KWH staff

Kelly Writers House Staff 2003-2004

The staff is an integral part of the House, coming together with the Planning Committee to generate ideas, as well as ensuring that readings, musical performances, screenings, publicity, and fundraising plans go off without a hitch. We are open to ideas, questions and comments you may have, so drop us a line.


Al Filreis--- Faculty Director

Al Filreis

Al is Kelly Professor of English and Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and is one of the founders of the Writers House, along with an intrepid group of students, faculty and staff whom he led into the cottage at 3805 Locust back in October of 1995. He has been the Faculty Director of the Writers House ever since. He has taught the Writers House Fellows seminar since 2000, and created the Writers House Book Groups among other projects; he has won the Lindback Award and the Meyer Abrams Award for Distinguished Teaching and was chosen as the Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation in 1999. He has published books on modern poetry and has written extensively on poetry and politics and radical literary generations. Here is Al's web site.

Full-time staff

Jennifer Snead --- Director

Jennifer Snead Dr. Jennifer Snead became the Director of the Kelly Writers House in July of 2003, and she still looks around every once in a while from the director's office and asks herself, how did I get here? She graduated from Penn in 1994 with a degree in English and Creative Writing, and missed the founding of the House by about a year, so she often answers the above question by telling herself that she's making up for lost time. In between then and now, she got a Ph.D from Duke University in eighteenth-century British poetry, moved back to Philadelphia, taught courses in the Penn English department and was a Mellon post-doctoral fellow at the Penn Humanities Forum. She spent quite a lot of time cooking in the Writers House kitchen and learning the truth of the adage that the way to people's hearts is often through their stomachs, although poetry runs a close second. She writes and reads her own work in and around Philadelphia, is fond of nonsense verse, science fiction, and the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. You'll find her in room 109 at the back of the House on most days.

Thomas Devaney--- Program Coordinator

Thomas Devaney

Tom Devaney is a poet, writer and author of The American Pragmatist Fell in Love (Banshee Press 1999) and Letters to Ernesto Neto forthcoming from Germ Monographs. He holds his MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College (CUNY), where he studied with Allen Ginsberg. Devaney's poetry has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Pom2, and in the anthology American Poetry: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon 2000). His prose has been published in Poets & Writers Magazine, P.S.1/MOMA catalogues, Jacket, Publishers Weekly, The Journal for Peace & Justice, and The Philadelphia Inquirer and its Sunday magazine. Between 1996 to 2001 Devaney lived in New York City where he was active in the literary and art worlds, working on several magazines such as LUNGFULL! and on collaborations with various writers and artists -- among them Edwin Torres, with whom Devaney produced the theater piece titled "Pong." Devaney taught for five years in the English department at Brooklyn College. Since 1995 Devaney has written and worked with The Lost Art of Puppet Theater both in Philadelphia and New York City. Devaney is on the Planning Committee for the Philadelphia 15 Festival. Link to Devaney's Homepage here.

Samantha Barrow--- Assistant Coordinator

Samantha Barrow

Samantha Barrow is one of the new Assistant Program Coordinators at the Kelly Writers House. She feels very lucky to be in such a supportive environment with so many other poets and writers and all around good thinkers. Her word work tends to slither between the categories of poetry, creative non-fiction, manifestos, interviews, critical essays, & letters, but mostly she just fills journal after journal with words and silly drawings and stashes them in her increasingly hard to move dresser drawers. At the beginning of the 2003-04 academic year, she was named Poet In Residence at Lee Elementary School!

Samantha has published in some places & read in a whole lot of others. The Leeway Foundation even gave her some money to travel and do so a short while back. But what I like most about Sam is that she can be a very good listener.

Carolyn Jacobson--- Off-site webmaster

Carolyn Jacobson

Carolyn is a graduate student in English at Penn. She is currently living in Iowa, staying as in touch with Writers House as one can from afar. In addition to helping design and maintain Writers House web sites, she writes monologues and performance pieces, plays viola, swims, protests the war, and works on her dissertation (on Victorian novels about contagious diseases), not necessarily in that order.

Blake Martin--- Assistant to the Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing

Blake Martin

Blake Martin is a writer and photographer living in Philadelphia. He graduated from Penn in 2001 with a B.A. in creative writing and a concentration in photography - as an undergraduate he created a photoessay to Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem God's Grandeur, swam on the Varsity Swim Team, and wrote a forty-page documentary entitled Ellis: A Coming Out Story, hich was accompanied by twenty-five original black and white photographs. Blake's artistic interests have come to focus on the process of self-representation through writing and photography, the risks of offering your story to the world, and the cultural value of dissolving the line between subject and object. Currently, his favorite quote is by Virginia Woolf: So I hung up my coat, tapped y ou on the shoulder, and said, 'Sit with me.'

Phil Sandick--- Assistant Coordinator

Phil Sandick

Phil is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied English, coached in the Write On! program, and performed with the a cappella group Penny Loafers. Phil holds no license to drive which can be attributed to his growing up in Queens New York.

Maria Tessa Sciarrino--- Assistant to the Director

Maria Tessa Sciarrino

Maria graduated with a degree in photography from The University of the Arts a couple years back, but shamefully admits to not doing much with it since then. Instead, she spends her time immersing herself in the business of music (when not working at KWH!) as a booking agent for a venue in Center City, hosting a radio program on WPRB (103.3FM, Princeton) and DJing in various clubs around town. She is known to bring lots of loud and strange music to the house and feed you random bits of music knowledge.

work-study staff

Cristina Alberto --- Design Assistant

Cristina Alberto

As the Internet's premiere travel sites flicker across the screen, a pair of flustered blue eyes tries to take it all in. What exotic mini vacation can possibly be squeezed into a long weekend? "This indecision me molesta!" chirps the dimunitive and decidedly indecisive Argentinian, Cristina Alberto. "Should I stay or should I go?" Perhaps Cristina's jet set tendencies stem from her upbringing. Following her mother's diplomatic career track, Cristina was born in New York City, was a toddler in Mexico, a pre-adolescent in Argentina, a cosmopolitan teen in Switzerland, and finally, a rounded scholar at UPenn. Despite her reflexive use of latinisms such as "water with gas", Ms. Alberto speaks better English than most true blue, apple pie Americans. Her current goals include majoring in every single subject, seeing every square centimeter of the planet, and sleeping with Blur frontman Damon Albarn. Her strategy: do as little work as humanly possible. She even got someone else to write this bio.

"There's so much I want to do I feel like my eyeballs are going to pop out," she explains. If you enjoy obscure literature and film, britpop, and experimenting in the kitchen, Cristina may be the girl for you. Send CVs to Seth Laracy.

Venise Battle --- Live at The Writers House Producer

Venise Battle

Josh Boyette --- Information Systems & Technology Assistant

Josh Boyette is a Senior in the College, double-majoring in Theater Arts and Diplomatic History. These majors will be useful if Josh ever decides to write a book about the History of Theater of the Theater of Diplomacy. Assuming he doesn't write that book, Josh will probably be poor, lonely, and living in his parent's basement, wondering why he didn't go to Wharton like all his friends.

Elaine Braithwaite --- Write on! & Community Service

Arielle Brousse --- XConnect & Publication Liason

Arielle Brousse

Arielle is a hardcore Jersey Girl (through affiliation with the state and not with Bruce Springsteen), which means she's difficult to scare and difficult to offend, etc. She's a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, which is helpful because she has no clue what she wants to be, if and when she ever does grow up; or at least, she has a few ideas, but couldn't possibly narrow them down. She's thrilled to be helping with editing and publication, though some of her other interests include forensic speaking, origami, acting, singing, and, you guessed it, marching band. To say the least, this new job proves to be much more interesting than her previous gig selling knockoff brand-name sunglasses over the summer, so if she seems overly enthusiastic at times, please understand where she's coming from; by which, of course, I mean New Jersey.

Jacob Cytryn --- Assistant to Faculty Director

Jacob Cytryn is a Senior Classical Studies major whose disparate academic interests include modernist poetry, Ancient Greek grammar, the pedagogy of informal education, and Midrash. He's finally found a way to commit to spending serious time at the Writers House, where he is helping Blake and Al with whatever their hearts desire. He hopes someday to continue his lifelong passions - learning, writing, and teaching - as a way of making a living. Writing the great American novel, being a successor to Allen Ginsberg's poetry, and any other ways of getting his messages out to the world would be nice accomplishments as well.

Jill Ivey --- Speakeasy

Jill Ivey

I am If my life was a game of Jeopardy! my seven dream categories would be:

I am a student -- an English Major at the University of Pennsylvania. I run Speakeasy. I worked my way up the ladder from freshman slave -- including nine months in WH purgatory of emptying ash cans. Like most WH employees, I consider myself too well adjusted to be working here, even though I'm twenty and my universe consists of class, the Writers House, and FreshGrocer. I am originally from El Paso, Texas, down south near the border, and my parents still live there today. I live in a five-person apartment with four other Penn co-eds. We plan on starting an all-girl doo-wop group in the spring.

Ashley Johnson --- Assistant to Faculty Director

Ashley is from a small town with no stoplights in the wonderful live-free-or-die state of New Hampshire. She is a sophomore in the College and is planning to major in English and History. Her interest in writing began about fifteen years ago when she begged her parents to send her very long seven page story to Random House. There was a brief hiatus from her trusty pencil after her first scathing rejection, but she has since returned to writing, mostly in the form of short stories. She is also a member of the Penn Womens' Ice Hockey Team and she enjoys playing intramural soccer.

Sean Kramar --- Assistant to Faculty Director

Sean Kramar

Hailing from the sunny sands of Orange County, California, Sean has found warmth in the Writers House amid an otherwise chilly West Philly. Sean loves to write and draw and hear stories. He plays guitar and enjoys his music and the music of others. He takes pictures and cuts them out of magazines when he likes how they look. At local Drew Elementary School, Sean coaches a maturing eighth-grade basketball squad. He plays basketball regularly and is also a part of Penn's Tae Kwon Do club. Sean is currently enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, studying under the Biological Basis of Behavior (BBB) major and considering exploring a concentration in English, Creative Writing, or Art History.

Josh Kruger --- Development Assistant

Josh Kruger

Joshua A. Kruger, candidate for a Bachelor of Arts in Political and Revolutionary History at the College, is a sophomore from the Philadelphia metro area. Joshua's work experience includes being a former aide to now Governor Ed Rendell, county campaign coordinator for Rendell for Governor, fundraising assistant for the Kelly Writers House, and, more recently, freelance editor and writing tutor for the Penn community. In his personal time, Joshua likes: reading Catullus, Mao, Dickens, and Steinbeck; writing hackneyed poetry; fishing; debating over drinks (officially non-alcoholic;) engaging in political activism; and volunteering with children. In general, he does not like republicans or conservatives, but he's been known to sometimes look down upon his poor brothers and enlighten them. And, like most political news junkies, he still has no idea for whom to vote in the 2004 presidential election (Dean? Kerry? Clark?! CLINTON?!) He resides permanently in the University City section of West Philadelphia and can be reached at his email address. As with any egotist, Joshua appreciates stalkers.

Seth Laracy --- PennSound

Seth Laracy

Seth waited until the last minute to write his biography. He loves procrastination. He has a theory that proper management of procrastination is the key to happiness. He asked the government to give him money to study his theory, but his grant application was received late so George W. Bush used the money for a tax cut for multi-billionaires instead. In politics, Seth leans left. In baseball, he bats and throws right. Seth wants to drop out of Penn and go to the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires, but he's decided to take the responsible root and stick it out at college. Seth used to be an English major, but he's switched over to psychology now. The great thing about working at the Kelly Writers House is that it actually counts as field work in abnormal psychology. It's great.

Richard Lawrence --- Archivist/Program Assistant

Richard Lawrence

My name is Richard Lawrence; I'm from Essex, Vermont. This is my first semester at Penn. I'm a guitar player, an introvert, a fan of Chinese food. A fairly accurate fortune cookie recently told me that my "Emotional Nature is Strong and Sensitive." Also, my Lucky Numbers include 17 and 6.

Min Hee Lee --- Design and Calendar

Min Hee is a freshman in the College from the northern suburbs of New Jersey, home of power plants, smelly factories, and farms alongside friendly beaches. She's from the picturesque town of Ridgewood, source of many movie and television background shots (remember the bowling alley and the scenery of the downtown in the NBS show Ed?). Coming to Penn has been an easy transition, as squirrels stalk and scare her as they did incessantly in her backyard in Ridgewood. Passionate about design and business, she is planning on the pursuit of dual degrees in the College (fine arts) and Wharton (thus knocking out the stereotype of artists as penniless hermits). Her dreams? Living in a nice brownstone in Upper East Side in New York City, working in a lucrative design/media-related job, and granting her parents the best retirement life ever.

Jeff Leider --- Info Tech Assistant

Jeff Leider

Hi. I'm Jeff, and I'm a sophomore in the College. I've lived in and around Philadelphia all of my life, except one year, which I spent living and working in Washington, D.C., first for Congress as a page, then for an independent lobbyist group of pro-choice, pro-environment Republicans (please, don't laugh at that). Here at Penn, I'm a double major in PPE and philosophy (I know; when I graduate, I'll probably end up thinking deep thoughts of unemployment). Also, I'm a member of Delta Upsilon. In my spare time, I do judo, I love to play basketball and football, and I listen to a lot of music. When I have large chunks of free time, I like to write plays.

Moira Moody --- Database Manager

Moira Moody

Moira respects the use of the third person bio. She will skirt the issue in the following way : the use of quotation marks, and hedging. So she said, she went, she wrote, she said, she knew, (I think?) "I was born on the 20th of December, the eve of the solstice, Sagittarius on the cusp of Capricorn. It was a stormy and snowy Philadelphia day, not quite a year since the passing of that remarkable woman of mystery who claimed to be the long lost Princess Anastasia to the other side. Not a coincidence. Some stuff happened, I grew up. But I have always known that is my calling, even my destiny, to revive the Russian monarchy and tradition by assuming the czarinaship as the reincartion of the ill-fated Romanov daughter. But until then, I must bide my time. I must communicate with my muse (stumble about in the English department), receive messages from flying discs (play ultimate frisbee) and go on nature walks (ever heard of the lichen gyadelinopsis moodyae?). Other than that I give mad props to my brother Dylan, and conclude." or so she said, she went, she said. She thought she knew, she tried to say and didn't? So it goes.

Morgan Myers --- Listserv

Morgan Myers

When asked, Morgan had this to say about herself: "I am a human being."

Alexis Nguyen --- Webmistress

My name is Alexis. That is my name...and we're done. (Except my name isn't really Alexis, per se. It is a conundrum, isn't it?)

Matt Rosenbaum --- Book Assistant

Matt Rosenbaum

Matt Rosenbaum was born in the wilds of the Amazon, and raised as a child by a pack of wolves and a friendly chimpanzee he called Pookie. At the age of 12 he was discovered by some researchers while in the middle of howling at the moon. He was then taken back to the Mayo Clinic in California, where a special team of psychologists, anthropologists, and eurologists studied his behavioral patterns for a good 2 years. Fortunately, after those 2 years were up, he was able to escape from the hospital and join a travelling carnival, working as the Wonderful Wolf Boy. It was there that he met fellow Writers House staffer Seth Larecy - who sold peanuts on the sidelines (don't let him tell you otherwise. This IS where he got his start). Anyway, the two became fast friends and soon decided to set off to seek their fortune in Philadelphia, leaving behind their friends at the circus. After many adventures, they arrived at Penn and were hired to order books for the Writers House. Matt isn't really sure why, since he has no experience in the field of book acquisitions and often spends more of his time at the House mopping the floors and sweeping the porch (he still tries to get at least one good howl at the moon in as well.) Over the past year, however, he has come to love ordering books (and doing lots of other things) at the House and has adjusted fairly well to living and working alongside other human beings. We're sorry to say that's all the information we have on Matt. If you'd like to learn more about his amazing his mother.

Peter Schwarz --- Art Curator & Archivist

Peter Schwarz

Peter Schwarz--our art curator-- is a junior CGS comparative literature and theatre arts double major, a member of the WH planning committee and the WH Art Curator. Prior to entering the university he worked a variety of jobs like the post office, the restaurant business, industrial scrap metal factory, and cleaning bars. His varied interests include: the arts, French, cultural and political affairs, above all mischief and intrigue. He's currently at work on an erotic short novel, several cultural studies essays, and various short fiction.

M Tong -- Public Relations/Outreach

M Tong

M is the one-letter wonder of the Kelly Writer's House. She is crossing into new territories in interscholastic relations by majoring in Bioengineering (BAS) and English. If you happen to be walking around the Writer's House and almost trip over a little asian frosh, you know you have met M. She loves penguins because of their suave personalities and because they wear tuxedos to every event. M loves literature, creative thought and artistic technology. M also finds it weird to refer to herself in the third person, though it does make her feel regal. Hmm...interesting...