Department of Transportation, Goldman Sacks Bank, The North Carolina School of the Arts, large parade puppets for First Night in Maplewood/South Orange and Fort Lee, and a production of Kipling’s Just So Stories at the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater. He has written several produced plays for the New York Department of Transportation as well as plays for young and family audiences including a modern take on family themes from Shakespeare.
He is the co-author with his wife and son of two books of jokes about Minecraft, scheduled for publication in February 2016.
CAROLYN HUNT started her career as an actress, studying acting at an international theatre school in Nancy, France. Today she is a teaching artist, director and writer, helping people of all ages and backgrounds give voice to their stories through writing and performance.
She is a teaching artist for the NJ Writers Project, the NJ State Council on the Arts, and Playwrights Theatre of NJ (PTNJ). She is co-director of Girls Surviving, a program she co-created with colleague Paula Davidoff in 2005. Girls Surviving is a troupe of young women from the Morris School District who write and perform plays based on their experiences to stimulate dialogue within the community about issues important to teens. Currently she is co-authoring a book with Paula about the Girls Surviving program, Girls Surviving: Freeing Teen Voices Through Writing and Performance. An article based on the book, Raising Voices: Teaching Teen Girls to Speak Out, was published in the September, 2015 issue of the Teaching Artist Journal.
Carolyn teaches playwriting, leads professional development workshops, mentors both prose writers and playwrights, develops curricula and directs. She uses traditional dramatic form, literature and playback theatre in her work. In Playback Theatre performances, actors engage in a series of patterned responses to recreate personal stories on stage. Carolyn has adapted these techniques for a variety of groups and organizations that want to explore individual and social issues through personal story or delve deeper into the role that stories play in their lives and work. For the past ten years, for example, she has regularly incorporated Playback methods in her ongoing work with Girls Surviving, helping teenage girls transform their personal stories into dramatic presentations. This past year, she also led two workshops for professional storytellers using exercises specifically designed to provide them with greater insight into the stories they tell. In 20011, she directed a performance for the Madison Health Department in which actors rehearsed stories told by parents of college students about the difficulties they face living with their almost-adult children during the summer, for the purpose of brainstorming resolutions to family conflicts.
Affiliated with Playwrights Theatre of NJ (PTNJ) since its inception in 1986, Carolyn has helped create and implement playwriting curricula now used in classrooms and professional development workshops throughout the state. She was founder and, for seven years, artistic director of Common Thread Playback Theater, Inc. As a result of her many years of experience working with students, teachers, juvenile offenders, senior citizens, adults with disabilities, community and arts organizations, she was awarded the NJ Governor’s Award in Arts Education in 2007.
Carolyn is a member of the Dramatists Guild and her play, The Front Porch, was performed for a statewide (NJ) symposium on Welfare Reform. Training and education: International School of Playback Theater at Vassar College with Playback founder Jonathan Fox; Stella Adler; ACT; Centre Universitaire International de Formation et Recherche Dramatiques, Nancy, France; Master of Letters, Drew University; BA, cum laude, Drew.
BETTY BONHAM Lies has taught English and creative writing for many years, working with students from kindergarten to adults. Currently, she is a Distinguished Teaching Artist for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a Dodge Poet for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. She was awarded the NJ Governor’s Award in Arts Education twice, and an Alumna award for distinguished achievement in arts education from Carleton College. She has won grants for writing and research from the NJ State Council on the Arts and the Dodge Foundation, as well as several from NEH and CBE. The author of two books of poetry, The Blue Laws and The Day After I Drowned, her poems have been widely published and anthologized. aAs well she has published four books of prose, the most recent of which is Earth’s Daughters, Stories of Women in Classical Mythology.
DIANE LOCKWARD is the author of three poetry books, most recently, Temptation by Water. Her previous books are What Feeds Us, which received the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, and Eve’s Red Dress. Her poems have been included in such anthologies as Poetry Daily: 360 Poems from the World’s Most Popular Poetry Website and Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems for Hard Times, and have been published in such journals as Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac. She lives in northern New Jersey and works as a poet-in-the-schools for both the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.
ALDONA MIDDLESWORTH is a Dean’s Appointment Professor in the Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University. She is a psychotherapist for the Philadelphia Consultation Center & Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis. Aldona is the copy editor of the biannual The Observer. She teaches poetry, prose, and playwriting to elementary and secondary school students throughout New Jersey as an Artist in Education with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. As an Artist/Educator with the New Jersey School for the Arts, she provides poetry communication skills residencies at southern New Jersey high Schools. She is a Dodge Poet and Poetry Writing Instructor with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, providing writing instruction in the classroom and poetry communication skills residencies to high school students throughout New Jersey. Her published TO KNOW EACH OTHER AND BE KNOWN is an anthology of poetry by women. Aldona holds a M.A. from Temple University and from the University of Houston. Her B.A. is from Indiana University. She has a Psychiatric Institute Certificate from the Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis.
CHRISTOPHER PARKER develops effective curriculum to help teachers and students find sound, form and meaning in language through poetry; and he has done so for more than thirty years. Chris’ programs may open new windows for children to mathematics, sports, ethics, metacognition and democracy. Parker helps teachers and students to: use tools such as found sounds, integers, movement, and symbolic languages like Mandarin; evoke cognitive skills like, critical and metaphoric thinking, emotional and aesthetic awareness; develop physical mastery to speak publicly, articulate cadence and meaning emphatically, perform affectively.
Chris has served as a poet-in-the-schools since 1979 and holds a MFA from Columbia University (‘81). Chris has shared poetry through many media including: journals (Poetry Northwest to Between C & D), popular periodicals (Working Mother to Rolling Stone), hard cover (Suburban Journals, Calcutta), radio (NPR), stage (Dodge Poetry Festivals to New Jersey Performing Arts Center), and conferences (American Philosophical Association to Rutgers).
Chris has been granted fellowships and awards for poetry, essays and filmmaking. He has produced baseball poetry and other festivals with venues such as Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center (2004-08). Chris has also worked empathically with people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other disabilities. Chris himself is a prosperous TBI survivor. Currently a doctoral candidate for an Ed.D. in pedagogy and philosophy for children, poet Parker has spoken on topics such as perception and metaphor; he has worked for HBO and Price Waterhouse.
Mr. Parker is the father of four daughters, is married and lives in Montclair. Chris writes poems almost every day, often scribing them on post cards and mailing them directly to readers, family and friends.
WANDA S. PRAISNER holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education, magna cum laude, and an M.S. in Elementary Education from Wagner College, with further study at Columbia, Miami, and Seton Hall Universities. She taught twenty-nine years in NY, CA and NJ, where she provided poetry workshops and continuing ed. courses. A recipient of fellowships from the NJ State Council on the Arts, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and VCCA, she’s been an eight-time Pushcart Prize nominee. A finalist in the Margie “Strong Medicine” Contest, the 2012 and 2014 NJ Poets Prize, and 2014 Tiferet Contest, she placed second in the Allen Ginsberg Competition and the “ 2013 Musehouse Poem of Hope Contest. She received The Devil’s Milhopper Kudzu Prize, the Maryland Poetry Review Egan Award, First Prize in Poetry at the College of New Jersey Writers’ Conference, and the 2010 Princemere Prize. She was a featured reader at the Governor’s Conference on the Arts and at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Atlanta Review, Lullwater Review, MARGIE, New York Magazine, Prairie Schooner, and U.S. 1 Worksheets, where she has served as editor. She has been anthologized in Out of Season (Amagansett Press, 1993); The Breath of Parted Lips, Vol. II: Voices from the Robert Frost Place (CavanKerry Press, 2004); Eating Her Wedding Dress (Ragged Sky Press, 2009); Challenges for the Delusional (Jane Street Press, 2012); several Main Street Rag anthologies, plus Ice Cream (Concrete Wolf, 2016), and contributed to The Crafty Poet (Wind Publications, 2013), Teaching With Fire, 2003 and Teaching From the Heart, 2014 (Jossey-Bass Press). Books include: A Fine and Bitter Snow (Palanquin Press, USCA, 2003), On the Bittersweet Avenues of Pomona (winner, Spire Press, Poetry Chapbook Competition, 2005), Where the Dead Are, (CavanKerry Press, 2013) (a finalist in the Ashland Poetry Press 2008 Richard Snyder Publication Prize), and Sometimes When Something Is Singing (Antrim House, 2014). In 2010 she was inducted into the Curtis High School (NYC) Hall of Fame, and in 2012 received an Alumni Fellow Award from Wagner College.
MADELINE TIGER’S new collection of poetry, The Earth Which Is All, has just been released.
Her eighth collection was Birds of Sorrow and Joy: New and Selected Poems, 1970 – 2000. More recent poems appear in The Marlboro Review, Edison Review, Tiferet, Rhino, and U S 1. Her reviews appear in The Journal of NJ Poets, Home Planet News, Paterson Literary Review, American Book Review, and online in Sideareality, Jacket, and The Persimmon Tree. Her articles on teaching appear in publications of Teachers & Writers Collaborative. With poet Toi Derricotte she wrote Creative Writing: A Manual for Teachers in 1986; it was published by NJSCA, used widely, and reprinted several times. She has been awarded fellowships and prizes; e.g., from NJSCA, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Blue Mountain Center, Columbia University School of the Arts. In 1993 she received the first Artist/Teacher award from Playwrights Theatre of NJ.
Ms. Tiger has been teaching in the Writers-in-the-Schools Program since 1974, for the Dodge Foundation Poetry Programs since 1986, in various colleges and workshops, and teaching Memoir Writing at the Adult School of Montclair since 2005.
This spring she will receive the Lifetime Artist/Teacher Achievement Award of newly established consortium.
J. C. TODD has a career-long commitment to developing arts experiences within community structures. A teacher, poet, editor, and translator, she has offered school and community residencies for over 20 years and is an artist for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Artists and Communities project. She works with elementary and secondary students and teachers, and with special need students and elders. She is the author of What Space This Body (Wind Publications, 2008), Nightshade (2000) and Entering Pisces (1985), both from Pine Press. Her poems have appeared the new anthology of New Jersey poetry, What’s Your Exit? and in journals such as The American Poetry Review and The Paris Review. Awards include a New Jersey Governor’s Award for Arts Education, a New Jersey Distinguished Teaching Artist designation, a Leeway Foundation Award for poetry, a Fellowship in Poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Pushcart Prize nominations, and international artist fellowships to arts colonies in Europe. She holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. In addition to NJWP residencies, she is a visiting lecturer in Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College and teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Rosemont College. But don’t think of her as an academic poet: she’s taught in schools of all sorts, and community centers, prisons, garages, and even open fields.
CHRISTINA LILLIAN TURCZYN, formerly a Fulbright Scholar, received her B.A.in English from Cornell, and her Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Binghamton University, completing her dissertation under the direction of Ruth Stone. Her writing honors include an Intro Award from the Associated Writing Programs, first prize in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards (mentioned in the New York Times) the Rita Dove National Poetry Awards Honorable Mention, the Vanguard Voices of the Hudson Valley First Prize (Mohonk Mountain Stage Company in conjunction with the Unison Arts Center) and a featured reading (Poet Among Us) at the 2002 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, and has been performed by the Yara Arts Group of the La MaMa Experimental Theatre on Fifth Avenue, and in American Sign Language, both at Vassar and at Dutchess Community College. Her work has been published in Puerto Del Sol, the Paterson Literary Review, The Chronogram, and numerous other journals. Scholarly work has appeared in Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner, and New Methods of College Teaching, ed. Clyde Coreil, following a keynote address by Dr. Gardner. She is included in Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers, ed. Laurence Carr, and has work appearing in Celebrating William Carlos Williams and the Poetry of Place: North Jersey in Poetry, ed. Maria Mazziotti Gillan. Most recent work is published in Hudson Valley’s Chronogram. In 2008, her watercolors were included in “Botanicals, Still Life & Land Journeys,” an exhibit at the Betsy Jacaruso Studio and Gallery. In 2009-2010, Christina Turczyn was a student in Fairleigh Dickinson’s MBA Program. She has been included in Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World.
BJ Ward’s most recent book is Gravedigger’s Birthday (North Atlantic Books). His poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, NJN’s State of the Arts, and NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, as well as in publications such as Poetry, TriQuarterly, 5 AM, Mid-American Review, Puerto Del Sol, The Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Inside Jersey, The New York Times, and The Sun. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and two Distinguished Artist Fellowships from the NJ State Council on the Arts. For his teaching, he has received the Governor’s Award in Arts Education from the State of New Jersey and was named Teaching Artist of the Year by the New Jersey Writers Project. He has been on the faculty of The Frost Place Festival, the NJ Governor’s School for the Arts, and the Controlled Burn Seminar for Young Writers. He teaches year-round in the Creative Writing Program at Warren County Community College.
MEREDITH SUE WILLIS was an early writer-in-the-schools with Teachers & Writer Collaborative in New York City. She has also been associated with arts organizations in New Jersey, including the New Jersey Writers Project, and she was a Distinguished Teaching Artist for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts 2000-2003. She continues to work as a visiting writer in public schools in NJ, as well as teaching novel writing at New York University. The latest of her eighteen published books is a collection of short stories from Ohio University Press, Out of the Mountains: Appalachian Stories and a book on how to write a novel called Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel. Her books for children include Billie of Fish House Lane and Marco’s Monster, which was named an Instructor magazine best book. Willis has degrees from Barnard College and Columbia University as well as an honorary doctorate from West Virginia University. She is one of the founding members of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race. She is married to Andrew B. Weinberger, a rheumatologist in private practice.
ARTHUR WILSON is currently the co-publisher/editor of Attitude Magazine celebrating it’s 25th anniversary year, as well as an Arts & Education Academy Artists for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ, and has served as advisor/tutor for the Antioch University Masters’ Degree Program in Acting at the New Actor’s Workshop (New York) founded and directed by legendary actor/director Mike Nichols. Wilson is a residency — professional staff development artist for Young Audiences Of New Jersey; has joined the artist roster of Arts Horizons as a Poetry Workshop leader and Master Teacher with Special Education and Austism; in addtion, Mr. Wilson is a Member Of the Board for the New Dance Group Art Center in New York — where his choreo-poem “Government Interference — But I’m Still Dancing On Eternity” premiered September 2007 — and is bound for a Paris Production Spring 2008. His first complete book of poetry — Unfinished Screams is scheduled for publication in 2008 by Atlanta Press. His work with the Artists Collective Of New Jersey has taken him into Juvenile Detention Centers and other community organizations in New Jersey. Telling Our Stories — an Oral History Project with Newark Seniors of Navada Street — continues in its’ second year sponsored by Playwrights Theater Of New Jeresy’s Education Department. Mr. Wilson is coordinating this project with the Mayor’s Office Of Newark. Biographical references have appeared in Who’s Who In America; The International Registry Of Distinguished Leadership; and Who’s Who In the World over the last decade. He is currently working on his first spoken word CD — also titled Unfinished Screams with legendary mbira musician Kevin Hylton.
HOLLY WOODWARD writes stories, verse, essays and plays. In collaboration with a Honduran artist, she wrote a book of Mayan myths for children. Holly’s stories and poems have been published in many magazines. Woodward spent a year as the only American doctoral fellow at Moscow University; she also studied for two semesters at Saint Petersburg University. She served as writer in residence at Saint Albans, Washington National Cathedral, where she taught creative writing to high school students. Holly led a special love poetry workshop to writers drawn from Chicago’s public schools. She has taught English at Manhattan’s Convent of the Sacred Heart and at other institutions. As a college senior, she volunteered to initiate and teach a creative writing program for teens in a psychiatric institute; the experience was so rewarding, she has taught, often as a volunteer, in many settings. In her spare time, Holly enjoys bookmaking, collage and watercolor. With Michele Bernstein, founder of the Journal Center, she teaches a workshop using surrealist games in writing and art.