KWH staff

Kelly Writers House Staff 2009-2010

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.

Faculty Director: Al Filreis

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.

Director: Jessica Lowenthal

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.

Program Coordinator: Erin Gautsche

Erin Gautsche

Erin Gautsche likes to make things happen. 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 pleased to be the Program Coordinator of Kelly Writers House, where good people talk about good writing. She organizes the 15^th Room Press at the Kelly Writers House and teaches one awesome class a year about the grotesque and bookmaking. She likes modernity, folklore,urban sustainability and canning and writes for the food blogs and When not at the Writers House, she is thinking about big adventures.

Assistant to the Director: Michelle Taransky

Michelle Taransky

Michelle Taransky is the author of "Barn Burned, Then," selected by Marjorie Welish for the 2008 Omnidawn Poetry Prize. Before moving to Philadelphia to work at Kelly Writers House and teach poetry at Temple University, Taransky received a BA from The University of Chicago, an MFA from The Iowa Writers' Workshop, worked as Programs Coordinator at The Poetry Center of Chicago, and was a resident at Wave Books' Poetry Farm. She likes to nickname fellow staffers (as well as their cats), and is always happy to talk about poetry, Charles Barkley, or her book-in-progress: "Never Quit: The Poetics of Charles Barkley".

Administrative Assistant: Aisha Hadlock

Aisha Hadlock

Aisha Hadlock is a citizen of the nation, calling nowhere home. She's a loner, Dottie, a rebel. When not roaming the countrysides of Colorado, California, Montana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, she enjoys movies, literature, music, discussing religion, tango dancing, making obscure references that amuse only her, and staring at you from behind stacks of books.

Administrative Assistant: Allison Harris

Allison Harris

Allison Harris is a Philadelphia native with an excess of hometown pride. When she is not running up the art museum steps, eating soft pretzels, or screaming at her neighbors down the street, she writes non-linear emo-fiction and pursues a Masters of Social Work. She was awarded the Leeway Foundation's Art and Change grant in 2008, and has a BA from the University of Washington. She loves the Writers House.

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

Jamie-Lee Josselyn

Jamie-Lee Josselyn is from Epping, New Hampshire, and has lived in Philadelphia since 2001. She graduated from Penn in 2005 with a degree in Creative Writing and French and is currently a candidate for an MFA in Writing and Literature at Bennington College. She has been working on a memoir about her mother for more years than she'd care to admit, but lately she's been focused on some shorter, more manageable personal essays. When not in her third floor office at the Writers House, you might find Jamie-Lee out running along the Schuylkill River. Or, she could also be hanging out with her cat, Alfred J. Pancake, whose friends call him "Alfie." She may also be participating in some sort of eating challenge.

Assistant Director for Development: Arielle Brousse

Arielle Brousse

Arielle Brousse is probably a lifer; thus begins her seventh year of involvement at the Writers House, this time full-time. Born by the Jersey shore, and whisked from the hospital past the Atlantic City casinos, only to be raised in the woods, she now calls West Philadelphia her home. Among the things she enjoys are: brunch; mid-century furniture design; cross-stitch; buying fancy clothes but wearing ratty pajamas; yoga with dubious intentions for practice; gluten-free recipe hunts; photo safaris; hearing the French language (she understands it but can't speak it); pumpkins and pumpkin-based foods, in any season; children's literature; highway rest stops; theorizing trashy pop culture on the internet; and watching her cat's determined attempts to capture, once and for all, the infernal red dot at the end of the laser pointer.

Project Assistant: Ellie Kane

Ellie Kane

Ellie Kane recently graduated from Penn with a degree in Creative Writing. She is now back, working on the 3rd floor and enjoying her time at the Writers House. When not taking Fellows for the 26th time or stalking Jamie-Lee, her idol and hero, she can be found cooking, sailing, at camp, reading, watching bad TV or playing with her cat, who has reached a record 21 pounds. Her life goals include saving the world, never having a 'real job' and creating the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Purchasing Librarian: Andrea Amanullah

Andrea Amanullah

Andrea will die at 105 in a tragic skydiving accident. She will probably have lived in a cabin, semi-hermetically, for years, reading Bukowski and Frost and eating fine cheeses. Still in the semi-social portion of her life, however, she likes to talk about solipsism, jade green leaves in spring, and the infuriating pointlessness of toe socks. She loves being in love, StumbleUpon, orange juice, people with good eyebrows, the sky, and the smell of leather. She battled big fish/small pond syndrome for 17 years, winning (?) in the fall of 2008, and still hopes the reverse is better, though, so far, it hasn't been. Andrea was born a barefooted mutt, will always be a barefooted mutt, and has always been proud of it.

Web Assistant: Jillian Blazejewski

Jillian Blazejewski

In my spare time, I enjoy holding friends' cell phones, sticking it to the man with first person self-descriptions, and crumbling under the immense pressure of composing a witty Writers House bio.

Archivist: Violette Carb

Violette Carb

Violette Jacqueline Grace Carb is a junior theater major from Philadelphia who enjoys bookmaking and doesn't know how to operate the coffee maker. She has the unfortunate tendency to write plots that require research into topics such as Finnish cuisine, The Bible, and conscription laws of 19th century Bavaria, which is why her novel is not yet completed.

Web Assistant: Zach Carduner

Zach Carduner

Having been rejected from every other walk of life due to his chronic case of lefthandedness, Zach was taken in at the Kelly Writers House as a freshman. Zach is a Philadelphia-native but has never seen the Liberty Bell, has never been to an Eagles game, and says "water" the right way. He was born on a SEPTA bus and currently makes his residence at Olney Terminal for routes 6, 8, 18, 22, 26, 55, 80, C, L, and the Broad Street Subway.

Program Assistant: Amaris Cuchanski

Amaris Cuchanski

Amaris is a freshman in the college of arts and sciences. During the early years of her life, her Polish father and Malaysian mother were very indecisive, and consequently dragged her back and forth over the Canadian border several times before finally settling in Newtown, Pennsylvania. There she did 11 years of getting older before she packed and moved to Ithaca, New York, where she lived by herself for a year. Though Amaris misses the gorges and landscapes of Ithaca daily, Penn's squirrels have helped her feel right at home: they are just as possessed. In her free time, (whatever "free" is supposed to mean) she enjoys overthinking to extremely unhealthy levels, reading about mood disorders (to which she can probably relate), and screeching along to the incomprehensible lyrics of the brilliant Joanna Newsom. In addition, she loves zen, psychology, and theatre, and is presently addicted to all things Sylvia Plath.

Program Assistant: Zoë Dare-Attanasio

Zoe Dare-Attanasio

Zoe hails from the lovely island of Oahu, where she spent the first 18 years of her life as a shaman's apprentice. Forsaking her unconventional upbringing, she is now a mild-mannered English major, studying the sorcery of language. She has many favorite pastimes, but only enjoys doing things in moderation. Her guilty pleasures include eating SPAM (in moderation), being a mythomaniac (within certain boundaries) and asking the i-ching the same question over and over until she gets the answer she wants (but only on occasion).

Program Assistant: Florentina Dragulescu

Florentina Dragulescu Now a sophomore in the College, Florentina still feels like she's visiting Wonderland. Culture shock aside, she is still studying Communication, while also venturing in the mazy world of Wharton classes in the desperate search for a minor. Her favorite thing to do is pushing buttons in the Arts Cafe and calling herself a Digital Technician. Florentina is the new Behrman Scholar of the house and that made her believe that she can actually write poems in English. You can invoke her by shouting words like "Romania", "Social", or "Phi". Or you can simply recognizer her by the flower-shaped pen and awkward Eastern-European accent.

Outreach Assistant: Allyson Even

Allyson Even

Allyson Even hails from the smallest geographic town in the smallest geographic county in the smallest geographic state. This useless fun-fact and the others that follow were written in attempt to comply with the edgy and irreverent nature of most KWH bios... Although compliance is the antithesis of all which is edgy and irreverent. Anyway, Allyson is the outreach coordinator here at the KWH and is super pumped about all things involving urban society, education, literacy, and all genres of creative writing. In addition to writing, reading, learning, and educating, Allyson enjoys Pilates, chain-chewing gum, The Nightly News, Latin American culture, and good conversation.

Program Assistant: Rivka Fogel

Rivka Fogel Rivka is a junior and the Behrman scholar at the House, and has finally, after two years, convinced her parents that Creative Writing is a worthwhile major. Besides poetry, she loves polka dots, omelets, and similarly lovely things. Also, she'd like to publicly thank her second-grade teacher, Mrs. Buckweitz, for the most excellent instruction on dinosaurs, and how to spell that. DINOSAUR.

Program Assistant: Emily Harnett

Emily HarnettEmily is a freshman in the College hailing from a suburb precisely 36 minutes outside of Philadelphia (by train). She likes sandwiches and reading and writing fiction. She's getting good at stealing food (yogurt, sandwiches) from dining halls and not getting hit by cars (buses), and hopefully will have these and other essential skills mastered by the time she graduates.

Program Assistant and Flyer Maker: Lee Huttner

Lee Huttner

Hwæt! The Kelly Writeres House hath neuere y-seen þe likes of Lee "Grand Cheualier" Huttner. A mediæualist with a passioun for þe langage of Middle Englisshe, Lee findes himself þe onlye membere of þe staffe interested yn suche olde literature. But þat is a sacrifice þat must be y-made. Þat churle William Carlos Williams pales yn comparisoun to þe maistre of wordes, Geoffrey Chaucer. Giue thankes unto Kyng and Countrie þat suche a man y-lyued upon þis earthe. Muche of Lee's tyme ys y-spent promoting and promulgating þe workes of þe Olde Maisters, which he fyndes muchelie disregarded amongst þese fikkle peple. He also, upon occasioun, illuminateth wyth grete beautee flyeres which do heralde future programmes at þe House. He also can maketh a mene cake. Go Engellonde!

Fundraising Assistant: Ali Kriegsman

Ali Kriegsman

Ali likes falling asleep in the backseats of cars. She enjoys fine cheeses, and therefore refuses to accept her lactose-intolerance. She also refuses to accept the fact that Arrested Development is not her life.

She has very large pupils. And very small hands.

She talks profusely to plug awkward silences but rarely has anything of worth to say. And everyone knows it.

She hails from Los Angeles but desperately seeks "street-cred," and will promptly follow up with "but my mom is from the Bronx."

She's a freshman, a cuddler and a Jew.

Program Assistant: James LaMarre

James LaMarre

James grew up in Salt Lake City, where he learned about the perils of talking to strangers and swimming in deep water. He reads about found poetry, pop music, and installation art and tries to keep up on his thoughts of coming of age. He's an English major trying to learn Chinese, and constantly wants to get on a plane and go somewhere. Other than that, please join him over lunch or dinner because he likes to eat and loves to eat in the company of others.

Program Assistant: Max McKenna

Max McKenna

Max McKenna (born 28 December, 1987) is an American student.

Early Life

McKenna grew up in Cape May, New Jersey, the son of a French immigrant and an American cook. He graduated from Lower Cape May Regional High School in 2006, and attended the Johns Hopkins University for two years, where he studied English literature.


He now attends the University of Pennsylvania, where he is pursuing his BA in English. In January 2009, he became a Program Assistant at the Kelly Writers House.

Personal Life

An amateur musician, McKenna plays in riverrun.

Night Manager: Peter Schwarz

Peter Schwarz

Peter Schwarz is currently Swiss. Inquire for further details.

Gallery Curator and Calendar Designer: Kaegan Sparks

Kaegan Sparks

Kaegan Sparks, a spunky aesthetic Texan who's absorbing avant-garde energies like a sponge, dressed as the Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven for Halloween.

Program Assistant: Lindsey Todd

Lindsey Todd

Lindsey Todd is not witty, not graceful, not hip, not scholarly, can't cornrow (contrary to popular assumption), hates arguing politics, can't stand the smell of tomato sauce, and abhors liars. Lindsey is curious, loquacious, occasionally cynical, adventurous, idealistic, culinarily inclined, clumsy, generous, friendly, loves small furry animals, legitimately adores school, has faith in humanity, and really wishes Nickelodeon was still worth watching.

Program Assistant: Chaia Werger

Chaia Werger

Chaia has no idea what she's going to wear tomorrow or what she plans to major in. She does not have a favorite color, food, or musical artist. Contrary to popular belief, Chaia is not sixteen, European, or Jewish, and has no affiliation with the popular unwanted house gift, the Chia pet. When not at the Writer's house, Chaia can be found tearfully watching re-runs of sappy reality television shows, discussing the meaning of human existence, sweating profusely at field hockey practice, taking pictures of dead squirrels in Solo cups for the blog she writes for the DP, or apologizing for an inappropriate comment that she made moments before.

Other: Thomson Guster

Thomson Guster

Thomson Guster is not employed by the Kelly Writers House.