KWH staff

Kelly Writers House Staff 2007-2008

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

Jessica Lowenthal --- Director

Jessica Lowenthal

Jessica is a poet, a teacher, and a student, who has been a member of the Writers House community for five years. Before moving to Philadelphia to attend Penn's doctoral program in English, Jessica received an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers Workshop, and a BA in English from Brown University. Jessica's reading interests are eclectic: she loves experimental poetry, trashy novels, blogs, cookbooks, and the Philly weeklies. Visit Jessica in room 109 and you'll find her eager to talk about ways you can get involved in the Writers House community. Or join her in the kitchen sometime, to talk about a visiting author.

Erin Gautsche --- Program Coordinator

Erin Gautsche

Erin Gautsche grew up in northern Indiana, and knows more about corn fields and red state politics than she would often like to. When not in Indiana, she lived briefly in Guatemala, and then Indonesia, and ran around the world as much as possible in between. After a year in Chicago, she moved to Philadelphia and is now a proud West Philly resident. In the past she has been a waitress, an artist's assistant, a reading tutor, a florist, a nursing home server, a youth care worker, a grant writer, and a graduate student, and is now very pleased to be the Program Coordinator of Kelly Writers House, where good people talk about good writing. When not at the Writers House, she is reading, or writing, or cooking, or watching movies, or taking pictures, or planning projects, or at dive bars, or in the park, or on her patio with a glass of wine and some friends, or dreaming about her next big adventure, or doing as many of those things at once as she can possibly manage.

Sam Allingham --- Assistant Coordinator

Sam Allingham

Sam Allingham spent his formative years in Philadelphia. He is a direct descendent of Margery Allingham, the famous British mystery writer. He is a great lover of small talk, including - but not limited to - such topics as The Weather, Places to Consider Moving, What You Do For a Living, and It Sure Is Crowded in Here Tonight. His favorite authors include Charles D'Ambrosio, Haruki Murakami, and Alice Munro. An alumnus of Oberlin College and its Creative Writing Program, Sam is a fiction writer, and is always willing to discuss what you are reading as long as there is coffee.

Elizabeth McDonnell --- Assistant Coordinator

Elizabeth McDonnell

Elizabeth McDonnell has been known to obsess over a certain Goblin King, though since this will never work out, she is getting her Masters in Arts Administration from Drexel University instead. She has a BA in poetry from Franklin & Marshall and currently loves the poem "The Goat" by Brigit Pegeen Kelly as well as the collection "Crush" by Richard Siken. Also fabulous: the occasional snorkel in a shark tank, hiking in valley green, The Writers House, and 60 mile walks to fight cancer. She fears ankles and has never cared for the word 'folks' either, if you must know.

Jamie-Lee Josselyn--- Assistant to the Director of the CPCW

Jamie-Lee Josselyn

Jamie-Lee Josselyn grew up in Epping, New Hampshire, but now lives in a West Philadelphia studio apartment with her cat Alfred J. Pancake, who goes by "Alfie." She graduated from Penn in 2005 with a degree in Creative Writing and French and is happy to have stayed close to the Writers House community. A nonfiction writer with interests in poetry and psychology, Jamie-Lee is currently working on a project about her mother. When not in her third floor office at the Writers House, Jamie-Lee is probably at her usual coffee shop. Or she's out running. Or she's eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich in Clark Park. Or she's trying to decide if she should go to Quizo this week. Or she's watching Letterman.

John Carroll --- Assistant Director for Development

John Carroll

Having lived in Philadelphia his entire life, John does not understand travel concepts like "airplanes" and "interstate highways." He does, however, understand how to hold on tight, which is why he remains in the city he has called, among many other worse things, "home." It is also why he is excited to be back at the Writers House full-time. John is reluctant to call himself a writer, but not at all reluctant to write about writing. John graduated from Penn in 2005 with a degree in 20th Century English. He is also the 2006-2007 Writers House Junior Fellow.

Maria Tessa Sciarrino --- Assistant to the Director

Maria Tessa Sciarrino

Maria received her B.F.A. in Photography from the University of the Arts in 2001, and is currently a graduate student in the Broadcasting, Telecommunications & Mass Media master's program at Temple University. When she isn't holding down the fort at KWH, she spends her time touring in support of her one-woman dance cycle, "The Space Banana Who Fell To Earth". She contributes, albeit randomly, musings on popular music and culture at her blog.

Work-study staff

Syndey Baloue --- Program Assistant

Syndey Baloue

Hi, my name is Sydney Baloue and I'm a new work study student here at the Writer's House. I'm a freshman in the College, I play rugby, I like foreign films (specifically French films) and Wes Anderson movies (The Life Aquatic" is my favorite and I am looking forward to his newest film, "The Darjeeling Limited"), I say "pop" instead of "soda" and I like to write short stories. I'm originally from Chicago and now I live in the Quad. I was drawn to the Writers House because I am very interested in screenwriting. Further, although I do enjoy fiction occasionally, I really enjoy reading critical literature (Derrick Bell, Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates Jr., etc.) and anything on identity politics. Since I'm a freshman, I (obviously) haven't declared a major yet, and I'm not too sure what that will be right now because my interests keep expanding and changing everyday. BUT my interests center around French culture (especially around the underground hip-hop culture of North Africans there), film production, and philosophy (at least for the moment, anyway). But once again, my interests run the gamut and that is a small snippet of my many tastes.

Sean Breslin --- Program Assistant

Sean Breslin

Sean Breslin is a proponent of the following:

Loud Music
Baseball - excluding the Mets (what a collapse!)
Words - shorter ones preferably
Solving how people can do drugs but not let them win

Aichlee Bushnell --- Outreach Coordinator

Aichlee Bushnell

Aichlee is the Community Outreach Coordinator at the House. Born and raised in Philly, she spent a majority of her youth wandering around in thrift stores, painting and writing prose poems. Now at Penn, Aichlee studies comparative literature, concentrating specifically on black women writing in English and Portuguese. In addition to being the creator and coordinator of the Brave Star Collective, Aichlee is the Behrman Scholar at the House. She hopes to publish books of her own someday. Til then, she will devote her time to organizing her books by color, perfecting her samba, and talking to her plants, Erzulie and Cleopatra. On any given day, Aichlee would be delighted to discuss Alice Coltrane, Nicolás Guillén, Romare Bearden, or Brasil. Love and good wishes!

Jillian Budd --- Program Assistant

Jillian Budd

Jill Budd has been waiting for a long time now.

Violette Carb --- Archivist

Violette Carb

Violette Jacqueline Grace Carb (2011) is happiest while cavorting in cemeteries. Born in 1858 to a cheese maker, she yearns to bring back the bustle. After being dropped on the head repeatedly as a child, she is now daft enough to take harpsichord lessons. She enjoys writing fiction, but has the terrible grammar and spelling of a native-born English speaker. Violette is a fervent believer in the visions of the Blessed Reverend Wilbur Glenworthy.

Rivka Fogel --- Program Assistant

Rivka Fogel

Rivka is the most boring person you will ever meet. She is a Jewish white freshman in the College who plans on majoring in philosophy, or PPE (philosophy, politics, economics). And she is from New Jersey. Not exactly a minority at Penn.

She is, however, fortunate enough to be one of the select few (that's us) to work at the KELLY WRITERS HOUSE, the awesomest place on campus.

She is also planning on pursuing a minor in creative writing, so she shouldn't use words like "awesomest."

Danny Goldstein --- Program Assistant

Danny Goldstein

Danny Goldstein hails from Wilmington, Delaware, where he was raised to love all things NASCAR. He is currently a senior studying English and Philosophy. This, however, has not stopped him from spending much of his time drinking beer (he's 21), sitting in his underwear and screaming invectives at the television.

Thomson Guster --- PR Assistant

Thomson Guster

Thomson Guster has a time travel fetish.

Josh Henkin --- Program Assistant

Josh Henkin

Josh is a vegetarian and has been since the tender age of three. At that time, meat ceased to be scrumptious: Young Josh began to liken it to the texture of stale bubblegum. As a writer, he tends to vomit words down readers' pharynxes faster than they can swallow. This woeful habit traces its origins to a pediatric infection caused by Tolkien and some other high-fantasy authors. He gave up on the possibility of convalescence long ago. Some (but not most) of Josh's interests include organic and biochemistry, euphoria, music, euphoric music, the chemistry of euphoric music, the monist human construct, personal politics, and creative writing. The world is Josh's Lego box, and he'll play as much and as fiercely as he can while his feeble body remains here.

Lee Huttner --- Program Assistant and Flyer Maker

Lee Huttner

Lee has just realized that the Writers House employs him solely for his flyer-making skillz. He had previously wondered why they kept him alone, hungry and cold, in a small, dark pub room, serving him only coffee while he would stare at a computer screen for several hours at a time, sending him program information which he would Photoshop into gorgeous PR masterpieces. He feeds off of his own artistic starvation. When not immensely loving his time spent at the Writers House, Lee enjoys studying medieval literature (it's where the money's at) and directing theater performances. He blames Erin for everything.

Molly Johnsen --- Program Assistant

Molly Johnsen

is only a functioning person thanks to an embarrassingly-large daily dose of caffeine, and will pay a handsome reward to whomever can offer her an effective solution to this problem. Tea doesn't work. When her hands are not occupied with making/drinking coffee she enjoys writing fiction, experimenting with her George Foreman Grill and being the worst student in her hip-hop dance class. Other interests include: polka dots, the Red Sox (Jason Varitek in particular), Spanish, acting and The Office.

Yumeko Kawano --- Baker in Residence

Yumeko Kawano

"Yumeko was born in Japan, lived in Suburbia, NY for a while, moved to Philly, and now occasionally goes home to Japan again. She is wondering where she will end up after this year. She enjoys good coffee, tea, books, foreign movies, poetry, sunny spots, cooking, learning new languages, and traveling."

Stephen Krewson --- Development Assistant

Stephen Krewson

Class D; Sex: M; Eyes: BL; Hair: BL; WT: 155; HT: 6-01; E: None: R: B; Issued: 05/28/1988; Expires: ?

James LaMarre --- Program Assistant

James LaMarre

James is a freshman from the salt-encrusted 801 studying English in the college. His fantasies include owning an electric bicycle, following Conor Oberst around the country, going through a car wash with all the windows down, and living in a field of windmills. James writes about these fantasies in various poems while he might eat sushi, a bean & cheese burrito, and a coke and wonder what it would be like to make friends with Ecco the dolphin. He has never eaten an olive, and he just saw a shooting star for the first time over the summer. James is very fond of the word dubious. Also, he just found out that "The Lorax" can be viewed in it's entirety on youtube and the correct spelling of the word 'vinyl' does not include an 'e.'

Kathryn Lipman --- New Media Documentarian

Kathryn Lipman

Kathryn Lipman is mostly but not exclusively interested in fictionalized accounts of the life and times of Charles Starkweather (November 24, 1938 - June 25, 1959), an infamous spree killer who claimed 11 victims during a road trip with his girlfriend Carol. His story captured the minds and hearts of generations of Americans through films like The Sadist, Badlands, Natural Born Killers, Starkweather, and Wild At Heart. If the story of Charles Starkweather tells us anything, it's that certain kinds of sunglasses, when worn in a dark and dangerous way, allow one to see clearly the price that must be paid in order to escape from the modern world.

Kristen Martin --- Project Assistant

Kristen Martin

Kristen Martin, a freshman in the College, was raised on Long Island, but now resides in the armpit of the nation-New Jersey. At the Writers House, Kristen can be found labeling envelopes, folding letters, stuffing envelopes, sealing envelopes, and delving into the Matrix. When she's not nursing her envelope-inflicted paper cuts, Kristen enjoys eating, journalism, the color green and ballet. But mostly, she just eats a lot. Seriously, give her food and she'll be your best friend.

Michelle Rajunov --- The Little Webmaster

Michelle Rajunov

A Quirky Quark.

Christine Salvarani --- Web Assistant

Christine is currently a freshman in Wharton. She loves playing soccer and running and wants to one day run a marathon. She loves exploring new activities, meeting new people, and learning new things and that is why she wanted a job in something she has never worked on before--websites!

Peter Schwarz --- Night Manager

Peter Schwarz

I never wanted to be four, when I was four, that is. I remember standing at my fence, talking with my neighbor: "How old are you?" I asked. He replied, "Five." I wanted to be five. (Years later I would sock him in the head--not because I was envious that he could be older than me, but because he threw a snowball at me while I was riding his brother's sled down our snow-packed street. Socking him in the head wasn't as bad as it might sound; I was wearing mittens, he wore one of those winter gangster whole-head coverings, so the pain of impact was undoubtedly negligible, which is probably why I thought I should knock him to the ground so he got the point.) When a first grade substitute teacher ordered me to stand outside the classroom because she erroneously thought I was disrupting the class, I complied, and I stood outside the classroom, occasionally glancing through the door's window. And then I left. I figured, why should I stand here? I didn't do anything. So I walked out of school and went home. I was six. (Man, was that teacher in a hysterical fit when she couldn't find me.) When I was twelve, I was anxious to be thirteen--one step closer towards freedom and good-time girls. When I was fifteen, when my mother thought she could leave me to my responsible self so she could take a weekend break at the shore with friends, I decided to crash-course teach myself how to drive--okay, only after I had accidentally found my mother's car keys--and we all know there's no better way to learn something practical than hands-on experience, i.e. just drive into traffic and see what everybody else is doing while figuring out what all the gadgets do. (It's kind of the same thing with sex, but I think my reading audience is PG-13 so I won't go into this part of my life.) That weekend, the car packed with friends, I drove almost a hundred miles, and somehow never left Philadelphia. And when I wasn't in school I was plotting my future (mis)adventures. In retrospect, I can say that I grew up largely in the midst of the adult world--rather than on its peripheries--in an interaction that rarely recognized generational fault lines and that was distinctly influenced by an imaginative restlessness and curiosity--about the world, about people, about the meaning of things, and I wanted to do things, adventurous things, important things, and out there in the real world. I know, I know, adolescence supposedly has all these "virtues" like innocence, playtime and nap time blah blah blah, as people still remind me today. "Screw you! Give me the real shit!" I didn't exactly phrase it like that, of course, but it approximates the attitude I secretly nourished as I negotiated my way through the adolescent and adult worlds. As I re-examine my life at the present moment, as I recover a sense of the subtext of my life, resistance and freedom have always been strong characteristics of my nature, yet paradoxically never to the exclusion of those persons I care about and what I believe in. I'm not a saint, I've been knocked around here and there over the years, and I'm still trying to get "to the heart of the matter", nevertheless the child finally arrived where he always wanted to be. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go out and play.

Zachary Smith Ferris --- Books and Publications Manager

zach is so emo

Zach Ferris says the following:

i have come to believe that the following statements are true (but i am open to discussion)
given too much credence, or insufficient critique, nearly every belief may become an enslavement
the myth of redemptive violence may be our most serious fault
human beings are ceaselessly self-deceiving
pure altruism is fantasy
there is a God
true love is a reality
the sincere pursuit of truth is never unrewarded
the most fundamental and noble of all the virtues is empathy
violence, by definition, is un-creative. therefore the opposite of war is not pacifism, but creativity
choice is the only mechanism for creating meaning

and a great deal of this learning process has been here at the Writers House

Kaegan Sparks --- Gallery Curator and Calendar Designer

Kaegan Sparks

kaegan is.

Michael Thomas Vassallo --- Program Assistant

Michael Thomas Vassallo

"That pose is out too, Sonny Jim. The new thing is to care passionately, and be right wing."